The Great White Spirit Bear

The artifact hunt had been a huge success, all the items having been place to that now even larger table to accommodate. It was one of those nights that sleep would elude him and found him laying awake sprawled out over his bed, hands behind his head as a pillow against the headboard and still fully clothed. His thoughts were first plagued on a situation that had finally unfolded for the second and last time around. When he looked at it as a whole, he realized it was something that could never have been even if that first time things had gone differently. No matter what was felt, there was no changing what was. With knowing more since the first time, he did give it a second chance and it had not been on his end that any possibility had been dashed, even if the reasons were legitimate. In this acceptance of what is, he could now pass over that unwritten chapter and leave the pages blank, never to be written.

He lived in the 'what is' and in his life everything that 'what is' was right here in Barrach for him, the love of his children, family and friends. The dagger and cross were back where they belonged and a deep rooted friendship left intact. He could accept that. It also meant that a different path was meant for him as the other had their own and the twain would never meet in that way. At least they knew this now. Coiled up energy had him finally up and out to wander the grounds of Barrach to release some of it. The call was louder now, the pull stronger, but to where he still didn't know. He knew a lot more since he found that stone, as pieces fell together, and he had changed within a lot in the process, even he was aware of these. Still, there was a major part missing and he knew it was why there was still that overwhelming pull.

It was a quiet night that held its breath for the stillness of the air in waiting again. The moon was full and casting its pale light over ridge and dale.

It was lavished over the form of Malcolm standing in the field to the side of his house. Those within the manor had been long drawn into the dreams sleep would hold them to. A fisted hand was raised in frustration as his call broke the deafening silence for an answer, he was tired of being plagued. "WHEN?" He needed to know, he needed to know now! His hand lowered as fingers flexed, the still of the night then broken by the breeze in the treetops that picked up, where there had been none before. He whipped around to the right, did he hear something? He wasn't sure but knowledge was there within his mind to inspire him into action. The breeze gone as ideas plagued instead.

He was fast moving back around to the front of his home. Light tunic was all but torn off from that muscular build by the time the steps were reached and ascended. It was tossed to the swing in a crumpled bundle as he made a direct path to that table. The answer was here, but how? A deep breath was taken in and released as that dark gaze moved over each item....hand was soon collecting certain stones and feathers adding them to the pouch he had found himself, the one that held the white fur and claws. He let his hand decide as it passed each, some to pass over as others were grabbed up. At last he added his own stone from his pocket but still he felt there was something missing. It was then his hand paused over another stone, the one Alex had found, drawing his attention. How did it even get here? Somehow Alex must have added it to the fare on the table even though he was not to go near it. It was added to the rest before the pouch was tied off, complete.

He had attached a long leather strap to the pouch and soon had it around his neck before he set to arranging the various items in groups around the candle. Next he carefully dragged out the table to the center of the porch before he straightened away, a hand lifting to run over his chin in thought. He was acting on instinct and any whimsical thought that came to mind was acted upon. He had nothing to lose and everything to gain by listening to them. He was once more going over the items thoughtfully. He took up the bear claw necklace and looped that around his neck before he reached for that ancient canister that held the tobacco and sprinkled a pinch around the base of the candle before packing the bowl of the equally ancient pipe that still laid upon the table's surface. The candle was lit next as the burst of flame lifted to life and graced that area of the porch in its soft glow.

His hand paused over the pipe as he thought he heard drums in the distance. There was that quick glance to his right that drew that dark gaze down towards where the lake laid and the mountains beyond. He stood motionless but nothing more was heard, leaving him to wonder if it had been just his imagination, once more. About to lift the pipe there was a white flash before his eyes, the white bear skin that was neatly folded to a tray beneath the table was taken out instead. There were leather strappings that he took time to affix correctly so that it would stay in place like a well worn cape as it was donned. The ceremonial garb was under the table stored on the tray there too, along with the marked skins, but he felt he was not to wear it for now.

The bear shield Nick had found was propped against the table tray beneath so that it faced outwards to the front of the porch. All was deadly quiet again as he stood there in thought, contemplating the table again. He waited but found no more inspirations forthcoming and finally satisfied with the way things were arranged on the table. He moved forward again to take up that pipe and once more he heard the fleeting sounds of drums to echoed in the distance. This time they were clearer and he knew he had heard correctly. He wondered on the drums but it didn't stop him from action as he took up the pipe to light with the first draw of smoke into his lungs....

The ancient tobacco was stronger than he anticipated and had him coughing out that first deep draw with a fisted hand coming up into a pound against his chest. It came out in a bluish puff. The bear's eyes carved within the bowl, glared red...this was the first he noted it, a brow lifted as such was scrutinized. The next few draws of smoke were tentative and smaller ones until he adjusted to its strength. It had a different, strange taste but not bad at all. He could enjoy it and so he would as he moved to take a lean against the rail. A booted foot did hook against the bottom brace having his leg bent and he half straddled against the top horizontal rail.

The moon's path by this time had taken its pale light away, leaving the lawn and woods held in that near black veil of night. There was just the flow of the soft candle light that only illuminated a certain distance before melting off into the darkness that claimed it. No one knew what was in that blend of tobacco as he started feeling a bit strange, chalking it up to the fact it was just strong. 

First he thought dawn had come as things seemed to have gotten lighter, in that he could make out the forms of the trees, even their leaves in detail but the sky had not changed. The stars seemed to dance above and he swore they were actually moving right before his eyes, making new patterns. His focus drawn back as the dark shadows now too started moving, panels of varying greys shifting between each other like doors being opened and closed. There was a coil of panic to rise in him but he dismissed it for the warrior he was. He knew it was just the unknown and this was very unknown to him, very strange, even surreal.

Little did Malcolm know just how surreal it would become as the Shaman Vision tobacco gradually took a stronger hold. The breeze was talking to him, so were the trees, even the grass seemed to have its say. First it was overwhelming as nature came alive in a way he had never dreamed possible. As nature's whispers mounted to cloud his mind, he saw the flashbacks from the story Wind in the Trees had told them. There before his eyes he saw in vibrant colors the real dance of the medicine women around Eagle Eye and the woman Laurel Douglas. He did notice she resembled Danielle, especially her hair. Although there was no sound he could hear and see within his mind, the anguish of them both. He also saw the anger that drove Black Wolf, wolves around the Bear now made sense of the mists of the twin lake. Eagle Eye was tied well to that tree but as the chanters drew close his own voice broke forth in altering their curse at the same time he broke free from those secured bindings. In that moment they fled he could see the real fear on their faces, like the mists of the lake to flatten back away from the bear. The woman was abandoned and Eagle Eye was to her as they embraced, the scene fading away as he rushed off with her to take her to safety.

It was then he realized a very thick misty fog had formed. There was an arch of it around the tall trees of the forest nearest the house that formed what looked like the mouth of a cave. Dark gaze drew down to the misty carpeting that formed along the ground and even swept up onto the porch where he was. It covered everything for about eight inches deep, he could not even see the foot of his boots. He was up and over to stand at the top of the stairs as he tried seeing into that black hole about a hundred yards away from him, just beyond the lawn. It was then that he froze to the spot he stood, the pipe in his hand had long gone dead. Ashes fell from the bowl to disappear into the carpeting of fog as his hand went slack that held it. The pipe itself soon followed to drop, rolling along the porch boards unseen to land safely up against a supporting column of the baluster. Something huge was emerging within that dark hole that was as white as the new fallen snow in winter. It only grew bigger as he stood immobilized, his mind reeling but not a sound was made as the Great White Sprit Bear descended upon Malcolm. Descending, for its height had it tower over him even though he stood on the porch and was of a good height himself. The drums of earlier thundered in his ears, loud and clear...there was no mistaking them now. He could not move except that dark blue gaze of his, lifting slowly to meet the glowing red eyes of the enormous white bear. He was so shocked he couldn't even feel fear.

A massive paw was lifted as claws extended. Malcolm was sure this was going to be his last breath as the paw hovered over his head. It would only take one deadly blow that would easily fell him right there on the spot. 

Words could not describe the feelings that tangled within his mind as he was mesmerized into that glow of red eyes. Still, there was no fear as part of them. As the claw came down so did the breath of the Bear wash over him in a misty exhale like that which still swirled around his feet. But, there was a difference for knowledge came with it, knowledge of the ancient Shaman before him. He never felt the three rips of the claws tearing into the flesh of his right breast leaving about three inches of three distinctive lines. Blood trickled down in as bright a red as the eyes of the Spirit Bear itself.

It was at that precise moment the cry of a child, his child, his Alex, broke the silence upstairs and soon candles were being lit as part of the house awaken to see to him. The Bear, in a blink was gone, as was the mists to follow attached, as if neither had never been there at all. The cry of Alex did draw him from his frozen state of both mind and body to spring fast into action. The Bear skin cape was lashed off and dropped to the swing as hastened steps soon had him running back into the manor and upstairs to his son's room. Beth was already there trying to soothe him but was soon in a panic herself as blood seeped through the lad's nightshirt. Alex was talking incoherently about bears and the pitch of his young voice was both high and frightened. Little Ailish was up standing by her brother's bed fretfully crying in fears now also.

Three millennium for the curse to be broken, marking both Malcolm and his son as Shaman, the lineage reinstated. The unusual mists of the Lake were now gone as the Spirits lifted to go where they belonged that very night.

Just as the shirt was lifted off, Malcolm stormed into the room. The sight he saw was three slashes that bled some on his son's right chest. Beth had whipped her head around as she stood then let out a small scream, staring at Malcolm's right side of his chest. It was only then that his own dark blue gaze dropped down to see the same markings, albeit larger, on his own where blood trickled still. A few hours later Barrach Manor finally found the calm of night, little Alex and Ailish both asleep with their father in his bed this night. The claw mark wounds had been cleansed and seen to but Malcolm knew they would heal leaving scars on both him and his son in a branding even if they were not deep.

Spirit Council of the Ancients (page four)

(C) Copyrighted - This Story in its entirety is original by this writer, all rights reserved.

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