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 In the Beginning

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Posts : 325
Join date : 2013-10-28
Location : Texas

PostSubject: In the Beginning   Tue 10 Jun 2014, 23:06

Sarah cradled her newborn child delicately as she rocked him, moving slowly so that the old chair's creaking joints wouldn't wake him. Her husband was splayed out across the small bed a few short paces away. He had gone to sleep hours ago, bone-tired from a long day of field work. The small family had stayed here for the past few months, after the farmer's wife had insisted that a woman should not be traveling this late in her pregnancy. In return, her husband Eagon had offered to help out on the farm every way he could. Now that the child was born, Sarah was not sure how long they would be staying. Eagon was afflicted with a irascible wanderlust, and she imagined that the baby wouldn't be talking before they were on their way again...
A slow, insistent thumping on the cabin entryway distracted Sarah from her thoughts, who instinctively pulled her newborn tighter as she rose to answer the door. Before she could cross the small, rude room of their cabin, the wooden door flew open, hinges squealing as if in protest as an Indian woman stepped through the frame. Illuminated by the light of the near-full moon, the intruder wore a short dress sewn from deerskin with a bright multicolored blanket draped across her shoulders. Her hair flowed down her back, red streaks interspersed among the jet black. Sarah recognized the woman as once; it was none other than her sister, Seek-by-Starlight. The two looked at each other without alarm or surprise; both knew the reason for the visitation. Eagon made a gurgle in his slumber and turned to lay on his back, but otherwise did not respond. The advancing woman stood in front of the mother and child, and stated in the Comanche tongue,
“Let us see him, Sihu.”
Sarah stared back at her sister, and after only the briefest hesitation, handed over her child. Seek-by-Starlight smiled down at the little boy, then turned and walked out the door, her pace quick and insistent.
Sarah followed after her into the night, as quickly as her labor-weakened body would allow. She spotted her sister taking her child away from the homestead, into a large grove of trees some beyond the edge of the newly cleared fields. After venturing through the dense foliage, a clearing appeared, sheltered by the reaching branches of the mighty oaks. In the center was a pool of pure water, reflecting the rays of the near full moon on it's rippled surface. Seek-by-Starlight stood flanked by two monstrous forms of both man and wolf, who stood silent and focused, their lambent eyes fixed on the baby. Upon seeing them Sarah stopped short; this was not the first time she had seen these sorts of things. Her former tribe enacted intricate and mystifying rites she didn't always understand, yet she still did not feel anxious even now.Breaking the silence, the three Comanche began to chant, not in their own language, but in what Sarah recognized as the words of the spirits.

Great Uktena. Show us if this one is to serve you firsthand. Tell us when it will be time for him to fulfill your will, to serve the Great Mother alongside the Pure.

Once she had finished her incantation she held out the infant over the shimmering waters. A snake rose out of the pool and coiled upwards in the air until it reached the baby. Sarah wanted to cry out, but she realized this was no ordinary serpent- it was a spirit. The Uktena's iridescent scales caught the moon's light and refracted it as a rainbow. It brought its face right in front of the child's, a forked tongue reaching out and lightly touching his nose. Little Eaton floundered and wailed in Seek-by-Starlight's arms as the eerie snake proceeded to sway in the water, slurring out sibilant words that Sarah could not understand. Sarah's curiosity was replaced by instinctive fear, and she shouted at the gathered Garou to stop the ritual. The two wolf-men turned and glowered at the approaching human woman, one of them uttering a low menacing snarl as they arched their backs. Behind them, the spirit made a high pitched hiss as it dispersed into a silver mist, lightly showering the infant. The pool dried instantly, leaving behind a parched depression in the clearing.
“Leave her be.” Seek-by-Starlight called above the mighty growls, “Gaia has given us another to strike against the wyrmbringers.”
The two crinos-garbed werewolves ceased their threatening poses as they lifted up their voices to the near-full moon, singing their thanks and praise to the Great Mother. The ritemaster turned and faced Sarah, handing the child back as Sarah clutched at her son, who, for his part, had stopped squirming and resumed his deep sleep, his cherubic face as calm as ever.
“They are congratulating you.” Seek-by-Starlight said in the Comanche tongue, her gaze lingering upon the gibbous moon, “One day he will fight to keep our lands, to protect them from those who try to defile it. You must prepare him for that day.”
Sarah said nothing. an uncertain look on her face as she gently rocked Eaton back and forth. Seek-by-Starlight took notice and continued, “Do not think you can protect him from his destiny. It is his calling to serve Gaia alongside his tribe. This is your duty to your people; one that you must never forfeit, no matter where you go.”
Sarah looked up from her child, and stared back at her sister for a few moments before nodding solemnly. “I wanted to protect him from the strife of the Comanche, sister. I did not want my children to be born into war and death.” She gazed back her baby, still sound asleep, her face lined with worry.
“You do not have a choice in the matter.” Seek-by-Starlight shook her head sadly. “Your son was born a warrior; one day he will kill. If you withhold him from us, you will ensure only that he kills for himself, not the Great Mother.”
Sarah glared at her sister for a moment. “How can you know that?”
“The Uktena told me. It said that your boy will be a visionary, that his rage will burn hot, and that he will rally many to war.” Seek-by-Starlight smiled, but it was not happy. It was the grim smile of fatality. “The Uktena never lie, Sihu. It will be so.”
Tears welled in Sarah's eyes. “So be it- if he must fight alongside your kind, I will not stand in the way.”
Seek-by-Starlight smiled at her sister. “The spirits will tell us when his time has come. We trust you will care for him until we can retrieve him.” She stepped forward to place her hand on the infant affectionately as she said this, but Sarah pulled the sleeping child back out of reach, tears running down her cheeks.
“You can have him when the time comes, not before. Good to see you again, sister.”
Seek-in-Starlight's stern appearance faltered, but she said nothing as a look of unspoken grief darkened her face. She gave one last long look at her sister and nephew before each visitor's form dissolved into the shape of a large wolf and they disappeared into the night. Sarah watched them leave as she heard the sound of snapping twigs coming the opposite direction.
“ . . .Sarah?” He heard her husband's voice call out. She turned around to see him stumble into the clearing. His feet were bare with his white shirt hanging loosely on him, while he stared at his wife and child in confusion. Sarah walked forward toward him as he continued, “I heard the howls and seein' that you and the baby were gone . . .”
“We're fine, Eagon. We're both fine.” Sarah assured, glancing back to where her former family had disappeared, “My sister wanted to visit, along with some other members of my old tribe. They wanted to see our baby.”
Still blinking away the sleep, Eagon pushed his wild red hair out of his eyes and stared at his wife, “Wait, what? Now? They couldn't wait until mornin'? You shouldn't be out like this!” He wrapped his arm around his wife and started to hustle her back to the cabin.
“It is alright, Eagon. They had to do it under the moon- this moon. The same one he was born under.” Sarah replied in a trembling voice as Eagon frowned. He gave a sardonic laugh and made a few passes with his free hand, “Lemme guess: they wanted to some hoodoo involving the baby?”
Sarah looked down at their child, still blissfully sleeping. No longer able to control herself she burst into tears, burying her face in Eaton's blanket. Eagon maneuvered in front of her and placed both his hands on her quivering shoulders,
“Hey hey, what's wrong? What did they say?”
“They . . . they're going to take him from us.” Sarah cried, still avoiding his eyes, “When he's older. They're going to make him fight for them! I . . . I just can't imagine . . .”
“Shh.” Eagon soothed, placing his hand on her chin, “We ain't gonna let that happen. He's our child and I don't care of some chief a hundred miles away thinks otherwise.” A small smile appeared as he continued, “I've been thinking- let's head back east. We'll stay away from Comanche territory altogether. Heck, they'll probably forget about us. Outta sight, outta mind.”
“I don't know if it will be enough.” Sarah choked, a single tear sliding down her face, “The Comanche won't just forget; they never truly let me leave, you know that.”
“You kinda go along with it, though, Sarah- why'd you wander out into the night rather than waking me up? If'n they bother you so much, I'd have sent those Injuns packing...” He looked at her, his eyes mistrustful and worried. “Part of me thinks you went out there because despite your reservations, you miss that life; and I know you miss your sister. But Sarah- that isn't who you are any more. You ain't a Comanche squaw, you're my wife.”
Sarah nodded silently and Eagon looked away, thinking to himself for a moment. Slowly, his eyes narrowed and his smile turned devious. “They're still gonna have to find him, you know. Didn't say anythin' about stayin' around here, did they?” Sarah said nothing, her mind going over what Seek-by-Starlight said to her. What her husband said made sense, and she desperately wanted keep Eaton safe from joining their war . . .
“Your folks already know we move about. I say it's high time we headed east.” Eagon's voice was hopeful, reassuring, and he wrapped his arms around his wife, “Nothin' is gonna happen to you or Eaton. I promise ya that.”
He kissed her as they got back inside the cabin. Eagon laid his pistol on the floor by the side of the bed, easily in reach. Husband and wife lay down in silence, Sarah still holding her boy in the sleepless night. She was unsure of what she feared more: The judgment of her tribe or the safety of her child.
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