The Chase Begins
Morning came on the day that would be a very significant one for us all. I woke early realizing I had been dreaming. All I could remember was I saw Redeemers and they were chanting a song. The only words I remembered were, “Through the graves the wind is blowing.” There were more but they eluded me. Had I heard this song somewhere before? The answer to that question also eluded me. I hear Grigori's word not to fear and spent a moment repeating this in my mind.
My sisters stirred about the same time I did. We could see that Grigori and Ira were already up and had prepare hot morning beverages for us all. Pythia was still asleep. We got up and joined Grigori and Ira at the fire and they gave us drink. We talked a while about how beautiful a place this was. We all seemed to know that any serious talk must wait until Pythia joined us. About a half hour later Pythia did get up only throwing a cloak over her otherwise naked body. We all wished her good day as she sat down with us.
We sat in silence for the most part when suddenly a crow flew down and landed on Ira's shoulder and began cawing and walking across his arms. This crows eyes were a striking yellow color. In a few moments the crow stopped cawing and flew off.
No ones except my sisters and I seemed at all alarmed at this as Pythia asked Ira, “What did he say Ira?”
Pointing to the sky Ira said, “Look.” They all looked up and saw a flock of birds circling a ways off to the south. “Crow told me that there are people and horses heading this way. I suggest we gather some things and hide among the trees. It may be another advanced group of Alexanders soldiers. Best to be prepared.”
It was not until later we learned that the Indian seers call Ira “Frater Avem” because they have seen him in their visions and are told that is his name. It is strange because the name is not of their language and it means “Brother Bird” because one of Ira's gifts is being able to talk to the birds. It is mostly the Indians who call him this but we have all learned to trust what the birds tell him.
We all rallied and soon we were dressed, Pythia and Grigori with their knives on. Ira had his coup stick and we grabbed our staffs. We mounted our horses without saddling them and headed into the woods following Grigori.
He led us quietly to a position off the trail to come up behind them. We were all relived to know it was Gawonii and the five other Chindi, our escorts. Gawonii stopped and called out asking who was there. Grigori led us up to him and he welcomed hem saying that they had not been expected until later in the morning.
Gawonii said, “We have news and decided to leave well before dawn when it was still dark to get to you early. Let's go to your camp and we will talk more there.”
We all followed Grigori as he led us back to Meadow Cave Camp. When Gawonii dismounted he grabbed a saddlebag from his mount. We all dismounted and sat down together in the center of the camp while Gawonii remained standing. Reaching into the bag he pulled out some papers. He continued talking.
“Yesterday just after you left a vehicle arrived in camp. They had these for one thing. These are personal letters from Genesis for Sadie and Tess. The other papers are instructions on how to use a new drug that Tiller Griffin has developed for us to have in our struggle with Alexander. We think this could be a game changer when used properly. Also he sent a few dozen small communication devices he developed. He has defiantly not been idle since you left.”
Gawonii handed the letters to Sadie and as she sorted them, giving Tess hers, Gawonii handed the other papers to one of his fellows, then retrieved more items from his bag. Gawonii sat down with the rest.
“First I have some disturbing news to relate. It seems that our new friend Iggy went to Alexander's army to help us as suggested. I has been reported that he has been killed by Alexander's orders at the hands of his warriors. It is said Alexander is very furious that we have captured and turned his people. It is also now reported that he is aware of who Sadie is and he has put a high price on capturing her on the way to Genesis. The violence that we all wished could be somehow avoided is now a very substantial certainty. We must be much more careful and aware with this in the forefront of our minds. Alexander has expanded his war rhetoric and increased the aggressiveness of his warriors. They will not be as easily overcome as before. That is why what I have here came at the opportune time. It may help.”
We learned that Iggy was a soldier of Alexander's captured by the Chindi that Pythia and Tess used the Sacred Fire on and he then agreed to become a spy and infiltrate Alexander's army for her. This news obviously effect Pythia greatly.
Gawonii then showed and told us about a new drug that Tess's father Griffin had made to help in the struggle when meeting Alexander's soldiers. He was very technical but the basics of what we understood was this. It was a drug they called Devil's Dust. It induces a state of twilight sleep and amnesia. We thought it sounded much like what happens when we use the Glamour. The purpose was to use it to capture and transport soldiers with less trouble from them. The effect wear off in a few hours. He also had devices to use to administer this Devil's Dust one dose at a time. Gawonii said the main danger was getting close enough to use it and not be effected one's self. As indicated in the name it is a dust that must be inhaled. Before this the warrior had darts to use with another drug for this purpose but they left people unconscious and much harder to deal with. He said Griffin had sent only a few dozen of the devices but there was plenty of the drug to refill them.
He also produced a bag of new communication devices that Griffin had created especially for he and his fellow Chindi and for us. They were called radio communicators. They were small and charged by the movement of your body and shared what he called “a special frequency” They had to teach my sister and I how to use this tool because we had never seen a thing like it. After this and more while talking we knew that Genesis must indeed be a wondrous place!
Gawonii also told them that moving of the Wold (that is what the place we first met Pythia is called) camps and the evacuation of most the people in New Eden was well underway. We had heard mention of this New Eden and knew that was where we were going soon. He told that when Alexander arrives in New Eden he will find an empty city. He said it had been decided to allow him take things to add to his supplies but everyone believes he will not stay there long and will continue as fast as possible to Genesis. The Confederacy of Tribes (the Indians) would hide the residents of New Eden in the forest north of there and Alexander will be heading south with the Guild and the tribal warriors close behind. He was hoping many of Alexanders warriors will be taken out of the fight before reaching New Eden, New Hope, and Genesis. New Hope is another city we went to on the way to Genesis where they did the same as in New Eden. After we reached New Eden Gawonii and our other escorts left us and fought with the other warriors.
We decided to eat and while we did so Gawonii and Grigori spoke of other plans while Pythia and Tess read their letters from home. It was during this time that Pythia went into a trance which concerned everyone. When she came out of it she told everyone that she had a vision of Alexander seeking her as Gawonii had said. She said that she did not know when or where but she was destined to be face to face with Alexanders soon.
The resolve of the group was to keep close accounting of her while scouring the woods was intensified. She also asked at the time an unusual request that we did not understand until much later. She told us to watch for a cougar and if seen to tell her and not to harm it in any way.
Gawonii took a few minutes showing us all how to use the new devices Griffin sent and the radios. He also told more detail about the death of Iggy. Iggy was left in an open area to be found by someone even though there were spies who observed the whole incident. It was a message. Alexander has no plan for keeping captives for any reason. He also has no need to try and conceal himself because he is sure he will be victorious against any opposition on his way to his goal, Genesis. To him capture was not an option to contemplate.
After further conversation it was decided to break down Meadow Cave Camp entirely and for the next while each person's horses would be their home base. This was done quickly and soon. It was decided that we would continue to use the trail and go until it connected to the main road near a place they called Post Falls. I was there there they believed we would encounter scouts of or even the full force of Alexander's warriors. It was decided that when they came to the place where these two roads meet we would to split apart putting at least a hundred yards between each of us with the Chindi being on the outside edges. This would created a large search parameter and with the new radios to use people could respond to a call for help fairly swiftly. Gawonii reported to the warriors ahead of their plan and whereabouts using another Griffin radio with a different frequency. After leaving Meadow Cave Camp it is very soon that we came to the place where the roads met.
We all split up and began to move slowly through the forest. My sisters and I kept contact via our mental connection but for some reason when reaching out to Pythia we could not hear he thoughts. We were not comfortable with these radios but we could hear others using them checking in saying they were fine. Grigori came on the radio and said he thought it would be good for everyone to rest in place for the night, eat and graze and rest their horses. In the morning they could all regroup before continuing on. We felt blessed that this was a full moon and did a moon ritual in our minds because we were not together to preform one as usual. After we stopped and did as Grigori said we all went to sleep until it was Grigori on the radio again telling everyone to wake up. It was now morning.
We all prepared and Grigori again came on the radio. He said that two miles south of where we were was an old forest road that was still usable but overgrown. He said that everyone should find it and follow it east until they came upon him. He said he had gotten up much earlier and was already on that road waiting. We all were anxious and again followed Grigori's instructions.
We rode down the road for a while when we hear noise from the wood. It was Pythia. We rode on saying nothing and again a noise. It was Tess who also joined us. The morning ride was fairly short and we came upon Grigori standing with Ira, Gawonii and the Chindi who were the first to meet him. We dismounted and joined them. We all sat down letting the horses graze. Grigori told us a number of things at this point. He said that Gawonii has received word from the message senders that Alexander's army is just a half days ride from us and that a small group of his warriors had broken off from the main army and would be here sooner perhaps only a few hours until the advanced group reached the treeline. He said we had choices to make. We could stay together and meet them or we could continue east with them in pursuit. He said his vote was to make a stand but deferred the decision to Pythia.
An unspoken thought was the knowledge that this stand may necessitate violence. I decided to speak.
“We have been taught many things and sometimes these teachings may seem in opposition to one another. We believe all life is sacred and that even a rock has the same life force as any animal or human. But because we and our ancestors have also been taught that survival is imperative we have come to an understanding that justifies killing in certain circumstance. Grigori understands this as he too has adopted many of our ways. We believe that life and spirit never truly can be destroyed but simply changes form. We believe that the cause of saving Genesis against the desires of this man who wishes to take control of it to be a just one. Our teachers have charge us with the task to use whatever means possible to protect Pythia and Genesis. Our fates are intertwined by the Goddess and God we pray to. We will do our best to harm none but if need be we will fight aggressively. We have done so before. There are those who have tried to also subjugate our temples and people and so far none have been successful.”
“Thank you Aja. I have not told my friends the full extent of my association with the Desert Daughters. That time and conversation is drawing near but not today. The people of Genesis are wise and the Guild are very competent in their mandate to connect with the world and people beyond Genesis. But they too have much to learn. I wish to teach them about your people and others I have grown to know. Because of my own reasons I have not been as cautious as them in my wanderings. I am a watcher and a witness. My teachers have entrusted me as such. In this role I have seen many acts of violence. I have watched people die and I have killed. Genesis is a very unique place and people compared to others. I see the wisdom of saving it because I believe it holds the great hope for the world. They have this desire for peace but their scope is limited even after these many years since the old world was destroyed and transformed. But now is the time to open the eyes of those who have not seen. The world and its survivors are so much more vast than any society has yet imagined. I am not wise enough to understand why these veils have stood between people but I do know this veil is swiftly falling. The signs are clear. It is not just us who are moving or Alexander but there is stirring of people Pythia has yet to encounter. Like I said I am prepared to engage Alexander's army. But still it is Pythia's choice. I have thought about the various choices and have a plan for each.”
Again Pythia spoke.
“To be honest I feel uncomfortable being the one to decide these matters but I know it is my place to do so. Unlike most of you here I have little knowledge as to how an army works. I have read about war but never dreamed I would be involved in one. I have been learning but I am still a novice with such things. As a leader I know that listening to those with more experience is the first step to come to a conclusion as to what seems best. That said I am prepared to listen to the guidance of Chi as my final arbiter. My trust in him has grown deeply over this last year. I am open to any suggestions any of you may have and I will make a decision quickly after hearing whatever anyone has to say. Sitting here now is the opportunity for all to speak. All voices are valid. I wish to start with Gawonii and going around this circle allowing everyone some time to speak. What do you think Gawonii?”
“I am in agreement with Chi that we stay very close to each other at this time. I also am willing to make a stand today against the warriors approaching. Soon they will be in the tress and will be harder for us to keep track of without being very close to them. It will be a test of our resolve and coordinating an encounter is a priority. If we are successful we may be able to save lives of those who are nearer to New Eden before the main army arrives.”
Next the rest of the Chindi were sitting together. A woman among them who was a guild member said the Chindi had spoke about this before. Her name was Miranda but the Guild called her Little Mouse. She said she was chosen before to speak for the Chindi chosen to follow Gawonii on this mission if need be. She said that they were in agreement with Gawonii and they have been ready for a war footing since the day they were chosen to accompany Pythia.
I spoke next saying my sisters and I were also prepared to make a stand and that we would listen to Grigori for details of any plan. I also mentioned that we had talents for this fight if need be and would use their best judgment in any situation. I then requested that the three of us be allowed to stay together while protecting Pythia.
It was now Ira's turn to speak.
“Being born in Genesis I was raised with its values. But over this last year I have learned the ways of the Guild and the Apsaalooke. I have never been tested in regard to actually killing anyone but I do believe to protect my love Sadie and my friend Tess I would not hesitate. It has always been my mission to protect them. As I learn more about their unique positions and Sadie's as a leader and wise woman with a mission to guide all of us into a new future, my mission has taken on new significance. Discovering gifts that I too have been given, this new future is abundant with possibilities and I want to see it. But my life is a small price to pay to realize this new future and world for Genesis and everyone else who will go there. I trust every person here with this life I have. I hope you trust me also. As Sadie has told us many times the future is in our hands. While we can dream of what we may see as a perfect world it is true that it is not yet ours to hold. My head may be in the clouds but I know my feet are on the ground. A friend once told me that he read in a book that there was no greater act of love than for a man to give his life to save another. When it comes to love, my love for Sadie and Tess has no rivals. I will stand if need be. I too have grown to trust Chi as Sadie has and I will defer to him in this time of war.”
“All I can say is I still cannot see myself killing under any circumstance. I do appreciate that others have said they would for the mission but I cannot. I will use any means I know short of that to protect all but that ultimate act I will not, I cannot. I will pray that choice never comes to us. I must consult my teacher when able but in the past he has indicated that the dangers that are waiting shall not touch me. I have to believe him. Without this belief fear would rule me. His teachings have been always about the power I have not to fear. So I feel fearless. I will stand with you all if that is the chosen action but as I have said I will not take the life of another under any circumstance.”
“Thank you all. It appears the decision to stand our ground here and now has been decided. Unlike Tess I am not fearless. But after hearing what has been said my fear has been taken down many levels. So this is what I have concluded. Chi and Gawonii are our best leaders for such a fight and I wish for us to talk some more about plans as we go from here.”
Gawonii said little an it was Grigori that did most of the speaking. It was midday and Grigori repeated that theses scouts were near us. He said he believed they were on the main old highway south of us and that we should go there to meet them. He gave permission for my sisters and I to travel together. He would travel with Pythia, Tess and Ira and Gawonii and the Chindi would travel together. He said to keep close at hand and use the radios Griffin had sent if needed. He told use to travel quietly, evoid any engagement with the larger army and if we did fight the scout group after to head east toward New Eden and we would regroup. He instructed us to hide in the trees along the sides of the road and wait for them to appear. He said to use the trees to out advantage and to draw them into the woods for any fight and it was unwise to engage them on the open road because of their guns. He said to not engage them unless it seemed they wanted to. It would be wonderful if they had been instructed not to engage us because we did not know how that would play out. Even though their number was small they were powerful. If engagement did happen we were to use our best tools and judgment. Grigori asked if we were ready and saying yes we all mounted the horses and headed to the next road south.
It was not long until we found that road. The Chindi were to the west of us and Pythia and Grigori to the west. Although we had what seemed a simple plan what happened next was rather chaotic. The soldiers had split into two groups about a hundred yards apart and entered the woods. For what ever reason the Chindi decided to engage the further west group beginning spilling on to the road and back again. We heard this happening but not with radio contact for a warning. Also we heard the sound of their guns firing. We did not think much and took off to help. When we arrived we saw that all the fighters had dismounted and were fighting by hand.
Communicating telepathically my sisters and I pulled out our wands from their saddle holds and focused on one soldier in particular on the road nearby. We began to circle him with our horses and beat him with our staffs. Once her was curled up on the ground protecting himself we pointed our wands at him and projected bolts of a blue lightning like energy at him. He was dead. We had never killed anyone before and at the time we did not think about how or what we had done. Pythia, Grigori and Ira road up just at this moment. We did not wait but dismounted and ran into the woods to continued to see how we could help the Chindi fight the enemy. Pythia and her group did the same and followed us.
The enemy was firing their guns but fortunately in the chaos their aim was poor and did not hit anyone with their bullets. We had not effected damage on them except the one we killed on the road. The Chindi never had the opportunity to use the Devil's Dust. Grigori's voice came over the radio and told us to stay close to our groups and scatter into the wood and head east. The guns were the deciding factor. He said to hide and avoid the enemy as best we could and we all would regroup when it got darker. He told us to continue on in general heading east. It could be at least five more hours until we could regroup. Immediately we used the Glamour and like chameleons we blended into the scenery. The enemy followed us for an hour and then for unknown reasons stopped and returned back down the road to the west. A few hours later Grigori came on the radio again saying that another hour's march we would come upon a steep mountain river and a bridge. It was there, he told us, would be a good gathering place if we no longer felt we were being followed.
We stayed in the Glamour and eventually we arrived at the bridge the same right after the Chindi had. At first we did not see Ira but soon he appeared and we knew he had been Glamoured. We did not know why or how this had happened. But we were aware that Pythia, Tess and Grigori were not there. Ira was visibly shaken and reaching into his mind we were aware of some of what had just happened to him. He began to to tell us an amazing and alarming tale. We were not as alarmed as the Chindi.
He told how Pythia had had went for a walk up river and at first Grigori and he did not know she was gone. Then his yellow eyed crow came to him and landing on his shoulder told him that Pythia had seen two unknown people in the wood and was in trouble. They jumped up following the crow as it flew up river.
He said what next happened very quickly. They arrived to find Pythia facing two men. At first the three were just looking at each other. Pythia screamed and pulled out her knife as one man lunged toward her and the cougar. Pythia thrust the blade into the man's chest. As he was falling backward the other man changed before their eyes into a cougar, turned and faced the wounded man.
Pythia seemed frozen as Grigori and he ran to her. Grigori touched him and he realized he was felt something very different about himself. Grigori exhibited massive strength and grabbed Pythia up with his arm and turning ran toward Tess and grabbed her with the other. Without stopping he ran toward a tree nearby that was the two trucked and he watched as Grirori jumped between the trunks and they were gone from sight, leaving him alone with the man and the cougar. The man and the cougar stared at each other for a couple of minutes and the cougar ran off into the woods. The man then stumbled back turning then disappearing into the woods.
Tess too was frozen in place. Ira ran toward Sadie. Just as he was reaching her Chi also arrived. Chi reached out and touched Ira and suddenly he disappeared from sight. Chi exhibited massive strength and grabbed Sadie up with his arm and turning ran toward Tess and grabbed her with the other. Without stopping he ran toward a tree nearby that was the two trucked one Sadie had seen in her vision. Chi jumped between the trunks and they were gone from sight, leaving only Alexander and the cougar. Alexander and the cougar stared at each other for a couple of minutes and the cougar ran off into the woods. Alexander then stumbled back the way they had come also disappearing into the woods.
Ira said he was in total confusion and did nothing for a few moments as he watched them both recede back into the forest. They seemed to pay no attention to him. Not sure what to do he went back down river to the bridge. When he got there he said he was still very confused and the adrenaline was rushing through him. He sat down to assess his situation. He does not know how long he sat but the next thing that happened was we and the Chindi arrived. Realizing he had been invisible he did not let that stop him intelling us what had happened.
I spoke to him telling him what I knew was happening briefly. I told him how Grigori shared the power of Glamouring like we do and that Grigori must have done this to hide and protect him. As far as the tree and disappearing it was Grigori bending time and space that we did not fully understand. I said that he must not worry and trust that Pythia and Tess were safe with Grigori. In an uncharacteristic way I suggested we should continue east as Grigori had planned as quickly as possible and he would join us soon I was certain. They all found this plan sound and gathering the horses we left the bridge and river. It was decided by Ira that we should take Pythia, Tess and Grigori's horses with us.
Through the graves the wind is blowing
Gawonii, meaning “he is speaking”
Frater Avem That is my spirit name and the birds are to be my helpers. Bird Brother
Ari Adra: She later told them it was an ancient prayer to her creator which roughly translated as, “Oh Great Spirit, who dwells in every object, in every creature, in every person and in every place, I call out to you, in humble thankfulness, to come from the far places to guide my ways.”
“This is well. I have been less that fully honest with you. I have a secret that I have told no one but it is important that you here now know it. When I began my twentieth year an older woman came to me one day. Her name is Tiponi which means child of importance. Tiponi is a seer and I became her student. This relationship has been hidden from everyone including other seers. Great Spirit has many names and appears in many forms. She told me that Great Spirit in the form of Isaahkawuattee, Old Man Coyote, came to her in a dream and told her that she was to come to me and that I too was a seer and she was to teach me. Isaahkawuattee told her to keep this a secret and in time he would lets us know the manner and to whom this secret was to be revealed. Isaahkawuattee came to us both in our visions a week before you came to the village and said that I was to to go with Pythia. So I am so blessed that you have welcomed me into your fold. Creator has given me some gifts that I will reveal as time allows that I am told will be helpful to you. But for now I wish to tell you another tale of importance.
There was a time that the Apsaalooke were bitter enemies of both the Thithuŋwaŋ, known to you perhaps as the Lakota Sioux and Suhtai, known to you as the Cheyenne. There came a time when we all made peace and smoked the sacred pipe that was given to the Thithuŋwaŋ by White Buffalo Calf Woman. The smoking of the pipe is at the center of all that is sacred to the tribes of the confederacy. Each tribe has a keeper of the sacred pipe. The seven sacred ceremonies are preformed often to remind the people of our place in creation and our duties. Isaahkawuattee came to me and Tiponi a few years ago and gave us a list of instructions to build a pipe that I was to use to smoke sacred herbs in which he also told us to gather and mix. Since then I have done ceremony with my sacred pipe weekly and I was told to bring it with me to meet you and offer you to smoke with me to solidify our alliance. The seers know that those you call the Gatekeepers have similar rituals and that you have engaged in them. The herbs in the sacred pipe will send us together on a vision quest for a short time. It is my understanding is that the spirits of the herbs of my pipe are not as powerful as those of your Gatekeepers but they are sufficient for our purpose today and serve me well in my work. If you all agree I will go down and inform Mani that we request that Mani instruct others to not disturb us and that we will return before dusk.”