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The wolves he discounted; they would be well fed this time of the year and traveling in small, family groups rather than in the huge, murderous, ravenous packs of winter. But the bear could be another question entirely. He had never heard of lions turning man-eater and -hunter, and though winter wolves would tear apart any creature they could get at — two legs or four — most well-fed wolves had a strong tendency to avoid mankind and his camps. But the huge prairie grizzlies often — too often, for Milo’s liking — seemed to relish manflesh and would go far out of their usual ways to get at potential victims, even entering clan camps and tearing through the walls of yurts to come within tooth range of the folk within.

Preparation, alone for the breaking of camp took something over a full week. First, the four ponderous wagons and the seemingly numberless profusion of high-wheeled carts — each yurt seemed to have two or even three carts — were manhandled into camp from the space whereon they had been parked since the first pitching of this camp. Knowledgeable men examined the running gear of each conveyance, replacing any questionable axle or spoke or felly, beam, rod, coupling pole, bolster, axletree, hind hound, kingpin, sand board, hub, and so on.

It was decided in a council of chiefs and subchiefs which was convened the next day that the camp should be moved. There were a number of good and compelling reasons for this choice. Perhaps the most compelling was the fact that the herds of horses cattle and sheep were perforce moving farther and farther out from the camp perimeters to find sufficient graze; this was dangerous for them and inconvenient for those whose task it was to guard or care for them. And the camp itself was gradually becoming too spread out as the occupants of each individual yurt sought a fresh location for their dwelling, for all of the fighters to assemble easily in the event of an attack by hostile men.

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