The Older Man looked up to see the Younger Man smiling broadly as he walked out of the bush and towards where he sat with a friend from Jonsville. They’d been discussing the grazing in the hills towards the south, and joking about the predilections of the Karori herders to relieve the tension.

“What that?” he asked as the Younger Man sat, indicating what looked to be a large round Ocker shield.

“Lucky me” replied the Younger Man, “Parker says I landed a stone right on the crown of this Ocker headman. Maybe kill him outright! So he tells me to keep this shield we take from two Ockers the Tawa Men kill.”

“A good morning!” exclaimed the Older Man, now returning the broad smile, “You did good!

Two Ockers those Tawa Men kill?!” He craned his neck up a little to try see past the Herders milling around the field, but couldn’t see parker near his bivvy, “What Parker thinking now?”

“Dunno. Those Tawa Men are flensing the Ockers, and probably put their heads on spears…” He looked around expectantly, “Any food left?”

The Older Man reached around behind him and brought out some potato bread, and stopped to look at the shield.

“You know,” he asked, “that shield is very big for a wee man.”

The Younger Man smiled again, and reached over to take the bread. “Would probably make a good swap for a handy buckler tho, I reckon. A buckler is more suited to a slinger than blademan?”

“Probably… Hey, why those Tawa Men flensing those Ockers?”

“Parker’s idea,” said the Younger Man past a mouthful, “The wind is South, so they’re gonna roast the meat, let the smell head down to the Ockers. Later,” he gaffawed, “they chuck the bones over the dunes, scare them fuckers half to death!”

The Older Man returned a chuckle, “You better eat up, the women all headed back up to the Pa this morning. Some saying enough of the Herd is here, so we muster on Tahi Bay this afternoon, get stuck in tomorrow.”

“Good thing I got you a real big shield then.”

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