The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge Chapter 15: October 9, 1823
By Michael Punke
Chapter 15: October 9, 1823
Fort Brazeau isn't much of a fort—it consists of "a single log cabin, a crude dock, and a hitching post" surrounded by a mess of tipis (1.15.2). It's basically a glorified watering hole.
Kiowa Brazeau is watching Glass and company approach with a certain amount of satisfaction—he had been worried if the Sioux were still cool with him since the Arikara debacle. He's relieved because they're big trading partners for him.
When they arrive, Kiowa and Yellow Horse talk in Sioux, presumably about Glass's situation.
Kiowa finally addresses Glass, but Glass realizes that he hasn't spoken in some time—his vocal chords are a bit rusty. He manages to say his name and tell them whom he works for, however.
Although Glass is pelted with questions by Kiowa's patrons, Kiowa shepherds him away to his kitchen, where his Sioux wife prepares him a delicious, filling meal.
Kiowa tells Glass that he can get him back to St. Louis, but Glass explains that he's heading for Fort Union. Kiowa scoffs—traveling north during the winter is borderline suicidal.
Glass heads outside and finds Yellow Horse hanging out amidst the tipis. With no other way to express his thanks, Glass gives him his bear claw necklace.
The next morning, Glass is woken by "a loud conversation in French" (1.15.32). What a wake-up call.
Glass is pleased to see that his body is healing up nicely, if slowly. He also looks at himself in the mirror for the first time since the attack and...well...it's pretty rough.
Downstairs, he finds Kiowa rapt in conversation with the men from the previous night. Kiowa introduces him to Antoine Langevin, who frequently deals with the local Mandan tribe.
Apparently, the Arikara have been moving into Mandan territory, which the tribe allows under the condition that the Arikara cease to attack white folks.
Finally, they cut to the chase: Kiowa, hoping to reopen trade ties with the Arikara, is sending Langevin north on a peacemaking mission.
Also joining Langevin is Toussaint Charbonneau, a former colleague of Lewis and Clark who can speak both Mandan and Arikara. There's also a "one-eyed Scot" known by the nickname "Professeur" (it's meant ironically—dude's a dunce) (1.15.50).
Rounding out the crew are two brothers: Dominique and Louis "La Vierge" Cattoire. Louis's nickname ("vierge" is French for "virgin") is also meant ironically, as Louis is currently gallivanting with a lady of the night.
There's only one thing they're missing: a hunter. That's where Glass comes in. Plus, a skilled marksman like him will come in useful if they're attacked by the rogue Arikara band led by Chief Elk's Tongue,
Glass would rather travel alone, but he knows that he'll be safer with a group. What's more, he'll be able to move north pretty quickly in their boat. He agrees.
They'll be leaving tomorrow morning, so Glass gets geared up. He chooses a modest-looking, jerry-rigged "Model 1803 U.S. Infantry rifle" because it's the most reliable one available (1.15.61). He also grabs a pistol, a knife, a tomahawk, and some various trinkets.
Glass is also sure to write a letter to William Ashley saying that these purchases will be charged on his account, but that he'll gladly have the cost docked from his future pay. Good guy, Glass.
That night, Glass eats dinner with his new compatriots, save the still-occupied Louis. Everyone wants to know the details of the bear attack, but Glass stays mum.
Kiowa interrupts by lugging out a book on Lewis and Clark. Glass recognizes it immediately and reads it eagerly.
Kiowa opens the book to a map of the Missouri River, which he has marked with a massive amount of detail. The two men spend the rest of the night discussing the local terrain and adding bits to the map. It's kind of adorable, and Kiowa even suggests that Glass work for him instead of indulging in his little revenge quest.
The next morning, Glass is woken by a "potpourri of shouted obscenities" (184.108.40.206). When he goes outside, he finds Dominique and Louis arguing with one another.
Louis's most recent lady friend is pretty upset, too, given that Dominique urinated on her and Louis in an attempt to wake his brother up for their departure. Charming fellows.
Louis "La Vierge" lunges at Dominique, but Dom easily dodges his still-inebriated brother and starts kicking him. Well, at least the fight is over.
Finally, they depart. La Vierge starts singing a song, and the entire crew proudly joins in.