The Last Shaman
Antonio was watching the two boys playing out in the snow, Peter was try to teach Little Bear how to make snow angels, the giggling laughter of the small boy rang in the still morning air, as he watched them, Antonio suddenly heard a high pitched sound, it was mixed in with a deeper growl of a heavy engine under load.
Antonio quickly remembered what he had been told by Ravenhawk, his first priority was to the safety of two young ones.
"Little Bear, Peter, come into the house quickly, we've got visitors and they might not be friendly."
The two boys looked up from their fun in the snow, the urgent sound of Antonio's voice added urgency to their small feet as they ran towards the cabin where Antonio was now standing with a rifle in his hands.
Antonio sent the boys inside while he took a stand just outside the door with the rifle held tightly in his hands, he knew what he had to do if it came to the safety of the boys and their new home, the sound of the machines grew closer but they were still out of sight behind a big stand of snow covered trees, Antonio tensed up as the sound grew closer.
Suddenly, Antonio felt something close behind him, looking over his shoulder briefly, he saw young Peter standing in the doorway with his small .22 rifle in his hands and a very determined look on his young face, the high pitched whine of skidoo's was now clear and it was obvious they were really close and would be seen any minute, what the deeper rumble was they did not know but they were taking no chances, the boys tensed up further.
Antonio's first sighting of the pair of skidoo's made him pause, he did not understand why Ravenhawk and Robert would bring back two of them, it was then he saw the modern type sleds being towed behind that he began to relax only to tense up again when the sight of a massive truck like machine showed up through the trees behind the skidoos.
Had he made a mistake and these were not the boys he was waiting for, Antonio lifted the rifle to his shoulder and sighted at one of the riders, behind him Peter did the same.
Antonio was becoming nervous and agitated as he saw the strange machines approaching closer, they were nothing like the one the two boys had departed on, his finger grew tighter on the trigger of his rifle as they drew within range, beside him he could feel the same effect on young Peter, the approaching skidoos were getting to close for comfort, he had to make a decision very soon or it would be too late to protect the two little boys.
As he finally made the decision to fire and his finger was getting tighter on the sensitive trigger, he suddenly saw clearly what one of the drivers was wearing, as he watched and tried to process the new information he saw the driver on the left lift his hand and wave, his breath huffed out as he finally recognised Ravenhawk but the other rider was a stranger.
Antonio relaxed his hold on the rifle and turned to make sure that young Peter did the same, the last thing he wanted was for his Warrior to be shot by accident, as the three machines came up to the cabin, Antonio placed the rifle against the door jamb then turned and, with wide smile opened his arms for his Warrior.
Ravenhawk was smiling broadly as he jumped of the stopped skidoo and ran to hug his Berdach, it was as though they had been parted for months instead of only days, the new comers watched the greeting with a smile on their faces, it was very evident the two boys loved each other deeply and had missed one another.
When Ravenhawk had finally felt good about his return and that his Berdach was safe, he turned and began to introduce the newcomers, Antonio was quick to notice how Robert was standing close to the girl Margret, there seemed that there may be something going on there, Antonio smiled at the thought of having a girl around, all that remained now was where were all the new bodies going to sleep.
After all the welcoming was over, everyone began to unload all the new stores, clothes and other things that had been brought, Antonio went back inside to begin making lunch for everyone, he was surprised when Margret came in and asked to help, he willing accepted and the two began to work on the meal for everyone outside in the cold working.
It was a tight squeeze to find places for everything that had been brought but eventually, with a little creative moving, everything was found a place, as the last box was put out in the lean-to the call for lunch was heard and everyone made for the warmth of the cabin.
Over a large lunch they began to discuss where everyone was going to sleep, Antonio and Ravenhawk were to keep the privacy of their room as they were the first to find the cabin, Peter wanted to make a small bed up by the fire where he and Little Bear could sleep and Karl and Dean said they were happy to make another on the other side of the large fire place for themselves, that left only Margret and Robert.
Robert immediately said Margret should have the other bedroom as she needed her own space away from the boys, he also would make up a bed near the fire and watch over the little ones, finally, after some little discussion, everyone was happy, no one knew at that time that Robert's bed would be moved into Margret's room in three days time.
The next morning was one of conversation about the trip, Antonio was brought up to date with everything and the two small boys were given time to get used to the strangers, it was Margret with her woman's touch and maternal instincts that soon had the little ones eating out of her hand although they were not too happy having to wash their hands every time they wanted to eat.
By the end of February the weather was changing and the days were getting longer, Ravenhawk checked the moon cycle and realised he had only days to get ready for the first of the season changes, that evening he told the others what he had to do and asked if anyone wanted to join him in the first ceremony of the Green Stone Clan.
All the boys wanted to be part of it but he suggested that the two younger ones wait for the next ceremony as they would have things to do this time that would clear the gates of the spirits for the new clan and it was better that the little ones were not there this time.
To begin he had the older boys shovel the stone circle clear of all snow, when it was clear he began the song of The Magic of the Earth as he had done before, the four other teens stood and watched as he began the song, in one hand he held his rattle and in the other a fan made from a single tail feather from a red hawk and another pin feather of a Raven bound together, slowly he moved around the outside of the cleared circle in a clockwise direction, much to his surprise, Robert began to mark his dance steps with a short length of wood, tapping it with another thinner stick.
Roberts beat was steady and certain, his lesson with the drum was clearly evident to Ravenhawk's ear, he would have to make the drums soon so that ceremony could be better conducted as they should be when dealing both with the Creator and the spirit world.
Antonio had never seen this part of the ceremony and, like the two new boys, stood fascinated as they watched Ravenhawk carry out his work, much to the surprise of the onlookers, the circle suddenly seemed to become greener the more Ravenhawk sang, any vestiges of snow appeared to melt without reason as he circled around three times, the steady tap, tap, tap of Roberts makeshift instrument filled the morning air in time with Ravenhawk's steps.
When he had completed the outside Ravenhawk moved into the inside of the circle from the North Direction, which is the beginning and the end of all things, he then began a different song, his steps were also different and Robert picked up the change in beat, when he had completed three circles around the smaller fire pit, Ravenhawk lit a small fire and, using the feathers as a smudge fan, he dropped small amounts of tobacco on the small fire at each point of the Directions and then seemed to brush the smoke upwards so as to carry his prayers and songs to the Creator.
Ravenhawk stopped at each of the four Directions to make the gesture with the tobacco and fan, once done he finished at the same time as Robert and then walked to the enclosed doorway of the sweat lodge which was now miraculously devoid of snow just like the ground inside the circle, this alone had made the three watchers look at Ravenhawk with new eyes.
After checking the inside of the sweat lodge to make sure there had been no animals or reptiles that had made it their home for the Winter, Ravenhawk turned back to the central fire, this time he began a shorter prayer as he walked anticlockwise to close the circle of the fire and then joined the others, the larger circle of protection he left sealed as he stepped out from the North Direction once again now he had to tell them the hard part of the upcoming ceremony.
"Are you all sure you want to join me this time, there are some things we will have to do that may be hard for you to undertake?"
All the boys nodded.
"Then we will have to train Peter to be the Keeper of the fire, Little Bear already knows what his part is, the rest of you will join me in the sweat lodge, for the next three days we will have to fast, for myself I will need nothing but as this is your first time you can have a small amount of water in the morning and at night but nothing else, do you still wish to come with me?"
The four boys looked at each other and finally nodded their agreement, they were prepared to go hungry for the next three days, the two little ones would not as they would not fully understand what it was all about, as it turned out, Peter ended up fasting with them as well, only Little Bear and Margret ate anything for the three days.
During the following three days, Ravenhawk spent most of his time alone and away from the others, while the others had work to do he spent his time in silent prayer, this first accompanied sweat lodge had to done right, he was now working under the vision of his Grandfather, he could not make a mistake and bring shame on his families spirits.
The other four boys spent their time erecting a small extra shed for Robert to use as his workroom, the extra generator was placed in a small attached wooden crate at the rear of the shed, this way Robert would have his own power supply and not interrupt any of the others, inside they built in shelves and benches for his new tools and to store all the extra pieces.
For the three nights that they were waiting for the ceremony to begin, Ravenhawk had asked Little Bear to select all the stones need for each person's necklace, as the boy selected a full set for one person, they were put into small plastic bags and the name of the person was written on with a marker pen, this way Robert would know who each set belonged to once he had them all drilled.
Little Bear was shown by Robert how to measure and cut the strings for the necklaces from the rolls of now dry sinews, Ravenhawk would teach him how to string the stones when they were all drilled, it would be entirely up to Little Bear and his own imagination as to how the necklaces would be put together, the others had been told by Ravenhawk that they must not interfere with the boy once he started to make the necklaces, his small hands would be guided by the Creator.
When they all heard this, the boys, all except Antonio, looked at Ravenhawk with a little scepticism but were prepared to let it go for the sake of Little Bear, sometimes the things Ravenhawk said seemed just a little farfetched but they were all learning to be friends and so it was better to say nothing and maintain the friendship.
For the four boys it was a long haul to the last day, with only small sips of water for three days they were soon feeling empty and a little lightheaded as the last evening of the fasting closed to its end, the next morning would be the start of the ceremony called for by Ravenhawk's spiritual Grandfather, the first of four that would be conducted at the start of each new season from now onwards.
Over the last three days, Ravenhawk had spent his time not only in prayer but in making a breechcloth for each of the boys as well as spending long hours fashioning a midsized drum for Robert, the drum would also have to go through the sweats before it could be played so Robert would continue to use his wooden block and stick for the songs, next time they would have the spirit drum to help them.
Of the four boys, only Antonio knew the Prayer to the Creator so Ravenhawk told the others just to listen and let their minds flow with the words of the prayer and the beats of the songs, Ravenhawk was surprised that Robert did not know the prayer as a student drummer but was told Roberts Father said he would teach him when the time was right, it never came to pass as the virus hit first.
Over the winter, Ravenhawk had made leggings and a shirt for Little Bear, Antonio who was now becoming a very good bead worker, was in the middle of making beadwork for the shirt but as yet it was not ready and so, when the two smaller boys stepped from the cabin they were both dressed in fringed leggings and fringed shirts.
Ravenhawk had had to explain in long detail to Margret why she must remain in the house at all times until the ceremony was over, it was not the ideal situation but with nowhere else to have the sweat lodge it was the best he could do, Margret promised to stay hidden and not interfere, Ravenhawk accepted her promise at face value.
They all left the cabin at the same time, the older boys dressed only in breechcloths, the sharp chill of the winter morning brought goose bumps immediately to their white skins, Ravenhawk seemed unaffected by the cold.
When all the boys were standing at the East Direction of the circle, Ravenhawk, Antonio and even Little Bear, recited the prayer to Creator and then, as the Eastern Direction was the beginning of everything; when the prayer was complete all of the boys followed Ravenhawk into the larger circle and moved to the left around the inside of the circle until they were all standing back at the Eastern Point.
At this time, Ravenhawk began the song of Fire Lighting as Robert tapped out the beat with his wooden block, as the song progressed, Ravenhawk built the central fire and lit it, once the flames were strong he offered a small amount of tobacco to carry the song and prayers to Creator and then set about helping the smaller boys to place the first rocks into the flames.
For the last three days and nights, Ravenhawk had taught Peter the prayer and the duties of adding the right herbs to the hot stones as the Keeper of the Fire, Little Bear knew his prayer off by heart and kept the fire area swept clean with his small stick broom and feather fan, it had taken Peter two days to manage to hold the deer antlers and manipulate them to carry the stones to the door of the sweat lodge, he had practiced diligently and was now confident he could do his part in the ceremony.
While the little ones watching over the fire and heating stones, Ravenhawk led the others to the door of the sweat lodge, on the ground just outside were five cups filled with a brackish looking liquid, it was a tonic made from barks and leaves then steeped in hot water for hours, the boys would drink this and then enter the sweat lodge.
Ravenhawk instructed them one by one what to do, once the strong smelling liquid was drunk and the faces of the boys had returned to normal, Ravenhawk led the prayer to the Creator one more time before entering the sweat lodge, he carried with him his double feathered fan and his Chanupa held in a beaded deer skin bag.
Once inside Ravenhawk started a new prayer as he moved around the central fire, at each point of the Gates he would sprinkle tobacco and then proceed to the next one until he was back at the Western Gate, the other boys following along behind him, once seated in place around the central circle of stones, Ravenhawk began the song of The Spirit of the Medicine Elder.
When the song ended, Ravenhawk stood and offered the final prayer to his ancestors, he then called for the first of the hot stones from the Keeper of the Fire, as the heated stones represented the ancestors, it was important to have them present before going any further; the ceremony had taken over an hour and after adding ghost sage and tobacco to the heated stones and then water to create the steam and heat, it was time for the lighting of the Chanupa and for the final but strongest prayers to be said, these were almost a direct link with the ancestors, any mistakes here could bring a lot of unwanted notice from the spirits.
Ravenhawk began the song of Pipe Filling and Lighting as Robert tapped out a softer and slower beat on the wooden block, young Peter delivered the hot stones just as had been told to, he then was to listen out for the Chanupa prayer as it was time then for the rest of the needed hot stones to be brought to the doorway of the sweat lodge.
As the prayer of the Chanupa finished, Ravenhawk passed it to the left, Antonio took it and said a small prayer of his own making and then sent a puff of the smoke from the Chanupa upwards to carry the prayer to the ears of the ancestors, each of the others followed the same system until the Chanupa was back in the hands of Ravenhawk, it was time for the rest of the hot stones to be brought in and the seeking of a vision to begin.
Only Ravenhawk seemed unaffected by the potent brew the others had drunk with him at the doorway of the lodge, they were decidedly looking green as the ceremony went on, they had been told by Ravenhawk that they could go outside anytime they felt ill from the potion and to rinse their mouth with fresh water from a jug sitting by the boys at the fire.
The last words of Prayer silenced, Ravenhawk reached behind himself with one of the deer antlers and tapped twice on the door covering, from outside came a soft grunt as Peter picked up the last hot stone with his own antlers and carried it to the door of the lodge, Ravenhawk opened the door flap and took up the stone in his own antlers and placed it in the centre pile already in the circle, as he placed each of the following stones that Peter brought to the door, Ravenhawk said a short prayer and sprinkled ghost sage and a few drops of water on it along with a few pine needles.
By the time Peter had carried the last five stones to the door, the older boys were feeling decidedly hotter and their stomachs were now at a point where they wanted to rebel, Karl was the first to succumb to the needs of his heaving stomach, he was quickly followed by the others as the potion took full effect in the rising heat, Ravenhawk remained totally unaffected and just continued with the needed prayers as he placed the last stone, the lodge was now close to full heat.
When the boys were ready to come back the lodge was at its fullest temperature, Ravenhawk was sitting calmly in his place as they all came back inside, from now on it was all a matter of silence and self introspection, if they were to have a vision then this would be the likely time, it was only when Ravenhawk needed more stones that there was any other sound or movement inside the lodge.
Ravenhawk had told all four boys that if the heat got too much they could leave to refresh themselves, as he was used to the high heat of the sweat lodge he would stay until the end but they were free to come and go if things were too much for them.
It took little time for Ravenhawk to get to a state of being able to receive his vision, it was as though he had just stepped through an open door, his Grandfather's much younger looking Spirit was waiting for him, it was like greeting an older brother, around him Ravenhawk could feel and hear other spirits, some friendly and some not, his Grandfather's powerful Spirit kept him safe from the more hostile ones.
For Ravenhawk it was like taking a walk through a misty glade, everything was there but somehow had a faintly unreal feel about it all, his Grandfather's Spirit led him along a pathway of the between realms, he saw things that no one so young should have seen but he also was shown hope and a faint glimpse of possible futures.
The main answer he got was that everyone was to stay on the lands around the cabin, he was not to take them further South, this was the place that would be their home and the centre of the Green Stone Clan, it was here that others would come for help and protection, in time everyone would be told their place in Creator's scheme for renewal, for now it was Ravenhawk's duty to hold them all together, he was to be the lynch pin of the revival of The People and the teaching of respect for the Spirits and the Creator.
For Ravenhawk, time stood still, in the spirit world time was meaningless, he watched as the strong spirits of his three Uncles joined with them and they all walked through long waving grass and the spirits of long passed buffalo roamed in massive herds like there had once been on the natural plane, this was the first time Ravenhawk had been allowed to see the full world of the spirits that had passed on to this place of harmony.
Ravenhawk returned to the here and now, his vision was as complete as he was allowed to have it, on opening his eyes he saw and felt the cooler state of the sweat lodge, all the other boys were now outside talking around the remains of the stone warming fire.
Ravenhawk stretched his cramped legs and rose to his feet, he then went anticlockwise around the fire pit, stopping at each of the Gates to say a prayer of thanks, once he was back at the entrance door, he stooped and began to remove the once hot stones back outside for the keeper of the fire to carry away, the work of the sweat lodge was over, there remained on the final prayer of thanks to Creator for his many blessings and protection, with this done, Ravenhawk left the sweat lodge and closed the thick hide flap to join the others around the fire.
The boys had been discussing the strange things they thought they had seen, only Antonio had any small idea of what occurred the others all thinking what they experienced could not have been real, Ravenhawk could see he would have to try to explain more deeply about each of their visions.
There remained now only to close the ceremony which meant another full prayer of thanks to Creator, the undoing of the fire circle and for the other boys to leave through the Western gate as it was the symbol of ending.
Once all the boys had left to go back inside into the warmth of the cabin and the two smaller boys had joined them, Ravenhawk set about closing and larger circle of protection, with only Robert to tap out the beat, Ravenhawk danced in an anticlockwise direction to close the ceremony after which he gave a last prayer to the Earth Mother for the protection of the good Earth.
Ravenhawk finished all his prayers and the dance of closing; he, along with Robert then left to go back to the cabin nearby, it was time for all of them to rest and think over what they had experienced and how it could affect them in the future.
Once inside the cabin, the boys saw that, while Margret had not been included in the ceremony, she had spent most of her time cooking a huge meal for them to end their fasting with, it was a welcome sight for the empty and rumbling bellies around the table, little was discussed while they ate to make up for the three days without food.
It was approaching dusk by the time the meal was over, everyone was so full they had no intention of talking or moving much, Margret had the fire built up and the warmth plus the food soon had all the boys dozing where they sat, even Ravenhawk succumbed to the pleasant feelings, only the sound of dishes being washed disturbed the calm of the cabin as the boys dozed in peace.
The slight chill in the air plus a weight on his chest made Ravenhawk open his eyes, most of the cabin was in a dim light, a single small bulb glowed in one corner, opening his eyes he looked down and saw the sleeping figure of Antonio cuddled into his chest a thick blanket thrown over the two of them where they sat in one of the large chairs.
Dean and Karl were only a large lump under a sleeping bag on one of the sofas, in front of the fire and curled up under a buffalo hide were Peter and Little Bear, the smaller boy nestled in tightly to Peter and protected by the bigger boys tight hold, of Robert and Margret there was no sign or sound, Ravenhawk looked around d once more and concluded they could only be in one other place at this time of night.
Ravenhawk gave Antonio a slight nudge to wake him up, with a little murmur of annoyance at being woken from his sleep, Antonio opened his eyes and smiled up at the young face above him.
"Let's get to our bed, this chair will kill my back, I'm going to throw a couple more logs on the fire for the others then follow you."
Antonio groaned as he rose from the warm arms of his Warrior, he shuffled towards their bedroom, the blanket draped around his shoulders and his tousled hair showing like an unruly mop above it.
Ravenhawk tossed a few more logs on the fire and then dragged his feet towards the waiting bed which he hoped by now Antonio would have warmed up a little, it did not take much to strip off his breechclout and slide into bed beside the waiting boy, the adventures of the day had taken too much out of them and, apart from a long kiss they both quickly drifted back to sleep in each other's arms.
Breakfast next morning was a little subdued, the events of the previous day were still fresh in the minds of the boys and they still were not sure exactly what they had or had not seen, it was time for them to get together and talk it all over with Ravenhawk, he had to be the one that could clear everything up for them.
When breakfast had been eaten and the kitchen cleaned up by Antonio and the strangely ebullient Margret, the boys all sat around the fire, all except Robert, he wanted to start on his little work room and set up his tools and equipment so he could get started on the drilling of the small green stones from their collection.
Little Bear decided he wanted to be the object of Ravenhawk's attention today, he was quick to jump into the teens lap and curl up close as the others sorted themselves out around the fire, of course this meant that Peter had to sit close beside Ravenhawk's chair so he was not too far away from the smaller boy.
The talking went on well into the afternoon, each boy trying to work out if what they thought they saw was real and what it could mean for them, Ravenhawk told them that they would be performing the same ceremony from now on at the start of each season, he then explained why it was to be this way and what it would mean for them all in the long run, he also told them that he had been told they were to make this their home from now on although there was going to be a lot of hard work for them to all find their own place.
Once hidden talents now came to the fore front, Dean had always had an interest in design but had not been allowed to follow up on it by his parents, he now had a new start and could follow his heart, Karl had the desire to build and to experiment, Robert was happy to work the land and wanted children of his own, his blush indicated he might have already started in that direction with Margret.
Antonio declared all he wanted to do was look after his Warrior but the one thing they all agreed on and that was that Ravenhawk was to lead them even though he was younger than the others, they all agreed he seemed to understand things better than they did, it was unanimous, the Creator's plans were coming together.
The next morning Ravenhawk went out onto the front veranda, as he sat in one of the chairs he felt and then saw that the spring was starting, it was in the songs of the birds and the fresh smell of grass in the air, even the snow seemed to understand it was time to leave land as it was already showing signs of melting.
Ravenhawk thought it would soon be time to think about planting some sort of garden, he and the others could go out and hunt but there was a lot to do before all that could be done.
Ravenhawk began to think of what was needed if they were all going to stay around here, there would be a need for more accommodation, eight of them in one cabin was not good for privacy then there was the fact of the two younger ones, they would need some form of schooling as well as the possibility of more people joining them as time went on.
As Ravenhawk sat and though, the others were all doing their own thing, some just resting after the long fast before the ceremony, while others, like Dean and Karl, were making plans for the future just as Ravenhawk was doing.
Ravenhawk's first thought was for the defence of their home, if they were meant to stay here then they had to be able to protect it, that would mean everyone would have to be able to carry and use a weapon, Ravenhawk then set aside two days a week when everyone would practice, they had a large stock of weapons that were now stored in the trailer of the snow cat, he would have it moved up close to the house for ease of access.
Next was the schooling of the two younger boys, after talking it over with the others it was Margret that came up with an answer, she had the time and a little knowledge of teaching so she would take that over, much to the disappointment of the two little ones.
As he sat to let the warming spring sun heat up, Ravenhawk looked up when he heard a far off screech in the sky, as he searched he saw a large Golden Eagle flying towards the cabin clearing from the North, it was far too early to see one and so he knew this was a messenger, he watched silently as the great Eagle arrived far above the clearing where he sat.
Ravenhawk got to his feet and went outside onto the fresh growing grass to look up, he raised his right hand and in a clear voice called out to Eagle.
"Aho Wakan Tanka, we thank you for your blessings and protection, I will keep them safe and we will grow as you ask, this I swear under the eyes of our ancestors."
The Eagle screeched again and continued its circling clockwise above the cabin and its clearing until it had completed three circles, it then flew very low over Ravenhawk and extended its sharp talons before lifting high again and flying off to the South, for Ravenhawk the signs had been good, they were now fully under the protection of the Creator.
As he watched the Eagle fly away, he felt a presence behind him, before he could turn around he heard a soft lilting whisper of a young boys voice.
"Ravenhawk, can you tell me more about the two spirit boys?"
Ravenhawk smiled as he turned, those were the first words anyone had heard from Peter, he stood there with this head down and trying not to look embarrassed by speaking.
"Come with me; let's take a walk away from the cabin while the others are busy; where is your shadow, Little Bear?"
"He's in the shed with Robert doing the bead necklaces; I thought it would be a good time to talk to you."
"Never fear about time Peter, anytime you want to talk to me is a good time, now then what do you want to know?"
As the two walked further from the cabin, Peter seemed to gain confidence and his young voice grew stronger the more they talked.
"I know what it means to be two spirits but I don't know why you said they were special to the Creator, at school I saw some boys who liked other boys get very badly teased or bullied, if they were special, why didn't he protect them, why does everyone hate us." Peter suddenly seemed to realise what he had said and then corrected it immediately, "I mean them."
"Most time they are jealous, they don't know why but they feel like they are lacking something important, they then turn it into fear, you see most bullies are more afraid than they are strong, fear makes them do things that they would not normally do. Now it is known amongst most tribes that a person with only one spirit is not as strong as one with two, this goes for both girls and boys."
"So are there girls with two spirits as well?"
"Oh yes, just as many as there are boys, you see one spirit people know they do not have the power or protection of Wakan Tanka, there single spirit is not strong enough so they try to make those with two spirits come down to their level, that is their fear, they know they are weaker, not in muscle but in spiritual power."
"But I have seen news casts of boys being killed by the bullies or taking their own lives."
"Yes, that does happen, we like to think that it is Creators design for them, he has a far more important role for them to play in the spirit world but it is not really the answer to their problems of being accepted and that is the real worry, look at the Lakota, they despise most two spirit boys and yet many other tribes revere them for their closeness to the Creator, if you dig deeper you will see that those tribes that have embraced the perfection of Creator in his decision to create two spirit boys fare better than the Lakota, their lands are more fertile and their people welcome more openly those who are strangers, the Lakota close their doors and hide from Creators truth."
The two boys had continued walking through the trees, occasionally they heard the loud plop of snow falling from the high branches, apart from the far off twitter of birds, it was the only other sound, Ravenhawk was following a very small animal trail, it would have been invisible to anyone else but he felt it would lead to a small stream not too far away as most trails of that kind did.
They were soon in a narrow opening in the trees, there before them was a thin tinkling stream of melt water, it flowed over the stony bottom with little sounds like music, Peter had been silent for some time as he digested what Ravenhawk had told him so far, as he watched Ravenhawk clear snow from a large flat boulder by the edge of the small stream, he got up the courage to ask him something else.
"I still don't understand why the one spirit people were so bad to us...them?"
"What would you think if you saw something that was seen as perfection in the eyes of God?"
"Well...uhm... maybe I would want it for myself."
"Yes, and that's it, those who were of one spirit not only were they fearful of the two spirit boys, they wanted to be like them but did not have the courage or feeling to be like that so they felt it was better to destroy instead of learn, it was fear and jealousy, they knew they would never be close to the Creator like those who had been chosen to have two spirits, they knew they were not complete and so they tried to destroy what they could not be or have. It is always fear that drives those who cannot understand, once you know this then you can be the person that Creator meant you to be."
The two boys sat quietly by the small stream, as he watched Ravenhawk's face, Peter saw a strange glassiness come over the older teens eyes, he sat silently and watched as Ravenhawk sat immobile on the cold flat rock and the soft sound of the small stream tinkled nearby.
It was only minutes later that Ravenhawk's eyes seemed to clear, it was as though a mist had risen from the ground and everything could once again be seen clearly, Ravenhawk looked at the young face of Peter.
"Do you want a small adventure?"
"OK, take off your boots and go for a paddle in the stream, while you are in there look for five stones that you like, when you find them bring them here and we can look at them together and i will tell you a story about them."
Peter began to take his heavy snow boots off, he shivered inside as he knew that the stream was going to be frigidly cold but he liked the idea of an adventure even if it was just to collect some stones from the bottom of the stream, it sounded like a fun thing to do at the time.
Ravenhawk watched as Peter removed his boots and socks, as the boy slowly stepped into the frigid water he couldn't help smiling at the small yelp that came from finding out just how cold the water was, Ravenhawk took a small pouch of tobacco from his jacket pocket, as Peter searched for some stones he took a little out and sprinkled it on the water as he said a prayer of thanks to the water guardian.
It was not long before Peter stooped down and took something from the stream bed, as he moved further along he reached for four more stones, when he had five Peter decided the water was just too cold and jumped up onto the bank and ran back to where Ravenhawk sat waiting for him, his feet were as cold as ice and he was starting to shiver as he sat down next to Ravenhawk.
Ravenhawk smiled at him as he reached for his socks and boots.
"Wait." Ravenhawk said as he reached for two of the socks and put them on his own hands, like all of them Peter had worn two pairs of socks in his boots.
"Turn around here and put your feet up on my thigh so I can warm them for you first."
Peter did as he was asked and as soon as Ravenhawk began to dry and rub warmth into his frozen feet he sighed with satisfaction, in his hands he grasped the five stones he had picked up.
"So what did you find in your frozen adventure?' Ravenhawk asked him with a smile.
Peter opened his hand and showed Ravenhawk the five bright red stones, one was larger than the rest and was oval shaped and polished by the tumbling of the stream, the other four were roughly round and also polished to a bright shiny red, he watched as Ravenhawk continued to rub and warm his feet and legs.
"You are truly lucky Peter, those are special spirit stones."
"They are? There were only five of them, all the rest of the stones were just ordinary grey ones; these were the only red ones I could see so I picked them."
"Good, let me tell you the story about them, it is said that the red stones are the blood of the Earth Mother, when the white man came he began to cut and turn the soil looking for wealth and each cut caused the Earth Mother to bleed, as the drops of blood fell back to the earth they turned into red stones so that whenever one of The People saw it they would know about the sacrifice she made, in each stone she placed part of her spirit so that we, The People would know to pay respect to her for her sacrifice."
"Yes really, that is why only the Medicine Elders wore necklaces made with red stones, it not only marked them as Elders but also let The People know that the Elder was protected by the Earth Mother and that he would protect her in return, now what are you going to do with your stones?"
"I don't know, perhaps I will give them to my brother, he can make something nice with them."
"That's a good idea, now your feet are warm and it's time we went back or they will come looking for us."
Ravenhawk waited while Peter put his socks and boots back on, he then led them back through the dense trees to the cabin clearing, to all intent and purposes they seemed to have not been missed, little did Peter know they had been away for more than two hours, it was only a few hours until sundown and there was the damp feeling of rain in the air, the first of the spring rains was on its way.
Robert had finally finished setting up his workroom, he had the generator working nicely and on the long bench he had set up the new drill and the small cutting wheel along with the old fashioned polishing tumbler he had found in the back room of the jewellery store, he was now set up for his hobby, there was now only the small fish tank water pump to set up to keep the drill bit cool, beside him Little Bear was setting out the last of the green stones for the necklaces, it was the one he had made for Ravenhawk.
Robert noted that this one was shorter than the rest, the stones for each necklace had been put into a small plastic bag and the person's name written on it, Little Bear had been very particular about each one, now Robert noticed the little boy had stopped and was just staring at the small pile of green stones, he seemed perturbed about them, there were still plenty of the green stones in the wooden box.
"What's the matter Little Bear?"
Little bear looked up at Robert as though he should have known the answer but replied anyhow.
"There's not enough stones for Poppa Raven's necklace."
"Yes there are, look the box is still nearly full."
"No, they aren't the right ones, Poppa Raven has special stones, not just green ones, green ones are for other people not Poppa Raven."
"What other stones do you want then?"
"I'm not sure but they have to be mummy stones."
"I don't think I have ever heard of mummy stones before, I know hundreds of different types of stones but I have never heard of those ones."
"They will come you wait and see, Poppa Raven has to have mummy stones."
Robert decided it best to not cause any trouble by arguing that no stone like that existed, it was better to let the little boy believe what he thought was right than to cause him any grief, Robert patted Little Bear on the shoulder and smiled at him.
"I'm sure you're right Little Bear, let's wait and see what turns up."
Little Bear happily turned back to his box of green stones and began to lay out more plastic packets, each with a certain number and size of stones in them, Robert thought better than to ask why he was doing so many, perhaps the boy was just happy playing with them all, only Ravenhawk's stones sat by themselves as though waiting for Little Bears ‘mummy stones'
They had all been sitting by the fire after a big dinner when they heard the bright happy voice of Little Bear almost screech with delight, he and Peter had been sitting by themselves off to one side, Peter had decided to show Little Bear his special stones that he had collected that afternoon, Little Bear's reaction had come as a shock to Peter as the little boy jumped around clapping his hands and smiling widely.
"You got them, you got them, hooray, you got the mummy stones, now Poppa Raven can have a real necklace."
Peter could not believe his ears, only today he had been told about the story of the red stones and yet, here was Little Bear knowing all the time about them even though he called them ‘mummy stones' and not spirit stones, something inside Peter suddenly seemed to make sense, now he knew why he was pulled to protect the little boy like more than a brother, when they were both old enough, Peter knew they would be together forever, he had found his place in Creators perfection.
Robert looked at the puzzled faces of the others around the fire, with a shrug he began to tell them about the afternoon and what Little Bear had told him, only Ravenhawk seemed unsurprised by the latest events, it was almost as though he knew it was all going to happen.
CONTACT AUTHOR: Artcart65@gmail.com