You don't chop a person and that's full scale tribal war if they do that.
A drunken brawl between two Papua New Guinea highland tribes ended in one villager being brutally decapitated with a bush knife.
His Kamanowan clansmen wanted instant revenge - as is the custom, they had to kill a similarly placed member of the offending Kamas tribe. They wanted to do it quickly while their blood was hot.
Waking their leader shortly after the attack they sought advice. But their leader surprisingly called for no more violence.
Tribal war is costly, counterproductive for crops and development and part of the old ways that educated Highlanders are moving away from.
Any retaliation would not have been a good move politically either. Their Enga Province was about to host the country's political elite at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, that had to be cancelled last year due to the area's security concerns. Potential reprisals and warring tribes raised those fears again.
Kamanowan tribesman Mathew Langep, 24, who had a wife and four-month-old daughter, was decapitated by a Kamas man in a surprise attack.
Langep's brother Joe Tomerop said like many tribal fights it started over something trivial.
"They were drunk, heading home late and met at the fork in the road that divides our villages," he said. "The fight was over a swear word.
One side said something then they fought for a while, then they started stoning one another. It all ended reasonably quiet at about 1am. But a message went back to the Kamas village, some woman sang out one bloke's dead, so they came back and surrounded five of my tribesman.
"There was another fight and somebody waiting just chopped Matthew. They came in purposely to do that. In Enga we don't normally do that. You don't chop a person and that's full scale tribal war if they do that."
His Kamanowan villagers woke their leader Paul Kuria at 3am telling him about the death. Kuria has been councillor to the 2500-strong Kamanowan tribe for 22 years. In all his time he has never called for payback.
"The fight just wanted to erupt but I told them 'no'. One good thing about my people is they listen."
While Enga is not considered a hotbed of tribal rivalries it is leading the change in highlands societies moving away from the primitive fighting that fascinates the outside world.
A lot of it comes down to education, Kuria said.
"PNG's Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Abal and Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Don Poyle are both Engans who regularly return to the province to discourage tribal violence," he said.
"And most of our people are highly educated, they have high status in the community, people with Masters degrees, we have subsidised schooling, and they come from our village.
"If we start to attack an enemy tribe it will not do any good to us.
"There is some pressure that comes in all the time to fight but you have to control it."
Some tribal leaders encourage violence but as more leave the village for towns or even overseas, less emphasis is on fighting, he said.
"It depends on the leaders on how they can solve problems, it is the same all around the world.
"After the NEC [meeting] we will take it to the court here and find out. Then we'll ask for compensation, you can't bring a life back so we receive a payment."
Joe Tomerop, a former PNG rugby league representative, is another Engan advocating peace rather than war.
"I support my councillor and don't want anymore fighting. Because it was my brother I could have overridden the councillor and called for another killing," he said.
Both Kamanowan men are satisfied justice will prevail.
Four suspects are behind bars facing charges and soon the two tribes will start reconciliation talks.
The breakdown of law and order in PNG, in particular the remote regions in the highlands, means some locals still rely on taking the law into their own hands.
PNG's overburdened court system, poorly run jails with regular breakouts, many problems within PNG's police force, corruption at many levels and a lack of services means that for many villagers the swift justice of revenge is their only empowerment.