Chapter 18: The Announcement

The bonfire is lit and the entire village sits around it, encircling it, talking to one another. Rolf and Pocahontas sit side by side. Smith sits across from them. Thomas sits in another section of the circle, next to Nakoma, Ahanu, and Chiquala. He watches his friend, who doesn't pay him any attention. Instead, Smith looks through the fire to examine Pocahontas and Rolf. When Rolf notices him staring, he grabs Pocahontas's hand and smiles directly at Smith, who then turns away. Powhatan, who is also sitting in the circle, stands, and everyone stops talking.

"My brothers and sisters," Powhatan walks over to Smith and has him stand. "We gather here tonight to celebrate the return of our brother, John Smith, a dear friend of my daughter, and a hero of mine. This man has the heart of a great warrior. I will never forget the time he jumped in the line of gunfire to save me. He put his own life at risks for mine. He has proven himself to be one of us." Powhatan looks at Smith. "I can not thank you enough my brother. Tonight we honor your return with a feast, for we want you to know that here, you are always welcome." Powhatan nods his head to Ahanu, signaling for him to bring him a small wooden bowl of blue paint. As Ahanu hands the bowl to Powhatan, he quietly tells Smith to unbutton his shirt. Smith does as he is told. Powhatan dips his hand into the blue paint, then presses it firmly on Smith's chest. He removes his hand, leaving a blue hand-shaped mark on Smith's skin. "John Smith, you will now forever be in our hearts. May my hand look after you and protect you, through whatever journeys lay ahead." With that, the villagers cheer for Smith and the food gets passed around. Smith eats, laughs, and talks with the people beside him. Rolf, who once again refuses to eat, glares at Smith.

"Why are you still not eating?" Pocahontas addresses Rolf.

"Are you ready?" Rolf dismisses her question with a new one.

"Ready for what?"

"You know."

"Maybe we should wait a little longer."

"You said tonight."

"Yes, but-"

"Pocahontas, you said tonight, so we shall announce it tonight." Rolf stands and everyone stops their conversations to look at him. "Ahem." He clears his throat. "Lady's and gentlemen, I am glad to be celebrating Smith's return with you all tonight. This is already a joyous occasion, but Pocahontas and I have some news that might give you more reason to celebrate."

"What is this news you talk of?" Powhatan interjects.

Rolf, smiling from ear to ear, takes Pocahontas's hands in his and stands her up beside him, looking directly into her eyes. "Well, you see sir, Pocahontas and I are…we're…we're getting married." The crowd is silent. As soon as these words slip out of Rolf's mouth, he turns to Smith, who looks completely horrified. His eyes are wide, sharp, and piercing. The look on Smith's face delights Rolf, and to rub it in even more, he takes Pocahontas and kisses her awkwardly. Smith, unable to bear much more, leaves the bonfire. Pocahontas pushes Rolf off of her and hurries to find Smith.