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Hózhóojí - The Blessingway

 
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((The information here is strictly ooc and not to be used icly unless express permission is asked. I write so that I can remember what's going on, and so that others might enjoy it as well. This thread alone will be updated with stories, and occasionally images, as to keep the boards clutter free from individual posts. I appreciate the thoughts and comments, but if you could make them in another post or pm them to me, that would be great. I hope you enjoy a sneak peek into this new character's head.))

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The young girl sat next to the fire as she finished up the small note. Roasted coyote haunch sat on a wood plank, dinner for the night and a few more if she made it stretch. Strips of the stringy muscle tissue hung over the fire along the spit, drying in the heat of dying flames.

“Twock”. The girl tilted her head up to the giant saguaro just at the edge of her camp. “Twock”, came the slow eerie call. Fire light glinted orange off the raven’s black eyes and feathers. “I’ll be done when I’m done.”, she replied. “Twock” it remarked.

She scribbled a few more lines, making note to mention the old man she called Teach, his dark skinned friend with the fuzzy head and the fact that Teach said he’d teach her his brand of magic. “Father ought to be interested in this” she mused to the large midnight bird as she re-read the message. “Thwock” croaked the raven in reply as if impatient for her to finish. She tightly rolled the message, securing it with cord made of yucca fibers.

As if on que, the raven fluttered down from the ancient cactus and waddled his way to her. “Fly swift and true” she said, offering it a bit of meat before it took off. Greedily, the bird gobbled the morsel down before beating its great wings and taking to the sky. It all but disappeared in the inky night, only a few final calls betrayed it’s presence, and then all was silent.

Soyala stretched out on the bed roll, looking up at the stars above. She found what she’d been looking for, a group to show her what’s become of the world, and now her mission was just beginning.

 

Flames n Feathers

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17th day of the Grass Moon

Soyala sat on her quad, up on a ridge looking down at the place called South Burb. After meeting Teach and his dark skinned friend Mogy in Terance, she has struck out on her own, as usual. Teach didn’t give her any specific direction to go, just that he’d find her later. Only thing she had of their meeting was some radio the Łizhiní had given her.

There had been a lot of chatter on it lately, but nothing she could really decipher. She recognized Teach’s voice, along with the other she’d talked to, Hen. There was talk about judges and vistas and experiments by a female voice. She did put two things together. The cowboy she’d met just outside of South Burb, Widdor. Apparently Teach knew him, or he’s part of the clan cause he was mentioned over the radio.

The flutter of feathers and the familiar ‘thwock’ of the raven brought her out of her retrospect. She leaned back as the large bird landed smoothly on the handle bars of her quad. There was no note tied to its leg. “He sending you to check up on me?” she asked. The bird twisted his head, this way and that before opening its large beak to croak at her again. “This new world is full of strangers and strange creatures” she mused at the bird. “Stay close, I’ll have something for you to take to Father later, after I’ve spoken with the blond haired woman.” Soyala sighed, recalling Judith Morrison’s request for pre fall stories. They were just that, stories. Old Woman Nightshade had passed down stories to the kids of her House, but they were just fanciful weavings of earlier times, or so she thought. Guess there was one way to find out.

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18th day of the Grass Moon

After making camp and short work of the left over coyote meat, Soyala settled onto her bedroll somewhere between Odenville and Mumford. Gently she pulled out a tattered and worn book from her pack. She nodded a few times, thinking of the good trade she’d made, the book and a few carpenter pencils for some scrap plastic she’d scavenged.

She whittled the lead sharp with her dulling carpet knife and thought about the day’s activities….

Father,

Radio traffic was pretty busy today. Seems the one Teach is getting married to, Jela, has been looking for her mom. Boss Hen said something about a lead on her, an Asian woman. He didn’t find her, but said he’d keep looking. She seemed grateful.

Another fem voice was talking about working on George. Not sure who or what George is, exactly, but she sounded like she’d been drinking fire water. Hope it steadies her hands..

Teach must have been talking or something. A voice I’ve heard, but didn’t know called me out, said he was sending me something via a rider. His name was Xoth and he made me a tomahawk, something of ‘home’ so to speak. I got a bit too excited, kinda yelped in the radio. Boss Hen said something about being half People, Aniyunwiya I think he said. Another said Niukonska …but I thought that far east was worse than here. I thought Old Woman Nightshade said that Grandmother Spider only protected this area, which is why we weren’t so bad off like the rest. What was story and what was not?

You told me to judge a man by his actions. What man helps another, who’s not even his own blood find a lost mother? What man, who’s not even his own relation, send weapons to help out another? This clan I found seems to be good people so far. But one can’t judge the whole on the actions of a few…you taught me that.


Soyala stared at the fire for a moment, something she knew better than to do. Slowly she closed the worn journal and tucked it back into her bag. She pulled her blanket up, turning her back to the fire just as wings were heard beating overhead.

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19th day of the Grass Moon

Father,

This day finds me near a place called Odenville. The people here seem to be a lot rougher than the last place I was at. Down near the rail yards is a group of people that call themselves the Chota. Some even wear skins and head dresses made out of the local coyotes. A lot more along the line of our people than those last places, South Burb and Mumford. I’ve picked up some odd jobs here and there, mostly helping them scavenge stuff or kill the local pests. It suits me, working solo. I think I’ll stick around here for a few days before moving on.

This radio has been my only companion lately. The chatter on it is more than enough to keep me laughing…and cringing. I listen, and listen well, and don’t interject unless called out. Few only have my name, and even fewer know what I look like. That could be a good thing. I can move in and out of places with people not knowing me…or me them. I wouldn’t know another clan member if they were standing right in front of me…but I think I would know their voice.

The one I call Teach is getting hitched to a gal named Jela. I heard her voice today talking about a wedding. Seems some are happy with it, and others are wondering why bother. They are not like our people. They seem to be a bit more…shall I say freer, in some of their thinking. Either way, it’s their happiness in question. They did mention a party afterwards. I wonder if they have games and feasting like we do.

That topic led to another and the next thing I knew I was laughing too loud and scared all the coyotes off that I was supposed to kill. Talk of procreation, clones not being able to have kids, and some back alley way women. It certainly is a wide range of views. One male voice kept talking as if he had a chunkey lance hidden someplace…I wonder if he is one of their royals or elders. He seemed to take pleasure in torturing a few other with words.

The one I met on the road, the one called Widdor, somehow got a hold of me. Seems like he wanted to get a reaction out of the group, just to see how they handle things. Guess he found out. Sounds like as much as they talk, they still have some standards. I talked to him for a bit, sounds like a trader of sorts, no people and always on the go. Not so different than me, but then again, I have you and sister and the rest of the clan.

I understand why you sent us out, why you needed ears and eyes outside of our world. It’s easy to move through this place when you have no name and no one really cares. Most around here don’t. It’s definitely a ‘fend for yourself’ world out here. I hope my observations will help our people later. Till then, be safe at home and give sister my love.

-Soya

 

Odenville

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20th day of the Grass Moon

Azhé'é,

I finally met a few, face to face. I met Red and Dry outside of Oilville. I followed them to Dry’s place, a safe house of sorts. After that others began to show up, even one of their chiefs, Henerkin and his mate Natasha…I think. At least that’s what actions show, she’s fond of him and he of her. It seems Red and Dry are paired up, as well as Teach and Jela. Those last two are the ones getting married soon. The one who made me a tomahawk, Xoth, showed up along with the traveler Widdor.

We stayed up all night talking…well mostly them talking. I did a lot of listening and blushing. They are a very free group with their views and speech. They seem to be a mixed group of traders, mercenary warriors and … tree huggers. The one group they seem to be at war with are people Natasha called enforcers. She said she used to be one. Not sure what happened to change her mind, but the venom she spoke with, regarding them, proved her point of view change. She said they torture, rather than flat out kill. Sounds like they take pleasure in it.

The night went on, talk about a bomb and ink and wounding the pride of others. Almost sounds like the ancient days the story tellers talked about, when a war party would go out, just to take the scalp of one warrior, leaving him alive with wounded pride. They also talked about rides and gatherings, kind of like our ceremonial gatherings.

Before we knew it, the sun was rising. It’s one thing to say the blessing in front of family. It’s another to say it in front of strangers. Ok well, I didn’t exactly say it, I whispered it, but I did offer the corn meal. I will not forget who I am. I will not forget what I’ve been taught or where I came from.

-A rapping and ‘thwock’ brings her up out of her writing. A large raven perches on the window sill just outside her rented room. Slowly she raises the window to allow the bird to enter. He hops from the sill to the bed and ‘thowcks’ at her again. She nods a few times, mumbling to herself, “I’ll hurry, just relax”-

These people seem pretty good, but as history has told us, never take anything for face value. I will continue to watch and listen and learn. Be well Father.

-Soya

The girl rolls a small sheaf of paper into a tight roll, tying them with yucca twine. She fastens them to the raven’s leg then offers it some of the berries she found the other day. The bird claps his beak together several times before taking the offered payment. He quickly gobbled down the fruit before hopping to the window sill and taking flight towards the northeast.

First Impressions

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22nd day of the Grass Moon

Azhé'é,

The chatter on the radio last night was strange. A woman’s voice was saying something about no touching Xoth, that who ever it was would screw up her work. A more gravely woman’s voice said something about Albrecht, who I’m assuming was the first one, was running some techie stuff on him. Maybe he’s sick? The second was saying that he’d rather be himself than medicated and this Albrecht has gone all ‘god complex’ with him.

Azhé'é, it sounds like some of these people have taken what is left of nature into their own hands. I know some threats were made, but the reception took a dump before I could hear the rest. I hope Xoth will be ok. He’s the one who sent me this tomahawk to use…without even knowing me.

So I’ve been told about Enforcers, and how they like to torture. Widdor said something about running into mutants, but most everything I’ve seen out here is a mutant of some sort. Some nasty red things with computer monitors and barrels went after my bike as I rode up to Old Kingman. I should have Natasha or Boss Hen about these techies the gravely one mentioned. From the sound of it, they like to take people and experiment on them.

I hope the gaagii finds you well. I’ll send more as soon as he returns.

-Soya

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23rd day of the Grass Moon


Azhé'é,

What have I gotten myself into? Ok, I’ll start at the beginning.

Earlier today I was in Mumford again, just looking around their market, when I ran into that lady, Judith, that I spoke of before. I guess she was there on some kind of mission, asking about a group called Blade Dancers. I’ve ran into them myself a few times. Not a nice group. Anyways, she made up some sage tea and we talked for a bit. Seems she’s a clone, or this is the clone of the former person, who died of an illness. Her husband paid to have her cloned before the whole fall thing. That was well over a hundred and twenty years ago. She said she has flash backs, choppy memories I suppose, of when she was human. She also mentioned that she was looking for an old testament, some kind of old tome or something that contains her religion, or the one she vaguely remembers. Did you know they put religion in books?

She seemed interested in pre fall stuff. I told her briefly about the tale of Grandmother Spider and the Dine finding their way to this world and such. We talked some more of mothers and her memories and stuff. A very chatty person. She did give me some cookies before I left. Saving them for later.

Ok so…here’s the trouble. I’d made my way down to Odenville again, about ten miles south of Mumford, when the radio blew up with chatter. Some gravely voiced guy was asking for Red. Xoth was with him in New Flagstaff and Boss Hen said that Red gave up his patch to save us from some virus attack. Not too sure about all that but the gravely voiced guy sounded pissed...along with several others. The gravely voiced woman said he was surrounded by saints. Not sure if that is a good thing or bad, or who the saints are. I hope they aren’t that zealous group who was talking about redemption.

Mr. Gravel guy said something about that Karen Albrecht woman stabbing her bothers and sisters in the back, that she wasn’t clan any more and sounded like fair game. I guess she gave Red a vial to give to Hart while at a party at their club house. Don’t worry Father, I have never been there and have no idea where this club house is. Anyways, I guess it was filled with a virus and rather than expose everyone to it, Red took it..or something. I’m not sure. Then Xoth, the guy who sent me the tomahawk, got on the radio and really didn’t sound like himself. I could actually understand him.. It sounded as if that Karen person gave him something as well, something to fix him. There was talk of her being a tetrax zombies, what ever that is. And the next thing I know, Natasha has this Karen in the trunk of her car and is asking if any have objections to her pulling the trigger. Another female said she stabbed her and if anyone wanted to see her to hurry to Lifenet. Mrs Gravely Voice said something that kinda struck, that this Karen would just clone, clone and clone again and that it was a sad thing in this world, that they were all stuck with one another.

I had to shut the radio off at that point. Do you think that once you’ve had the clone process it continues each and every time you die, with no way to stop it? And if you clone, does your shadow soul go to the land of the dead or is it trapped in the dead body leaving the clone with only the walking soul? I’m really not sure what is going on, but it doesn’t look like the south is that safe. Especially if there are zombie women with viruses trying to infect people who called her family. Those I have briefly met seem to be ok, good heads on their shoulders, but you never know what is going on inside that head. It is apparent of one thing, almost all of them care very much for Xoth and what him fixed and Mr. Gravely wants Red back. I’m sure Dry would agree with that.

I found a place outside of Odenville, away from all the coyotes, snakes and scorpions. There is enough scrap metal and stuff to make a makeshift sweat hut. I think I’ll spend the next few days there, no radio, no outsiders. Perhaps Changing Woman will grant me a vision of what she wants me to do down here.

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Soyala tugged and pulled the last of the metal siding over to the pile she’d built up. With a sigh, she placed her hands on her back hips and arched her back in a stretch. She’d located a downed air craft with scattered debris and dragged much of it back to the gully area she’d found the day before.

Methodically, Soyala began to construct her little sweat lodge, first by digging out a small alcove into the side of the gully. She raised the metal sheets and siding, propping them up with pipes and sticks she’d found. This was nothing like the kiva’s back home, but she’d make due one way or another.

After the initial structure was secure and sound, Soyala draped coyote hides over the top the hut. This would ensure that the steam and heat would stay inside and not escape from the many gaps and holes in the little abode.

Soyala had just begun to build her fire when she heard the flapping of wings and the familiar ‘thwock’ of the raven. The large bird landed lightly on the back of her quad, twisting his head this way and that as she coxed a spark from a flint and her knife. Blowing gently on the glowing ember, the flames leapt to life, devouring the dry blades of grass and tender. Gently she fed it twigs, then sticks, till the flames were finally strong enough to lick at a few thin logs.

She eyed the raven as she settled several stones into the fire pit to heat up. Every now and then a low croak would sound from him as he watched her assemble the tripod. Ducking under the hide acting as door hanging, she took the tripod along with a canteen full of tainted water inside. She prepared the inside, pouring water into the hide bag suspended by the try pod. From a pouch on her belt, she pulled out a pealed twig and began to chew one end till it was nice and frayed. This she dropped into the bag of water. Digging in one of her bags on the floor, she pulled out a leather pouch the size of a grapefruit. The sweet smell of dried sage hit her nose as she opened it. She took out several leaves and dropped them in the water as well. While that soaked, she prepared a fire ring beneath the tripod, using coals from the fire outside to get it started.

“Twaawwwck”, croaked the raven, long and low as she reappeared outside. Slowly he nodded his head up and down at her. “I didn’t realize it had to meet with your approval” she replied. The raven returned with a half squawk. He watched her closely as she went about building up the fire so that it grew nice and hot, heating the stones she’d gathered.

When all was ready, she used sticks to carry the hot stones inside, arraigning them into a small pile near the fire pit. Returning outside, she stripped down out of her clothes and turned to face the east. With arms raised she recited the Blessing Way prayer, then entered the heated lodge.

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Soyala tugged and pulled the last of the metal siding over to the pile she’d built up. With a sigh, she placed her hands on her back hips and arched her back in a stretch. She’d located a downed air craft with scattered debris and dragged much of it back to the gully area she’d found the day before.

Methodically, Soyala began to construct her little sweat lodge, first by digging out a small alcove into the side of the gully. She raised the metal sheets and siding, propping them up with pipes and sticks she’d found. This was nothing like the kiva’s back home, but she’d make due one way or another.

After the initial structure was secure and sound, Soyala draped coyote hides over the top the hut. This would ensure that the steam and heat would stay inside and not escape from the many gaps and holes in the little abode.

Soyala had just begun to build her fire when she heard the flapping of wings and the familiar ‘thwock’ of the raven. The large bird landed lightly on the back of her quad, twisting his head this way and that as she coxed a spark from a flint and her knife. Blowing gently on the glowing ember, the flames leapt to life, devouring the dry blades of grass and tender. Gently she fed it twigs, then sticks, till the flames were finally strong enough to lick at a few thin logs.

She eyed the raven as she settled several stones into the fire pit to heat up. Every now and then a low croak would sound from him as he watched her assemble the tripod. Ducking under the hide acting as door hanging, she took the tripod along with a canteen full of tainted water inside. She prepared the inside, pouring water into the hide bag suspended by the try pod. From a pouch on her belt, she pulled out a pealed twig and began to chew one end till it was nice and frayed. This she dropped into the bag of water. Digging in one of her bags on the floor, she pulled out a leather pouch the size of a grapefruit. The sweet smell of dried sage hit her nose as she opened it. She took out several leaves and dropped them in the water as well. While that soaked, she prepared a fire ring beneath the tripod, using coals from the fire outside to get it started.

“Twaawwwck”, croaked the raven, long and low as she reappeared outside. Slowly he nodded his head up and down at her. “I didn’t realize it had to meet with your approval” she replied. The raven returned with a half squawk. He watched her closely as she went about building up the fire so that it grew nice and hot, heating the stones she’d gathered.

When all was ready, she used sticks to carry the hot stones inside, arraigning them into a small pile near the fire pit. Returning outside, she stripped down out of her clothes and turned to face the east. With arms raised she recited the Blessing Way prayer, then entered the heated lodge.

 

The Blessingway (NSFW)

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Time seemed to stand still once the temperature reached 110. Every so often, Soyala would take a dipper and splash the sweetened water onto the heated rocks causing steam to billow up in great white puffs. She sang quietly as she did this, songs that spoke of times when the Hero Twins walked the earth, cleansing it of monsters so that the Diné could live in peace.

One song blended into another and before she knew it, she was laying on her side staring into the burned down coals as the songs left wordlessly from her lips.

“Do you really think your people have a chance in this harsh world, little hawk?” Soyala sat up at the sound of the man’s voice. She rubbed her eyes, which only made them sting more from the sweat that soaked her skin. “Who are you?” she asked, keeping the fear she felt out of her voice. “I have gone by many names during different times. Your people call me gaagii, the trickster. Some have called me Many Colored Crow and others have known me as Raven Hunter” he said, his voice soothing and calm. Soyala gasped and scooted back against the metal sheeting. “You’re one of the Hero Twins” she said, staring at the shadowed man. Soyala went to add more wood to her fire when he stopped her, “Don’t.” She eased back against the wall, pulling her knees to her chest before she asked him, “Why are you here?” “To give you something to think about, little hawk” He leaned towards the fire, propping himself up on a well muscled arm. The glow of the coals accented the ropey muscle that bulged under his smooth skin. “Why do you think your father sent you out here? Why down south, where it’s much harsher than the north or west?” She thought about it for a bit, wondering why her father had chosen her to go south. “Not once has any of the story tellers or those destined to be, been sent out, like have sent you. Why is that, you suppose?”

Soyala reached up and touched her brow with her right hand, her blackened eyes, the same every story teller had, searched the coals. “What is it your people need to survive in this new land, little hawk? This is not the land of our ancestors. This land has been polluted and soiled and you are now a product of this corruption. Look at every woman in your line, for four generations. You have all been born with the eyes that see to the past.” Soyala pressed her finger tips to her eye lids. “Perhaps”, he cooed to her, leaning forward just slightly. She pulled her hands down and looked at him as he spoke, the orange glow of the coals glinting off his jet black eyes and…were those feathers for hair? “Perhaps it is time to see with eyes that see more than just the present and past.” He reached over, took the dipper and splashed water into the hot rocks and remaining coals. Steam erupted in a loud sizzle, dousing the last of the coals. And with that the man was gone.

Slowly Soyala opened her eyes. From where she lay on her side she could see only darkness, the coals in the fire having gone out. Carefully she sat up and blinked a few times. Had Raven Hunter really been here, she thought. She grabbed a small blanket and wrapped it around her shoulders before stepping out of the small lodge. Her clothes were in the same place she’d left them the day before. Nothing about the small camp had been disturbed. She began to walk towards her clothes when she froze, looking down. Her foot was placed neatly in the center of another foot print, one much larger than hers. The prints led too and from her quad. Soyala gasped and clutched the blanket tighter around her. Scattered about her quad were numerous black raven feathers, and the familiar bird was no where in sight.

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4th day of the Planting Moon

Father,

It’s been several days since I saw Raven Hunter. I have not seen the raven since that night either. Perhaps they really are one and the same. Since he’s visited, things have been sorta off. Sometimes my vision gets blurry, sometimes all color washes out of what I see. And then there are the shades and shadows that dance at the edge of my vision at times. I don’t know what to think about all this. Does it have something to do with what he said to me, about having eyes that see more than just the past and present? Sometimes…sometimes I think I see mother, even though I know that can’t be. She’s been dead for ten years now. I don’t know what to do Father and I don’t know who I can talk to. Natasha seemed interested in my eyes alone, but I don’t know what she thinks or believes. Teach seems busy and not sure how much of his magic is truly magic and how much is just ….bullshitery.

So for the past few days I’ve just been heading north, sorta mindlessly. I hear everyone talk of a place called New Flagstaff so I thought I’d go see it for myself. It was a good distraction from what is happening to me. When I got there, Xoth and Dry were there with one of the new guys called Scrap. His voice matched the grin and happy go lucky attitude he wore. Then again, that might have been the fire water he’d been drinking. He kept going on about how it was Xoth’s birthday so I had a water and sat back and listened.

Pretty soon a few others showed up, one called Wolf, another , a female named Vonda and then Teach. All who I’ve heard over the radio talking about techs and that tetrax thing. Wolf had a lééchaa’í named Nanook, Nook for short. He wasn’t like the half breeds back home, he was more lééchaa’í than ma’ii. He had knowing eyes too, good dog to have around.

It wasn’t till Wolf tossed Xoth a lighter that I realized what they had all been talking about. Today wasn’t his birthday, he’d been re cloned. I wanted to ask so many questions but there were too many people and to much fire water flowing. Did it hurt to be re cloned? How did he die in the first place? What does he remember? Where did he clone at? So many questions…

I’ll say it again, don’t leave the safety of the cliffs. I don’t know what the others have found in the other directions but south is dangerous. There were too many unexplainable things on my way up here, bodies that walk without life, giant worms that come up out of the ground to try and swallow you whole. I wouldn’t be surprised if I came across a yee naaldlooshii next. I guess Raven Hunter could be considered a skinwalker. Anyways, I hope he comes to deliver these to you soon.

Soya

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5th day of the Planting Moon

Azhé'é,

I never forgot your warnings; beware the hastiin, they only want one thing from a girl, keep your weapons close and stay away from ko’ tó. Now I know why you called it ‘fire water’. That stuff burns all the way down and simmers in your gut. Not feeling all that great this morning either. I guess you could say ‘lesson learned’.

There was a pow wow of sorts last night. A bunch from the clan got together and Yee Naaldlooshii was there. No Azhé'é, he’s not a witch, but perhaps he is a man in wolf’s coat. He is, after all, the one who offered me the ko’ tó. Anyways, there was a lot of, shall I just say, raw talk, last night along with talk of goings on. These are a people who live in the now. They don’t take much for granted and when they can forget the place they are living in, by letting go from time to time, they take the opportunity to do so. Can you blame them for that? I can’t.

Soon it was just down to six of us. Natasha and One Eye, the one I was calling Hen, they were talking about cleaners, and how Xoth had died, even though I'd seen him the night before, and then the Karen woman and Red. Yee Naaldlooshii, said cleaners are people hunters, assassins, who kill for chips. He said that’s what he did as well. He even asked me if I was ok with that. Not sure what one girls opinion of that would matter, but he asked none the less. I asked him if he ever thought that the person didn’t deserve it, and One Eye said that if there is a cleaner after someone, then they probably deserved it. Still not sure how I feel about it. We grew up knowing if it was them or us, it would be us or at least take them with us, but to do it for chips. I don’t know yet…

After a bit I got the courage to ask them if cloning hurt. They all agreed that dying hurt the most, which I can see. Natasha said that cloning was like waking up from a long sleep. They talked on about how they keep things stashed around for such an occasion but Yee Naaldlooshii said those two don’t die often, meaning they were good at staying alive. I think he is too. I don’t think he’s lived that many lives. That talk lead into the afterlife and where your souls go. One Eye doesn’t believe in souls any more and I can see why. I told myself that I’d keep the faith for him, that someday he may see the Land of the Dead and drink with friends and family there. If they lose their collars, that is it, no second life. We, on the other hand, have to be more cautious.

I know you said not to trust the hastiin, but if I can’t trust any of these people then what’s the point in me being here? I can already hear you yelling from Spruce Tree House… Yee Naaldlooshii let me use a safe house, get cleaned up before heading back down south. Don’t worry, he’s alah for now, but you never know.

I should say thank you for letting me go on this journey. Beats ending up stuck at home being third wife to that fat old gólízhii, Two Hearts. I shudder at the thought of being near him. I think you know my heart all too well father. I miss you. I hope the raven finds me soon to send these to you.

Soya





* Navajo *
- Azhé'é = father
- Yee Naaldlooshii = Skin Walker
- alah = friend of the opposite sex
- hastiin = man
- ko to = fire water
- gólízhii = skunk

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5th day of the Planting Moon – addendum

Remember that boy Bidziil, who said he pledged himself to me? I think we were, what..I was five winters and he was six? As young as that, I see a pattern in the web of life Grandmother Spider has woven. A shame he had to die so young. He would have made a fine hash-kay-gi-na-tah for the Din`e

I think the way to any man’s ability to feel whole is inherent, no matter where they come from. Give a man the ability to protect, provide, feel needed and above all his pride and I think you have a man satisfied with his life. I see this in many forms from so many in this family called Invicta. The men are much easier to read than the women, although a few fall in this category as well. Not sure they even see it, but I hear it in their talk. It’s everyday life for them, living by their own code of conduct as a whole. I didn’t notice it at first, but it kinda gives me pride just watching them and knowing I hold a patch that says I belong to them. It’s an eye opener, Father, what one sees when they observe from the outskirts without others realizing they are watching.

In a land as harsh and rough as it is, thing still amaze me. Yee Naaldlooshii and Scrap helped me clear up a few jobs in Watch Tower and every time Scrap addressed me, it was Miss. I think it’s an honorable term, but I’m not sure. As rough as this clan is, they still have a…I don’t want to say softer side, but a side that is only for family. This is the most sober I’ve seen Scrap thus far and while we were on a recovery job he had to take a swig of whatever it was that was in his flask. He gave me his word he’d never let it endanger us and I gave mine to patch him up whenever he needed it.

Yee Naaldlooshii knows I’m watching. Even as I sit here at this picnic table and write, he knows I’m watching him talk to the merchant. And…he is watching me. He even said that when he’s not, he has someone else watching me, an askuwheteau of sorts. His name isn’t important, but he said the askuwheteau is around when he’s not, so I believe him. And then there is this dog….Nook came trotting up the trail when we reached Watchtower with this younger mutt in tow. Yee Naaldlooshii said something to it and it hasn’t stopped following me since. He hasn’t told me his name yet, but he’s more like a ma’iitsoh. Maybe that is his name.

Yee Naaldlooshii is done with his bartering. We’re making camp outside of town. Don’t worry Father, my honor is intact and will remain so. This will be the first time sharing a camp, with anyone. I’ll write more soon.

Soya


*Navajo*
- hash-kay-gi-na-tah = warrior
- Din`e = The People, what the Navajo call themselves
- askuwheteau = "he keeps watch"
- ma’iitsoh ="little gray wolf"

Soyala's picture

*slight embellishments added for flavor*

Soyala tossed and turned again, pulling the pillow over her head. She growled softly before removing the pillow and leaning over the edge of the bed. ‘You awake still?’ she whispered quietly. ‘Yeah’ came the low husky voice from the floor. ‘How you feeling?’ she whispered back. ‘Sore. Arms’ starting to throb’, he replied as he sat up some against the closet wall.

Soyala threw off the blanket and slipped off the side of the bed. Ruckus laughter came from the apartment below them. ‘Oh oh right there! Grind harder’ a woman’s voice exclaimed. Soyala sighed and, as quietly as possible, padded over to where her cargo vest was and fished out a small red leather pouch. She tiptoed to the bathroom sinks, found a cup and cleaned it up as best she could. She measured out a small amount of white powder into the glass and added water.

She swirled the liquid around, dissolving the powder as she walked back to where he sat propped up with his back against the wall. ‘Drink this’ she said, handing him the glass. ‘Gasoline might taste better, but you’re used to that,’ she said with a wink, ‘Finish it all’. She’d just finished speaking when there was a loud crash from below and a roar of laughter from several females and a male. “Don’t know how the old man does it”, Iro said before downing the glass with a grimace. Soyala snickered in satisfaction, knowing full well how awful the ground up willow tasted.

‘Will you please come to bed? I don’t want you sleeping on the floor’ she spoke quietly to him. He looked at her with a bit of surprise. She smirked putting her hands on her hips, ‘It’s big enough. You can take one side, I’ll take the other.’ ‘Alright’. She helped him up gently as another onslaught of hoots, moans and hollers came from below.

Iro settled into bed, keeping his leg in the brace. Soyala settled in on the other side. Better to sleep next to his partially healed leg, than the arm that’s throbbing in pain, she thought. ‘You ok?’ he asked, making sure she wasn’t uncomfortable with the sleeping arrangements. She threw the blanket over them both and curled up on her side with her back nestled against his side. ‘I’m good’ she whispered, and fell asleep faster than she’d expected.


Soyala found herself standing in the middle of a plain, a breeze moving the dry grasses like the waves on a lake. The croaking thwock of a raven drew her attention up to the slate colored sky. A dark gray raven with imposing wings flew above, heading east. As he caught a thermal, a secondary flight feather detached and began to flutter down.

She followed the feather with her onyx eyes as it twirled and danced its’ way down from the sky. Just as she was able to reach it, she noticed the wolves that began to gather. She let out a sharp breath as she looks about. They were led by a large black wolf that she didn’t recognize, followed by an older one eyed male. Several wolves, both male and female joined and together they began to circle around her. A few of the wolves seemed familiar to her; one who walked with the body of a wolf but had the eyes of a man, a dirty muzzled large male, and even a reddish smaller female.


Soyala murmured in her sleep, moving slightly. Iro slipped his good arm under her head and tried to pull her closer to his side as she mumbled words in her native tongue.

On the outskirts of the circle paced a lone russet and black wolf. Each time he approached the circle, several wolves would growl warningly, low and deep, causing him to skip back a few steps, his ears laid flat and tail tucked between his legs. The wolf continued to pace back and forth as the head of the circle came about again. This time, the old one eyed wolf huffed and the dirty muzzled wolf and the one with human eyes parted, making room. The lone wolf saw this and fell into the opened space. The two kept the lone wolf between them, growling soft warnings to others as they continued to circle.

A gust of wind blew up from the south and suddenly before them was a line of uniformed soldiers. Each soldier wore a mask that covered their face, and held a rifle at the ready. The wolves broke the circle and lined up, shoulder to shoulder, teeth bared in vicious snarls. A soldier at the end of the line lowered his rifle and fired off a round. The slug traveled towards the red female who stood next to the one eyed wolf. Fear gripped Soyala as a scream tore from her throat. She pushed her way between the massive wolves. Just as she broke free of them she caught the bullet center mass.


Iro shushed her softly, not sure if he should wake her from the dream or let it pass. He held her tight with his good arm and stroked her hair back out of her eyes with his other.

Fire spread through her chest as she looked down to see the blood seeping out and soaking her shirt. As if time itself abated, she slowly she dropped to her knees and then fell to the side. With her last breath her souls slipped from her body and her vision dimmed.

‘What are you doing yazhi?’ spoke a soft motherly voice. Soyala floated in blackness, unable to tell which way was up, which was down or where the voice was coming from. Direction had no meaning in this place. “What do you mean?” she cried out to the voice her souls recognized. ‘Why did you stop the soldier from killing the wolf?’, she asked. “She is pack, she is clan.” replied Soyala to the nothingness surrounding her. ‘Ah’, replied the woman, her voice rippling through the black and caressing Soyala’s skin. ‘So you would give your life to save one of them?’ She didn’t even hesitate in her answer, “I would”. ‘I see’ the woman spoke. ‘You are your fathers’ sitsi and your father is proud of you. He has trained you well, knowing these days would come. Your father knows your heart, as do I. You want to be embraced by this pack but, you are afraid of losing yourself, yazhi…don’t be.”

Soyala sighed softly, relaxing in the womb of darkness. ‘Embrace your new people as your ancestors embrace you. We are never far away. I will let your father know you are safe, secure and watched over.’ The woman spoke. ‘He will be pleased with the hash-kay-gi-na-tah who watches over you. He has been tested by fire and found worthy of his name sake,’ she went on. ‘He will need your strength as well as you needing his guidance. Your father would approve.’

‘Your loyalty is your greatest gift, do not forget that. You’ve already felt that towards this pack and in time it will be seen. Do not fear your gift. Your sight will be needed. Walk in beauty, child. We are always here for you.’

Soyala floated weightlessly as soft hands grasped her face gently. Soft lips kissed each eye lid. Warmth spread through Soyala’s chest, radiating out to her floating limbs. There were no more worries bottled up inside. She knew that if Changing Woman spoke it, it was true.

With a final sigh, Soyala slipped deeper into sleep, held securely in Wolf’s arm

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((sorry for the length, -a lot- happened))

7th day of the Planting Moon

Azhé'é,

For as noisy as the neighbors were last night, I feel surprisingly rested. Can’t say the same for Wolf, but he doesn’t look no worse for wear. Looks like the kai helped some. A lot of the inflammation has gone down in his arm and the poultice held through the night. When he’s up and about I’ll change them out. I don’t want to take any chances of any bad spirits seeping into the bone or muscle.

The night before was a test, for me anyways. Instincts are a powerful thing and an order to override those instincts is a strong test of willpower. When Wolf ordered down, I did as told, even though I didn’t want to. I could hear Nook take off into the night while the other dog stayed close to me. I think my knuckles went white as I clenched the handle of the tomahawk, waiting for something to spring from the darkness. It’s so hard to stay put when you hear the blood curdling scream of a man in serious pain, but I did. About fifteen minutes later Nook came trotting back into camp looking rather pleased with himself. Wolf followed after, settling back into his sleeping bag. There was fresh blood on his pants.

I didn’t ask questions. I know better than to ask questions. It wasn’t even daybreak yet when he left camp, said he had something to take care of and didn’t want me there, afraid I’d get hurt. I wanted to protest, but the look in his eyes told me it would be useless. I did tell him that if he didn’t come back in one full sun cycle, I was going to go hunting myself. Men are funny. They will do what they think they have to do, especially if they think it will protect those they care about, which is fine. I know I’m young, I know he might see me as that, and that’s fine too, but time will show what I am capable of.

He must have rode hard because it wasn’t three fingers of time past noon when he showed back up, battered and bloody. He’d been shot up and it could have been much worse, but it wasn’t. I cleaned the wounds as best I could. With my help, he pulled the slug from his thigh and I wrapped a poultice around the wounds till we could get him to someone who could truly patch him up. Good thing you had me stock up on medicinal herbs before leaving home.

Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn, that’s all I’ve got to say. We rode till we got to Credit Bend. He wanted to check on Red, saying he had something to give him. Father, these men are giants. We were greeted by one such man. Wolf introduced him as Aeree, also known as Gaagii. Good thing he was there, he helped Wolf up the flights of stairs. It was painful to see Red’s condition. He didn’t know Wolf at all. I didn’t expect him to know or recognize me since I’d only met him once. Gaagii and I left them to talk.

It’s nice to see that more of the People are out there in the world. Gaagii said he was of the plains people, the Kiowa. It saddened me when he said he didn’t know any of the old stories of his people. He seemed content though. He said his people are the Chota, the quiet ones he called them. I’ll have to remember that for later. After all was said and done between Wolf and Red, Gaagii gave me a gray raven feather. Father, I can not even describe the pounding of my heart when he did that. I’d have to have my eyes cut out to be so blind as to not see the signs that keep dropping. Earlier that day, before Wolf showed back up, I’d…I’d come across a body on the outskirts of town. In the guys pants pocket was a lighter, much like the one he’d given Xoth, only etched onto it was the head of a wolf. I’d given it to him later that night and he seemed very pleased with it.

Red trusted Wolf enough to want to come to the gathering last night. There were no shades or shadows around him when he got on that bike. It’s almost like he glowed while sitting on it. Gaagii said his path took him someplace else so we parted ways, the three of us heading to Beau’s. It was crazy loud in there and I’ve never seen so much skin! Although there was a young woman in green fatigues, I think someone called her Ashley at one point. Anyways, I guess she’s some kind of doctor because they got Wolf up on a table and laid him out on his side while she healed his thigh as best she could. Azhé'é ,her hands, they glowed a golden color! She kept them just above his wound, not once did she touch him. No one balked at her, no one ran, no one called her ‘freak’. She did what she had to do and his leg was on the way to mending. He didn’t know what it was she did and I didn’t want to leave him alone to go find out. If I see her again, I will definitely ask how she did that. Makes one wonder, if she can heal with her hands, can she also kill with them without so much as touching the person? Only a adilgashii can do that.

The rest of the night is a jumble. There was a loud fight going on inside the bar so we stepped out where it was quieter. Red was outside too. He’s not feeling right in his skin yet. Part of me thinks one of his souls is loose and wandering, or worse, shattered. Sitting next to Iro, I watched as one by one the clan went up to him trying to reassure him that they know him and that he knew them. Xoth stood by him the whole time and even One Eye took him aside to talk to him. I could only shake my head at Nat and Raz, introducing themselves to him as each other. I know when to keep my mouth shut. We’ll see what happens with that. I think it was very confusing for him. They kept saying he’d joined the ‘bronze’ and there was even talk of killing Karen, but that was hushed and between him and One Eye. By the time we were leaving, he looked dark and gray to me. The slight glow to him from earlier had faded. Maybe a burning of sage might clear it, but that’s just my ways, not theirs.
By time we got back to the apartment in Credit Bend, Wolf was sore and I was beat…along with beet red. Of all places…on the bottom floor with the shades wide open where anyone walking by could see, Raz was on the table with the red head from the bar slipping around on something I could only think was jello. All I could do was laugh and run out of there. I should have never followed Wolf into there. Old One Eye and Nat seemed to be enjoying the activities though. They were so loud. I don’t remember what time I feel asleep, but it had to have been late.

I know my path is changing Azhé'é and I know it will be ok. I will keep writing to you so you know what is going on out here, but I ask one thing. Don’t keep this from the Din`e. We have lost so much by being so isolated. Among these people I feel like an infant still learning to eat. Don’t keep the Din`e in the dark.

-Soya



- Kai = willow
- Adilgashii = witch

Soyala's picture

He held her close as they stood on the walkway outside the apartment. Her heart pounded to the rhythm of the argument in her head, ‘Stay go stay go stay go’ The fact that he smelled good didn’t help matters. His strong arms wrapped so easily around her, engulfing her in his embrace. Surprising, even to herself, she felt safe and secure there. ‘I’ve never needed this before’ came the nagging voice in her head. ‘What’s the deal now?’ Wolf bent to kiss her and her eyes closed slowly as she savored the feel of his lips against hers. The kiss deepened as his tongue sought entrance, to which she granted. They danced together and she relished the thrilling experience. One arm slipped down her side as his other gripped her shoulder, crushing her too him. Their tongues’ danced a few moments longer before he pulled back, looking down at her and smiling.

She didn’t want to leave. The butterflies in the pit of her stomach yearned for more, but her head told her to go. ‘I’ll be fine’ she whispered breathlessly. His lips found her forehead and lips one last time before his arms released their grip on her. ‘I’ll have my radio on. I’ll be just between S1 and S2’. “Ok. I think I’m going to go have spaghetti with the bosses later.’ She slipped from his arms completely and headed down the stairs. ‘I wanted to tell you something, but it can wait till you get back’ he called to her from atop the walkway. ‘I’ll be sure to come back then. And you had better take it easy’ she warned.

She headed to the garage where the atv had been towed to. With a whistle, the new kid jumped onto the back of the quad and she pulled out of Credit Bend with one last wave to him.

It was late afternoon by time she’d found what she was looking for. South of Post 23 and just east of Haven, in the middle of no where, was a spot that seemed completely untouched by anyone. The dog jumped off the back and began sniffing around at the new place. Soyala laughed, dogs were so funny at times. Everything was new and exciting to them. She grinned to herself, making the comparison.

She got off the atv and grabbed a satchel from one of the packs. ‘Let’s go’ she said to the dog and headed towards the yellow patches of wild flowers. Her thoughts drifted as she began picking featherfew. It took a lot of will power for her to leave this morning, and he didn’t help things either. He did get some good rest last night, and that’s what mattered. The wounds looked much better; the skin wasn’t so angry looking. Before she left, she’d changed out the poultices and realized she was running lower than she thought on supplies.

She laughed softly as she put another handful of leaves and flowers into the satchel. He’s got a lot to learn about her. He’d offered chips to go buy what she needed, but she didn’t think any of the shops around here knew about the plants. Besides, her head was in a whirlwind and she needed to clear it by doing something productive.

A whuff pulled her out of her daydream. She looked up to see the dog’s rear in the air, his head and front end were buried deep in some animals’ burrow. “You know, you’re gonna get bit” she called. The dog backed out of the hole and looked at her, his face all covered in soft brown dirt. She laughed again and went back to picking plants.

She went back to her daydream when a thought struck her. He’d been pulling things from her mind. If he can pull things from her mind when she was close, could he do it this far away? Could he find her if he had to, with no radio? Speaking of radio, she remembered she’d left it on the bike. Dropping the satchel, she headed back to the bike. Satisfied after checking the charge and turned it on to see if it would get a signal, she clipped it to her belt and headed back to where she’d been.

Methodically she made her way through the grassy plain, picking plants here and there, digging up bulbs from Indian onions and harvesting the spines and fleshy stems of certain cacti. “You know, the weak acid in these red devil cactus are good for killing bad spirits” she spoke, mater-of-factly to Ma’iitsoh, who looked up at her with a lolling tongue and wagging tail. “And the aloe is good for burns, bites and scratches. You can even drink it for stomachs that are prone to catch fire.” The young dog grumbled to her as if talking back and she nodded as if answering. “yup, what ever you say Ma’iitsoh

Her dark eyes scanned the horizon before her. It was getting to be dusk and she’d picked plenty for today. She made camp back at the quad. Jerked coyote meat and a few of the indian onion bulbs were dinner. “I’m sure spaw-gety and meatballs would be better” she said, offering the dog another piece of jerky, “but we’ll get some when we get back.” Ma’iitsoh grumbled again and rolled over onto his back so she could scratch his belly. She obliged while finishing her own piece. “Does your life get any better than this?” she asked as the dog grunted his satisfaction.

Just as she was about to answer the dog, the fluttering of wings had her looking up into the deepening twilight sky. Ma’iitsoh flipped back over and in an instant was standing between her and a large black raven that landed upon the handle bars of the quad. She hugged the dog, feeling the low growl rumbling through his chest. “What do you want?” she asked the raven as she tried to keep her voice from betraying her unease. It had been a week or so since she’d last seen the large bird and the memory of the dream still held a tight grip on her souls. The bird twisted its head back and forth, looking from the dog to the girl. “Twwoooccckk” it croaked, long and slow. “I’ve nothing for you any more. Asdz nádleehéhas already told Father. You’re no longer needed” she spoke, quelling the waver in her voice. A loud unearthly laughed emanated from the bird as its’ launched itself upwards, powerful wings beating against the air to gain altitude. ‘We shall see, we shall see’

Sleep didn’t come that night. It wasn’t till the waning dawn grayed the eastern horizon did she finally succumb to its embrace.

Soyala's picture

9th day of the Planting Moon

Soyala lay in her sleeping back in the room Wolf rented in Coppermine. Thoughts tumbled and twisted in her head as she lay there listening to the outside noises mix with Wolf, Nook and Ma’iitsoh’s soft breathing.

he men probably wouldn’t have admitted it, but they seemed a bit frantic. If Drax was too far out of range, he’s gonna have a big surprise and probably be out for blood. She was amazed at how fast they worked once Jela was found. She felt kinda useless there as she watched them. ‘You better pick up some skills and fast if you expect them to keep you around’ the voice in her head chastised.

‘Why would anyone want to hurt Jela’ she thought. ‘I’ve never once seen her raise her voice to anyone. Is it because of this clan of ours? Are we targets because of the patch that is worn?’ Soyala glances over to where her cargo vest and gear were, imagining the patch that she kept tucked inside the uppermost cargo pocket. She had yet to affix the patch anywhere and after hearing talk in the past about how there are some out there who wanted to harm Invicta, she was even more hesitant. ‘There will be those out there who would see you harmed just for their own pleasure’ her father had told her. ‘But you can’t let that keep you in fear daughter’ his voice echoed in her heart. ‘You are Navajo, you were born free and strong and brave.’

But that still didn’t quell the unease she had about why someone would want to hurt Jela. Slipping quietly from her sleeping bag she grabbed her vest, and by the light of the moon coming through the window, she affixed the patch over the left breast pocket.

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11th day of the Planting Moon

Azhé'é,

She was here, she was with me, Ama. I don’t know how, but she was! Ok, Wolf and I, well lets say I made all the preparations; the corn gruel that I later made into cakes and the tea. I know it wasn’t traditional, but when you’re in a land as raw as this, away from family and familiar surroundings, you make your own traditions. I sat in front of him and said the Beauty Prayer, recited the binding ritual and we drank the tea. No sooner had I set the cup down when it felt like a hand holding me in a grip. There was a tearing sensation from my back, as if I was being ripped apart…and then she was there.

The only way I can describe it is that, I was there, looking through my own eyes but I couldn’t say anything or make my body do as wanted. She spoke to Wolf, even held a conversation with him and then she was gone. I don’t know what all she said to him. It was as if I had cotton in my ears. I could hear them talking, but it was all muffled. It couldn’t have lasted more than a few moments, but it was hard to tell. After it was all said and done, I felt…I felt empty inside and yet at the same time, I felt complete and whole and right.

We spent the rest of the night up there on that ridge. That night will forever be burned into my souls. We went back down into town at day break. I think the glow on my face gave me away because several merchants grinned back at me as if they knew. I thought about Shadi after she married Chert. She was stupid silly for a month. I guess I know why now. But then again, I’m not alone…although the look on his face is more like…contentment. Much like how you used to look at Ama.

I love you and I hope, some day, we will get to come home and see you.

Your Soya

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12th day of the Planting Moon

Who am I to tell a man what to do? I was raised never to question a man’s decision, and normally I probably wouldn’t, but this…no!

So he went and saw Dan and Nat and Scrap at Beaus while I was sleeping. He had a few questions and concerns about why he’s healing so fast. At first I thought it was because of that doc, Ashley. But it seems that what she did only accelerated everything else. There’s not even a mark on his arm where the bullet went in.

With all these talks of nanners and tiny metal bugs and such, I had just assumed he had them too, but I was wrong. So he brought this up with them, which in turn peeked their interest and they asked for tissue and blood samples, which he gave them willingly. But then he said they wanted samples from…you know…hell, I can’t even write it in my own journal for Changing Woman’s sake!! He wanted to take a sample from his testicles. Oh Hell No!

So I got a hold of Nat and it just got worse from there. She said they want a hormone sample but his is corrupted or diluted or something and she wants a pure sample. I asked her if it would hurt him and she laughed saying he’s rather enjoy it if it was done right. Oh Hell No!! Why does this bother me so much? Why can’t she just get the hormone level reading from his blood? Why does she need that? Why is it twisting my gut thinking of someone…I can’t even admit it to myself here. Yes I want to know why he’s healing so fast too, but I don’t want anyone touching what’s mine.

Ya know, I just want to get these jobs here in Mowbray and Coppermine done and head north again. But I’m definitely going to talk to Nat if she’s at the gathering.

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The man leaned on the lip of the roof top, looking down. He had been watching her ever since she and her companion rode into town. From his vantage point on the rooftop he could follow her every move in the compact little town of Coppermine.

He watched as the pair made their way around looking for odd jobs here and there and collecting on the jobs they’d completed. He could see why the Bishop was curious about her. She and her companion had committed crimes against the Brethren, which had drawn his attention. Upon looking at her he could see her eyes were like the darkness they preached against. Perhaps the devil did dwell within this young one, he thought. If converted, maybe she could be worthy of heavens gates and weld the sword of the seraph in His holy name.

For now he was told to watch and observe. With the man at her side, she would be tough to get close too, but without his cowl, he was just another man looking for work. He’d have to watch and follow to find their routine. The information would be sent to the Bishop, and he would dictate from there. For now, he was content to watch her.

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14th day of the Planting Moon

Last night is a bit of a blur. Its weak whiskey he said…..yeah right! I can’t believe I drank the whole flask either. Good thing he drove back cause there was no way I’d have been able to drive my own bike. So it’s still parked in front of Beau’s. I hope it’s safe. Watch the tank be drained of gas.

We finished up a few odd jobs near Pinkston before we headed north again. The ride is starting to get easier and I’m starting to memorize the terrain and land marks. One thing I have noticed and that is there are a lot of those Judges around. Not sure if they think they are going to convert the miners and townspeople or what. Why would anyone want to live by others’ strict rules is beyond me. There’s something about them that unnerves me, something that pulls at the past, but I haven’t seen what just yet. Maybe another sweat might show me.

By time we got to New Flagstaff, a crowed had already gathered. Most of it was us, but there were a few faces I recognized from the last gathering. Needless to say, there was a lot of skin again. There was one face there I hadn’t seen in weeks. I’d met Alaric back down in Terance. He helped me out when I got into a jam near that old GlobalTech facility. Honestly, I didn’t expect to see him again, but I was glad he found his way here. He seemed to be having a good time and Iro gave him his extra flask of ko t`o. What is with men and this fire water? I still feel icky and mine was supposedly weak…yeah right.

Well that doc, Ashley was there. She took a look at his leg and arm and was just as surprised as the others were about how fast it healed. Even she wanted a blood sample from him. She gave me her word that she’d contact the moment she found something and that she’d keep his blood on her person. I can’t help but worry and I poured that out to Satai. As much as I’ve heard these guys talk about the tiny metal bugs and what they can do, the more it scares me. What if these tiny naners were programmed to mess with your mind and make you do things you didn’t want to do? And on top of that, I may be a little back woods native, but I hear enough to piece things together. Can’t they use your blood to make the clones? How can you trust anyone around here not to use your blood against your will? Yes, I’m scared for him and for myself.

Best part of the whole night, ok well second best part, was the dancing. It was more fun than I thought and I didn’t look too goofy, I hope. Iro had me up on the table between him and Satai. Even Alaric was getting into it. Just as good, Xoth and Scrap got their patches from the Boss. I’m so happy for them. They deserve it so much. Especially after everything that’s been going on.

He’s still out like a light so it looks like it’s my turn to cook breakfast. Maybe we’ll get lucky and get a hold of Nat tonight. I want to know more about what she plans to do with those samples and what she can find out.

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15th day of the Planting Moon

He was already up by time I awoke. Felt good to sleep in. By time I got around and dressed, he’d come walking in with some items in his hands. First he handed me a flask of something and said it was from Gaagii, saying it would help after drinking too much ko to. He also said that Gaagii told him to tell me that the gray raven would be watching. I’m not sure how to take that or how it makes me feel. Raven Hunter is one thing, but Gaagii is another. One a man, the other a Hero Twin who isn’t so nice. I really do need to talk to Gaagii soon, especially if Wolf wants to go through with a vision quest.
Wolf had a few other things for me as well. He’d been talking to some of the guys and had a pair of nice sun glasses made and one of those masks he usually wears. I’ve noticed a few others wearing similar masks and after riding a bike for so long I can understand why. Bugs hurt like hell when they hit your face!

I wandered around Credit Bend some, trying to learn the lay of the town. Some of the people were nice, most all were cautious and some even down right stand offish. Can’t blame them though. As I was making my way back towards the room, Wolf caught up to me. He took me over to the man he calls Janitor and introduced me to him. I have to admit, he’s more than scary, but I hope I put up a good front. He did say that, since I belonged to Wolf, I was safe to be there.

He had one more surprise to show me, the Interceptor that One Eye had been working on for him. He started it up and it purred like a náshdóítsoh. Something about the grin on his face as he sat behind the wheel made me want to purr too. Gods listen to me!!

Anyways, we’re gonna stay here in Credit Bend for another day or so. I figured he’d feel more comfortable knowing I would be ok here and feel free to go do some of his business while I worked on stitching up some of my gear. Also puts me close if Nat is in the area. I still want to talk to her about all that blood stuff.




Gaagii = Raven, what she’s taken to calling Aeree
Ko to = fire water
Náshdóítsoh = mountain lion

Soyala's picture

*scribblings*

My dreams have been chaotic lately. I go to bed tired, and sometimes I wake up the same because they are so vivid. My dreams are of wolves, a pack, and the hunt. The wolf, a large black male, comes and goes as he pleases. He hunts; sometimes for food, sometimes out of the need to just hunt and kill. I can not see what or who he hunts, I only know because he appears in my dreams with a blood stained muzzle. My heart aches for him for some reason and I just want to hold him. It’s like he’s frustrated, he has something to say, but he can’t. This I see in his odd green eyes.

The pack I see is mixed. I see people. I see wolves. I see ravens. I see night walkers, people who are there, but aren’t. I see them congregated in one area, mingling as one. A few linger on the outskirts, but then meld back into the group. They come and they go, but they always return to the core of the group. Every now and then there’s a glow of red among the group, as if there is some sort of tension, but then it quickly dissipates. One thing the group as a whole has in common is the hatred for the bronze eagles. When one circles, the pack gathers to defend its own.

At least my dreams are not plagued by Raven Hunter. Maybe it’s the stress everyone has been under lately, what with all the attacks and such. It seems that the only ones we can trust are ourselves, our little family…at least I hope so. The whole Karen thing still has me worried. Maybe it’s cause I’m young, definitely because I’ve not been in this clan for very long. Either way, I want nothing more than to these people and see them as the collective group I see in my dreams. For now, business as usual, with just a lot more awareness.

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I really need to talk to Nat now. He’s restless and agitated, more so when he’s gone rather than when he’s with me. I can feel it in my souls. He may go to bed with me, but he doesn’t stay, not for very long. I know when he gets up, and I know when he returns. Sometimes the gap between the two is an hour, sometimes its six. Either way, when he leaves he’s pulled tight, like a drawn bow string and when he returns he’s calmer. Sometimes I think he brings the dogs in, cause sometimes it smells like they just came out of the pond near Credit Bend.

I don’t know what’s going on, but I will find out, one way or another.

Soyala's picture

17th day of the Planting Moon

I finally got to talk to Natasha last night. Iro took me on a ride up to Kristo’s and showed me the house he bought for us and Natasha met us there. On the way there, we ran into a bit of trouble and a bullet grazed my arm, nothing major I thought.

Iro took off for a few while Natasha kept teasing me about riding a wolf of her own. I swear, I know she does it just to see me blush and get flustered, but still. She finally decided to show me this ma'iitsoh and by the gods he’s huge! Never in my life have I seen an animal that big. Only in the visions of the past have I glimpsed such creatures, and then, even if I told these people, they’d never believe me.

She had just told me that his name was Night Walker and my heart had stopped when shots came over the radio. I’m too young for double heart attacks. I knew where he’d gone, and why. I knew he was ok, but I was relieved to see when he arrived back. He didn’t say a word, just walked up to the ma'iitsoh with something raw in his hand and offered it to the beast. A human heart…and I’m pretty sure it had once beat in the chest of that damn bandit who’s round hit me on the way in. The ma'iitsoh gobbled it down and licked Wolf’s hand afterwards. All I could do was stand back and watch, partially in fear and partially in amazement. Then Iro wanted me to feed it! I don’t think jerked meat is as good as fresh, but I steeled myself and offered it anyways. I’m surprised to say he was much gentler than I thought he’d be. Wild animals are usually unpredictable, but with what Tasha says, I will trust it..some what.

It’s a good thing it didn’t try to follow us inside, cause we finally got down to business. Why people hem and haw around a topic is beyond me, but then again I do the same with certain subjects. Iro explained the last two days, showing me the silver dagger that had left the scars on his arm. Tasha said she wanted to check his blood for nanners and abnormalities, but she already knew what was wrong with him. They both knew and in heart of hearts, I suppose I did to.

When you grow up with the beliefs in your people’s legends, you tend to accept things a bit more readily I think. I think that, in part with the bond we have, helped my mind to accept what I was hearing….from both of them. In every myth and legend there is a grain of truth, and that holds true to the legends of the Yee Naaldlooshii and Apotamkin, skinwalkers and night walkers…werewolves and vampires. Regardless of what they are called, they exist in some way, shape and form. Funny how, through the years, what was once the truth, became a legend, became a myth and within all that things were skewered and twisted.

Tasha walks the day light, but it bothers her eyes. There is no fear, I’m sure, of the usual vices to keep night walkers away. With Iro, I’m not sure yet. I guess we’ll find out soon. I plan to stay awake tonight to see what happens. All I can say is, may my ancestors protect me if some part of him doesn’t remember me.

Tasha doesn’t need his blood any more, but I still made her promise that what she did have would NOT be used to make any clones of him or be used against him in any way. As hard as I try, I cannot shake this fear of our essence being in the hands of those who can twist it. She tried to explain that the clone wouldn’t even be alive and that it would give her a better look as to what was going on with Iro, but I wouldn’t hear of it. I don’t care what they believe, that they are soulless, that they have no spirit. Anything that lives and breathes and thinks on its own has a spirit and in turn, some sort of soul. Tasha says she is soulless, but she does what she wants on her own accord, not by anyone’s command. She has full command over her own faculties and functions. I would think that if someone was ‘just a clone’, they wouldn’t even have that. Besides, any clone would be considered a child of his, one I didn’t bear…regardless if he can or can’t have kids. That was the other thing she wanted, to see if he was sterile or not. Same applies…-IF- I get her the sample she wants, it’s not to be used to make a clone. I thought I was being funny, told her she could wait in five months to find out. He looked at me in shock! But seriously, my Ama and Ama' Sa' ni didn’t raise a fool. He just doesn’t realize what’s in the tea I drink every morning. Bringing a child into this world would be insane, not to mention what it would be, given my blood and his.

Anyways, I struck a deal with her, our secret for hers. In the ways of my people, I sliced open my palm drawing blood and held my hand to her. She didn’t get it at first, but then understanding dawned as I said it was a blood oath. I wouldn’t let her use the silver knife. I didn’t want to take the chance of it hurting her like it does Wolf. She’s so sick, she wanted to, but I didn’t want to take that chance, not with family. She did the same and we sealed our promises, hers on the lifes blood that sustains her, mine on the blood of my mothers. Her mood flipped once it was done and she was back to her teasing self....pfft sex slaves. Iro was quiet the whole time, merely watching. He did sniff at the blood on my hand. I wonder if it smelled different than normal blood, but then again, what does normal blood smell like?

I offered her the spare room in the house but she said she didn’t feel like wearing ear plugs. She’s probably right, might have made her suffer like the night the four of them were in the apartment below us. I’m lucky to have Tasha as a shadi. Regardless of what past history says about their two kinds, they will work it out if trouble brews, or they will deal with me. It would be better for them to work it out. I will not see loved ones fighting. Now to get ready for tonight.

Soyala's picture

It was well past midnight when the fires had finally died down. Several slept where they were, probably too drunk to drive back to some safe house in a near by settlement. Others had already left, making their way back to where ever they were calling home.

The longer Soya lay there, the worse the fever began to burn and soon she was locked in a fever induced dream.

She stood on the outside, looking in, watching family threaten family. She watched Scrap, gripping a metal bat, yell at Irovagh while pointing at Natasha. She saw Natasha, as laid back as ever, laughing at the situation. She watched Irovagh’s neck and shoulders tense the more upset he got. Xoth stood between them and Dry and Shani, looking as if he were about to swing. All of this took place upon a flat rock, balanced precariously on a stone spire. Any movement one way or the other would cause the flat rock to tilt, and they would all come tumbling down.

“You took a blood oath to keep a secret that is already known,” the man’s voice chided. “ And here you are powerless now to intervene with whatever knowledge you may have.”

She remembered the pain she felt when she managed to tell Scrap that Natasha couldn’t turn anyone. She chose to suffer the stabbing pain in her gut as it caused her to double over the fuel tank of her bike to try and ease her ánaaí’s mind. That’s how she saw them, as older brothers and sisters.
“The spiral is teetering out of balance, little one, and you stand on the edge and watch.”

“They are grown adults, but they live in fear of the unknown. Myth is truth now, and truth is the unknown.”

“And what is truth these days, shideezhi? The truth for these people is that they want to live free and do what they will. The truth for others is to make a living working hard, being honest. And yet still, others believe that the truth is only through the way of their so called savior. Truth is only what the individual believes, nothing more. You cannot force your truth upon someone.”

The man laughed an eerie caw of a laugh as he walked up behind her, wrapping black feathered wings around her. “Perhaps you have not spent enough time looking at the past. The past speaks truth to you. Maybe I need to remind you of that truth.”


Sometime, in the darkest hours of the night, in her fevered state, Soyala got up, leaving all her gear behind and walked away from camp.

 

Revealing Truthes

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From the time the great wooly mammoths walked the earth, the twins have been fighting. The oldest of stories are jumbled and confusing, so much so that even my gift of past sight cannot clearly see them.

“And among the People?
Come the Brothers!
Born of Sun. one is slayed.
Here, by the long trail, his corps is laid.
Blood is spread, from the head.
Black one goes…aye, he’s dead.
He who loves is lost and gone
Render of the fair heart’s song.
Woman weep, for not you know.
Lose forever – or live in snow!”

You. Born of Father Sun.
Laid in the light next to night
Choose, my people.
Dance the Father you don’t know.
South, ever south we go…
Find an end to the blowing snow.”1

As far as one can tell, they have forever fought, locked in a battle for the People. It started in flesh, Raven Hunter the first twin, born under a raven’s feather, and Runs In Light, born under a shaft of light from Father Sun. Their fleshly struggle was to lead the People south out of the blowing snow, a struggle for who would follow who… After death, or did they really die?, their struggle still continues, one born of light, the other dark, constantly in a battle to keep the balance of the Spiral. And when the Spiral is out of balance the whole world is out of balance….


The low murmur of music coming from a large tent nearby and the shuffling of people woke Soya from her fevered sleep. She pushed herself up to a sitting position and looked around, trying to get her bearings. It was twilight and she sat at the edge of a cluster of people, all were sitting and bound at the wrists. There were guards who lingered around the edge of the group, making sure that everyone stayed where they were supposed to.

She shook her head, trying to remember how she got there, but only accomplished in making herself dizzy and nauseous. She gritted her teeth against the bile and gulped deep breaths of air. When her vision stilled, she took a good look at her guards. Aside from the cowls they wore, they were ordinary looking men. It was the cowls that struck fear into her heart.

“The past repeated in the present. It’s always a good place to learn about truth”

Soya looked around for the familiar voice, but couldn’t tell where it was coming from. She shifted in her bonds and looked towards the tent where the music was coming from. There, atop the center mast perched a figure wrapped in black wings. He perched there, looking directly at her. It was as if her guards and this group were totally oblivious to him.

“You cannot force truths upon people, although at one point, I would have liked to.” She watches the winged figure atop the tent as he spoke to her mind. A great cheer erupted from under the tent and soon another guard came walking towards the group. “Blessed be the name of the Lord”, the man cried, “Another sheep was found and brought back into the flock. Who among you will be the next to come?” He looked about the seated group, some shifting and trying to scoot farther away from him. “How about you brother” he said as he grabbed a thin young man by the arm and hauled him up. “no, no, no” the man said in a low voice as he struggled against the ‘brothers’ grip. Another one of the cowled men joined the first and helped him drag the protesting man back towards the tent.

Soya closed her eyes as another song rose from the tent:

“God is in his holy temple.
Earthly thoughts, be silent now.
While with rev'rence we assemble
And before his presence bow
He is with us now and ever
When we call upon his name
Aiding every good endeavor
Guiding every upward aim”2

“Look back into the memories passed down to you from your mothers’ mothers’ mothers. What they do here has not changed for centuries.”

Soyala listened, nodding ever so slightly as she listened to Raven Hunters voice. Just then, a piercing scream came from the tent and a man’s voice boomed from inside, “Repent, for all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God” Soya winced as another scream, followed by a sickening ‘thwack’, sounded. She could only imagine the beating the man was taking to ‘force’ the sin from him.

“You cannot force your truths upon others. If you do, it will breed contempt and resentment which will turn to loathing and hate.” Raven Hunter’s voice almost seemed pleased as he spoke.

Soya hung her head as she sat among the group of potential converts. She knew what the past held. Convert or die. That is how these ‘Cristianos’ worked. That was how they had worked from the time they set foot on this land. You either converted to their ways or you died.

“Here in lies your lesson, little one. You cannot force others to believe what you believe. You cannot force your ánaaí to believe anything about Shadi that he doesn’t want to believe. You damaged your oath to her when you tried to tell him that. The only truth he will believe is by Shadi’s actions. Actions always speak louder than words. The same will hold true for the others.”

‘You are the dark twin! You are Raven Hunter, Many Colored Crow, laid in night. Why are you showing me these things?’

“To preserve the balance. My brother, Runs In Light, deems it so. Truth is balance and you are out of balance. You’ve been in this new world long enough. It is time you let go of your naive ways and faced new truths. It is time to bring yourself into balance. In your heart of hearts you know what I am referring to. Not to mention, these Judges are spreading like rabbits. Soon they will try to convert all the peoples in the area, and well…I can’t let that happen.”


Soyala took in a slow deep breath. Soon there was another cheer coming from the tent and another verse of the eerie song belted forth by those gathered in the tent.

“God is in his holy temple
In the pure and holy mind
In the reverent heart and simple
In the soul from sense refined
Then let every low emotion
Banished far and silent be
And our souls in pure devotion
Lord, be temples worthy thee.”2

The brother returned from the tent, eyeing the captives over. His eyes fell upon the fallen head of Soya and he pointed at her. “This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn’t come to the light, lest his works would be exposed.” He walked around to where he sat and squatted down before her. With his index finger he lifted her chin to look up at him. Her onyx eyes reflected a glint of light coming from the scattered torches about their holding area. “It is time for you to come to the light, little one” he said, with a cruel smile on his face.

Learning Truths

 

1) People of the Wolf by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'neal Gear
2) Hymn "God is in His Holy Temple"

Soyala's picture

Soya struggled against her bonds and the hooded man as he easily lifted her up. A second guard came up and grabbed her by the other arm, and together they both began to walk her towards the tent. “Do-ya-sho-da” she whimpered, trying to pull loose from her captors.

Soya got one last glimpse of Raven Hunter just before they pulled her into the tent. Her steps faltered as she registered amusement in his glittering eyes. The tent wasn’t as big inside as it appeared to be. There were about twenty people gathered around while the preacher stood on a small make shift platform.

The preacher was preaching to his group when they dragged her in before him, “Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

Soya glanced around the tent furtively, looking for any means of escape. She glimpsed two subdued figures sitting in the middle of the group, the two who were taken from the captive group earlier. Neither one of them had a mark on them, but they sat cowed, with eyes down cast and nodding meekly at the words that were spoken.

“And what is it you will reap, little girl?” the preacher asked her as the men forced her to kneel before him. Soya sneered at him and spat, ‘Tkele-cho-g, yil-tas ah-nah clo-dih’ in her native tongue. The man crouched down before her and chuckled as he spoke, “looks like we have a little snake in our midst, brothers”. Soya glared at the preacher as the others laughed at her expense. The man stood back up and spread his arms out to the sides, “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the serpent shalt thou trample under feet”

Soya’s heart pounded in her chest and fevered sweat beaded on her brow and nose as she kept her eyes fastened on the preacher. “What do say you, little serpent? No one may enter the Kingdom of Heaven without being purified by the fire. Would you brave the fire, enter the Kingdom of Heaven and have eternal life?”

She grit her teeth as she answered, “I would not enter any place where you or your people dwell. Jish-cha!”

The back of his hand met the side of her face in a meaty smack. Soyala fell to the side, gasping for breath as she fought to keep the bile from rising in her throat. Rough hands grabbed at her, picking her back up and setting her back to kneel before the preacher. “Shall I ask you again child? This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn’t come to the light, lest his works would be exposed….Your works have been exposed.”

She spit the blood that was pooling in her mouth at him. The next thing she felt was a kick to her side as the two men who stood watch over her began to deal out punishment. She curled up, trying to deflect the hits and kicks to her face and stomach. “Enough” boomed the preacher. He jumped off the platform and squatted down before her, and in the most loving voice possible spoke, “Renounce your ways, accept the Light and become a child of the Kingdom of Heaven”. Soya lay there curled up, not moving a muscle. She whispered the Blessing Way prayer, concentrating on the words to keep the pain and nausea at bay. “I will not ask again child” he cooed. Slowly, she turned her head to look at him. Her blackened eyes spoke the hatred that festered in her heart. “Jish-cha” she snarled at him, “Fuck you…” was the last thing she said before a swift kick to her stomach knocked the breath from her.

The preacher sighed as if sorry for the loss. Slowly he stood up and looked at her two guards. “The savage refuses to accept the Light. She remains in darkness, and there she shall stay. I’ll let you two see to it then, and know that no blame will be held against you two, for you are doing Gods work and cleansing this world of the unrighteous.”

The two nodded to the preacher in mock piety as they grabbed her up by her biceps again, digging their fingers into her skin. They all but dragged her out of the tent and into the night. “Lets’ hurry Amos. The faster we get there the longer we have.” The other man chuckled and shook his head. “Savages are not human, what’s the point?” “The point is, it’s not considered a sin, brother, and it would be a shame to waste this right away, savage or not.” The two looked at each other and chuckled again before one of them grabbed her hair and pulled her head back. She glared at them both then mustered the strength to struggle again, knowing what they had in mind for her.

“Do-ya-sho-da, do-ya-sho-da!” she cried as she squirmed and twisted between the two of them. She landed a well placed kick into the one named Amos’s shin and he cursed. “We’re far enough from the tent, Caleb. Just hold her arms.” They forced her to the ground where Caleb held her arms above her head while Amos struggled to straddle her legs and work her pants down her hips. “No” she screamed, “No!”. Soya fought and twisted between the two of them. Amos landed a right hook into her cheek, causing lights to dance before her eyes. Soya stopped struggling. “That’s much better”, Amos growled as he pulled a knife and began to cut at her pants, yanking them further down her legs.

Caleb looked back towards the tent, as some kind of commotion began. “Hurry up Amos, something is going on in the tent”. Amos grunted as he cut away her pants and knelt between her legs. He fumbled with his own pant ties as he hastily tired to undo them. He looked up in time to see to see a black blur leap at him. Caleb let go of her arms and fell backwards on his backside as Amos was suddenly carried off into the night, screaming. He scooted back away from the semi conscious Soya, still staring into the darkness where Amos had disappeared to, and back directly into the open jaws of a waiting bear. His scream was silenced with a sudden snap of his neck.

Soya stirred, then came too fully as she grasped for the shredded fabric about her knees. She twisted around to face this new creature, still struggling to keep her sliced clothing from tripping her up. She bared her teeth and hissed at the bear just as another creature walked up behind it, a female with glowing red eyes and long sharp claws. Soya squinted, thinking she recognized the figure for a moment before her world began to spin again. Before her very eyes the bear shifted and became a man. Soya’s eyes rolled into the back of her head and she muttered, “Yee Naaldlooshii” before collapsing. Just before she hit the ground, two massive black claw fitted hands caught her. “I think we frightened her”, Gaagii said to the others.

Irovagh shifted back and carefully covered her before carrying her to his car. Iro left Gaagii to ride with Satai as he drove as quickly as possible back to Credit Bend with Soya passed out in the passenger seat. He kept glancing over at her and touching her, making sure she was real, and was still breathing.

By the time they pulled into Credit Bend, the bruises and swelling began to show in all their splendid colors. He carefully carried her up to their apartment and laid her on the bed before gathering things to clean her up with. Soya murmured as he washed her face gently, “jish –cha Yee Naaldlooshii”. “Ssshhh Soya,” he said, dabbing at her split lip, “you’re not among devils any more, you’re home and safe”




Do-ya-sho-da – a negative, as in no or don’t
Tkele-cho-g yil-tas ah-nah clo-dih – roughly translated, “jackass, I will peck your eyes out”
Jish-cha – ‘I’m among devils’

Soyala's picture

*feverish thoughts as she drifts in and out of sleep*

I hurt, my whole body hurts. I think my toes don’t hurt…that’s about it. I can feel my heart beating in my face and in my ribs. I don’t think any ribs are broke though, no sharp piercing pain when I breathe, just a strong ache.

The willow and feverfew have eased the pain some what; they have eased the fever, for sure and my brain doesn’t feel like it’s on fire any more. Like the days of old, with pox covered blankets, maybe I caught something that my body hadn’t encountered yet. Either way, I hope I’ve adjusted to it.

Everything is still hazy…or is it? I don’t want to remember, don’t want to think about it. Did they or didn’t they? Squaw root and night willow for precaution…doesn’t sooth his suspicions….or mine. The feverfew should help too, just in case. It’s easier to not remember….to not know.

I hear him talking…not sure if it’s to me or someone else. I’m ok, as long as I can hear his voice…it means I’m safe

Fur and fangs…red glowing eyes and talons…familiar, but not. Wolf said Gaagii was there…wasn’t seeing things then…but how? Another hastiin, another yee naaldlooshii…past says…the Yee Naaldlooshii wore the skin of their chosen form. Who would have thought…and the red eyes? Later…find out later…

Black feathers have wrapped around my heart, I can feel this. He told me to look into my own past…which I have done…I see the darkness that is there…I feel it growing inside…fed by the ‘lesson’ I was dealt. Part of me wants to starve it out…and part of me wants it to spread. If the latter happens, then what will become of me? What will I turn into? What or who will I become? Will he still be mine afterwards, wanting to call me his own? Will the clan still accept me…or shun me…I don’t want them to fear me. I don’t want to fear myself.

Just recover…just heal…just breath….just sleep

 

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Softly spoken words stir me from the numbing grasp of sleep. At first they are just murmurs, background noise in the silence. Then they become clearer.

I call your name out in the night.
The moon is howling too.
I scream at things that cause you fright...
And I come to protect you.

Images shift within my haze as the words paint pictures in my mind. A man, a wolf, a mix of the two. No more fear over the thought of the yee ((shapeshifters)). None have proven to be witches….yet.

I am the spirit
of the Cherokee...
Sent to light your way.
I am wolf.
I protect you on this day.

Into the evening shadows
I make my way with stealth..
I am Wolf...
I am yourself...

Who was sent to whom? Maybe if I stay here, in the dream time, someone will tell me? My stomach pains me…doesn’t want me to stay here any more. It grumbles and complains against me.

Soya stirred under the covers. With a big yawn, she blew the rest of the dreaming away from her and blinked her eyes in the dim light coming through the blinds. Twilight was already on its way. How long had she been asleep, she wondered. Ever so slowly, to keep the dizziness at bay, she sat herself up. Her whole body was stiff and sore and he heard her grunt as she moved. He’d been sleeping in the chair when he opened his eyes to find her sitting up. “How you feeling?” he asked as he got up and moved around to where she was. “Tired of lying down” she said through parched lips. He helped her to take a drink of water from the glass next to the bed. “Lets get some fresh air then” he said as he stood back up and offered his hands. She let him pull her to a standing position, pausing for a moment to keep from getting dizzy.

Irov got onto the radio letting others know she was up and about. Well wishes were sent and a few offered to go on a head hunting party. She only smiled, not wanting to think of that just yet. Xoth mentioned that he’d have come visited, but he was by Dry’s side while she recovered. Irov briefly filled her in on what had happened and she nodded, “Completely understandable. His place is by her side”

The cool evening breeze was a blessed relief against her skin. She reached for her face again, gently prodding with her fingertips to assess the degree of swelling and pain. “You’re still beautiful” he said softly as he watched her lean against the railing. She mustered a smile through her fat lip. “And you’re still mine. I can feel your worry” he spoke softly as he moved to wrap her in a gentle embrace. Silent black tears rolled down the sides of her cheeks. He wiped them away, leaving no trace of the tears, and lifted her chin. “You are mine” he reiterated before kissing her forehead. She just stood there taking comfort in his presence. Suddenly her stomach broke the mood and growled its displeasure. “I still owe you dinner” he said, smiling down at her. “You wait here while I run over to the diner.” Soya nodded with a soft smile and sat down on the top step of the stair well while Irov went over to the diner. A few moments later he came walking up carrying two foil covered plates. The aroma made her stomach snarl again and he set a plate down in her lap. “Spaw – getti?” she asked. “The best” he said as she slowly pulled the foil back to reveal a plate full of saucy noodles and garlic bread. She watched as he stabbed his fork into the pile of noodles and twirled it around. She copied his technique, managing to get most of it in her mouth on the first try. Her plate was soon devoured, surprising herself with how hungry she was. She didn’t realize it had been about four days since she’d really eaten. Irov set his plate aside as he watched her finish up her plate by sopping up the sauce with the garlic bread.

“Want to talk about it?” he asked as he pushed a strand of hair way from her left eye. She chewed slowly as she thought. “I remember being at the bon fire and not feeling good. Next thing I recall is waking up surrounded by guards.” He nodded slowly as he listened. “I couldn’t hear you in my head or feel you anywhere. When I did try to concentrate on you, all I could hear was the cawing in my head” She gave him a puzzled look, ‘Cawing?’ “Yeah, Aeree said it was because of some raven hunter, but that he’d explain it later”

She looked at him incredulously. “Gaagii would know of him? Perhaps. He goes back in the People’s histories since the time of the great ice.” She shook her head a bit as Irov wrapped an arm around her shoulder. “It was making me angry, making me want to lose control” he said in a hushed tone.

“That’s what he wants of you. You can not give into it. You have to learn control. His is the red power, the power of creativity, cunning, and innovation. When its loose, its chaos, war and suffering. It fuels our passions, pride and courage. With it we thrive.” He sat there listening to her. “When I’m around you, I feel calmer.”

“Perhaps I am the white power to your red. The two must always be in balance, like the twins Raven Hunter and Runs In Light. White power is peace, compassion towards others; tranquility. Without it we can not appreciate the harmony around us and from it comes knowledge and patience.” She nudges him as she said the last word. “The two must always balance each other. With too much red there is chaos and war with no one satisfied. If there is too much white, then we become lazy and stagnate and our Peoples will never strive to be anything great.” Soya leaned into him and sighed contentedly. “I’ll need your control”

“You have my word; as a lover, a Traveler and an Invicta”. As he said this he pulled the silver dagger he’d put on his belt. She took it, shaking her head and setting it aside. “I only need your word as a lover. You have part of me already. There is no need for a blood oath.” He smiled and kissed the top of her head. She stifled a yawn and he gently scooped her up, carrying her back into their apartment and setting her onto the bed. He slid in on the other side, curling up next to her.

 

Slow Recovery

Soyala's picture

26th day of the Planting Moon

I so needed yesterday.  It was so good to get out of the apartment finally.  I was going stir crazy in there.  Battered face or not, I was determined to get out.  Satai showed up soon after I got up and about.  She looked different from the last time I saw her. No glowing eyes or sharp talons.  We got to talking and she disclosed some stuff regarding Gaagii.  Somehow they share similar make up, from what she called an alpha. Said the alpha was some demi god or something.  I guess Gaagii has several forms, perhaps a true yee naaldlooshii, using parts of different animals to take on their form.  Satai said she can change too, but doesn’t, that it scared her.  This is all so…I don’t want to say overwhelming…what once was legend to my people is becoming reality.  Like I said before, there is always a grain of truth in every myth….to bad I didn’t believe my own words till now.

Satai offered to heal my battered face.  It’s only that, battered, not broken.  I know she meant well, but I opted to have it heal on its own.  Maybe as a reminder to me, I don’t know.  Maybe the thought of what others can do still scare me.  Glowing hands, tiny metal nanners in the blood…it’s all…I don’t know.  I think I need more time with this stuff.

I wasn’t about to drive last night so Irov did.  I know the guys give people a hard time, “two wheels or walk”, but I’m sure they’d make an exception.  We headed out to some place called Sunny…Sunny something or other.  It was a pretty nice place, clean…not trash like most places.  The clan keeps a club house which was pretty nice too….sorta.  There was a pool in the back, a bar-b-que on the back porch and a bar on the top floor.  The rooms were a bit sketchy…wouldn’t really want to stay in them and after last night, I’ll never stay in a place with Dry and Xoth..wow.

There were a few new faces and some surprising ones.  There’s a new girl, Vorela.  Seems to be my age or a tad older.  She was pretty open about being a clone.  I wanted to ask her how many lives she’s lived, but I didn’t, maybe after I get to know her a bit better.  She seemed pretty level headed though, I like that.  We chit chatted through the night and I introduced her to Jela who was playing bartender.  We also met that Jason Vader guy.  I’d seen him around before at Beau’s but never knew he spoke.  I’m not sure what to make of him yet.  He’s pretty imposing, but then again what guy in any of these clans isn’t?  I wonder what’s under his hat.

 Tank showed up while we were there.  He looked a little worse for wear like he’s been riding hard.  Irov started talking to him and next thing you know Mr. Fancy Man got involved and ended up handing him a radio.  I thought Widdor had said this guy was a loner, but I guess even loners get lonely some times.  Oh well, he drinks like the rest of them so he should fit in just fine.

 After all was said and down and we didn’t get to go swimming, Irov and I decided to camp  just outside of town.  It was like the whole jello thing all over gain, only this time it was only Dry and Xoth…but they were loud enough for four, that’s for sure.  Sometimes I wonder if he minds sleeping in the open.  I know most of these guys have safe houses scattered throughout the wastes.  Four walls and a room seem to make them feel safer.  I prefer three walls and maybe a roof.  I guess growing up in a cliff dwelling has its advantages.  Either way, it was a clear night and the coyotes were a much better choir than the other two.

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27th day of the Planting Moon

 What your eyes see, and what others tell you does not always register right way with your mind. 

 I know Xoth is a clone, but I thought they were talking about some new bullet proof shirt or something.  I didn’t realize they were talking about his collar.  Next thing I knew Shadi was talking him into testing it out and that’s when it dawned on me what she wanted to do.

 I was seeing, but I wasn’t seeing…I heard the shots and lost it.  All I know is that Shadi just shot and killed one of my brothers…and then fed the corpse to Night Walker. 

Azhé'é, if you ever get these writings I hope they will not confuse you.  I’ll try to keep things plain here.  My eyes saw Xoth killed…that was real.  The pain that followed was real.  Were it not for Irov and Satai, I’m sure my mind would have splintered.  I couldn’t comprehend why Shadi would want to kill another brother and then laugh about it.

As what they call a ‘one lifer’…I guess I hold too tightly onto those things which are … well…alive.  But these brothers and sisters, the ones who have had their life essence put into those collars they wear…they live a bit more reckless.  More so than what I’m used to.  Nat had tweeked his collar and wanted to test it out.  They took a risk that her adjustments would work…Xoth has more faith that I think I could ever muster….faith in Shadi, even if he claims not to trust her.  Still doesn’t excuse the fact he’s a tkele-cho-g.  I wanted to beat him and hug him all at the same time…fucking tkele-cho-g.  Sorry Father…I’ll try to watch the language.

Azhé'é, one other thing…have you ever had a dream walk where one of the kachina’s came to you?  Sounds crazy, but then gain anything less would be normal out here…but there was a point, in the middle of my panic when Wolf had me try for a vision, hoping it would heal my mind.  Yeibichai came and performed the Nightway.  I’ve never heard of a kachina coming in vision form.  Either way…he came and danced me whole.  And I promised to learn as much as I can so I don’t panic like that again.

1)      Can be a clone without nanners

2)      Can be a clone with nanners and clone with them

3)      Bodies can be recycled to be used again for the next clone

4)      Buffer system has a list of clones to be cloned.

5)      Collars can be taken from dead clones and…I think wiped clean, if I understand what Dan said.

6)      Cloning females come back hungry…males randy. Find out what randy is.

7)      A pregnant clone will clone without the child….if that happens, find Dan.

8)      Blood can be cleaned through cloning…sorta.  He’s trying that with Nat.

9)      Dan is 154 years old

10)  Still doesn’t ease the thought of a brother or sister killing another just to ‘test’ the collar…but it does help.

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28th day of the Planting Moon

 

Well the apartment in CB is gone…top blown off after Wolf rigged it.  We’d had an intruder the night before, a..um.. ligaii ga-gih..white crow.  The guy was hiding in the closet.  Stupid place for a khac-da…any hunter with half a brain would know not to ambush from such an enclosed space…unless he knew of the trap door.  After we left Irov rigged the room to blow if anyone tried to come back in…guess someone tried.

 

Either way, we’re not staying there any more.  At least Shadi will have hot showers now.  Yeah…I was a klizzie yazzie. I’d let the water run till all the hot water in the building was gone.  The new place is pretty neat, but it’ll take some getting used to.  It’s an old ye-tsan nilchi bih-tsee-dih and we have it all to ourselves, for the most part. The place we’ve claimed as home has one flight of stairs to the top floor, but there are poles in either side of the flat that come up through holes in the floors.  I suppose if you’re a good climber you could climb up them, but they are fun for going down.

 

There is a tall tower that would be great for a look out were it not for the inside rotted out.  There’s a hanger area and even a worn out garage.  Doesn’t appear that scavengers have hit this place too badly.  The water pumps work, so that’s a plus, and it’s in the middle of nowhere.  Well not too far out, closer to a place he called Fracture than it is to Credit Bend.  I want to go exploring soon.  I like to get the feel of a place I’m going to be staying at for any length of time.

 

Enough about the new place.  Last night was fun, and with no ko to too.  Vorela was there along with Storm.  They seem to be hitting it off…in their own way I guess.  My brothers where there, but no Shadi….now that I think about it, not many of the girls were there.  No Raz, no Cur, no Dry or Shani.  One of the new girls showed up, Mal I think she said, but none of the usual crowd aside Jela and myself

 

Anaai was grumbling over some guy that was there, saying he stunk.  I’ve seen the guy before, all bark so far. Haven’t seen if he has any teeth yet.  I offered to take care of him for Anaai…which made him laugh.  That’s all I was looking for.  A few of them were calling him a bi-so-dih.  Tkele-cho-g and Anaai kept trying to bait him with words.  He kept dancing up on the bar, surrounded by half naked girls….kinda reminded me of that fat old gólízhii back home, collecting wives.  At one point they all went outside.  No telling what happened, but after a while they all came back in so it must have been ok.

 

Tkele-cho-g was shaking is thang for all it was worth.  I even snatched his pants at one point and climbed the light pole out in front of the bar and hung them up there…but after a while I felt guilty.  Yeah…I suck.  I didn’t think he could get his tse-gah cho-g up the pole to get them.  I’m still pissed at him though, but I’ll get even when he least’s expect it.  Maybe a few drops of fire cactus juice in his helmet, or some of that Oh Noes dried and sprinkled into his gloves.  Do-ya-sho-da bilh-he-neh, ta-ei-tay-a-yah khac-da!! 

 

Anyways, breaks over, time to get back to work.  This place may be bare of furniture and stuff, but I’ll be damned if it’s dirty…that and the dogs need baths.  I hope ma’iitsoh doesn’t have too many puppies…

 

 

 

ligaii ga-gih = white crow

khac-da = ambush

klizzie yazzie = little kid aka brat

ye-tsan nilchi bih-tsee-dih. = abandoned air base 

Bi-so-dih = pig

Tkele-cho-g = jackass

Gólízhii = skunk

tse-gah cho-g = hairy ass

Do-ya-sho-da bilh-he-neh, ta-ei-tay-a-yah khac-da = no warning, just an ambush!

ma’iitsoh = gray wolf 

 

Soyala's picture

29TH day of the Planting Moon


 Ya-ah-te-hey Azhé'é,


I got to do some exploring yesterday.  Wolf had just gotten back by time I got up and about.  I swear he never sleeps.  Anyways, he took me over to Fracture, a place claimed by the chota.  It’s wonderful!  Who could not love to live there?  I wanted to climb to the top of the chiz wo-tah-ho-ne-the thing, but it looked pretty shaky.  He said people would ride them for fun, way back when.  There was a lii’ nay-nih-jih nas-pas…a carousel he called it, with beautifully painted wooden horses.  There was also a funny old tkoh dineh-nay-ye-hi that used to swing back and forth. 


Wolf and I sat on the boat for a bit and talked.  Remember how Ama would get hit with those visions of the past?  How her eyes would go vacant like she was seeing what was…that kinda happened.  It’s only the second time that’s happened with me but we were there, standing in the middle of this gathering with bright colored lights, music, kids running around, people eating something that looked like colored clouds…and ((father)) the smells…It was so real.  Ama said it wasn’t often a place would show you what once was, but when it did, hold onto it.  It meant there was power in that place still.  Because he can see what I see, Wolf saw the whole thing as well. 


 Then things kinda got strange from there.  Some of his memories bled over, like the place triggered them or something.  Next thing you know my head was filled with his memories.  They were a blur, as if watching an entire life play through my mind all at once.  There were things I didn’t want to see, parts of his life that I probably shouldn’t have seen…but I saw it all.  I felt sick afterwards, literally.  The headache was almost immediate, but I played it off.  I’ve not had visions that hurt so badly before.  I was more than happy to camp there and he agreed.  It was getting worse and I had to lie down.  I wish I could ask you if things like that happened to Ama….or maybe I could ask her…ok ok I know, before you say it, I promised you I’d never try and call the dead again…but just to see her one more time…


 When I feel better, I want to find Gaagii and either Tkele-cho-g or ánaaí.  All three claim to be chota, but Gaagii is vastly different than Tkele-cho-g and ánaaí.  He’s quiet and reflective and filled with white power much like our elders back home.  Tkele-cho-g .  and ánaaí are more like our young men…or how the young men used to be…reckless and full of themselves and what they can do, filled with red power and always wanting to go on the raid or hunt.  Sounds like there are two sides to this tribe called chota.  I’m kinda curious and want to know more.  Wolf said the chota don’t care for technology and fight against it.  We never had it to begin with….well….once upon a time we did.  Either way, taking a nap for now and finding them later.


 


Ni’at'ééd -yazzie


 


Soya


 


((A word about the Navajo language.  It is said in Navajo that words paint a picture in your mind.  The language can be both literal and figurative.  A person never says “I’m hungry” rather than they say “hunger pains me or is hurting me”.  The words I put together in Navajo are to do just that, paint a picture for the person she’s writing to.  Imagine describing something to someone that has never seen some of these things before.   That’s what I’m trying to do, and for the benefit of you, the reader, I’m including the words I’ve found.  Most of the words, not all, come from the now declassified Navajo Code used by the Navajo talkers in WW2.  If you look, you can see how “descriptive” some of them were.))


chiz wo-tah-ho-ne-the = wood high way


lii’ nay-nih-jih nas-pas = horse go circle


tkoh dineh-nay-ye-hi = water man carrier


Gaagii = Raven


Tkele-cho-g = Jackass  (you know who you are ;) <3 ))


Ánaaí = older brother


Ni’at'ééd -yazzie = your little girl


 

Soyala's picture

1st day of the Buck Moon

Worry oozes from him like sweat on a hot summer day.  I can’t read his emotions as well as he can read mine but I can read his body language well enough.  So things got out of hand last night…and I would be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t scared.  I think that’s what has him so upset, my own fear.  The bite isn’t too bad, just need to keep it covered and clean.  Oh gods he’s gonna get shit for it, me too most likely, if the others find out.  At least it’s more on my shoulder, easily explained away...was one of those devil’s own outside of Fracture.  After all, I do like to get up close and personal when I take a life.

But I feel fine, really.  I feel like myself, just extremely worn out and a bit on the … well… never mind that.  Actually, I feel pretty good.  Maybe it has to do with what Claw of the Redhand had me doing.  With all those sicknesses, I should be dead…but I’m not.  I actually feel pretty alive inside.  I blame last night on that.  Anyways, Irov said that the chota can teach me things, like how to use the elements.  It’s one thing to have a rain dance and ask the gods to bring the rains.  It’s another to think that I can call them myself and bend them to my will.  But maybe….just maybe…who knows.

My people have never known elders with such power.  My mother’s mother’s mother’s and myself held what they considered power, but seeing into the past is nothing compared to what the chota say can be done.  I wanna know more.  I wanna know if it’s possible.  Damn, I want to eat, I’m starving!  Be back later, gonna see what I can hunt down….maybe work out this soreness.

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2nd day of the Buck Moon

First or last…ok last. 

Irov had a job to do, something about getting into a bronze encampment.  He even looked the part with the whole funny hat and all.  I was gonna go out and explore and we were going to meet up before the ride.  Next thing I knew, Scrap was calling over the line saying he was at Beau’s and with food.  God I had just ate an hour before and I was starving again!  No way I’m gonna turn down lunch, especially if my anaai made it.

He was there with shadi.  She kept looking at me funny, now I know why but then…ok so I think I knew why then too.  Not much gets past her.  Anyways I got to talk to Scrap about the different ways of the Chota.  They sound much like the societies or moieties of old; where a tribe was one, but broken up into clans.  He said Tkele-cho-g was pure chaos, much like the Blood Horde.  Scrap said he wasn’t as bad, and lived by his emotions too.  Tkele-cho-g does too, I think, it’s just that his emotions are drowned in red power.

Anyways, Anaai told me that the chota base out of a place called Bone Claw and he gave me a ring that he said would get me in there safely.  I put it on my thumb and he and shadi began to laugh.  Shadi said it meant we belonged to teach other, so I just stuck it on a sinew line and put it around my neck.  I showed it to Gaagii later who talked some more about the different societies among the chota.  I want to take a trip south to see this Bone Claw place for myself.

I had to get going and shadi followed me out the door, wanting to talk.  The slap caught me off guard, but the tears that welled up in her eyes said it all.  She yelled at me, asking how I could let myself get bit.  None of my excuses were good enough.  After she was done yelling at me she hugged me, told me she loved me.  If only I hadn’t kissed her cheek and told her I loved her too, then maybe……

We met up with the new girl and got her to the camp site in one piece.  She’s kinda funny, with purple dreads, an accent and a feathered top hat.  I think she hit it off pretty good at least it looked that way after most left…a Hen, Nat, Green Hair, Wid sammich, dancing it up.  I should get a ‘most clothes’ award, I swear.  Nat and Green were all but naked and the guys had no shirts…hell even Wid lost his pants….velcro…seriously!?!?!

She kept staring at me and I could feel Iro tensing, but couldn’t tell why…why’d she have to go and do that?  Why’d she have to try something like that on me?  Standing over her, seeing her sprawled out on the ground after I knocked her back…why?  If only I hadn’t kissed her cheek…told her I loved her too…did I miss understand her when she said she loved me and didn’t want to see me hurt?  Did I say or do something to make her think something different?  Why Shadi?? Why?

 

Why

Soyala's picture

The man had made a mistake by following them. His slip up was when Wolf caught him peeking in the back bedroom window in Kristo’s Rest. By time Soyala got back from the little market, Wolf had the man tied up to a tree out back. His cowl and modest clothing were a dead giveaway and she felt nauseous the moment she saw him. “Do you recognize him?” Irov asked. She nodded slowly, “I remember him from Mowbray.” she whispered. The man stood there stoically, his arms bound backwards behind the tree. “The Bishop knows of you.” he spoke through gritted teeth. “I am only a messenger of the Most High, but the Bishop will send others after you”. The back of her close fisted glove met his cheek in a meaty smack. Her voice was shaky with rage, just above a whisper, “Your return to your maker will be very slow” She walked away from the tree, stalking back towards the house.


“I’ll be with Dan, should be gone too long. You’re gonna be ok?”

“I’ll be fine.” she reassured him. “I’m not going anywhere”. In her heart of hearts she knew that was a lie and he let her tell it.


He still wasn’t home by time the moon was high in the sky and giving plenty of light. She stripped out of her armor and most her clothing, leaving them on the floor in their room. She grabbed the buck knife sitting on the night stand and a good length of rope.

The man’s head was hanging down, delirious from the searing pain in his shoulders and arms. She grabbed his head, picking it up and he only moaned. Typing the rope around his neck, she cut his ties and forced him to walk further into the woods, away from the sleepy town of Kristo’s Rest.

His eyes opened slowly and he found himself staked out spread eagle in a small clearing in the woods. The crackling of the small fire drew his attention. She knelt with her back to him, silhouetted by the glow of the fire. “What are you doing” he growled, fully coming too. She continued to kneel there, head bent down. “Do you know what your brethren were going to do to me?” she asked calmly…coolly. “What does it matter, you’re heathen! You rejected the gift of eternal life. You’re savage, not even human”. His haughty reply struck a cord inside her. She picked up something that seemed to have been sitting in the fire and stood up. As she turned around, he sucked in a breath at the sight of her. She was naked, save for a pair of shorts she wore. Her body and face were painted in tribal designs that seemed to dance across her skin.

She walked slowly to him, the buck knife held out to her side. Away from the fire it appeared to have a slight orange glow of its own. Gracefully she lowered herself over him, straddling his stomach. “Not…human…” she said softly. She trailed the edge of the knife down his extended bicep, smiling as his scream drowned out the sizzle of the heated knife. “Not human” she repeated as she held the knife out to the side. “Animals live on instinct…human’s make decisions”

“You decided not to accept the gift…there or you are still an animal” he growled through gritted teeth. Little beads of sweat began to dot his forehead as he strained under the five point restraining ropes. “So animals are good enough for raping then?” she screamed at him. “Animals are good enough for beating! For torture?” Soya’s anger roiled inside as she leaned forward, hands on his chest, screaming into his face. She sat back up, taking in a slow deep breath as he struggled to breathe under the weight of her sitting on him. “Your vision is so limited, your ideas so archaic” she spoke quietly. “It’s time you were enlightened to what an animal is capable of.”

The man began to yell for help, screaming helplessly for someone to hear. She crammed her fist into his mouth and grabbed his tongue. With one quick motion she ran the hot blade across it, severing it completely. His scream was muffled by her fist and the fact that his tongue was tossed into the fire.

“Shall we begin?” she asked. Soya’s demeanor changed completely as if a shadow descended over her features. The man’s eyes went wide as he shook his head to and fro causing the rope around his neck to bite into his flesh. Soya trailed her fingers down his chest, turning her head to the side for a moment before scooting farther back till she straddled one thigh. The man mumbled and grunted, trying to spit the welling blood in his mouth as she eyed his member. He tried to buck his hips to throw her off. She stood up, looking down at him with a sadistic smile then turned back to the fire. She set the knife in to heat back up.

“In the days beyond the fall, before the floating palaces with your kind came to the shores of this land, the people fought one another and tested each other’s courage” she spoke as she tended the fire, making sure the smaller rocks she’d gathered were heating properly. “They would string their enemies up in squares, but since I don’t have a square, the earth will have to do.” The man whimpered something unintelligible as she picked up the heated knife again. She walked over and knelt next to his side. “You see, they respected courage and bravery…do animals do that?” she asked as she placed the flat of the heated knife to the inside of his thigh near his groin. His garbled scream rent the air.

For the next two hours Soya tortured the judge, slicing here and there, burning his flesh in tender places and making good on her promise. His skin was slick with blood when she finally ran her blade across his stomach, spilling his entrails. He passed out again from the pain, so she waited for him to wake. “You are doing well…for a jish-cha” she cooed, running her hand through his hair. His head turned slowly, to and from as he came too again. She kissed his forehead, murmuring softly, “it’ll all be over soon”

Soya went back to the fire and used a flat piece of bark to scoop up the small heated rocks. One by one she used the knife to flick them onto pegged out man. Each one sizzled when they hit his sweat dampened skin, leaving red and blackened circles across his chest and lower stomach. The rest she dumped into the gaping cavity, searing his insides, causing him to pass out again.

Soya sat back on her haunches, looking over her handy work. She was exhausted and her anger and rage finally spent. She’d poured out emotions into this; her hatred for these judges, her confusion and pain at hurting Shadi, and the general rage that had been ebbing and flowing about her.

She looked him over one last time, her eyes falling again to his member. “Good enough to rape...” she said, grasping his limp shaft and sack and severing them quickly from his body. His muffled scream came a few heart beats later as the pain woke him back up. She shoved the severed parts into his mouth and quickly slit his throat, spilling the last of his blood onto the forest floor.

Somewhere in the darkness the twocking croak of a raven sounded while hazel wolf eyes watched from the obscurity of the woods. She caught some of the warm fluid in her hand and brought it to her lips before pressing the rest of it to her chest. Quietly she sang a song in her native tongue, the words twisted by the red power that saturated the clearing.

As I walk, as I walk
The darkness is walking with me
In beauty it walks before me
In beauty it walks behind me
In beauty it walks below me
In beauty it walks above me
Beautiful darkness is on every side
As I walk, I walk with Beauty.



As dawn began to break he walked into their room in Kristo’s Rest to find her fast asleep on the bed, her body clean of any evidence from the torturous night.

Soyala's picture

  4th day of the Buck Moon

What the fuck! Now I have to start wearing armor to Beau’s just to have a drink and a good time!?!?! What ever happened to the concept of ‘neutral ground’??? Nnnoo these tkele-cho-g have to come in with full blown armor and weapons drawn just to have a ‘chat’ with some others that were trying to have a drink too. Fucking paramilitary retards might as well be damn enforcers with the way they came prancing in like the cocks of the walk. UGH!! And too have the nerve to open fire in there! HELLO!! ONE LIFER HERE!! Not everybody can fucking clone, not like they care at all anyways. Bullets started flying and I got knocked off the table and hit the floor. Raz was the only one who got hit…but I tell you what…I catch one of those sons of bitches alone out in the waste and that’s just what they will become…waste! They’ll find a tomahawk in the back of their empty skulls. Khac-da, ha-beh-to-dzil ta-a-tah, na-nish-tsoh ul-so.

Ugh, I’m still pissed!! But anyways…We left Krito’s in the late morning. He said I slept in again, but I felt like I didn’t sleep much at all. He asked me about the guy he left tied to the tree. I just assumed he’d done away with him. Great, if he got loose then he could tell all his other ‘holier than thou’ buddies where I am…not good not good. Some of the Kristo guards said they would keep an eye out for him. After that Irov kept looking at me funny for a bit. There’s something he’s not telling me…damn one way empathic communications!!

This whole Beau’s thing has my head in a jumble….think think think….ok. Irov said that Dan might have a brother named Zeke, I think he said…with a second name that I can’t recall right now, and that he might have set the fire to the house not Nat. We uh…didn’t really talk that much after I got up. We just got our gear and headed back towards New Flagstaff…with a pit stop along the way. After that I slept for the rest of the ride till we met up with Storm and V. They are cute separately and ornery cute together. Don’t think the DO’s liked us raiding their weapons caches, but we had doing it.

Last night with the girls is the most fun I’ve had in a while, even if those tkele-cho-g ruined it. I think Wolf got a kick out of watching our antics too. Hope to see them Tuesday. For now it’s back to Fracture will the shaman says I can head to Bone Claw.

Soyala's picture

Irovagh watched from a distance as Soyala haggled with the fruit vendor in Fracture. She’d had her eyes on a basket full of cactus fruit and was bound and determined to talk him out of the whole lot. Irovagh thought back on the night before, how she had appeared to remember nothing about the judge that was left tied to the tree. He had watched the whole thing from the edge of the woods, watched how she had meticulously and deliberately cut the man in places that even he knew would bring the greatest amount of pain without killing the man. He’d tried looking into her mind for the incident, but even he was unable to find it in her short term memory, and that bothered him.

“Look,” Soya said with a smile, “I got the whole basket.” Her voice pulled him out of his contemplation and he smiled. “And what are planning on doing with all that?” he asked out of curiosity. “Dinner” she beamed. Irovagh chuckled, taking the basket from her. He wrapped an arm around her shoulder and together they walked back to the interceptor.

Twenty minutes later they were pulling into the bay at the airstrip. She carried the basket of fruit upstairs while he dragged the make shift fifty-five gallon drum bar-b-que out near the broken down fire truck and got the fire started. Moments later she came back down carrying two bowls; one containing numerous sharp sticks and chunks of marinated assorted meats and the other with clean cut up cactus fruit. Soya set the bowls on the running boards of the engine and began skewering the meat and fruit.

“Where did you get this idea?” he asked, evening out the coals in the bar-b-que.

“Anaai inspired me,” she replied, setting one of the skewers on the grill. “He did all that cooking earlier this week, and it was really good”.

Irovagh nodded a few times, rearranging the skewers she kept placing up on the grill. “He’s been in a better mood it seems” and Soya nodded in agreement.

“He hasn’t been drinking as much ko to lately. Not sure Shani likes him drinking so much. Maybe she’s had the effect on him.”

“How have you been feeling?” he asked curiously. She could hear the caution hidden in his voice and gave it some thought.

“It comes and goes” she said, finishing up the last of the marinated skewers. She stood next to him as he started taking off the first skewers. He’d noticed that she started eating meat more on the raw side ever since she got bit…still not as rare as him, but rarer than most would. “I can’t tell if the fever is from the chota ordeal or the bite. I haven’t asked the brothers about that yet.” Irovagh stood behind her, moving the strap of her tank top over and pealed the bandage back. He ran a finger gently over the tender pink linear scars. “I’m so sorry” he whispered. Soya ripped the bandage the rest of the way off, throwing it into the fire then swatted his leg with a little more force than she intended. “Will you quit saying that!” Irovagh canted his head, looking at her. In that instant he could feel a spike of rage come from her. He hugged her from behind, kissing her neck and the rage instantly dissipated.

“Oh crap!” he exclaimed as the remaining skewers began to over cook.

“Looks like Nook and Ma’iitsoh are gonna eat good tonight too!”

Soyala's picture

Soya braces her bare feet against the dash of the interceptor. The windows are down and every now and then Irovagh swerves around some fallen debris in the roadway, giving her fair warning so she can stop her writing. The writing is messy to say the least, with occasional lines trailing off the side of the page.

5th day of the Buck Moon

We just passed Spider Hill a bit ago, on our way south down to Boneclaw. Neither one of us have ever been there before, and he wasn’t about to let me go it alone. I’m hoping Anaai’s ring works and it gets us in safely. I’m really nervous, but the need for explanations outweighs my fears…well that and Irov’s with me. I should radio Tkele-cho-g later. I heard him say something over the radio about a gathering at the Krieger’s place…the place where I first met Dry and Xoth and Nat and Red…and old One Eye. It’s not a bad place to stop over on our way south. Maybe he’d like to visit the mecca with us.

Radio’s been semi quite lately. Haven’t heard anything from Nat since the apology. Her radio’s been off ever since. I’m getting pretty worried, but she’s shadi, she’s lived this long without me. I know she can take care of herself…but it doesn’t ease the worry.


“Bump” Irov says, just in time for her to pick up her pencil. He glances over at her every now and then, her hair tucked up under an old baseball cap to keep it from blowing into her eyes.

I think I heard someone call Red earlier. His radio has been quiet for so long. Last time we saw him was when Irov talked him into going to Beau’s with us a while back. My heart aches for him. He looked so lost. Makes me wonder if I could stand to live like that. Would I want to be half of who I was or would I rather be on the path of the dead, on my way to my ancestors. I hope I get to see him as soon as we get back.

Soyala thoughtfully chews on the end of the pencil as she looks out the passenger window at the passing scenery. Dry, always dry, never changing

Something is happening…not sure what yet. I’m hoping the fabled Blue-Eyes might know...if he’s still alive that is. I can feel Wolf’s worry, but he keeps it to himself. Maybe I am infected…that which gives me the ability to see the past and the dead, mixed with the sicknesses the Chota exposed me too…plus his bite…hell I should probably be dead by now. Maybe I am and I just don’t know it. Maybe I’m dancing the spiral and I just haven’t woken up yet, but then again not even Runs In Light would grant me the pleasures my Wolf brings me…so maybe I am still alive…for now.

Irovagh pushes a loose strand of hair back behind her ear as she closes her note book and stashes it behind her seat. She leans over into him and kicks her feet out the window for the remainder of their ride.

Rovagh's picture

After climbing out of bed he crept out the door trying his best not to wake her. Irovagh crept down the stairs as if he had done it a million times. He had a job to do and he did not welcome it. He started towards his ceptor and then decided against it. He instead checked his pockets making sure he had his garrote. He had planned to take her silently so he didn't have to look into her eyes. It was bad enough that he had to kill her to begin with. He didn't want to look into her eyes when he did it.

As the door opened Soyala sat upright. She knew he was sneaking off again but this time she wanted to watch him. She slid her pants on pulling her shirt on grabbing her knife just in case. She to crept out the door like a thief in the night. She had watched his shadow briefly disappear from time to time. Picking him back up and continued following him for about three miles outside of Depot 66. Where he stopped dropping his coat. She could make out his shape a lot better now that they had ventured far enough outside away from the lights of the small town. The moon beamed down on him showing off his form. She watched him stoop down undoing his holsters and laying them on his coat. As far as she could tell he was going to change and quickly started looking around to make sure no one was around. He surprised her when he reached down picking up something he turned his head towards her his eyes glowing in the moonlight. She crouched down suddenly thinking her saw her.  He looked to be holding a thin piece of string in his hand. She searched her memories finding it. A garrote wire. He was going to kill someone she instantly thought. As she was distracted he had begun walking again. She turned her head up seeing him and began to follow again. The glow of a campfire came into view which distracted her for a moment when she looked back to find him he was gone. She assumed he was going towards the campfire and headed slowly that way making sure she didn't make a noise.

After dumping his gear he looked back briefly seeing her. His eyes glowed in the moonlight. He knew she was following and he thought better of it to let her know. Her emotions were too revealing for him and he always knew. He didn't let her know that he knew. He just let her follow him. He stood back up while she was briefly distracted and kept his course. Her thoughts gave her away. They made her a beacon in the night to him, but he chose to not let it distract him. He had a job to do and no matter how much he didn't like it he was going to succeed. He walked on for another mile or so when the glow of a campfire lit the horizon up. The soft orange glow made it hard to hide but he managed to do just that. He crept up a small distance from the fire when a soft female voice shouted don't move or I will shoot you where you are. Now reveal yourself.

Soyala jumped slightly from the shadows when she heard the voice. Irovagh stood up from behind the small rock he was behind and Soyala let a soft sigh escape her lips. She watched as Iro walked towards the woman who held a crossbow leveled at Iro's chest. Her heart jumped a beat or two. She watched as Iro walked towards the strange woman. She also watched as the woman let out her own sigh lowering her crossbow. She watched Iro walk calmly towards the woman and the fire. Then the rage began to boil in her as the woman stretched her arms out wrapping them around his neck. She watched for a minute as Iro showed no emotion. Not even his smile she was so accustomed to. Then she saw it. The knife in his left hand. He had wrapped his arms around this woman who wasn't a stranger to him it seemed. She watched her rage seeping from her as he drew his left hand back plunging the shining blade into her back. The woman looked up touching Iro's face mouthing the words sorry as she went limp in his arms.

Irovagh looked at the woman who recognized him half running to him. She wrapped her arms around his neck. He placed his arms around her waste holding her for a brief moment. He mouthed the words I'm Sorry as he plunged a knife into her back. She in turn told Iro she was sorry touching his face and going limp. Irovagh stooped to the ground laying her on her back pushing her lids open to let her soul escape. A single tear falling from his nose. He reached down moving her shirt to the side pulling off two necklaces she wore. One would be the locket he had given her. The other would be what J wanted to prove she was dead. He stood up pushing her body into the fire. His emotions flooded out. All the women he had been with or had loved at one time or another now were dead.

Soyala watched on and Iro's emotions flooded the area. She was struck with one the one she had viewed with her own eyes through Iro's. This woman was the same woman she had watched as her throat was slit. She now partially understood, but she couldn't fathom how.

Irovagh still stooping down turned his head towards Soyala. His eyes glistened over with with the flickering of the flames. He coyly smiled. Then he stood up walking back towards town.

Soya's heart raced as she couldn't tell if he knew she was there or not. Her thoughts raced through her head. She had to get back before him but he would hear her with his wolf ears. What if he already knew I was here with his telepathy and his smell. The thoughts came faster to her than anything before. She began to half run half walk the distance back to 66. She made it there before him but didn't understand how. she climbed the stairs undressed and lay back on the pallet. Her heart racing when the door opened. She went wide eyed as she saw him walk through the door. She couldn't figure out how he came up the stairs without making a noise. Her heart was still racing...

Irovagh walked back to wear he left his coat and pistols slinging both over his shoulders. He began walking the distance back to 66 arriving moments before Soyala did. He stood beside the building and watched her burst through the door trying to catch her breath. He smiled. As she burst through the upstairs door he opened the downstairs door and began his slow and calculated walk up the stairs. He could hear her stripping her clothes off dropping to the floor next to the pallet. He pushed open the door just as she sat down on the pallet. He smiled at her all his troubles fading.

"I didn't wake you did I?" He calmly stated.

She shook her head still trying to catch her breath. "No I just woke up, bad dream or something."

He smiled at her again. "I am glad. I had to get some fresh air, and if you want to know anything all you have to do is ask as always."

He laid his coat over the dresser hanging his gun belt on a nail he then dropped the locket on the dresser next to his coat kicking off his boots and pants he climbed back down onto the pallet with her. He kissed her lightly as he ran a hand down her back gently causing goosebumps which in turn sent a shiver down her body. He laid down pulling her with him. He kissed the back of her shoulders which eased her mind for a time. After some well placed kisses she was with him again and she rolled over to meet his lips pulling him forcefully to her. After some time they fell asleep in each others arms.

igovagh.jpg

Soyala's picture

  Soya didn’t know what to make of the events the night before. She’d barely beating him back to the room and slipped back into bed when he came walking up the stairs. From the sound of his foot falls, she knew he was giving her time. He had seen her out there following him. She was sure of it now.

They both lay on the bed rolls, looking at each other after having just woken up. Before she could say anything, he spoke.

“I am sorry I haven't told you more about that vision you saw from my past. Yes that was her before you ask. We worked together for a long time.” He paused, sighing softly before going on. “We became lovers. Yes I truly loved her. Yes she was cloned. And Yes I did not want to do what I did last night. I watched her killed the first time. She was brought back and sought me out. I walked away promising never to love again. When her named slid across J's hand he knew what it meant and sent me to kill her. She knew too much.”

Soya lay on her side; her head cradled on her arm as she listened to him speak. Her emotions were in turmoil as he related his history with the woman. She kept her black eyes on his chest, not wanting to meet his own.

“And you felt it was your obligation to do this ‘job’. she whispered, hugging her arm to her chest. “I’m not the naïve girl I may appear to be. I know the hearts of men. I know, we as a people, are capable of loving many and I accept that…but you didn’t say anything. You let me believe that you couldn’t remember who she was. Why?” Her eyes finally met his as she spoke, wanting to see what his eyes had to say.

“I left her a while back. I haven't seen or heard anything about her in over 8 years.” He tried to explain. “ I thought it was over. I am sorry I have not told you everything. Hell I didn't even know she was still alive. I promise you that I have nothing but my love for you. No matter what has happened." Irovagh sighed; frustrated with himself and the entire situation. “I want nothing more than to be with you always. What hurt me wasn't the love I shared for her but the fact that you witnessed it.” Irovagh rubbed his face with both his hands, keeping them there for a moment. “I don't know what I can do. I hope you trust me that I did not want this. I love you and only you. You are my life.” Irovagh pulled his hands from his face revealing the tears that traced down his cheeks. He reached for her, drawing her close.

Soya touched his face with her fingers, wiping his tears away as he pulled her close. Her expression was tender as she searched his face. “Irov, I love the man you are now. I can not judge you for the man you were.” Her voice was low, barely a whisper as they lay facing each other. “You are human and you are capable of love. There is no shame or wrong in that. I’m only sorry they forced your hand to make you do it. That was wrong of Janitor…very wrong.” Irov caressed her cheek as tears continued to trickle down his face. “I’m sorry” he whispered. “For not telling me…I forgive you” she whispered back.

“Thank you,” he whispered. “I’m so glad I have you. J doesn’t want me to retire. I’m one of his best, or so he’s told me. He knew no one else could do the job. Maybe that’s why he wanted me to handle it, knowing I was the only one who could get close enough to her.” Irov paused, pressing his forehead to hers. “It’s done now. Her record has been wiped. This won’t happen again. That is why I pushed her body into the fire. She was in the same program I was in…it’s how we originally met.” He pushed a strand of loose hair behind her ear. He smiled softly at her, lowering his voice, “Now, you must share. How did you knock me out last night? I have never gotten so tired so fast before.”

Soya laid there, her head cradled on his arm as she listened. The thought of Janitor not wanting to let Irov go troubled her. “Will he do the same to you? Will Janitor hire someone to try and take you out because you don’t want to work for him?” she asked. The more she thought about it the more it bothered her. If this man Janitor had enough influence to push Irov to do this last job, who else could he talk into trying to take Irov out. The events the night before only steeled her determination now. She finally considered his last question. How did she knock him out…they were only tears.

“No he won’t. I am still a Traveler, just not a cleaner any more. We are still friends and I still supply him with information.” Irovagh shrugged his shoulder. “Maybe one day I will pick it back up, but I don’t know. I don’t want to kill for money any more. I’m too happy with my life now”, he smiled, tracing a line down her cheek. “I’m here for you. Sure there’s the crew and we have friends and family among them, but honestly sometimes there is too much stuff going on there that I don’t think I want to have a part in. But they are still family, regardless. I care for them, just not as much as I care for you.” He hugged her close. “I love you, and that will never change”.

“I love you too” she whispered, then kissed his lips. Of coursed she loved him. She’d never loved anyone the way she loved him, not even Bidziil, but that was different. She was still a child then, and didn’t understand what she wanted in life. Boys were just there to encourage her competitive nature, especially since her father didn’t have any sons. She knew she wanted to stay with Wolf, no matter what that meant; on the go all the time or in one place. She loved her new family too, even with all their quirks and troubles, but he was first in her life. She had to admit to herself, that that sounded crazy, but then she just had to think of her Ama and Ada and how they had put each other first in their lives…then it didn’t sound so crazy after all.

“Let’s sleep a little longer. When it cools down we can start south again” she whispered, rolling over onto her other side. “I want to know what is happening to me…”

Soyala's picture

  ((Written in conjunction with Irovagh. Italics are his))

It was arid and dusty and the sun was three quarters of the way across the sky by the time they made it to the outskirts of the quarry. They left the interceptor at a garage and picked up their horses that Irov had trailer’d down. Soya fidgeted in Beesh’s saddle. “So this is the fabled Boneclaw” she said as they looked down into the converted quarry. Irov observed the amount of people with slight trepidation. It was clear chota were not his favorite kind of people, but if she wanted to seek their help then he was going to stand by her all the way.

They eased the horses forward, letting them pick their own path down the steep rocky incline. Soya pulled the ring that Scrap had given her out of her shirt. It swung to and fro on the sinew cord around her neck. She hoped it would be enough to grant her even a moments meeting with the Spirit Seer, Blue-Eyes.

The pair were met by guards who questioned them heavily. After about ten minutes of questions and the fact that Soya was decked out in Childs armor and carried a bone sword, they let the pair pass. She glanced at Iro, knowing full well he was fit to be tied. “Patients love,” she chided. He merely grunted as they road into stronghold.

Their first night there, War Chief Jannix let them stay at the far west end of the quarry, down towards the creature cave. They made camp and were told to come back at first light to speak to the War Chief again. There was little talk in their camp that night. Road weary and hungry, they both ate in silence then immediately crashed for the night.

**************************************************************************************

The next day they met back with the War Chief. Soya showed him the ring that Anaai had given her. After several moments of thought he agreed to let her speak with his people, but only after she proved she was worthy to. He gave her a set of tasks to complete in addition to tasks for several other people. Together they completed everything asked of them. While they were making their way here and there she overheard bits of conversations regarding the different societies among the Chota themselves and from the sounds of it, not all got along with each other.

Towards the end of the day they returned to the shaman known as Blue-Eyes. He spoke to them about a group called the Tainted Ones. They weren’t readily liked among most chota due to their mutated abilities which tended to effect them internally as well as outwardly. He suggested to her that perhaps she should seek out one known as Megara of the Tainted Ones. He told her that she tends to roam between Thorn and Fracture, up in the North.

Soya thanked him and the War Chief for their time and wisdom. She even said a special prayer for the mounted wolf head that Iro had yanked down in front of Jannix. Soya did some quick explaining to the War Chief that wolves were sacred to Iro and that he didn’t understand that others showed their reverence in other ways. No words were said, but an understanding seemed to pass between…one little war adverted.

**************************************************************************************

That night they made camp further away from the quarry, putting some distance between themselves and the Children. Dinner that night consisted of roasted scorpid. Soya found one of her water proof pouches, saving a bit of the venom, then stored it away again. They made sure the horses were fed and watered before they settled down in front of the fire.

The pair lay together under the blanket, curled up on their sides. The horses snorted softly as they settled down. “I know the wolf is kin to you, but you can’t just take things like that.” She said quietly. “I know what you said, about killing needlessly, but we don’t know that. Besides, the way the wolf head was hung shows that it’s just as scared to them as it is to you.”

Irov left out a slow breath, habitually kissing the back of her head and caressing her shirt covered belly. “Love,” she said, “if these people are anything like the tribes of the past, we have to proceed with caution. They won’t tolerate what they perceive as disrespect, but they will respect courage.” Irov grunted, “How is it you are so wise?” he whispered into her hair. Soya chuckled softly, “I am not wise. They are just more like my own people than I thought.”

Irov sighed, “I am sorry it just set me off. The CHOTA I know only kill for pleasure and they do so to prove their strength. Seeing that wolfs’ head was too much.” He paused for a moment. “I've been to Warhall and they surround themselves with dead bodies. Rotting human corpses. The whole place reeks of death. And I am not finding much different here. But I won't stop you from talking to them. CHOTA have their ways. They’re just not my ways”

Soya snuggled back, closer to him, hugging his arm to her. “An elder once told me not to judge an entire tribe on the actions of a few foolish warriors. In this cause, though…it sounds like the Bih-keh-he has a harder time keeping all the societies in balance. He walks a hard line, love.” She rubbed his arm slowly as he tightened it around her. “Do not loose yourself to these people” he whispered. Soya smiled to herself, reaching back to touch his face and head. “You are my rock. The tether is tight. There is no loosing me, but if they have the answers I need, I’ll work to prove myself worthy. That’s why he had us do those jobs. He wanted to see if we were worthy to talk to his people.”

Soya closed her eyes as the fever crept up again. It was starting to take a toll on her body, this roller coaster of effects.

“I will always trust you.” He said, his voice full of concern. “Just be careful. I will support you in whatever you choose. I don't have to like it but, I will always trust in you. I will just mind my feelings. Being in the families for so long I have found my use for those CHOTA who do hunt and kill for pure pleasure. I just don't have to be like them. You’re starting to put me in the mind of a Quiet One.” He chuckled softly as he kissed the back of her head and neck again.

Soya chuckled sleepily. “I don’t want you to be anyone but yourself…the mysterious man who claimed me with the drop of a hat.” She could feel his lips spread into a smile as they still rested against the back of her head. “All I care about is finding out if I’m going to be ok. I should be dead by now…but I’m not” she whispered the last part, her body tensing a bit. Irov caressed her cheek, pulling a lock of hair back behind her ear. The horses whinnied quietly, as if they sensed their humans concerns. “If I die, will you promise me something?” Irov tightened his grip on her, “You’re going to be ok. You’re not going to die” Soya patted his thigh, “but if…promise me..”

“I’ll make that promise, but you should know that the next full moon is only days away. If you were to be infected….or gifted...however you wish to see it, it will effect you. It effects all differently but it will and could happen. Stuff has been affecting you a lot, if you hadn't fully noticed.”

Soya nodded a few times. “The fevers come and go, some hotter than others. I know I’ve been eating way too much lately, but it’s like I can’t eat enough.” Soya sighed, thinking about the day he cooked her a steak, then an hour or so later Scrap fixed her fajitas. “Then there was the other night” she whispered, “with my tears…I didn’t mean to..I’m sorry” Irov shushed her, but she continued to talk in hushed tones. “If something happens…and this change does kill me, promise me you’ll set me up on a litter and face me west so my souls will know which way to travel.” Soya swallowed hard, trying not to let the thought get to her, and definitely trying hard not to tear up.

“Its not going to kill you. If anything it will make you stronger. But I promise you when it’s your time I will do as you wish.”

Irovagh held her a bit tighter, trying to comfort her as her mind raced with thoughts.
I also want a promise from you. When my times comes, I want you to open my eyes as you have seen me do many times and let my soul escape. Then I want my body burned. It is an empty shell after that. But I don't want others to gain access to my DNA once I am dead. When it’s my time it is my time."

“Don't cry about it and don't ponder it. Just want you to know I am here with you as always.” He paused and chuckled softly as he hugged her. “Also. You could be with... “ he let the words trail off., not finishing the sentence. After a moment she continued, “That causes hunger and increased mood swings. You haven't been drinking your Tea every morning like you used to.”


Soya paused as he chuckled behind her. “What?” She flipped around in his arms so fast that he barked another laugh. Soya tried to think back, when was her last moon and when had she last drank her tea. He kissed the worried lines on her forehead then cupped her cheek with his hand. “Would that be so bad?” he asked. Soya blinked a few times, stymied for a response. The thought that she could be pregnant threw out every other thought out of her mind. What could she possibly be thinking? She barely registered his question as worries and excitements flooded her mind all at once. Were she still at the cliffs, she’d probably be on her second or third child by now, but she wasn’t. She was here in the wastes, constantly on the move. Her hand slipped to her stomach as her eyes finally focused on him. “What do I do?” she whispered, her voice full of worry and anxiety.

“Well love I don't know. I have never had a child and I am not female,” he laughed. “I am not even sure how to tell, just know what others have told me. But we will deal with it when you find out. We may be able to locate a shaman or a doctor. Dan and Nat would know how to find out for sure. They are wise in that department.” He leaned in and kissed her. “Don't worry bout it now. You’re healthy and eat good enough so If you are then we are fine.” He did his best to sound confident and sure, for her sake.

She fought back tears, afraid now of what they might do to them both. Could she raise a baby…could –they- raise a baby? Did he even want one? He seemed to be pleased with the thought. Could he handle settling…staying in one place for any length of time? With the fevers, could her body carry a child…and oh my gods, what if she did change? What then? So many questions and concerns ran through her mind. Irovagh tilted her chin up so that his lips could meet hers. “It’ll be ok” he soothed.

“Soya, calm your mind! Your thoughts are killing me” he smiled, trying to get her to ease up. “Ease your nerves and your worry. We will cross those bridges when the time comes. Remember this, I want you. And I will never leave you. We will do what we can when the time comes. I would do anything to make you happy and I would greatly enjoy raising a family with you.” He chuckled again, hugging her to him and sighing a contented sigh. “Sorry your thoughts are flowing so fast and loud I can't help but answering you. Lets just get some sleep. We’ll talk about it some more on the way back north.”
Irovagh rolled over onto his back and held her in his arm while the fire died down to coals. The coyotes sang their mournful song in the far distance and the horses snorted and shifted near by. Soon they were both asleep.

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((Please see Irovagh's Journals 6/7 - 6/10))

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The whole ride home, Soya thought about what Jela had said, that the Tainted Ones had helped her and that she had always had some form of mutation within herself. That gave Soya pause for thought. For four generations, the women in her family had always been born with the ability to see into the past. It was said that Grandfather Storyteller and come down and kissed the eye lids of ancestors and ever since then, they could see the past of all the Peoples of this land. Jela had said something about Soya’s people surviving the Shiva Virus, which in turn got Soya to thinking…was that it?

She stared out the passenger window as Irov drove. Just how naive was she to think that bed time stories and tales told over late night fires were true. Another thing they had talked about was Jela’s ability to make things around her die. She had said she had little control over it except when she was angry. She reassured that Teach was safe. He’s the last person on earth she’d ever want to hurt….and yet somehow I had managed to render Iro unconscious. Without going into too much detail, Soya told her about that night. The only thing they could figure was that Soya was extremely upset, and that Iro had kissed her tears. He’d done it before, but that was before the Chota wanted to see if she was worthy. Now she sat there in the passenger seat wondering just how toxic she was going to become.

*************************************************************************************

“Baby, you gotta eat something” Irovagh said, looking down at Soya where she lay curled up on their bed. She felt warm to his touch as he brushed his fingertips across her forehead. He sat down on the edge of the bed with a plate in his hand. She didn’t even look at the plate containing a medium rare steak of some sort and a few grilled veggies even though her stomach growled.

“Jela said the Tainted Ones helped her…you think they might help me too?” she asked flatly, staring at the wall across the room. The dogs sat a distance away watching their humans. M’aiitsoh licked her chops then flopped down to her side. “Any day now”, Soya thought, as the pregnant bitch drew her attention.

Irov set the plate aside, giving the dogs a brief warning glance before turning back to her. “I don’t see why they wouldn’t help you. It won’t hurt to ask.” He continued brushing her hair gently out of her face. “In the mean time, you need to eat.” Soya sighed as she sat up, crossing her legs indian style. She started feeling guilty. Here he was, still barely mending and he was taking care of her.

They split the meal, with him giving her all the vegetables. They sat in silence for some time before she broke it. “You remember while we were in Boneclaw, Blue-Eyes mentioned a woman named Megara .” She paused as she finished chewing. “He said she lead a group of Tainted Ones up here in the north…said I might be able to find her between Fracture and Thorne Bluff.” Iro nodded his head a few times as he listened, letting her finish up the plate. He had to make a deal with her to share it or she wouldn’t have eaten at all…stubborn woman. “Then it’s back to Fracture we’ll go and if we don’t find her there, we’ll head south to Thorne, where Jela said she was heading.” Soya finished the last of the veggies before setting the plate on the ground. Iro looked at the dogs who remained where they were, but were drooling all over the place. With a sharp whistle from their master, they came running over, scarffing down the last bits of meat. “When you’re healed” she said, “then we’ll go”. Iro watched her through troubled eyes as she laid back down, curling up under the blanket.

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  12th day of the Buck Moon

Oh Ama, where are you when I need you the most? Even your ghost hides from my sight. Mr. Dan says I am…..and I’m scared to death. There are so many changes going on with me inside that I don’t even know if my body can handle this. Ama, what if my insides are so rotted that it comes out looking like Green Leafs baby did. Maybe it was the Shiva virus that did that to her and not a curse like the old superstitious ones kept saying. What will this sickness do to mine?

Ama, Iro showed me what happened in the underground of that old church…I saw through his eyes what the fear and rage did to me. The last thing I remember was the voice whispering to me…and then him laying on the floor and Storm running in. I do not remember the things he showed me Ama…why? More legends coming to life maybe? Is there an ánt’įįhnii some where using their áńt’į on me and taking over? Or maybe it is the ghost sickness….maybe a chindi is trying to take me with them. Listen to me!! I’m starting to sound like old Primrose and her stupid, stupid, stupid superstitions.

Where we have some stupid story about why things happen, here in the Wastes there are people like Dan and Nat who can tell you what’s happening by looking at your blood through special glass eyes. I asked him to take my blood tonight and he was able to tell me that I was going to have a child, just like that. But to really look at my blood, he’ll have to go back to his lab. He said he’d be around for a few days and would see me then. I want him to look at the blood, see if he can see any thing that might hurt the baby…see if the sickness and bite will infect the child. Maybe he’ll look at my tears too. This is what scares me the most.

At first Shadi wouldn’t even look at me tonight. It’s the first time I’ve seen her since the bon fire. Last thing she said to me was the day after, a brief ‘I’m sorry’ over the radio and then nothing since. I still feel guilty and I’m not quite sure how she took this news. Sometimes she’s hard to read. All she did was bounce around from table to table to bar and back to tables, not saying much at all. What will she do when she finds out what happened in the church…

The others seemed happy. Irov wouldn’t stop grinning, even gave that stranger a leaf stick. Jela stayed with me while Mr. Dan checked the blood at his car. She seemed pretty excited for me. Mr. Dan said no ko to and lots of sunshine. Gods Ama, if Wolf tires to baby me the whole time, I’m going to go more insane than I already am. Even Anaai started saying I had to take it easy….something about precious cargo. Don’t men realize women have been doing this for eons? Hell, even Shard was up and back at it the next day after having hers. But then again, that’s us, the Dineh. Business as usual until it’s time and then right back at it. But then again, there were always children at the anasozi. Here in the Wastes, I think I can count on two hands how many children I’ve seen from here to as far south as Odenville. Perhaps Anaai has a point.

Ama…wish you were here…even if it’s just your shade.




ánt’įįhnii = “witch people”
Áńt’į = “corpse poison”
Chindi = “ghost”
Anasozi = “cliff dwelling”

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15th day of the Buck Moon

I got to see Mr. Dan today…not so good. He said I’d be able to carry the baby for about three months…then the baby would have to be taken out and allowed to finish growing in one of those LifeNet places. He’s going to need more blood samples, from both of us…something about non corrupt patterns. I don’t know, it’s still confusing. He and Nat have their own LifeNet place in Kristo’s. As long as it’s theirs, I feel a little better. I don’t want my child in a strangers place. He went on to say that it’s just so the baby can finish growing, that there’d be no collar or anything, just a normal healthy baby. That’s all I care about.

I told Irov with mixed emotions. He had more questions that I couldn’t answer, like how bad off am I that I can’t carry the child. What part of me is toxic. How long will it take the baby to grow once it’s out of me…stuff I had no answers for. When we get a chance, we’ll talk to Dan again.

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18th day of the Buck Moon

Irov’s finally asleep so I have some time to write.

So, three nights ago, at the bbq at the club house, Tank grabbed my arm saying we needed to talk. Mind you, I don’t know this guy all that well, smiles and chit chats here and there but that’s about it. He starts asking me all kinds of questions, like why aren’t I drinking and what not…not like I’m a big drinker in the first place. Anyways, I wasn’t trying to make a scene, but he was really starting to hurt. Finally Irov came over and that’s when it got really weird. Tank was speaking Navajo almost perfectly and then he made a move against Irov, shoving what I later learned were sliver spikes into his shoulder.

It was crazy and confusing and frustrating all at once. The only way to diffuse the situation was to give into Tanks request and go with him. I gave him 24 hours and that was it. There are no words to describe what Irov was feeling, cause it was strong enough that I could feel it too. He knew I wanted answers, answers that I wasn’t going to get with them two in the same space, puffing up like horned toads at each other. As much as it hurt him, I went with Tank.

We rode back north, past Fracture till about midnight. There was a camp set up that we pulled up to. Tank told me my father had sent a shaman, one from another tribe to see me. He said my father had become concerned with how dark and infrequent my letters home had become. Apparently Tank had been taking the letters and delivering them to my father.

Anyways, it was a purge cleansing and a sweat. Unlike the last two times, this time I remembered everything. An anasazi chindi named Two Smokes has decided to take up residence within. Because Irov holds a part of my souls, it made room for her. She was drawn to the anger and hatred I felt for the judges. It was she that took over and tortured the man in Kristo’s. It was Two Smokes that took control in the stone basement of the church. She fed off my rage…and now refuses to leave. As long as I don’t lose control, she will stay…asleep.

The shaman also gave me some herbs and fetishes for the baby. My father knows…Tank must have told him. My father is not too happy that I’ve chosen a skin walker for a mate, but what’s done is done. The old shaman told me to drink the tea…but I won’t. How do I know it’s not poisoned to make me lose the baby? I destroyed the fetishes on my way back. They are scattered to the winds. I barely know who to trust any more.

Before I left the camp Tank and I talked. He’s known my father since my father was a young boy. At that time, outside contact was forbidden, and my father kept his friend a secret from my grandfather. They would meet and talk about the outside world. In turn, Tank learned about our culture and ways. When I was chosen to make the journey out, father contacted Tank. Even the Bih-keh-he can not go against the word of the counsel just for the sake of his daughter. Because of their friendship Tank made a blood oath to my father that he would watch over me. Like my blood oath with Shadi, if the blood oath is broken, my father could die. So here I am, stuck with accepting Tank’s presence regardless, for the sake of my father’s life….how could he have kept this from me all these yes? Why would he not tell me about this outsider?

I left Tank there and made my way home, beating Irov back. When he did get home, he was weak and tired. The fresh wounds were not healing like they should. Yes silver heals slower, but these weren’t healing at all. Next thing I knew he’d passed out on the pallet and was bleeding again. Lucky for us Shadi was close by, up near Flagstaff. I shouldn’t have been surprised at the gear she carries but she had extra blood on her and some paddle things when his heart stopped. She got him going again and hooked up lines to start getting blood back into him. Something is not right with him. Shadi took a blood sample, said she’d look at it with her special glass eyes

Despite everything he still wanted to go last night, even against my protests. He made me drive the car…and I’m alive to keep writing so it all worked out. He might have to have One Eye check it out later…he said I missed a few gears.

The moment Tank walked in I thought it was going to be the last time at Beau’s. Irov was in no shape to take him on. Tank actually walked up and told him he wanted to talk. Even gave me all his weapons and told me to hold them while they went outside and discussed things. Several checked on them for me. The little purple da-he-tih-hi went out there, saying they were still puffed up. I had to laugh at the way she put it. One Eye went and checked on them too, after he let me sneak a sip from his flask. He said he didn’t want his Travlers tearing each other up. It was a long while before he came back, but said they were ok.

Finally, I went out there. They were doing better, and Iro’s fever had broke and he seemed a tad bit stronger than before. There will be a lot more talking later. I want to know when he plans to go back to see my father. But till then, I just need to tend to Iro and make sure he gets better and fast. Finding the judge out in the hanger with a hole between his eyes has us both on edge.

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  25TH day of the Buck Moon

We got the flat cleared out at the air strip and we’re all moved into the house in Kristo’s. To be honest, I’m pretty scared now. He showed me Dan’s lab. How does he expect to keep a baby in a tank in that place? It’s horrible! Most everything looks like it’s on its last leg and about ready to blow a plug or something. I don’t know…I’m starting to have second thoughts about this.

Dusty came up Wednesday. She was a great distraction from all the thoughts that keep going through my head. I guess Credit Bend was getting a bit noisy. We kinda figured it was another jello wrestling thing at Hen’s place. On top of that she said some strange guy ran into her room, yelled something and then ran out again. If Wid’s staying with her, he should put some locks or something on that door. A girl can never ever be too careful out here in the wastes.

She seemed to enjoy the change of scenery, just not the dodging it takes to get here. She was pretty curious as to how I was doing, which I don’t mind. Most seem to be. Ya don’t see too many pregnant women or kids running around, which is kinda sad if you think about it. Makes me miss the laughter back home. She stayed for a while, talking with Irov. He went and shocked her…some people should just not see that. Some people’s minds can’t process what they are seeing. I wish he wouldn’t do that at times. The more who see, the less chance of it being kept quiet. It’s bad enough the judges know. I keep looking over my shoulder at the slightest sounds. If they knew I was carrying…what would they be capable of then?

Nat came out later that night. We talked for a bit regarding what Dan wanted to do. She had her computer thing with her so she was able to test my blood right there and tell me what was wrong with it. The diseases still run through my veins; the tetanus, dysentery and cholera. And Jela was right. Nat found strands of the Shiva sickness. She didn’t elaborate on how much or if it was awake in my blood, but its there. Maybe Jela is right, maybe that is what has made our eyes black and given us the ability to see into the past. More for us to think about….

That was all Wednesday. Yesterday was a lazy day, just getting the place straightened up and things put away. It’s amazing how much dust can get in a sealed up house. Bedding and cook wear was all rewashed and finished in time for the gathering at Beau’s.

I took a nap once we got to New Flagstaff in one of the rented motel rooms. I woke up to hearing Two Spirits and Ceh-yehs-besi talking with Irov just outside the room. I teased him about his wrap a bit. Ceh-yehs-besi said they looked like they were sizing me up to mark their territory. I told her sorry, but Irov’s already marked his and pointed to my belly. From there it just went down hill…not sure how the topic changed, but the next thing I knew Irov and Two Spirits were talking about their manhoods and who was hung like what. My face was as red as Ceh-yehs-besi’s leather wrap. That’s how I knew Two Spirits was berdache. They are rare…special even. I’d never met one before. I heard that there was one living at Cliff Palace, but still I’d never seen or meet one. I could not stop laughing!! I can’t believe they did it…Two Spirits maybe, but I can’t believe Irov gave in and just….how did he put it…whipped it out? Ceh-yehs-besi was laughing, writing some numbers down on a piece of paper then showing them…not sure why but she said she’d seen pictures of people performing and others showing them numbers…yeah…I was so red. Ceh-yehs-besi and Two Spirits took off towards the bar leaving me with Irov to recover. That set the tone for my night!!! I had a good time. Nate had spikes that I helped her wash out. Scrap seemed to be having a good time with Carol; and Drax and Jela were dancing all over the pool table. He kept getting all grabby on her and she was threatening him with no loving. I know I could never make threats like that…nooo way! Hen was talking with Red while the Boss was working his music magic. Lots of new people there too. No Tkele-cho-g though. I’m still pretty saddened at what I heard…should talk with him some time.

Anyways, nap time again. All I seem to do is eat and sleep, eat and sleep, eat and…well…ya get the point.

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((See Irovagh's 6/26/10 entry))

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Soya woke up with the mid afternoon sun shining in her eyes.  She yawned and stretched, alone in the bed again.  How many times had she gone to bed with Irov, only to wake up alone.  She slowly sat up and looked around the strange room.  She didn’t really get to take a look at the place when they got there.  All she knew was that it was east of Kristo’s and somewhere deep in the woods.


 


She’d just finished dressing when she saw the note on the bed side table.  Soya sighed softly as she read the note over.  Frustration and resentment simmered just under her calm façade.  These people were her family too and she was stuck, hidden away in the woods to be protected from what ever sickness they were carrying.  Things here are not as simple as they were back home.  A simple healing circle and sing can not heal these people.  Much more powerful demons ran through their blood that only the fancy machines could vanquish.


 


Soya put away her dark thoughts as she dropped the letter on the bed.  It was time for exploration.  She checked out the little cabin, seeing that there were some rations stocked in a small cupboard.  For the most part the place was bare and simple with no running water or electricity.  Cooking was done on an old wood burning stove it seemed.  There was also a large metal basin she assumed was used for washing things in.  It would have to do for now. 


 


She stepped out the front door to be met with nothing but trees.  She could see the path the interceptor made when they can came in, but for the most part, there was no traveled road or path.  Soya stood there for a moment listening to the sounds of the forest.  Birds chirped and sang.  Some where in the distance squirrels chattered and nearby she could hear the flow of water.  First things first she thought.  Stepping back to grab one of the tomahawks that Xoth had made her, she slipped it into her belt and headed down a gradual slope.  Her path took her several hundred meters from the cabin down a tree strewn slope.  Occasionally she looked back the way she came making note of land marks and marking the occasional tree. 


The creek bubbled and flowed, looking very inviting.  There were animal tracks near the waters edge, which was a good sign. It meant the water was fresh and clean enough to drink.  Without hesitation, she stripped down out of her clothing and dove head first into the cool water.  It didn’t take her long to reach the other side, in fact she didn’t even have to come up for air till she got across.  She tread water for some time examining her surroundings.  This place was nothing like back home.  It was beautiful, green and thriving; completely unlike the Wastes of Sector 1. 


 


After spending a bit more time swimming around, Soya got out and used her hands to wipe the water away.  It had been a long time since she’d run around with no clothes on.  She smiled as the nostalgic feeling swept over her.  The sporadic beams of sun felt warm on her skin as she started making her way back through the trees with clothes in hand.


 


The cabin began to come into view when the first twinge of a cramp started.  She paused in her walk and stood there trying to listen to her body.  The birds stopped chirping just as the first cramp seized her, dropping her down to her knees.  Soya knelt there, one arm bracing her, the other holding her stomach.  “No no no no” she whispered, “it’s can’t be three months…not yet”  The second cramp caused her to cry out.  She fell to the side onto the leaf litter, curling up into a tight ball.  Black tears instantly flowed as pain seized her body in constricting spasms.  “no”….

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