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Na Shawa

Na Shawa

By J P Ronan

By J P Ronan

Introduction:

Time in early America when the Indian Nations lived undisturbed by European intervention comes alive. A great lake fixes an assortment of native traditions and cultures. Forested hills, open grassy meadows, green river valleys and rocky mountain retreats bound this great body of water. These natural boundaries form the secluded homelands of neighboring tribes that circumvent the perimeter of a large lake. The rite of passage into manhood of a young Indian is followed. The saga of a boy becoming a warrior unfolds in a series of adventurous episodes. The ensuing encounters reveal the variety of spiritual beliefs, living standards and tribal practices among the first nations. The young hero is led upon a journey directed by the foretelling from the spirit world. ISBN: 1-4196-4324-X Published by BookSurge, LLC 2006

An assortment of native characters appears to reveal the details of life passing long ago in the wilderness. The fullness of living free in the woods and forests of America is shared. The reader fully participates through transportation into primitive rustic American existence.

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Dedication:

To the Mingo Nation of the upper Ohio Valley and Western Virginia, and to Sgt Michael T McCardel of the US Infantry Fort Riley, Kansas.

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Capii...young Gibbawee brave Chickamongee...nomadic tribe of the Great Lake Chinkatuek…oldest member of the Buffalo Council Ciapa...great black wolf hound Dao Cama…bison people Gae Gae...chief of the Boca tribe Ga Urr...chief of the Locanomee Gibbawee...a small mountain tribe far from the great lake Huron...a large nation that lives below the mountains of the great lake Iola Nea…eagle people KauKau…famous woman hunter

Native Personae:

Locanomee...native tribe that lives near to the great lake Ananii...wife to chief of Minga tribe

Ndai...fish people of the Maha Usica

Audua...tribal elder woman and spiritualist

Nishgook…warrior of the bison people

Baancro…a white buffalo

Minga...a native tribe of the great lake

Baush-Doh…western tribe

Okamanha...chief of the Minga

Bla Ean...Shawa’s mother

Pecatu...chief of the Plata

Betochomagwa...war chief of the Huron

Powhota...a fierce tribe distant to the great lake

Bae Bae...Powhota warrior promised in marriage to Toinanaa

Na Thar…father to Shawa

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Na Shawa…young warrior of Locanomee tribe Seol Buaf...Shawa’s young sister Shee Madga…a matriarch of the Locanomee tribe

Native Language:

Shoshanna…warrior of the Iola Nea

amah...rite of passage to manhood by a lone journey

Shu-ti…old warrior of the Chickamongee

baancro…dirty pig

Toinanaa...young maiden of the Minga

baina…white one doiga…magic nawata...predatory fish such as a bass olca...evil or bad magic

Native Loci:

shamanae...holiest of holy men

An Mur…grave yard of forest animals

taboodee…private greeting between two hearts of great affection

Bhe Ag Uait...grand summit over looking the great lake

tulabee...a lake trout

Leeote...a section of waste land bordering the great lake Maha Usica…great lake of the forest Iola Nea…place of the eagles Procho Lan...island of the bears

Shawa’s trophies:

Sea Toba…seven springs

1. three hawk feathers

Tri Siur…white water passes

2. spotted lizard hides 3. ancient markings in body paint

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4. Shoshanna’s long arrow 5. panther tail as waist cinch 6. buffalo hide rucksack 7. leg band from Plata 8. leg band from Boca 9.

fishbone hair pin from Jijim

10. white moccasins from the Chickamongee

Shawa’s wives: 1. Shoshanna’s sister-in-law 2. Toinanaa of the Minga 3. Kau Kau of the Chickamongee

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The long hut is now chilled as all campfires have gone cold. Those who stirs are soon

Chapter 1

recovered into a deep sleep to await the calls of rising. The men are gone now for several days upon the great hunt that will fill the stores of the

Maha Usica

village for the coming winter. The old men and the woman keep the business of the village and the watch upon the children. The man sized boy named Shawa lies awake. The end of his last summer as child and the beginning of the fall will bring him to full manhood. Many thoughts of his new life as warrior and man of his village consume him. Much quiet effort has he spent preparing for this coming. His mother rests still near to his younger sister. No one rises. The dogs of the village lay silent within the huts. Shawa slips from his bed. On hands and knees he crawls between the rows of feet and heads of his family members. He makes past quiet bodies, one after another. Finally he reaches the bed of Shee Magda, his grandmother. She is a large woman of many years. There is no other within the village that knows so many ancestors. Her long white hair flows from under her blanket. Here the boy pauses. He says a quiet prayer to his ancestors for their blessings. The presence of the woman near him gives strength. His heart is warmed and his courage mounts.

The morning comes late this day. During the night a cool breeze has settled about the hills. Pine trees stand alone. Each shrouded in heavy mist. The light of early day is dull

Just as his hesitation ends, a wrinkled hand gently seizes the lad. His grandmother’s eyes

and dark gray. The birds wait for sharp rays from the sun upon the horizon. They yet give

search the boy. Shawa looks lovingly into his grandmother’s worn face for approval.

no song of welcome.

The old woman smiles softly. She pats his arm in the same manner just as she has done since he was a newborn. She now feels the arm of a man in her grasp. Magda understands

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the way of the boy. His heart shares her heart. His mind shares her mind. It has been that

Her last rub of the child Shawa ends with a gentle snap of her fingers. Instantly a large

way since the boy first moved in his mother’s womb.

black male wolfhound paces to her side. He is called Ciapa. This name is given in respect for the great hound. The village people say he carries the heart of a great warrior. He

Shawa bows his head against Magda. She hugs his brow and caresses his cheeks within

lives alone and is master to none save Madga. The village offers him welcome and the

her hands. She whispers. “Taboodee!” This expression is always given in private. It is a personal greeting of affection and pleasure. The boy responds with silent motions of one

beast’s presence brings much doiga into their midst.

hand giving signs read eagerly by the old woman.

Magda gestures with motions of the fingers of her free hand to Ciapa. The wolf’s eyes devour her instructions. His great tongue pants from the warmth within the long hut.

Magda understands the time of amah has come for her dear one. Concern fills her look upon the youth. She removes a pendant from around her neck. A piece of azure colored

Shawa reads the gestures meant for Ciapa. His grandmother tells the wolf that her

stone of much weight but small of size hangs on a necklace of woven hair. About

grandson is leaving. The old woman wishes Ciapa to travel with Shawa. The great wolf is

Shawa’s neck, the amulet is now to hang.

asked to be sponsor to Shawa during his journey.

The boy holds the object tightly in his hand. He feels the warmth it carries from his grand

Ciapa lets none but Magda touch him. His great nose rubs her face. The beast has much

mother’s body. The hardness of the stone he has felt since the time he was first held in his

affection for Madga. The old woman holds the black hound in the same manner as her

grandmother’s lap as a baby. Many times he has been told of the gray hair people that

boy child Shawa. Madga looks for one last moment into Shawa’s eyes. Her breath is slow

came to the place of their tribal lands long ago. This piece of rock has traveled across

and labored with age. She points to the entrance of the hut to give Shawa permission to

many waters. There is none like it to be found in the land of the Locanomee. It is said to

begin his saga. Tears wet her cheeks as the boy follows the black wolf out into the lost

have great doiga but that none but the Gray Hairs know of its use. The tribe keeps watch

morning.

since it’s arrival. It is said the Gray Hairs shall return.

Shawa steps quietly between huts and into the nearby woods. There is yet no sound from

Magda’s eyes burn bright with the love that fills her for this boy. She knows that Shawa’s

the village. Ciapa is nowhere to be seen. The wolf has made off into the forest.

spirit will take him on a great and dangerous passage into his manhood. Not all boys survive their saga. Each must choose his own travel to life as a warrior. Magda foresees her grandson becoming a great warrior of their nation. His saga will be told for all *****

generations of their people. She must release him from the bondage of childhood.

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this one lodge. The village is made of dozens of such dwellings. Bla Ean and her sisters have pieces of rabbit, possum and squirrel hot and ready. Hot fried cakes made from

A woman stirs. Bla Ean is the first to leave Shawa’s hut. Outside of the other huts, the

crushed corn mixed with seasonings are stacked aside the fire on warm flat stones. Warm

day fires are already burning. One by one the natives of the village rise. The mothers’

tea will be served in small bowls.

work is the first to begin. Only when the smell of cooking meat and fried corn meal enters the huts will the old men and the children quite their beds.

The children emerge cranky from an extend stay in bed. The gray mist above the village does not brighten their dispositions. The camp comes alive with sounds of babies crying

Bla Ean ignites the wood that her son Shawa had gathered the past evening. The gray

and children’s prattle. The old women follow the small ones to first meal. Much time is

smoke rises slowly as the mist of dawn does not wish to leave. The wood crackles and

consumed by the woman in comforting and feeding of the young with the start of the day.

spits as new flames leap out of the timber. The dogs of the camp emerge to keep the women company as dried meat is sliced and set to warm upon the fire.

Shee Magda emerges holding Buaf’s little hand.

The sister and cousins soon accompany Bla Ean at the fireside. Water is gathered and

Bla Ean greets her living ancestor with a bowl of hot tea and a corn muffin for her young

heated. An herbal brew of sassafras bark, wild root, slightly sweetened with honey is

daughter of seven summers. “Shee Magda, I have rabbit meat for your.” Bla Ean has

being made. This bittersweet liquid will warm the young ones on this cool morn and

saved a fine piece from last night’s meal just for Magda, as it is the old woman’s favorite.

relieve the aches of the old ones of the tribe.

“You are a good daughter, a good wife and a good mother.” Magda has always been

While the food prepares the village dogs beg for scraps and run about searching for fresh

pleased with her son’s choice in Ean as a wife. “The young will be restless to nightfall

scents of any visitors that passed near the village this last night. The talk is little and done

with the late start of this day.” Magda smiles as her young granddaughter nibbles away at

with a whisper. The women do not wish to have their burden increased with children up

her muffin. “Buaf should have warm tea. The sassafras will make her grow strong to a

and asking to be fed before all is ready. The first hour of life in the village is calm. The

woman.”

smoke from the fires disappears into the risen midst that yet shrouds the sun. The birds

“Buaf does not like the bitter taste left in the mouth. Today I hope to trade fish for a

yet do not make song.

supply of honey for the winter.” Ean places a bowl of hot meat in front of Magda, and she

Bla Ean is wife to Shee Magda’s youngest son, and mother to Shawa and his sister Buaf.

sits down beside Bauf and holds the young girl in her lap as she prepares to eat. “Then we shall have very sweat tea to keep us warm.” Ean laughs as she bounces her daughter.

All of Magda’s descendants share the one long hut, as is their custom. All in Magda’s home are considered her direct family. Some thirty men, woman and children dwell in

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“Shawa is gone!” The little girl blurts out. Bauf is much disturbed by her brother’s

“When the power of the moon goddess enters your body.” Ean answers. The women of

absence from the long hut this morning.

the tribe pass into adulthood with menstruation. At this time Magda will name this child Seol Buaf.

“Gone?” Ean repeats.

“Is the moon goddess in Shawa’s body?” Buaf asks her grandmother with much

“I saw him leave with Ciapa.” The little girl adds with certainty.

apprehension.

Ean’s eyes divert to Magda for understanding.

“The boy is called by the great mother water, Maha Usica to become now a warrior.”

The old woman relishes the taste of rabbit. She is much occupied by her cuisine. She

Magda points in the direction of the great lake near to the village. “Na Shawa answers.“

nods only in agreement with the child’s tale. “Gone?” Ean repeats much disturbed by Buaf’s account. “Where has Shawa gone?” This

Buaf is yet disturbed by the events of the morning. “Why did Na Shawa go away?” Ean attends the words of the old woman seeking consolation.

question is for the old woman.

“Little one. The moon goddess makes the way of the girl child to womanhood. There is

“Amah...it is the start of his amah.” Magda says between bits of rabbit.

no journey needed. To become a warrior the boy must leave his lodge and walk out alone

The young mother is in shock. She has watched the older boys leave the village on a

upon the earth.” Only the last of the tea holds Magda from her words.

sojourn that takes each into manhood. The time for Shawa has come this day as a surprise. Ean has no words. Her look of puzzlement provokes the old woman to respond.

The little girl shares her mother’s loss for understanding. Buaf leans upon the old woman’s shoulder and pats her grandmother’s cheek. Magda laughs at the womanly

“Shawa is gone. Na Shawa is about a man’s business.” Magda says simply.

solicitation from the small one. “Maha Usica gives Na Shawa a vision. This vision is a “Na Shawa!” Ean repeats. The children of the Locanomee are given one name at birth. It is the custom. When they enter adulthood the living ancestor gives them as second name. Ean realizes that her child Shawa is no more. Her man-son Na Shawa walks the earth.

path to be followed. One vision can lead to many with each vision showing the way to become a warrior. The greater the strength of the vision makes greater the warrior.” Magda squeezes the small child in play. “Your brother is to become a great warrior. His

Buaf is most attentive to the women’s talk. She watches her mother’s forlorn give way to a pride that her mother has never shown before. Ean is proud that her son is now called

amah shall be great.” These words alarm Ean. ‘Is this why you sent Ciapa with him?” Ean notices the amulet is

by a warrior’s name.

gone from Magda’s neck. “He wears your amulet for protection!”

“When do I get my another name?” Buaf asks her mother.

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“He has only his ancestors for protection. The amulet of the Gray Hairs is to be his. This

that lie beneath the earth offers much doiga. Only the faint sound of trickles from the

was my vision upon the time that the child was born. Na Shawa must take his place as a

springs is heard.

man. He will share Ciapa’s doiga. This was also in my dream.”

Upon his warm body the mist of An Mur condenses into tiny beads that coalesce to form tracks of moving water. Tears of the dead, the Locanomee hold this rinsing as a sacred cleansing. Shawa’s eyes close. His body is numb. As the drops of the glen’s mist fall from his cheeks, images of his ancestors come alive. An old warrior with long tassels of

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pure white hair appears before him. In his hand the ancient one holds a lance that points to a formation of rocks unlike any the boy has ever seen. The old warrior points to this formation with sign for Shawa to follow. A war chant from the old one fills Shawa’s Shawa has left his village but he has not left his home. The woods and trails, streams and

mind. A large hawk comes to land upon the rocks in Shawa’s vision.

lakes are the true home of the Locanomee. The start of his amah is just as any ordinary

The chant of the ancestor is one that Shawa has heard only once in his childhood. It came

day. The chosen path from the village takes Shawa through one of the most revered parts

alive among the lodges of his village at a time of strife between nearby tribes on the

of his homeland.

Maha Usica. So real and so compelling is the rich sound of the vision that Shawa joins in

A deeply shaded glen, long narrow and hidden between the banks of two steep hillsides

the song. The glade reverberates with strong melody and pathos of the tones rendered by

stands heavy in a heavy mist. There is one slight path that winds between the many

the boy.

springs that feed a shallow creek. Delicate ferns cover the soil. Tiny plants that grow to

Suddenly the song and drumbeats of the image are gone. Shawa awakes. His vision was

hand size dot among larger ferns that may tower over any individual. The visitor here is

very powerful. He must follow the great hawk to the place were the unusual rock

to find bones of deer or elk. The place is called An Mur and it is believed to be a

formation is to be found.

graveyard of the elegant beasts.

Shawa exits the quiet grove of ferns, his path is directed up into the hills to a place that

Here Shawa will ask for his first vision to begin his amah. Upon a moss covered rock the

over looks the nearby shore of Maha Usica. Here the boy hopes to search the sky for the

boy sits. His arms and legs folded. He draws his breath from the most air rich in odors

flight of the hawk of his vision. Within a few paces of leaving his retreat, Shawa comes

mixed from the lush flora. There is only silence this morning. The spirits of the beasts

upon three large dark feathers with red markings lying upon the ground. In the fashion of a warrior, Shawa ties these atop his long dark hair. “Let this hawk come to find that he is 19

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to lead a great warrior. Let this hawk take pride in the courage of the one he is to guide”

and stewed to collect their nutrition. Sinew is fashioned at once for the archer and stored

Shawa says aloud.

for future needs of craft. All in the village will work tirelessly over the coming days to prepare the animals’ meat for storage. Only when all the hunters have returned and all preparations for winter are complete will the celebration of the hunt take place. Song and dance and feasting will fill

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the camp for a week. Traditional prayers to the ancestors and required offerings to Maha Usica will not be left incomplete. Shawa’s father, Na Thar has brought a sliver fox as present to his wife Bla Ean. This is a Later on the same day of Shawa’s departure, a large hunting party returns to the village.

very great prize as the silver fox is rare in the land of the Locanomee. It is a symbol of

A hundred or so men have had great success on their hunt and retire from their journeys

great doiga and wealth.

early. They carry the carcasses of elk, bear, deer, wild pig and moose upon poles carried on their shoulders.

Bla Ean recieves her husbands gift as a sign of his true affection. She is much pleased. Still her heart is troubled by the absence of her boy child, Shawa. Na Thar senses that his

The woman and children are surprised by the men’s approach. The men are not expected

wife is troubled. “What matter makes sad the heart of one so loving at the time of the

for many days. Hoops of cheer and shrill calls of delight rise among the huts as the proud

great hunt’s end?”

hunters enter the village. Dogs run in circles giving wild yelps of excitement. Old men

Bla Ean’s eyes search her husband’s face for consolation. “Shawa is gone!”

and woman chant songs of thanksgiving for the bounty that will feed the children this The youngest son of Shee Magda is a handsome strong brave. Much respected by his

winter.

people. He is slow to understand his wife’s forlorn. “Shawa will return soon. He is a good Family members eager to view the rewards of the great hunt surround the men quickly.

son and will want to share the work of the village.”

Arms and hands touch and grope the hides of the animals. The size of hoof and paw are measured. The men provide vivid tales of the hunt in detail and inform of whose arrow’s

“He will not be back soon. My heart is heavy for our son.” Bla Ean’s mind is distracted from the village’s celebration. “He has taken to his amah.”

shaft felled each prize.

With these words, Na Thar’s back stiffens with pride. He is exhilatred by the adventure

Great fires are soon ablaze. The meat is taken from the bone to be dried. Hides are removed and stretched upon wooden racks to be made into garments. Bones are collected 21

that his son is undertaking. He trusts his fist out from his chest is a sign of strength to his

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wife. “Our son is now becoming a warrior.” The man’s heart swells. His mind runs wild

would make much noise and great waves. Only the swim back is made with danger from

with thoughts of the amah. Father and son soon will share life as warriors together. It is

exhaustion.”

the time of telling of a son’s greatness. It is a special time for the father of Shawa. “It is

The thoughts of a huge hungry bear wading after her baby boy in the middle of a great

good. To stay as a child is not the way for a man.”

lake overwhelms Bla Ean. She slumps unconscious to the ground before her husband.

Bla Ean does not share her husband’s enthusiasm. Much troubles her over Shawa’s absence. “You had an amah. What did you do for your amah?” Bla Ean asks hoping for her husband to console her. ***** “I spent two nights on the island of the bears.” The warrior says with much pride. “Most go there for amah stay but one night.” Again the fist is raised to show strength. These words draw the color from Bla Ean’s face. Her mouth stands fixed and open. Her The path of Shawa will pass along the shore of Maha Usica. Here the boy will camp until

eyes glaze in shock. She wears the mask of death.

dawn when he will ascend the highest hill to be seen from the village. The day is spent as

The look of fright confuses her husband. “Many seek the island of the bear for amah.”

any youth alone in the wilderness. Curiosities along the trail distract and occupy his time. Ean is aware of the sacred island that lies upon Maha Usica. It is said that the bear spirit originated form here. The island is found by all to be inhabited by one or more bear at

Places that are familiar and fun will draw him. Along the trunk a large fallen tree will he climb and conquer the thrill of the acrobat. Scratching of wild turkeys will lead him to

any time. The bears must swim a long way from shore to reach this island. There is little food to sustain them there yet it is much visited by the large predators.

find the flock and count the gobblers. He shall mark the location of an owl’s nest as it is held as a place of doiga.

Bla Ean wishes to know more but shock prevents words from leaving her lips as they

The path near the shore of the lake is well worn by the members of his tribe. It moves

move.

between large rocks and along tree stands whose leaves give shade to the water. Near the

Na Thar tries to answer her unspoken question. “I staid upon the shore of the island. As

end of the day Shawa spies a large golden trout feeding just off the shore. It’s bright color

soon as I arrived I built a large fire that burned through each night. During the day I

flashes amid the clear blue water as the fish strikes to the surface after an insect. “Brother

moved into the waters of the lake and slept in the shallows where the bear’s approach

trout! If you come within my arrow’s range I shall have a great feast in your honor at my camp tonight.”

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The boy follows the movement of the fish with raised bow and arrow. By and by he steps

As the stars emerge in the night’s sky, the boy looks to the positions of gathered stars

to a point that overlooks the water where the fish swims. “My dinner will wait for your

known to foretell of the passing of seasons. Just as his father has shown him on many

participation. Only a few feet closer.” The boy calls.

occasions, the figures made from the stars shift toward winter. There is little summer left

In a sudden rush the Goldie launches straight to the water’s edge after a dragonfly. As the

in the formations of the night sky.

trout leaps into the air, the shaft of Shawa’s arrow pierces it. The fish is three hands in

As Shawa prepares his bed he recalls the leather pouch. It is still wet. There are many

length. This will be smoked and consumed over several meals.

markings sown into the bag. Beads fashioned from tiny colored stone detail the cover of

With great joy the boy scampers to the bank and reaches for the arrow that has seized the golden trout. The tip of the arrow that has passed through the fish lies embedded beneath

the purse. These are not given in a form familiar to his tribe. The Locanomee did not make this pouch. It must have fallen off a canoe passing upon Maha Usica. It cannot be old, as it shows no deterioration by the water. It is late and the boy will study the images

the water. The long shaft is recovered with the fish still fighting. The arrow’s head has caught a piece of deer’s hide that floats just under the water’s surface. It is a pouch with

on the pouch in the morning.

native markings.

The night passed in calm with a clear view above. The songs of the birds come in sweet melodies just as the first rays of the sun reach the eastern horizon. Shawa awakes to find

The excitement of the great trout obstructs Shawa’s curiosity. The wet pouch is placed

Ciapa lying within the camp. “Did you call brother trout to my shaft?” The boy asks of

aside as the boy attends immediately to his dinner. Several feet from the bank the boy makes camp for the night. A suitable fire is started. One that does not lift large plumes of

the wolfhound as he greets the start of the day.

smoke up into the air or gives light to shine across the water. The native boy keeps the

Ciapa rises at the boy’s words. The beast moves about the camp to take the scent of the

rule of the unseen of the forest.

activity of the past night. Quickly Ciapa discovers the pouch recovered from the lake. The scents are new to the great hound. Ciapa makes much fuss as he struggles to isolate

The fish is spitted and roasted over the fire. It is dusk with the first stars to shine before Shawa eats. Much pleasure is in the taste and the strength taken from the prized fish. The

and identify the scents that cover the bag.

moon is near full. There is much light upon the earth. The lake shimmers. The boy enjoys

Shawa watches the effort given to the task of the hound. The dog sniffs heavily and

great peace and good living. He relives the dream of the old one and the great hawk upon

snorts loudly about the pouch. The dog scratches upon the purse and fresh scents are

the large stones. The meaning of this vision is not known. Tomorrow Shawa will look for

taken. This ritual is repeated over and over with Ciapa unsatisfied by his findings. In

the way of this great bird.

frustration Ciapa gathers the pouch in his large mouth and brings it to Shawa where he drops his charge for the boy to inspect. 25

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The insistence of Ciapa to know of this object gives concern to Shawa of the meaning of

An extra animal skin used for bedding can fetch a handsomely decorated ceremonial

the pouch. Such an item should not be new to this hound that travels widely about Maha

dress. Pottery fashioned by one is exchanged for a quiver of fine arrows made by another.

Usica. “The old ones of the village must see this thing!” He announces to Ciapa.” This

By the end of the fall hunt all lodges will be ready for the cold season.

bag must have great meaning.” With this said the boy places the bag into the dog’s

Magda has always loved this time of bounty. Many bargains are to be made, as summer

mouth. “Shee Magda! Shee Magda!” Shawa gives sign by hand to his wish for the pouch to be taken to Magda at once.

hopes are gone. She passes about the village in the company of one daughter or granddaughter. Much time is to be had for gossip.

The hound at the sound of Magda’s name takes excitement. With much understanding,

Ciapa returns midday into the village. He has covered the path from Shawa quickly. He

the wolfhound makes off with haste to the village of the Locanomee. He carries the bag

finds Magda sitting with several women. The women talk about the coming winter and

straight to Magda.

foretell who is to carry a child till spring. Potential marriages are discussed. Little notice is given to Ciapa as he approaches Magda.

Soon after Ciapa’s departure the boy resumes his journey. He will continue along the shoreline for most of the day before he turns away from Maha Usica and climbs into the hills. His next night camp will be near the summit that gives the best view of the sky,

The women are animated in their discussions. Ean has heard that the living ancestor in the lodge nearest to the village chief intends to wed this spring. He will have only a

land and water.

young woman that can bear him another son. “The old man will have a young flower this spring.” Ean announces with glee. “Only if he has the strength to pass through this coming winter.” Replies another. “This old man wanted to marry me in our youth. He was not much of a man even at that

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time.” Magda informs. The women share much laughter. Magda pays little attention to the object placed in her hand by Ciapa. “This old man slept in the corn field with his mother for his amah.” Magda revels as her sides shake with

In the Locanomee village the work continues from the harvest of the hunter. A second

heavy laughter. The women squeal in hysteria.

party has returned also laden and their poles bending with meat taken from the forest. Winter provisions are well stored in Magda’s long hut. Ean has traded dried fish for a large bowl of honey. As each hunting party returns, the women trade for needed items.

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“His first wife was taken as barter during a cold harsh winter where little was had to eat.

“Huron! Shawa sends word of the Huron.” These words move all the women into panic.

The poor girl child was nearly starved to death. It was the burial mound or a bad marriage

“The Huron are on Maha Usica now!”

for her.”

Instantly the women disperse each to seek their husband or father to tell of the news.

This possibility sobers the mood of the women. “This girl died in child birth in her first

Across the camp the name Huron echoes. Men gather in groups to question the news.

year as wife.” Magda ‘s tears for the lost girl from her youth show forth. She fondles the purse given her by Ciapa nervously.

Na Thar leads a band of warrior to his mother’s side. “What know you of the Huron?” He asks with much anxiety.

“His sons are brave and strong, Magda.” Ean states.

Shee Magda hands the pouch to Na Thar. “Ciapa carries this from Na Shawa who walks

Magda shakes the purse sent by Shawa at the women. ”The weakness of any not to be

along Maha Usica.” Her words are given prophetically.

seen is the weakness of the spirit and the heart. Strong limbs alone do not make a good

“War council…War council!” Na Thar shouts into the crowd. Throughout the village the

husband. Strong spirit and good heart make the best husband.”

alarm is given. The Huron pouch is taken to the lodge of the chief for verification. The

With this said, Magda looks at the object in her hand. Her eyes and mouth open wide.

chief calls several of the living ancestors. One by one each elder member of the tribe

Her breath seizes as she turns the pouch for her tired eyes to see.

inspects the pouch sent by Shawa. All agree that only a Huron carries such sign.

The women are startled by Magda’s changed expression. Ean takes fear that the old woman may collapse. “What is the matter?” Ean barks at Magda. The old woman’s eyes are fixed upon the bag that hangs still damp from the water of the

*****

lake. All fix their gaze upon her possession. The small pouch swings as a pendulum in Magda’s quivering hand. Magda looks at Ciapa and back to the bag. “Na Shawa has sent this thing to us!” The old Shawa’s departure from the bank of Maha Usica heightens the boy’s sense of adventure.

woman’s voice is now calm and cold in tone. Magda looks to Ean. The fear in her face

A lone trail made by the deer makes way through heavy pine up the side of a long hill,

weakens Ean to her knees.

upon which is found the summit called Bhe Ag Uait. Another place that is reverend by “What is the matter?” Ean repeats as she takes Magda’s hand in hers. “What news has Shawa sent that frightens you so?”

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the Locanomee for much inspiration and strong vision. Some men of the tribe make their

duration of the lizard’s visit to this desolate place is a secret kept from all spirits about the

entire amah just here. This is especially so for a tribal artist.

land.

Many hours of climbing lay ahead of Shawa much to his liking. The highest hills have

Today the sun is bright. The past night was cool. Shawa passes quietly along the high

the steepest banks say the old people of the village. This makes the doiga of the summit

wall. Atop a mound of flat rocks he notices the head of a lizard above. With cat like

very potent and this fills the woods below Bhe Ag Uait with many spirits not to be found

stealth he climbs around, behind and upward. Here setting in rows is as many as a

elsewhere.

hundred basking lizards. The sides of the creatures heave in and out with deep breaths of the warm air. Their tail is twice the length of their torso. Diamond shapes in red and

Soon the chosen path leads Shawa along the base of a rocky high wall. Over the years

white dot the back of bark colored hides.

erosion has worn much stone from the cliff. The land at its base is a small barren plane. Sand and gravel have compacted so densely that no vegetation may grow. The place is

For several moments Shawa watches the speckled creatures. If disturbed the gathering

exposed to the sun so that its heat soaks into the rocks. Nature has created a small desert

darts with lightening speed across the surface of the hard ground to a sudden stop at a

within a lush forest. The doiga of the place is believed to be unusual as well.

safer haven. ”There is no way for a man to catch these beasts by foot.” Shawa says to

Mostly insects pass across this barren section. Occasionally a pursuing bird will make but

himself.

a brief stop. Most spirits of the forest forsake this lost bit of earth. Shawa has long held a

The boy knows when the sun’s warmth is at the right level the lizards will disperse in a

fascination for an unusual daily occurrence here.

flash. “It is just as trying to collect minnows in a pond with one’s fingers.” Shawa muses

Within the woods that circumvent this parched ground lives a spotted lizard with bright

to himself. “One needs a net to trap these swift runners.”

and colorful markings. The sighting of such a creature within its normal habitat is rare.

Slithering backwards into the woods, the boy cuts thin branches dense in pine needles.

Few in the tribe wear the hide of this lizard, which is held as a decoration of great esteem.

These he gathers and carries to form a line that runs parallel to the high wall and behind

Shawa has never seen a live lizard and has long wished to capture one for his mother’s

the place where the lizards rest. Shawa places himself at the opposite end of the pine

dress at tribal ceremony.

barrier from the place of the lizards. He collects several small stones into each hand.

The Locanomee are aware that each day the lizards move out of the forest and collect

These he flings high into the air. In a great arch the rocks fly over the stationary band of

upon the barren rocks as the sun heats the land. For some time the gathered lizards warm

reptiles and fall unseen upon the hard ground far from Shawa’s hiding place. Startled by the cascading rocks the lizards turn toward the hidden Shawa and race along the corridor

until they vanish within the forest for the remainder of the day. The exact time and

formed by the pine barrier on one side and the high wall on the other. 31

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As soon as the reptiles are within the trap, Shawa rises. His presence stampedes the

The war council stands along the side of the hut behind the great chief. Twenty or so

lizards left and right. Those that disperse to the high wall are free. Those that dart into the

braves of all ages that have distinguished themselves in the way of war shall advise the

pine bows are slowed and held for a moment in which Shawa falls upon them. He clubs

Locanomee. Na Thar stands with his uncle as a respected member.

the pines with a wooden stick. Striking furiously over and over again at any movement

The whole of the Locanomee tribe gathers in semicircular rows facing Ga Urr. The living

within the pine limbs where the motion of the struggling lizards shows. “I am the great

ancestors sit in the rows immediately before their chief. The women and children sit in

nawata after the minnows!” He shouts loudly to add confusion to the flight of his prey.

the midst with the men and young boys of the tribe standing at the rear.

In a brief exercise, the host of lizards makes good their escape but many fresh lizard

“My people!” T he chief calls in a rich loud voice. His words are slow and exaggerated

hides are put to dry on the same spot. The lizard meat will be dried for Shawa’s use

for all to hear. “My people!”

during his amah. This midday’s meal will serve lizard and trout. Bla Ean will wear the

The gathering comes to silence. Their concern is heightened by the grave look upon their

precious lizard hide this year. The next fire of Shawa’s day camp will hear many prayers of thanksgiving to the spirits of the lizard.

chief’s face. Ga Urr is a tall man. His limbs are of extra length and muscular. His chest is large. His hair is mixed with gray but his strength is still as many. His huge hand holds the pouch sent by Na Shawa in the air for all to view. “Let the living ancestors examine this purse! Let them tell of the signs it carries.” The

*****

bag is given to the oldest members of the tribe to hold and to see closely the symbols the pouch carries. “Huron!” The first old man calls as the object quivers in his unsteady hands.

The Locanomee have gathered outside the lodge of their chief, Ga Urr. The long hut of

The old woman next to receive the bag looks intensely at the markings for several

the chief sits center to the village and adjoins an open field upon which village

moments. She rises and turns to the face her tribe. “Olca Huron!” She screams as if suffering from a great pain.

ceremonies are held. Today there is no celebration. The people gather to hear the words

The villagers moan with her angry response as the bag is passed onto the next elder.

of the elders and to understand the meaning of the Huron presence on the Maha Usica.

Every senior member of the tribe makes the call of Huron. Not until all have spoken does the purse return to Ga Urr. Now the chief will speak.

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“Let no one doubt that the Huron travel our sacred waters. Let no one doubt that our

“Will your grandfather answer questions from our council?” Ga Urr asks.

village lies in peril from the Huron’s ax.” The chief pauses to let any that disagree speak. All remain silent convinced of the impending danger.

The woman shakes her head to acknowledge her grandfather’s willingness. “How many Huron?” Asks one member of the council.

“Is there one among the Locanomee that remember the last time the Huron came on to

The old one speaks to his granddaughter. She holds up one hand with her fingers spread.

Maha Usica?”

“The Huron’s warriors where five times the number of Locanomee.” There is much

All eyes search among the tribe for a hand to signal an answer to the chief’s question.

gasping and shock by all that hear her words.

In the middle of the elders sits a tiny man bent with age. He is not able to raise his hand

“When did they come to our camp?” Asks another council member.

for most to see. “Here!” The granddaughter calls. My grandfather knows of the Huron!”

The woman pauses and asks her grandfather to repeat his words so she may be clear on

This is much stirring among the tribe to see the old man who rises to stand only with a

his answer. “When the first morning song of the bird entered the camp they fell upon us.”

woman’s help. There are no teeth left in the wrinkled mouth of the old one. His heart is

“From which direction did they come?” Asks Na Thar.

week and he has little wind with which to form his words. He shakes uncontrollably as

There is no need for translation. The old one points to the rear of the camp in the

his body tries to force his thoughts among the tribe. He coughs and babbles.

direction opposite to the great lake.

“He says that he was a young boy when the Huron came to Maha Usica.” The girl pauses to take meaning from her grandfather’s moans. “They came to the village while all slept.”

“They swept through the camp taking only the young girls as they ran to their canoes!” Na Thar illustrates the path of the Huron through the camp with the motion of his lance.

More delay as the old one composes his thoughts. “Great many Huron. Our braves fought The old man is about to collapse from exhaustion. His head hangs low. Only his

well but the Huron’s number ran freely through the camp.”

granddaughter hears his sounds. “Grandfather says the Huron stopped only to kill and The old man chokes with tears of sorrow that accompany his memory. So powerful is his

burn.” The old one can stand no more.

form that the women hold tight their children as he struggles to speak. “It is enough!” The chief signals for no more questions. “The Huron come to take the “Their knives and axes dripped with the blood of the Locanomee women and children.”

young women of the Locanomee from the Maha Usica.” The great chief pauses. “The

The granddaughter’s tears flow as she pauses. “The sister of my grandfather was taken

Huron live upon the flatland below our mountains. They follow the white water that falls

away by the Huron never to return.”

from the Maha Usica.”

Bitterness fills the heart of the tribe. Their silence does not hide their rage. 35

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The tribe can no longer hold their thoughts. A frenzy of excitement runs over the people as they vividly express their emotions one to another. The level of confusion rises as the Locanomee confront the danger that threatens.

Sha Sho raises one hand to signal his response to the great chief. “How do the Locanomee escape the hunt of the Huron?” Ga Urr understands the intent of his people.

“My people! My people!” Calls Ga Urr to no avail. The chaos of the moment must pass

Sha Sho’s voice is weak as a woman’s. Its pitch is high and unmanly. Sha Sho’s words

as the villagers express judgments one to another.

about the hunt hold great doiga for the Locanomee. “The wild dogs run upon the open

A group of men in the back begin to chant. “Sha Sho…Sha Sho!”

ground. They avoid the land where they may not move as one. The Locanomee are to be hunted as by the wild dog pack. Only if the Huron pack is dispersed is their prey to

Others join...Sha Sho…Sha Sho!”

escape. Sha Sho has spoken!” He has no more words to say.

Soon all call to the chief and the war council…Sha Sho…Sha Sho!

“What has the war council to say?” Ga Urr turns to face his lodge and the men of the war

The great Chief Ga Urr stands proudly before his people. Their collective voice

council.

reverberates before his stoic form. Ga Urr does not respond but allows the people their

The leader of the war council is a small man. He is not many years from becoming a

moment to unify. The tribe demands the voice of the great hunter Sha Sho. This warrior stands at the back of the gathering. He is not a member of the war council, but is the most revered hunter in

living ancestor. He has been on council for the time of many chiefs of the Locanomee. Nee Naa is a man of few words but is a warrior that has survived the most battles for his people.

the tribe. Sha Sho is not young but he is less than the age of the chief. His form is short and round. He is neither swift nor strong. His wit is not dull but he is not so wise as to be

“The Locanomee must move to the other side of the mountains.” Nee Naa answers.

a leader.

“Will not the Huron follow our trail?” Asks Ga Urr.

“Sha Sho…Sha Sho…” The village chants as the great chief and the great hunter gaze at

“Our people shall move by many narrow trails.” Nee Naa answers.

one another across the lawn.

“What camp shall we make? For how long?” Ga Urr persists.

Ga Urr sees the lost expression on Sha Sho’s face. The hunter does not have

The Locanomee tribe listens intently to each word made by the leaders.

understanding of the call of his name by the tribe. Ga Urr does.

“We must take high ground with rock walls and a single narrow approach. There we must

“Sha Sho!” Calls the chief. The voice of the tribe begins to lessen. “Sha Sho!” Repeats

stay for one turning of the moon goddess.”

Ga Urr. The chant of the people dies out. “Sha Sho! Ga Urr’s voice is heard alone. 37

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Ga Urr turns to his people. “Does any one know of such a place?” He calls.

*****

“The place of the red goats!” Answers several of the best hunters. “How many warriors know the way to this place well?” The chief beckons. Eight or nine warriors raise the arms.

The weather on Bhe Ag Uait is unpredictable. Strong breezes are common. A gathering of dark clouds upon the Maha Usica can move quickly over the summit bringing heavy

“How much time to arrive there?” Ga Urr asks.

rains when all the surrounding land bathes in warm sunshine.

“One day, one night, and one day walk.” Answers another.

Na Shawa has climbed halfway to the peak called Bhe Ag Uait. Here he passes the wall

“Is this good, Nee Naa?”

of the ancient ones. A vertical rock surface is marked with many paintings. These remain “There our camp fires will not show the way for the Huron. They will not know how far out trail will lead them from the Maha Usica. The Huron will not chance the loss of their canoes. They will not wish to split their warriors into many parties. They will not walk a

from an ancient civilization from a time long before the presence of the Locanomee. Shawa’s people believe the markings contain spirits from this time long passed. Much respect is given to the paintings found high upon the stone wall.

long path under our waiting arrows. It is good. Nee Naa has spoken.” Shawa’s mother is especially fond of this place. On a rare occasion the very young Shawa “Is there no other choice? Can we not move to our neighbor’s village and fight the Huron there?” Asks one from those seated.

reproduced the artwork by making sketches in the sand for her. He has long wished to leave some illustration of his own upon the sacred wall. It is forbidden by his people to

“There can be no assurance that we shall not meet the Huron upon open ground. If the

do such a thing. In fact the whole of Bhe Ag Uait is held to be a holy place much visited

number of their braves is five times our village then we would need ten tribes of the

by the spirits.

Maha Usica to stand as one.” Speaks Na Thar.

Today Shawa spends much time studying the paints used by the ancient ones in their

Ga Urr raises both hands to end further debate. “The Locanomee shall move at once to

murals. “Sap forced from the limb of plant over heated coals.” Shawa says to himself

the other side of the mountain. We shall bury what goods we do not need. We shall sleep

confidently. “Mixed with the juice from berries?” He wonders. “The ancient ones would

on the trail. Let no one stay behind. Ga Urr has spoken.”

make their paint here is some appropriate ceremony.” Shawa looks about the nearby woods for ideas.

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The trees on Bhe Ag Uait are mostly pine. There are no berry bushes to be seen. Shawa is

my scent upon the trail lead you foolishly?” Shawa knows the hound would not otherwise

captivated by the thought of finding a small stone wall upon which to attempt his own

be so easy a pray.

mural. It need not be grand in size for all passersby to see. A small hidden place just for

The boy does not startle Ciapa. The strength of the boy’s scent marked his presence.

his future visits. The boy moves into the nearby pine stand. He selects a sampling pine.

“You saw Shee Madga?” The wolf’s tail moves in delight at the boy’s question. “You are

He removes a lower branch and cleans the outside bark. He sniffs the cut end of the

true friend to the Locanomee!” Shawa is satisfied that the hound made good his quest.

bough and his finger probes for running sap. Two small pieces of bough are to be taken

“Do you know a secret place here on Bhe Ag Uait where the ancient ones dwelled? A

away from the woods by Shawa.

place hidden from the warrior’s path?”

The young warrior continues his climb. There are many caves, and rock formations to be found on Bhe Ag Uait. Shawa wishes to explore. “Perhaps there are other places of the

The gray eyes of the black wolf are fixed upon the boy as he speaks. The wolf’s head tilts from side to side. He turns and trots away. The long black body of the hound curves

ancient ones that none of my tribe has ever seen.” The boy moves off the known path.

among the bracken. After a few moments Ciapa stops and waits for Shawa.

Where the sign of deer or wild boar fades Shawa looks for a way to step. The large hound pushes his way through the thicket creating a fresh path of bent branch Such a trail is slow and dense with thicket. Here the hunter will set his snare for rabbit.

and parted grass for Shawa to follow. The wolf moves with relative ease. Stopping

There is little else to bring a traveler. The sense of this adventure for Shawa is great. The time passes him with ease. The difficult hiking does not strain the youth. Along rocky

frequently, he allows the encumbered boy to make up ground. Almost straight up the steep hill side of Bhe Ag Uait the pair trod.

crevice and atop the rim of a gully the boy stays his advance. His eyes search for hidden Despite his youth, Shawa strains to keep pace with the fluid animal. “Who would live in

retreats.

such a place?” He calls after Ciapa as he follows the waving black wolf’s tail. Not until It is late in the day. Shawa hears movement in the bush behind. He sets his arrow in

the hound steps upon a huge flat rock black in color and heavily covered in moss does

anticipation that a great mountain lion stirs. His heart pounds with fear. Shawa senses the

Ciapa rest.

presence of another and he moves to refuge deep within a vine-covered grove of bush. He Here Shawa finds a small spring with cool clear water. The boy stretches flat upon the

watches the motions of shadows from within a leafy hutch.

boulder. It is cool despite the warmth of the day. The boy’s breath is heavy with Under the spread of the vine and between the spacing of its leaves, Shawa counts four

exhaustion. His sweat drips upon the black stone. Ciapa pants heavily as well. The dog

black paws moving about. The relief is immediate with the boy’s recognition of the

also seeks comfort from the cold stored within the boulder.

wolfhound. “My arrow wound have taken the great Ciapa.’ He shouts at the beast. ”Did 41

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The black rock is almost circular in form. A natural table laid amid the densest cover on

has ever before entered the canine’s mouth. The wolf’s tail wags in sheer delight. He

Bhe Ag Uait. In the center of the boulder’s surface is a depression just the size of a small

approaches Shawa and places his snout under the boys open hand to beg another serving.

campfire. Shawa’s attention is drawn here. His hand clears the debris and moss away to

“Only Shee Madga is permitted to touch the great Ciapa! Is this how grandmother won

reveal a site warn away by many past fires. “They were here! This is a camp ground of

your affection?” More lizard meat is offered to the grateful hound. “By your great

the ancient ones.” The boy announces to the wolf.

appetite you make a great friend…I shall tell of this to grandmother, and we shall see

As Shawa moves about the black rock he finds many small inscriptions worn by hands of

what she thinks of your loyalty.” Shawa laughs at the great dog.

those who rested here long ago. Each marking he finds is unique from the other. Each

The last minutes of day are passing when a great hawk appears above the boy. In its

inscription is about the size of a hand. “The ancient one’s left their names here in sign.”

talons is carried a long snake. On a bare limb atop a tall pine that overlooks Maha Usica

Shawa is sure. Although he cannot read the signs he senses a man laying upon the rock in presence of a campfire working away to leave his mark for others to find. “We shall

the hawk comes to rest. Shawa watches as the hawk sits looking out over the great lake. Crows from nearby nests take to the sky and caw to sound alarm at the large bird’s

make camp here Ciapa. In honor of the ancient ones we shall take food and give prayers of thanksgiving. We shall share the spirits of the ancient ones left on this rock. Tonight

presence. The ravens dive and dart about the large hawk to drive away the bird of prey. The great bird gives no attention to their antics but only sweeps his eyes over the far

we shall sleep with these ancient spirits. It is great doiga.”

horizon.

The boy is quick to begin his camp. Wood is gathered for a fire that will burn through the night. Shawa will share the stars with the ancient spirits and ask for their guidance during

The markings of the hawk are new to Shawa. He has never been so close to a bird that soars so high above the land. “This is the hawk in my vision.” He tells Ciapa.

his amah. By dusk Ciapa and Shawa dine. The boy consumes the last of the trout. The scent of the warm lizard meat is new to Ciapa. The wolf shows much interest in Shawa’s

After resting the hawk gathers the snake and takes fight out over the Maha Usica. Shawa is unsure of the meaning of the hawk’s presence. “It is a sign Ciapa…but I know not yet

eating.

what it means.” “You have not tasted the lizard?” The boy realizes the great wolf does not have the dioga to catch the lizard. “Shawa is the great hunter!” He informs the wolf. “You may share.” He throws the wolf a piece of lizard meat. The dog approaches the scrap cautiously with much sniffing. The new scent is cause for

*****

much attention by the wolf. The dog eats the first bit with much chewing. No such flavor 43

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“He has already passed under the eyes of the Huron and escaped their ax. The finding of the Huron pouch is great coup. The spirits that guide him have much work for Shawa.”

This night the village of the Locanomee is silent. No fires burn. No dogs bark. The long huts are bare. The signs of the tribe’s departure are recent and they show great haste. The

The father of the boy shakes his clenched fist to show the strength in his son’s amah.

tracks of the litters that carry those who cannot walk make straight from the camp in the

Bla Ean cuddles her little girl Buaf in her arms. Buaf sleeps in her moccasins. Ean pets

direction of the mountains. The trail of the Locanomee is split. Many paths are chosen.

the little girl’s head and holds her face sweetly. The child is disturbed by the panic in the village. Bla Ean wonders if the Huron would choose her daughter for a captive. Perhaps

Na Thar and the sons of Shee Magda are leading their family. Shee Magda walks with

they would spill her blood to appease their ancestors. The woman wonders if her own

ease despite her many years. She and her family make good distance from the village

knife should be used to keep her daughter from slavery.

before they must make camp. There will be no fires until they come to the other side of the mountain. Simple lean-to shelters are constructed among the pine trees. The daughters

Shee Madga lays still. Her heart is sick for Na Shawa who travels among the land

of Shee Magda will distribute dry corn bread and cold bits of dried meat. Long before

swarming with the Huron on the path of war. Madga wonders if the boy knows what sign

first light the members of the tribe will resume their march.

the pouch carried by Ciapa tells. Had she only told the boy of such things! She has much

Na Thar will not sleep, as most of the warriors will keep a sentry’s watch. They will not

confidence that the spirits of the ancestors killed by the Huron many years ago keep the boy safe. It is they who placed the pouch in Shawa’s path to be found. These spirits walk

permit ease of approach by any Huron. “What of the villages of our neighbors?” Asks

with them now on the trail to the place of the red goats. Madga believes the Huron will

one warrior of Na Thar. “Ga Urr has sent runners to our nearest neighbors, and they shall send runners to the next

not find the Locanomee this night.

and so on. The Huron may have struck already upon the Maha Usica. We shall have great

“What of Shawa?” Bla Ean whispers to Shee Madga.

doiga if they do not find us this night.” Na Thar answers.

Shee Madga makes sign with her hands of a spirit passing unseen among the world.

“If not for your son Shawa, daughters of Shee Madga may be slaves by the coming

The women fall to sleep content that all the children of the Locanomee are safe.

sunlight.” Says another. Na Thar’s chest swells with pride to hear the warriors speak with respect of his young son. “It is the strength of his amah. The spirits of the Locanomee favor him.” “How will the boy escape the Huron alone?” Asks a third.

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The lands along the Maha Usica are made of many foothills that lead to the great lake.

Chapter 2

The meadows are lush and large. Numerous valleys are fed with cool streams of water descending from nearby mountain peaks. Three tribes share one common hunting ground the Minga, the Gibbawee, and the Powhota. The Minga are as the Locanomee. They are Procho Lan

the children of the mother water and live near the shore of Maha Usica. Toinanaa is oldest daughter to a chief of the Minga. She is the first of the chief’s five daughters to reach womanhood. This is the last great hunt she will share in her village. Her hand is promised in marriage to the son of a chief of the Powhota. The Powhota are an extremely fierce band that live a far distance from the great lake. The lands far east of the hunting grounds are dry and nearly desert. The Powhota live by raiding along their borders. They are capable of striking great distances from their homeland. Even the Huron to their south have suffered from raiding Powhota warriors. The Minga and the Gibbawee have succeeded in keeping peace with the Powhota by intermarriage. The Gibbawee are closely related to the Minga and live higher up in the mountains. They are a domestic people raising goats and farming. This isolated small tribe shares the common hunting grounds mostly in winter. Toinanaa is beautiful. Her long black hair shines in a rich luster. Her olive skin is pure and unmarred. She is a tall and lean maiden. The hearts of many warriors are sick for want of her attention. Many spirits have been broken as she passes the young men of the

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tribe without her taking notice of them. Her face shows the warmth of a loving spirit that

“Your father is proud of your beauty and the good you shall bring to the people of our

touches all.

tribe.”

The land of the Minga is most beautiful. The mixture of rain, sunshine and climate in this

Her mother’s words confirm all hopelessness for the girl. Her dreams that a great warrior

portion of the hills about Maha Usica make the land a garden. Bounteous bushes trees

will arrive to save her are to no avail. She resigns herself to her fate. Besides, the

and shrubs that flower line the hills and valleys. The winds are sweet with fragrance in all

Powhota are an attractive people. She will be wife of the chief some day...perhaps her

but the cold days.

man will choose to live near Maha Usica especially if his children wish it so!

Toinanaa walks with her sisters and mother to collect acorns. The girl is sad to leave her home. “Mother, why must I marry and go to the dry land of the Powhota?” Her head hangs. The girl does not now wish to enjoy the beauty of the home that she must leave.

*****

“My daughter it is the custom of our people. Your marriage will keep the peace. The Powhota were raiders of our village. Now we walk in peace. We do not fear the tribes of our region. It is good.” The bull elk runs with one arrow in his massive shoulder. The hunting party of the Minga

“I must leave you and my sisters. I shall have no Minga woman with which to share a

follows at a distance. They chant to the spirit of the elk. They call him to fall down so

life. I shall be alone.” Tears are in the girl’s words.

that they may feed their families. “You shall have many children and many grandchildren. Our blood mingles with the The arrow belongs to Okamanaa father of Toinanaa. He is a great hunter of elk and deer.

Powhota. There you shall make friends with the maidens of our ancestors.” Her mother cannot make talk otherwise. She will miss her sweet Toinanaa. It is better that she goes as

Okamanaa has sent several other groups of warriors on hunts for bear, for wild boar, for moose. To each party he assigns those braves that are most gifted in the hunt for the

a valuable wife if she must leave at all.

special animal. Thus he hopes to have the best chance for success and to return the men “I’ll never see you again!” Bitterness is in her words.

quickly to their village.

“We shall meet at the time of the gathering.” In the spring the three tribes meet in a

The spirit of the elk is strong and it will travel for most of the day. The Minga will be

meadow in their hunting ground to give thanks for the passing of winter.

forced to camp for the night. In the morning they shall follow the blood trail and hope to

“Won’t father miss me?” The girl pleads for sympathy.

recover the elk 49

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The elk spirit has always been with Okamanaa. His hunts are always successful even as a

The hunters of the Minga dance the ancient way. The spirits of the hunting ground are

young warrior. Long ago during the time of the great cold season when many tribes on

asked for for their favor. They ask forgiveness in taking the lives of the animals during

the Maha Usica had much hunger, the elk would walk into the path of Okamanaa. The

the hunt and give honor to each felled by their arrows. The messages are read fromthe

Minga took much provision from his skills.

stars and the moon.

This night the Minga celebrate as the hunt is soon to an end. They carry flasks made from

“The moon travels high in the sky. She stands nearly over our heads.” Comments one of

goat bladders traded from the Gibbawee, which contain a fermented liquid made from

the older members of the party.

honey and corn. They shall give thanks to their ancestors and the spirits of the hunting

“What does it mean?” Okamanaa asks.

ground. Songs shall be sung, as is the custom for many generations of the Minga.

“When the moon stands high she lights all the land. Soon the moon turns to fullness. Our

Tomorrow upon a high hill Okamanaa shall have a fire burn with great smoke. All the

quarry shall then move further at night. It is good that the hunt ends.”

Minga shall hear of the end of the hunt. The elk spirit has spoken to Okamanaa.

“Each night the moon moves further across the horizon.” Okamanaa remarks.

“We have many days walk to our village. Our poles are full with venison. Let no one of

“The moon goddess gives aid to the hunted to see well into the night. Our hunt is good.

the Minga let loose another arrow against the spirits of the land.” The chief calls to an

There will be no hunger on the Maha Usica this winter.” The old warrior adds.

end the need for more life to be taken. “Such nights make it easy for the war party to find their enemies village.” A second “We saw signs of the Powhota. They hunt nearby. They shall see our smoke tomorrow.”

hunter remarks.

Advises one of the warriors. The party rises early, anxious to collect the elk and return to their village. The ground is “It is good! They shall see the Minga are great hunters.” Answers the chief.

wet with dew. The Minga return to scene were the elk was wounded. They follow its

“What if their poles are empty? And the spirits are not with them. They shall want our

trail. The large bull elk has made directly to higher ground where it hopes to escape its

meat.” Insists another.

pursuers.

“We shall share. The Powhota are our brothers. Their need is our need.” The chief

The way of the elk is to climb high and fast. For many hours the trail of the elk is

pauses. “Let them see we have no greed. Let them see our wealth is great and that it is

followed. Straight across the meadows and up the banks of ridges the beast has moved

good to have the Minga as brothers.”

through the night.

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The arrow the elk carries continues to weaken it. By midday the Minga find the path left

reed, bush and tree. The Minga know the bear will follow soon. It is the way of the bear

by the elk to be confused. It moves in a wide circle spiraling in ward.

to remain out of sight of its prey and to follow by its nose.

“The elk spirit is soon to be lifted.” Announces the lead scout. “The blood of the elk has

All eyes from the bush scan the horizon in the direction of the meadow. It is not long

given scent to the bear spirit.” He points out a large paw mark upon the ground.

before a large lumbering giant of a bear is seen. It stands sniffing the air on the rise. It spies the elk for the first time during its hunt. The bear freezes to wait for the elk to flee.

“What say you as to this bear?” Okamanaa asks of the scout. “The dying elk will circle now until he falls. As he grows weaker the trail will turn more

The bear continues to sniff. It is confused by the lack of movement by the elk. The bear steps cautiously forward then pauses. More sniffing and hesitant stepping bring the bear

quickly.” The scout illustrates the spiraling motion with his hand. “The bear spirit will

closer to its prey.

spiral after the elk. If the Minga move straight through the turnings the bear will arrive

The bear crouches into a low profile as it nears the elk. The nose and the sight by the bear

afterward.” The scout moves his hand in a straight line across the air before him.

are now intent upon the elk’s carcass. The slow gate of the bear quickens as it senses the

“We shall have the elk and set a trap for the bear.” Okamanaa commands.

elk cannot move. At the same time the entire Minga hunting party raise the shafts of their The hunting party takes to the run. Quickly they glide in a straight line across the elk’s

arrows in preparation for release. As the bear rises upon its haunches to seize hold of the

spiraling path. The youngest of the hunters and the fleetest take the lead. They compete to

elk many arrows fly.

have the first sighting of the elk. The killing of the bear by the Minga has been watched. In the distance lie several Over the rise of a lush meadow and just before entering a stand of trees the large elk has collapsed. He is dead. The native hunters make approach before the pursuing bear. The

warriors of the Powhota who have been following the bear. Bear is a great catch for the Powhota. They have watched the prize they have followed for days being taken from

bear spirit is not yet to be seen.

them. They are angry.

“Lift the body of the elk to hang from the first tree so the bear spirit will see it as he

Despite the many Minga in the hunting party the handful of Powhota approach the place

follows over the rise.” Okamanaa orders. “Take cover among the trees. Make no sound.

where the elk is being prepared.

The blood scent of the elk will hide us from the nose of the bear spirit. The hunger in the The Minga are startled by the presence of the Powhota hunters. They cease their labors

eyes of the bear will blind him. This day we shall carry elk and bear to our village.”

and instinctively take guard. As ordered the elk hangs in full view. From the top of the rise in the meadow the bear will see first the elk carcass. With arrows ready the Minga stand behind natural blinds of

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The languages of the Powhota and Minga are quite different. Hand signs are relied upon

The Powhota give great smile as they approach the large bear and shoot their arrows into

for communication.

his hide.

Okamanaa observes the disturbed appearance of his neighbors. Their few numbers

The Minga warriors immediately give chant to the bear spirit for the gift. The Powhota

surprise him. He makes eager sign of their welcome. They reply somberly. Okamanaa

dance about the bear as is their custom. It is also the custom of the Powhota to share with

knows of the pride of the Powhota. He senses the visitors are offended.

their brothers.

The Powhota signal the duration of their hunt for the bear that lies dead before the Minga.

Camp is made for the midday meal. Elk and bear meat is cooked with celebration.

They ask if the Minga had not seen the markings of their trail after the bear. They ask

Okamanaa is to learn that the Powhota discovered signs of moccasin of the Huron near

why the Minga have gathered their bear spirit.

the hunting ground. Most of the Powhota have given chase.

Okamanaa realizes that he has made a mistake. The Powhota are right to be angry. In their haste to end the hunt they have ignored the reason for the trail of others seen yesterday. “We have seen the trail of the Powhota.” Okamanaa says as he gives sign. ***** “We end our hunt with the elk.” Okamanaa points to the bear’s quest. “The bear we slew to protect our game.” The Powhota make no response. Those of the Minga village read the smoke on the horizon. The last preparations for the

The Minga are fixed upon their chief’s words.

hunter’s return and the bounty carried upon their poles begin immediately. Wooden racks Okamanaa is uncomfortable. He wonders where the rest of the Powhota’s hunting party is to found. The way of the Minga is clear. Minga law gives to the owner of the arrow the

for the working of hides are constructed. Pits are dug deep into the earthen mounds for cold storage. Much wood is gathered for the large fires needed for the coming

beast that it has caused to fall. By Minga law the bear belongs to the Minga. It is also

celebrations.

Minga law not to hunt the prey of another. The Minga maiden is superior among the local tribes for their artistry and music. No task “The bear is not yet dead!” Okamanaa announces by sign to all. “Let the Powhota hunters have the final kill.”

is performed with out many voices in song no matter how mundane. All objects of the Minga are highly decorated with sign of the spirits and magic.

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The homes of the Minga are made from hides covering a small rectangular lodge with

When the men are gone on the great hunt, there is much time for the women to make the

arched roof. Many such huts are gathered into a circle. Many circles of lodges surround

camp ready for the end to summer. The lodges are thoroughly cleaned inside. Baskets of

an open ground used for work and ceremony by the entire tribe.

hanging flowers and sweet smelling plants are hung about to make the interior fresh and pleasant. There is time for talk and sharing as only women can do. In the circle of

The Minga prefer their lodges to be nestled among the trees. Over the years the Minga have worked the land and nurtured the trees so the village lays in the shade and protection

dwellings to which Toinanaa’s family belongs the women join to work as one.

of great pines.

Ananii is mother to Toinanaa. She sits at the lake water’s edge with another woman of the tribe. The women wash clothes. Their small children gather flowers and chase

Toinanaa will work beside her aunts as a woman full grown. She must take a woman’s responsibility with the hunt’s end. Her four sisters will keep to the work of their mother. Toinanaa has developed great skill with working the animal’s hide. She has over the last

butterflies about nearby. Ananii is lovely, long and thin as is her daughter Toinanaa. Her companion is a short round woman with course features.

winter fashioned several shirts of deer hide stitched with bright colors and handsomely

“My son is soon returned from his first hunt.” The heavier woman’s remark is made with

decorated. One shirt will favor the spirit of the deer. Another will favor the great fishes of

great pride.

the Maha Usica. The eagle shirts are much in demand, as much skill is needed to bring

Ananii knows the boy is much like his mother with a long round torso and short thick

the spirit of the great bird onto the deer’s hide.

limbs. “Is he much skilled at the hunt?”

Toinanaa will trade the shirts in her village during the celebration of the great hunt.

“My son is not the hunter. He goes at his father’s request. My husband wishes to make

Goods needed for her new home such as bedding, pottery, tools are to be gathered. She

him a great hunter but the boy is too clumsy in the forest. He makes too much noise when

will not arrive among the Powhota as a beggar. The Minga are a proud people.

his feet strike the earth.” The woman shakes her head in disappointment. “My husband

The women of the tribe will decorate the lodge poles with many flowers to welcome the

will not hear that the boy cannot be made into the hunter.”

return of the men to camp. These long-poles some as high a ten feet stand at the entrance way to each home. They are carved with signs of good fortune and read of the family

“There are many who choose not to hunt! Some search for fish only. Some grow corn and crops for their family. My father preferred to keep goats than chase the swift deer.”

history. When the present pole is fully inscribed then a new pole is erected. Old poles that are worn or suffer decay are sacrificed upon a family member’s funeral pyre. These poles hold the good news of important happenings to each family.

Ananii adds. The women soak the cloths then rinse and beat them against rocks. This is repeated many times until the water from the rinse is clear. Those garments washed are laid upon flat

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stone to dry in the sun’s heat. When all are cleaned then the cloths will be taken back to

until the little one recovers and rejoins the others. The wash is then completed. The group

the village and drying completed upon racks.

prepares to return to the village.

“My son is to be a man of great contemplation. His mind is always awake. He asks many

“You eldest daughter marries soon?” The round lady asks.

questions for which his father and I have no answer.” The short woman knows the boy

“This spring at the gathering of the three tribes.”

shares the wise spirit of the owl.

“Is your daughter anxious to have her own lodge? Has she seen her man yet? Will he

“Such a one of knowing is rare. You must speak to the ones who keep the medicines.”

visit?” The opportunity for news swells the woman’s interest.

The round woman bobs her head in agreement. “I would ask you to speak to your

Ananii is sad for the loss of her first child but she must show strength as the wife of the

husband our chief for the boy. One of knowing in medicines always will have a place

chief. “The Powhota will visit our camp as they conclude their great hunt and before they

with our people.”

return to their dry land. Toinanaa and the man she is to marry shall meet. The

“Your son is a good son.” Ananii agrees. “I shall speak with my man and ask that the boy

arrangement of their marriage shall be concluded.”

be placed to learn among the healers. This I shall do before the leaves fall.”

“What of a dowry? How are the Powhota at giving for a wife?” The heavy one asks

The stout woman is exhilarated by her son’s prospect of becoming a medicine man. “The

eagerly.

boy is already a great tracker. He may see sign when many men of the tribe see none. His father says that he is to become the best among the Minga at following the trail.”

Ananii does not tell her companion that the Powhota come only to see Toinanaa. The setting of the dowry will be part of the coming business during the visit. Ananii knows

“This also I shall tell my husband. Such skill is a strong magic.” Ananii adds.

that the dowry will be set by the worth the Powhota find in her daughter. “My husband

A small round girl who approaches crying for her mother interrupts the women. She has

will speak as chief with the Powhota on this matter.”

stepped upon a bee. Ananii’s companion holds the little one that sobs bitterly from the

“Once the Powhota gave only the furs of the coyote for a Minga bride. It is said they have

throbbing pain. Ananii gathers mud from the lake to place upon the child’s foot. “This

little. They set great wealth with giving of peace.” The husky one adds.

will take out the poison from the bee.” Ananii announces to the child.

“Peace for all our sons and daughters is to be paid by the giving of Toinanaa in marriage.

Both women sing a soothing lullaby as they attend to the injured child. A piece of candy

It is good! We shall not lose our children by the arrow of the Powhota.”

made from boiled honey is given to the injured child. The mother caresses the baby girl

The reality of Ananii’s loss does not affect the woman. The coming marriage between tribes gives much gossip, as it is the custom for the arranged couple to be hosted among 59

60


the Minga. “The Powhota are handsome warriors. Their women dress very plainly. They

All is ready for the hunter’s return.

live among great heat in the warm summer.” The woman babbles. “What of your son? Is his heart warmed by the sight of a young maiden?” Ananii smiles as a young girl.

*****

“He knows the one whom he shall take as wife!” The rough one answers. “He waits till his place among the Minga is strong.” “Do you know this maiden?” Ananii asks with great curiosity. Rocky slopes above the tree line of the nearby mountains are home to the Gibbawee. “No! He will not speak her name.” The woman answers with irritation. “My son is

Their lodges are made from stone and earth to withstand the gales that blow when the

arrogant. His knowing exceeds that of his mother.”

man who brings winter passes south in the fall and returns north in the spring. This spirit

Ananii does not think this so great an achievement and buries her smile at the woman’s

is the strongest upon earth to the Gibbawee.

words. Ananii has always understood that the woman’s son has ways that are different

Most of their time is given to guarding the flocks of sheep and goats that roam the hills

from the others his age. His play with others as a small one was short in duration and not often. She can remember no special girl with whom the boy kept company. “When your son returns from the hunt and the celebration is ended, send him to my lodge. I shall

and feed on the sparse vegetation. There is not enough forage to bring the elk or deer so high. The bear or wolf does not venture this far up the mountain slopes to where the Gibbawee dwell. Only the coyote must fear the arrow of the Gibbawee warrior.

speak with him.” This Ananii orders as wife of the Minga chief. Forced unto a mountain retreat many years ago the Gibbawee must trade for grain and Ananii will watch the woman’s son and to whom he speaks during the festival of the

meat that are not to be found in their homeland. The Minga are fond of the hair of the

hunt. The boy must tell his tales of the hunt to the maiden of his choice. It cannot be

goats raised by the Gibbawee. Many times during the year trading parties are exchanged

otherwise.

between the Gibbawee and the Minga.

They young children return with their mothers from the lake. The little girls carry

Today a band of Gibbawee enters the land of the Minga. They hope to find good trade

bunches of flowers to be made into wreaths and hung for show upon the lodge poles. The small boys have gathered small stones of unusual color and shape. These are to be laid

with the bounty of the Minga’s hunt. They camp as guests near the Minga along the lake. Temporary shelters in the form of a lean-to from tree bows are quickly made. The

out in a line along the borders of their lodge. The work of children is held as good magic.

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Gibbawee men will take time to fish and court the handsome Minga maidens. 62


“Take two goats as presents to Ananii wife of the Minga’s chief and announce our

The boy becomes confident with his charge. He squints. “How do I meet Toinanaa?”

presence.” The Gibbawee chief informs his nephew, Capii.

Capii asks.

“Can I give them to Toinanaa?” The young boy asks with great anticipation of forming

“Her curiosity will call her to you.” The chief makes a smile of assurance. “Take the one

an acquaintance with the lovely princess.

white rabbit pelt. Carry it mounted upon a pole. When first you see the maiden’s eyes upon you, approach her directly as a man upon the hunt. Hold the pole out for her to see

The chief makes a smile. He understands the boy’s hope for romance. “Yes! It is wise.

the prize you offer. Her attention will not quit you.”

The chief’s daughter is certain to need to share responsibilities of her father. It is important for her to talk with the Gibbawee warrior on matters of commerce between our

The boy is encouraged at his quest. “That is our finest pelt!”

peoples.”

“It is the way of the Gibbawee!” The chief answers.

The young lad is hardly more than a boy. He blushes with the thought of acting as a man in the Minga village for the first time and having the respect of the maiden Toinanaa.

“What do I tell her when she takes the present?” The boy is now quite nervous. “You heart must speak for then only will her heart answer.” The chief places his hand

He looks at the herd of goats and then turns back to his uncle with confusion. “Which

upon the boy’s shoulder. “There is no other way.”

shall I take?”

“Will she like me?” The boy seeks to understand his worth.

The chief is patient with the boy. It is his first official duty for his tribe. “One male...one female...the finest! It is our custom.” The fingers of the boy’s uncle show the count of

“You have been a great treasure to the Gibbawee since your mother walked with you in her womb. You have made your parents proud as a boy. Now as Gibbawee warrior you

two for emphasis.

shall be esteemed by all on the Maha Usica.”

The boy nods with understanding. “Should I go alone?”

The boy’s back straightens his head rises above his shoulders. He knows all in the Minga

The chief nods affirmatively.

village will welcome his arrival. The princess shall take pleasure in his approach.

The boy remains pensive.

“I shall wear my ceremonial vest.” Strains of hair passed through long bones arrayed with

“Just walk into the village. Announce yourself and the coming of our gifts for the Minga

colored stones and fine feathers are placed to cover the boy’s chest. A head cover made

people.”

from one wing of a falcon sits over the boy’s brow. The Gibbawee are short and thin in stature, but great craftsman and comely in dress and appearance.

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Capii walks proudly from the Gibbawee’s temporary camp with pole in one hand and two

The Minga children move after the dogs to share in the greeting. Mothers follow to keep

tethered goats in the other.

watch.

After several steps onward by the lad, the chief calls. “Capii...the village of the Minga is

The sight of the traditional Gibbawee messenger creates a commotion. The children stare

there!” The chief points in the opposite direction from the boy’s motion. “Follow the path

from afar at the visitor and his strange manner of dress. The Minga gather in bunches

most worn along the lake. The song of the Minga women as they work will lead you.”

before Capii’s path. The goats bleep nervously as they enter the outer perimeter of the camp.

The time of Capii’s approach to the Minga village is consumed by thoughts of his appearance. He makes dreams of the beautiful Toinanaa. He wonders why his uncle

Capii’s mood changes from carefree boy to mighty warrior as he beholds the gaze of the

offers just a simple rabbit pelt to so valuable a maiden. What shall he say as he enters

waiting Minga. His pace slows. He raises the pole with the white fur aloft for all Minga

their camp?

eyes to behold.

The woods of the flatland are not a familiar place for Capii. The peaks of his home do not

All but a few Minga see the Gibbawee and recognize the reason for his presence.

fill the horizon. The cover of the forest does not permit him to navigate with ease. Each

“I am Capii of the Gibbawee.” He calls with his voice cracking between a man and a

step is an adventure as a turn in the path presents a changed image of tree and bush.

boy’s pitch.

The Gibbawee see the great lake on the whole. Its blue body lies reaching among the hills below their summit home. Now he sees the rolling waves and hears their gentle slap

He steps slowly as the Minga gather to view the detail of his from and his four legged companions. The Minga look at him not as boy but as Gibbawee warrior. The interest and

against the bank. The smell of the water is not like the rain or the mountain streams. The scent of the Maha Usica carries the scent of many fish.

excitement he brings to the Minga camp overpowers the boy. It is the first time Capii is seen as a man by all.

Very soon the smoke of the campfires rises in front of the boy. Sounds of camp life are

“The Gibbawee have come to the Maha Usica and the home of the Minga.” His words are

heard before the first lodge comes into view. The village dogs get wind of Capii’s two

now strong.

goats and race to the greeting.

The Minga’s gaze wonders from warrior to goat to the white pelt a top the pole. They yet

Alarm of the dogs’ call brings an end to the song and activities of the Minga. They wait

remain silent.

upon the canine’s conclusion as to who approaches. The bark of the dogs is soon to

“I come with presents from your brothers the Gibbawee.” The boy comes to a stop in the

change from caution to excitement at the arriving Gibbawee.

village’s midst.

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Immediately the entire Minga people commence to chant. In harsher tones and repeated

“Already the smoke of the hunt’s end has risen...” Her words end abruptly as the

phrase the ancient greeting of reunited brothers echoes through the camp. The Minga

Gibbawwee youth pays no attention.

gather about the visitor as they begin to prance.

Capii has only the one protocol in mind, which is to meet personally with Toinanaa. He

Ananii and Toinanaa step forward as official greeters in the chief’s absence. They watch as the boy stands proudly turning in a circle to face all of the Minga. The chanting

has no other sense. He lowers his lance and presents the white rabbit fur to Toinanaa. All eyes within the camp are fixed on the boy. Ananii’s eyes are wide in disbelief for the

continues undiminished by its repetition.

young Gibbawee’s bravery. There is no more talk. The white rabbit is not to be seen on

Capii turns slowly. His eyes avoid those of his hosts. He measures the forms before him.

the Maha Usica. It is a rare and esteemed gift.

Old men, very young boys and women are all that are to be found in the village. He does

Toinanaa as well as all the Minga maidens have watched the procession of the white fur

not recall how attractive a people the Minga are to be found. He shows the goats before

on the Gibbawee’s lance.

him as he turns so all Minga may see the fine gifts from his people. He soon has sight of Toinanaa and her companion. His eyes do not leave her as the two women step before

Ananii realizes that she has been abandoned. “Let the warrior Capii, assume a place among the Minga.” With theses words the formal welcome is complete and the Minga

him.

return to their labors and song. The Gibbawee’s messenger will have the freedom of the

“Welcome!” Ananii says warmly. All ears of he village come to her attention “Our

camp until sunset when the warrior must presently quite their company and return to his

brothers the Gibbawee are always welcomed among the nation of the Minga.”

uncle’s camp.

Awkwardly the boy shoves the two goats before Ananii while he smiles at the beautiful

Toinanaa stares at the white rabbit pelt. She wishes to touch it. Her mind races with

princess.

notions of how such an object is best to be used in her wardrobe.

This unceremonious act by the youth thrills Ananii. She is spared the long formality of

Capii holds his lance so as to have the best view of the maiden’s pure and gorgeous face.

the greeting. She must how ever make words of thanks for her people. “The Gibbawee

Her eyes sparkle. Her teeth are white in color. Her are lips full and wide. The skin of her

are a generous brother.” She says loudly for all to hear. “These gifts are valued by the

complexion has a hue and freshness like no other the boy has ever seen.

Minga. Our brothers the Gibbawee are welcomed.” It is understood that men of another

Ananii observes this moment. Her heart is filled with the beauty of her daughter and the

tribe may not freely enter the village when the women are alone. It is bad magic.

worth the Gibbawee warrior finds in Toinanaa.

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“You must have refreshment.” Ananii breaks the impasse. “Toinanaa, bring cool water

This knowing of the Gibbawee’s home fascinates Toinanaa. “Is your home beautiful?”

and serve Capii some biscuits and honey”.

“We Gibbawee live with the spirits of the sky. We are first to take the morning sun and

“It is for you.” Capii shakes the fur at the end of his lance at the maiden.

last to enter the darkness of the night.”

Toinanaa is uncomfortable with the boy’s rough way but she very much desires the pelt

She did not know that the sun spirit favors the Gibbawee so. “Is your home hot and dry?”

of white fur and grabs immediately for it with both hands. Her joy is boundless at the

She asks hopefully that it not be so.

touch of the fur and having it in her possession. “Do you have many such treasures in you home land?”

“There is never the burden of tortuous heat. The air is not heavy. It is light and cool all year. The god of snow lives all year at the very summit and sends clear water for the Gibbawee to keep our herds.”

Capii is thrilled by her voice and her words meant just for him. He does not answer. He wants to fix this moment deep into his heart.

“Are you a chief?” The girl asks coyly.

Toinanaa loosens the pelt and rubs it against her face.” It is so fine! There is no fur such as this in our land...Do you have more?”

“My mother is sister to our chief. He has only daughters. I shall be chief one day.” Capii asserts.

Again Capii may not speak for fear to lose her presence near him.

“Your women have many such white furs?” Toinanaa’s interest in the Gibbawee and the

“Are you shy?” The bewildered Toinanaa asks. “Come sit by our lodge I shall fetch your refreshment.”

young warrior increases. “Yes! Our women wear head bands and collars of white fur in the winter.”

“No, do not leave!” The boy has never felt more awkward. “You are enough! Your

“How lovely!” Toinanaa sees a white fur collar on her winter dress worn with a black

presence I mean is my refreshment.” He blushes.

squirrel cap. She could never dress like this among the Powhota. “Are you promised in

“You wish to talk.” The girl makes a smile for this is an easy task. “Tell me of the white

marriage?” The princess asks abruptly.

rabbit of you home.”

The boy is stunned by her interest. He cannot speak as his heart races with hope for

This topic is easy for the boy who recovers his embarrassment quickly. “The rabbits upon the summits take new white fur from the man who brings winter. When the man who

having this maiden as his woman. “I am soon to be promised to a Powhota brave.” Her head falls. “I do not wish it.”

brings winter returns in the spring he restores the ordinary brown fur.”

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Capii is bright of wit, and sees his one chance. “I will ask for your hand in marriage.” He

Bae Bae is the son of the chief of the Powhota. He leads a hunting party for the first time.

pauses as the maiden stares deep into his eyes to read his spirit. “It is my right as prince

It is a sign that Bae Bae is soon to become the next chief of his people. He wishes to visit

of my people.”

the village of the Minga and view the woman he is intended to marry.

“Do you not fear the anger of the Powhota?” Toinanaa asks in disbelief of the boy’s

The Minga maidens are held to be self sufficient, obedient and non-quarrelsome. These

courage.

virtues are much prized by the Powhota. He is anxious to see this maiden as the Minga

Finally, Capii knows that he is man over this wondrous maiden of the Minga. “He smiles

are also known for their great beauty. The Powhota have much desire for the Minga women.

as if he has conquered. “The chief of the Powhota’s wife is sister to my mother. His son shares the same blood as Capii. The Powhota are forbidden to shed blood so shared.”

Bae Bae carries a gift of moccasins made from desert snakeskin for his intended bride.

Toinanaa knows that as first daughter to the chief of the Minga she will leave as wife to

This present is one given with the highest esteem by the Powhota. It is very strong doiga

one or the other neighboring tribes. She sees the boy face as gentle and his eyes show that

for the one who wears such treasure. The Powhota have no large mammals to hunt near their village. The bear, the elk and the

his heart is true. Worry leaves her. She has chosen.

moose are favorite game for them. The threat of winter storms on the hunting grounds is

The boy reads her thoughts. It is too simple he thinks to win such a maiden by his birth. “Shall I have my uncle ask for your hand?” He has no hesitation but his voice tells that he

the only determent to the Powhota presence there.

is nervous.

Bae Bae wishes to take several large bears home to prove his courage as a hunter. The

“Make it be so!” Toinanaa answers as she bows her head in the manner of the Minga wife

Powhota prefer to hunt the higher terrain of the hunting grounds. Bae Bae’s has been on several raiding parties to the land of the Huron. He has recognized

to her husband.

the sign of Huron scouts. The opportunity to take home gifts from the bear spirit and collect bounty from slain Huron is too temping for the young prince. Bae Bae has split his party; one to follow bear’s sign and the majority of the others he

*****

will lead to kill the Huron trespassers. It must be so! For a day already the party led by Bae Bae has followed the trail left by the Huron. Many times they have lost and recovered the pathway of the Huron trespassers.

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“Why do the Huron move so fast?” Bae Bae asks his lead scout.

“If we follow their trail we shall arrive at the place the Huron gather the day after they shall have departed. These Huron dogs are clever.” Bae Bae concludes. “Can we reach

“They carry no game. They move with much purpose.” Answers a tracker of the

the camp of the Minga by sun’s rise tomorrow?”

Powhota. “What reason brings the Huron to our hunting ground? How many are they?” The prince

“Only if we travel swiftly through the night.” The lead tracker surmises. “And only if the moon goddess does not hide behind the clouds.”

inquires. “If they do not hunt then the Huron come only in war. The Huron are many.” The tracker

“What of the Minga warriors?” Asks a second scout. “It is too late! If they have not moved this day into their camp they can not arrive in time

points through the pass ahead among the foothills.

to save their families.” Bae Bae is certain of his words. “Come we go to help our

“What place lies over these hills?” Bae Bae points to direct his scouts understanding.

brothers.”

“This way leads to the great lake.”

The party of the Powhota run toward the Minga village at full pace.

“Is this the way to the Minga village?” Bae Bae is confused. “No! The way to the Minga is there.” The scout moves his pointed arm 30 degrees to the right on the horizon.

*****

“Where is the way to the white river that flows down into the land of the Huron?” The scout points 30 degrees to the left of the pass. Bae Bae is not gifted at tracking. He is not gifted at navigation. He is not gifted at the hunt. Bae Bae is supreme as military mind and leader in war. “This trail is the flank of a

The largest island in Maha Usica sits the greatest distance from any shore. It is a pine-

larger Huron party moving up the white river. They pass here to lead us away from the

covered hilltop with rocky shores and little flat land. Earthen mounds and rugged gorges

place where the Huron war party gathers.” He tells his scouts.

constitute much of the terrain. It is a haven for birds of all sorts. Waterfowl and fish eagle alike come here to hatch their eggs.

The Powhota followers listen to the prince’s words.

As long as the Locanomee has known this place no mammals have lived here year round.

“How old is the Huron trail?” Bae Bae asks.

Otters pass through on their migrations about the great lake. The occasional adventurous

“One day only!” 73

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raccoon will inspect the island. Rare is the sign of deer, elk or moose. But always the

In the woods and valleys of the flatland below where the Huron nation rules a severe

Locanomee is to find the spirit of the bear. These large predators are here year round.

plague has taken the lives of many children. The number of young girls soon to become

Some say it is the home of the great bear spirit. Some say that the bear come here to die.

wives and mothers of the next generation of Huron has been devastated. The Huron fear the loss of sons to come will reduce the number of warriors in the future needed to defend

Others say that the springs on Procho Lan contain health for the bear. Whatever the reason the bears come for a time but none stay for long. The large beasts swim the waters

their tribe.

that approach Procho Lan regularly.

“The tribes on this lake make ready for the cold season. Their men hunt and their women

In times of great sickness the Locanomee warriors will gather water from Procho Lan for

keep watch on the old.” Betochomagwa swipes his extended arm in a wide circumference. “We shall act like the long black snake. In quiet we shall coil about the

drinking in the village. Hunting on Procho Lan brings bad doiga. The village elders forbid it. Many Locanomee warriors will come here to seek the great bear spirit in time of

weak ones so they may not make escape.” Betochomagwa voice is strong. “As the black snake climbs the tree after the squirrel’s young so shall the Huron climb the hills about

amah. Procho Lan is a sacred place on their sacred lake.

the lake.” Betochomagwa’s hand makes the sign of a slithering snake. “As the black

This night as Shawa watches the sacred island from afar. Many Huron make camp on Procho Lan. The entire bank of the island is rimmed with canoes pulled ashore and turned on their sides. Warriors crowd the banks of Procho Lan. Campfires burn brightly with the

snake moves silently among the brush to take the young from the rabbit’s lair so shall the Huron pass unheard around the villages.” “This night we shall move toward the moon and follow her light upon the water’s

cooking of bear meat. The Huron will use their canoes for shelter. They have been

surface. The village who’s fires are bright shall we attack at first light from the sun. Their

gathering for several days.

blood shall run to appease the spirits of our dead children.”

A dozen or so of the senior members of the Huron tribe surround the largest fire on the widest shore holding the greatest number of warriors. In the center stands a fierce looking

“Where shall we take our captives?” One warrior asks.

man. His face has no soft lines and his voice no compassion. His dress and appearance

“We shall follow the same path given by the moon to this island. Our captives shall

mark him as a war chief. Betochomagwa speaks to the assembly.

remain here until our canoes swell with the breasts of young maidens for our lodges.”

“Our warriors are gathered. This is last night we sleep without the blood of our enemies

Betochomagwa answers.

upon our knives.” The men aside the fires mutter in agreement. “The great pestilence that

“How many shall guard the captives?” Asks another.

has killed our people forces us to strike before our enemies discover our weakness.”

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“We stay on the island for the time of the sun. None shall follow us here. The Huron are

During shijwa the freed spirit may visit one’s ancestors unimpeded by death. Needs of

invincible here. At night only enough warriors to slay the bear need stay. No tribe shall

one’s spirit are allowed to be expressed unmasked from those of the person’s earthly

cross the water after us by night.” Betochomagwa turns his nose up in disgust at his

form. Thoughts and prayers expressed during a time of shijwa have a power otherwise

enemies.

unobtainable.

“How many days do we pass on this island before we return to the land of the Huron?”

Toinanaa’s practice of shijwa calls her to sit each morning and each evening facing the direction of the sun. This morn she sits to face east and waits upon the sun’s rise. Her

Asks yet a third.

spirit calls to the wind. "Hear me! I am daughter of the Minga from the Maha Usica. Let

“Our ancestors call for one hundred young maidens.” Betochomagwa holds his hands

my thoughts reach the spirits from across the great Blue Mountains that separate us. My

outward with his fingers spread. “Ten large villages must we sack.”

heart wishes to join their hearts...my mind wishes to join their minds. It is good! The winds bring memory of the maidens who are now gone from the huts of their parents for more than 12 moons. Let me go to the dry land as a strong good wife if there I must go. Much goodness have I taken from your forest. You provide much magic for the lodges of

*****

your people. My heart will always be filled with your gifts. I ask always to be judged by what is found in my heart. I have spoken." By the time Toinanaa has gone to make shijwa, the Huron army has made its way around The Minga make practice shijwa. Each member of the tribe develops an individual form of this meditation. It is believed to produce good health and a long life. Shijwa is done

and behind the village of the Minga. Betochomagwa waits upon the first light before he will order the Huron’s attack.

privately to lift the one’s spirit from the confines and the limitations of the body. The Powhota have raced through the night and have closed behind the Minga village. The A person finds a quiet time and place to sit still. The thoughts of the mind are allowed to

lead scouts of the Powhota have discovered the Huron formation.

ramble freely as the focus is made on single source of light. Slow heavy breathing draws this light to all parts of the body. Several minutes are required for one troubled before the

“The Huron are gathered just before us. Their numbers are mighty.” Reports the Powhota’s scout.

body may come to stillness and the spirit is loosed.

“They await light to begin their attack.” Answers Bae Bae.

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“We are without rest and outnumbered! How can we help our brothers?” The Powhota

into the first huts. Old men are immediately killed. Children are dragged from their beds

ask.

screaming as their mothers are mortally wounded. Toinanaa stares in disbelief at the

The Huron warriors come to the ready. Betochomagwa’s spirit is restless and hungers for war. He makes sign with his hands. “Let no lodge remain standing. Let no Huron’s knife

horror unfolding. Her mother and sisters must be saved. The maiden is swift afoot and runs ahead to face the Huron advance to her mother’s lodge.

come away without finding the blood of the Huron’s enemy.” He signals his army to step

The mass of the Huron pours into the village. As they emerge past the first huts a shower

to the very edge of the Minga’s village.

of arrows strike the lead elements of the Huron from behind. Unseen the arrows fall into the back of the heads and necks of the Huron. Bae Bae’s phalanx follows delivering

The watching Powhota are much angered at the Huron presence and the fate of the

arrows into the backs in the Huron’s at the attack’s center.

sleeping Minga. “What shall we do?” They ask their leader.

The Huron dead fall in clumps in the midst of the village driving the advancing invaders

Bae Bae’s time for thought is gone. He knows that Huron cannot be stopped. “We shall

to either side of the camp. The Powhota have split the Huron formation. The center of the

ruin the way of the Huron. Many Huron will die this day!” Bae Bae organizes the

Minga village is freed of Huron warriors. Bae Bae emerges following the Huron.

Powhota into two bands of archers. Those with the strongest bows mount high into the

Powhota arrows now find targets to either side of the village.

trees that overlook the center of the Minga village. The rest form a phalanx to close

The Huron seem to be unaware of the Powhota’s presence. Their attention is upon the

behind the center of the Huron formation. The first rays of the new sun find the spirit of the waiting Toinanaa. Eyes closed her face

sleeping lodges of the Minga. One after the other Minga homes are destroyed with the Minga occupants slaughtered. Huron knives are dipped in pools of running blood to be

warms with new light. Toinanaa heart warms.

splattered upon one another in celebration. So swift are the Huron that the village is

At the same instant Betochomagwa signals the start of the attack. Hundreds of Huron warriors rise screaming. Their roar shatters the stillness about the Minga village. Walls of

devastated on the outer perimeters before the Minga awake. Ananii and her daughters are of the few to escape their lodge. Her small children are

the huts shake form the sound of the Huron cries. The ground under the huts vibrates

hurried into a mound dug for storage of goods from the hunt. Ananii and Toinanaa stand

from the thundering feet as the Huron pour out of the tree line. Toinanaa is startled from her trance. She turns to see men running into the village. This is not the way of the return of the village hunters. These are not Minga that appear from the

guard defiantly as the Huron over run them. Toinanaa is dragged away captive. Ananii lays wounded from the Huron knives. Only the arrows of the Powhota save her from the Huron attackers.

woods. They wear paint on their faces and body. Toinanaa watches as the invaders rip

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As swift as the rush of a strong wind the Huron are gone from the Minga village. Their

Betochomagwa counts the number of captives. He seizes a young frail boy by the hair

canoes run out upon the Maha Usica. Behind them the village is destroyed but for it’s

and throws him to the ground. “Do our warriors not know the difference between a young

center. Lodges are burning, dead are being counted, wounded are being treated. The

maiden and a weakling boy?” He is displeased.

Powhota chase the Huron stragglers.

“The tall one is a princess.” Calls a Huron brave. “She will make a good wife for the

The distance to bear island for the Huron takes several hours. The fleet of canoes painted for war does not reach safe harbor until mid morning. Many canoes carry fewer Huron, as their riders lay dead in the village of the Minga.

great Betochomagwa.” Boasts another in an attempt to please their leader. Toinanaa stands in shock before the great war chief, Betochomagwa. Her thoughts are clouded by the struggle in her village. The stench of the Huron warriors offends her. The

The Huron need rest. They will leave late tonight to raid another village Betochomagwa

smell of blood and sweat from the morning’s battle overpowers her senses. Her body is

orders the captives to remain bound as the Huron camp slumbers through the remainder

numb from the physical abuse by her captors. Her spirit is with her mother who now

of the day.

struggles for life.

The captives are in shock. They too shall rest for the day.

A Huron brave grabs the maiden by the hair and forces her to face the fierce

The Minga hunters do not see the fires in their village. There is no urgency in their return.

Betochomagwa. The warrior studies her eyes and has her limbs exposed to show her beauty and strength. He is much pleased. “Take her now for your woman.” Another chief calls to Betochomagwa. “She will please any man by giving strong sons.”

***** Betochomagwa does not answer but continues to his inspection. He stops before a small Minga maiden. “This one carries the child of the Minga.” He announces as he turns to face his council. Early evening the Huron on Procho Lan gather. Many warriors have died this day in the

Betochomagwa holds up five fingers to indicate the number of suitable captives collected

village of the Minga. The captives are being treated poorly. Orders are harsh and given

this day. “The boy and the pregnant one are to be left behind for the bear...How many

with the strike of the hand. Toinanaa and the others are dragged and shoved before

Huron braves died this day?”

Betochomagwa for inspection.

“Fifty!”

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Betochomagwa face shows expression for the first time. He is shocked by the large loss.

“It is decided!” Betochomagwa declares to his council. Tonight we shall raid another village. If we do not take at least twenty suitable captives then our warpath must end. Let

“Powhota arrows followed us into the village.” An advisor continues. “Our presence on

each warrior scar his legs in revenge for the death of our brothers.”

the great lake was not a surprise to all.”

With this command the Huron take knives one to another and make long ways cuts down

“Perhaps we should return to our lands?” Asks another nervously.

the sides of the lower leg above the ankle. Their attack will be filled with anger for they

Betochomagwa does not reply. He continues to stand rigidly without expression.

have already shed their blood to favor the spirits of war. “Our force can not afford to be weakened so again. The spirits do not favor us.” States a third. “The spirits must speak!” Declares Betochomagwa as he holds out his two arms. ”Take *****

fifty pieces of my flesh as offerings to the spirits.” Two members of the council step forward. With knives they slice small sections of skin from each Betochomagwa’s fore arms. Starting above the wrist and moving up along each of Betochomagwa’s arms cuts are made to remove small strips of his skin. As the

The Minga captives are taken away and forced into gathering wood for the evening’s

blood flows freely, Betochomagwa gives no sign of pain. His eyes are closed and his

fires. Into the culverts and ravines the Minga go to collect dried wood. Toinanaa and the

head is raised toward the sky in prayer. His sacrifice is meant to gain the favor of the

pregnant Minga maiden assist the others in their task.

spirits to guide the Huron in war. Frozen in his trance the blood drips to the ground

Toinanaa has never seen such cruelty. She knows that she will not permit herself to

creating two small puddles. The attending Huron watch as blood clots upon the cuts of

become a woman of a Huron warrior. Death is preferred. She has no fear of these men.

their leader. They wait as he searches for a course of action.

Her heart is filled with hatred for them.

Betochomagwa stands still but his mind wonders. Incoherent visions run through his

“You must take the chance to escape.” The pregnant one whispers. “Tonight take a canoe

dreams. He grows weak from the loss of his blood. He sees a vision of a black snake

when the men sleep. Return to our village.”

devouring twenty young rabbits. “Will you come with me?” Toinanaa asks.

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“I can not swim. I shall take the boy and hide in the hills until you return with our

Na Shawa has risen early this day. He has spent much time in studying the signs about

warriors. These Huron will return to their home soon.” The expectant mother continues.

the black rock left by the early ones from a time long before the Locanomee came to Maha Usica. Ciapa is long gone from his company. The new warrior of the Locanomee

“What of the others?” “If you are swift and return at night they might be saved.” The young mother is hopeful.

has copied images from the black rock onto his body with paint. These he hopes will compel the spirits of the ancient ones to assist him during his amah.

“Can you manage a canoe?”

The remainder of the day will be used in the final climb to the summit. Na Shawa will not

“I have never been so far upon the Maha Usica. I have never taken a canoe through the

eat or drink once atop Bhe Ag Uait.

night...I shall make it home!” Toinanaa is determined.

In late afternoon the boy sits on the peak of the great mountain. Upon a flat rock

“If you fail to find our village then make way to the nearest tribe and tell them of the

transported there long ago he sits. Strong breezes swirl continuously about the mount’s

Huron on the island of the bears. It is our only chance.” The voice of the expectant one

summit making Na Shawa’s hair dance lively about.

quivers with fear.

Out over the hills and meadows onto the blue water and the distance islands of the Maha

“Our ancestors will guide me. You child shall be born in our village. This I promise!”

Usica, Na Shawa gazes as only the eagle may. The thermal drafts from late day bring scents of nature from afar. Pine from the ridges of the hills and honey suckle from the meadows alternately present their fragrance to the peak of Bhe Ag Uait. *****

Motionless and serene sits the boy with all his senses exhilarated. Here atop Bhe Ag Uait, the Locanomee believe earthly spirits may pass to visit into the sky upon the great up ward drafts of wind. Here these nomadic deities may grant special favor. At sun set, the sky and water of Maha Usica turn to saffron color. The spirit of Na Shawa

Late last night, Shawa heated the two pine boughs to collect sap. One puddle he mixed

has long been lifted by the doiga on Bhe Ag Uait. With the last light of day the boy is

with black soot from the fire’s ash a second mixed with his own red blood. A flat stone the length of his forearm he has gathered and upon it painted the image from his vision of the black hawk. This he will place at the base of the hawk’s roost as stepping stone. The

filled with the sense of his eternal self. Never before has his spirit been so loosed. The joy of eternal life overcomes him. He no longer is boy or man. He sits at this moment full

way of his people and the reverence sacred place will be not be violated.

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filled. He senses the power to walk among the clouds. Na Shawa’s spirit is among his

*****

ancestors. The screech of a great bird recalls him to earth. The great black hawk of his vision circles Bhe Ag Uait. So close is the hawk that if Na Shawa’s arm was raised he could grasp the talons of the bird.

Darkness falls upon the island of the bears with the Huron anxious for war. Betochomagwa orders all but a few into the canoes. The moon has shifted westward in

The eyes of the bird are fixed upon Na Shawa. The agitated cries of the bird are meant for Na Shawa’s ears. The boy ‘s raised head does not falter in following the motion of the

the sky. The mass of Huron warriors moves quietly out onto the great water. The camp is deserted but for the Minga captives and a pair of Huron sentries. Toinanaa

hawk from his vision. “I, Na Shawa am here! It is you that my vision says I must follow.” The boy shouts to the great bird above the howling wind.

lies still among the captives who sleep restlessly though bruised and fatigued. As soon as the guards are inattentive she will take a canoe and make out onto Maha Usica.

The hawk turns toward Na Shawa with talons spread. It hovers just above as if ready to

It is not long after the party of Betochomagwa has departed that a storm moves rapidly

grasp the boy and fly off.

across the lake. Strong gusts of wind and heavy down pour of rain send the Huron

“Lead me! The ancestors of the Locanomee wait. I shall follow!”

sentries into cover. In the midst of this torrent, Toinanaa is quick to the shore. Easily she

The bird responds to Na Shawa’s words by spiraling up into the wind and making off in

manages a canoe out upon the lake unseen. The Minga princess paddles in a direction away from that taken by Betochomagwa’s war party. She intends to circle about and

the direction of the last light across the great lake.

approach her village along an arch so that she may not encounter any Huron’s canoe.

Na Shawa knows that he must follow the bird by walking around the lake to the

The wind has raised the surface of the lake into swells that strain the progress of her

farthermost side. The boy sits as the night covers the lake. Here he will remain till morning when the amah

canoe. The black clouds hide the night sky from use in navigation. The rains persist for long enough to cover her escape. By the time of the storm’s passing Toinanaa has lost all

truly begins. He makes to sleep when the night is darkest. Light from the campfires on

bearing. She can no longer see the image of Procho Lan on the horizon after her. She can

Procho Lan reach his eyes just as he slips into his dreams.

only see the surface of the water. There is no image of land on any horizon. She may only set a bearing in one direction from the sky’s firmament and trust to the spirits of the sky to guide her.

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Chapter 3

Iola Nea

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Most visitors to Iola Nea make passage by canoe. This was not in his dream. He must feel In the midst of the night a deluge of rain passed across Bhe Ag Uait forcing Na Shawa to

the new land and encounter the new spirits. Is this not the way of amah?

take emergency shelter in a narrow crevasse. The latent moisture from the storm shrouds

The mist is quickly rising. The full sun will soon warm the land. Shawa waits no more.

the summit in a dense morning mist.

His amah begins as he heads to slope that leads into the land of Iola Nea.

Na Shawa clothes are partially wet. He sits uncomfortably as he awaits the sun’s warmth to clear the vapors from the land and to warm his blood. He is anxious to begin his amah. He is anxious to be released from Bhe Ag Uait.

*****

Thoughts of his village, his family, and Shee Madga comfort him. He wonders if his grandmother’s vision tells her of his amah. He would not be surprised to hear that the path of his amah had been foretold to her in a vision some years ago. Toinanaa’s canoe is partially filled with water from the heavy rain. Its movement upon

He grows hungry.

the water is slow. As the sun rises the princess is overcome with fatigue, injury and pain. Shawa shall make his way down the mountain into Iola Nea. The other side of the

She has not slept for one day. Heaviness of sleep eases her mind. The canoe’s motion is

summit marks the boundary of the land belonging to another tribe. The slopes of Bhe Ag

by action of the waves upon the lake against its haul.

Uait in this direction are quite steep. Jagged rocks and thorny brush cover the slopes. The Her hands are seized upon the gunnels. Through her weary eyes she scans the horizon for

paths are narrow and require much climbing down.

sight of the Huron, bear island, or some familiar landmark of home. None is to be seen. He grows thirsty.

She is dirty. Her hair is knotted. She does not feel the pleasure of being a woman. Her

This way is to be a new way to the boy. Only the words of his father shall guide him.

head is too heavy to hold upright. Care is abandoned. She lays back in the canoe

Shawa wonders if the great Ciapa has ever made this passage. He wonders if the spirits of

unconscious. Her journey is now in the fate of the spirits.

Iola Nea will welcome him. Shawa will hunt as soon as he clears the rough terrain of the mountain’s slope. Perhaps he should kill a goat and have a great feast to celebrate the beginning of his amah. He *****

questions if Ciapa has ever hunted this part of Bhe Ag Uait.

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Fear of return by the Huron, the need for proper burial of their dead, as well as the task of preserving the bounty from the hunt press the abilities of Minga and the Powhota. The Huron have taken revenge on a village of the Maha Usica this night.

Few are spared to keep the watch on the water of the great lake and the pathways that

Betochomagwa’s plans were executed without obstruction. Not a single hut remains

lead to the village through the woods. The tribal healers tend the sick. Most warriors are busy preserving the game collected in the recent hunt. Most women take to preparing the

standing. So fierce were the Huron that over half the sleeping villagers were slain. No

Minga dead for burial. The time to remake the lodges secure for winter must wait.

Huron blade is free from blood this day.

There is much labor for the Minga. There is much grief for the Minga. There is much fire

Twenty-seven captive maidens are presently being taken to bear island.

in the hearts of the Minga warriors to see the Huron in battle.

***** *****

After the Huron attack on the village of the Locanomee, the Powhota immediately and The Locanomee have made a safe camp far from their home village. Their runners shall

ceremoniously mutilated the bodies of the enemy’s dead. The heads and hands of the

not reach their neighbors with warning for yet another day.

Huron corpses were severed so they should have no way to see, or hear, or speak in the

Shee Madga has taken new life. She helps as a young woman in making living quarters

next life, nor hands with which to feed themselves.

for her family and people among the stones that is home to the red mountain goat.

This day the Minga hunters return to their village to find the Powhota nursing the wounded, and rebuilding the damaged lodges. The arrival of fresh meat will help to

Cisterns are being dug for the storage of water in the event of siege. Fuel for cooking

restore the health of those wounded in the attack.

must be collected and stored as well. Many arrows must be made ready for conflict.

Okamanha finds his wife near death and his eldest daughter missing. His heart is torn as

Small children must be instructed in the way of living in their new dwellings.

one pierced by a blade. His duty as chief calls him to tend all the families of the tribe.

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Fortifications must not be left for want as no chance can be left to an unexpected arrival

The rocky out crops on the face of the many cliffs and the huge trees that cover the land

of the Huron.

give much sanctuary to the eagles raising their young. The great winds give speed and distance to the birds as they prey about the whole of Maha Usica.

The life of each Locanomee is pledged to the survival of all their people.

Much of the religion of the Iola Nea is centered on the eagle spirits. Much of the life of the Iola Nea is as the eagle in high remoteness and self-sufficiency. All the Iola Nea desires the spirit of the eagle. ***** Nestled among the large cracks and fissures that abound in this region is a rocky ravine called by the local natives, Sea Toba. Several close caves set about a slight peaceful stream fed from seven small springs. Two dozen or more natives of the Sea Toba dwell The people dwell in Iola Nea in small gatherings. No large villages are to be found.

here.

Rather then great assemblies, the news is passed by the beat of long drums, rising smoke,

The Iola Nea are a serene people. They live without fear. Their laws and religion are as

or flashes of light sent across the cliffs of the rugged land.

those of nature and particularly the nature of the eagle. They dress simply but adorn

Boulders are piled from the slopes of Bhe Ag Uait all the way to the lakeshore. Only the

themselves with eagle feathers both long and soft. The openings to their dwellings are

most rugged of elk, mule dear and bear stride this land. The rivers and streams flow as

adorned with signs of the eagle’s life. Decorations made from the bones and feathers of

rolling torrents of white water. Only the strongest trout thrive in the cascading cool

the eagle are found on poles, shields, lances, bows and all persons of the Iola Nea.

waters.

The men form guilds dedicated to one or other eagle spirit. Each guild has established

Any place suitable for a small camp is or has been home to one band or other of the

private ceremony and regulation of conduct for its membership. The ceremonial dress for

migrating natives of this region. Indeed, it is the unsuitably of the land for village life and

a guild member consists of a long headband of eagle feathers trimmed and styled as a

the ruggedness of the wilderness that keeps the peace. Sustained large-scale aggression is

record of his achievements in the tribe and in his particular society. The women also

impossible.

gather in guilds that share common interest such as craft making. A guild often maintains

The Locanomee give the name to this land and it’s people as Iola Nea. This name comes

a dedicated lodge that is found separated from the family dwellings.

from the many types of eagles and the great numbers that is found to inhabit this region.

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The band of Iola Nea that dwells at Sea Toba are members of an ancient guild dedicated

bow he wields is legendary. It is said that he can send an arrow with such force that it

to the spirit of the golden eagle. They are skilled at trapping the great birds. Indeed they

may pass through the center of an oak tree.

derive much in the way of trade from the barter of a living eagle and eagle parts.

“I go!” Shoshanna rubs the belly of his pregnant wife with one hand and her behind with

Late summer is a time of harvest for their group. The eaglets are gone from the nest.

the other.

Never again in the year will the skies be so crowded with eagles on the wing. It is time

The girl runs her hands playfully through her dark long hair as she returns her husband’s

for the guild members to collect eagles.

smile. “You must bring a surprise home to the unborn one or our ancestors will think you

Shoshanna has risen early. He is fiercely independent. He will walk out at dusk to a

wish not to be a good father.” She replies in good humor.

remote pass that is little visited.

Shoshanna is a man of very few words. The childish wishes of his wife please him. She

“You go to find the spirits of the great bird?” His wife asks. She is a young woman soon

makes him very happy. He nods his head to give his understanding of her request.

to have the first child.

“Will you be gone all day?” The girl asks with concern. “If you return late I shall be in

Shoshanna is a mature warrior. He has lost his first family in the great cold of several

the lodge of the eagles. The women make a present for our child that is to come. I need to

winters passed. The fever that called the spirits of his family from this life was cruel to

be there.” Her head tilts to one side to emphasize the importance of her words.

many children and women. For a long time he walked with the spirits of his dead wife

“The tongues of women make the deepest wounds.” His words are stern but his look

and two sons. His spirit wondered between this life and the next.

upon his bride is soft so she shall take no injury.

Two springs past when Shoshanna visited another camp of the Iola Nea near the great

“It is not for a big warrior to worry of the ways of the women in the camp.” His wife has

lake. A maiden tender of age and of great beauty stirred a fire in his breast. The small thin girl is about half his age but the great warrior Shoshanna is known to all the Iola Nea. It is a great honor to her family for her to be chosen as his wife. The price of three live eagles he has paid for the young maiden. Such a gift is rare.

spirit and she will not let the great Shoshanna give the final words. Shoshanna knows that his wife does not enjoy his absence. She will keep busy but her mind shall strain to keep watch for his return. This is a good way for a wife. His eye will keep watch for some treasure to accompany his return and to please her. It will of course

Shoshanna is a man of tall stature between the Iola Nea and all of the tribes of the Maha

be offered to the spirit of their unborn.

Usica. His limbs are long and slender but of great strength. The size and power of the

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The front of their lodge is made from heavy wood. Decorated hides cover a narrow door.

This pleases the brother who is anxious for his three sons as they come of age. “It is

The back end of their lodge is a small rock cave. The lodge is cool all summer and never

good. We shall hunt with the spirit of our father as when in our youth. My sons shall

cold in the extremes of winter.

learn of our father’s greatness as a hunter…Wait till you see how my youngest is much like his uncle.”

Shoshanna will travel with his long bow, quiver and a large bag to hold his catch. His wife has not offered to prepare food for his travel. This is so to reduce the risk of a bear

“Do you remember the first time father took us to catch the live eagle?” Shoshanna asks

taking such scent upon her husband’s journey. The Iola Nea know that a bear will follow

with eye gleaming and showing a large smile.

the scent of any creature, or man that it may encounter. The scent of prepared food makes this risk too great. The past day Shoshanna has set snares for rabbit. These he will

“Yes the I opened his bag to see the great eyes of the bird and his prize flew away after cutting my wrist with its talons.” The warriors share a hearty laughter. The brother to

transport to the place of the eagle.

Shoshanna shows the scares from that eagle still to be seen upon his flesh.

As Shoshanna departs his lodge he encounters his younger brother.

The brothers embrace. “Good hunting!” The younger gives his wish. “My family is found

“Shoshanna! You take your eagle pouch. Where do you hunt this day?”

of the feathers you are to gather.”

“I go to the pass of our father.” This remote location was found and shown to the boys by

“Good fishing!” Shoshanna knows his brother’s passion and his need to fish. “My wife is

their father many years ago.

fond of your trout!”

“Do you wish my companionship?” Shoshanna’s brother is concerned for the pass is a

Again Shoshanna stops toward the edge of the camp.

favorite pathway of the creatures that migrate in and out of the region and such is often

“Where goes the great Shoshanna? An old woman asks as she smokes tobacco from a

be followed by a bear.

long pipe. She sits upon a flat rock in the sun to warm.

Shoshanna’s brother is skilled with a lance and the capture of the trout. He is short and

“To the place of the eagles.” Shoshanna is pointing upward to the distant sky.

round as was their mother. It is not easy for him to climb among the cliffs. The risk is too great for him.

With her one arm above her brow to shade her eyes the woman follows his motion. “You have the skill of your father. He was the best of the eagle hunters. No one could match

“I always look for sign of the bear before I hunt, as our father has shown us.” Shoshanna shakes his head sideways in a negative manner. “We shall take your sons there after the

him in the way of the eagle.” The old woman shakes her head affirmatively and smiles. “I could have been his woman and your mother!” She laughs. “But I wanted another.” She

serious hunting is done and show them the way of our ancestors.”

shrugs her shoulders with indifference.

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Shoshanna wishes not to hear the tales of the old woman retold. He will not insult her by

Upon his way he stops to check the rabbit snares. He hopes to use his catch as bait. This

leaving. He waits respectfully for her interest in speech to go dry. He stays with a gentle

day the spirit of the hare will not favor Shoshanna, as all traps are empty. Shoshanna will

patience and sincere respect.

have to hunt in order to have bait for the eagle.

“My man was a great warrior. I gave him many strong sons and fine daughters. He died

The birds of the forest are all upon the treetops at first light. They sing long and sweet

from the lung sickness when he was too young.” She pauses to feel the pain once again of

melodies across the canopy of the woods to neighbors near and far. It will be a good day.

his loss. ”I was still young and pretty. But I gave my life to his children. All are gone to live else where among other bands of the Iola Nea…each offers me a place in their lodge. I do not wish to quit my home at Sea Toba.” The woman looks about the camp as if for the first time. “I want my spirit to be with the father of my children in the next life so I

The pass at which Shoshanna intends to hunt is hidden at the foot of Bhe Ag Uait. Near to the entrance of the pass Shoshanna finds sign. Several goats from the bluffs have run along in a hurry. Shoshanna will follow these in hope of taking one with an arrow for his eagle trap. A little way onward, the sign of a moccasin is found by the hunter of the Iola

remain here.”

Nea. Shoshanna recognizes the style of moccasin as Locanomee and he is surprised. It is

Shoshanna senses the woman has no more words to speak. He will bring her a gift from

rare that the Locanomee come into the land of the Iola Nea to hunt. Further on yet

the elk spirit again this fall to see her fed through the winter. “You are the mother of Sea

Shoshanna takes alarm as he finds the mark of the panther.

Toba!” He says with great respect for the oldest woman who dwells in the camp. Only

The black panther is found occasionally in these rugged hills but the land of Iola Nea is

you can teach our young woman the way of the ancestors here at Sea Toba.”

not home to these mountain lions. Rather these beasts occasionally migrate up from the

The old woman nods in agreement.

deep south in the season of warm weather and return by late fall.

“My wife needs your knowing. My child to come needs the love of the great mother of

Shoshanna now follows the panther that follows the Locanomee brave that is hunting

Sea Toba.”

after the mountain goat. Over ridge and along the narrow path, the cavalcade moves in a

The old one is satisfied. The great Shoshanna has confirmed her place of honor. Now the

trail set by the fancy of the hill goat.

tall warrior turns into the woods and disappears. Shoshanna reads the signs of nature

The signs are clear that the Locanomee closes on the sheep and the panther keeps watch

intently as he makes his way to the pass of his father. If the signs are old then there is

from above. Shoshanna understands that the goats will enter the pass and disperse up the

likely no bear to be near and the whole day can be spent on the gathering of eagles.

sides into the cliffs at the other end. It is always been so in the hunt for this game. Unless

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the Locanomee is aware of the way of these goats and closes upon them within the pass,

voice. This place cannot be his village. He strains for his memory. The looks of the trees

he shall lose his prey.

and cliffs are not familiar.

Shoshanna also realizes that there the panther will lose his chance to prey upon the goats

Bhe Ag Uait? He has begun his amah. This he remembers. He is on the holy summit?

as well. Shoshanna takes a long arrow from his quiver and raises his long bow off his

No! He left there after the rain. Where is he? Goats yes he was hunting goats and lost his

shoulder. Shoshanna will stalk the Locanomee.

chance at the game.

The signs show the Locanomee moves through the pass in a hurry as he tries to close

A bag of water lands at his side. He is startled to alarm. He turns to see a tall warrior

upon the goats. Shoshanna runs after his quarry.

pointing at the container of water instructing him to drink. The size of the warrior is

The goats have gotten wind of the panther and have bolted at full speed through the pass

great. His form is intimidating but his manner is gentle and caring. Na Shawa searches

and wander chaotically among the cliffs at the other end. Here Shoshanna finds the boy

for the flask but a pain seizes him upon his shoulder. The pain comes from the blow of

Na Shawa standing confused watching the goats strutting up the face of the cliffs while

the panther but Na Shawa assumes that the great warrior has struck him from behind and has taken him captive. Na Shawa reaches for his knife and turns to face the aggressor.

he is unable to follow. Shoshanna raises his bow…He draws back the string …His arrow points to the back of

Shoshanna is startled by the quickness of the young Locanomee. He raises both hands to

Na Shawa. With only a momentary pause to gauge the flight, Shoshanna sends his arrow

show they are empty and he intends no harm.

toward the head of the Locanomee. The path of the arrow is true. Just as it is about to

Na Shawa is uncertain.

strike Na Shawa a dark figure falls between Na Shawa and Shoshanna’s flying arrow. Na Shawa is struck from behind by the panther’s charge sending the boy against the wall of the bluff. At the same instant Shoshanna’s arrow penetrates the panther’s chest killing it instantly.

Shoshanna points to the carcass of the dead panther. Na Shawa has never seen such a creature. The black panther appears to him as demon. No Locanomee has ever seen such a beast. The black velvet fur, the large white fangs, the huge claws make the cat ferocious even in death.

Na Shawa lies upon the ground. His eyes open slowly. He feels the numbness of sleep

Shoshanna indicates with hand sign that the cat was the cause of the young boy’s injury.

upon his body. He searches the view of the sky above him. The sky is mostly clear and blue. White puffs of clouds move slowly. He wonders why he does not hear his mother’s

Na Shawa rises with great pain. He stumbles to the side of the great cat and feels the strength in the panther’s limbs. He measures the width of the paw of the panther and opens the animal’s jaws to gage the size of its bite.

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Shoshanna tries to speak but Na Shawa’s hands gesture that his words are not understood.

“What brings the great Shoshanna from his village?” Na Shawa has heard of this great warrior.

“The cat followed you into the pass.” Shoshanna gestures. “No one has ever told of the existence of such a beast.” Na Shawa answers. “I owe you

“You shall soon see! As my brother you must visit my lodge and share my food this

my life.”

night.” Shoshanna awaits the boy’s response.

Shoshanna acknowledges this fact. “Our spirits are joined as brothers.” Iola Nea believe

Na Shawa is anxious and duty bound to spend time with his new kin. He nods in agreement.

that when one saves another’s life the two are bound as one in the spirit world.

“There will be a great feast in the honor of the panther spirit that comes among our

The tall warrior is dressed in the fashion of elk hide. His leather shirt has no sleeves to cover his long arms. His moccasins are long with leather wraps about the ankles. A belt of elk fur binds his waist. A necklace made from the talons of eagle hangs about his neck. His long black hair hangs lose but for one braid. This has been bound with a leather strap

lodges. First my brother we must collect the eagles for our home.” Shoshanna begins to skin the hide from the dead panther. “The meat of the cat shall we use as bait to lore the eagle from the sky.

covered in the golden down collected from the nest of the eagle.

The two warriors dig a long pit of a depth and width suitable for the two to lie within.

“I am Na Shawa of the Locanomee.” The boy understands that he is now bound by spirit

This pit is covered with branches to hide their presence. A large piece of meat is tied to a rope bound at one end to Shoshanna’s wrist. Under the pit lie the two warriors with the

to the large warrior and his bloodline.

meat to sit atop the pit’s cover so as to be seen by any eagle passing on the wing.

“I am Shoshanna. What brings my Locanomee brother to Iola Nea?”

When an eagle descends to take possession, the talons of the bird grasp the piece of meat

“Amah!” Na Shawa answers. I follow a great black hawk with red markings to the far

but the bird may not fly away. Shoshanna grips the bird from below and then two

side of Maha Usica. It is my vision.”

warriors bind the bird. The trap is then reset. The grandeur of the task and the courage of the boy impress Shoshanna. “Such a saga is offered by the great spirits to only a few.” Shoshanna points to the panther. “The spirits

By late afternoon Shoshanna has collected one large golden eagle and two young eaglets of lesser worth. “It is good. I shall trade these. My wife wishes to have goats for milk

favor you.” The black panther is rarely seen and has never been taken by the Iola Nea.

when the baby comes into this world.”

“The spirit of the cat is very great. You shall wear its great teeth to show all that your strength is greater. The black hide shall go to my good wife. The spirit of the cat shall be

“How many goats can you get for one eagle?” Na Shawa wishes to learn.

given to my son who is soon to be born.” Shoshanna is very proud.

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“The young eagles will bring but one each. The mature bird will be traded for four or five

All look upon Shoshanna-ba who is intimidated by the many reminders of the esteem by

fine goats. I shall give one young eagle as present to the oldest Iola Nea of our camp. The

which the village held the first wife of Shoshanna. “My visions are clear.” She says

other my wife shall raise and have its worth to spend as she wishes.”

timidly but without hesitation. “The spirit of a large black cat is to be my son’s charm.” “No one has ever chosen such a spirit for their child.” A heavy course woman answers angrily. “The black cat is an omen of danger for the Iola Nea.” Instructs another.

*****

“The child must have some sign of the golden eagle!” Barks a third. The uproar by her companions overpowers Shoshanna-ba. After the evening meal has been served the woman of Sea Toba gather in the lodge of the

“It is the mother’s right.” Answers the guild leader to calm the lodge. “The ancestors give

eagles. Some dozen women of the camp bring biscuits made from honey and wild berry.

visions to the new mother not only of the past but of the future.”

Warm tea from herbs is made. Materials are gathered to make items needed for the babies

The women grow quiet but are non-the less offended by idea of a panther spirit as

to soon be born within the camp. Three women carry the child within their womb.

sponsor to a child of the Iola Nea.

Shoshanna-ba is wife to Shoshanna. It is the custom for the woman of the Iola Nea to

“My vision tells of the black panther that comes in the night to save the nest of the golden

share their husband’s names as well as their lodge. Shoshanna-ba is the youngest woman

eagles from the danger of the black snake. In the mouth of the great cat the young eagles

with child.

are carried from the nest to a place of hiding.” Shoshanna-ba tells apologetically.

“Tonight we must decide on the spirits the child of Shoshanna-ba is to share. These we

“Have you not see the eagle upon the wing in your visions? With my first child I saw

must embroider into his birth blanket.” The senior member of the guild speaks for she

only the eagles soaring in the air mating! The birth blanket of my first son shows this

must set the agenda for the woman’s work within the loge of the eagle.

vision.” One-woman comments.

All the women stir with the excitement for the coming of new life in Sea Toba.

“Have you seen no other animal spirits in you visions?” The leader inquires of

Shoshanna’s first wife always chose the golden eagle and the bear.” One woman asserts.

Shoshanna-ba.

“She insisted that the spirit of her young to be large like their father.”

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“No my vision is always the same.” Shoshanna-ba pauses as the women mutter. “So far this is all the spirits have told to me.”

Shoshanna and Na Shawa make a late start back to Sea Toba. The path winds about large

“It is early yet!” The leader asserts much to the comfort of the gathering. “Perhaps the

trees and risen boulders. The Iola Nea are a private people. They share little of their life

spirits shall add more to the way for your child…you say your child shall be a boy?”

with the tribes outside their homeland. Few Locanomee have spent time within the lodge of the Iola Nea let alone became their brother.

“There is no doubt!” Shoshanna-ba answers. “The child shall share the spirit of the panther!” The leader asserts. “We shall embroider

Na Shawa hurries to keep stride with the great Shoshanna. The Iola Nea warrior wishes to return to his wife before dark so she may enjoy the treasures he brings in the light of the

a large cat with the young of the golden eagle in its mouth.”

sun spirit.

The woman groan with a task less desired. “But we shall also have a second embroidery with a golden eagle in flight holding a fish in one talon and a snake in the other…a black snake in the other. We shall have the child provided for and protected by the spirit of the golden eagle.” The leader instructs to the satisfaction of the women. “Then the two blankets shall be made into one with each side to show its own embroider.” The women squeal with glee for the original notion of their

Shoshanna’s thoughts are mostly on his young wife. He ponders however the meaning of his encounter with the panther and the amah of his new brother Na Shawa. “Few have crossed the land of the Iola Nea.” He informs. Na Shawa studies the great warrior as he follows. The footsteps of Shoshanna find the truest path through the rugged terrain. Only one who has walked these trails since many years may so traveled. He recalls his father’s words that the Iola Nea are bound within

leader. Shoshanna-ba is most satisfied. Now her son shall have an extra spirit to guide him from

their land by its wildness as others are bound not to enter. “Did the gray hairs ever pass across the Iola Nea?”

birth. Now she must convince her husband that their child to be born is to be named

Shoshanna has heard of the gray hairs. “There is no memory of the Iola Nea for the gar

Patanna after the great cat.

hairs. If they came upon our land they came as only spirits not to be seen.” Shoshanna wonders if the panther spirit could tell more of the gray hairs. “You must ask for a vision from the panther spirit for he has traveled far enough to know of the gray hairs.” ***** “Tonight when I sleep I shall seek such a vision.” Responds Na Shawa.

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“You shall have the tail of the black cat to wear as a cinch. The spirit of the panther shall

Na Shawa knows from his father that the tribe to the east of Iola Nea is not friendly but

follow your amah.” Shoshanna offers.

quarrelsome. “How does my brother’s people the keep peace with his neighbor’s there?”

“At first light I must resume my amah. The hawk of my vision calls me in haste.”

“By staying out of the land of their nation!” Shoshanna may not interfere with amah. It is

“I may not walk with my brother after today. I wait for my child to be born.” Shoshanna

forbidden to give advice that may offend the spirits. Shoshanna knows that only the spirits that guide Na Shawa can protect him.

adds with an apology.

The pair continues in silence. Na Shawa learns much in the way of the Iola Nea from his

“My vision calls me to walk alone. It is good my brother.” “You shall walk with Shoshanna’s arrow in your quiver.” Shoshanna stops and hands to

brother.

the boy one arrow that measures longer in length than any carried by the braves of the Maha Usica. “By this all the Iola Nea shall know you as brother to Shoshanna.” *****

Na Shawa examines the shaft. Its length is one half longer then his arrow’s shaft. Its thickness is twice that of his. The markings are simple but the feathers upon the arrow’s tail are from the eagle. This gift appears more like a small lance than an arrow for a bow. “Shoshanna is most generous with the one who owes his life.”

The women in the lodge have settled into comfortable work with needle and cloth. The “My brother must follow the angry water to the shore of the great lake.” Shoshanna

harmony of busy hands sharing a task of giving restores good humor to all.

points off in the direction from which comes a steady roar of cascading water. “There the The eagle guild’s lodge is made from stone with a covered roof of thatch. Many poles

river becomes tame. There you shall pass out from Iola Nea.”

stand out from it decorated with the signs of the golden eagle spirit. Tapestries hang The hike resumes with increased purpose.

within which detail important visions of the Iola Nea. The women wear ceremonial dress

“What land lies beyond?” Na Shawa asks.

with gathered eagle feathers used in formalities such as tribal dance. Remembrances of

“The land is one of great forest and meadow. Bound by the mountains and the great lake and two running waters on either side.”

special warriors hang from the cross members of the roof within. Shoshanna-ba enjoys the company of the guild leader for she too has married an older member of the tribe. “Your husband is good to you?”

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The leader of the women smiles, as she knows the concern of the young wife. “Yes! My husband is kind and slow to anger.”

The remainder raises their hands. “A man lives out side his lodge. All day he must live among the spirits of the open land.

“Do you not wish sometimes that he be younger…more energetic?” Shoshanna-ba asks

Only when his spirit tries to leave his body does he return to live solely within his lodge”

curiously.

A course old woman speaks the truth. “His feelings are not as the women. We share the bounty of his bravery and his skill as the hunter. Our husbands give us life and children.

“How many women here have young husbands?” Asks the leader to the guild.

It is enough!”

Four raise their hand.

The elegance of the old woman’s words instills the lodge with a humble quiet.

“How many women wish their young husband to slow and make life in the lodge less

“I still would like to be able answer to love making with Shoshanna!” The impish woman

difficult? To bark fewer instructions to their wife?”

snaps with laughter. “He is very much a man!”

The same four maidens raise their hand in answer to the leader’s question. “Does not Shoshanna satisfy you? Love making is good?” The leader questions politely.

Shoshanna-ba is flattered by the desire for her husband by the other women of Sea Toba. She worries that some young maiden in another camp may also have such desires. Some

“I would like to be able to answer that question.” Another calls out as all the women

warriors of the Iola Nea have more than one wife. “Why do men take more than one

giggle.

wife? Is not one enough for most men?”

Shoshanna-ba blushes. “My husband is a wonderful man and very tender. It is just that

“That question has never been properly answered.” One maiden responds. “My first

sometimes I wish to run wild among the flowers and be free as a bee. Shoshanna does not share these feelings.”

husband had two wives and we hated each other. When he died in the angry water the other wife left to her own village at once. She took all the goods from our lodge she could

“My husband shares only our dinner bowel and our blanket. He shares no other

steal.”

feeling…he has no other feelings.” Squeals a young heavy maiden.

“There is a warrior near the great lake that has seven wives each with children.” The

All the women but Shoshanna-ba laugh heartily.

leader informs.

“How many women have been married for less than ten years?” Asks the leader.

The topic stirs heated debate.

Another young and also pregnant woman raises her hand with Shoshanna-ba.

“If a woman can not bear sons then the husband should take another wife but he must

“How many women have been married for more than ten years?” Asks the leader.

treat then both well.” Declares a member of the guild.

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“Why can’t a woman have more than one husband?” Asks another.

Na Shawa is the first Locanomee to see and participate in such celebrations. The Iola Nea receive him as family and they share Sea Toba as his home.

“Some men take wives as the snake sheds his skin…just for change!” States a maiden angrily.

Later this night, Na Shawa sleeps under the stars and dreams of the panther running in a

“Some men gather another woman as one gathers another goat.” States the leader. “What

place that is strange to him. In his dream tall willows bend to cover the ground as great tents. Among these willows graze sheep and cattle. One long hut made of stone lies in an

would you do if Shoshanna should come home with another woman tonight?”

open field with a surrounding barricade dug from the earth. This lodge is like none other

“He wouldn’t when I am to have our first child! I’m sure he would never.” Answers

made by the natives of Maha Usica.

Shoshanna-ba.

The door to the cabin is open. The panther enters but no one is to be seen. Great tables of

At this instant, the lodge hears the call of the return of Shoshanna with Na Shawa. “I bring another to add to my lodge!” He calls for all to see the eagles taken captive and the

oak are lined with benches. A large fireplace is set at one end of the hall. Upon the walls are strange markings; intricate spirals, forms of long snakes coiled and tangled and rows

first panther hide to ever enter Sea Toba. “I have presents!”

of vertical lines with patterns of cross-hatching. So clear and so colorful is his dream that These words give cause to end the women’s work. They stare at Shoshanna-ba whose

Na Shawa sees the hatchet marks made during the building’s construction upon the wood

face is gone pale with apprehension. The women race from the eagle lodge in a frenzy to see the coming of Shoshanna. Shoshanna-ba has been pushed aside and is the last to

members that hold the roof. So vivid is his dream that he can smell the odors in the cabin left from the last meal.

arrive to greet her husband. The panther spirit has shown Na Shawa a home of the gray hairs. The panther’s hide is inspected by all, as well as the living eagles. Only Shoshanna-ba’s eyes study the young Locanomee warrior with relief. Soon the camp is alive with ritual song and dance. The warrior guild is quick to dress for the ceremony of welcoming the *****

eagle spirits into the camp. The panther’s spirit incites the dance of victory used after war. The beating of drums, shrill calls, and tribal song sets a stage for warriors, covered in arrays of eagle feathers and masks of the eagle head to dance the flight of the eagle spirit.

The angry water is a torrent of white rapids flowing on a bed of rock and boulder. It runs toward the eastern boundary of Iola Nea. In times of heavy rain the great water swells

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and one may see boulders the size of a man running along the river as if pushed by great

Late in the day, Na Shawa finds the delta of the angry river. Here is found one of the

angry spirits.

largest villages of Iola Nea and the family home to Shoshanna-ba. The river diverges in a

So dangerous to man and most creatures is the water that none attempt to cross. Only the

wide shallow flow with its waters partitioned between islands and deep pools. Much wooded growth covers stretches of land engulfed by the marsh. The nests of waterfowl

creatures on the wing or those with mighty bound have no fear of this white water. Just before the flat land near the great lake, the raging water spills out of its banks to form a wide marsh. Here is where Na Shawa will follow the trail of the deer and pass into the

cover tree and shore. Fish thrive among the tidal pools. As Na Shawa enters the village of the delta much excitement stirs. News of the panther and Shoshanna has made the boy a celebrity. All the Iola Nea of the village await him.

adjoining tribal land as he continues his amagh. At first light Shoshanna and his wife bid farewell to Na Shawa who promises to return to

All women, warriors and children keep a watch. He will be welcomed as a brother and as a dignitary. No Locanomee has ever been so received.

his brother and render the tale of his amah. The angry river is a holy place to the Iola Nea. The natives who come to the river to offer

Two lines of chanting Iola Nea with some in dance make a corridor to the lodge of the chief. Here a small mature man stands with arms folded. “Welcome brother of

sacrifice, fish, or seek mediation. Heavily traveled are the ways to and from its waters.

Shoshanna!” The leader shouts for all to hear as Na Shawa steps toward him. “Welcome

The Iola Nea believe the white water to carry the dead spirits of many nations who are

great Locanomee hunter of the panther!”

unable to enter the next life. The paths along the river are a major thoroughfare between villages of the Iola Nea. It is not long before hidden eyes recognize the presence of the Locanomee youth that carries the arrow of Shoshanna. Nor is there delay to the word of his presence advancing before

All stare at the boy, his arrow and the cinch about his waist of panther hide. Na Shawa knows that he must not speak before the chief. It is the way of the Iola Nea. The chief holds a large wing of the bald eagle in his hand and waves it over and about the shoulders of Na Shawa. “The spirit of the eagle welcomes you!” The chief shouts.

him.

About the neck of Na Shawa hangs his pendant of an azure stone centered about the four

First encounters are with two or more warriors who seek to examine closely the new brother to the Iola Nea. Signs of welcome are made as Na Shawa passes. The tail of the

large white fangs of the panther. The eyes of the chief widen upon first sight of the warrior’s necklace. “See the power of this Locanomee! See the spirit of the panther he

panther is cause for much added curiosity. Soon entire families of Iola Nea who dwell

wears!” He shouts with even greater force.

near to the angry river make way to see the sight of the great Locanomee warrior who could not be killed by the panther’s attack.

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None in the village doubt the greatness of Na Shawa. None in the village doubt the

this maiden.” With these words, Na Shawa removes one of the armbands made from

worthiness of Na Shawa to be brother to Shoshanna. None in the village doubt the spirit

lizard hide places it as a band around the head of his young wife.

of Na Shawa to be of the Iola Nea.

“You must stay in our village this night. We must celebrate.” The chief adds.

“It is our custom to offer to such a visitor aide.” The chief shouts instructions to his

“It is good! But the spirit of the panther takes me east into the land of your neighbors.”

people. Na Shawa may not yet speak. The chief calls forth his youngest daughter and a sister to Shoshanna-ba. The young maiden is but eleven summers old. She stands coyly

The chief’s expression changes to one of concern. “The Dao Cama are a fierce people. They guard their land with ruthlessness. They do not welcome strangers.”

with her head lowered to the ground. The chief warns as he looks at his daughter. “It is best that Shawa-ji wait for her “How are you called?” The chief whispers.

husband’s return with her people.” The words are given as chief.

“Na Shawa.” The boy responds somewhat confused.

Na Shawa accepts that he is bound to the wishes of the chief as a member of the Iola Nea

“I give my daughter to the brother of Shoshanna. I give the sister of Shoshanna-ba to the brother of the Iola Nea. Let her be called Shawa-ji.” The great chief of the Iola Nea

and as a new member to his family. “It is good! I shall depart when the panther spirit calls!”

waves the eagle wing over his daughter and Na Shawa. “Let the blood of the great

The chief acknowledges that the great warrior who is now his son remains under the

Locanomee and the panther spirit mix with the blood of the Iola Nea.”

charge of powerful spirits. Even as chief, he may not contradict them. The wedding

The song of marriage rises from the hundred or more natives who witness the diplomacy

celebration he calls to commence.

of their chief. The chief makes a gesture. He wishes Na Shawa to speak. Na Shawa had no idea that he would acquire a bride. He is aware of the great importance of this marriage to the Locanomee. Never before has the blood of the Locanomee and the Iola Nea mixed. It is a great coup. His visions have not told him of marriage. However he

*****

may not refuse this gift by the Iola Nea of a wife. “I am now of the Iola Nea.” The boy shouts back at the chief. “I am now brother to Shoshanna.” The village erupts with vocal approval of his words. “I accept this bride as a great honor.” The young maiden looks into Na Shawa’s eyes for gentleness. “I shall value

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The canoe of Toinanaa has drifted to shore. The action of the tide has pushed the dugout deep into a strand of reeds. Here for one day and the whole of the night the girl has slept soundly hidden from all view but that of the fish that swims below her.

*****

This morning hunger and thirst welcome her unto a new land. Only the position of the sun and its relation to the shore provide direction. Toinanaa is lost but alive. Her first thoughts are to make a way back to her father’s lodge and tell of the Huron presence on In the middle of the night when the sky is most dark, the spirit of the panther comes to the

Bear Island. Water from the lake, and roots dug from the shore quickly nourish her. She must decide

wedding lodge and calls to Na Shawa. In silence the warrior rises and steps out into the night and follows the panther spirit.

correctly whether to travel east or west. The storm and its winds may have taken her anywhere upon the great lake. The sunrise is to her left as she faces the water. Thus she

Along a winding narrow trail that passes through shallow waters the spirit leads Na

knows that she stands on the same side of the lake as her home. As she watches the

Shawa deep into the delta and out onto the land of the Dao Cama. Through dense tree

surface of the great lake she notices water birds feeding among the ripples far out from

stand the boy wonders onward in the manner of a panther. Maneuvering around pool and

the shore of the lake. The ripples are made from the large fish that scatter as they seek to

obstruction with eyes that need no light to see, Na Shawa steps as the black cat in the

escape the searching beak of a hunting bird. The fall salmon migration from the lake has

night.

not yet passed near her village. She turns to the east and looks with forlorn to the way

The crossing of the delta is made with ease but not without being seen. As Na Shawa

home.

clears the last shore of the river the figure of an old man appears in front of the boy. It is

Toinanaa senses that her mother is alive. She must hurry to her father. If she travels by

the old one of his vision. He gestures to Na Shawa.

day she will be seen. If she travels by land her arrival may come too late to save the

Shawa follows the old man through patches of dense briar and into his camp. A refuge

Huron captives. She must travel by canoe along the shore of the Maha Usica. She will

under branch with the nearby warmth of a fire sits with open view to the night and the

travel by night but her travel shall take her into the pathway of the marauding Huron.

stars. Here the old warrior waits.

With the last rays of the sun, Toinanaa shall make her way along the shoreline to her

The old one wears no sign familiar to the boy. No weapons are visible. ”Are you Dao

village. She intends to arrive at her father’s lodge by tomorrow’s sunrise.

Cama or from one of the other nations of the Maha Usica? Where is your village? How are you called?” The boy asks nervously as he enters the camp. 121

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The words of Shawa are not understood. The old one shakes his head no. With his hands

“I live with the spirits. Where they go I follow. Where they direct I travel. Where they are

he signs. “Your tongue is not known to me.” Food is produced from a pouch for the boy’s

not to be seen, I follow to where they might be found. It is good!” The old man has no

meal.

more to say on this matter.

Shawa signs with his hands and asks again. “What is your name? Where is your village?

Why did you leave your people?” The boy insists to understand the old one’s presence.

Why do you beckon me?”

“Are you on amah?” The boy is confused.

The old one’s eyes do not change expression.

The old one smiles and shakes his head to say no. “My people live in peace. All our neighbors are brothers. As a young man I was injured by the great bear in the hunt.” The

Why have you come near to the Maha Usica?” Na Shawa insists. The old guide gathers his thoughts for it has been many years since these memories have

old one’s memory floods with visions long lost but recovered under the boy’s prodding. “My spirit was leaving my body to join the ancestors. Some of the spirits argued that I

filled his head. The boy’s questions are strange to him now. The fingers of the old one

should not yet join them. Other spirits argued that I had crossed over into their world.”

move slowly. “I am from the land of three waters.” The old man makes the sign of three rivers meeting at one point. His right hand moves in a high slow arch towards the horizon where the sun

Shawa is mesmerized by the old man’s tale. Tears come into the old ones eyes as he continues. “My mother could not wake me. My spirit saw her hold my body in grief.” He pauses filled with emotions held from ages ago.

sets. ”Very far…much time from here.”

He holds two fingers apart. ”My spirit and my body have never completely rejoined as

“Why are you here?” The boy asks again. “Do you hunt? Do you scout?”

one. It was decided that I should not live as before but that I must remain in part with

Again the old one strains under questions he finds difficult. He signs simply. “I walk!”

another world. I walk in our world but I live awake in the spirit world.” “How come you so far from your village? How are you called?” The boy struggles with Shawa concludes that the old one’s presence is a sign sent by the spirits to confirm his

the old one’s response.

amah.“ Can you tell me the meaning of life?” Shawa asks eagerly. “I am called Son of Moonlight. This name was given me by the spirits.” Answers the old The fingers of the old man indicate no. “The hands cannot tell…the tongue cannot

one.

speak…the eyes cannot see…the ears cannot hear the true meaning of life. The mind “To where do you walk?” Shawa continues to ask. “How did you know I approached?”

cannot calculate this meaning.” The old man gestures with his two hands as an opening to his chest. ”Only one’s heart can truly teach the meaning of life.”

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“Is this why the meaning of life is always held as a secret?” Shawa asks.

Shawa does not sense the old one to have greater knowing than his father who speaks

The fingers of the old man indicate yes. “Few learn the whole meaning. Even if spoken

several tongues of the Maha Usica. In fact the old one’s mind is plain. “What special gifts does a shamanae collect from the spirits?”

the secret is not lost.”

The old man cups his hands together and then opens them as to let anything held within

“Can I learn this meaning?” The boy asks humbly.

escape.

Again the old man gestures with his two hands as an opening of the chest. “Open your

“Empty? How can that be when one lives with the spirits?” Shawa is puzzled that the old

heart. Those that know of life know that it is the content of one’s heart that matters.”

one has not stored special bounty that may comes from the knowing the spirits so well.

Shawa recognizes the old one as a shamanae, a holy man among holy men. His village has spoken of such a man. In the entire lifetime of the Locanomee nation only one or two

The ancient one recognizes the boy’s dilemma. “One collects food for hunger...water for thirst...fire for cold. These are gifts from the spirits for all men. All gifts of the spirits are

shamanae have come to the Maha Usica. “What of the bad ways, those ways not good for a warrior? How do I loose the evil in my

for every man.” “What is the good of being a shamanae?” Shawa asks.

life?” Shawa asks “Fill your heart with goodness. There will not be enough room for the bad ways…these shall leave you!” The ancient warrior says. “Live in light not in darkness. The mind will act in accordance by that which that your heart possesses.”

At this the old one smiles broadly. “What good is it to be a boy...a young warrior?” “It is my time!” Shawa insists. “So it is with me!” The old one answers.

The boy studies the old man’s appearance. There is nothing different to his. The old one looks just old, as any living ancestor should. The ancient one’s dress in not as the

“Do you see the future?” The boy asks with excitement. The old one nods yes. “The spirits may pass from the present to the past or into the future

Locanomee. It is simple without sign of any spirit. His moccasins are quite worn. Only the strap of leather that binds the gray hair from his forehead indicates his culture to be

as they wish. Their world is not limited by time as in your own. I do not have their power to choose my passing in time. I am sent by the spirits.”

different. Shawa recognizes this ancient one to be from another time. “What is your purpose here?” “Do you speak many tongues?” The boy asks with his fingers.

Can you tell what shall happen to me tomorrow? The boy’s curiosity cannot be held.

The old man holds up just one finger.

“Are you sent to guide me? To give instructions from the spirit?”

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The old one makes a strong signal of the end. “This is the business of the spirits only!”

She knows the Huron are moving upon another victim. Her family is safe. She cannot save another’s village tonight. Perhaps tomorrow the warpath of the Huron may be

“You were in my vision of the hawk of the red markings that calls me to amah.” Na

stopped.

Shawa waits for the old one’s response. “In your vision the hawk calls to you. In life you call to the hawk. One searches for the other. In the spirit world the hawk awaits you. In life you await the hawk. Where will Na Shawa be when he meets his hawk?” The shamanae will not answer for the spirits. There

The moon is again full and the sky clear. The stars of the night sky shine brightly off the surface of the still water. If not for the darkness of the shore, Toinanaa’s canoe would appear to be passing above in the heavens.

is no more talk.

The sounds are few and of nature. Her canoe is directed to follow the contour of the

Na Shawa sits with the old man who looks longingly at the stars. He wonders if he has

shoreline but at a safe distance off. Upon a sudden storm or chance encounter with

missed the old one’s message. He wonders if the old one is intended to lead him.

another canoe, Toinanaa will make directly to the shore and seek escape from peril. She

Shawa senses the old one shares the unquestionable way of Ciapa. He will ask no more of the shamanae. As he falls to sleep, Shawa recalls that he has not seen Ciapa since passing

will make out to greater distance from the shore only to pass any village that is to be encountered on her way to her Minga home. The sounds of the lake at night are from the turtle breaking to the surface to breath and

into the land of the Iola Nea.

the heron’s struts at the shore while feeding. Her vision upon the lake and the sky is unimpeded. Under the water’s surface submerged tree and rock line lay out of view. *****

Only with the screech of the owl to signal the quiet about her does Toinanaa move with her canoe out from her hiding among the reeds. The slush of the water with Toinanaa stroke of the oar makes no sound. The ripples from the bow of the canoe are as gentle as that from a breeze. She will give no sign of her presence or her course.

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Chapter 4 The land of the Dao Cama is adjacent to the Iola Nea. The two tribes are separated by a great marsh. A long rim of steep hills circumscribes the remaining perimeter of the nation of the Dao Cama from the white water of the Iola Nea and the shore of the Maha Usica. Dao Cama Water and vertical cliffs enclose the Dao Cama nation. This land is large with lush meadows mixed with patches of dense forest. Many small streams and ponds of water are to be found. Their nation is home to the woodland bison. Isolation has allowed several herds of the small bison to flourish. This is the sacred home of the bison. It has long been considered to be the birthplace and the gravesite of the bison spirits. The Dao Cama tribe consider themselves to be chosen as the protectors of the bison. To enter this their land without permission is a great offense. The Dao Cama are the bison people of the Maha Usica. They live as close to the bison as possible, and they emulate the ways of the bison spirit. The natives of this tribe are short in stature. They have thick long torsos with short spindly arms and legs. Their hair is course compared to other tribes. The facial features of the Dao Cama are plain with wide cheekbones and thin lips. Most other tribes of the Maha Usica find the manners of the Dao Cama as unpleasant as their appearance. There is little incentive for tribal intermarriage. The ways of the Dao Cama in replicating the bison spirit has given to them a fearless heart and a ferocious temper. They are easily annoyed. Their manner of dress embellishes these attributes. They are fond of wearing little clothing and often go naked. Their bodies

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are covered with the juice of berries to make the skin appear dark brown in the manner of

“There is an evil come to our land. The buffalo grow weak. They are easy prey for the

a buffalo’s fur. Signs are painted upon face, limb and torso of the lesser spirits adding to

spirit of the bear and wolf.” Warns another member of the council.

a ferocious visual presentation. When cloths are worn these are also dyed dark and

“Such a time is a warning of trouble. Many years ago when the young bison fell with

marked with tribal signs.

fever war came to the land of Dao Cama. Many died in battle. The bison began to

The Dao Cama warriors regularly patrol the boundaries of the land of the bison. Signs of a foreign presence in their nation are continuously sought. The herds of the bison are

disappear. It was great hardship.” Yet a third member speaks. “Our braves watch the bison and protect our borders. What are we to do?” A younger

carefully followed by bands of warriors to provide safety for the buffalo form the

member asks.

predation by bear and wolf.

“We must look for sign from the spirits to lead us!” Announces the leader. “Let every

So large is the land that the Dao Cama need to be a nomadic people. Their camps move from season to season with the preference of the bison. Only near the Maha Usica are

warrior from every camp listen to the winds form the four corners of the sky. Let the earth upon which the bison spirit walks be searched by careful eye. Let our warriors send

larger permanent villages to be found.

report of any unusual sign left by the buffalo. Let the great bison spirit speak!”

In the largest of villages, the council of elders has been called. A dozen or more warriors

The Dao Cama villages are quick to empty of warriors. Just as Na Shawa enters their land

covered with the undisturbed hide of the bison sit in a large council hut about a fire.

many bands numbering 100-150 warriors each are dispersed in search parties. Each party

The head of the council stands. “It is the time of the last birth of the bison before one who

will set it’s own base camp where 20 or so braves will hunt and make provision. The

bring winter arrives.” Only the wrinkled face of the old warrior is to be seen from under

remaining warriors in groups of 8-12 will fan out and sweep over the land in long arches

his buffalo robe. “Every brave must take to the trail of the bison. The way for the coming

like the spokes of a moving wheel.

of new spirits of the bison must be made safe. Every human form of the council is lost under the guise of the bison’s hide. The entire assembly of the council appears less as a human band and more as gathering of hairy

*****

beasts. The council is much concerned for the health of the buffalo herds. The recent progeny has not been strong with much death among the yearling calves. The council fears the welfare of its people should the number of bison continue to decline.

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As Na Shawa sleeps in the camp of the shamanae, Toinanaa’s canoe is moving slowly in

Water flows slowly inward. Within minutes the water level begins to rises. The damage

the night upon the Maha Usica.

cannot be repaired.

“Moon goddess! Direct my travel so that I may best give aide to my people.” She prays

In confusion, Toinanaa paddles furiously but the canoe does not respond. The massive

as her paddle sweeps the dark water to the canoe’s side.

tree limb will not permit the canoe to move. Toinanaa does not understand the fate that is

The darkness of the shoreline she keeps to her left side. The openness of the great lake is kept to her right. Her strokes are soft and muffled. The canoe makes no sound as it glides effortlessly. The bow of the canoes plows through the reflections of countless stars from

upon her. She feels about the slash in the canoe’s bottom. Her hand discovers the wooden protrusion that has caused the damage. She turns to the canoes front and jigs in the water with her paddle. The hardness of the limb is revealed.

the clear night sky. The girl soon masters the mechanics of the movement of a canoe in

Now Toinanaa realizes that the canoe is soon to sink. Her only chance to survive is to

the night. Her hopes begin to swell for a quick return to her father’s camp.

free it and make way to shore. She presses the paddle against a hard spot under the water

Unseen before her path lays a heavy branch that floats just below the surface of the water.

until the canoe shudders once and then moves quickly off.

It was sheered from a tree overhanging the lake by the winds of a past storm. For weeks

Toinanaa’s strokes with the oar are strained as the water inches upward inside the canoe.

the bough has drifted. As it soaks with water, its increasing weight draws it steadily

The craft is slow and cumbersome with the steerage awkward. Toward the darkness of

below until one day it shall rest on the floor of the lake.

shore the Minga maiden paddles. Only the absence of the night sky’s reflection about the

For the first time in days Toinanaa’s head is raised. She tries to recall details of the Huron

land gives the girl direction from her peril upon the lake’s surface. Her progress

to relate to her father. All on the Maha Usica knows the island of the bears. The time of

diminishes as the canoe’s gunnels approach the water level of the lake. Toinanaa decides

the Huron war party’s movement is at dusk and dawn. The direction is aliened with the

that her efforts are best left to swimming and she dives out of the canoe and toward the blackness.

moon. Theses details she will not forget.

Her strides are long and slow. She does not know the true distance to the shoreline nor

Her thoughts return to life. Her mother is not dead, and her sisters are not harmed. The spirits tells this to her. She muses of her first sight of the Gibbawee warrior Capii and his

does she know its true direction. Toinanaa swims toward the blackest part of the horizon. Her ears are tuned for any sound to guide her to the nearest shore.

white rabbit pelt. He will make a good husband. He will be good to her.

After countless strokes, the tops of trees appear mixed with the stars twinkling just above

The abrupt halt of the canoe accompanied by a heavy thud awakes Toinanaa from her

them. The sound of lapping waves upon the shore informs the night swimmer that her

revelry. A sharp point from the submerged bough has pierced the floor of the canoe.

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finish is near. Soon the hand that reaches in front to begin a new stroke is upon gravel

Toinanaa feels the helplessness of the baby bison. Her heart is saddened for the fate that

and sand.

awaits it. She wishes to help while at the same time she needs to continue on towards her

Toinanaa may only crawl from the lake onto the shore. Her she lays in exhaustion from

home with no further delay.

an effort more severe than she was aware. For many minutes the girl remains prostrate

The calf takes Toinanaa’s scent. His eyes widen in fright. He tries to flee. His struggle is

and laboring with heavy breath. As her limbs recover movement, thoughts of returning to

renewed but his strength is long lost. Tears come to Toinanaa’s eyes as she shares the

her people revive her. Why the spirits forced her from the lake she does not know, but

helpless desperation of the creature. Without aide the yearling is doomed without aide her

they have preserved her life so that she may continue her journey. She has no option but

own struggle may be doomed. Toinanaa knows that she can save this lost one.

to follow the shore homeward. Her resolve is undiminished. Toinanaa will not stop until she is with her family.

From the bush she gathers long vines and fashions a chord. She ties one end about the trunk of a nearby tree sapling. With the other end she enters the marsh slowly while

As soon as she may stand, Toinanaa begins to walk. Again she follows the shoreline in

singing a soothing lullaby. The soothing melody calms the beast. About his shoulder she

the cover of night. With the help of the full moon the footpath is made easy. Under tree

manages to bind her rope.

around boulder and thicket the girl travels into the night. Many miles she has walked

First she pulls herself free from the mud, and then she tugs the rope toward her. With

when in the distance she hears the moans of animal in a struggle.

eagerness the calve responds. He makes strides toward her. His progress encourages

The sound is not a cry of pain but one of a call for aide. It is not the growl of the bear or

Toinanaa who pulls with might. The steadiness of his harness provides the animal with

the call of the coyote. She moves cautiously toward the source. She nears. It is not the

enough sure footedness to make to firm land. His loss of strength does not allow him to

moan of the moose or the wine of the deer. Sounds of thrashing mix with the vocal. She

climb. Immediately, Toinanaa returns into the mud and pushes the calf from his

is very near.

hindquarters. With a final shove the calf steps to freedom.

Her approach is heard and the animal responds with frozen silence. Through the night

Toinanaa and her charge are both completely covered in thick black ooze. Both are

Toinanaa spies a small pond. She falls still and stands in silence. A timid snort draws her

exhausted. Neither will rest. Toinanaa walks directly to the Maha Usica and bathes.

attention to a stand of reeds near the pond’s edge. In a wallow of mud a bison calve

The calf follows. He now has great fear of the water. He stands and waits for his adopted

struggles to be free. In an attempt to end its thirst the yearling mistakenly choose a soft

parent.

bank from which to drink. The bank gave way and the bison became trapped in the mire.

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“Go! Follow the scent of your mother!” Toinanaa calls to the shore.

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Her voice only serves to further sooth the beast that remains too frightened to abandon his savior. He only rolls his head in response with his eyes fixed upon the maiden. “It is because of you that I look like a baancro.” She snaps as she dives beneath the water

The remainder of the night passes sweetly for the young Shawa. His rest is complete. He

again.

awakes with energy and eagerness to resume his amah.

She rises with her long black hair in a heavy stream of water. She wipes the moisture

Na Shawa glances to the place where the old one was seated. He is gone and there is no

from her face. “I need to get out of this lake and get to my home.” She remarks to the

sign of his presence. There is no sign of the camp laid by the shamanae this past night.

animal in desperation.

There is however the form of a long black canine slumbering upon it’s back with four

The bison’s tail swings joyfully at her words.

paws folded in the air.

“You do not go!’ She yells. But she is quick to recover her sense of safety with a look

“There you are!” Scolds the boy.

about to see if any one is near. Reassured that she has not called to unwelcome ears, she stands with her hands upon her hips and stares at the beast. “You are stubborn as well! I shall call you Baancro. It is a name you truly have earned.” She states in a more subdued tone.

The great black wolf opens his eyes and turns his head slightly at the hearing of boy’s words. “Where was the great wolf when the black panther was to eat Na Shawa? Where was Shee Madga’s pet when her grandson was taken captive by the Iola Nea and forced to

Toinanaa will continue her trek towards the land of Minga for the balance of the night.

take a tribal marriage?” The boy has much joy with the wolf’s presence and the reminder

Baancro walks close behind her. Near dusk the maiden digs for roots. These she shares with her escort. She makes a cool drink from the sap of the milkweed. This she also

of his home. Ciapa’s long tongue hangs from his mouth. His tails wags ever so slightly in agreement

shares with the young bison. Toinanaa then makes a bed in place where the early morning

with the boy’s sentiment.

sun will wake her in but a few hours. Baancro also seeks a bed nearby where he may Na Shawa shakes his head from side to side as he looks upon his companion. “You did

keep watch upon the gentle maiden.

well to avoid the arrows of the great Shoshanna. Had you staid beside Na Shawa, his squaw would now wear a robe made from black wolf fur.” At the same instant two Dao Cama warriors follow Na Shawa’s moccasin tracks from the *****

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“This one heads into the briar patch.” The lead tracker points the way for the second Dao

Shawa that there is a presence on the far side of the briar patch. There are many such

Cama warrior. Soon six other pursuing warriors are at the edge of the thorn bushes to join

beings moving along the line of the thicket that separates them.

the pair.

It can only be warriors that move in such a way. These warriors must search for him. In

“This one has the spirit of wind. Even the deer can not pass through such growth.” The

silence Na Shawa gathers his belongings. With his fingers he signs to Ciapa to find a trail

leader announces.

of the dear used for escape and to run.

“There is no trail through the thorns for this one to follow.” Says another. “He must be a

The deer move in the forest along many paths. There are paths preferred by the deer to

spirit.”

feed. Other paths lead to shelter, or water. The deer uses some trails only in the mating

“His tracks end just as the briars begin. His sign vanishes just as if he has joined the

season. The routes for escape from danger are made through thickets that give least sight

wind.” Informs a third warrior. “How can we follow?”

and poor footing for a chase. Ciapa has chased many deer. He is soon bounding along a rugged trail that ascends upon

“We must capture this spirit!” The leader insists.

rock and along heavy brush that gives way only by force. Na Shawa follows at the run.

“No man…no beast can move through such entanglement. We must circle around.”

Through narrow gaps between trees, and under hanging boughs the boy trails the fleet

Another warrior points to the long line of dense impenetrable growth filled with thorn.

hound.

“The spirit may back track and avoid us.”

The approaching band of the Dao Cama is unaware of Na Shawa’s escape way. The ears,

The leader nods in agreement. “We shall form a line along the stand of thorn and keep watch. Soon we shall be joined by our brothers.” Another arm of Dao Cama is sweeping

eyes and nose of the wolf easily find clearance through the out stretched arms of the search party.

toward the thorn patch from the other side. Ciapa jumps to a stance. He has heard the long muffled tones spoken by the Dao Cama guard. Excitedly the wolf moves in a semicircle coming to a stop as he locates the sound

However, even the great Ciapa may not hide the past trail from the eyes of every Dao Cama warrior. Soon the number of braves that follow Na Shawa grows to nearly fifty. His pursuers are as fine a runner as the wolf. The band of pursuers soon makes a

of a shuffle of the warrior’s feet upon the distant ground. Na Shawa is concerned for the alarm of his companion. He turns to face the direction that

complete encirclement of the boy and his wolf. In a small clearing the wolf comes to stop and circles. He finds no way that is clear by

holds the wolf’s interest. He listens for some sound to penetrate through the jungle of briars behind them. Each perception that brings the wolf’s body to a rigid stance informs

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sound or scent. Na Shawa realizes that he is soon to be captive. He is anxious for some

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idea. He recalls the advice from his father that when surprised by an enemy to act in an unpredictable way.

“I am husband to the daughter of the great chief of the Iola Nea.” He brags. “I am grandson of the daughter of a great chief of the Locanomee.” More aplomb is

He instructs Ciapa to dig for himself a borough in soft earth. Here the wolf is told to hide

offered.

until all have passed. Na Shawa covers the entrance to the borough with brush. He then

“I have slept in the camp of the shamanae.” Some intimidation is added

quickly makes a large fire in a small open upon which he burns moist green leaves. At

“Let the winds carry my voice to all nations of the Maha Usica. The spirits call me to

once a heavy thick smoke rises from the fire above the treetops.

follow the black hawk as he passes through the nations whose mother is Maha Usica. I

Every pursuing Dao Cama warrior is immediately aware of the smoke and the place of

ask the spirit mother of the great lake to make passage for me as I do the will of the

Na Shawa’s campfire. They are bewildered and approach with much caution. Before their

spirits.” Blatant begging does not deter the Dao Cama but their respect for the words of

eyes appear a tall naked warrior dancing through the dense smoke and flame in a

the intruder into their homeland can be no greater.

cleansing ritual unknown to them.

Na Shawa has no more to show. He lowers his arms and turns unflinchingly to view his

Na Shawa baths himself in the white smoke. He leaps across the fire with his hands out stretch and clasping as if in chase to capture a spirit contained in the fumes of the fire. He acts oblivious to all about him. Even Ciapa in his den is mesmerized by the unexplained antics of the boy.

captors. His eyes search for their leader. A smallish rugged warrior with a barrel sized chest steps forth. “You are captive of the Dao Cama.” He shouts so all the spirits may hear his words. “The bison spirits commands us to watch this land. The Dao Cama obey the will of the bison

The Dao Cama close about the woodland clearing. Shoulder to shoulder they stand with their weapons lowered to their side. Respectfully they wait. It would anger the spirits if they interfered with the prayer rites of this lone warrior.

spirit.” The warrior again shouts so his words are carried upon the winds so all spirits who listen to the Locanomee may under stand. “Tether him by the hand and the neck but not the legs.” The leader gives order. “Bind

Na Shawa is aware that the Dao Cama stand in observance. They have formed a ring

him so that he may not turn into a spirit. He must face the great council of the Dao

about him. Na Shawa stops his dance and stands as if in a trance. He calls out is his

Cama.”

native tongue while making great sign with his hands for those that see to read.

The forced march into the main camp of the Dao Cama is swift. By mid afternoon, Na

“I am son of the hawk spirit.” The warriors read.

Shawa stands before the bison people’s assembly in the council hut. But he is not alone.

“I carry the spirit of the black panther.” Na Shawa’s signs convey.

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A small ragged tribe lives north beyond the steep slopes. It is their custom to exile

The entire village witnesses the exile’s fate. The Doa Cama believe his screams release

troubled members of their tribe to a fate within the lands of the Dao Cama. Some exiles

his evil spirit to be consumed by the flames and never to be returned to the earth. His

are permitted to join the tribe of the Dao Cama, some are permitted to pass out of their

open entrails release the spirit of any bison he may have consumed. At the death of the

nation, while others are not well received. This youth from the north has been caught

exile, hot coals are placed over the corpse and it is consumed by fire.

after slaughtering a bison calf. He fate is to be decreed by tribal law.

Such horror is the first witnessed by the young Shawa. He has heard of such rites. Indeed

Both captives stand before the aged council chief.

his own people have tortures for captured hated enemies. The fear of his own treatment at

“I had a dream in which the death bird stood upon the carcass of the bison while a black hawk with red wings passed in the sky.” The old one speaks in harsh tones. His knurled

the hands of the Dao Cama is great but his belief in the power of his amah is greater. He shows no weakness. He stands before the Dao Cama awaiting his judgment.

finger points to the warrior exiled from the hills. “You have brought death and harm to

The villagers then form a pair of long lines that reach over 1000 feet in length. The men

my people. The bison spirit you have taken must be released.” His hand drops with

women and children gather switches and clubs and stand shoulder to shoulder. Na Shawa

finality to show the prisoner’s end is to come.

remains naked. He must run through the entire gauntlet as the Dao Cama beat upon his

The eyes of the old chief turn upon Na Shawa. “You wear the feathers of the bird of my dream. You have not harmed the bison.” He pauses. His words are not gentle. His hand does not show finality. “The meaning of the hawk in my vision is yet to be told. It shall be for the bison spirit to render your fate.” He makes sign of the gauntlet over Na Shawa

body. If he fails to finish the run then he is to die. If he refuses to run then he is to die. If his spirit shows weakness in his torture then he is to die. Even if he survives the run he may yet die. The gauntlet ends just before the council lodge where the chief sits.

and the sign of the stake over the exile. The two captives are taken to the field about the camp where a large wooden stake stands within the ground. The exile is stripped naked and bound with leather straps to the post.

*****

His abdomen is slit open with a knife so that his entrails fall before him to the ground. While yet alive a fire is set about him so the flames do not reach his body but the heat of the fire pours about him. He is roasted alive.

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“I must get to a village near the great lake and get use of a canoe.” Toinanaa tells

The looping run continues until the calf comes to stop in the meadow’s midst with heavy

Baancro. “I can only be a few hours of paddling from my father’s village.” Her words are

breathing. Here he pauses with one eye on the girl and the other on the way to the bison

desperate.

herd.

The yearling calf listens but makes no hesitation as he leads the young maiden along a

“You will not fit into my canoe.” The girl smiles at the baby bison’s predicament.

path that stays near the shoreline. His pace is not slow or so hurried as to tire his

Baancro does not respond.

companion. With ease he finds selects a smooth trail upon firm ground to leave little sign of their passing.

“We must part sometime.” There is sadness in her words. ‘It is good.” The girl turns away from the bison and continues her march.

Step by step, Toinanaa becomes the one who surrenders. She becomes dependant on the young bison. She knows that she is safe in the bison’s presence. She relies on the calf to

Baancro eyes follow the tall lovely maiden as she disappears at the edge of the meadow into the bush.

make the journey swift. Toinanaa is not far from sight when the rush of the calf past her sends the maiden falling By and by the two travelers arrive within a soft meadow where the tracks of many bison

to the ground. He stops abruptly beside her. His heart pounds within his chest in fright.

are to be found. “Here Baancro! You must join your kind.” States the girl as the small The maiden is touched by his baby’s need. She sees him as too young to walk off alone.

bison stops to measure the scents left by the herd.

“I would hug you but you are too filthy.” The girl recovers from her fall. “I shall find the “Go! Find them. Find your mother!” Toinanaa states firmly as she points to the distance

herd for you to see then you must go…else I shall take a switch after you.”

so that the bison is to understand. The two continue to trail east along the shore as a gentle rain commences. Baancro leads Baancro watches as the maiden takes the time during this break in their march to groom her long black hair. The bison youth gazes over the meadow into the woods beyond

on. Over dell and rise they walk, the one comforted by the presence of the other. In early afternoon the calf takes scent of an approaching search party along the lake’s shore. The

through which the heard has departed. He takes the scent of Toinanaa’s hair as she

band seeks the sign of any canoe’s landing.

brushes it. In a confused moment the bison dashes about the meadow in a closed loop. The bison quickly turns inland at a heightened pace with Toinanaa running behind. Her

Racing form far edge and back to Toinanaa, his tiny hoofs flinging dirt.

toes fall in the tracks of the bison. Her trail vanishes. The long arm of the Dao Cama band “You are free!“ She calls after the beast.

forces the pair deep inland to escape detection. Only the trail of the lone bison is to be seen.

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Toinanaa is unaware of the cause for Baancro’ s flight. She accepts his decision and

The villagers keep watch for the signal from their chief. All eyes are fixed on his raised

moves with conviction that the change in course and speed is necessary.

hand. They wait but the start of the ceremony does not come. An apparition in the distance directly behind Na Shawa seizes the old man. The buffalo hide falls from the shoulders of old chief to lie upon the ground. Thin arms and legs that support a swollen abdomen are exposed. His body is covered in a dark skin

*****

much wrinkled by age. The chief’s body quivers by the sight before him. The consternation of their chief has given cause for the villagers to share his line of sight. All become subdued. Never in the history of the Dao Cama has such a sight been The execution of the exile has raised the lust for blood of the villagers. Few who are

presented.

forced to run the gauntlet survive at such a time. The pathway through this torture is

Upon the trail leading through the center of the village and towards the council lodge

viewed by the Dao Cama as a test of the will of one’s spirit to remain within the body. A weak spirit will chose death.

walks Toinanaa with the bison calf at her side. Every eye but Shawa’s stare at her every move.

Na Shawa is placed at the beginning of his run just as a soft rain descends. The long line of the gauntlet rises up a grade to its finish just before the buffalo council’s lodge. The

“I told you they might eat both of us.” Toinanaa says to the calf. “This is not a wise choice that you have forced upon us.

fate of Na Shawa is held by the torture that waits before him and the watch of the council. The calf has led, prodded and intimidated his surrogate mother along the path into the Na Shawa stands ready. He says a prayer to the spirits. “Let not my mother grieve. Let

village.

my father be proud in the way of his son’s dying.” The boy wonders if his fate was “It is too late. All see us now.” Toinanaa states as she views the spectators gathered

foretold in his grandmother’s vision.

before them. The girl’s back straightens. The calf walks nonchalantly by her side. The old chief stands with one hand raised so that it may to be lowered to commence Na Shawa’s torture. The old one waits. His eyes scan the lines of the gauntlet and the naked

The change in the mood of the camp confuses Na Shawa. All have lost interest in him. He turns behind to see what has distracted his captives. Toward him walks a tall maiden

warrior who is soon to face great hardship.

of long and slender form. Beside her hobbles a small bison.

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“Baina! Baina!” Calls the old chief in a hysterical voice as he and the council members

The great spirit of the buffalo itself descends to earth only in the form of the white

course down the lines of the gauntlet toward Na Shawa.

buffalo. The appearance of the white buffalo is a time of great blessing to the bison and

There is no voice or sound from the Dao Cama but that of the old chief. “Baina! Baina!”

the bison people. In the history of the Dao Cama only one white buffalo has ever been seen and only by a few chosen warriors many generations before now. Never has an

he repeats as he stumbles in a hurried fashion.

entire village ever been so blessed.

The eyes of the old chief are swollen and locked upon the sight of the maiden and her calf. He vibrates with excitement unbridled. As the council moves past Na Shawa into the

The council of the Dao Cama is at a loss as how to proceed. They search the form of the maiden to see if she is pure spirit or mortal. The long form and appearance of the girl

open before the approaching Toinanaa, the chief comes to a stop.

intimidates the most hearty of the Dao Cama. The chief is lost in the heavenly

Toinanaa is amazed by the villager’s response to her entrance. All are silent. Only the

transformation of the Great Spirit. He studies the visitation of the girl.

chief shows emotion. He is overjoyed. Toinanaa does not understand. No words are spoken as the girl and the young bison arrive and stand before the view of

Baancro is most content at the maiden’s side and is indifferent to this indigenous population of mankind.

the buffalo council. The eyes of the chief are fixed upon the young bison he gives no notice to the maiden. With out stretched arms he alone moves close to Baancro. His eyes

“I am Toinanaa of the Minga!” She places her hand on the bison calf’s head much to the animal’s delight. “This is Baancro my friend who brings me to your village.” Her tender

move over and over the features of the calf. His hands reach to touch the fur upon the back of the calf but at the last instant he restrains himself. The old man falls to his knees

voice and warm smile give cause for the calf to snort playfully. “He leads me to you. I

as though he where wounded. His hands cover his face. All of the Doa Cama follow.

have come to give warning that you may save your people.” Her words are directed to the

Without exception every knee is bent save that of Na Shawa and Toinanaa.

chief. The rough voice of the chief barks so that all may hear. “The Doa Cama welcomes the

“Baina! Baina!” The old chief announces as his head rises to again view the calf.

great spirit Baancro and his chosen maiden.”

The light rain has covered the ground and the back of the bison calf as well. The thick dried mud that had layered upon the young bison during his entrapment has softened and has begun to fall off its head, shoulders and back revealing patches of white fur. Baancro is a white buffalo.

With these words the villagers close in about the council and the bison. Na Shawa is ignored but he too realizes that a great moment in the history of the Maha Usica unfolds. “The Huron raid upon the villages of our great water.” Toinanaa cries aloud.

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There is no emotion displayed, as the people have not recovered from the arrival of the

Toinanaa knows this marriage is meant to bind her. A husband is intended to be her

white buffalo.

personal captor. Toinanaa eyes search among the men in the village. The tall form of a young naked warrior towers over the Dao Cama. “This must be another captive.” She

Toinanaa is dismayed by the lack of response. “They come to take captive your

says quietly to herself.

daughters. They shall collect your women to father the next generation of Huron warriors.” She says with bitterness and contempt.

“This one!” She points to Na Shawa.

No response is given to her words. The old chief ponders the village obligations to

“He is no member of our tribe…choose another.” The old chief cries angrily.

Baancro. It is forbidden for any to touch or interfere with the white buffalo. Yet the bison god has chosen the Minga girl. “You will stay with the Dao Cama.” He points to the

“I have chosen!” The Minga maiden states defiantly. “She bends over and hugs the bison calf. “Baancro wishes it so.”

Toinanaa. “You shall have the council’s lodge for your head.”

The calf steps into her arms with affection.

“The Huron come! You must prepare.” Toinanaa pleads.

To touch the living god is instant death for the Dao Cama. The maiden shows great

“The presence of our buffalo god, Baancro is all the protection we need…call every

power with the bison god. The chief will not risk Baancro’s anger. “It is to be so!”

member of the Doa Cama nation into our camp.” He signals to his council.

He points to summon the Locanomee warrior into their presence.

Na Shawa has become invisible to his captors in their fervor to view the white buffalo.

Toinanaa eyes widen at the sight of the naked Shawa. “Is he beggar or chief, scoundrel or

The message of the girl gives him alarm. His people will also be in danger.

hero?” She questions quietly to herself. “His arms and legs are lean. His stature is

“I must leave to give help to my people.” Toinanaa declares.

princely. He needs a bath!” Her silent thoughts flow as he is led toward her.

The hand of the chief rises in protest. “You may not leave! The Baina has chosen you.

“You are to be husband to this maiden,” the chief growls.

The chief turns to his people. “Let our warriors make a ring about the camp to keep all

The beauty of Toinanaa’s face, the loveliness of her maiden form, and the freedom from

but our people to enter or leave”.

torture give cause for the boy to withhold any protest.

“My people have been attacked by the Huron…many are dead.” Toinanaa insists.

“You are to be called, Mother of the Baina.” The chief says to Toinanaa. “And you shall

The chief pays no attention to her words. “You must chose a warrior from this camp as your protector. You must marry. Choose anyone!” He orders the maiden.

be called, One Who Follows the Keeper of the Baina.” The voice of the chief carries finality.

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Na Shawa and Toinanaa stand together before the chief of the Dao Cama.

taken from the back of the neck. This is the toughest part of the bison skin and is given only as a special gift. The arrow quiver is decorated with he most sacred signs of the Dao

The old chief collects dirt from the ground before them and mixes it with his spittle. Upon the foreheads of the couple he places a mark with the mud. “You both shall walk this earth as one before the Great Spirit from this day.” The chief then holds one thumb of

Cama. Further, he is given a complete unblemished buffalo hide. His marriage to the maiden of the white buffalo grants him a membership with the ruling elite.

Toinanaa together with one thumb of Na Shawa in his left hand. With his knife he makes

Alone within their wedding lodge for the first time, the couple struggles to greet each

a small cut on each thumb of the couple then holds their wounded fingers to let the blood

other.

from one mix with the blood of the other. “You both shall live upon this earth sharing the same blood. You both share the same spirit.”

‘Thank you for sparing my life.” Na Shawa says warmly. Toinanaa is uncomfortable as the adopted mother to a bison calf. She is now captive of

The chief steps back and declares to the tribe. “It is down. Mother of Baina and One Who Follows the Keeper of the Baina are wed into the nation of the Doa Cama.” The cheers

the Doa Cama and married to a man of which she has no knowing or to whom she has given no consent to be wife. She is desperate to escape and return to her family. Toinanaa

from the villagers are warm.

is not pleased. “Are you a chief of your people?” She asks dryly. “No!” His answer is simple and unapologetic. ”Where is your home? In what direction from here?” Toinanaa’s tone is demanding.

*****

“West! My people are the Locanomee.” The boy answers proudly. “My home is to the east. What brings you to into this land?” Her words are marked with suspicion.

The newly married couple is taken to the lodge of the council. Here they are washed and

“I am on my journey into manhood. I become warrior of my people.” The tall lad stands

prepared. A great feast is being readied. The sun wanes on the horizon. Toinanaa dresses

fully upright to emphasize his stature.

in the finest skirt and blouse of the Doa Cama tradition. Her relationship to the white

The young maiden’s expression turns to one of forlorn.

buffalo will place her forever in Dao Cama lore.

“I do not hold you bound as a wife.” Na Shawa says to relive the girl’s distress.” We act

Na Shawa recovers his belongings. He dresses as a Locanomee warrior. He is given a

only to save our lives. We shall escape! You will be free to return to your village.”

Dao Cama rucksack to hold arrows. It is made from the section of the hide of a bison 153

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“I am bound by my promise to the Great Spirit. I cannot marry another. The mixing of our blood is sacred to the Minga. I can take no other warrior as husband while you live.” Her fate is sealed. Her hope to bring aide to her people is gone.” “I shall follow you. It is the way of my people.”

The entire nation of the Dao Cama has gathered to celebrate the arrival of the white buffalo. The fires are large in the village. Most gather in tribal dance. Drums beat all about the village to lead one great chant that fills the air.

Shawa’s eyes see the loss of all dreams from young maiden’s face. Her fear for family is shared by Shawa’s spirit. Yet her words confuse him. “You will not return to your people even if free to do so?”

Much food warms upon the fire pits of the camp…the meat of buffalo, goat, deer and wild pig is offered in abundance. An intoxicating liquid made from meal and honey is consumed in moderation. Much cheer and visitation among the gathered nation ensues

“No! I now belong to you. I may only serve your needs.” She bends her head in the

under the watch of the camp’s guard.

manner of her tribe as a wife responds to a husband’s request.

The buffalo council sits in a semicircle before a large gathering. The women take much

“If we leave here, you will follow me west?”

rank from personal service to members of this council. Food and drink is never absent. One woman or another who is anxious to be seen among the buffalo warriors is

“Yes.” The girls answers softly. “You were never in my vision.” The boy hesitates. “The spirits may not allow a wife to

continuously offering repast. Shawa sits among the buffalo council. He watches the parade of dancers and merry

accompany one on his amagh.” Shawa ponders the pouch from the lake carried by the wolf, Ciapa to his grand mother. “Shee Madga has warning of the Huron.” The boy

makers that swirl in the council’s view.

speaks quietly to himself.

Toinanaa sits before the council with armed escort. Baancro rests at her side.

“You will absolutely follow my wishes?” Shawa is unfamiliar with the way of a wife.

Through the evening and well into the night the number in the camp swell as the Doa

“Yes.” Toinanaa answers.

Cama nation continues to gather. A light mist rises from the dampness of the day. The full shining moon continues to light the pathways through midnight. Late in the night a commotion at the distant edge of the camp brings the festivities to an abrupt end. A warrior has attached a young woman. The extra camp guard has responded

*****

to the muffled cries a young girl as she was being dragged from one circle of villagers.

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A man with his wrists tied is forcibly conveyed before the council. The angry parents

The child pauses to recall the purpose of her speech. She does not look at the buffalo

accompany the guard. Concerned family members of the captive arrive as well.

council but her eyes search for escape in the face of the full moon.

The chief rises with his hands raised to call to quiet his people as the harried entourage

“I was sitting at my mother’s side. My mother rose to dance. Someone’s hand closed my

presents itself before him.

mouth and I was made to go into the woods…I did not see the man!” The girl begins to shake with fear. She tries to resume but the power of her emotion overcomes her. She

“What means this disturbance?” The old chief asks. The leader of the native guard steps before the council. “This one has forced his attention

turns and buries herself in the bosom of her mother. ”Enough!” The chief motions the child to be removed. The eyes of the chief fall upon the

upon a young maiden.” The guard points to a middle-aged warrior form the camp.

commander of the guard.

The old chief eyes settle upon the bound warrior. “Nishgook!” “This one has taken my daughter. She is no woman but is yet a child.” An angry warrior points to a woman who brings forth a young girl of age 9. The small girl’s face is bruised, and her shirt is torn. The little one stands before the council in shock with her mother’s

“The sentry nearby the girl’s lodge heard the frightened moans of this girl. He arrived to find the child beaten and laying upon the ground.” The commander turns and points to Nishgook. “This one fled…he was pursued and captured.” The chief’s expression has never changed. “Does any member of the bison council wish

arms about her. “Nishgook is a good father and a brave warrior.” A woman cries from behind. “The child has always teased the men of the camp…She has the spirit of the dog.” Hysteria from the

to make questions?” One member rises. “Did the guard note if Nishgook’s spirit was lost by too much drink?”

girl’s family gives ways to cries of injury and insult.

The commander calls forth the warrior who discovered the girl as she was attacked.

The chief raises both hands. The crowd falls silent.

“Nishgook was possessed by an angry spirit. His eyes were large and swollen red. His body poured sweat heavily without labor. His breath was deep and troubled. His strength

“Let the child speak!” Commands the chief.

was as many.”

The small girl moves closer accompanied by her parents. The father whispers into the

“When I arrived it required several warriors to hold this one. The fowl smell of an evil

child’s ear. “I was watching the dancers near the lodge of my father. My mother said I did not have to make sleep early this night but I must share the magic of the white

spirit rose from his body.” The commander of the guard adds.

buffalo.”

“Did you recognize this odor?” The chief asks. “Is it now upon his body?”

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The commander walks to the prisoner. He shoves Nishgook to his knees and smells the warrior’s hair. “Never have I smelled such…there is yet a faint scent upon his hair.”

The medicine man nods in agreement. “We have no power to remove such evil.” Another member of the council stands upon the moment. “Do you have the power to

The chief nods to the commander. Immediately a large swathe of Nishgook’s hair is cut

prevent such a spirit from returning to Nishgook?”

free and carried to the chief.

“This spirit is not common to our people. It only visits Nishgook.” The medicine man

The face of the chief puckers from revulsion as his nose inspects the lock of Nishgook’s

responds.

hair. One by one each council member so inspects.

The chief points toward Nishgook and summons him forward. With hands bound and

Na Shawa is the last to receive the parcel of Nishgook’s hair for inspection. He places the hair over the end of his nose and draws air slowly. A pungent smell of sulfur mixed with the sweet putrid scent offends him. “It is the smell of decay…the smell of deep illness.” The boy exclaims out loud as he informs Toinanaa at the distance.

tethered about the neck by two guards, Nishgook is pulled forth the face the council. A small warrior with over grown belly stands before the council with head bent. His arms and legs show much strength. Dark hair mixed with gray hangs in disarray about his head. Nishgook eyes do not rise from the ground. His face is bloody from the blows of

“Let the medicine men see to the body of Nishgook.” The chief commands.

his captors.

Several men clad in special regalia upon their heads and shoulders appear and circle

The chief has long known Nishgook. Their fathers were great friends and they have spent

about the captive. They pry and poke and feel about Nishgook for several minutes. Then

much time in each other’s lodge. Such offense to a female of tender years is serious.

they gather privately for conference.

“Speak!” The chief asks his friend.

The senior medicine man approaches the council. He wears a garland of herbs made from

Nishgook shakes his head without response.

wild garlic about his neck, legs, arms and wrists. The skin of a large water moccasin

The chief looks to the members of Nishgook’s family to speak in his defense. “The

bands his head. He is mostly naked with his body painted in black and white signs of the

council wishes to hear words spoken in behalf of Nishgook.” The chief points to the wife

spirits he has called and exorcised from villagers over the past many years. In his right

of Nishgook.

hand he carries a rattle made from the skull of a large snake.

“He is a good father…a good provider…a good husband.” The woman cries. “This is not

“We find no wound or soar upon Nishgook’s body. The scent of evil death is left upon

my husband who attacks this girl. The evil spirit must belong to the child!” She declares

him.”

hysterically.

“You say he was possessed by an evil spirit?” The chief asks.

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“My brother, Nishgook has fought bravely against the enemies of the Dao Cama.”

“All men search the beauty in a woman young or old.” A third member adds. “Is there

Another family member adds.

not one member of council that has not seen the beauty of the maiden, the Mother of Baina?”

The old chief waves his hand with finality. There will be no more words from the villagers. The council retires within the lodge to decide if Nishgook is guilty of breaking the law of the Dao Cama. Only the council can pronounce guilt or innocence. Final

Much discord is raised by many words of the council spoken now at the same time. The chief raises his hand for silence. He pauses as the council regains composure.

justice is to be decided only by the chief.

“We can not judge that which is carried in a warrior’s heart. This is the business of the

The mood within the lodge of the buffalo council is somber. The members sit about

spirits.” The chief instructs his council. “The attack upon the child is the only cause to be

forming an oval. The chief speaks. “Our brother, Nishgook is charged with bringing great harm to a child of the bison people. The council must decide if Nishgook is responsible or this act is due solely to the presence of an evil spirit.”

tried here.” “Has there never been such a crime committed among the Dao Cama before?” Asks Na Shawa.

The chief’s silence is followed by much contemplation by the council. After several long

“It has been many summers since but yes one warrior brought harm upon a young boy.”

moments the quiet is broken. Chinkatuek comments. “I am Chinkatuek.” The oldest member of the council speaks with a clear strong voice. “I “What was his punishment?” The chief asks of Chinkatuek.

am sitting on this council before many here came to the womb of their mother.” The speaker pauses as he looks into the eye of each member. “I have shared this council with

“He was forever banished from the lands of the buffalo people.”

many of your fathers who now walk in the spirit world.” All give their attention to

“Did this one have a family…wife…children?” A member inquires.

Chinkatuek’s words. “No man acts as a beast among the children of his people. Only an

Chinkatuek is straining to recall. “He was a lone warrior…an orphan…a young warrior.”

evil spirit consumes the innocence of a child. The man Nishgook is innocent.” “We cannot banish an entire family for the act of one!” Insists another member. “He looks at all women in the camp with a bad heart!” Explodes another member of the The chief calls out. “Is the man guilty or is an evil spirit guilty? This is the question

camp. “My wife is anxious to be free of his presence for she feels his eyes search upon

before the council.”

her body. His heart is filled with much desire for the woman. His hunger does not end

“How do we know it could be an evil spirit? What spirit would possess a man so?” Asks

with his marriage.”

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“The words of the guards describe a man possessed.” Answers Chinkatuek. “The odor of

blow of the tomahawk is delivered across the face of Nishgook. Instantaneous death

evil comes when a bad spirit enters the body…just as when fever comes.”

follows and the body of Nishgook falls to the ground in an awkward prone position.

“Has there been any other of the village who carries such a spirit?” Asks the chief.

No words are spoken. The chief extends his right arm as signal to the villagers. He then

Unanimously the council members answer no.

makes a grasping motion as he closes his fist followed by a slow opening.

“Then we agree that only a bad spirit gives such scent and conduct to a man.” The chief

One by one the villagers march pass the dead form of Nishgook. Each person stoops to grasp a handful of dirt to be deposited upon the dead man. No one from the village is

pauses. “If any disagree let him speak!”

exempt from this burial ritual save the members of the buffalo council.

The lodge waits as the vote is cast by silence. No one speaks against this judgment.

Na Shawa stands with the council as the people pass before them in a burial march. He

“The council finds the man, Nishgook innocent of the charge.” The chief declares.

takes sense of the responsibility of the council and the right of each villager to share in Na Shawa is very disturbed by the absence of justice for the girl child who has been

their judgment.

harmed and her family. He keeps his silence. He knows that this man Nishgook may well The place where Nishgook has fallen will be his final burial place. Later heavy flat stones

find another victim in the future.

will cover this place so that the villagers may walk without touching his grave and the “The council finds the child harmed by an evil spirit!” Declares the chief. “Nishgook

evil spirit will so be entombed for all time.

must die!” Toinanaa watches the burial procession. As Nishgook’s body is covered the mood of the None but Na Shawa is surprised by the chief’s words.

camp changes. Gaiety is replaced by sadness and remorse. The villagers return one by

“The spirit lives yet within Nishgook.” Chinkatuek adds in agreement.

one to their lodges.

The council returns outside to face the village. They stand tall before all eyes so that the

The celebrations of the Dao Cama may last for days. Tonight the loss of Nisgook will be

people may see their faces and judge their actions as true.

mourned. Tomorrow all lamentation will cease, as the festival of the white buffalo will

No words are spoken. The chief looks first to the commander and makes a slashing

return with vigor.

motion across the bridge of his face. The chief then points to Nishgook. The commander

Na Shawa and his bride, Toinanaa enter the buffalo lodge to spend the first night as

immediately moves to the captive and forces Nishgook again to his knees. One swift hard

husband and wife. It is quite late. Dawn is but a few hours away. The mist about the camp is now quite thick.

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“Does my husband wish us to sleep?” Asks Toinanaa coyly. She points to a mattress of

sends all warriors in pursuit of the white buffalo. The trail is soon lost but the Dao Cama

buffalo hides spread upon the lodge floor.

warriors race to the east.

“I must continue my amagh! It is my duty to the spirits of my ancestors.” Na Shawa

“We are not free! The Dao Cama pursue us now.” Na Shawa informs his wife as he turns

answers with hesitation for he fears leaving Toinanaa behind and left to the mercy of the

directly to the shortest way into the hills and out of the Dao Cama nation. Toinanaa

village’s chief.

moves quickly at the follow leaving Baancro.

“I shall make this journey with you!” Toinanaa answers dutifully.

“Go to your mother now! The villagers will watch you. You shall be free.” Toinanaa calls

“We both need to travel east. I shall find a way to send you on to your people. No wife or any other human share my visions. This is the choice of the spirits.”

to the calf as she parts. Baancro senses his loss. He stands frozen as his maiden mother departs the meadow. He will not follow. The grunting of a nearby bison herd is close.

As the two proceed in discourse, the snorts of Baancro call into the lodge. Toinanaa moves to the door. “Can you lead us away?” She asks the calf. The white bison calf makes much shaking and stamping in response. The mist has grown so deep about the camp that only a few steps ahead are to be seen. Baancro leads the pair from the buffalo lodge, through the camp and past the sentries. His nose remains just above the ground as he travels a pathway of scent into the fields and woods east of the Doa Cama’s camp. Toinanaa follows with her one hand holding the tail of the bison calf and the other grasping the hand her husband. No sound is made as the trio make escape. Baancro is quick to find the tracks of a buffalo herd making in the direction needed by his maiden mother. The sign of their trail is soon lost to even the best tracker. The direction of their travel is not however. At dawn the trio is within sight of the range of hills that make the eastern border of the Dao Cama nation. In the village of the buffalo council, their absence is noted. The chief 165

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There is abundant water here in stream and pond. Few waterways are crystal clear where the fish may be seen moving upon the bottom. Most are turned dark brown, orange or a

Chap 5

reddish color from the dissolved sulfur and iron mineral content. This mix of large wasteland and small isolated garden has collected bands of natives from every shore of the Maha Usica. Sections occupied by one native band or another partition Leeote

the Leeote. Each band keeping their original traditions and each band selecting it’s own chief. The Leeote is a nation formed by the casual alliance of small tribes. The Leeote is a land of castaways. There is little upon the Leeote to bring the visit from the warriors of the neighboring nations. In fact the spirits of the Leeote are considered bereft of worth and all outsiders avoid the land. The Dao Cama fear the passage of the spirits of the Leeote into their land and fiercely keep their border closed. The tribes of the Leeote find meager hunting and fishing within their homeland. Much wealth is taken from the great lake itself. However the numbers among the tribes are small. The confederation of local tribes is not a powerful force. It acts as a mediating body for serious disputes of the peoples of the Leeote. The adjoining nations need have no fear from the Leeote. A rim of rugged hills with rocky high walls forms the border between the Dao Cama and

The land to the east of the hills that bound the Dao Cama nation is a maze of ridges and gorges. Sections of lush green vegetation mixed with stretches of scrubland composed of

the Leeote. A narrow river runs the length of these hills and forms a green valley just within the Leeote proper. Small streams branch from this river to form a network of green ravines that spread like a spider’s web through the Leeote.

rocky soil where few trees may grow but the weedy bush does flourish.

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The pathways through the hills at the edge of the Dao Cama are few and narrow. Into

The trailing arrows now fall just short of their aim, as Shawa and his woman mark the hill

these hills Na Shawa leads his bride, Toinanaa to escape the pursuing Dao Cama

top just yards ahead. From along the steepest ridge the pair is but a few steps from

warriors.

arriving on the flat top. Here only a descent to freedom remains. They maneuver to avoid the falling arrow.

Several bands of warriors are swift in the chase after the white buffalo and his maiden mother. In the meadow where Baancro has taken his leave of Toinanaa, the following

At the summit, Shawa and Toinanaa pause for an instant to gauge their options. In horror,

warriors have read the signs. A handful of Dao Cama will patiently track Baancro. The

they see the only other descending path full of the advancing Dao Cama warriors from

remaining warriors will move in three prongs to block the escape of Na Shawa, and

the second chase party. They are trapped! There is not a trail free of their captors. To the

Toinanaa.

right Na Shawa looks below. A steep rock wall falls vertically for some two hundred feet. At the bottom lies the boundary river of the Leeote.

One force will stay upon the trail of the pair, one to move by a shorter path to gain the height among the hills before the arrival of Na Shawa, and Toinanaa. The third is to move

Without hesitation, Na Shawa pulls his maiden after him as he steps of the precipice. Out

up from the south to eliminate retreat.

into the air from the summit Toinanaa follows at her man’s request. With one step the

Na Shawa moves in accordance with the path of the hawk from his visions. Straight up

pair is in free fall.

and to the east the pair moves without delay. The rise is gradual at first. The long narrow

The Dao Cama warriors line the ridges to the summit. In full view they watch the pair

path ascends from among the dense brush upward along stonewall and between fissures.

leap off the cliff and away from their grasp.

From below the whoops and cries of the angry Dao Cama are loosed as they spy the two

During the long descent the wind flings the hair of Toinanaa straight upward in a defiant

rising fugitives. The chase is now at full sprint. The Doa Cama dash onward as they close

salute to her pursuers who stand amazed and mesmerized. So long in time is their fall that

ground steadily. Alarmed, Na Shawa, and Toinanaa hasten to make their escape. The

the fight of the kestrel passes under the outspread arms of Na Shawa as it makes after

slope of the pathway becomes too steep for them to run. Their strides become long and

doves frightened off the high perches of the cliff.

labored. Hand in hand the two pull and push one another toward the hilltop and hopeful escape. Moment by moment their effort increases in difficulty. The Dao Cama move with great agility from below. The distance of separation lessens to the range of the arrow. The occasional impatient archer stops to test his bow.

There is only silence from above as the pair plunges into the deep water moving slowly below the cliff from which they stepped. As two escapees rise to the surface of the river and begin a swim to shore, the assembled Dao Cama warriors erupt in cheer. Wildly they wave in salute. Their screams of delight

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ring the hillside. The bravery and daring of Na Shawa has filled their hearts. Hysteria

slept he entered the camp and slit the throat of the warrior he suspected of slaying his

persists as Na Shawa raises his one free arm to return their salutes. Toinanaa has never let

dog.

loose of Na Shawa’s hand even as they turn and stride into the woods of the Leeote and vanish from the sight of the Dao Cama.

The Plata warriors in return sought out a lone member of the Boca. This happened to be an older warrior tending his meager crops. He was slain. The family of the old warrior

The heroics of Na Shawa in his escape will long be told in the villages of the Dao Cama.

also extracted revenge upon the Plata. The blood feud has grown so that none of the two

The Dao Cama in Na Shawa’s honor will forever call the place on high from which Na

tribes dare to venture out of their respective camp alone. The loss of life and the

Shawa made his escape ‘Place of the Lacanomee’s Leap’.

disturbance to tribal maintenance of the Plata and the Boca causes both much distress. Na Shawa and Toinanaa walk into the Leeote away from the main river. They follow a small quiet stream over grown with willow and birch. The path is soft and shady. There is much comfort in the moist sweet air. The only disturbance is the occasional ripple upon

*****

the water by the nibbling of a small fish. Toinanaa yet seizes Na Shawa’s hand. Her spirit is warmed by his touch. The fright of the escape is replaced by a loving peace. Some weeks ago, a warrior from the Boca band of the Leeote was hunting along the

Shawa’s senses are drawn to his maiden. Her womanly sent is rich even though she is

barren ravines near to camp of the neighboring Plata band. The Boca usually hunt with one or more canine. The Boca are most indulgent to their dogs, raising them with the

covered with the heavy dark water of the river. Her black eyes sparkle when she glances to see his face. Her words are ever so soft and compelling to his ears. He is eager to listen

same care as any child. There is much competition for the Boca among their pets as well as their sons.

to the sound of her words. He is much comforted by her voice. The meaning what she speaks is not as important to him as the attention she renders.

Unfortunately, The Plata do not share this affection for dog. In fact the Plata are very

Na Shawa’s great courage binds Toinanaa to him. She wishes her body to touch his as

fond of the taste of dog meat and will eagerly hunt the stray canine. Upon this occasion a favorite dog of a Boca warrior strayed after a deer and ran under the sight of a Plata bow. The owner of the dog discovered his pet as the main serving of the midday meal in the

they stride. As her shoulder or hip brushes against him a fire rises within her. She needs to touch him and she will not permit her hand to loose his. Such a masculine strength she has never known. Neither her father nor any man that has ever entered her village carries

nearby Plata camp. The following night he returned and took revenge. While the Plata 171

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such a way. She marks his strength sufficient to crossing any boundary of the present

Quietly the pair dines in the deep shadows under the bows of a crab-apple tree. Raw fish

world. It compels nature to yield to his need. Only the greatest of warriors can move the

and crisp sweet roots are meager but nourishing. Sour apples are chewed to clean the

spirits in such a way. Her breast is consumed with a need to please this warrior called Na

mouth and teeth. The meal is consumed in silence but much pleasure is shared in their

Shawa.

confined company. The remains are wrapped in long grass with stone and twigs to be sent

The banter of the two is lost in observance of the beauty of the nature that passes before

to the stream’s bottom. No sign of their repast shall be left for others to take note.

them. Their relief from the past hardship is consummate.

“Do you miss your mother’s cooking?” Toinanaa asks coyly.

“You must be hungry husband.” These words by Toinanaa are as strange to her ears as to

“My mother loves to prepare fish. It is her favorite meal.” Na Shawa stretches out upon

Na Shawa. Yet both take pleasure from their having been spoken.

the ground in the deep grass. The cool fresh bed offers much comfort and security. Only

“We shall have a fine meal!” The young Locanomee warrior states as he points ahead to a

the eyes that look from high above may see the pair. Buzzing insects fly past just above

place where the stream widens into a deep bend. “Here our brother fish awaits the bow of

the tops of the green stalks with such speed that none stop to annoy. “If we had a fire, I could warm the fish with seasonings. My people make a wonderful

Na Shawa…we shall keep no fire to show our presence.”

baked fish.” Toinanaa is disappointed in the first meal for her husband. She glances at

“There are yams along the bank!” Toinanaa states as she pulls Shawa’s knife from its

Shawa from the corner of his eye to see if he appreciates her handicap. She wants to

sheath upon his hip. The girl drops to the side of the stream and digs the roots from a familiar plant. In an instant she produces several long white legumes much preferred by the natives. Eagerly she prepares them for Na Shawa.

please him very much. “This meal was as fine as any served in my village.” Na Shawa wishes to see his woman smile. “No Locanomee warrior has ever shared more beautiful company than Na Shawa

By this time, the arrow of Na Shawa is upon his bow and his eyes search beneath the water’s surface for a flash of color from the side of a passing fish. Frozen in the hunter’s

this day. “Your presence is all the spice any warrior shall need.”

pose only the eyes of Na Shawa follow the course of a near fly. His fingers are aching

Toinanaa blushes. She is much pleased “When we make a proper camp, then you shall

upon the bow’s string as he waits. At the moment of the fly’s stay upon the water’s

see what fine meals the Minga women can prepare.” Her face wears determination.

surface, the arrow is loosed to the spot. As the jaws of the bass below open to swallow

“We shall rest! Then we follow the way of the hawk of my vision. Perhaps it shall lead us

the fly, Na Shawa’s arrow pierces it.

to the place of your Minga.” His face shows compassion.

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“If your hawk spirit is as kind as you then we shall find my father’s lodge before another

The hand of Na Shawa press firmly upon her lips as she begins to speak. The eyes of her

sun set.” It is near midday, Toinanaa is weary. She also reclines amidst the high grass.

warrior warn her to remain silent. Her hand covers his hand that lay upon her face. She

The maiden’s long slender form shows great beauty. Na Shawa cannot resist. He gently

squeezes to give response to his command.

rises and softly calls toward the clouds so his bride may hear.” Great Spirit. You have

The cutting ends. There is muffled chatter accompanied by the rustle of many leaves as

given Na Shawa much. Let my spirit walk the way of your path always. Let my spirit

several men move away from the woods near to the place where Na Shawa and Toinanaa

share your bounty with this woman always. Na Shawa has spoken.”

hide. The body of Na Shawa springs into a crouch to follow. His hand signals for

The shadows of their sleep have grown long. The sojourners have the need of much rest.

Toinanaa to not move. His eyes rise above the grass ever so slightly.

The sound of large bush being hacked brings Na Shawa to consciousness. Be fore his

Along the bank of the nearby tributary, six men are planting large bushy plants into the

eyes awake he feels the soft body of the beautiful maiden, Toinanaa pressed against his.

soft ground of the water’s bank. Na Shawa is confused. He motions for his bride to join

Her arms hold him gently. She sleeps undisturbed. The strike of the hatchet against the

him. Both watch as the bushes are aliened side by side to face the opposing bank. Once

bows of nearby shrubs brings the young man to alarm. Native warriors are nearby cutting

installed, the men become busy grooming the limbs and leaves of the misplaced growth.

branches.

Their leader inspects the efforts, he instructs for straightness of center bow, and corrects

Silently, Na Shawa raises one hand to cover lips of his companion. His hand is not heavy. It caresses her mouth ever so lightly that her slumber is not disturbed. Na Shawa rubs his nose against the smooth cheek of the maiden. Slowly and lovingly, he strokes her so until she awakes.

any mark that gives appearance to the presence of man. At his satisfaction the party of warriors take to hiding. Each warrior with his bow at the ready takes a place behind a camouflage of bush. Toinanaa presses her breast against Na Shawa as they observe the proceedings of the

There is much pleasure in the maiden’s heart. There is total satisfaction in her spirit. Her

natives upon the water’s edge. Her look quizzes her husband as to the meaning of the work proceeding before them. Na Shawa with two hands gives the sign of the hunt.

senses are full of the man Na Shawa as she wakes. The musk of his body comforts her. She recalls the comfort she has taken from the smell of her family’s lodge since a child.

Na Shawa is unaware of the closeness of the maiden. His eyes study the group and their

His hard body fills her with a sense of protection. Fear of the Huron has left her. The

preparations. Na Shawa has never seen a hunt organized so. Only some animal that

motion of his chest as he breaths moves her physically. Her heart pounds with emotions

moves along the other bank, or swims the length of the stream is to be taken. Moose, elk,

of a mature woman. The thuds of a nearby ax dispel her solace.

or deer perhaps this place may be special to the bear. Six bows are enough to bring down

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any creature with four legs. No, this hunt is special. The prize is to be special. Na Shawa

As the next moments pass a total stillness is assumed by nature at the small river’s bend.

waits with great anticipation.

Murmurs of speech are heard at the far approach. Arrow tips point outward from the leaves of the transplanted bushes. Across the bend the Boca have worn a path as they

The time proceeds slowly. The hunters hidden upon the bank show great patience. For

migrate from village to village. A line of travelers is arriving.

hours they do not speak or move. Toinanaa has returned to sleep at the foot of her husband whose patience matches that of those behind the shrubs.

This bend, and this stream is a demarcation boundary between Boca and Plata. Na Shawa

The only motion about is from a pair of kingfishers that move up and down the bend in

and Toinanaa reside behind an ambush created by Plata warriors.

the water’s path. From one treetop they dive into the shallows after the minnow, then

A small family of Boca returns to their village. They have been gone for many weeks

with a quick return to tree branch. Much diversion from the wait is provided by the birds’

visiting relatives in a remote camp. They are unaware of the recent blood feud that has

activities. The calling from one feathered mate to the other provides a musical

commenced. They are unguarded.

interruption of the long silence.

The trail is led by two male youths. On older man is following. One young woman

One fisher returns to the treetop with minnow in beak. The second watches alternatively

swaddling a babe proceeds at the last along the narrow path into the bend. The five Boca

the movement of the fish within the stream and the companion bird as it consumes the

walk in a line be fore the ambush.

catch. The second fisher waits for the vocal approval of the first before commencing a

Toinanaa is seized with fright for the terror that is to come be fore her eyes. She wishes to

dive after new prey. Back and forth the two birds move along the bend in a frolicking

call out to give warning. Na Shawa is quick to give a series of loud cries in the manner of

contest of play and feast.

the screechy owl. Such calls are omens to all.

The sun has long passed from on high when the acrobatic motion of one kingfisher is

The Boca procession halts abruptly with the call of alarm. The young boys turn to enter

abruptly terminated. The two birds gather upon the highest treetop where they freeze.

the woods away from the openness of the water’s shore. The old man takes note of the

After an instant the pair dash away scattering deep with the woods away from the bend. Na Shawa is the first to come to alertness. The leader of the hunt gives the call of a blue jay and all warriors along the bank mount arrow shafts upon their bows. Their quarry

bushes whose leaves droop more than the others along the opposite shore. He moves to shield the young mother. The leader of the Plata realizes that the moment of surprise is lost. He calls out a chilling

approaches.

war cry that shatters the silence. The sound of launching arrows immediately follows. A

Gently Na Shawa again summons Toinanaa from her bed among the tall grass.

fight of wooden shafts makes toward the other shore.

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The moving targets are too close. The old Boca warrior is hit with two arrows that enter

The baby’s cries have stilled. Na Shawa glances to see Toinanaa holding the babe but her

his chest. A third arrow strikes the back of the woman as she covers her new born. The

eyes have watched the Locanomee way. “How is the infant?” Na Shawa asks.

smaller quicker boy moves into the bracken as a fifth arrow pierces his older brother’s

Toinanaa fingers search the baby for injury. She opens the blanket to see the tiny human

side.

form. “She is beautiful!” She answers as she holds the naked babe up for her husband to

In the next instant the Plata warriors turn and run. They fear the chance of pursuing Boca to arrive. In the one moment of horror the old man and girl have died. The older

see. “See her little feet.” It is just a child thinks Na Shawa. “Quick! We must go. The raiders may return.”

adolescent child lies dying.

“What of the other child?” Asks Toinanaa. “He may be injured! We cannot leave him.”

Again Toinanaa looks to Shawa for understanding. He makes the one sign of war.

The maiden’s tone is one of insistence. She will never pass the chance of saving one in

Toinanaa eyes are saddened by the loss of peace. Her heart is too long heavy.

need.

Na Shaw listens as the sound of the retreating Plata falls distant. He too searches for

The signs of the youth’s passage from the shore into the woods are many. Na Shawa

sound of advance from the other shore. None is too come.

indicates for Toinanaa to follow. “We must leave the proven path. There will be more danger ahead.”

Only the sound of a crying babe is now heard. In a fury, Toinanaa breaks from Na Shawa’s side and rushes into the water. She reaches the other shore as Shawa decides to follow. Here Toinanaa removes the baby from the dead mother’s arm. Heavy tears fall

The young boy has not moved far. He is too young to be on his own. It is not yet time for this boy child to be separated from his mother. He lies beside a fallen tree trunk that is

upon the child as Toinanaa cradles the small one in her arms.

covered with moss and small ferns.

Na Shawa finds the wounded boy. Bloods spills from the lad’s mouth. The injured

The tears of the boy give added direction to Na Shawa’s search. As they near, Shawa

youth’s breath is faint; his eyes are open but only the white shows. “He wears his death face.” Na Shawa comments to Toinanaa as he drops to the ground to sing the death song of the Locanomee as the spirit of the boy passes to the next world.

listens for others. None are heard. He signs for Toinanaa to gather the boy as he makes his bow and arrow ready. With babe in arm, Toinanaa’s hand sooths the head of the lost boy. Her words are

The end comes too soon for Na Shawa. The Boca boy is close of age. Na Shawa rises

comforting. “Come, we are not with your enemies. You baby sister is with us. We shall

slowly. He gathers a hand full of dirt to sprinkle over the boy’s corps. “Let his spirit grow

take you to your village.” Her arm caresses the dazed boy.

in the next life. Permit this one to come to be fully a warrior there.”

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Together the three rise. Toinanaa’s arms are full as she presses the two orphans close to

gratitude to the animals’ spirits. The heavier logs used to carry the weight of the arch are

her body. They move slowly after Na Shawa whose search has discovered a little used

carved with images taken from the spirit world.

trail made by the feet of man.

The Boca stand nervous as the guests arrive. The small boy child runs to greet his father

The warmth of the tall maiden and the direction, in which the party moves, relieves the

with tears renewed. There is no question as to the fate that has befallen the missing Boca

youth of fear. He is aware that they move toward his native Boca village.

from the children’s company. There has been much death in the village in past days.

Na Shawa eyes gaze upon the maiden and the children in her care as they make stride

One man steps before the Boca into the archway itself. He raises his empty hands in sign

toward him. The maternal scene completes a sense in him as a maturing warrior. This

of peace.

woman gives much gentleness. Her beauty is now magnified.

Na Shawa and Toinanaa stop. Shawa raises empty hands in return.

Toinanaa reads the long gaze of her husband. She is aware that he is taking much

Sighs are made within the camp. Several women emerge to greet Toinanaa and inspect

pleasure from her present circumstance. She knows the need in his heart.

the newborn. There are tears of sadness and joy for the dead Boca who do not return to

The tender moment concludes as. Na Shawa moves out ahead to scout the trail. Toinanaa

their village and the children who have been saved. The Boca women hug and greet

and her charges follow. Through shadowed wood, among gatherings of fern and holly,

Toinanaa as friend and savior. They escort her within the camp with no attention given to

along dale and glen the foursome marches. Their course follows the valley, which holds

her man.

the stream.

Na Shawa waits for an invitation. He remains frozen.

After but an hour’s hike they arrive. The home of the two children is a gathering of small huts made from bark and branch that sits upon a green ridge. Many dogs sound their

The Boca warrior is chief. He extends one arm to receive Na Shawa. The Boca chief is a small man less than half the height of Na Shawa. His hair is dark and

presence. The Boca emerge to find two of their children escorted by strangers upon the Leeote.

his skin wrinkled by years in the sun. His dress is poor. A leather strap holds a loincloth made from woven grass. The moccasins upon his feet have been repaired many times. He

A tall wooden archway greets Na Shawa and Toinanaa as they close upon the camp’s

wears a shabby vest made from the pelt of dog. Colored bands made of beads showing

entrance. Long poles strapped with hemp rope construct a gateway upon which hang the trophies of the camp. Dream catchers made from woven cloth are suspended from above and they swirl in the gentle breeze. Antlers from the hunt are securely tied to show

those Boca signs favorable to the chief are worn upon each arm and just below the knee of both legs. Na Shawa moves under the archway.

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The old chief gazes at the trophies worn by the young warrior. The incising teeth of the

As Shawa is diverted Gae Gae makes sign to his son Bae Bae for council. The father of

panther and the panther’s tail are have never been seen by him. The Dao Cama will only

the small boy-survivor arrives at the camp’s entrance followed by several women who

give the bison hide to a great warrior. He knows the small stone that hangs about Na

carry blankets and wood for a fire.

Shawa’s neck. “The spirits have sent you to save the boy, son of my son Bae Bae.” The old one shakes his head repeatedly in affirmation of his own words. “He is destined to be a chief of the Boca. He has been anointed so by the spirits as I was at my birth.” Gae Gae opens his vest a points to points to a small patch of white flesh grown ruff as a scare.

“This portal to our camp is a place where the spirits of the Boca are very strong. It is good to sit here to greet the welcomed visitor so he may share the goodness of the Boca people. It is our custom.” The blankets are spread about in a circle as a small fire is begun. The tree warriors sit

“The shape of my birth mark is just the as the gathering of stars from the sky at my

facing each other. A pipe is produced and tobacco of great quality is shared.

birth.” Bae Bae is also much impressed by the attire of Na Shawa and his successful passage Na Shawa does not recognize the sky formation but the mark does have a bowl shape

across the Dao Cama.

with an extending line segment at one end. “Yes it is clear that you are marked by the The stares by the two Boca indicate much curiosity. Na Shawa understands that is not the

spirits of the great dark sky.” Na Shawa is straining to agree.

way of Boca to question their guests. “I am called Na Shawa. My people are the Gae Gae again makes sign. Many warriors of small stature appear with lance and bow.

Locanomee.“ He pauses to allow his guest time to assay his words.

Gae Gae points back along the way of the stream. His hand makes the sign of a moving

The chief looks to his son and nods to affirm Na Shawa words.

snake. “Bring our dead for burial.” Commands the old chief. “I journey on amah. I seek the path chosen for me by the Great Spirit.” Another pause is “Shall we make ambush to slay the Plata?” Asks one.

made. Na Shawa sees his words hold interest for his hosts.

The chief shakes his head negatively. He makes the sign of the swift hare. A dozen or

“My vision calls me to travel to the other side of the Mother Lake. I must find the place

more warriors immediately run off along the path directly aside the stream. They shall

of piled rocks where the great black hawk of my vision dwells.” Yet another pause as the

recover the dead Boca and return swiftly.

Boca men study the details of the three feathers worn in Na Shawa’s hair.

Na Shawa watches as the funeral party departs at the run. He is surprised at the speed of the ragged band.

Quick signs are passed between chief and son not known to Na Shawa but their demeanor shows approval.

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The pipe is refilled. This is traditional sign the Boca for the story to continue. Na Shawa

her face reveal her to be of another nation than Dao Cama. The two Boca nod one to

realizes that all knowing of himself must pass out to his hosts.

another but sit in silence.

“The woman is my wife. She is a Minga maiden!”

Na Shawa recognizes that his wife has been asked to council so that she may speak.

There is great surprise by both Boca warriors at this revelation.

‘The chief wishes to know of the Huron.”

“She is daughter to the great Minga chief who now fights the Huron.”

Toinanaa looks first to her husband for direction.

Yet greater surprise follows. The eyes of the Boca burn bright with interest.

Na Shawa signs with open hand for her to tell all.

Na Shawa notices the chief’s gaze returning often to the stone of the Gray Hairs. He

“A great war party of the Huron hunts upon the Maha Usica. They attack in the predawn

removes the stone pendant from about his neck and offers it for the chief to inspect.

killing, burning. Our young maidens are taken as captive brides back to home of the Huron. They seek one hundred such prizes from the nations of our great water. Now the

Gae Gae is alarmed. He refuses excitedly to accept the stone. “It is a gift from my grandmother, Shee Madga. It carries the power of the Gray Hairs!” Na Shawa studies the chief’s response. It is one of familiarity. Na Shawa knows that he may not ask about the Gray Hairs. It is for the chief to speak when he chooses. Na Shawa

captives are held on the island of the bear spirit. A small force can go there at night and recover the stolen…” Na Shawa interrupts Toinannaa before she makes her hosts uncomfortable with her impending request. “Your dress! Our hosts need to know.”

wishes to learn what the chief knows of the Gray Hairs. He will speak no more. Gae Gae reads the mood of Shawa. More tobacco is piped as Gae Gae calls to the women

Toinanaa points to the figure upon her attire. “I arrived in the village of Dao Cama in the company of a white buffalo. The chief of the Dao Cama appointed me its keeper.

for drink. Bowls of a rich white liquid are brought forth. The drink is a fermented beverage that is

We left their land to pursue our needed quests. We are here to warn your people of the Huron threat…”

been made from a cactus like plant that has been ground and mixed with honey and water.

Again Na Shawa interrupts with a sign for his wife to be still. His eyes tell her that

Toinanaa is also escorted to the meeting with Na Shawa.

enough has been shared with their hosts.

The Boca leaders cast long gazes at the wife of Na Shawa as she is seated. Her apparel is marked as a medicine woman of the Dao Cama. The long lovely form and great beauty of

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A long moment of silence passes as the Boca chief’s thoughts are gathered. Gae Gae makes sign to his son. Bae Bae rises from the fireside and departs within the Boca camp.

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“There has been much blood shed here. Many Boca have died in recent days. Our people

“I have asked the spirits to send one among the Boca with the strength to stop the loss of

feud with our neighbors the Plata.” The chief shakes his head in disbelief of the present

lives.”

circumstances.

Bae Bae returns and hand a small ceremonial ax to his father.

Na Shawa nods also in dismay. He is uneasy with this news.

Gae Gae holds the object up for all to see. “This tomahawk is marked with the signs of

“We have been friends to the Plata for all our days. We have fought the same enemies on

peace for the Boca. It is to buried at a scared place to end a time of strife with another

the Leeote side by side.” Tears flow from the chief’s eyes. “Now we kill one another.”

tribe.”

“It is not good.” Confirms Na Shawa.

Gae Gae hands it too Na Shawa.

Gae Gae appreciates Shawa’s understanding. “The cold season comes soon. The Boca

The ax is sharp and brightly decorated with handsome feathers, and bright ribbons. It

and the Plata must prepare! Life is hard in the Leeote. A great hunger will follow from

holds much weight.

this war and weaken both our peoples. Many more will die in our camps. The future of

“The Plata must be invited to burry the hatchet! If they accept then two tribes will meet at

the Boca people is endangered.”

first light at the place of the One Oak. Only he who walks the way of the spirits may

“How can we help?” Asks Toinanaa.

present this offer.”

Gae Gae is surprised by the question. It is an offense to make direct requests in the Boca

Na Shawa ponders this invitation to assist in the peace making. “The one who would go

council. Never has a woman made such an affront.

forth to make the offer of the Boca has need also. His people wish to know of the Gray Hairs.”

Na Shawa is silent, after the words of his wife have passed. He sees that his woman

The chief nods in understanding. “The village of the Plata is to be found in an hour’s

recognizes her mistake. Toinanaa reads the offense taken by her host but the Minga are proud and do not cower.

movement of the stream that separates our two tribes.“ “The one who speaks for your people must carry a sign of the Boca.” States Shawa.

Gae Gae measures the great worth of the maiden and the magic that the white buffalo spirit has shared with her. He chooses to ignore the affront and proceeds as if it none has occurred.

The chief removes one knee brace and presents it to Na Shawa. “It is a gift!” Toinanaa now comprehends the reason of the council. “There is much danger for the one who goes among the Plata on your behalf.” Her expression is one of great concern.

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Gae Gae does not respond. All the needed words have been said. The fate of his people is

river. This means that large mammals such as elk, and bear are scare. Na Shawa

in the hands of the young Locanomee warrior.

understands the need of the Boca for hunting dogs to sniff out the lairs of small

“Your messenger has need to know that his wife will be recovered to her people should he fail to return.” Na Shawa’s words are somber.

mammals. There are few birds of prey in the sky. The occasional raven is on the wing. High above one or two vultures are gliding. Human remains lure them.

The chief nods in agreement. Na Shawa nods acceptance. “Your courier shall leave at once! One shall find the path to

Na Shawa wonders what reception the Plata will provide. He walks with hands open and at a causal pace. The land is poor but there is much of nature in the Leeote to be enjoyed.

the Plata village on the far side of the water?”

The chatter of a handful of yellow finches feeding on a small ‘mock orange’ bush recalls

The Boca men shake their heads no.

Shawa’s to a youthful adventure. At home he would trap a live finch to bring to his grand

“There is no path to the Plata!” Bae Bae insists. “The Plata wish not to be found.”

mother. She loves to share her lodge with colorful birds. Many such presents she has “Follow the course of the stream to where all trails end. There you shall be under the eyes of many Plata.” The chief instructs. “Hold you courage up for all to see. Make no sign

tamed. The males are the more colorful but they make the poorer pet. The females are the more shy but far more quarrelsome.

other than of peace.” A handful of seeds placed in a small pile at the bottom of a dense bush would soon incite Na Shawa rises. He glances once at Toinanaa to reassure her as he turns toward the

intense disputes. A small section of net hung within a bush would impose an aviary for

stream. He follows the river’s flow until a narrow crossing where he proceeds to march deep into the country of the Plata.

capture. Often two or more combatant birds that become angry over dining rights are easily collected.

Small deer step out in front of him from time to time along the path. They freeze at his

Na Shawa wonders if Toinannaa would welcome such a present. There are many fine

footstep, lift their nose into the wind, and wave their long ears in search of passing

catches to be had here. There is a particularly feisty young female with unusual red

sounds. Even the slow breathe of the warrior maybe enough to alarm these shy beasts into

markings along the back neckline. This prize Na Shawa would much like to acquire.

bounding flight with their white tails waving. There are sunflowers all along the river’s sunny bank. Their seeds make excellent bait. Na Shawa notes the abundance of rabbit. This means fox, coyote, and weasel have dens nearby. No sign of beaver, or otter. This means there must be harsh dry seasons on the

He simply needs to fashion a net. Na Shawa wonders if strips from the stalk of the nearby ‘wild carrot’ plant might be strong enough to hold the flutters of a small bird.

whole of the Leeote. The vast regions of land bereft of greenery rise to each side of the 189

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This diversion has obscured his awareness that the trail is no longer trodden. The

The chief has arrived with an escort of trusted Plata warriors. The sentry makes sign to

warrior’s activities are not unnoticed. Several sentries from the Plata village keep watch.

the chief asking if this warrior is to be killed. The chief is uncertain.

They have seen no companion canine and assume this warrior is not afoot upon the hunt. He makes no sign of one who comes in war, as he handles no weapon. His dress is not

One of the Plata makes hand signals to the chief to have words than decide if the stranger must die. The chief agrees.

that of the Boca or other tribe of the Leeote. He is a passing stranger. His arrival must be made known to their chief. His fate will wait.

With several bows drawn against Na Shawa hidden in the bush, the chief steps out from among a stand of birch. “You hunt upon the land of the Plata!” He informs Na Shawa.

The Plata village sits beyond the green valley. It lies hidden between two stony ridges.

From deep distraction, Na Shawa is startled to find he is not alone.“ I do not hunt. I come

Homes of mud and stone are found along the hillside in the narrow ravine.

as messenger to the Plata.” Na Shawa opens his empty hands.

The Plata are small in stature too. They are poor is dress as well. They are not a hostile

The chief is yet unsure and does not speak.

nation but shy and protective. As all who dwell on the Leeote, they fear to make the harsh “I am Shawa. I pass through the Leeote only. I seek the place of my vision in the east of

gods angrier.

the Mother Water.” The chief is not a wise man. He is young of age. The unexpected death of his father and The chief steps closer but he yet keeps a safe distance. “What message do you bring?”

former chief this last winter has pressed him to lead. He is told of the warrior who has

“My message is for the chief of the Plata. I would insult him if I gave it easily away.” Na

come near to the village. The chief is anxious and fearless.

Shawa answers. These words please the Plata chief. “From whom does the message come?” “Only the chief of the Plata may know such first.” Na Shawa answers politely.

*****

Again the chief is pleased. He signals for Na Shawa to come closer. Na Shawa moves slowly. His eyes read the face of the Plata warrior before him. The Plata chief sees the many native decorations of Na Shawa. He recognizes the Boca

Na Shawa still muses and observes the play of the finches.

knee band. But a few yards away he calls for Na Shawa to stop. He makes the call of the

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catbird and a dozen Plata warriors move to surround Na Shawa. “I am Pecatu, chief of the Plata.”

“Then the messenger is to die!” They answer. The chief nods in agreement. “How many warriors are to participate from both sides?”

The chief is not a great many years older than Shawa. His command over the other

Pecatu asks Na Shawa.

warriors is unmistakable. “I come to ask the Plata to bury the hatchet with the Boca!”

The question has no meaning to Shawa but he knows that it is upon him to decide. Na

Pecatu looks to the others for their response to Shawa’s words. The band of Plata shows

Shawa reflects for a moment, then he points to the bush where the finches feed. “The

much interest. “Speak!”

number of yellow birds that fly away when my stone lands nearby.”

“Gae Gae says that too much death has come among the tribes of the Plata and the Boca.

Pecatu nods in agreement.

He says that winter will come before either tribe is ready and many children and many

Na Shawa picks up a smooth flat stone and hurls it toward the ‘mock orange’ bush. It

old ones will die before the air turns warm again. He asks the Plat to come at first light to the place of the One Oak...What is your answer?” Na Shawa waits.

lands with a thud and five yellow finches take flight. “Five!” Announces Shawa. “It is good!” Announces one Plata to Pecatu. “It could have been twenty or more.”

Those closest to Pecatu make council.

“It is a cheap price to end the killing. Many times that number of Plata shall perish this

“The words of Gae Gae are wise.” Says one.

winter if the feud continues.” Informs another.

“It may be a trick...an ambush!” Says another.

The chief pauses then faces Na Shawa. “Is shall be so! Pecatu has spoken.” He removes a

“No, the place of One Oak will hide no warriors.” Responds Pecatu.

knee band. “Wear this sign of the Plata chief as truth of my word. All Plata shall be at

“Both tribes must come in full numbers to watch the few who participate.” Another

One Oak in the dawn!”

informs Pecatu.

Na Shawa produces the ax. “The Plata must carry the hatchet to the place of the One Oak.” He instructs Pecatu.

“What number must represent us in the ceremony? Who will lead?” Asks Pecatu. “The number is chosen by the messenger. If your father were alive it would be your duty

With one sign the Plata scatter into the woods and from the sight of Na Shawa.

to lead our participants, now the Plata warriors must draw the short twig.” Answers the council. “What if I refuse Gae Gae’s request?” The chief asks.

*****

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As the full sun appears, the Plata arrive in a long line with Pecatu in the lead. All Plata have come as well. Many years ago the Leeote had a long wet season. Many oak trees sprouted where none

Gae Gae leads Shawa down into the hollow to a small rise that is open and within full

had ever before grown. At the bottom of a wide circular depression of land one has

view of all.

survived. Today this oak stands near one hundred feet tall. The hollow about it is

Pecatu walks alone to join them. He raises the ceremonial ax to show Gae Gae.

otherwise barren and dry. The land about the hollow is open and wind swept.

Both chiefs are most serious in expression and word.

This majestic tree is held to have great healing power. Leaves, and acorns that fall from it are gathered for medicine. Fallen branches are honed into walking sticks, and handles for the tomahawk or spear.

“It is time for peace.” Calls Gae Gae. “The Plata wish peace. We have come to burry the ax with our brothers the Boca.” The great gathering exhilarates Pecatu. His words are many. “Let the peace we make today

The night is restless for both tribes. Each assembles early. Well before light the natives quite their lodges. Each processes as soon as darkness begins its recession. The mood of all is somber from the pain brought by the feud but hopeful that peace will be restored.

stand forever. Let this peace...” “Here!” Gae Gae interrupts, as the ceremony offers no pleasure. “On this spot the messenger shall bury the ax that is to make the peace.” Gae Gae calls to Bae Bae to

In short time, the light of the hidden sun becomes a reddish beacon over the horizon.

proceed.

Near the line of the earth from which the sun wakes, the undersides of clouds shine

Pecatu realizes the ceremony will begin with no words to be added. He calls to the edge

golden. Darkness yet holds part of the sky as the Boca arrive to the place of the one Oak. Gae Gae has led his entire nation to this place. The Boca gather about in family huddles. “All must see! All must share in the burial of the tomahawk and the making of the peace. No one can say that they will not keep the peace.” He informs Shawa.

of the hollow and instructs his warriors to proceed. Na Shawa stands beside the two chiefs. He watches Bae Bae and four other Boca warriors make way to them. They are naked and carrying axes and knifes in their hands. Five Plata warriors begin a descent to join them. They are also naked and have weapons.

“What if one of the Boca or the Plata break the peace that is to be made?” Asks Na

As the two chosen band of warriors walk to the designed site, the tribes above begin to

Shawa.

fill the rim above. Side by side the spectators stand in watch.

“The one who breaks the peace must die by the hands of his own tribe. It is to be agreed.”

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Bae Bae arrives with his guard to stand behind Gae Gae who faces Pecatu. When the five

Na Shawa is too young as well. Indeed most who stand to view the combat are part of the

Plata warriors take their place behind Pecatu both tribes begin to sing their respective

ceremony for the first time. His emotions are new.

death song. The hollow fills with two harmonies; the Boca song from one side and the

Toinanaa eyes study those of her husband. Her feelings are the same as Shawa’s. The

Plata voices from the other. A contest among the tribal choirs ensues with the voices of

warriors die one by one to bring peace to their family, their tribe and their enemy.

one wishing to dominate the other. All breaths are drawn in singing.

Toinanaa knows that her husband wishes to be there on that small rise. By watching, all

Toinanaa is much moved by the powerful emotions placed in the music offered. From

share. In witnessing the ceremony, all join in spirit with those dying. Those who

above she watches as Gae Gae raises his arms first to be followed by Pecatu in calling for

helplessly stand offer comfort.

silence.

At last Bae Bae is the only one who lives upon that rise. He is wounded several times but

No sound is made as the two chiefs and Shawa withdraw.

he stands defiant and abandoned.

As Gae Gae and Shawa arrive back to the rim to join the watchful Boca, the warriors

Gae Gae calls to Na Shawa. Pecatu walks also to the rise.

below move in one line to face one another.

As they approach heavy tears fall from the old chief’s eyes for the valor of his people and the victory of his only living son. Shawa cannot look away from Gae Gae. In the presence

Pecatu is returned to the Plata, as Gae Gae asks Shawa to set into flight one arrow. Toinanaa stands near to her husband as he draws his bow. A single arrow takes flight in

of all, Bae Bae kneels to his father. Gae Gae lifts the ceremonial ax. As the son’s eyes

the direction of the small rise of Gae Gae’s choosing. The arrow strikes the earth near to

gaze to the father for the last time, Gae Gae strikes Bae Bae once upon the temple.

Bae Bae. Immediately, Bae Bae and his four companions attack the five Plata warriors.

Turning quickly so that he may not see his son die, Gae Gae hands the bloody weapon to Shawa. “Bury this ax here! The peace is won!” He says bitterly as he continues to walk to

Hand to hand fighting commences with no warrior withdrawing from the small rise. Arms flail with axes raised. Reflections of sunlight glance from the blades of the striking warriors’ knives. The combatants dodge and poke at one another with fearless abandon. Wounds soon appear among those who are fighting. The first to fall is quickly slain. Then

his people. Never has Shawa felt such weakness as in this moment. Never has he so seen the value of peace so measured. Never has sacrifice so dear been given up before him.

another falls to die. Toinanaa watches with distress for this way of making peace. She has

In the midst of where Bae Bae has fallen, before all the eyes of Boca and Plata who now

never before witnessed this ceremony. She is much revolted and looks to Shawa.

stand as brothers, and with thoughts of longing for his own father, Shawa strikes the earth with the ceremonial ax.

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Pecatu is greatly moved. He loved his father. He hurries to help Shawa gather dirt to

barren rocky shoreline that curves out into the lake before them. “It will be dark before

mound atop the ax. “Such a sight will linger in the hearts of all Plata.” He informs Shawa.

we find any village.”

“There will be no breaking of peace by those whose eyes looked upon this place today.”

“It is good. Make camp among the firs. They will hide a good fire even at dark.” Shawa turns away from the shore. “I shall hunt the rabbit for our dinner.” Toinanaa is much pleased. She wishes to show her man the way of the camp of the Minga. She will gather dry woods and pine needles for a smokeless fire. Bows of a heavy

*****

fir she will lash together to make a canopy. A bed of soft bows with heavy sent she is to make ready. Along the shore where the water lays still high reeds grow. From these she will gather The whole of the day, Na Shawa and Toinanaa have spent crossing the Leeote. Through

frogs to be wrapped in cabbage plant leaves for roasting upon coals in the fire. Earlier in

dry plains, and rocky slope they have moved quietly. They have taken much effort to

the day she had gathered a bag of wild nuts. She will cut a mark in each shell so they

avoid further contact with other tribes.

maybe roasted as well. Berries she will gather. Roots and legumes found nearby will be

Gae Gae has told Shawa that the eastern tip of the Leeote is a narrow peninsula. The

dug and prepared. She has no tools for the baking of meal or sweet herbal tea. This

people there live much from the Mother Lake. Here Shawa has been told to seek answers

disappoints her but the meal is made in the way of the Minga. She is certain that her

of the gray hairs.

husband shall be much pleased as she has traded among the Boca for a bit of tobacco and

The peninsula of the Leeote is a large flat sand bar that has been over grown by fir trees.

a small pipe. She will delight as well as surprise Na Shawa this evening.

Large rocks form its shore and make the peninsula a natural break wall. Fish seek

All is ready as Shawa enters his camp with two large rabbits. “I shall make these ready

protection in the many coves during times of large storms upon the Maha Usica. During

for the fire.” He announces as he holds the prizes from the hunt for his wife to appraise.

the winter, small deer heavily populate the peninsula.

“No! Sit. I shall make the rabbit ready for the spit.” The maiden’s knife is quick at the

It is late in the day when Toinanaa notes that the ground has turned soft. Large fir trees

cut. Before Shawa is made comfortable the first rabbit is speared and over the fire

loom in the near distance. “We are close my husband to the peninsula.” She points to the

cooking.

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Na Shawa begins to eat a large frog that has been cleaned, baked and is served with warm

Toinanaa does not move. She remains motionless with fear as the great black wolf’s teeth

legumes.

are just above her throat.

“I have nuts and sweet berries ready for you as well.” Upon the spit goes the second

About her body the wolf snorts until he has read all scents. Then he moves over to the

rabbit.

cold fire and sniffs lost bits of rabbit bone for chewing.

“What of you? Do you not eat?” Asks Na Shawa.

The large beast’s arrival is unexpected. His lack of fear by human presence confounds her. As the beast is distracted with rabbit, Toinanaa slides closer to Shawa. She presses so

“I shall dine after you have had enough. “I shall have whatever is left. It is the Minga way.” Toinanaa bows her head to please her husband. Then she raises her open hands to

hard against his side that the young warrior awakes.

the heavens. “Oh great spirits, we are humble people. We are grateful for the gifts of

Dazed with sleep, Shawa turns to great his wife. He is surprised by her rigid welcome.

food, shelter and love you provide this day. May we always be worthy of your

The scent of wolf’s musk soon finds Shawa’s nose. “It is the great Ciapa.” Shawa calls to

generosity.”

the canine as he sits to great his friend.

This prayer of the Minga touches Shawa.“ You are the treasure of my camp. It pleases me

Toinanaa eyes widen in surprise by their friendship.

to see you eat well...It is the way of the Locanomee”. Shawa smiles invitingly.

“I should guess the great wolf would come now that all are safe and well fed.”

“Taboodee!” He calls lovingly.

The ears of the dog move to enjoy Shawa’s voice.

This night Toinanaa has a dream in which two small owls wake her from her a bed in her

Toinanaa sits near and behind her husband.

mother’s lodge. It is not dark nor is it light when she rises. Out side she finds her parents and sisters in great celebration. She calls to them to be recognized but they do not see her

“The woman has prepared the food that you now eat.” This is Toinanaa, wife to Shawa.

spirit. He mother and father have gray hair. Her sisters have grown into women. The

“Woman, this is the great wolf spirit of the Locanomee.” Shawa pauses as Toinanaa

dream is most pleasant but confusing.

gathers her courage. “He is the lost companion of my amagh. He is to walk my path.”

Over and over again the owls wake her and she emerges not to be seen. The cycle of the

Toinanaa relaxes at her husband’s words but her fear is yet great for the nearness of such

dream ends as a moist heat beats upon her face. She awakens next to Shawa with the

a predator.

open mouth of a great black dog hanging over her. Ciapa has entered the camp and inspects the form of the creature next to Shawa.

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“The Dao Cama warriors must have seen the sign of Caipa. You did well. I thought the lodge of some warrior would be warmed with your black hide this winter.” Shawa laughs at the wolf.

Shawa is confused. “What children?” Toinanaa’s look is one of admonition. “Your two children are coming...This was also in my dream.”

“You mean that big dirty creature was all about this camp last night?” Toinanaa is not

“Two?” The warrior is disoriented he slumps to the ground.

pleased with the notion of the wolf’s company.

“This time next year your two sons will walk this earth. They shall come from the same

“He is sent by my grandmother. He is to keep watch and lead me from unseen dangers.”

birth.”

Shawa explains.” He keeps from sight. He comes and goes as he pleases.” Shawa scratches his head. “So far he appears only when all is well.” Toinanaa’s eyes again widen in confusion. “When this amagh business is over, he goes back with your grandmother for good.” Her words are not lacking strength. “I will not clean after a great beast such as this one.” Shawa agrees that he is a messy eater. “I always wanted a great dog for my own lodge...Later I mean.” All fear is gone now from Toinanaa. She chases Ciapa from the fireside. “Wolfs belong in the forest not by the camp fire. His fur will get in all the food!” Toinanaa begins to clean where the dog has lain. “Isn’t it a bit early to worry about our lodge?” Shawa is apologetic. We have much to accomplish before we join your people. “We shall not live with my people! My dreams have told me this.” “Ciapa must stay with the amagh. It is to be so.” Shawa is trying to be final. “He will stay...on the amagh...even a bit more...until the children come.” She is final.

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Chap 6 The peninsula of the Leeote is long and narrow. Many jagged coves are found along its shore. Here fish gather in abundant numbers. Many of the lake’s larger fish come into these harbors to spawn at various times during the year. Great turtles with soft shell dig dens deep within the sandy banks of the peninsula. Heron, Ndai

crane, and stork make nests for much of the year within stalks of tall grass or at the tops of small trees. The winds and storms from the lake sweep across its dunes and thickets regularly. The sun beats heavily upon the land all the year. The climate is moderate. The great body of water that surrounds it keeps cool the land in summer and holds off the extreme temperatures of winter. The earliest people to live on the Maha Usica yet dwell on the peninsula. The Ndai live as their earliest settlers. They fish and travel the whole of the great lake. They are a peaceful people. They do not make war. They Ndai thrive upon the land for which no other tribe finds use. The hunt is too meager most of the year. Few crops are to be grown in the sandy soil. The people of the peninsula survive by their skills of fishing, navigation and trade. The Ndai are a small pear-shaped people with small round bellies and small round buttocks. They are a people of great beauty. They adults keep the form of adolescence. Indeed they are not prone to show aging. Few if any have gray hair or much wrinkle of

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the skin with age. They are energetic all of their lives. Only in the eyes and the hands

In one place among several grassy dunes sits a lodge. Small firs dot all about. Two sisters

may one discern the approximate age of the Ndai.

keep a home. They are among the oldest Ndai upon the peninsula. Catah, and Teteh are

They are excessively clean. Bathing often even in the cold waters of winter. Their homes

twins.

are dismantled carefully, moved and rebuilt every few years. The land is kept undisturbed

“Whose turn is it to make the midday meal?” Asks Catah as she emerges with her sister

by their presence and appears as if no human dwells here.

from the lodge.

The diminutive physical size makes them poor warriors. Their lack of skill with the bow

“I don’t know!” Squeals Teteh. “I made it yesterday and the day before. You don’t take

makes them clumsy hunters. Their wits however are unmatched. Before the young Ndai

your turn!” She squabbles.

can walk they begin to travel the great lake in the company of their family. All can make

“Close the door behind you!” Catah barks at her sister following behind.

a canoe of great strength, all can swim, all can fish, and all can navigate the water of the

“You always give orders! I’m tired of you telling me and asking what to do.” Teteh puffs.

lake day or night before they come to adult age. Many languages do they speak “Well you always forget. I have to remember for both of us.” Catah explains. The Ndai keep the spirit of the fish. They dress in cloth and skins of natural color to blend within nature. They wear no colorful adornments. They do not mark their body or

“Tulabee! I LOVE Tulabee.” Exclaims Teteh.

their lodge with signs. Just as a fish of the lake camouflages it’s present so to do the Ndai.

“Goodness! We’ve eaten Tulabee for 3 days now.” Catah complains.

No one knows the true number of this nation. No one keeps count.

“You love Tulabee as well.” Teteh says as she cuts strips off the dried fish. “I’m a great

The lodge of the Ndai is made from sand stonewalls and thatch roof from tall grass.

one for catching Tulabee.”

Many plants and small trees surround each dwelling. All dwellings are dispersed for

Catah is irritated. “That fish just wanted to die. It just used your hook to get to the next

privacy. All dwellings face the part of the sky from where the sun rises each day.

life.”

There is no grand council or special lodge. The Ndai are independent and abide in whole

“No one has caught a Tulabee all this summer. I’m the only one who has a smoked

the laws of nature. Each person is held to be an earth bound spirit governed by the will of

Tulabee and I’m sharing it with you. So be grateful.” Teteh delights in besting her sister.

the Great Spirit that has formed the land, the water and the sky. All conduct their lives to hold undisturbed the work of the Great Spirit.

“You will make me eat that fish until I get sick!” Catah is forced to suffer this inequality.” What else are you to serve?” “Strawberries! I LOVE strawberries.” Teteh squeals.

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“I want some fried corn meal.” Demands Catah.

The Ndai are aware that the high pitch made from a reed common to the peninsula disturbs the canine’s ear with much pain. Wolf, dog, bear, and coyote will upon exposure

“Make it your self! You are a big girl and have two empty hands. I’m busy!” Teteh

to the toot of this whistle rapidly depart the immediate vicinity.

ignores her sister’s request. The old women stir about the fire before their lodge in the same manner as has passed for a great many years. Their father was the principle navigator of the Ndai in his days. His

“Hold your horn!” Teteh nags as she throws a large weight of venison into the field before their lodge.

two daughters are a rare twin birth among the Ndai and they are much esteemed for this.

“I want to blow the whistle! Now you’ve spoiled that food.” Catah is angry, as she must

As youngsters they traveled the whole of the Maha Usica with their father and have great

wait until the wolf collects the bait.

knowledge of the nations about the great lake.

Ciapa advances before Shawa and Toinanaa. The noise from the camp of the two old

“Look Teteh, I see something black moving in the trees there.” The old one points

sisters has drawn him. He has been bounding through the bracken collecting scents and

briefly.

observing.

“Where? Hold your hand so someone else may know of where and what you are babbling

“He’s a beautiful animal.” Comments Teteh as the wolf approaches the meat. “I LOVE

over.” Catah squints through old eyes.

big dogs.”

“There! There it is again.” Teteh arm jabs dramatically so her sister can follow.

“My what a gorgeous hide that one wears.” Says Catah agreeably.

“I see it. It’s a bear I think.” Catah questions.

“He’s mine. I saw him first. I’ll make him a pet.” Clips Teteh as she hurls another bit of

“It has a tail! No bear!” Insists Teteh.

meat.

“Too big for a dog...too dark for a coyote.” Catah adds.

“I’ll get father’s bow and will share the pelt of this one.” Catah enjoys contradicting her sister’s wish.

They both measure the moving black animal against the background.

“Agreed, but only if he is a vicious one, other wise he’ll make fine company.” Teteh

“Wolf!” They both exclaim as the beast passes a narrow opening before the old girls.

hedges her sister’s choice. “Get father’s whistle.” Instructs Catah. Toinanaa arrives with Shawa at the Ndai camp and recognizes Ciapa’s peril. “I’m getting a piece of meat. You get the whistle. That animal is lost and bound to be “Those women may lift the hide from your grandmother’s pet.” She whispers to Shawa.

hungry.” Teteh replies.

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“It is not as easy as it appears.” Smiles Shawa in return.

“Yes, I recognized your nation first.” Teteh interjects. “I LOVE the Minga.”

Toinanaa proceeds toward the camp. Shawa waits in amusement.

“You escape to your home.” Catah assures. “You may rest here. You are among friends of the Minga.”

“No more food.” Yells Catah to her sister. “Well! Put that whistle away and mount an arrow on that bow...I’m going out there and

“My husband stands beyond the trees.” Toinanaa points. “The wolf is the pet of his grand mother and keeps our journey.”

see what personality that animal has.” Teteh answers as she cautiously steps toward

The twins are disappointed by the news of the hound. “Your husband is welcome as

Ciapa.

well.”

“Wait there is a woman approaching.” Announces Catah.

“He is Locanomee...”

Both women stare at the casual gait of the tall maiden, Toinanaa.

“Oh well!” Both girls scream.

“It is a maiden of the Dao Cama.” Announces Catah.

“We have much friendship with this nation as well.” Catah discloses.

“Too tall...too pretty. No Dao Cama.” Teteh strains at the look.” Minga...I’ll bet. That face can only be Minga.”

“I LOVE the Locanomee.” Teteh assures.

Toinanaa brushes past the canine with indifference.

Smoked fish, fried corn meal, and strawberries are set before the guests who sit on heavy woven mats. The two sisters are much pleased with the unexpected company. They are

“Yes, Minga.” Confirms Catah “Why is she so far from her nation?”

anxious to please.

“Her dress is Dao Cama.” Confirms Teteh. “She must be escaping. I LOVE escapees.” Both Ndai women wave and smile to invite Toinanaa to their lodge. “Welcome. Enter our

“There is much provision. So do not hide your hunger.” Catah advises. “Yes! It will be good to see someone else enjoy my cooking.” Teteh adds.

camp.” The twins call out in the Minga language.

As the food disperses the two sisters sit, and open their hands to the sky. The voices of

The wolf watches Toinanaa with jealousy as she nears the providers of his food.

the old women join together in one resonance to pray. “Hear us…we are one…we hear

The women greet each other with cheer and great hospitality.

your voice calling through the silence of time. We hear you through storm and darkness. Shawa stands abandoned. He is awkward in such things and awaits the call from his wife.

The Ndai offer wishes to be at your side. Our voices speak as one to the Great Spirit.”

“I am Toinanaa of the Minga.”

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The sound of the old Ndai women in recitation of an ancient prayer fills Toinanaa and

Catah takes the stone in her hand and rinses it with water. She holds it up to the sun for

Shawa with much gratitude and humbleness.

all to see the piercing blue light that sparkles forth. “The spirit of this stone is special. There is none other like it on the earth.”

“This fish tastes as pig but has no fat.” Shawa comments.

“If the rock is broken the spirit remains strong in all pieces no matter how small.” Teteh

“Tulabee! It is the most prized fish of the mother water.” Teteh informs. “Yes! The water of the lake these past few springs has been warm. The Tulabee numbers

adds. “What do you know of this stone?” Asks Na Shawa.

have declined.” Catah notes. “Only a dying Tulabee is being found.” “This one was not dead when he seized my hook. Just as my father has told, no Tulabee

“It is the death stone of the Gray Hairs.” Teteh answers as a matter of fact.

will pass a hook baited with fresh corn and blood.” Teteh barbs.

Na Shawa is surprised. Even Shee Madga does not have this knowing.

‘I should like to see the color of this fish within the water.” Toinanaa asks.

His blank expression compels Catah. “It is said that upon the death of a great chief. The Gray Hairs mount such a stone to stand above the grave. The chief’s spirit enters into the

“It is a deep water fish. It comes to our shore only in the late summer to spawn. Teteh

stone to dwell. Each time the stone splits the spirit of dead chief grows stronger in the

answers.

next world. The greater one’s value in life the larger the seize of one’s death stone.”

“The men usually lay long jibs line to drag the bottom of the mother water. When the

Toinanaa’s people do not keep stone pendants. She notices that both the twin Ndai wear

Tulabee are many all share this bounty of the mother lake.

similar pendants but the stones are milky white crystals. “Why do you wear white

Catah eyes the stone pendant about Shawa’s neck. “You wear the blue stone!” She

stones?”

exclaims. Teteh searches with much anticipation for the object upon Shawa. “Yes, sister it is so. I

Catah removes her pendant for Toinanaa’s inspection.“ We wear the moon stone.” She says.

LOVE that blue stone!” All eyes follow the fingers of Na Shawa as he gathers the pendant to his face. “”No it is

“On the night of the full moon this white stones glows with the spirits of the dead.” Interjects Teteh.

only gray.” He turns the stone to the sun for a close inspection. “”Just gray!”

“Do your people wear the blue stone?” Asks Shawa.

Catah holds her hand open in request to receive the pendant. Shawa accedes to her request.

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“The blue stone is too strong. It may only to be broken by those who command this spirit

“I was making my way home to the Minga nation. I escaped from Bear Island after being

of nature. Only the Gray Hairs can cut the blue stone” Teteh responds. “To acquire such a

captive by the Huron.” Toinanaa pauses to allow the women to comprehend. “I must

piece as you wear can be only a gift from the Gray Hairs themselves.”

warn you that the Huron raid all the nations seeking maidens to return to their homes.”

“The moon stone is found in the shallows of the Mother Lake.” Answers Catah. “The

“We know the Huron are on the great lake. Our men have seen their canoes. Our men

blue stone comes from the camp of the Gray Hairs only.”

keep watch day and night. We can not fish safely the waters of the lake presently.” Catah

“Where is this camp?” Na Shawa is anxious.

informs.

“In the mountains across the lake.” Both sisters answer together.

“They have raided many villages.” Teteh acknowledges with sorry.” I HATE the Huron!”

“The Gray Hairs came long ago before many nations arrived on the Mother Lake. Their

“Do you not fear the Huron will attack the Ndai?” Asks Na Shawa.

camp was chosen to command the sky and earth around the lake.” Teteh informs.

“As the gathering of fish disperse into the deep water when threatened, the Ndai will race

“The place of the Gray Hairs is hidden to any but those sent by the spirits.” Catah offers.

out upon the Maha Usica.” Catah answers. “The Huron have no net to hold the Ndai.”

“Our father was one of the few to visit there. We have seen the great blue stone but not

“I LOVE to be on a canoe out upon the open lake.” Chimes Teteh.

the Gray Hairs’ camp.”

“May we use a canoe to make way to the land of the Minga?” Asks Shawa.

“I’m hungry.” Exclaims Teteh. “I LOVE food! I want to eat!”

“You shall need a guide. The currents about the peninsula are very strong.” Catah pauses.

A warm herbal brew made from sassafras is served afterwards.

“Jijim is knowing much of the ways to the Minga. When he returns we shall speak with

“How come you to the Doa Cama?” Asks Catah

him.

“How come you to have a husband of the Locanomee?” Teteh asks excitedly. “I LOVE

“I LOVE Jijim. He is a great man of the lake.” Tetah confirms.

weddings.”

“Jijim, he will visit our lodge this day.” Catah adds.

“We were both captives of the Doa Cama.” Toinanaa is anxious to tell her tale.

“Yes! He comes to speak with our grand niece about marriage. I Love engagements.”

“We married to become part of their nation.” Shawa adds.

Tetah exclaims.

Both sisters nod their head in understanding. “It is good.” They state together.

“Pepah is the youngest of our brother’s grand children. She is come to age of a woman and must take a place in the lodge of a husband. It is good!” Nods Catah.

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Later in the midday a small Ndai maiden arrives. She is younger than Toinanaa. Her form yet carries the roundness of a child. Her face is lovely.

“Me! Where is your husband?” Tetah answers. “Father understood I wished not to be bothered by man or sister.” Catah replies.

“The child is pretty but when she smiles then she is gorgeous.” Toinanaa tells the twin

Pepah is indifferent to the bickering of her elder aunts. The tall beauty of the visitors

sisters. “You will make a lovely bride.” Toinanaa tells Pepah.

stuns her. She cannot keep her eyes of the handsome Shawa.

The girl is shy. Her eyes divert with head bowed from Toinanaa’s glance.

Toinanaa observes the simile in the young girl’s eyes when Pepah captures Shawa’s

“All her father’s children are shy.” Announces Tetah.

attention.

“It’s her mother’s people.” Complains Catah. “They lack the way of friendship with eye

“This child is ready for a husband.” Toinanaa confirms to the sisters. “Her beauty would

and word.”

capture the heart of any Minga warrior.”

“I like her mother and all her family.” Pouts Tetah.

Shawa knows that it is unwise to speak in such matters of the women. “Tell me of Jijim.”

“I do as well...unless you wish to know of what they think.” Responds Catah. “Do not

“He traveled much with our father in his youth.” Tetah speaks.

worry child your great aunt and I have made good marriages for all your sisters.”

“Our father taught him much of the ways of the waters of the Mother Lake.” Catah adds.”

“Yes, Pepah! You shall have the best husband in the village.” Tetah consoles the child.

He comes as a courtesy to discuss marriage.”

“Most men like a quiet woman.”

Ciapa has lain quietly off from the company. His ears gather the sound of approach. He

“Most men like their woman to speak strong words when asked.” Catah nods to enhance

rises and makes to Shawa’s side. Here the great hound gives a violent snort then a staid

her opinion.” You will learn to speak well when you have children.”

look in the direction from which Pepah had arrived.

“When you seek a husband, you must answer agreeably at all times.” Tetah offers.

“A visitor comes!” Announces Shawa.

“When you are married then you have no NEED to be agreeable.”

“Quick Pepah! Go into the hut until you are called.” Catah commands. “Tetah help the

“You mean OBLIGATION!” Corrects Catah.

child into her ‘asking’ dress. The rose water...be sure to have the girl sprinkle rose water

“I mean NEED!” Answers Tetah grumpily.” Her husband is supposed to make life easy

just be fore she comes out again. Make sure she can find the rose water.” Catah instructs as Tetah and Petah disappear.

for her.” “No wonder father could not find a husband for you.” Barbs Catah.

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Inside the lodge Tetah retrieves a lovely ceremonial shawl. It is handsomely embroidered

Tetah holds a jar sealed tightly with a bound skin cover. “My mother had this idea when

with the Ndai signs of fertility and prosperity.

she was but 6 or 7 years of age.” Tetah opens the jar.” Mother wanted to keep the scent of

“All your sisters wore this shawl when they began to ask for a man.” Tetah unfolds and

the rose. So she took the petals of the rose and mixed them with water. She said to be careful not to add any leaf or stem but just the rose petals.” Teteh smells the contents of

shakes the wrinkles from the shawl. “My mother’s mother wore this same shawl.”

the jar with great delight. “So successful was her idea that she went about the village

“Tetah did you wear this shawl?” The Ndai maiden asks of her great aunt.

trading jars of rose water. Only Catah has been able to make this potion as well as she.” The elderly woman considers her past youth. “Put this on! I want to see you in it.” Tetah Petah receives the jar and takes a huge breath over it. “It is as the spirit of the rose! It is

hands the shawl to Petah. She is yet considering the girl’s question.

wonderful to wear such a scent.” Tetah’s father had approached several Ndai warriors on her behalf when she was a young maiden. The Ndai hand deemed Tetah too silly as a child and a good match could not be arranged. Over time marriage was no longer considered. Catah was too grumpy as a child

“Every man wishes to hold the woman who carries such a fragrance” Tetah says. “Just a bit of it now and a bit more when Jijim arrives. “Will he look at me?” Petah asks. “I mean will he look at me as a woman?”

and the twins’ father knew better than to try to find a husband for her. Tetah answers the girl’s query. “Yes once or twice! My mother wanted Catah and I both to marry. But as twins the bond between Catah and I would not permit marriage for either of us. The spirits have chosen our paths in life to be shared as one. It is good!” Tetah’s

“Tetah understands her question. “Yes, he comes to see you as a grown woman.” Petah smiles but cannot avoid shyness. ”That warrior with Catah did not look at me?” “He is with his wife. It would be rude for him to look at another woman.” Tetah

life is quite full and quite happy. “Besides we lived as children for a great many years in our mother’s lodge until her death. We loved our mother very much and we made her

responds. “Let me comb your hair.” Using the dried tip of the cattail plant, Tetah grooms the young girl’s hair.

final days very happy.” “Does this warrior seek another wife?” Petah asks curiously. “Did you not want children? Tetah asks as she shifts the marriage shawl about her “This one seeks the path of the spirits...His woman leads him to war against the Huron.”

shoulders.

Tetah remarks as she strokes the long black hair of her niece. “Catah was my child...I was Catah’s child...were children together and when our mother became old then she was as our child. Always the spirits allowed us to be as the mother.”

“His woman is very beautiful. So tall!” The young girl muses. “How did she come to have such a husband? He is very good looking.”

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“As all young girls who ask for the help of the spirits...by listening to her elders...I LOVE

Catah’s response to the words of Jijim is one of understanding. “Jijim is a wonderful

your hair.” Tetah says enthusiastically.

man...a wonderful leader of the Ndai.”

“I would like to be his woman...wouldn’t you?” The child asks.

The tiny man blushes. “It is not easy to explain how wonderful I am being to those who

“Shawa? He is too young for me. He goes far from the Leeote and your mother. He might

are nearly wonderful.” The man offers an extra large series of smiles and squints with his

take you as his woman but you may never return.” Tetah warns. “He is very a handsome

intended compliment to Catah.

youth but his way is not yet made with his tribe. The woman who travels with him risks

Toinanaa and Na Shawa struggle to take meaning from his words. Toinanaa’s stunned

much.”

look to her husband shows her confusion with the words and conduct of the Ndai warrior.

The thought of being lost from the Leeote and her mother frightens the girl. “I don’t think

Catah understands Jijim to mean that he is also fond of her. “You are most gracious in

his woman likes me anyway. She would have me to do all of the chores.”

your words.” She smiles genuinely.” How many wives does the great Jijim now

“You are wise, beautiful and young. Let Catah speak for you in marriage and you shall

possess?”

have much.” Tetah reassures the girl with a hug.

“Sometimes four!” He answers.

Outside a thin man with spindly arms and legs enters the camp of the twin Ndai. “O-Oh!”

Toinanaa’s visage is now contorted with disbelief. Shawa face is expressionless.

Cries out the man as he comes into view. “It is likely Jijim.” He calls.

Catah speaks in plain terms. “Does the great Jijim seek to take another woman into his

The Ndai warrior has a small shallow chest. His form is so thin his ribs are easily

lodge as a wife?”

numbered. His hair hangs in one long braid. His face is thin and angular. A nervous smile never leaves his lips.

For moment the skinny man ceases his fidgeting. “The women of the lodge where I keep my children are sometimes wanting a newly born. Their loneliness when I am upon the

“Catah welcomes the great Jijim.” She answers.

Maha Usica for many days, weighs heavily upon my good nature.”

Similes and salutes are exchanged. Catah and her guests move to the shade of a small

“The great Jijim is the best provider of the Ndai.” Catah assures. “His lodge is full with

willow near the lodge of the twin Ndai.

the goodness of life. Any woman of the Ndai would wish to enter the lodge of Jijim.”

“Jijim is arriving to question your invitation.” The nervous little man states as he fidgets

The right hand of Jijim with one finger extended waves in agitation. “Many women are

about while seated directly before Catah. His skinny arms are folded together with little

too good for Jijim’s lodge. Only a mature woman with need should be asked to enter.”

mass in arm or chest to sustain their support. “I want you to know the answers I need.” 221

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Toinanaa expression turns to understanding and confidence. She glances to see Shawa yet

Petah rises and walks about the camp. She pours water into the bowl of each guest, and

dumbfounded by the nature of the talk. She winks and makes quick signs to him.

then she takes the desert basket in hand and offers to each guest a choice in repast.

Toinanaa has realized and informs her husband that Jijim is contrary. He speaks in

All the while the young maiden form of Petah is measured. The age of her aunts stand in

nonsense. The correct meaning of his words is opposing his choice of phrase.

sharp contrast giving emphasis to Petah’s youth.

Na Shawa has never been in the presence of a contrary one and he is spell bound by the Ndai warrior. He is not sure that he understands fully what Jijim is saying. There seems

Toinanaa sees Petah with the same body type as her aunts. Na Shawa sees the girl as less attractive but healthy and strong.

to always be some confusion in the little man. Jijim looks not at the girl save but for the first introduction. This detail has caught “I wish the great Jijim to inspect a daughter of my father’s lineage.” Catah pauses. “It is

Catah’s attention. “Enough!” Catah calls Petah to return to her assigned place.

my wish for you to yet share the friendship of my father by taking this young maiden as a “I LOVE Petah.” Tetah injects. “She is wonderful.”

wife.” She continues with Jijim’s silence. “It is my regret that she is very young, very pretty and has much strength in her body. It would please your friend, my father to look

“Well nearly wonderful!” Catah corrects. “She is in need of training from a great

upon her as a wife.”

warrior.”

The fussing of the little man increases. He shakes his head with indifference.

“Your father was a man who could only have descendants that wished to be great. I loved him as if I were his ancestor.” The wiggles of the energetic fellow quicken with good

“It is good!” Catah turns and calls to the lodge for Tetah and Petah to join them.

fellowship. Jijim averts from Catah’s topic. Petah hides from all eyes behind Tetah as the girls join Catah’s guests. Petah sits between her two aunts and directly across from Jijim. Her head is raised by Catah’s hand so Jijim

Toinanaa’s intuition tells her the man wishes Petah for a wife.

may gaze long at her face. “This is our treasure, Petah!” Tetah adds.

“When do you wish to have the new woman in your lodge?” Catah presses.

Petah’s eyes glance only once at Jijim.

More squirming. Jijim’s hands and arms fold and unfold without rhyme. “The winter is too busy! The spring is best for the fish to spawn.” Jijim now looks to no one but speaks

No words are spoken.

as if alone. “The full moon brings a time for such a start to an ending.” Petah senses all eyes are upon her. Petah has taken sense that the deal is done for her betrothal. Her attention mounts. Her “Fetch some cool water for our guests...there are sweet cakes in the basket...offer these to

eyes now stare dedicatedly on to Jijim.

all!” Catah commands. 223

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Tetah also senses the deed as accomplished.

With the marriage arranged, Jijim stakes his leave.“ I return to my lodge so I may leave.” The skinny little warrior makes frail signs of his intentions.

Toinanaa is straining to gather the date for the nuptial.

“The guests of the Ndai are in need of quick passage to the land of Minga Nation.” Catah

Shawa is lost completely.

announces to Jijim.

Catah hesitates. She looks into Petah’s eyes to read her agreement. Her glance is

“Huron travel the Mother Water.” More unintelligible signs from the fisherman are given.

questioning.

“Huron are occasional friends.”

Petah also pauses.

“They have attacked my village and taken my people as slaves.” Toinanaa states. She

Tetah holds the girl within her arms.

stands well above the Ndai warrior in stature. Petah’s head nods in agreement. “We wish to reach the Minga as quickly as possible.” Na Shawa towers over all.” Tetah’s head nods in agreement. Jijim studies the many decorations worn by the Locanomee. The black feathers with in Toinanaa’s head nods in agreement.

Shawa’s hair hold much of Jijim’s attention. “You seek the bird of the Gray Hairs?”

“It is done!” Catah extends her hand toward the small Ndai warrior.

Shawa is surprised by this question. “I seek the place of the hawk of my vision.” He

“It begins!” Jijim says as he stands, and removes his loins clothe.

responds.

As Jijim presents his body for inspection, Shawa signs to Toinanaa for understanding.

“The hawk that leaves these feathers comes from the camp of the Gray Hairs.” Jijim is

Aside, Toinanaa informs Shawa that at the next coming wane of the moon. Petah will

pointing southward. “At the other side of the Maha Usica.”

wed Jijim and enter his lodge as a new wife. She further explains that it is custom for the

Tetah interrupts. “Jijim, this maiden’s mother maybe dying. The spirits will sing the

Ndai warrior to show his cleanliness to his intended bride.

praise of Jijim all across the Maha Usica for his kindness.”

Shawa asks how much age difference is between Jijim and Petah.

Jijim shakes his head in yes and no and utter confusion. “The fish say there will be many

Toinanaa signs thirty years.

storms upon the lake tonight. The Huron will fish tonight as their season ends quickly. Only not in light can you reach the Minga if at all. Not now is better than not later.”

Shawa asks if this is a great measure.

“Let us have one fast canoe and give us directions.” Asks Na Shawa.

Toinanaa signs. “Not for a great warrior!”

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“The currents upon the lake will stay not in the storm...only by passing Bear Island can

“This is racer for the netting of very fast school of fish.” Jijim smiles with intended

the woman reach her mother. In four days the Huron will not able to be near...they shall

accomplishment. “Anyone may lose if they chase us while all paddle.”

not be gone from their home!” The little Ndai warrior smiles to emphasize his concern. “What would the great Jijim do if his Ndai daughters were captives on the Huron?” Catah asks.

Na Shawa is in front, Toinanaa is amid ship, and Jijim takes a place at the rear to steer as the canoe is launched. “If waves are soft, no hands hold to side.” Jijim gives a final command.

“What would the great Jijim do if his wives were captives of the Huron?” Tetah asks.

The trio soon finds a coordinated rhythm with the oars. The scull is soon at quick speed

“We are all children of the Mother water.” Toinanaa pleads with her eyes filled with

with its bow raised slightly as it skims across the surface of the lake. Jijim steers the

sorrow.

canoe into swift currents that propel their craft at even a faster rate.

With out hesitation Na Shawa states, “Only the sons of the Maha Usica will fight to

Tassels of Toinanaa’s hair fly in the air stream created by the rushing crew. Never has

protect the children of the Mother Water.” Shawa places his hand upon the shoulder of

Shawa been so exhilarated by motion upon water.

Jijim. “Only a great warrior can take us to the Minga this night?”

Jijim’s arms, which are as skinny as his oars, never tire. They control his paddle’s stroke

This evening near dusk, Toinanaa and Na Shawa arrive near Jijim’s lodge.

into the water. Alternatively the port or starboard placement of his oar serves as rudder for steerage. His eyes scan the full horizon above and on top of the water. Jijim’s reads

There is one dark cloud behind the clear sky on the distant horizon. On a sand bar near the lake, Jijim keeps a collection of canoes, fishing nets and various

the play of air currents and the ripples upon the lake. The movement of birds in the distance he notes. Jijim’s eyes search constantly.

traps. Here the trio gathers for departure. “We must move less slowly upon the water. There is no time for not quickly.” The little

Soon the their craft is well out upon deep water. The low profile of the canoe gives little sight upon the horizon.

sprite states as he indicates his choice in watercraft. A small canoe with shallow draft and lacking gunnels is to be used. There is no storage on board. The canoe is a solid flat board with pointed ends with just a narrow depression

Toinanaa and Shawa are lost and completely dependent upon their guide for direction. As all sight of shore disappears, Toinanaa recalls her escape from Bear Island with great anxiety.

atop for passengers. The keel is shallow as well. Normally meant for two persons the canoe must accommodate all three. It is made from very lightwood and one man may easily carry it to the water’s edge. 227

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The sun is setting. The skies are clear from waterfowl and the last hawk passes above to

The three lay silently bent over to give no profile as they wait. In the moment, winds rise

make to its nest ashore. The moon is yet having much fullness as the first stars emerge.

in advance of a pending rainstorm. Just as the storm closes upon them, the canoe makes

Darkness comes quickly. Jijim expects to approach the island of the bears soon.

straight toward the island where the Huron make camp.

The campfires of the Huron are kept large throughout the night. Betochomagwa has no

In the cover of nature’s tempest Jijim’s canoe advances unseen from those ashore. The

fear of attack from the natives of the lake. His raiders will use the smoke from the great

silhouettes of tree and ridge of the island swells as the canoe closes. The large campfires

fires of the Huron camp to make their way in return at day.

of the Huron sputter and dim with the strong winds from the storm.

Jijim is the first to mark the flickering of lights that mark Bear Island in the distance.

The canoe arrives with the first intermittent raindrops. Shawa spies hundreds of canoes

“You shall pass the island of the bears in a no storm less night.” He notes.

lined upon the shore just feet from the lake’s edge.

Toinanaa wonders what hardships her fellow Minga there have endured the past few

The great number of Huron has taken shelter within the trees. They have left no guard to

days. She calls to the Great Spirit to make happy in the next life those who have died in

keep watch. Shawa prepares to swim to shore. He signs to the others with his knife his

the recent Huron attacks. She is anxious to see her mother. Fear now grips her.

intent to puncture the Huron canoes.

Na Shawa sees the lights of the campfires. “How close will we pass?”

Jijim also signs that he will swim with Na Shawa. He informs Toinanaa to close behind them and keep the canoe drifting to the island’s right. He informs all that as soon as the

“In a storm one may pass as close as they wish!” Answers Jijim. “The Huron are not

heavy rain ends they must make their escape at full speed. The Huron are no fools, he

without lacking awkwardness in their canoes. Speed a float is their missing choice.”

warns.

Jijim calls an end to the canoe’s progress. He signs with his hands that the canoe must

With their canoe only yards from shore the pair of warriors slip silently off. In a moment

pass around the island that stands directly ahead.

they are both crawling upon the ground toward the first canoe. Jijim punctures the first

“I wish to see these Huron and count their canoes.” Na Shawa signs in reply.

canoe with his knife’s blade along the keel underneath the hull where the water makes the Jijim places his ear against the blunt end of his oar while its paddle sits deep in the water. “There is no sound of canoes on the lake.” Jijim informs. “Huron wait until storm

greatest force. Shawa follows his example. The two work their way proficiently along the row of canoes leaving damaged each they chance to pass.

passes.” Jijim reads the signs of the sky. “Soon comes the cover for any light and sound.” Light rain turns heavier and in the dark Toinanaa has difficulty to keep watch over her allies. She keeps the helm of the canoe and her course steady and true.

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Shawa and Jijim continue their path of destruction without measure of Toinanaa’s progress.

The rains have left the camps of the Huron deluged. As soon as the skies make clear the

The heavy rain makes there task simple. Crawling to the right side of the shore and

Huron reset their fires. The canoes are placed in to the water and made ready to launch.

making one stroke of their knife then advancing. In a matter of minute scores of canoes

Hundreds of warriors make sign with paint upon their bodies.

are made unusable. In several minutes when the rain abates half the Huron canoes will

Betochomagwa steps toward the lake. His hard face lifts toward the moon. The pale light

not cross the lake this night.

shadows the lines of his countenance making fiercer his look. Behind him is gathered the

The storm passes and the moon’s light again reaches the shore. Jijim makes sign to

assembled Huron war party. His lance rises to point the moon and then it falls in one

retreat.

direction to mark the lake.

Shawa signs that he will follow but his eyes must first see the Huron camp.

“This raid is to be the last. The moon turns from full. Gather what maidens you find.

As Jijim reaches the water where Toinanaa steadies the canoe, Shawa shares the spirit of

With tomorrow’s sun we Huron shall depart this lake and return to our home.”

the cat to creep toward the Huron camp. There is no movement of the Huron from their

Great cries of delight give out from his band.

shelter. Only the bound captives lie in the open. Na Shawa makes a quick count before he returns and enters the water.

“Once again the Huron have slain many enemy. Once again the Huron rule the nations of this great lake.”

His strokes toward the waiting scull are fast but the sounds of the Huron arrive behind

Shrieks of war, and shouts of pride from the warriors answer Betochomagwa.

him.

“Let this raid be our most fierce...leave no life behind upon the shore.” The anger of the

In an instant the three have their canoe at full speed racing around the island and toward the open lake, and in line to the Minga nation.

war chief has not abated with all the battles of this week. His face distorts demonically as he eyes the readiness of his band. All come to silence as the lance of Betochomagwa lifts horizontally over his head. With a measured pause Betochomagwa holds his warriors at the sway. Then his lance falls swiftly and the band races to their crafts.

******

Each canoe fills immediately with several warriors, as each is shoved forward to full float. As the entire flotilla emerges upon the lake one canoe then another slows and 231

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begins to sink by the bow. The knife cuts of Shawa and Jijim have catastrophically

The scull of Jijim makes straight onward toward the land of the Minga through a series of

weakened the hulls. The stress of full motion with heavy load rips open those canoes so

small brief tempests. The old navigator of the lake is undaunted at the helm.

marked.

The oar strokes of Shawa and Toinanaa are most forceful and their craft lurches swiftly

Betochomagwa’s canoe is one of the first to be lost, stranding the war chief in water

onward with each.

twenty feet above the lake floor. Awkwardly, Betochomagwa struggles not to drown.

The island of the Huron camp is well behind them when a large wave reaches the canoe.

Many of the Huron cannot swim and are lost with their canoe.

It is half a foot in height. Their canoe is turned abruptly to the right. All struggle to

Betochomagwa reaches the shore breathlessly and must be helped in his return to camp.

remain a float. The canoe’s course is corrected but in another minute a second wave

Nearly two hundred Huron have sunk helplessly into the water. Almost half the canoes

arrives it too strikes the right side of the boat hurling Toinanaa out and into the dark

disappear completely.

water. Quickly Shawa’s long arms recover her aboard.

There is no harsh look worn by Betochomagwa at present. His limbs are weak, his visage

Jijim’s is gravely concerned. “To shore! Stroke with all the might in your arms!” He

turned pale as in death. Water has entered his lungs. He lays coughing and nearly

commands his crew.

unconscious.

Madly, the canoe is turned and rushed diametrically away from the source of the waves.

The remaining canoes are put again to shore. The raid this night will be no more.

Jijim knows that these large waves come from a twisting spout of water created by a

Weapons are placed aside. The mood among the Huron has turned from jubilant. Scores of Huron drowned are gathered. The pile of corps shall be burnt through the night.

turning wind of a small storm of great strength. “Water devil comes! We must win the race or perish!” The skinny Ndai navigator paddles and grunts in faster measure. Shawa and Toinanaa are straining to keep pace. A wave comes again as they make escape. This time the swell is nearly a foot in height. It washes against the canoe’s aft lifting Jijim almost to his feet. A great wind howls steadily

*****

against their backs thrusting them forward. The flat hull is driven at greatest speed. Oar and wind propel the craft across the water. Skipping and bouncing atop the surface, the trio out runs the storm. The waves arrive with less strength and ever-longer periods between. The panic of the crew does not abate.

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The shortest way to survival is to stay ahead of the storm. Jijim keeps the canoe moving directly away.

“We must send a war party to gather canoes that all may escape.” A third orders. The war chief raises one hand slightly to compose his council. Betochomagwa can only

As soon as the turbulence of the water subsides the canoe slows with the exhaustion of

speak in a whisper, as his breath is slight.

the arms that stroke.

“Lash several canoes together.” His voice is faint. “Make rafts from strong trees.” He

Sections of the night sky appear clear with stars bright. It takes very little of it to be seen

pauses to keep conscious “The spirits of many birches bound as one is mightier than the

by Jijim in order for him to take his bearing.

spirit of the water.”

“Gray Hairs! It is best to reach the camp of the Gray Hairs.” Jijim shouts and gives

The weakness of Betochomagwa is great. He cannot finish his words. He looks more as

direction.

an old man than a fierce warrior as he fights for his life against the fever.

“Why not to the Minga?” Toinanaa asks in despair.

The second in command reads Betochomagwa’s mind.” We shall make one mighty

“Sometimes second water devil comes. Sometimes from near place.” Jijim points behind

flotilla. Canoes to bind the rafts. The daughters of the lake we shall bind. Let the spirit

them. “Water devil between us and Minga. We take quick shelter until sun replaced to

take her children along with the Huron if another vessel is sunk.”

sky.”

Betochomagwa nods in agreement. His hands are signing. ”Make to the pass of the white river that leads to the land of the Huron.”

***** *****

It is morn upon the Island Of the Bear. Betochomagwa lies near the campfire. His back rests upon a fallen log. He is with lung fever. His council attends him.

Along the lake’s shore below steep cliffs, Jijim has made camp.

“We must quite the island at once.” Demands one sub chief.

Na Shawa has risen early. His dreams where visited by the black hawk. The bird gave

“The spirit of the lake is angry.” Speaks another frantically.

great excitement to its cries in his dreams. The sun just makes to the edge of the horizon.

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Toinanaa and Jijim yet sleep. From out of the new risen sun the black hawk that has

“You had a vision!” Toinanaa replies.

directed Shawa’s amah arrives. It swoops over the camp to land high upon a tall naked

“The black hawk was here. He has given us direction.” Shawa informs.

fir. The eyes of the bird keep watch upon Shawa.

“Then we must follow.” Toinanaa agrees.

“It must soon be over.” Na Shawa says to the hawk. “By my reckoning you have led me

Shawa points up the rising rock face.

three quarters the way about the great Maha Usica.” Jijim has been listening. “It can be otherwise the water not to climb. My people wait later The hawk flaps its wings as if to fly off, but in an instant returns to roost.

for my present return.” The little man is much excited by the indication of Shawa. “You

“Which way?” Shawa calls. “Back to the canoe?”

are close to Minga. You shall be going back to Leeote later than Jijim.” His legs dance as

The voice of her husband returns the sleeping Toinanaa to full life.

he speaks.

Shawa stands to gain the hawks full attention.

Shawa is losing the thoughts of the Ndai warrior.

Toinanaa back is to the bird. As the maiden rises, the hawk takes flight up along the great

Jijim turns and fidgets uncontrollably as he looks from cliff to lake. “Gary Hairs above.

cliff.

Lake ahead for Jijim.”

Shawa watches the bird disappear over the cliff top as his wife turns to see, that which

Shawa looks to Toinanaa for understanding.

has her husband’s attention.

The tall maiden begins her morning grooming. Her long hair she straightens while her

Jijim yet sleeps.

minds sorts Jijim’s words. She pauses. “Jijim may go. Shawa and I must climb the wall to

Toinanaa needs the arms of her man. She approaches humbly with her head lowered in

the camp of the Gray Hairs. How many days walk to the place of the Minga?” She asks. “Two days.” Jijim’s nervousness relents. The maiden’s words have much comforted him.

respect.

He shakes his head repeatedly in agreement.

Na Shawa needs to sense the softness of his woman. His arms fall to his side. The couple embraces. Each relieved to have the other alive after the ordeal of the

“Can we see the lake from above?” Asks Shawa.

tempests upon the night lake.

“Yes, Bear Island and beyond. The point out to the farthest left is my home the Leeote.” The Ndai sailor is quickly making his retreat. He has no wish to share further travel with

“You spoke?” Toinanaa asks as her head rests against Shawa’s shoulder.

his companions.

“It is soon to end. My vision...our journey is soon to be over.” He answers. 237

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He removes a long fishbone form his hair and hands the same to Shawa. “This sign will

The bright light from the outside sun blinds their eyes momentarily in darkness. Each feel

tell all who know the Ndai that Shawa is friend to Jijim. Where the Ndai are welcome so

for the other’s hand as both pass from the cliff face into the rocky interior. The smell of

will Shawa be welcomed.”

fresh guano offends their sense of smell.

“It is good!” Shawa answers as he and Toinanaa turn to begin their hike to the cliff’s top.

“Such odor can bring great sickness.” Whispers Toinanaa.

There is a narrow worn ledge that winds almost vertically upward. It has been built upon

Na Shawa squeezes the fingers of her hand gently to call silence.

the passing of wild goat and sheep. It is wide enough for one to pass with hands free to

Beams of light pass into the cave from tiny cracks and fissures of the wall that faces the

clasp the rocky edge of the wall. Some sections have been worked wider so that a two-

lake. The cave is narrow but runs parallel to the cliff face.

footed man may pass. It is impossible for an attacking army to climb with weapons in

Silent footfalls lead the pair inward. Na Shawa is certain that the path to the summit

hand. The cliffs above are virtually unapproachable if defended from above.

above lies within. They move onward. Tight turns and archways wind before them. For

The climb of 150 feet is not intimidating to Shawa and Toinanaa. They progress with

many yards the fit between the rock walls is uninviting. The long thin Toinanaa moves

agility towards the summit. Only once does Shawa look back over the Lake to watch

easily. Na Shawa’s broad shoulder gives much turning and tugging in his advance.

Jijim ‘s swift canoe racing directly toward the mark of Leeote upon the horizon.

“Where do we go?” Toinanaa gives question from behind her husband.

The island of the bear stands clear upon the water of the great lake. Its green hilltop is

At this same instant the constricted course gives way. Na Shawa enters a large cave cut

fixed in a surrounding azure pool. The scene is most tranquil and contradicts the horror of the past night.

deep into the cliff. One large beam of sunlight enters from a long descending shaft. The air is fresh and dry. The walls shine in sparkles as if polished by the spirits.

As the pair climb the path ends abruptly 20 or so feet from the edge at the top. A small

Toinanaa follows her husband into a large chamber with vaulted roof. The length of the

vertical rift sits hidden in view from the lakeshore. It opens to lead into a narrow cave.

cave is fives times the width. The width is sufficient to permit 20 warriors to stand side to

Shawa enters just his head and pauses to take any sounds that the cavern may contain.

side across. Un worn by nature’s wind and rain the walls remain as first formed. The

“Get in!” Toinanaa Barks. “I’m getting tired of holding onto this cliff.”

smooth granite interiors were formed by slow cooling millions of years past. Light gray

Her words dispel any hesitation Na Shawa may have of entering.

colored rock with tints of orange and red form the walls, ceiling and floors. Only the path that leads through the cavern shows wear. “What is this place?” Toinanaa asks. She is startled s the echo from her voice.

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Quickly Shawa’s hand covers her lips as he pushes her to one side of the grotto.

Shawa knows that the Gray Hairs must have seen the flight of the large black hawk with reds markings just as he. “These Gray Hairs must have kept the way of the hawk as we

“This place holds life!” His whisper is near to silent. As they wait for outer sounds of response, their eyes search the walls. No other entrances

now do.”

are to be found but the one at the opposing end. On the wall where the entering shaft of

Shawa senses that he has arrived to the place of his vision. ”My amah ends soon.”

light strikes there are many murals. Some are drawn in black some in red. Deer, buffalo,

The exit from the cavern is through another tortuous flake of an opening. It rises and

elk are sketched. Men clad in fur with head dressed in horn are depicted. Strange

turns into complete darkness.

geometric swirls are placed above the scenes of nature. Some in knotted form never

Toinanaa hides behind Shawa as his hands are left to feel among the dark ruts and spider

before seen by the present viewing eyes.

webs collected before them.

Lost in the time of the ancient artists, Na Shawa forgets all peril. He is drawn to the

The exit ends in the shadows of a ledge covered with large heavy roots hanging from

artwork. His hand feels the marks and touches the paint left by the old ones. “It is very

massive trees that grow upon the final summit. A wide portion of ledge sits between them

strong!” He tells his wife.

and the over look to the lake. Here three large flat stones have been laid each on its side

Toinanaa sees the sign of no tribe known to her. “The Ndai do not make such sign.” She

to form a triangle of walls some 8 feet or so height. Atop these three walls rests one

informs.

grander stone laid above to form a roof. A compartment with three entrances has been

“Not Huron!”

formed. A fire burns within attended by a large heavy maiden of many years. The woman sits indifferent to their approach.

“There is none such as these in the nations of my journey.” Shawa adds.

Toinanaa recognizes the signs worn by the woman. She rushes ahead. “I am Toinanaa of

“What people live here that makes such signs?” She asks.

the Minga.” “Live here no more!” The eyes of Shawa move closer to make better measure of details. The old woman turns with littler concern. “So! Minga do not come here.”

“You can see that one artist is more patient than the other here.” Shawa points to representations of the same animals to explain any differences. “Yet a third does carve

The less than cordial tones from the woman do not give pause to Toinanaa. “I smell

the knots above...this was home to Gray Hairs. No nation of the Maha Usica wear such

rabbit cooking.”

horns...no such horns are to be found about the whole of the Mother Lake.

“It is time for midday food!” The woman answers wondering why the young maiden

“How did they find this place?” Toinanaa.

fusses.

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“My husband and I passed by the camp of the Huron last night...”

The old woman has yet to look her company in the eye. Her attention fades to her dining.

“No need for chatter...just have a seat and wait till I get this one turned a bit more...good

Na Shawa and Toinanaa follow their hostess and eat in silence.

thing he’s a big one else none of us would leave without hunger...get your man down.”

The appetite of the old woman is good and no morsel is left unattended till consumed.

The old one jabs a blind hand in direction of Na Shawa but keeps her attention on the

“The next meal you’ll have to find for yourselves “ She states at the conclusion of their

cooking.

repast.

“I don’t get company when I’m up here...that’s why I come...don’t want company least I want free of my tribe...just get tired of being bothered by them...so I come up here form other side, can’t climb those cliffs...never could...always been a girl with big

“That was delicious! You are certainly a wonderful cook.” Toinanaa compliments. “What an unusual flavor to your meat!” “Leander! This herb grows just among the ferns here about. Once snared a rabbit that was

bones...people always saw me as older than I was as a child...that’s the reason for all my problems...never was permitted to grow up...had to be an adult too soon.”

feeding on Leander...never tasted anything as good. Just rub the meat with Leander leaf before cooking and start with small fire until the juice of the herb works into the

“Can I help?” Toinanaa interrupts.

flesh...just a few minutes extra is all.” The old woman smiles for the first time.

Na Shawa assumes the male code of silence near the fire when women are preparing

Na Shawa remains silent.

food.

Toinanaa resumes an attempt at conversation. “We escaped capture by the Huron last

“There are some corn fritters in my pouch...you can fetch them out...and the water jug is full and fresh...I hate old smelling water from a jug...fill mine fresh for each meal...each time I go to drink...can’t tolerate those who let the water go to poor taste cause they are too lazy to fetch.”

night...” “My name is Audua...My people are sister tribe to Ndai...Huron have been on the Mother lake since the moon turned full...great storms last night...it’s a wonder you both didn’t drown.” The heavy woman reaches to her side for a large bag.

The rabbit is removed from the spit.

Toinanaa has recognized the dress of Audua. The Chickamongee are long known to the

“I can’t stand meat from a breast that’s too dry with no taste and has a poor texture.” The old woman removes the two hindquarters then hands the remainder to Toinanaa. “Dark meat is best...most folks don’t know better and pass it up...got more health and nutrition too.”

Minga as a migratory band.“ I did not know the Chickamongee where related to the Ndai.” “Do! Both tribes descended from the first people to settle the Maha Usica. We were here before the Gray Hairs. We were a nation long before the Huron.

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“How come you to this remote place?” Toinanaa inquires.

“Upon my journey here, I came across a deer gone lame. It gave me its hide. That night I had a vision that moccasins must be made for the arrival of a great leader of nations from

“My mother died at my birth...I was raised by the other women in my father’s

the Maha Usica.”

lodge...They were not mean but I was left to do my many chores then my father died before I could marry...I was a pretty maiden but had no father to arrange a marriage when

Na Shawa receives the boots. “This deer skin is from a pale deer!”

my step brothers married and took there own lodge their mothers moved with them so I

Toinanaa takes one boot into her hands to feel the white fur. “They are beautiful! I have

have lived on my own. Their children come to visit me but they are not mine...I come

never seen a white deer.”

here so none of my father’s relations may come to see me.”

“There is a herd of white deer upon the summits here. My people believe the spirits of the

“What path do you walk to this place?” Toinanaa continues to inquire.

Gray Hairs are returned in these sallow animals. It is forbidden to hunt them. Never

“On the slope behind the cliff is the place where the spirits of our dead are gathered...I

before has any been given a hide from one. It is a gift from the spirits”

bring flowers to my mother’s place of rest...I think my mother would have liked

Quickly Na Shawa adorns the first moccasin from Audua. “It fits! It is perfect...so gently

me...Most people do not like me.” There is a tear in the eyes of Audua as she speaks.

so strong.” His hands rub over the boot.

“I should like to see the grave of your mother...if you will show us?” Toinanaa is most

“It must fit by more than sense if you are this great leader.”

sincere. At this instant Audua looks at the Minga maiden as she has never looked at another. “No one has ever asked to see the place of my mother’s spirit.” Audua takes Toinanaa into her heart in a way no other person has ever been allowed to share. “You shall see how I care for her spirit.” Audua has gained the sister for which she has always hoped. Shawa yet sits in silence. From her bag Audua recovers a pair of new moccasins made in the fashion of the Chickamongee. There are of heavy hide that rise half way up a man’s calf and they are to be laced with long thick leather straps. The hide is covered with a short white fur. “These are for you.” She hands Na Shawa the new moccasins.

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Audua points toward the great water. “The Huron move to their home! Soon peace will

Chap 7

return. They disturb my people.” Her face expresses revulsion. “They disturb all the peoples of the Maha Usica!” Toinanaa’s face shows hatred. Shawa thinks of his mother and grandmother. He wonders if his village has been attacked and if his family is safe. Thri Siur From atop the ledge of their lookout, the massive Huron flotilla from the Island of the Bears moves slowly over the blue water. Shawa measures their progress with time. They must camp for the night before they begin their exit march. Toinanaa ponders the fate of the captives. She must some how keep her promise to release them. “It is time to move.” The large frame of Audua moves off toward the shrub line that marks the end of the summit upon which they stand. She begins to quickly descend from sight as Shawa and Toinanaa follow. The slope is steep and rugged. The body drops in large measure with each footfall. A narrow trial snakes about heavy shrub and thicket. “This woman must have enormous strength.” Toinanaa whispers to her husband. “Only a goat would choose to climb this trail.” In some places the movements downward is impossible without both hands held upon exposed rock face. “It takes an act of greater desperation to ascend from this side.” Shawa replies quietly to his wife. The moments are long for the short distance traversed. After a great effort, the trio step into a long narrow but deeply slanting meadow. The land has been cleared about the tall 247

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yellow birch trees. In each tree hang human remains wrapped in layers of decorated

The bundles of thick briars used to protect the burial tree impress Shawa. These are

animal hide. Tied between parallel limbs and suspended from above by heavy chord,

placed and removed with great effort in order to protect the bodies of the dead.

every usable tree in the meadow participates as a burial site. The base of each tree is

The circles of bones contain those of small children as well as adults. The deaths of the

stacked all about with heavy briar brush, which has been cut, transported and carefully

small come in late winter and early spring in his village. Shawa assumes the

placed. Further out from the tree’s trunk are rings of skulls and bones. The remains of

Chickamongee children are also easily lost in the same season.

earlier dead are so preserved.

Some trees have more small bones gathered then others. This puzzles Shawa. Some

“This is the place of my ancestors. This is the burial place of the Chickamongee.” Audua leads them to one of the oldest birches. It is ringed many times in bone. “My father’s

bones among the rings are much longer and thicker. It seems that all families’ show the remains of a larger than normal sized body. “Audua’s body must carry such heavy

fathers' remains are lined about this tree. My mother is up there next to papa.” Audua’s voice quivers with loss.

bones.” Step by step Shawa moves from the sight and sound of the chatting women.

In the highest burial nest tied side-by-side hang two mummies. “When I go to live with my mother’s spirit, I shall take her burial place. Her bones will join the circle at our feet. My brothers each will ascend to father’s limb.” Large heavy tears run from Audua’s eyes. ******

Toinanaa’s long slim arms cannot reach fully around Audua. Her eyes make sign for Shawa to step away so the women make talk freely. ”Tell me of your mother’s people.” Shawa does not hear these words as he moves away. His eyes gauge the number of the ancestors of the tribe. “The Chickamongee are a small nation.” Notes Shawa. The burial

“My mother’s people are not from the Chickamongee tribe. My father traded pelts of the

place of the Locanomee people seems vast in comparison. “They are too few in number

otter for her. She came from a tribe who trades with the Ndai far to the west. I always

to make war.” It seems proper for the few Chickamongee to keep sanctuary in these

wanted to visit my mother’s people and see her village but no Chickamongee dare make

remote cliffs.

such a journey. No one cares about my feelings here.”

His saunter takes the young warrior down and away.

“I would take you to see your mother’s people? How are they called?” Toinanaa asks.

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Audua is again touched by the young maiden’s concern. My mother was Baush-Doh. The

The two hug. Audua removes her necklace and divides it into two pieces. Strips of

Ndai tell me they are a great people of the far west and much feared. They live but just a

rawhide from her dresses are used to fashion the one necklace into two. The second half

small section of their land touches the great water. They keep large herds of goat and

Audua places over Toinanaa’s neck. “You are now a daughter of the Baush-Doh. You are

sheep. The villages are much decorated and are of great beauty.” Audua’s hand trembles

now a daughter of the Chickamongee.” Audua announces.

with excitement as she takes hold of the necklace hanging about her neck to show

“You are now daughter to the Minga and family to Shawa of the Locanomee.” Toinanaa

Toinanaa.

replies. She removes her headband. The remaining vestige of her original Minga dress is

“This is all that I have of my mother…this is all that I have of her people…this is all I

given to Audua.

have to show that I am of the Baush-Doh.”

The two again embrace.

Toinanaa sees a necklace of exquisite beauty. It is crafted with shiny multicolored stones set between slight figures of pure gold. All bound on chord of delicate woven hair. “This is the wedding gift of my grandmother to her daughter. The figures tell a story of my

“I loved my father…He was a great man, a great leader. I want you to know that I am proud to be his daughter…I am proud to be Chickamongee.” Audua’s heart is lightened to have said these things.

mother’s ancestors. No one here knows its meaning.

“What of the Chickamongee? Are you not happy here?” Toinanaa questions.

“Surely, the warriors of the Ndai know of your mother’s ancestors. Can the Ndai not take you to the land of the Baush-Doh?” Toinanaa shares Audua’s sense of loss. It must be

“These people are gentle and kind. We have no way for war…they do not like me. I seem to always make them upset. They do not understand me.”

that Jijim can tell you much.” Toinanaa pauses in deep thought. “Audua, if I survive the fight that comes with the Huron then I this make promise to you. Shawa shall take you to the Ndai to speak with Jijim and arrange for you to visit the Baush-Doh!” With these words, the maiden takes her knife and draws her own blood from her left hand and offers

*****

it to mix with that of Audua. Audua has found the sister that she has never had, she has found a daughter she shall never have and she has found a family not of her father’s tribe. With tear-filled eyes and her breath faltering, Audua cuts her left hand and mixes her blood with that of Toinanaa. “We are sisters!” 251

252


The study of Shawa among remains of the Chickamongee has grown intense. His mind

At a near distance, and through the branches of a heavy fir an archer’s bow is set with an

has absolved his duties as husband and with his amagh. He has retuned to the

arrow intended for the throat of the warrior who violates the home of the ancestors of the

adventurous spirit of the boy.

Chickamongee. Shawa’s words give cause for uncertainty to the veiled archer. The bow

Shawa has noticed differences among the carvings and signs applied to the artifacts and trees of the burial site. Many are familiar to other tribes of the Maha Usica. Here and

becomes unsteady. The sound of familiar laughter from afar reaches Shawa’s opponent.

there Shawa finds the ancient markings similar to those found on the black rock below

Shawa points to the direction from which he has walked. “Audua comes now with my

the summit of Bhe Ag Uait. He finds such olden signs upon the hides covering the dead recently hoisted above into the trees.

woman.” The strong lungs of Audua leave no doubt as to her laugh. The archer waits. The bow is

Shawa is most excited. “The present Chickamongee uses these rare signs!”

held ready.

Nearby, Shawa approaches a pole carved with many figures, and important symbols. He

“Shawa! Wait for us!” The high-pitched voice of Toinanaa calls after the path of her

is anxious to feel the markings with his hands. He reaches foreword.

straying husband.

A hissing missile passes near his head. An arrow’s shaft has flown close to Shawa cheek

The voice of the approaching unknown maiden further confounds the archer’s judgment.

and struck the trunk of a tree near to him.

Shawa raises both hands to show they are empty and conceal no weapon. “Just wait to

Shawa does not move. His head turns toward the arrow’s origin. His eyes scan the cover, which may hide the archer. There is no sight of any warrior.

see, I am friend to Audua…she has given to me the moccasins which are now upon my feet.”

The hands of Shawa move slowly to his side. He knows the arrow sent was in warning. He knows he trespasses another tribe’s burial ground. His life now rests with another.

The archer recognizes the white deer hide and the style of the moccasins’ making to be Chickamongee. This intruder must be a friend.

“I am Shawa of the Locanomee.” His voice is sent into the woods.

Shawa’s eyes continue to search for sign of his attacker. He hopes to delay further contest

“I travel on amagh.” He pauses to hear any response. A second arrow clears just inches

until Audua arrives. “Audua shall arrive quickly…she is to take us to the river that flows

from his head but not from the same direction as the first.

from the mother lake…we are escaping from the Huron.” Shawa is certain that the

“Audua of the Chickamongee leads me to this place.” Shawa is nervous.

bowman is listening.

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The bow drops from its intended target. The eye of the person who hunts Shawa now

Shawa is surprised. “Audua did not speak of this…she spoke only of her privacy and her

studies the man and the many signs that he wears upon him. The teeth of the panther

ancestors.”

show he has much courage. The buffalo sack tells that he has traveled far. The spotted

Kau Kau is certain now that the warrior speaks the truth. She approaches. ”My aunt

lizard hide can only be from very far away. Many signs of this warrior are new. This

cannot wait to join her ancestors…she is a great leader of our people.” Her words are

Shawa must be a great warrior of his people to have survived such a long journey.

spoken in friendship.

“My woman is Minga! I return her to her mother’s village for safety before I fight the

Shawa relaxes at the change in demeanor. “You search for Audua?”

Huron.” Shawa continues to communicate with his unseen advisory.

“No I hunt!” The maiden points off in her intended direction. “I am passing near and

The form of the warrior Shawa is measured. His height is more than most and his limbs are lean and strong. The one who beholds Shawa is most impressed by his physical

enter to ask my ancestors for help in the hunt. I saw the marks of your big feet all about.” “Forgive my manners…I keep distance as Audua and my woman speak of things only for

appearance and handsome looks.

the ears of women…I see signs of the ancient ones here that are the same as to be found

“I am Kau Kau of the Chickamongee.” The archer calls out.

upon the lands of my nation.” Shawa points to special markings upon the pole. “Do you

Shawa turns to greet his captor as young maiden steps from behind her cover. The girl is

know the meaning of these signs?”

small and muscular. Her eyes are blue. Her skin is pale. Her hair long and black but

“The one of many circles inside one another means life long lived…It is a sign used by

shows streaks of gray.

the Gray Hairs.” Kau Kau comes to stand near to Shawa but as she approaches her body

Kau Kau stands twenty paces from Shawa with bow lowered but at the ready.

shakes. The scent of Shawa’s musk gives cause within her to be still. Her eyes search his face for meaning to these feelings.

The two hold for several moments as each searches the other for understanding. “Only the chief of the Chickamongee can give permission for strangers to enter our burial

The docile trance of the maiden compels Shawa to lean over and look deep into the spirit of the maiden. Her nature is wilder than most warriors. She is unbound and untamed in

grounds.” Kau Kau breaks the silence. “We enter only with Audua’s invitation to visit her mother’s spirit.” Shawa assures. “We

heart and free in spirit as the wind. “Signs of the Gray Hairs are used to call the power of sun, water and earth to this place.”

have not met any other…we do not know your chief.”

Kau Kau states but does not quit her search into Shawa’s heart.

“Audua is chief of the Chickamongee!” The young woman informs.

“The markings of this pole tell a meaning?”

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“Yes!” Kau Kau answers. “It tells a message from the gray hairs.”

Toinanaa senses Shawa’s unease. “We travel to the land of the Minga.” Toinanaa studies her husband’s response. The Huron have our women in bonds.”

“May I know this meaning?” “The message of the pole says…I carry the fire of the sun, the power of the wind, the

Kau Kau looks to Audua for approval to speak.

magic of the moon and the hardness of the earth within me. This strength is always above

Audua nods her consent.

me. This strength is always below me. This strength is always before me. This strength is always behind me. This strength is always beside me.” Kau Kau recites.

“The Huron gather at the mouth of the river. They return to their home. The way to the Minga is very dangerous until they pass.” Kau Kau says obligingly.

“This message speaks of you.” Shawa answers.

“Our people must be saved from Huron slavery and retuned to their home.” Toinanaa

“Yes…I am true descendant from the Gray Hairs…my spirit is their spirit.” Kau Kau

insists.

answers with a smile.

“This Minga share the blood of our people.” Audua shows the fresh cut upon her hand.

“Kau Kau!” Audua calls as she approaches.

“We need the counsel of your father.”

The archer turns to greet her aunt.

“Father waits in the village now.” Kau Kau informs.

The large woman walks hand in hand with Toinanaa. Kau Kau studies the tall Minga maiden. Toinanaa studies the small maiden of the Chickamongee.

*****

Audua’s eyes are bent in contemplation. Shawa shrinks before the colliding women. “Here is my sister Toinanaa!” Audua introduces. “She and her man are to be welcomed

Lines of steep ridges and fir-covered hilltops comprise the retreat that has long been the

home to their Chickamongee family.”

home range to the Chickamongee. This land is suitable only for a people that seek

Kau Kau hides her bow and arrow from sight of her chief.

isolation. Native dwellings are made in the most remote regions. Trails are ragged, broken and few. The wonderer finds no invitation from the land or it’s people. The Chickamongee live undisturbed.

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The nearby village of the Chickamongee that is home to Audua is a short distance from

Shawa is anxious to make understanding with the old warrior Shu-ti and waits

the burial slope. Just a mere handful of families live here, with 40 or so natives in

impatiently.

residence.

Toinanaa watches the lavish attention rendered by Kau Kau and the other young maidens

Shu-ti is brother to Audua and long a standing advisor. An older warrior, long in limb and torso with a thin slender face, Shu-ti is a soft-spoken gentle man. His long hair flows

to her husband. The meal is heavy with meat and bread. Water is served with honey. Wild berries are also

under a cap made from two owl’s wings.

passed to freshen the taste.

The Chickamongee share one communal day lodge where meals and social needs are

Shawa does not eat so heavily and his portions are small as is those taken by Toinanaa.

provided. The village has made ready the arrival of their chief and her guests. Meats of fresh goat, piglet, and fowl are cooking. Bread is baking. Jugs of spring water are

As the meal concludes Shu-ti’s wife brings bowls of freshly drawn water to wash the fingers and lips of the guests. A large pipe is produced with tobacco. Audua prepares and

collected. The Chickamongee are prodigious eaters and the meal prepared is bounteous. There is much excitement among the children for visitors are rare. The young maidens

lights the pipe and hands it to Shu-ti. “Let the ceremony of lost family commence.” The meal and etiquette are that extended by the Chickamongee to a reunion of families.

are anxious to see the handsome warrior who travels the great lake by himself. The older

As the number of Chickamongee is small such an occasion is very solemn and private.

women already disturbed by the Huron presence, fear the village’s call to join in war making. Shu-ti and the other men look to relax dining and news from the other nations.

Shu-ti lifts the smoldering pipe towards the heavens. He speaks an ancient chant. “I put on the power of the Great Spirit.” The ancient

The Chickamongee can be generous hosts and welcome Shawa and Toinanaa warmly.

Chickamongee warrior takes a large breath of the rich heavy smoke into his lungs and Audua sits with Shu-ti to one side and Toinanaa at the other. Shawa takes the lesser seat opposite Audua.

exhales.” Let those who see Shu-ti see the Great Spirit.” A second inhalation from the pipe is made. “Let those who hear Shu-ti hear the words of the Great Spirit.” Yet another

The Chickamongee will not make policy until after eating concludes. Audua and her

pull of the smoke from the burning tobacco is made. “Let those who speak to Shu-ti be

guests are royally served. Others will dine at a distance and after the chief has completed her meal.

heard by the Great Spirit.” After another partaking of smoke, the pipe is handed to Audua.

Audua gives little note to any but her diner bowl. Shu-ti remains silent but his eyes shine with clear and happy greetings to the two guests.

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“Audua puffs in many small breaths, and the gathering is quickly covered over with

Audua speaks. “My sister is in need to return to her mother’s village. She wishes to save

fumes of sweet aroma. “Let the ways of the Chickamongee be preserved...Let no one

those Minga taken captive by the Huron.” These words are for Shu-ti.

break the laws of the Chickamongee...may our people prosper as one.”

The face of Shu-ti furls with serious thought. His eyes search Toinanaa and Shawa.

The pipe is handed to Toinanaa. “She has never smoked from a tribal pipe before. This is

He speaks. “The Huron move as the snake. The Huron travel as the snake.” His hand

a new experience for the maiden from the Minga. She is nervous and unsure.

makes a slithering motion. “To fight the Huron is to fight the snake...It takes

The pipe is made from black thorn wood. This is a prized material among the

overwhelming power...the Minga...the Chickamongee have no such power. No nation of

Chickamongee and it is considered preferred by the spirits in the tobacco. Toinanaa finds

the Maha Usica has such power.”

the weight of the pipe to be heavy. She must manipulate it with both hands.

“How can I free...”Audua interrupts Toinanaa’s question.

The long stem of the pipe is carved with ritualistic markings that transfer power when the hand caresses them.

Shu-ti continues in thought and word. “When the snake is in great danger, then it may escape by releasing its prey.”

The rise of the pungent smoke reaches her nostrils as her lips close on the tip of the pipe. She is unsettled. A slight breath brings a rush of burning into her lungs. She is strong and resists the urge to convulse. Several breaths of fresh air are required before she may

Toinanaa understands that she must listen only to the war chief of the Chickamongee who speaks now the words from the Great Spirit. “The place of Thri Siur is a place where the snake may not coil against its foe. The snake

speak. “I am Toinanaa of the Chickamongee. Let me put on the power of the Great Spirit.

is vulnerable there. The Huron will yield their captives if attacked.”

Let me always keep the way of the Chickamongee.” Her voice is weak. Shawa is confused. Who can attack? Where is Thri Siur? He listens. Audua smiles mightily with happiness for her sister. Shu-ti points to Toinanaa. “This maiden must return to the Huron camp. At the time of Toinanaa bows to Shawa and hands him the ceremonial pipe.

attack there will be one moment in which the captives may flee.”

Shawa receives the object as his eyes search Shu-ti. He takes a manly consumption of

Terror seizes Toinanaa. The dread of the Huron rises in her. She looks to Shawa for

smoke. “My children shall be of the Chickamongee. It is good!” He abruptly returns the

understanding.

pipe. Shawa understands that he is not blood to the Chickamongee. He is not a member of Shu-ti points to Shawa. “This warrior must attack the Huron at Thri Siur as the first

the Chickamongee nation.

Huron enter the most narrow pass.”

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Complete terror now swells within Toinanaa, as surely the Huron will kill her husband. Shawa is undisturbed. He considers the words of Shu-ti. “May I ask the Great Spirit how

with the Huron. She nods affirmatively to Shawa. She then turns to her fellow Chickamongee. “It is good!”

one may attack so many as to cause the horde of the Huron to panic?”

Audua calls Kau Kau to the counsel.

“The sting of one bee can make the great bear spirit take fright and run from the cache of

The young woman warrior of the Chickamongee is pleased to be invited. She chooses to

honey.” Shu-ti answers.

sit next to Shawa and awaits the words of her chief.

“Will not Toinanaa fall to the Huron ax before she enters there camp?” Shawa shows

“The warrior Shawa goes soon to fight the Huron at the place of the Three Sisters.”

concern.

Audua informs.

“The owl upon the wing at night meets no predator. The spirit of the owl passes

Kau Kau’s expression is one of awe for the handsome warrior.

undetected into any land. I, Shu-ti shall place this maiden inside the Huron camp with no danger.”

Toinanaa avoids the Chickamongee maiden’s eye. She waits anxiously for help to be arranged for her husband.

“How shall Shawa fight upon a place that he does not know?” Toinanaa’s fear is now

“We wish you to lead this warrior to Thri Siur.” Audua adds.

only for her man.

Kau Kau looks to her father.

“Only a warrior from the Chickamongee can show this way!” Shu-ti answers.

“You must show Shawa the way to attack and the way to escape the Huron.” Shu-ti

Audua speaks. “What warrior will fight the Huron? It is not the way of our people to

informs his daughter. “The two must hunt the many Huron!”

make war.” After a moment’s reflection, the chief of the Chickamongee raises her hand. “Shawa must marry Kau Kau…then she shall fight as a member of the Locanomee and

Kau Kau eyes swell in excitement. She studies Shawa as only a woman can measure a man.

the way of our people shall be served.” “No one compels you to such a choice.” Audua adds. “It is for Kau Kau to make such choice.” Shu-ti reminds. “The Great Spirit shall be with you.” Shu-ti adds. Shawa looks to Toinanaa for her understanding. Kau Kau waits to see Shawa’s want. Her eyes fix on his. Her eyes smile upon him. Toinanaa knows that this is the last and only chance for her people to be freed from the Huron captors. This is the only chance her husband has to survive his coming encounter

Shawa senses that he is soon to finish his amagh. He has great confidence in the warrior maiden’s ability. He needs Kau Kau.

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“With you at my side, we can defeat the plans of the mighty Huron.” Shawa voice is

“The living stone comes from the land of the Gray Hairs. Only the great warriors of the

solicitous.

Gary Hairs could earn the right to carry such. Only the great warriors of the Gary Hairs could give such magic to another.”

Kau Kau senses the want of Shawa for her. “What of your Minga woman?”

Shawa realizes that this pendant of his grand mother had once been worn about the neck

Toinanaa will not let another answer for her. “I shall enter the camp as captive to the Huron and lead my people to freedom when your attack begins.” Toinanaa voice does not

of a leader of the Gray Hairs.

offend but her words show great strength.

All in the circle, all who listen to the words from the chief’s circle are aware that Shawa

Kau Kau’s acknowledges the royal bearing of Toinanaa.

is a great warrior, a great leader.

Shawa sees Kau Kau’s need for invitation. “Will you come with me and face the Huron?” Kau Kau is much pleased by Shawa’s asking for her. *****

“Yes!” Kau Kau does not hesitate. “I shall go with you but only as your wife.” Toinanaa is not surprised. She looks to the stunned Shawa and awaits his look upon her. The thought of gaining another wife seems necessary but unreal. Shawa wonders what his mother will say. Shawa wonders what his grandmother will say. He looks to Toinanaa

Through the first of light until the mid of day, the Huron desert the Island of the Bears

permissively.

and make to the shore for their retreat from the mother water. Many warriors gather at the

Toinanaa eyes yield acceptance to the marriage.

spill water of the great lake that forms the river, which flows, into the land of the Huron.

“It is to be!” Shawa thinks of his father’s service to his family and his nation. Shawa must

Captives are bound and huddled. Canoes begin moving by portage away from the lake’s shore.

serve also but now he serves many nations. “I have spoken!” “Do not carry fear in your heart!” Shu-ti points to the stone pendant about Shawa’s neck.

The many injured Huron and the frail condition of the Huron war chief Betochomagwa compel the Huron to hesitate in their retreat.

“You carry the living stone which holds the spirits of the Gray Hairs.” All observe Shawa as he fondles the small heavy blue rock given as a present from his grand mother. “I know not of its magic.”

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“It is not good!” Speaks Keechanogee second in command of the Huron war party. “By the time half are warriors have passed out from the narrow passes it will be too dark for the others to follow.”

*****

“No one pursues us!” Grunts another Huron. “We can have all the canoes carried to the other side of the narrows and wait their for the others to arrive early day tomorrow.” Offers a third. Toinanaa breaks the spell of the counsel. “There are captives hiding on Bear Island, a boy One day’s delay will not lessen the great victories of the Huron upon this lake.” Yet a

and a woman with unborn child. They are Minga. There may be others.”

fourth adds. “I shall send warriors to search the island and return them here at once.” Shu-ti replies.“ Keechanogee eyes gaze into the hills that guard the passes that lead to the Huron nation.

Your Minga captives shall be here this evening if they are there to be found!”

His eyes scan the vast shore of the great mother water from which they are to depart. He gauges the large group of captive women taken from the homes of many nations that live

“I must go with this party to Bear Island. My word has been given to return.

about the great lake. He ponders on the form of the wounded Betochomagwa.

“It is good.” Audua speaks. “Let the preparations begin.”

“Let those that will die this night do so here!” Keechanogee will become the war chief of

From the lodge Kau Kau leads Shawa to the place where the Chickamongee keep a store

the Huron if Betochomagwa should grow weaker. The victory of leading the war party

of arrows. “Take but one quiver full.” Instructs Kau Kau. “There will be no need for a

from the great lake would then be his. “Hold the captives against the land near the shore.

great many.”

Move no canoes till early light tomorrow. We shall send one hundred warriors through

“When do we leave for Thri Siur?” Shawa asks.

the pass as the day begins. Those who can not walk shall be left.” He hesitates then adds. “We shall give no light to show any that pass near this night. The camp shall be cold until we make to the other side of this pass.”

“At once! We must circle the hills at the Three Sisters and descend upon the Huron’s path without being seen. Before the coming of dark we must choose our place of attack and retreat.” Kau Kau points to three hilltops in the distance. “There wait the Three Sisters.”

“Shall we set sentries?”

From the lodge Shu-ti leads Toinanaa to the place were the Chickamongee fashion their

“No! We shall line the path that follows the white water into the hills. There will be no

crafts. Here some dozen of the fittest warriors are gathered.

large camp to be attacked. We shall take no food until we reach the land of our people.”

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The time to reach Bear Island and return by dark leaves no time for delay. Quickly Shu-ti

Toinanaa makes to the place where her fellow Minga captives first took refuge from the

leads his command to the shore of the mother water and the place where the

Huron. “It is I Toinanaa. The Huron are gone.” She searches for sign but none are to be

Chickamongee hold their canoes.

found. Thoughts of her companions as now dead fill her. “Only if the Huron had found

Not built for speed but for strength the dugouts of the Chickamongee move without the agility of canoes used in war or to chase the moving school of fish. They are used for

them are they dead. Other wise they are deep in hiding.” Toinanaa is convinced. In two’s the Chickamongee return without finding any marks of the presence of captives.

transportation of goods to be traded. Their canoes are wide and deep and offer much

As all the search party has gathered at the campfire, Toinanaa must decide upon one last

room.

measure to recover her friends. “Quickly, into one canoe. I shall stand and chant the way

Without fear of being seen by any Huron’s eyes four Chickamongee canoes make direct

of the Minga as the canoe circles the island. If upon completing one circuit my friends do

passage to the Island of the Bears. The Sun is past full height. The water is calm and the

not answer then we must leave to meet Shu-ti.”

sky clear. Shu-ti’s waiting form upon the shore is soon gone from Toinanaa’s sights as

One canoe with two small Chickamongee warriors at the oars begins a slow

her canoe pounds the waters surface at full speed.

circumferential passage of the island of the bears. Toinanaa makes a call of welcoming

The open lake has now become a comfortable place for Toinanaa. She feels safe and her

chant known to all the Minga. Long low tones with rich melody she sends to the island’s

desire to help her people is soon to be realized. Her eyes navigate well. The orientation of

shore. Stroke by stroke the canoe progresses on its last voyage of search. Toinanaa’s

her canoe to the land is not lost. The canoe’s direction to the four points of the compass

hands are cupped about her mouth to direct her song.

does not escape her.

Three fifths of the circle is traveled as a barren rugged part of the island is being passed.

The peak of Bear Island comes to view with Toinanaa’s heart in great pain for her mother and her people.

Here Toinanaa hears a faint sound. Her voice stills. The same chant she hears in return. It is weak and frail but it is her fellow Minga calling.

As the first canoe of Chickamongee strikes the shore of Bear Island, Toinanaa leaps into the wake and wades to shore. Quickly she makes a fire and gives rise in signal of smoke in the fashion of the Minga. To the Chickamongee warriors, she instructs them to walk

“There!” Toinanaa points to a line of rocks. “I see two…no three figures.” Her heart races with joy and tears flood her face. The canoe makes straight to shore. Once upon land, Toinanaa races onward. She finds the small Minga boy and the pregnant

across the island calling in the tongue of the Minga. “Toinanaa calls. Come to her to

Minga maiden and a small girl from an unknown nation.

escape.”

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All three are thin, dirty, bruised and cut. Their lives have been buried among the rocks

“No we were visiting friends for a great wedding. The Huron came while we

and the most barren portion of the island. Into Toinanaa’s arms the escapes plunge with

slept…many were killed. Many Baush-Doh died as well.” Tears slip from the exhausted

tears and sobs of joy and sorrow.

eyes of the tiny girl.

“You have retuned!” The Minga mother cries behind heavy her tears and sobs.“ I wished

“Enough! We make with full haste to the village of the Chickamongee.”

so for you to come for us every day and every night. We do not know how many times the Huron almost found us.” “You are safe. We shall leave at once. The Huron are gone to shore. They return now to

*****

their home.” The Minga mother informs that the Huron burned alive any one that tried to escape and failed. Betochomagwa wished to have this young girl with a crippled foot so sacrificed, Kau Kau and Shawa have left her village. They race to the other side of the Thri Siur.

but her fellow captives helped her to escape.

They find quiet water to cross and approach from the end of the narrows opposite to the

“What is your name?” Toinanaa asks the young girl

Huron’s camp. “Audua” The little one answers faintly. The spill water from the Maha Usica falls abruptly through the gorges and falls created Toinanaa is shocked.” What is your tribe?”

by three small rugged hills called Tri Siur. Here the water dashes and spills to create

“Baush-Doh.” The girl child meekly answers.

turbulent rapids. No canoe is safe on this section of the river. Only narrow paths permit

Gently Toinanaa lifts the girl’s head for inspection. She finds a necklace of the same

portage.

fashion as given to her by her blood sister, the chief of the Chickamongee. “Are more of

The two warriors run and prance along the footpaths. They hurry to gain position in the

your women now captive by the Huron?”

heights of the Three Sisters from which to attack the Huron. They must find and set their

“Yes, many.” The frail child responds.

place to fight before night’s fall.

“The Huron pillaged the land of the Baush-Doh?” Toinanaa asks.

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*****

Shu-ti’s eyes are fixed on the look of the small girl. He waits for his sister. The thick long fingers of chief Audua inspect the child’s garment and her necklace. “This child is Baush-Doh!” She says incredulously. “How is she called?”

Little Audua is held in Toinanaa’s arms. For the first time since the Huron stole her from

“Her name is Audua.” Toinanaa voice shrills with tension for her blood sister’s present

her family the little one feels safe. As Toinanaa steps into the Chickamongee canoe to

encounter.

return, the small Baush-Doh maiden sleeps held close to her breast. The whole of the

The large woman’s eyes widen immensely. Her expression is completely blank. Her

return voyage Toinanaa cradles the child, stoking gently her hair and singing quiet lilting

voice quiets her as she realizes that within her arms she holds another from her mother’s

Minga songs of mother to new born.

family.

The right leg of Little Audua is crippled. The child’s deformity makes her walk always

Dazed, Audua looks to her brother, Shu-ti for understanding.

with a limp. The heart of Toinanaa cries for the great suffering of the dear little maiden. So sweet and so helpless, so young is she to have struggled against the fierce Huron.

The beautifully clear eyes of Shu-ti swell with large tears. He nods his head to inform Audua that she is correct in her emotions. “This child’s look is as I remember you as a

News of the Chickamongee return from Bear Island reaches Audua, the chief before the first canoe returns. News of captives from the island also is brought to the village early.

little one.” The recognition that the child she holds is not just a member of her mother’s tribe but a

In the way of the Chickamongee, food and beverage is prepared for their visitors.

close relative is too much. The heavy Audua begins to swoon. Her eyes roll back into

As the band of searchers enters the village, the chief, Audua and her brother, Shu-ti

their sockets showing only their whiteness. She descends slowly to the ground.

moves to greet them.

Shu-ti is quick to take the small Audua into his arms.

Audua’s eyes warm to the sight of the small girl child in Toinanaa arms.

Toinanaa rushes to the fallen chief’s aide.

Toinanaa has no words only the tears held within her eyes convey her emotions to Chief Audua. She steps to the front of the large woman and offers the small girl to be taken. The great body of chief Audua swallows the tiny maiden. Audua’s eyes devour the

*****

features of the small child’s face. Her large hand runs over the crippled leg.

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Ciapa began his travel from the land of the Ndai back toward the Locanomee once Shawa had departed with Jijim. He has not rested. He has not feed or slept for days. Only but for

Shawa enters for the first time the valley of the Three Sisters. He is only the second member of his tribe to ever walk the trail along the white river here.

a taste of cool water does he stop. He returns to Shee Madga.

Kau Kau leads onward in the direction of the Huron encampment. “To hunt the mountain

The Locanomee yet keep their retreat in the hills of the red goats. Locanomee warriors

goat one must wait above for the prey to pass under your arrow.” She points to the bluffs

search the shore for signs of the Huron day and night.

above on the sides of one of the Sisters. “Goats watch from behind for that which will

Just as Shawa is ascending to the top of the middle Sister, Ciapa enters the retreat of Shee

give chase…they fear very little danger from above. The Huron are not as clever as the

Madga.

goats here on the hills of the Three Sisters.

The old grand mother is preparing a rack of goat ribs for the evening meal. She has

“Why do your people call these hills, Three Sisters?” Shawa asks as they continue the

basted the fresh meat with sage for added zest. The good nature of the Locanomee has

quickened pace.

made this trial of evading the Huron war ax an enjoyable retreat.

When the valley shrouds in mist, only the three peaks show from afar…they look then as

Bla Ean, Shawa’s mother is the first to see the wolf dog enter. “Here comes your wolf

three women wearing blankets over there heads.” Kau Kau laughs.

grandmother! He is worn, thin and hungry by his looks.”

Upon the narrowest, most circuitous section of the trail Kau Kau stops. She inspects the

Shee Madga eyes look to Ciapa. “You bring no message from Na Shawa?”

ridges and outcrops of rock above. She inspects the walls of the steep Sister. “Here!” She says, “We shall kill many Huron at first light.” Quickly she turns to retreat in order secure a path toward the summit of the middle Sister.

“His paws are greatly worn.” Comments Bla Ean. “His blood stains the ground as he walks.” “He has come a great distance.” Shee Magda says as she throws large meat scraps to her dog. “You have left Shawa?” The black wolf understands her words. He barks sharply once to answer.

*****

“Does Shawa come now?” Bla Ean asks. The great canine does not respond.

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Shee Magda sighs. “The boy is well…else I should have dreamed otherwise. Shawa’s

“You shall act as chief until I am returned or am known dead.” A great resolve is upon

amagh is too strong even for the spirit of the wolf!”

Audua. She senses that she goes to help not only the Huron captives but also she goes to help her mother. The coming trial will be the one that will prove her worth to her

Ciapa barks sharply once again in response to Shee Magda words.

mother’s spirit. This one act will end for all time the loss and the need for her to earn her

“When will our son return to his people?” Asks Bla Ean.

mother’s love. Audua goes to sacrifice herself if needed to this end. “The spirits of our ancestors can not reach Shawa. He is on the other side of Maha Usica. Audua calls to have soft animals’ furs brought to cover the bottom of the moccasins for

Only the stone of the Gray Hairs has power to assist him.” Shee Magda sends more

Toinanaa. “We go as owl people…silent in the night. No people walk with total quiet as

scraps to the starved animal. “His amagh does not end now. His journey is only half

we the Chickamongee.”

ended.”

As dusk grows heavy the three set off toward the Huron’s camp. The sky is over cast and the night shall be quite dark. Audua leads Toinanaa by the hand and communicates with her by pressure of her fingers on her arm. No words shall be spoken between any of the *****

Chickamongee scout party this night. Solemnly, and efficiently the band of three walk onward without fear. Their steps make no sound. No breath is heard. No twig is broken. No branch is made to snap. As steady on as the owl in flight they walk. Just as the great owl spirit hears every sound, Shu-ti

Audua has recovered from her shock. She is informed that a number of maidens of the Baush-Doh are captives of the Huron. She is informed that little Audua was to die upon

listens.

the Huron fire to please the leader of the Huron war party. Never has any seen such anger

The straight path to the Huron takes little time.

and hatred on the face of their chief.

In a brief moment, Shu-ti from the lead position makes an abrupt stop. He gives a toot

Audua’s loyalty to her dead mother will not permit her to allow the Huron to keep her

sound as the owl. Audua stops and pulls Toinanaa down into crouch. Many yards off

mother’s people in bondage. “Shu-ti I shall walk with you into the Huron camp. I shall

Shu-ti has heard the words from a voice carried through the forest. Cautiously they step

keep place with Toinanaa and make good the escape of our people.” Audua informs.

until many voices about the dark camp of the Huron are heard.

Shu-ti nods in acceptance of her wish.

They wait for an hour or more until they continue an advance toward the Huron.

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Close to the place where many quiet voices are heard they stop and wait again till sleep

Audua cuts away the eyes and ears, nose and tongue of the dead warrior so he may not

covers deeply all of the Huron.

have their use in the next life.

As the entire number of Huron turn to slumber, Shu-ti advances.

With this act of revenge complete the three proceed onward.

It is the deepest darkest part of the night as the three steps just to the edge of the trail

Audua’s blood lust is not satisfied. She will stop and repeat this ritualistic killing after

upon which the Huron lay sleeping in scattered bunches. Before the final hour of

passing every 20 or so braves. By the time they come to discover the women taken in

darkness passes and the sun shall begin to end the blackness of night, Shu-ti makes steps

blood by the Huron some dozen warriors sleep in death.

softly among the unconscious Huron. Around and over the Huron warriors he moves with Audua leading Toinanaa. The sound of deep breathes and muffled snores surround them as they march through the trail littered with Huron asleep.

Soft moans of the bruised women mask the activity of Audua and Toinanaa as they loosely bind their own hands and take a place among the captives. Shu-ti informs by sign that the lake and the canoes are but forty paces onward.

They move searching for the place where bound women captives are being held.

Audua nods to instruct Shu-ti to return to the camp of the Chickamongee. Instantly, Shu-

They walk past a dozen warriors then fifty then one hundred as they search.

ti disappears into darkness without sound or trace.

As they walk beside one Huron warrior, Toinanaa recognizes the form of a sleeping

Toinanaa and Audua huddle together. They do not sleep. They await the rise of the sun.

Betochomagwa. She pulls Audua to a stop. Toinanaa indicates to Audua by sign that here lays the war chief of the Huron nation. Audua squeezes Toinanaa’ s arm to instruct her to remain still. Audua coldly walks to the *****

side of the sleeping Betochomagwa and kneels down. Her large hand covers his mouth while her torso presses over his. Her free hand holds a knife with which she cuts clean the throat of Betochomagwa in one motion. The body of the war chief seizes once briefly they slips into a relaxed death.

Kau Kau and Shawa have not slept either. The early dawn finds them with a commanding

The great Betochomagwa has died in the company of his guard without the slightest

view above of the trial that the Huron must pass.

whimper.

The early light awakens the keenest scouts of the Huron who immediately advance into the gorges of the Three Sisters. Several dozen warriors pass under Shawa’s bow. 279

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“Wait!” Whispers Kau Kau. “The first goats are the most skittish.”

At once the trail through the three rivers congests with unorganized Huron pushing and shoving forward from the lake at the same time the lead elements seek to retreat from the

As more light enters the pass the first canoes advance, each held over the heads of two men.

arrows falling upon them. Chaos over takes the hoard of the Huron.

“Let you arrow pass through the canoe and strike the lead warrior beneath…I the first

Kau Kau calls to Shawa. “We leave...we can do no more.”

canoe…you the second…Together!”

“In what direction do we make escape?” Asks Shawa.

Kau Kau raises her bow.

“Away from the place of the Chickamongee.” Kau Kau points in the opposite direction

Shawa raises his bow.

from which they have come. “We go to the camp of the Minga.”

“Now!” Kau Kau orders. Both archers release their arrows at the same time. With a short

“What of Toinanaa?”

flight their arrows descend, pierce through the canoe and strike their targets. The lead

“She is in the hands of her ancestors and the spirit of the Mother Lake.”

warriors carrying the canoes lurch and begin to fall pulling the canoe and the second warriors over into the raging waters. The stunned Huron watch as their fellows pass into the water and certain death.

*****

The second pair of arrows strikes as before. Two Huron fall as the others watch. Quickly the Huron give out loud war cries as they become aware of the attack. The call to fight runs backward among the long thin Huron camp. Many Huron are made As the Huron scatter, Audua and Toinanaa call the women captives to their feet and

to wake by the sound of the conflict.

direct them to move in bondage towards the lake and the abandoned canoes. Heads Soon the death of Betochomagwa and those killed during the night are discovered. This end of the Huron line is sent into panic and into a frenzy to rush to the front and engage the unseen enemy.

lowered as in the fashion of slaves they process as if driven by command. The scurrying Huron look for the fight and pay no heed to the captives egress from the direction of their present campaign. In forty paces they arrive at the lake’s shore beside the resting canoes. Here they sit as if obeying instructions while their bonds are efficiently removed. Most of the young

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maidens are capable in use of the canoe. Under Audua’s command, one at a time each

*****

canoe is grouped and launched. In moments the women desert the shore. In minutes they are lost upon the lake’s horizon. At top speed the canoes full of escaping maidens make along the shore in a direction to be free from sight of any Huron.

Huron warriors rush past Keechanogee as he struggles to take command of the Huron position. He collars one young native as he passes. “Where do you go?” Keechanogee

The confusion on the trail of the Three Sisters lingers as no command may move along the narrow path to direct the mass of warriors strung along the narrow twisting trial.

“The young man’s eyes are glazed in confusion. “To fight!” He answers. Keechanogee shakes the warrior by the shoulders. “Do as I say. Collect ten warriors and

An hour nearly passes. Many Huron have advanced through the pass before their leaders understand the attack by archers has long passed. Only the middle of the Huron line is

return to the shore by the canoes. Wait there!” He shoves the young man off to action. Another warrior rushes at Keechanogee from the direction of the pass. Again the young

aware that Betochomagwa is dead and his captives are gone from the rear.

warrior is stopped. “Where do you run?”

Many miles from their departure Toinanaa calls the canoes to make to a small cove. “We must sink these canoes and make our way on shore.” Her thoughts follow the way of the

“Away from the enemy. They are every where in the hills above us.” The warrior points to the summits of the Thri Siur.

wood bison. “The Huron may follow soon! We can not hide upon the lake.” “Go collect warriors from there and return to me at once.” Keechanogee orders. Audua agrees. “Take those who are weak to shore. The others shall sink the canoes in “What are we to do?” Asks an older warrior approaching. “Betochomagwa is dead.”

deep water and swim.” Audua sees to it herself that no canoe escapes her mighty blow that cracks through each

“Tell all to stand. Any attack will come from the narrow pass. All must hold until I come to lead.”

hull sending it directly to the lake’s bottom. Once all are a shore, the band of escaping women melts into the forest and safe from the

As order returns among the Huron, a hundred warriors have gathered at the lake’s shore. Here Keechanogee arrives hurriedly. “Divide into two bands. The first are to travel in

eyes of any who follow upon the water.

canoes upward along the shore. The second in canoes move downward upon the lake” The open arms of the leader emphasize his wish.

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“Paddle till mid day, then with no sign of the captives upon the lake make to shore and

“We shall follow the rise that overlooks the lake.” Kau Kau leads.

march inland. Seek the trail of the women.” Keechanogee points toward the marks of

“We go toward the Minga?” Shawa asks.

moccasins upon the ground. “If you find their trail follow and return the women.” His

“If your Minga wife has escaped we shall see them upon the water.” Kau Kau reassures.

voice is strong for all gathered to hear. “If you do not cut their trail they shall be found as At a running pace the pair dart between stands of tree and open field of the land near the

you walk in return.”

lake and before the Minga nation. Always Shawa’s eyes gaze for sight of the fleeing The Huron canoes depart at once.

women.

It is an hour since the women have departed. Keechanogee trusts that young warriors shall over take the women and drive them back to Three Sisters by the next day’s end. His main war party will proceed through the gorge and shall wait the return of the two *****

scouting bands. Keechanogee knows that if he recovers the missing women he will have victory as the new war chief. If the women should escape then the failure shall rest with the death of Betochomagwa.

“I know not the way to your people.” Audua in forms her blood sister. “We shall move with the lake in view to our one side.” Toinanaa answers. “Na Shawa will follow the same path after us.”

*****

“Many are too sick to make quickly upon this trail. We should hide until dusk then we shall be safe.” Audua argues. “We need water and nourishment.” Toinanaa recalls the method of the snake. “The

After but a few minutes of combat with the Huron, Shawa and Kau Kau raced from the Three Sisters down into the safety of the valleys and hills that form opposite of the Huron

Huron will follow and recapture us if we seek shelter. No! If we stop they shall take us once again.” “Then we shall see them first upon the water following in there canoes. It is good.”

camp.

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Toinanaa agrees. “The strong shall carry the sick. If the Huron are seen we shall disburse

Toinanaa’s heart is gladdened to see her husband whom she embraces with relief as he

into hiding so that many will not be taken.”

has survived the attack upon the Huron.

Forgetting their injuries, and fatigue the band of women march with watch upon the lake.

“My husband was strong to escape.” Toinanaa eyes dance with love for the man who has

It is near to midday when the call comes from the rear of the column of walking maidens

become her hero. “My people are free.”

that Huron canoes are approaching.

Shawa is filled with joy at the sight of Toinanaa. His respect for her is great. ”No one has

Audua sends the contingent of young girls to shelter in the shade away from the view of

been more brave before the Huron than you and Audua.” He pauses to acknowledge the chief of the Chickamongee.

the lake. Silent and flat upon the ground overlooking the mother water, Audua and Toinanaa observe the rapidly moving Huron canoes in pursuit. Hurriedly they move past

“We move to follow many paths into the hills.” Audua informs.

and under the women’s watch. On ward the Huron canoes race ahead.

Shawa moves to stand before Audua. His strength is now that of as great chief. All wait

“They do not stop! They do not know we are here.” Toinanaa whispers.

upon his words.

“They move to close our way of escape. They shall return afoot seeking our sign.”

“The Huron will think as we. They shall follow our many paths.” His hand caresses the stone of the Gray Hairs.

“What shall we do?” Toinanaa asks. “In the hills we can not be surrounded. It is the way my people have escaped for always.”

“What does Shawa suggest?” Audua responds. “We shall act as the Gray Hairs. The Huron will not know this way. We shall escape by

Audua points to the higher land away from the lake.

moving in many circles.”

“We must disburse into smaller groups at once and take refuge to the hills. Can we out distance the Huron?” Audua ponders. “If we retreat back to Thri Siur as we make into the highland many shall be saved from the Huron.”

*****

“Let us go at once!” Audua and Toinanaa arrive to find Shawa and Kau Kau waiting with the women.

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The Huron search party has come ashore several miles ahead of the band of freed women.

intersecting the other. One by one the women have slipped from the paths left for the

The land is immediately explored for signs. In a short time the Huron have determined

Huron and they have gathered along the bank of the lake.

that those they seek have not yet passed by this location.

As the Huron circle lost in the deeper woods, Shawa gathers all the women and leads

In a long line stretching across the pathways that lead from Thri Siur the Huron walk.

them onward to the place where the Huron have abandoned their canoes. Effortlessly the

When they arrive to the place where the women gathered before Shawa they find one

women retake to the water of the lake. Before night’s arrival Shawa shall lead all the

pathway that show the women walking toward then turning and moving away. The Huron

Huron captives into Minga village. Toinanaa is to be at last reunited with her family.

band follows this path away. In a short distance a second turning path crosses the first. Now the Huron split into two

THE END

groups one for each pathway. The first Huron group moving out from the sight of the second. The first Huron group comes again to a cross road where the trail of the women meet a third turning path and the first Huron group splits to follow the new trails. The Huron groups are again mutually out of sight. The second Huron band also encounters crossed trail and splits in order to peruse along several trails left by the fleeing women. Now there are four distinct and separate Huron parties each lost from the sight of the others. All follow the moccasins tracks of the women. Additional turning trails are yet to found by the Huron as they search that shall cross again and again. Very soon the woods are filled with Huron lost one from another as they march after women walking in long intersecting circles. Two bands of women under Shawa’s direction have walked in separate long circular paths that spiral away from the Huron’s approach. Each spiral trail is regularly

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Shawa's Tale