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Date: 09-02-08
Poster: Downy Feather
Post # 1

The Decision

Downy Feather stood on the edge of the cliff that overlooked the land of Heathfield, a smile appearing.  This spot had always been one of her favorites.   It showed how beautiful the land was and soothed her soul in ways she hadn't thought possible.  As she sat on the large rock that served as a fairly comfortable seat, the smile faded.  This day she had come to a decision, one that had not been easy to make.

After talking with Ian McCormick a few weeks earlier, she had come to realize she longed to return home.  She wanted to see her father and her sisters and their families.  She wanted time to think.  She couldn't do that while she was here.  Feather had followed James Roy Callihan and Lone Wolf to help them, more specifically to help James.  Now his family was whole and he was happy and content. She had promised her father when James had settled the business that had caused him to flee his homeland she would return.  It was time to keep that promise in the hopes that it would ease the restlessness that she had been feeling of late.

Feather smiled again as she thought of how close he and Wolf had been ... blood brothers.  They had included her in their friendly rivalry and she was glad she had been part.  But Wolf had never been comfortable in this land. He didn't trust the women or most of the men for that matter, and he had been gone so long she was certain he would never be back. She had been teaching the twins and their friends but they were adapting well enough that they no longer needed her guidance.  She had helped Matthew Meyers with his curse and that gave her a warm feeling still but the truth was, she felt she had done little while here.  Perhaps she was wrong, but that too, would be something to think about.

She had spent the morning showing the braves where she placed the traps for the game she caught, and her favorite hunting places.  Kuwan and Kaliska would continue weaving blankets from the wool Ian sent them and in return, they would send him half and barter with the rest.  Alex and Allan had been told that she would be gone for a while and Matt, Yas and Patwin would be supplying the game to the taverns as well as the other places she delivered.

Everything was in place.  All that needed to be done was for her to board the ship that was returning to the colonies, to what the whites called Penn's Woods.  She had gone to the docks the previous day, speaking to the assistant of Adrian Frasier, who was on what the white man called a honeymoon.  He had found a ship that was set to leave at dawn tomorrow.  She, Miakoda and the horse she had bought here in Heathfield would be among the passengers though likely she would stay in her cabin during the day, coming out at night with the large wolf.  She didn't want to frighten anyone during the voyage.  Once they reached Penn's Woods, she knew a man who traveled often into the lands of her people. If she was lucky, she could be part of a group and not have to travel alone.

Hazel had asked her if she'd be back and she had answered honestly.   She didn't know.  That answer would come in time.  Hearing a rustle, Feather turned as Koda came out of the brush behind her and sat at her side.  "Are you ready, my friend?"  She asked as she stood, placing a hand on the great wolf's head.  Heading back to the camp, she would collect the horse and her things and go to the docks.  By one cycle of the sky, she would be on her way back to the land of her birth..


The journey to the colonies was uneventful for the most part.  There had been one night when a storm raged and the crew were startled to see the young Native woman standing at the bow, arms outstretched as if she welcomed the wind and rain.  Lightning flashed across the sky, illuminiating her and the great wolf at her side.    The next flash, she was alone and with the third, she too was gone.   The storm calmed not long after and they began to whisper among themselves that it she who calmed it.  Feather heard the whispers and just smiled, knowing the truth was much simpler.  The storm had merely run it's course.

Another day, she was sitting in her cabin when she heard a call from the crow's nest.  A ship, flying the Jolly Roger.  She joined the others on deck, watching as the ship seemed to turn in their direction.  The passengers were fearful until it turned away, chasing instead after another ship spotted, one that was slow and heavy with cargo.   She offered a prayer to the Great Spirit for those on the slower ship, watching as the battle began until both ships were gone from her sight.  After those two nights, the journey settled into a routine that most found boring.  Until they spotted land -- the colonies at last.

It was nearly fall when the ship made port at Philadelphia.  The small city was much larger than Feather remember though there was still much building going on.  As she disembarked, she could feel eyes watching her but she ignored them and mounted her horse.  Kioda stayed at the horse's side as they made their way through the streets, effectively clearing a path and discouraging any who might approach with less then good intentions.   The building she was looking for was right where she remembered and Charles Cooper was still there.  He greeted the young woman warmly, insisting she and Kioda stay the night with his family.  His children were nearly grown but they remembered her and the wolf who greeted each of them as if he were a large and friendly dog. 

Charles explained that he would be leading a small group of men and horses to one of the forts being built in the wilderness.  He could escort Feather that far in the hopes that some from her tribe would be there.  She readily agreed and for two days was able to explore the town.    She found herself comparing it to Heathfield and laughed at herself.  No place could truly compare. When it was time to leave, she did so with no regret, anxious to see her people again.


The journey through the wilderness brought back many memories.  The road meandered through forests with trees so thick it was nearly impossible to see between them at times.  The days of clear cutting large areas had not yet began.   Deer and bear were often seen, running across the road that was little more than a path wide enough for wagons.   The men hunted once or twice, and would bring venison to be traded as well as the goods ordered. 

Feather was dismayed when they arrived at Fort Beford.   The land had been taken over by the settlers and soldiers with no thought to the people who lived here before.  She knew it was the way of things and hated it.  She also saw the future in which her people would be driven out and it made her weep inside.  She would speak to her father on her visions when she saw him but the thoughts and emotions were kept inside.  Charles had words with a young man who spoke of Feather as if she were little more then a slave but she ignored it all.  She was watching a young Native man who was with several others.  Finally, he looked at her and his face lit up.  He was over to greet her, giving her a hug that made her squeal. 

"Do you not remember me, Downy Feather?  I am Little Turtle, son of Gray Fox."  He said as he stepped back and she laughed.

"You are not a little turtle anymore.  Have you found another name?"  He had been a small lad when she had left.   It made her proud to see the quiet boy had become a proud brave. 

"I have kept Little Turtle in honor of my totem." He answered.  "Have you come home to stay?  She Who Walks with Owls sent me here with the others with the pelts we have to trade and told me to watch for one who was long away from home.  And here you are."

"I don't know if I will remain. I have another journey to make before I decide for certain."  She smiled brightly as Kioda nudged the brave's hand.  "You are remember though.  Come, introduce me to the others.  I am anxious to return to my father."


It took nearly a week to journey to the place where her tribe was camp for the summer.  It was where two rivers came together.  A place that could be easily protected, yet offered water and game in plenty.  The party of braves told her of all that had happened since she had left, including the fact the Seneca tribe had made forays into their lands.  There had been talk between the chiefs but with little result.  They wanted to have the people join them, become part of their tribes but they were determined to not become part of them or their wars.  Feather kept her thoughts to herself but would speak to her father later and to She Who Walks with Owls.  Feather knew the Elder would want to know of the visions Feather had seen.

Those thoughts were forgotten as the village came into view.  The sight of the long house and the log walls that surrounded their village made her laugh out loud.  Nothing had seemed to change though she knew that was far from true.  After all, the braves themselves were proof of that.   Word went though the village quickly that Feather had returned. 

By the time they reached the gates, a crowd had gathered.  She dismounted and greeted many but it was her father who caught her attention.   She ran to him, half laughing, half crying as he enveloped her in his strong arms.  There was gray now among his dark hair but he was still strong, still a warrior among the tribe.   Her sisters too appeared, small children in tow.  Her oldest sister, Pale Moon, had twins, a girl and boy of four, and carried a papoose on her back -- another son who laughed and cooed at the crowd.  Her middle sister, Three Flowers, had one son, just learning to walk but her belly was swollen with her second.    As the braves returned with meat from the hunt, a feast was prepared.  Surrounded by her family, Feather felt content but she knew she'd be gone again when the leaves began to fall.   She intended to travel north, to the Tribe of the Bear, and tell them of the twins and their companions.  From there, she was uncertain where she would go but the great restlessness that she had felt was finally gone.

It was late when the festivities ended.  In spite of being tired, Feather found she couldn't sleep.  She walked away from the village and sat on the shore of one of the rivers.  As Sister Moon rose in the sky, she looked into the dancing water.  As the moon's reflection reached the shore, she began to see images.

Kneeling, she watched as the shape of several masted ships began to form.  Though she didn't recognize the ships themselves, she did know their flags.  Heathfield,  England, and the Jolly Roger.  There was smoke and fire but nothing was clear, not even the people on the decks.  It was obvious it was a battle but it was hard for her to tell much beyond that.  In her experience that meant it may or may not happen and there was little to be done.  She stirred the waters and sat back, waiting as it settled again.   This time the images were clearer.

It was her own village under attack by their enemies. She watched in horror as the longhouses were burned and her people cut down or dragged off.   A familiar figure came into her view accompanied by a wolf.  She held a bow and arrow and was in the midst of the fighting.  She leaned forward to take note of the trees.  In the light of the fire, they were showing the colors of fall.  She had no sooner done so when a warrior of the enemy suddenly swooped down upon her.  Koda was knocked aside, and lay unmoving as he threw Feather over his shoulder.  The image faded, leaving her stunned.

It took a moment but she realized they had time.  In the morning she would go and see Dances with Owls and speak to her on this and other visions.  They could stop what Feather had seen by moving the village.  Hopefully Wolf's father would be back and they could begin quickly.  Standing, she turned and looked at the village.  It wouldn't take much to tear down the longhouses and move.  They had done so before.  It was only a matter of making sure their enemy was occupied elsewhere so their plans wouldn't be know.


Date: 09-08-08
Poster: Wolf Paw
Post # 2


When one was lost and then found, a great feast and celebration of the tribe was in order. Downy Feather had been lost to them for many years in her spiritual journey, now she was home and all of the tribe gathered. Men, women and children as a great fire was built. Food was prepared and brought for all to share. Pale Moon and Three Flowers were amongst them as the Shaman gave his blessings. Once he was done the braves started up the dancing, wearing buffalo skins and various heads of wild animals they hunted. Deer, Elk, buffalo, bear and so forth. The night dark with stars above as the glow of the fire illuminated the movements as well casting shadows beyond in a mirrored dance over ground and trees. Sparks would burst up to sparkle above the leap of the flames as all gathered around. Feather being given the place of honor to sit with the elders there, She Who Walks with Owls to one side and her father, Three Bears on the other. The warrior braves had a successful hunt and believed that Feather's return had brought such a good omen.

It was good to be back home, even if it would not be permanent. She would talk to her father and She Who Walks with Owls tomorrow on the visions she had seen -- attacks at sea, though she only recognized the flags of the English and the Jolly Roger, and worse, an attack on her village when the leaves were fully turned and falling As troublesome as they were, they could wait for they were in the future. She watched the dancing of the braves with a smile. It had been long since she had been part of a celebration and it did her heart good. Her father was in good spirits and even the elderly Walks with Owls seemed in an excellent mood. Feather had worn the white doeskin ceremonial dress that she had carried with her, her hair loose save for two small braids, framing her face.

A concoction was passed around made of whiskey and herbs as well a pipe for those who wanted to partake, even some of the older women who sat near their husbands. The maiden women gathered in groups of friends, secrets shared as they watched the men as well Feather; giggles mixing with laughter. Some itching to be dancing but they had to wait on the guest of honor. It was three feathers that nudged her sister in silent communication to stand and be taken into the dance by one of the warriors that took the honor of the hunt this night.

Had she been away that long that she nearly forgot? Cheeks held a hint of rose as she stood, cutting Three Feathers a glance, her dark eyes filled with laughter. She watched the warriors, wondering which of the hidden men would be the one to dance with her. Likely he would also be younger! Though her demeanor was one of dignity, her eyes sparkled in the firelight, amusement dancing merrily in them.

There were many tall men, short and medium, although all tone as warriors in their hunting and practicing skills. Deer and Elk danced up to her but continued on and around at times, a few wolf heads as well as bears, each taking their turn that it seemed all had gone by her at least once. The drums became more fierce in their thrumming like a storm rolling in as the pace of the dance picked up. Another elk whizzed by followed by a bear before the drums ceased dead after reaching that pitch, the dust to settle as a lone wolf was left standing in front of feather, his hand raised for her to accept.

It did nothing to dim her enjoyment, knowing full well part of the dance was to show their prowess and agility. She was surprised that the drumming stopped, leaving the lone brave in front of her. She looked at him a moment before placing her hand in his. The fact that he wore the head of her totem was not lost on her.

As she took his hand, his free one swept up removing the wolf's head cap that shadowed his features leaving them obscure up until now. It was Wolf Paw himself, the white of his teeth showing against the bronze of his skin. The whole of the tribe was one big family as whoops and sharp yelps, whistles and like noises picked up where the drums had left off. They knew this would be a good welcome home for the friendship the two shared. He had left the lands years before her but it was not really for wishing not to be there but a spiritual path he was called to follow and had. Now, he was home as well in visiting for his path was not yet complete but had crossed here as well. It had led him here the same time it had led her. Before she could say anything he brought her into a hug before starting up the dance so the others could join in. The other braves choosing their partners as well as the drums started off low as if anew.

Her eyes grew wide, mouth dropping open in surprise when she saw who stood before her. As he drew her into a hug, she gave a thump of her fist against his chest. He had been gone for so long, she hadn't been sure if he was alive or dead. Laughing, she shook her head , dark eyes on his face as the dance began. "It is good to see you are alive, Wolf Paw. You have been missed." She meant her words, any anger she might have felt immediately forgotten with the relief she felt.

He threw his head back in a laugh as she pounded her fist against solid muscle and took her off in the dance. One in the celebration of life and of the hunt that kept their village alive. There would be enough meat to dry to last them through the winter, needing only to supplement it with anything fresh. "It is good to be alive but the story is for another time. Tonight we celebrate." What happened could wait. The joy would not be ruined that was shared with all in these moments for the serious side of life that was usually dire for them. Too many changes that brought death, not just of body but of mind and soul for their people. It was no longer just to survive physically. The steps pounded the earth beneath well made moccasin boots in opposite of their usual stealth.

"Then we have several stories to share." Not that her life had been difficult since he had left Heathfield. True, there had been a few rough spots, but they had been dealt with, or in some cases, avoided. Her stories would be of  other things. "But yes, tonight is a night for celebration, not only for the hunt and the harvest, but for the return of two who were lost." She tossed her head, giving a sniff. "Though I was never truly lost." Another might think she was miffed at his disappearing but Wolf Paw would know better.

"No. You were never lost to me even if my eyes could not behold you. The wind whispered your name no matter where my path had me roam, it told of safety yet unease. Your spirit needed flight to find home in your heart. There were things left unfinished." Perhaps the last explained it the best. All the while he moved in the dance with her taking them around the large fire with the others. They would be touched by others in a silent welcome home when they got the opportunity. A shoulder, arm, tug of hair or braid.

She smiled as they were welcomed, a touch here and there in return though her gaze returned to Wolf Paw. "And yet, I could not find you, even within the mirror of the water. No sign just silence." She couldn't have a serious expression for long , not in light of what was happening now. "We can save that too, for daylight, when serious talk is much easier to make." She turned away then back, keeping her steps in time to the beat of the drums.

"I did not wish you to see at the time and have you worry when there was nothing you could do. In time I knew we would meet up again. It was better this way." Leaving the dance to the others at this point as he guided her back to her seat in honor. There had been another placed there between her and She Who Walks with Owls, one for him. When he heard she had arrived, he asked for this surprise and the whole village kept the secret leaving it as he wished. "Let us eat of the hunt," for the main meat would wait until the Hunter who gained the honor first partook. A plate was brought over as he ripped off a drumstick and choice breast meat for Feather which was placed on a plate for her.

Another statement that had her giving him a look of surprise, though it only touched her eyes. He blocked her? That did not sound good at all to her. He had to know that she was biting back questions as he lead her back to the elders. She smiled at her father, knowing he had been among those keeping Wolf Paw's secret. Her sisters received something that made them both giggle -- the sight of Feather sticking her tongue out at them! An impish look was given to Wolf Paw as she inclined her head in thanks.

"Patience little Feather, all in time your questions will have their answers." At least her present questions. Tonight her father needed his daughter as well her sisters, relatives and friends. While she was entertaining her sisters with her new learned antics, Wolf Paw was devouring the meat off the drumstick. His facial expression turning to one of pure pleasure for how it had been roasted with natural herbs added. Wild grain and vegetables were added to his plate as well small potatoes one had tried cultivating this past summer.

Little Feather? She gave Wolf Paw a look, though it was again one of amusement then she turned to make sure her father was eating as he should. The potatoes delighted her since she had enjoyed them in Heathfield. Her father was interested in stories of the realm and of course, of James, and she talked of some things but not all. She didn't want him or the others of the tribe to worry about their adopted brave.

They would speak on what happened to him as well his questions on James and how he was managing. Last he saw his blood brother he was still dodging men sent from Montrose after him. There were more dances to join in, plenty of food and drink as the crowd gradually dwindled, lovers to make use of the night with the fire in their blood on a good high. The elders soon were taking their leave as well for sleep called, happy in their hearts at least for these moments. Ones that made a hard life better for them. "You will wake early to watch the birthing of a new day as the sun rises with me?" It was time to get some sleep as well, keeping to leaving those questions and answers to tomorrow.

She was glad to share the shorter stories though there was much left out until they could speak alone. "It is rare that I am not awake before dawn." She answered with a smile after she bade her sisters and their husbands and children good night as well as her father. He would be asleep before she returned to the tent. "There are things I have not shared with all here." Her look became serious briefly. "Good night, Wolf Paw. I am glad you are here."

"Then it remains as I've remembered." Giving an approving nod before rising. Plate set aside that would be seen to by the ones that took care of the feast. "This I feel as they are barely contained this night." Offering his hand her way that he could walk her to her place of sleep. Once there he bade his good night, "I will see you before morn's light at the mountain plateau." Which wasn't far from the village and offered a sight only the Great Spirit could have done by his hand.

"I will see you there." She would sleep in her father's section of the longhouse shared with her sisters and their families. She stood at the entryway a moment, watching him before slipping inside. Her father was gently snoring and she would not bother him with her preparations for sleep.

The last she'd see was his smile before he disappeared easily into the shadows to the longhouse where he slept with some of the other warriors since his parents died long ago.


Date: 02-15-09
Poster: Downy Feather
Post # 3

Journey to the Tribe of the Bear

The way north was one well traveled and easy to find normally. A pass led through the mountains from the lands of the Susquehanna to that where the Tribe of the Bear and others made their homes. Snow had been falling since Feather and Wolf Paw had begun their journey but conditions were growing steadily worse. The wind came howling down the mountains, bringing bitter cold and the snow began to fall so heavily that it was nearly impossible to see more than a few feet before one. The snow beneath the newer snow was slippery in spots. As it grew deeper, even Mia was having trouble and the wolf stayed close to Feather's side. The horses plodded along slowly, their heads down against the wind.

The fur of his cloak whipped like wind over grass as the hood was pulled up when conditions got worse. Moving much like the horses, head down into the snow filled wind. They huddled close pressing slowly forward longer than most would have. Determination was set in them both but Wolf Paw knew they could not keep up and if they tried to defy mother nature much longer, she would have her revenge. With the area becoming more mountainous was well, snow could come in avalanches, burying them deep if not pushing them over the edge of the mountain itself that they had climbed. "We must stop, set up a lean to while we can until this passes." He pointed to what was a hollow cut into the side of the mountain of stone and trees close that would provide them coverage. "Come," much as he hated not to continue, he also didn't wish to rise the ire of the elements upon them. It was getting too hard to see and dusk would come earlier with the storm.

She didn't argue, knowing they would grow weary if they kept trying to fight the storm. She was well covered in furs but still the cold had a bite and she knew shelter was what they needed. Nodding, she followed in his steps, stumbling on occasion but righting herself quickly. The snows seemed heavier this year and she found herself hoping the people of the Bear were well supplied. As soon as they grew close to the hollow, the wind seemed less. Wolf Paw had found a good place for them to wait out the storm.

A strong hand was there at her elbow each time she started to slip. At least they didn't have far to go as the horses were led to the grouping of trees to tie them there. They would then have some protection as well. He left some of the woven blankets over them as they were pretty well bundled up and enough blankets for them as well some water and dried food. They would not be able to light a fire until they got the lean to up and lucky that the wind didn't blow too hard. Once the horses were seen to, he set to erecting the lean to, covering it over in the thicker buffalo pelts, another blanket along with some straw to lay over the ground. If they huddled together they would do fine without a fire as the smoke it would cause within would be distressful. Wolf settled in, patting the spot next to him, ready with one of the wool blankets do draw over them both. "This is a good time for you to tell me of your dreams, Feather." They hadn't gotten around to it, so set on making good time to avoid this very storm. Perhaps the higher spirits trapped them to force the issue.

The horses huddled close to one another, settling in with their backs to the wind. She helped Wolf Paw, then slid in beside him. Koda laid at the entrance, ever watchful. Looking thoughtful, she pulled the blanket closer and leaned against Wolf Paw for warmth. "They are varied in some things but the results are the same. Some involve our tribe, some the entire race. We know there are many among the whites who hate us, see us as savages, worth nothing. In my dreams they drive us from our lands, force us away from our sacred places. I have seen our people lose their way but there is hope. Some will not forget. Our way may be saved but I cannot be certain." She sighed softly. "It saddens me, yet I think they may become stronger. The other things I see I think are about James."

He was thoughtfully listening. "I have seen the same in the clouds and in the smoke of visionary fires made. It will take countless moons but our way can be preserved if those who survive what is to come hold true and teach their children in a way to hold true, the spirits will guide them, hide them that all will not disappear." It was hard on all the wise ones and visionaries of their tribes to see such a future for their People. They needed to tell the moral stories to their children so they could tell their children and their children's children and kept alive. "There is not much we can do, only hold faith in the spirits." The last was something set apart. "What do you see on James." He was their blood brother no matter the color of his skin.

Resting her head against his shoulder, she listened to his voice while the wind howled over the mountains in a mournful way, as if it too, knew what was to come. "There are sacred places that will never be touched and from there a rebirth may came. As far as James, I have seen that he is well but there are dark clouds on the horizon behind him. I have seen him on his ship, the wind carrying smoke, and a darkness that hovers. He is untouched so I am not sure if he is threatened, if it something he sees, or something to come. When I try to focus, it fades and I see stone walls under attack. Again, nothing is clear and that worries me." Her dreams were rarely vague but these were.

"Then we need to get back and help him against any enemies." It was a resolve for on that day James had saved his life, risking his own, so Wolf Paw became a part of James' life, the wolf guardian as fate allowed. "Maybe it is vague because it is not determined what will happen. Choices even we make can make the difference for him. Once we see to the tribe of the Bear, if we can pass, then will shall head back to James' lands. Bring news to the others as given us." He hoped they would not fail the others back in Heathfield by an act of nature. "Tomorrow we will know but we should sleep and build up our strength in what we are to face."

She nodded then smiled. "I am certain the spirits will guide us as they have all of our lives, even when it seems they have not." Yawning, Feather then laughed softly. "I think I am ready to sleep." Walking through the snow had caused her to tire quickly. Koda would be able to sleep as well. There would be few predators out tonight.

So, huddled together wrapped in furs and blankets under the lean-to, they would keep warm and hopefully their spirit guides would protect them. The wind howled long into the night as well a lone wolf in the distance. Sleep finally finding the two. Morning's light would trickle in through minute spaces between the furs, slanting over their faces. The storm was done and it came not only in a heavy blanket of snow but the same kind of silence.

In spite of the light that came through their lean-to, the snow was piled quite high around them. Koda had moved closer while they slept and now the she-wolf stood and plowed her way out. The wind had caused the snow to drift during the night but had finally died down. Feather slowly opened her eyes and found herself nearly nose to nose with Wolf Paw. She didn't stir but knew he was likely awake or would be. Somewhere a bird started to sing, a sure sign the blizzard was over.

They were kept warm huddled like they were. He'd been awake but hadn't stirred so he wouldn't wake her. Trained since young to always be alert as well light sleepers. He could tell when she finally rose from the dregs of sleep. Sleep they had needed before facing the aftermath of the blizzard. "It is time for us to continue." Or return back but he didn't say such as if by doing so would bring a bad omen upon them. Sliding out from under the buffalo skin to leave over her as he followed Koda out, making the way wider for his size. He was met with white, white everywhere almost obscuring even the trees which were heavily covered. It was almost surreal, fantastic sight, but knowing well it was a danger hidden beneath beauty. He closed his eyes, standing there as he canted his head back, opening up his fur cloak in homage to the new day and nature. Knowing well that nature could claim his physical body in a cold death if she wished. Air was like icy fingers without the protection of fur as he let out a low howl that grew in length. Nothing too loud or sharp as to anger the winter spirits that claimed this portion of land. Once done he pulled the cloak back around his form and waited.

She nodded, watching as he slipped out from under the skin and followed Koda. Sitting up, she stretched and set to folding up the skin. Before following Wolf Paw she quietly paid homage to the spirits in her own way, scattering the special herbs she had gathered for that purpose to the four directions within the lean-to. She joined him outside, blinking as her eyes adjusted to the stark whiteness before them. They would have to be careful of snow blindness. She started for the horses to check on them, and to put on her snowshoes. They would not be able to move quickly but it would be easier. Once they were moving again, they could break fast with pemmican and bannock.

The passage was blocked. Completely. Not even snowshoes would get them over it without a foolhardy risk for them and their horses. While Feather saw to the horses and getting on her snowshoes, Wolf Paw remained standing where he was. Waiting. Time ticked on, minutes as hours. Over a ridge of white, not too far away, emerged the biggest wolf seen. Gray and white with black markings on his face while his breath fogged as he stalled once in sight. There too the minutes seemed to be suspended before he paced back and forth then turned to disappear behind the ridge again. It was then that Wolf Paw nodded, turned to get ready. Snowshoes would be warranted as well preparing his horse to walk. "We go that way," not needing to indicate the ridge where he was sure Feather witnessed the Great Wolf.

She knew the passage was blocked but Feather's faith in the spirits was unfailing. As she finished putting on the snowshoes, her dark eyes lifted to watch the Great Wolf. She watched both then stood when the wolf disappeared. A nod was given as she turned back to the horses then waited to begin again. Koda had been sniffing beneath the snow, hopping occasionally as she scented perhaps a mouse and pounced. She stopped suddenly, lifting her nose to the air as the Wolf appeared. Standing perfectly still, she lifted her head and softly howled. When the wolf disappeared again, the she-wolf waited a moment more then joined Feather, who placed a hand on her companion's head.

He knew they might not see the Great Wolf again but the paw marks left would be unmistakable now that the blizzard was over. Wolf Paw trusted to follow them. He set quickly about getting ready and started the lead. The reins of his horse in one hand as he headed for the ridge. The tracks there of an unmistakably large size that led off in a direction towards the side of the rocky mountain. The going was slow but sure as he also watched for any snow that might start sliding down. Talking would be kept to a minimum, hand signals sufficing in this trek. At first he wondered if the Wolf disappeared on them, swallowed up by the mountain as a spirit could. The tracks seemed to disappear but once to the spot, they went behind rocks that had seemed part of the mountain and led into a cave. The cave was large enough to fit their horses as it curved through. Paw prints were wet marks and would disappear in a few hours so they needed to press on in following them. He kept an eye out for any sleeping bears but such too, if they didn't arouse them, they should be fine. He was not going exploring any chambers that led from the main one.

Feather moved easily enough through the deeper snow now that she wore snowshoes. Guiding not only her horse, but the pack horse, she kept moving. Koda stayed close at her side, or slightly ahead while they walked. She was surprised that they were led to a cave but pleased. It was not a way open to many she was certain. When their journey was through, she'd make sure to thank them for this gift. Like Wolf Paw, she kept watch for any bears that might be using the cave for their winter's sleep.

He took only the few minutes it would take to remove the snowshoes while moving through the cave. They would hinder their progress otherwise. It was amazing the cave continued the distance of the mountain forming part of the pass. One blocked on the outside. There were tight spots but were managed and by the time the wolf paws started to fade, they had come to the opening beyond where the pass was blocked. They would need their snowshoes again but a great distance had been covered that would have taken them until dusk otherwise outside on the snow. "We can make it to the Tribe of the Bear now." Pointing in the distance were smoke curling up from their village could barely be seen. They should reach them by late afternoon.

It felt good to be free of the snowshoes, even if just for a few hours. Where the passage was narrow, Koda dropped back behind to 'encourage' the sometimes reluctant packhorse through. As they came to the end of the cave, she stepped up beside Wolf Paw and squinted slightly against the brightness. "We will have to remember this way." In case they returned here again when the snows were heavy and the pass blocked.


Date: 02-23-09
Poster: Wolf Paw
Post # 4

Meeting with the Tribe of the Bear

"Yes, but I feel it should not be common knowledge. This was shown to us specifically." He felt there were many reasons behind that thought and all valid ones. Detaching a small pouch from his belt, he sprinkled some tobacco and cuttings of his hair to the wind. A chant under his breath before closing his eyes in reverence to the cold wintry sun that deemed to shine upon them this day. Head tipped back and cloak's hood down, much like he had done when it started snowing so thickly. Once he was done, the hood was swept up, though it was sunny it was still very cold. Snowshoes were seen to before he started forward carefully. He'd taken a tall walking stick which was used to make sure they had solid footing. So they would go slower but far better the precaution than a tragic mishap.

She nodded her agreement, a soft smile curling her lips. As he made his thanks to the spirits, she bowed her head in reverence, though she couldn't help but watch him as he stood illuminated in the pale light of the winter sun. Once her snowshoes were on, and he started down, she and Koda followed, the wolf staying close. The snow was less treacherous in the valley, though the going was still slow. What the two didn't know was a small group of their enemy had been attempting to follow. Those that survived the avalanche swore to the elders that there was a Great Wolf standing above them before the snow came crashing down. As Feather and Wolf neared the camp of the Bear Clan, they were greeted by some of the scouts who watched their approach. Feather spoke to them softly, telling them she had news of the Twins and their companions and they were led to the elders while others greeted them warmly as they passed.

Wolf Paw embraced a few of the warriors he knew as they were quick to approach him. They too spoke on the Great Wolf that had been sensed, sent their few dogs in a near panic barking last evening. Not as they would when an enemy approached but wanting to get free to join the spirit Wolf as a pack. Luckily they tied their dogs when the snows came for their own protection. Once they had been spotted, preparations for a feast were already set in motion to be had in the great wigwam where they also held their meetings. There was much to talk on while food and the pipe were shared. Presently they were enjoying the initial greetings. Families spoke on, coups that were done before winter set in. Winter was tragic enough that kept most of the warring down. They spoke on the Fort as a few had ventured there and they way they had been treated but more was the concern to see many of their people turn the white man's way though never really fitting in. They were little more than slaves, treated like dogs. Few treated them as they should be. The names of those families were known in a good way, just as the names of the families that persecuted them were known on the opposite side of the scale.

Feather listened quietly to their stories, laughing at some though how they were treated by the white men at the Fort had her frowning. She would wait until they were alone with the Elders to speak of the warnings she had been given. Instead, her tales were of Heathfield and of the Twins and their companions. Some of the tales were funny of course, some serious but she was glad to see they were pleased that the young men and women were doing well.

Wolf Paw had left the lands before the twins and their friends had gotten there. So he was very interested in hearing their story, not only how they ended up in the lands but how they were adjusting. Luckily the lands were as he had found them to be. Accepting of everyone equally no matter their skin coloring or beliefs. Encouraged to keep their ways with respect as respect was given to others. A man being weighed by his actions to be good or bad than prejudices. In all his travels, he had not come upon another land like it although there was always the possibility if one such existed that possibly there were others. They were given a wigwam to share, being they had no spare ones and the small family willingly gave up theirs for the night or few Feather and Wolf were to stay. They could freshen up or get some rest as the feast would be ready in an hour's time. It would be here that they would meet with the Shaman Milap and Running Deer, chief of the Bear Tribe. Wolf Paw ducked in needing a rest as he was quick to claim one of the fur beds, stretching out with his arms angled up to tuck his hands behind his head. Eyes closed in rest but it was questionable if he would actually sleep.

She spoke to a few of the younger women before she followed Wolf into the teepee. Koda had slipped off to hunt, leaving the two alone. She smiled when she saw him resting, and decided to freshen up first. If there was time left, she would rest also but she wasn't tired. Clean water had been brought after being heated so she could wash face and hands. She hummed to herself as she removed her outer clothing.  Washing up quickly, she pulled the white dress that was worn as a sign of her rank and shook it out. With a glance at Wolf, she pulled off her shirt and pants, stripping down to undergarments before washing completely and finally pulling on the dress and leggings that would keep her warm. While she waited for the hour to pass, she re-braided her hair.

He had dozed off into visions, not quite the same as sleeping. He woke with a start, eyes unfocused for a fraction of a moment with a slight sweat upon his brow. He was up and over to the bowl of water to splash some on his face. Stripping down as he went washing the rest of his body, tossing the dirty clothes off to the side and putting on the finer, more ceremonial ones of winter. Ones with fine bead work woven in the strips of leather and fringe down seams. Stripping down completely held no concern that Feather was in the wigwam with him. Their customs were not the same although he could wonder if being in other lands with other customs had worn on her at all. Dark eyes turned her way with that curiosity but certainly there was pride in his eyes for his physique, something a warrior held in high esteem. Only the glance as he was right back to donning the clothing and taking care with the lacings.

She watched him as he woke, a slight frown appearing though she waited for him to finish dressing. Dark eyes held no shyness as she watched him, all the while braiding her hair. Remembering how the sunlight had touched his bronze skin earlier, now she noted the way the fire touched his features, showing the planes and angles of his strong face.  He was in all ways a perfect example of a warrior.   Smiling to herself, she tied the braids off with rawhide that was trimmed with beads and feathers, then added a necklace of quills and beads. Wolf's pride was well placed and it showed in how she met his glance. "You woke troubled."

"Unclear dreams, visions perhaps. A storm to come raging at sea but I do not know if it is a foreboding of our trip back to Heathfield." Storms meant trouble than actual weather conditions, then again it could have been literal. Time would tell. He remember struggling hard in surviving but had survived or he woke too soon. It was about that time one of the Indian wives came to their wigwam's entry to let them know all was ready before disappearing just as quickly and silently as she had appeared. He finished up, putting on the fur cloak last before waiting to escort Feather there. They would be the guests of honor for bringing good news and visiting in spite of the blizzard that had just passed. A sign they were to be revered, favored by the Spirits.

"Similar to my own." She frowned then smiled again. "Whatever it is, we will face it together. " They were to help James if he needed them, that much she was sure of. When the woman came to fetch them, Feather grabbed her fur cloak and followed her. The sun was sinking lower into the west and soon it would be dark but the feast would go on into the night. She was looking forward to a time of relaxing before speaking to the Elders the next day.

All of the tribe was gathered in this larger elongated wigwam, children as well including infants wrapped up in furs in their mother's arms. The only one sitting was Milap, their Shaman in a Bear's headdress and their Chief, Running Dear. Two older wizen women sat aside each as they indicated for Wolf Paw to take his seat to the right and Feather to the left, across from each other. A low long table was set between holding the various bowls of food prepared. Pheasant and deer meat amongst them as well the favored rabbit pies. Gathered nuts and a flat bread made of ground up grains. Winter food was not as variant as spring and summer offered. Wolf took his seat, sitting cross legged and waited then for Feather as well the rest of the tribe would take their places in a growing circle outward from the main ones.

Feather took her seat across from Wolf after greeting the Elders respectfully. She remembered Kirima from a long time ago and for a moment their eyes met. As the others sat, she watched the closeness of the people and again felt the sadness that came from knowledge of the future. Still, there was always hope.

It was Running Deer who spoke once everyone was in their place. He stood, waiting for silence. "We welcome our Brother and Sister to this feast of celebration. The news they have brought us is good, and we rejoice that those who journeyed to find their paths are doing well. I know I speak for all of us and we thank you for this news, and that you are willing to share this feast with us. Though the winter has brought much snow, we have plenty and this too, we celebrate. Eat and enjoy. Tomorrow we talk of things to come." He had been told by both Milap and Kirima, the wizen woman who sat to his right, that there were dreams and portents of the future but they would wait until the morrow.

Some things were not shared with the whole of the tribe until all was known to be known on any particular matter. Tonight was to celebrate rather than storm clouds dimming their future to overshadow the here and now. It could wait and not ruin the times that were good to be had. These times cherished. Wolf ate heartily as would be expected of him, yet not over indulging either. He enjoyed the pipe as it was passed around and conversation reverted to good times of the past. That of buffalo hunting and the more humorous pranks warriors pulled on the other. He shared some of his stories befitting the atmosphere having laughter spread as infectious as any disease could and did far too often in the winter. Even the women were allowed to share their stories, this being a night they were treated equal. Though their stories might not be as glamorous as the warriors, there was humor, love and hopes.

The Elders of the Clan too, had their stories and shared these. Some were of the Earliest Times, when the Gods walked the Earth and the People were new. Others were of those here, in their younger days, and of course, there were tales of the Twins and Patwin and the tricks they played. Feather was enjoying herself, as much as any time in the past that she could remember. She watched Wolf when he talked and then the others, giving each the respect they deserved when they had the talking stick. She had her own stories to share, of course, tales of her and Wolf's people to the southeast. As the meal began to end, the drummers began to play, sounding their beat low for those who might wish to participate in the dance.

Every so often dark eyes would find Feather beneath their intense gaze. A smile more in his eyes than upon his lips when she managed to catch his look. The Susquehanna Tribe were friends with the Bears and at times hunts were shared, friendships forged in mutual gain. An extended family. When the drums started, sated with food and the pipe, Wolf Paw was up with a look given Feather to join him in starting out the dance. This too was expected of them being their guests. Had Feather not been with him, female, he would choose amongst the maidens of the tribe to honor one. As it were, he would still need to do a few dances with them. The lot of them would whisper between themselves, each hoping they would be picked.

Had she been prone to blushing, her cheeks would be a darker bronze but it took more than looks to cause such. Still, she smiled each time their eyes met. As he stood and looked her way, she stood as well, moving to his side. The long fringes of her dress made her movements look even more graceful as the dance began. Their steps were precise, well learned but still with a quality that bespoke of joy and life. Others began to join them, even some of the older members of the tribe as well as the younger who would soon be falling asleep but were determined to stay up as long as possible.

He well noticed how graceful she was, how alive her eyes shone under the firelight and the touch of rose upon her cheeks in a healthy glow. "You are a beautiful woman." Wondering if others had told her, more in he would be surprised if not. Actually expecting that she has been. As others began to join them, partners were soon exchanged as he partnered, even if briefly at times, with another woman of the tribe. Most were young and of marriageable age. He suspected a few of the fathers purposely had their daughter end up with him as he noticed subtle maneuvers. Noticed but not really thought upon for such was far from his mind. Feather would get a smile or glance caught across the flames or in passing. Times a rest was taken for a drink before a brother warrior drew him back in to dance with his sister or cousin. It would seem he had danced with every single eligible woman in the village. A fact that had him slightly frown when he managed away with a good thirst and drank liberally from bucket of water.

She was pleased with the compliment from him, even if she had heard it before. "Thank you, and you, are a handsome man." Perfectly at ease with giving a compliment in return. She remembered how he and James used to tease her and compete with one another. Days of innocence on her part. She was partnered with many of the braves this night, but her eyes kept drifting to watch him. She too noticed how he seemed to have danced with every young woman and it made her smile. At least she could actually take a moment or two here and there as it seemed there were more women than men. When she had a chance, she spoke to Milap and Kirima about the twins and their friends. Extra assurance for the two that all was well.

By the time the older ones, or ones with infants departed, Wolf was tired; though he drank with his warrior friends, especially Red Fox and Silver Eagle. Both whose sisters danced with him. They were a little drunk by this time of the night and both going on about the wonderful attributes of their sisters who would make one a good wife. The humor went a bit more risque in comments made that were kept low so they were not overheard but with more drinking the comments were getting louder for they were getting louder. It was time to call it a night or there might end up a few fists flying and regretted the next day. Wolf Paw had made sure he didn't drink too much for he knew how it could affect him. Those days he had put behind him for the most part. He feigned exhaustion and departed company to head for the wigwam granted them. Feather was still talking to Milap and Kirima so didn't interrupt. Once inside he moved the fur beds closer to the low burning fire. Added some more wood then stripped down before getting under the furs. Hands cupped behind his head, eyes closed, he listened to the sounds of the others still up, some still dancing. Laughter muted for the distance but comforting sounds. It had been a good feast.

The elders were growing weary and so she excused herself, knowing they would not do so first. She noted that Wolf had left the feast and with a few farewells to others, made her way to the wigwam. She was quiet as she entered, thinking he might be asleep. Koda had gone hunting sometime during the feast and would likely be back later. She began to undo the braids first, careful to remove the beads and feathers and store them away. She had a comb she had bought in Heathfield and used it before stripping out of the ceremonial dress and leggings. With a little shiver, she slipped under the furs and sighed. They were warm and so was the fire. Their journey back to the coast might not have many nights of warmth.

He knew when she headed for the wigwam, knew her every silent step as she entered their guest dwelling. Eyes remained closed as he breathed in the mingled scents of the night, hers with others. He heard the shiver that escaped her breath while he half lifted up with parting his furs as dark eyes dwelled upon her. "Come, keep warm with me this night as it will prove even colder than any preceding." It was not an uncommon practice and probably saved a few lives over the course of wintry months.

"I thought you were asleep." She smiled as she spoke, and slid close to him. "It seems the winter will be long this year." So much snow and they still had weeks until spring. "You were much sought after tonight." Teasing just a little. For Wolf Paw to be brought into a family would be considered quite an accomplishment though it might leave several of their own tribe broken-hearted.

"It is why I finally decided to leave. Red Fox and Silver Eagle only wanted to praise the attributes of their sisters to where they were becoming competitive and would end up in a fight. Worse, draw me into it to decide which sister was better for a wife. They had too much to drink." Folding the fur around her as she slipped in, spooning her back in against his chest. He was already warm beneath the furs having been under them a good twenty minutes. "We shall leave early tomorrow, right after you speak of your dreams to the Elders." Perhaps she might pick up on the edge of him wanting to leave at this point than linger.

She nodded slightly, not wanting to laugh. It could have been a very bad situation and in spite of being as a brother to the two braves, it was best that he not be drawn into a fight when they were guests. "I am to speak to them after the morning meal." Which for the Elders meant dawn. "I think Kirima has had similar dreams though I can't be certain. It is just a feeling I have." She was growing warm and drowsy as well. A soft yawn escaped and she smiled. "Both sisters are silly little things." Just giving her opinion though had she not been so sleepy, she might not have said a word.

"Do you want me there at the talks or wait for you?" Enjoying the warmth as it was starting to lull him away, dawn would be too soon if they were to get a descent night's sleep. He left the comment go on the two sisters as stated.

"You are welcome to come with me of course." She laughed softly as she added, "it might be safer if you do, for it will keep you out of sight."

A smile swept she'd not see for that was exactly his thoughts. He knew his two friends would waylay him again on their sisters to take as a wife. They even decided, which was one of the reasons he left, that he could take both. "I do not wish to insult my friends nor get trapped by their good wishes." He already told him he was not settled to have a wife, too much on the move and things he had to do before such considerations. "Let us sleep now or we'll continue talking," which normally he would not mind but knew they would both pay for it at dawn, dragging themselves from the dregs of sleep and not alert. He shifted, getting comfortable, eyes closing and allowing his thoughts to wander that would bring into that state.

"Then you will definitely join me. I have no wish to see you trapped either." And having two young women tagging along on their journey wouldn't suit either! She yawned again, allowing her eyes to close, the sound of his heart and his breathing, lulling her to sleep.

They were awake before dawn, breaking fast with bannock and dried fruit, with water to wash it down. The same woman who had brought their meal came for them when the Elders were ready to speak to them. They listened intently as Feather spoke once again of the visions she had, trying to convey the sense of urgency felt.  She didn't include the ones concerning James Callihan. There had been no connection that she had seen. As she spoke, both Milap and Kirima exchanged glances. When the young woman was through, they spoke as well. They had visions also and with Feather giving her own, the Elders made the decision that when spring came at least to the northern forest, they would join the Susquehanna and move their tribe to the sacred land. In time, they feared losing even that but they would do all they could to preserve their way of life.

Before the two could leave, there were gifts to be taken back to Heathfield for the twins and their friends, as well as for Wolf and Feather. They were given an extra pack horse and rations in case the snows fell again. By the time the sun had risen, bright over the snowy landscape, they were well on their way, far enough that they could no longer see the smoke rising from the village. It would take a week for them to reach the port of  Philadelphia if all went well. Though snow fell, it was not heavy and they would soon be on a ship to Heathfield.

Some distance behind, another scouting party had made their way down the mountain. This time there were no avalanches to stop them. Avoiding the village, they followed the usual path toward the river, certain the two would have taken this way, not knowing anyone followed. As they came to the river that Wolf and Feather had crossed a few hours earlier, the leader of the party made a motion for everyone to stop. Across the small river stood the Great Wolf that had led Wolf and Feather through the mountains. He seemed to growl out a warning before disappearing.  The scout leader made a motion to one brave who stepped onto what should have been ice solid enough to cross.  The ice made a cracking noise and the youth stepped back. They watched in disbelief as the ice cracked the entire width of the river, cracking loudly before the water broke through and pushed the ice away.  Exchanging looks, the group turned as one and gave up their pursuit.


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