Possible is copyrighted/owned by Disney, etc...
Special thanks again to the "Native Languages of the Americas"
website and it's co-ordinator, Laura Redish, and their myriad
of experts. http://www.native-languages.org/
There are several verses in this chapter which they have kindly translated
to Blackfoot. I hope to set up links for these translations in chapter
7 as my cute way of 'bribing' you into visiting their website. The rituals
and rites in this chapter are fictional, and are not meant to be an
actual portrayal of Blackfoot ceremonies.
The Great Bear Spirit
looked at the children as their guide led them back into the camp from
their hike. They looked tired, but well, and he hoped they had enjoyed
the sights on the trails. It was nearly time for the evening meal, and
the troop separated to go back to their cabins and get cleaned up.
Sakituya heard a soft noise next to his elbow. Gentle Paw was nudging
him, and a sad sounding growl came from his throat. The Indian chief
felt troubled and went to the guide. 'Your group had Rhonda Fatigable
listed among it's members,' he said. 'But I did not see her return with
you. Where is she?'
the guide said. 'She was partnered with Trickster and River Walker.
When I called roll after the last break, I thought they all responded.'
felt his unease growing. 'I will check her cabin.' he said. 'Find Trickster
and River Walker and have them brought back here by the time I return.'
Paw followed Sakituya to the cabin, but there was no sign of Rhonda.
Gentle Paw sniffed and shook his head mournfully. They returned to the
main entrance of the camp, where the guide was looking sternly down
at Trickster and River Walker, both of whom looked nervous and guilty.
'Tell him!' said the guide to Trickster.
looked down at his feet. 'She fell asleep when we took that break a
while back.' he said. 'We didn't wake her up when we left.' He added
sheepishly. 'We thought it would be funny....'
said the guide, and cold anger was entering his voice. 'Do you feel
that way now?' Neither Trickster and River Walker said anything.
stared down at them. He did not shout or even frown, but his gaze alone
had the two children squirming. 'What you have done was foolish, and
dangerous.' he said. 'You will return to your cabins and stay there
until I decide what is to be done. I will know if you have not obeyed.'
another word, Trickster and River Walker practically fled toward their
cabins. Sakituya turned to the guide. 'Call the other counselors at
once.' he said, 'Have a small number remain here to look after the children
and see that those two make no more mischief. The rest must be sent
into the forest at once. It is essential that we find her.' The Guide
nodded and rushed off to obey.
Paw let out another mournful sounding growl. Sakituya shook his head.
'This is not good, Ikkinikinsstiwa.' he said. 'It was my intention to
gently introduce Rhonda to the natural world. Having it thrust roughly
upon her could drive her away and make matters worse.'
Rhonda stumbled down the trail, practically swooning with weariness.
Still, she didn't feel tired enough to lie down or to rest. She shouted
out occasionally, pausing to listen for any answering shouts.
paid little attention to where she was going, thinking vaguely that
she would try to find higher ground so she might see a landmark to shoot
for. And she found herself on a steeply ascending trail, with a rocky
face on one side, and trees growing on the other. She kept following
it without thinking, and noted after a while that the side of the trail
which had trees on it was now overlooking a long drop to the forest
was climbing a winding trail up a mountainside, and she could see a
long distance off. But she could see nothing except the endless green
expanse of the forest beneath her. She continued on, hoping that as
the trail wound around the mountainside, she might see the camp eventually.
she saw a side trail leading off from the main path, and she felt herself
drawn to see where it led. She entered an area where the mountain stone
seemed naturally carved into a large dome-like hollow, which opened
up from the mountainside and looked out onto the forest. It was like
being in a vast, empty room with an open bay window.
was quiet, and even the sound of the wind and the birds seemed to have
been silenced. Her footsteps echoed in her ears as she stepped gingerly
towards the edge and looked down. She was looking over the edge of a
sheer cliff, with the forest far below her. She could see a large lake
in the distance, at the base of another mountain from which a waterfall
was cascading down into the lake. But she could see no sign of the camp,
nor any trails that might lead to it. She sat down glumly near the edge
of the cliff, wondering what to do next.
she stiffened, and a prickle on the back of her neck told her that she
was not alone. She stood up, turning around, terrified of what she might
see, but unable to stop herself. She was looking at the curve of the
rocky mountainside as it swept back towards the entrance to the hollow.
In a dark recess of the stone cliff, she saw a vast statue, at least
nine feet tall, carved roughly into the shape of a bear that was standing
on its hind legs.
shuddered, for the feeling that something was there with her got even
stronger. All was utterly silent as Rhonda glanced around, trying to
find the source of whatever presence she was feeling. 'Who... who's
there?' she said timidly. 'Whoever you are - I've... I've got an imaginary
friend and he's HUGE!'
from the statue, she heard a whispering voice, as plain as if someone
had hidden a speaker inside it.
one instant later, the hollow was empty again as Rhonda fled back down
the trail, screaming.
- + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +
said Grimm, staring at her. 'Rhonda - the voice is calling you.
I guess we finally know your Indian name - Katasistsikoowa.'
wasn't sure how to feel. On the one hand - she was hearing the same
mysterious voice from nowhere that had reduced her to a shivering wreck
over eight years ago, which meant they were one step closer to finishing
their mission. On the other hand - she was hearing the same mysterious
voice from nowhere that had reduced her to a shivering wreck over eight
eyes were boring into her like lasers, an eager light now shining behind
them which had not been there before. 'If you are truly hearing this
voice - can you tell where it is coming from?'
glanced sideways at him. The truth was, she could tell which
direction it was coming from. The voice was still so far distant she
could barely hear it, but there was no mistaking that it was stronger
in only one specific direction, and Maze seemed to know it. 'Yeah.'
she said reluctantly.
smirk was returning to Grimm's face, the same look he always got when
a mission was as good as accomplished. 'Lead on.' he said.
stopped. 'We, uh, gotta leave the trail.' she said. The direction she
was feeling was the right way plunged straight into the forest.
patted his hip pouch where the communicator was. 'I got us marked.'
he said. The GPS might not be working, but Jade had set up the communicator
to mark their location based on landmarks and other features listed
on the nature trails. Rhonda sighed, and stepped off the trail.
hour of the journey was quieter, but much more tense. Neither Grimm
nor Maze said anything, as if they were afraid of interrupting her.
Even Rueful was breathing more softly. Rhonda heard the voice every
so often, and each time it seemed a little clearer, making her flinch.
It was like being in a horror movie, climbing up a darkened stairwell
with creepy music playing, knowing that something bad was about
had always laughed at how stupid the characters in slasher flicks could
be, but she suddenly had a new appreciation of their plight. The dumb
kids in those movies were controlled by the script writers, who drove
them helplessly towards their doom. And here she was in almost the same
fix - being driven towards something that was scaring the snot out of
her, but too nervous to back out.
her way through groves and clusters of trees, pushing aside the leafy
strands of bushes and undergrowth. Finally, she paused. She was standing
in front of a thick network of bushes that seemed to spread out on either
side for several dozen yards. The branches were stiff and thorny looking.
Threaded among all of the bushes were tall plants with spiny protrusions
and serrated leaves.
said Maze, who had come up behind her and startled her. 'The voice -
it leads you beyond these thickets?'
nodded. 'I'm not going through this.' she said. 'We should find
a way around...'
quickly shook his head, a curious look on his face. 'I know these woods.
On the one side, the forest falls down into a series of ravines and
gulleys - very treacherous. On the other side the trees and the undergrowth
become too thick to walk through. The trail was made to loop around
these hazards, but the straightest and easiest way is through these
glanced at Grimm, who was looking at the screen on his communicator.
After a moment, he looked up and nodded. She sighed and turned back
to Maze. 'What's the rush?' Rhonda said. 'Have you got some kind of
business meeting you need to get to?'
impatiently, but with a look of forced politeness. 'It is already late
afternoon. If you still do not know how far we must go, then I would
rather travel quickly in the hope that we might reach our destination
before nightfall. Traveling around would take too much time.' He smirked.
'The nettles will be unpleasant - but surely you are not afraid.'
stared across the expanse of bushes and the nettle plants that grew
among and over them. Grimm squared his shoulders. 'Let's get on with
it then.' he said, then he began pushing aside some of the branches,
moving into the thickets. Rhonda followed after him, more reluctantly,
but determined not to make him do all the work by himself. Rueful slithered
into her backpack and peered out nervously as they moved into the bushes.
looked back at Maze, who showed no sign of moving to help them. 'Hey,
since you respect nature so much, why not give us a hand?' she said.
shrewdly at her. 'Of course I respect nature.' he said. 'I respect the
nettles enough not to touch them myself, but to have hirelings do it
growled, but Grimm laid a hand on her. 'Ixnay.' he said softly. 'He's
time they had made their way through the bushes and stalks, both Rhonda
and Grimm were wincing, their fingers twitching. Pushing their way through
some of the bushes meant they had needed to get a firm grip against
the thicker branches, many of which were bristling with nettle fronds.
The heavier thorns on some of the branches pulled and tore at their
outfits and Rhonda even saw Grimm flinching every so often as a stray
thorn would punch through his glove or tear at his shirt sleeves.
up once they had exited the clearing, following in the wake of the path
Grimm and Rhonda had made. He looked down at their gloved and grimy
hands. 'You would do wisely to remove those.' he said. 'Those gloves
were not made for gardening, and the nettle hairs have burrowed deep.
Continuing to wear them will only inflict more pain.'
was reluctant to do anything that Maze suggested, but she eased her
gloves off after Grimm removed his own, and the stinging eased almost
at once. Grimm stowed them in his pack, still rubbing at some of his
scratches and scrapes.
looked at her outfit, which had several small tears on her sleeves and
the cuffs of her pants. Grimm's outfit was similarly damaged. 'These
were brand new.' said Rhonda. 'Talk about a bon-diggity-downer...'
smiled. 'Don't sweat it. Remember, we're switching back to the old outfits
when this is all over.' Maze raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.
on for some time, and as they walked, Rueful seemed to become more fidgety,
as if he were anxious to get to a planned destination. He kept poking
his head forward on either side as Rhonda walked, finally scurrying
down her arm and running ahead of them, pausing every so often to look
would have started feeling bored again except that every so often, she
heard the ghostly whispering and would get her bearings again to follow
it after shuddering. One time, hearing the voice quite distinctly, she
paused, trying to stifle her nervousness.
- it is getting stronger?' Maze spoke from the rear, sounding as excited
as Rhonda was apprehensive.
Rhonda snapped. 'We're getting closer and it's freaking me out, OK?'
some time, the trees came to a sudden end. They found themselves at
the base of a large mountain which jutted up from the forest interior.
Rhonda paused, the dim memories of her ascent up a mountainside flashing
through her head. She remembered following a trail, but she could see
no sign of one from where she was standing. But she could feel they
were still heading the right direction. Rueful came back through the
underbrush and was chittering excitedly. Rhonda followed him, and found
him standing on his hind legs, looking back at her and pointing. She
saw a clear trail laid out before her, winding through the thick undergrowth
towards the mountainside.
and Maze came up behind her. Grimm had his communicator out, checking
the map files. 'This mountain is labeled,' he said, looking up at the
towering cliffs which had shelfs on them that were thickly wooded and
which ascended upwards past their field of vision. 'But there aren't
any hiking or climbing trails marked.' He turned to Maze, who was looking
eagerly at the trail. 'Have you ever been this way before?'
many times.' he answered. 'I remember well exploring the base of each
of the mountains near the trails. But I have never seen this path before....'
took out two drink packs, throwing one to Rhonda. 'Tank up.' he said
simply. 'Before we start climbing we could use a refresher.' Again,
he offered one to Maze, but Maze again refused, looking anxious for
them to finish and move on.
me guess,' Rhonda thought as she sipped, 'CapriSun used to be
flavorful - until the white man came.'
the trail, and they climbed. The trail wound steadily around the mountain,
rising higher and higher. On their left side, the steep cliffs towered
above them, while on the right side there were cliffs that were bare
and rocky in some places, wooded and shaded in others. Rhonda could
feel nervousness and fear beating against her like strong sunlight.
Rueful seemed untroubled and kept exploring up ahead....
- + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +
Sakituya hurried through the network of cabins with Gentle Paw beside
him. He stopped in front of Rhonda's cabin. There were several counselors
standing outside, all of them looking like they were afraid to go in.
'Who found her?' said Sakituya, 'Who brought her back?'
lead counselor shrugged. 'As far as I can tell, she came back by herself.
She ran through the camp, went to her cabin, shut herself in and hasn't
said a word.'
opened the door. Gentle Paw sniffed, but Sakituya waved him back once
he saw Rhonda. She was sitting on the bed, curled up and shivering.
Her skin was pale white, her hair was tangled and matted; her eyes were
wide and glassy. She didn't seem to notice anyone else.
he said softly, but as he reached out a hand, Rhonda flinched.
want to... go.... home!' she said, and her voice quavered pitifully.
slowly lowered his hand and sighed, nodding.
and Mrs. Fatigable had been understanding when they learned what had
happened. The end of summer was close anyway, and they didn't mind coming
a few days early. Rhonda had stayed in her cabin the whole time, muttering
'bad road' over and over until her parents arrived to pick her up. The
moment she saw them, she had taken her luggage and dashed to the mini-van
as if demons were chasing her.
am sorry.' said Sakituya, as Mr. and Mrs. Fatigable walked more slowly
back through the camp to the parking lot. 'The boys who did this have
been sent home as well. We do not tolerate this sort of trickery in
Fatigable nodded. 'Well, I got ditched in the woods myself when I was
in scouts. I hoped she'd get a better feel for nature after a while
stopped at the edge of the parking lot and shook their hands. 'That
may still happen in the future.' he said. 'Your daughter is quite remarkable.
She may not remember this place fondly - but I think she will one day
Paw watched the mini-van as it drove off, and he growled sadly.
- + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +
Grimm was impressed with Rhonda's endurance. Maybe it was all the practice
she'd had in running away from super heroes when they were on their
missions, but she never seemed to tire out while there was a clear path
in front of her. He and Maze had actually fallen behind her several
times during the ascent. The forest floor was now far beneath them,
and Rhonda had disappeared around a wider bend in the trail. The path
had widened, and there were actually wooded thickets on the right side
near the cliff edges. When Grimm and Maze caught up with Rhonda, she
was standing still. Her fists were clenched and she was staring at the
Grimm said, laying a hand on her shoulder.
looked at him, her eyes edged with fear. 'This is it.' she said, pointing.
There was a small offshoot from the path, barely visible, which led
to a dark opening that was nearly overgrown by two tall trees that stood
on either side. Grimm pushed aside the overhanging leaves.
at the entrance to a large hollow, like a lightly wooded cavity in the
side of the mountain. The main trail continued upwards, but the hollow
branched off a short distance into the mountainside itself, the rocks
of the ascending slopes forming a semi-roof above them. The hollow was
still and silent, the trees and the rocks forming a sheltered den that
seemed to muffle and deaden any sound. It was spread out like a room
the size of a small house, finally ending at an oval shaped opening
which looked out on the forest below.
edge of the opening, some way In the distance, there was a small lake.
Grimm could also see a smaller mountain beyond it. He was able to look
down on its summit, and saw a waterfall spilling into the lake beneath.
They were nowhere near the summit of the mountain where they stood,
but they were still hundreds of feet above the forest floor.
attention was focused on the cliffside which formed the overhanging
wall and 'roof' of the hollow. Several yards away from the edge of the
cliff, the rock swept back towards the entrance to the hollow, and in
a recess of the stone, looking almost like a grotto, there was a large
was made of rock that was darker than the surrounding stone, a pillar
that rose up over nine feet tall. It was hewn roughly so that it looked
like a large bear. On either side, there were petroglyphs etched into
the stone, and also the fading remains of two white handprints.
down in front of the statue, running a trembling hand over its surface,
and examining the petroglyphs. He seemed to have forgotten that Grimm
and Rhonda were even there. Indeed he gazed at the statue for so long
that Rhonda began to fidget.
mission accomplished?' she whispered to Grimm. To her relief, the voice
did not sound out again. She was half tempted to examine the statue
herself to see if anyone had hidden a microphone in it, and whether
it was all some kind of weird game just to freak her out.
and turned to them, and his face looked eager and happy, which Rhonda
found more unnerving than his familiar scowl. 'This is an amazing find.'
he said. 'In all my years of exploring and collecting, I have never
seen the like of it.'
almost like a totem pole,' said Grimm, staring up at the crude form
of the statue. 'But it can't be - the totem pole isn't common except
further north among tribes like the Haida...'
impressed. 'That is right.' he said. 'The Blackfoot do not make totem
poles, nor statues - which makes this find most unusual. It is older
than anything I have ever seen before, and I believe this hollow has
been undisturbed for hundreds of years. It may predate even the oldest
Algonquian tribes. It's discovery is cause for great celebration.'
said Rhonda, perking up. She turned to Grimm. 'Can we break out the
at her. 'It will be more proper to perform a ceremony of purification
for this site.'
nudged Grimm in the ribs. 'Yeah...' she said, backing away. 'Well, you
go ahead and get on with that, and we'll just be on our way....'
actually be grateful for some assistance with the preparations.' said
Maze, looking almost longingly towards the statue. 'They are somewhat
complicated, and I wish to complete them before the sun fully sets.
This is a sacred place, and I must offer many prayers of gratitude that
the white man has not yet defiled it.'
we can still hear you...' said Rhonda waving her hands.
kind of assistance are you asking for?' said Grimm, looking curious.
Maze was regarding the monument and looking over the entire hollow.
'A fire must be built, and sacred signs will need to be drawn,' he said
quietly. Both should be done before it becomes too dark.'
shook her head. 'I can't draw sacred signs, I can't even draw Hello
can help with those.' said Maze quickly. 'Gathering wood for the fire
will be enough assistance from you.'
Grimm and Rhonda left the hollow and scrounged for some kindling and
some dry wood, which they found near the edges of the trail without
much difficulty. Rhonda kicked a pebble on the ground as they worked.
'I have had it with this guy!' she said. 'So what if it takes
him longer to 'purify' this dump without us? Let's go now. If
I hear one more 'white man has destroyed this forest' speech I'm gonna
scream! Does he even notice that we've been wandering around
in this 'destroyed' forest for two days?'
laid a hand on her shoulder. 'Relax, we're nearly done here.' he said.
said Rhonda. 'You're not actually going to help him with some weird
rain-dance are you?'
shrugged. 'I admit I'm curious.' he said. 'I'm an Eagle Scout after
all, and Indians normally don't let outsiders even close to their ceremonies.
To actually be invited to participate...'
I don't like this guy.' she said. 'He's a jerk. Every time I
say anything, he acts like I've 'offended his people'. How do you offend
an entire race by saying 'break out the chips'?'
have a proud culture,' said Grimm. 'And they've got issues that go back
a long way.'
sniffed. 'So do I, but I don't go around yammering about it all
do.' Grimm laughed. 'Look, I'll just help him out a bit and see what
all the hullabaloo is about. Then we go home and check off another successful
sighed. 'Grimm, I'm serious - he gives me the creeps. If he wants to
blame everyone else for his problems, then let's just give him back
his money and let him stew in it. We've got plenty of cash already.
I've got a bad feeling about this....'
saying I'm going to turn my back on him.' said Grimm, smirking. 'Besides,
what can he do against a master of Tai Shing Pek Kwar? You don't have
to come. Just pick up some more dead wood, stack it at the entrance
to the hollow and wait. I'll be back before you know it.'
back into the hollow, carrying an armload of kindling. Rueful poked
his head back around Rhonda's shoulder, a soft squeak coming from his
throat. Rhonda sighed heavily and started searching for more firewood.
- + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +
reentered the hollow, he saw Maze had already gathered a small amount
of wood and was setting it up about ten yards away from the statue.
He glanced at Maze, who nodded and stood up, picking up his pouch, which
had been lying a few feet away. From his pouch, he took a smaller bag.
He opened it and took a handful of white powder, letting it fall back
into the pouch through his fingers.
is used in sandpainting ceremonies similar to the Blessing Way of the
Navajo.' he said, handing the bag to Grimm. 'While I draw the signs,
I would have you lay a circle around where I have arranged the wood
for the fire. Extend it about seven feet from the center in either direction.'
carefully did as Maze instructed, drawing a perfect circle while Maze
quickly laid out a network of complicated patterns within the circle
itself. He also set aside a flint and a sharp stone. He looked up at
Grimm as he let the powder trickle through his fist, forming the circle
as he moved around Maze.
said Maze. 'These signs will represent the Earth and its four quarters.'
He said. 'Next, make a round sphere outside the circle at the top, to
represent the sun. Then a hollow circle at the base, to represent the
moon. Then beneath and above, several pointed circles to represent the
Grimm worked, Maze took some of the kindling Grimm had brought and then
began striking the flint, sending sparks onto the wood. Soon the tinder
was smoking and Maze knelt to blow softly on a soft yellow glow that
was shining from within the wood. He paused. 'Have you any skill as
an artist?' he said.
Grimm shrugged. 'But it's not my strongest point...'
within the circle, and in the empty spaces I have left, draw the figure
of a man, to represent mankind. Then a buffalo, to represent the animals.
And near the base of the circle, a hollow man to represent the spirits
of this world.'
did so more carefully, unsure if his work would be good enough. He could
draw a little, but he was a firm believer in the philosophy of only
doing a few things, but doing them better than anyone else. His eye
strayed to the rock wall where the bear statue was set, seeing some
drawings among the petroglyphs, and he tried to match them as best he
could. He had not devoted much time to art in school, but when he was
finished Maze seemed satisfied. He had built the fire into a small blaze
which lit the hollow with a yellow light.
began to trail up into the hollow, and Maze took a smaller bag from
the pouch at his side and cast what looked like plant leaves into the
flames. He breathed the smoke and stood up, then took the larger pouch
back from Grimm.
done well.' he said. 'The ritual I must perform will soon begin.'
hand was itching and he scratched it softly. 'If you're satisfied with
what you've found then our contract is over.' he said. 'I know that
Indian ceremonies aren't supposed to be shared with others, so Rhonda
and I will.... will be on our way.' he said, feeling a sudden lightness
in his head.
quietly. 'Of course.' he said. Grimm felt a sweat breaking out on his
forehead. He felt nauseous and was breathing heavily. 'You seem ill,
young Otaatoyiwa.' said Maze, his voice now silky. 'Perhaps you
fell to the ground. The fumes from the smoke were now making his head
swim. He rolled onto his back, staring up at the overhanging cliff,
and the stars beyond it, which seemed to be circling slowly. 'What...
did you... do to me...?' he said, his voice coming in ragged breaths.
staring down at him. 'I have never found much to recommend the white
man.' he said. 'But I do not deny their science has its uses.' He held
up the large pouch, dipping his hand into it and letting the white powder
sift through his long fingers. 'I did not lie, Otaatoyiwa. But
I did not tell you everything. This powder is indeed used to draw sacred
signs. But the powder I carry has been specially prepared. It contains
a concentrated infusion from the plant you call Lophophora williamsii.'
panted. 'Peyote.' he breathed. 'But... it has to be eaten, or drunk....'
'Normally, yes. But this has been altered to be absorbed through the
skin into the blood stream. The effect is the same. You should be grateful,
Otaatoyiwa. You are experiencing something that is normally reserved
in some tribes as a rite of passage into adulthood.'
saw vividly in his memory, how Maze had insisted on taking the course
where the nettles were, how they had needed to clear the path, laboring
until their gloves were torn and covered with the stinging hairs, then
suggesting they remove them. And how permissive Maze had been in letting
Grimm handle the powder and draw the symbols, when normally such things
were kept secret. 'Stupid...' he thought to himself. 'Walked
right into it like a stupid newbie. Last time I play nice to be politically
you....' Grimm breathed, trying to lift his arms. Every limb felt as
if he had been blanketed to the ground with layer upon layer of duct
'Yes, I touched the powder as well.' he said. 'But I have developed
some measure of tolerance.'
had a sudden, funny vision of a man in a black mask, talking about Iocane
poisoning. But Maze was still talking, as if to himself, looking out
through the wide opening in the side of the hollow as the last light
of the sun disappeared below the horizon. 'In my solitary wanderings,
I have found and discovered much that was thought to have been lost.'
he said. 'I have never shared them, not even with my own people. Sakituya
is wise in some matters, but in many ways he is a fool. He believes
that our people and the white man can exist together in peace. He says
it would be wrong, even if we had the strength and numbers, to fight
and take back what is ours. After tonight - he will see that he is mistaken.'
bent down and was lifting Grimm in his arms, carrying him until he was
inside the circle. He laid him down carefully near the base of the symbols,
and then he knelt down, taking a small drum about the size of a tambourine
from his pack. He beat it softly, filling the air with a light rhythm,
and then began to chant.
voice filled the hollow, Grimm felt his awareness fading. The shadows
around the edge of the hollow seemed to be getting nearer, blotting
everything else out. The light of the fire and the details of things
around him became an ever shrinking circle, until at last everything
went black and the shadows engulfed him like a smothering blanket.
to the ground, the drum rolling out of his hand. The fire crackled and
popped for a few moments as silence fell in the hollow. Then Grimm slowly
got to his feet. He sighed and breathed deeply, flexing his fingers.
A smirk crept onto his face and he turned to Maze, lifting him up and
carrying him to the top portion of the circle, laying him down so his
head faced the fire, and his feet faced the bear statue.
bent down to open Maze's pack, and he took out an elaborate vest, which
he put on as if he had worn it many times before. He picked up the drum,
tied the bag containing Maze's powders and pouches onto his belt, and
he took an earpiece from the pack, with two eagle feathers tied to the
end, and hooked it around his left ear. Finally, he took Maze's staff
and gripped it in his hand.
at Maze, lying still and silent, then he looked up at the bear statue.
He stood behind the fire near the base of the circle, and hooking the
drum to his belt from the left hip, he continued the chanting rhythm
that Maze had been using before he collapsed.
- + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +
laid yet another armload of dead wood outside the hollow, adding to
a significant pile she had already collected. She could see a yellow-orange
glow and could tell it was a campfire. She also heard what sounded like
a drum. 'Are they jammin' in there?' she thought. She waited
a few more moments, and finally she fought back her fears and re-entered
paused at what she saw. Grimm was standing in front of a small fire,
but he was dressed funny, in some kind of vest and she saw he was holding
Maze's staff. He was tapping a small drum that hung from his hip and
didn't seem to notice her.
confused. Grimm had never studied Blackfoot, but he was chanting it
as if it were his second language. Rueful was shivering as he lay around
her shoulders and Rhonda looked down to see Maze lying on the ground
as if he were asleep. Despite the glow of the fire, the area around
Grimm and Maze seemed darker somehow, like a dome of misty shadow was
she said, clearing her throat. 'What's with him? Too many mosquitoes?'
turned slowly and looked at her, and Rhonda felt a cold chill. He was
glaring at her with hate in his eyes, as if she were an insect he wanted
to squash. He said nothing but resumed his chanting.
was feeling more and more like something was horribly wrong. She could
no longer hear the whispering voice, and somehow its absence was even
more disquieting. She wanted to leave, and more than ever she felt as
if a trap was slowly closing around her.
on Grimm let's go.' she said, a hint of pleading in her voice. 'We got
Mr. "I-respect-nature-more-than-you" what he wanted. If he's
just gonna crash here with his statue let's leave him to it.'
stopped chanting again. 'Your friend can't hear you.' he said.
flinched, for his voice was much deeper than normal. It was colder,
disdainful. In fact, he sounded like...
winced, his smirk fading into a grimace. 'It is pronounced mah-zay.'
he said. 'In all my days, I have never met a white girl as slow to learn
as you, Katasistsikoowa.'
did not turn to face her, and Rhonda walked around a pale white circle
drawn into the ground until she could see him from the side. 'Come on
GP, this isn't funny.' she said. 'Let's get out of here....' she reached
out her hand, but as soon as she reached the edge of the circle, she
found herself stopped. Her hand and fingers bent as if she had pushed
them into a solid wall. She gasped, for there was nothing between them,
but she pushed with both hands and was still unable to get any closer.
looked to the side, and a wicked grin spread across his face. 'Use all
your strength.' he said. 'It will accomplish nothing. Scream until the
stars shake. There is no one to hear you.'
thudded her fists against whatever was separating her from Grimm. It
was as if the air had solidified into a barrier that was harder than
steel, but it had some give to it, as if the steel were covered with
a thin layer of foam. 'What the heck is going on here?' she shouted
at last. 'What did you do to Grimm?'
smirked. 'It is one of the many skills I have.' he said. 'I can call
on the shadows of the night - and they answer. With them I can shield
myself from harm, as you can plainly see. They will also allow me to
take possession of the bodies of my enemies. And beyond finding the
statue, a vessel was what I needed to complete my plans.'
Rhonda said. 'But why...?'
statue - this monument - is older than the oldest. I suspected, and
was right, that this was the first monument ever made by the ancient
people of this land to honor the Great Bear Spirit. The Great Bear is
a being of unlimited power, who watches over the forests and the woods
which the white man has nearly choked with their greed.'
said Rhonda. 'If us white people were that greedy, we'd have paved over
the whole thing ages ago! But we didn't - what does that tell
you wish to keep nature itself as you have tried to keep the Blackfoot
- hemmed in and controlled.' Maze growled. 'But nature will not be controlled
- and neither will my people. Not after tonight.' He gestured to the
monument. 'The ties of this statue to the Great Bear are strong - so
powerful that as ignorant and stupid as you are, you could still feel
it. The Great Bear Spirit's strength and power are all around it. And
soon that power will be mine.'
la-dee-dah.' said Rhonda, defiant but still fearful. 'You want to be
a super-villain and take over the world. There's a whole club of like-minded
people out there waiting for you to join up. So let Grimm go. You can
hire him again once you become 'Great Bear Junior' or whatever it is
'It is not that simple. To take this power, I will need... a sacrifice.'
felt fear closing around her almost as solid as the barrier of shadows
that surrounded Maze and Grimm. Maze continued to speak. 'I had thought
that the one who discovered the Bear Spirit monument would be Blackfoot,
and would share our noble heritage. Imagine my dismay when I saw only
a pair of foolish white children.' he shook his head in disgust. 'Still,
your friend is young and strong. I think he will serve well. His respect
for our ways will not go unrewarded - he will have the honor of being
the vessel and the sacrifice I need to take the power of the Great Bear!'
go!' Rhonda shouted. 'What do you mean, sacrifice?'
do not understand?' said Grimm, using Maze's cold voice. 'You truly
are a fool - but what else could I expect from a pale-faced girl who
cannot even say my non-Indian name correctly?' His face was twisted
into a dark sneer that was colder and creepier than anything Rhonda
had ever seen Grimm use before. 'My true name is Sskipoyiwa -
the Shaman of Shadows!' He
turned and stretched his hand out to the bear statue, and began chanting
in a low voice.
spoke, Rhonda saw beads of sweat running down Grimm's face, and his
teeth were gritted. As he continued to chant, his whole body shuddered.
Rhonda yelled, pounding uselessly against the invisible wall that separated
them. 'You're hurting him!'
paused, turning to her. 'This is the only way to cross the gulf between
the world of spirits and this world.' he said, his voice now sounding
strained. 'It will allow me to channel the power of the Great Bear into
my own body through the medium of your friend.' he gestured to Maze's
body, which lay at the top of the circle, a pale light making them both
look like corpses. 'The incantations weaken the one who speaks them -
but I must continue until all the Great Bear's power is mine. Or until
the medium dies.'
go!' Rhonda screamed, kicking and scratching at the solid wall of shadows
in front of her. 'Please...!'
sorry.' said Grimm with Maze's voice, though there was a curl in his
lips which said he was not sorry at all. 'But his sacrifice is necessary.
It will be the beginning of the restoration of the Blackfoot to power
and prominence in this world. We were once the masters of this land
- and through me, we will be again.'
about Grimm?' she shouted.
is... regrettable. But do not worry.' Grimm's lips twisted into a smile
as he spoke with Maze's voice. 'You will still have your precious money.'
want your money, I want Grimm!' she shrieked.
had turned away, raising his arms again, and was chanting softly as
he stood above Maze's body.
line of bluish light seemed to be connecting Grimm to the bear statue.
Grimm was grimacing and wincing, and the light flowed over him like
a thin shell before gathering in his hand and becoming another beam
of light that led from his palm to the form of Maze's body.
she could think of nothing else to do, and because she had to do something,
she found herself leaping between them and the bear statue. She thought
wildly, if she could block the beam of light, prevent it from reaching
them, maybe Maze would stop...
stepped into the beam, she froze, an unreal sensation seizing her. A
flashing of scenes went through her mind, a blurring haze of visions
of the forest, then clear and strong came a deep rumbling voice.
stared in amazement. Grimm and Maze were still there, but the rippling
beam of light now seemed more like a slow moving stream. Grimm's mouth
was only moving ever so slightly, his body seemed frozen. Everything
was dark. It was as if the forest had disappeared, as if the whole world
had disappeared, and only this scene of fear was left. It seemed as
if everything had suddenly become a film moving in super-slow motion,
while she herself remained untouched.
from the bear statue, a light began to grow. It became stronger and
stronger, like a blue bubble expanding to a great height. Then a squarish,
hulking form took shape, towering above her.
closer, Katasistsikoowa.' came a voice so deep that it actually
felt like thunder sounding in the distance. Shaking from head
to toe, Rhonda took one baby step before freezing in her tracks.
staring up at the colossal form of a grizzly bear - larger than a small
building. It was glowing and slightly transparent, surrounded by a halo
of blue light that bathed everything with a pale sheen.
looked down at her almost lazily. It spoke without moving it's mouth,
but the voice seemed to come from everywhere, shaking the very ground
she was standing on. 'Do you know who I am? Do you know who you
voice was shaking as much as her body. Terror washed over her. With
everything else going on, this was too much. She wondered briefly if
she was going crazy, but she was so scared she didn't dare to disobey.
'I'm... Rhonda Fatigable.' she said. 'And... you're a giant, glowing
bear and I'd really like to go home now!'
let out a breath that thrummed around her like an earthquake. 'I am
the Great Bear Spirit.' he said. 'This creature, Sskipoyiwa,
is tapping into my power. You will stop him.'
she said stupidly.
seeks to claim my strength for his own purposes.' the Great Bear said,
his voice sounding almost sleepy. 'It cannot be allowed. This power
is the legacy of the Bear Priestess.'
Rhonda cowered as the Great Bear loomed over her, fixing his gleaming
eyes down on her.
the course of ages - there have been chosen vessels among your people.
When I have need or desire to influence events in the mortal world,
I send these chosen ones to act in my stead. These are my servants -
and to each was given a measure of my power to work my will.' He turned
his head to the circle where Grimm and Maze remained frozen and immobile.
'Maze has put himself forth to claim my power, without permission, and
without understanding - to work his own will and ascribe it to me. He
is not my servant, but he claims the rights of one and merely presumes
that he has my blessing.'
was still shaking, not really understanding everything the Great Bear
was saying, but she gathered he didn't want Maze succeed in his plot.
She also got the feeling that if this giant bear was talking
to her, it meant he wasn't planning to eat her, and she felt
some of her terror fading. 'But... you're Mr. Great Bear guy!' she said,
her voice coming out in a frightened squeak. 'If this power is yours,
can't you just... like... flick him away or something?'
trying.' said the Great Bear. 'I am attempting to send the new Bear
Priestess to stop him. But she is proving quite reluctant.'
kick her in the pants and....' Rhonda started, but then felt as if she
had suddenly stepped into a pool of ice water. 'Bear Priestess? Me?'
Bear Spirit squinted his eyes. Rhonda felt the cloth around her left
bicep suddenly fly apart and one red spot, surrounded by five smaller
ones at the top flared blue on her skin. 'You carry the sign of the
bear paw.' he rumbled.
just a birthmark!' Rhonda said. 'Youre saying because there's
a freckle on my arm that looks like a pawprint that you want me to be
a priestess? Shouldn't you be talking to Pocahontas or Sacagawea
or some nice Indian girl?'
Bear almost looked like he was forcing a tired smile. 'With every word
you speak, you prove you are the spiritual heir of the Bear Priestess.
She did not want this power either. That is the way of things. Those
who seek true power will never have it. They can only clutch vainly
at the trappings of what they call power among their own kind. True
power is never taken by seekers. Power seeks out those who it wills.'
stood dumbstruck. 'But you said Maze was stealing your power.....'
is doing is a perversion.' the Great Bear rumbled. 'I have slowed time
around us and spare you what your world would perceive as one brief
instant - so you may understand. Maze has used a victim to bridge the
gap between the spirit realm and mortality, not caring that he must
take the life of your friend to funnel power into his own body. He thinks
nothing will stop him. He is wrong.'
looked back to where Grimm and Maze stood frozen in place. 'I can't
stop him.' she said. 'I tried! I couldn't even get close to him. And
even if I did, he's got some kind of weird body swap thing going on
- how am I supposed to fight that? I'm just.... Grimm's useless sidekick.
Without him, I'm nothing.....' She ended sadly, all the doubts
and misgivings she had been feeling since the caper in Middleton hit
her in full measure. Grimm was in trouble - but as desperately as she
wanted to help him, nothing she had tried was any use.
Bear regarded her. 'You are stronger than you think, Katasistsikoowa.'
he said. 'And that strength will let you wield my power. And with that
power, you can save your friend.'
felt a tear running down her face. Here was a chance to step up, to
prove her worth. But she had played second fiddle to Grimm for so long.
Over her life she'd had fantasies about doing things that were incredibly
cool and skilful, and about Grimm and everyone at school being totally
impressed by her. But that was just normal kid stuff. She wasn't incredibly
cool, or skilful. She'd lived a life of mundane geekyness that became
something more through an extraordinary friend. And like a normal kid
who fantasizes about becoming someone extraordinary, she found herself
paralyzed at the sudden prospect of it actually happening.
Bear seemed to sense her doubt and her hesitation. 'Do you know how
many have fallen to their knees before this monument, begging for a
mere scrap of this power which you do not even want?' he rumbled. 'It
has been long since anyone discovered this hollow, but the greatest
spiritual men from many tribes across the centuries have come here,
seeking the power of the Great Bear, or demanding it as a perceived
why not one of them....' she whispered, but the Great Bear continued
'This power cleaves to you, Katasistsikoowa. Did you not
feel the summons when you were here as a child? Even though you did
not know what it meant?'
not an Indian!' Rhonda said, looking away. 'I'm just a white gal who
ain't got no rhythm. To be an heir to something don't you have to be
of your skin is nothing.' said the Great Bear. 'And a person's bloodline
is nothing. All of humanity comes from one source. It is only the pride
and stubbornness of mortal men which denies it.'
looked at Maze, all of his angry words he'd spoken over the last two
days sounding in her mind. 'No one's gonna buy me being a chosen
one.' she said. 'Guys like him, they've already got their minds made
up about who's who and what's what....'
he said, 'is mortal arrogance. The first Bear Priestess was named Abish
- a girl not unlike you. Abish did mighty works with this power, but
in each instance she was driven to it by circumstance. Her deeds were
spoken as tales by those who witnessed them. But over time, truth became
rumor, and then legend, and then myth. And like the endless branchings
of a crooked tree, each tribe of what you call Indians bent the myths
to their own understanding - twisting the truth - thinking in their
pride that the power of the Great Bear was a legacy of their own tribes
and no others. The truth is nothing the white man would recognize. But
it is also nothing the red man would expect.'
there were chosen ones over the ages,' said Rhonda, still trembling.
'Besides this Abish chick, how many others have there been?'
yourself - one.' said the Great Bear. He paused, bending his
massive head down and looking at the statue with one giant eyebrow slightly
raised. 'Abish made this monument.' he rumbled, sounding as if he were
remembering something both funny and annoying, 'Partly to honor me,
and partly to cheese me off because she knew she wasn't a very good
let out one half-hearted chuckle that died out before it was half way
through. 'Yeah... great.' she said. 'But... you didn't really answer.'
she said. 'Why are you laying all this on me when you could just...
kick his butt yourself?'
the Great Bear looked like his was smiling faintly. 'I'm hibernating.
D'oy.' He looked down at Rhonda, then to the figures of Maze and
Grimm. 'It is time to take your place as the new Bear Priestess, Rhonda
Fatigable. You cannot refuse - it has been ordained and any words you
speak to excuse your fear are useless, for I know them all before you
you know me? You don't know me!' she said, suddenly aware that she was
sounding like a guest on Jerry Springer.
you were going to say that.' said the Great Bear.
can't....' Rhonda sputtered.
you would say that too.' said the Great Bear.
stood for a moment, trying to think of something unexpected. 'Rubber
baby....' she started, but the Great Bear broke in.
bumpers.' he rumbled. Rhonda stood flabbergasted.
is running short,' he continued, and the glow around him seemed to be
fading, 'You have a task before you, and a friend to save. Prepare yourself...
Rhonda said, but the Great Bear was no longer there. Time seemed to
resume, and she had just leaped between the bear monument and Grimm.
She saw a blue light surrounding her, and screamed. Her very skin felt
like it was on fire, as if a layer of something was being burned away
from her. She felt her legs give way, but she did not fall. It was like
her whole body had locked up and the air had solidified around her,
suspending her in mid-leap between the monument and the two figures
within the circle.
she heard Maze shouting through Grimm's mouth. Grimm was striding forward,
reaching a hand towards her, but there was a flash of light and he was
flung backwards, landing on the ground with a rough wheeze.
was still screaming. And like in all previous times in her life when
she felt fear or terror, she called for one thing. 'Grimm - help
me!!' she cried.
can't help you.' Rhonda gasped, and as if she were in the midst
of a sphere of light that blocked out everything else, she saw the ghostly
shade of Grimm before her, though she could also see his body still
lying on the ground a distance away where he had fallen.
- I'm scared - please!!' she reached out her hand, and it passed
through his as if he was made of smoke.
is only the form of my spirit.' said Grimm, staring at her anxiously.
'Maze is still controlling my body. But whatever's happening, it's
letting my spirit touch yours. There's only one thing I can do for you
- take my courage.'
said Rhonda, staring at him. Through his transparent form, she could
see his body standing up, his face enraged.
my spirit, you can use aspects of my personality.' he said, reaching
out his hand. 'Take my courage - use it and you can get through this.
out her hand again, and though she still couldn't touch him, she kept
her fingers together with his. 'Just pretend you're drinking from
the Cloud Guardian's enchanted well in Fortress.' he said, smiling
faintly. Then he vanished.
of burning was still sweeping over her. She gritted her teeth, her fists
clenched while Rueful spread out his paws from Rhonda's backpack, the
same blue glow touching him as well. Rhonda thought of Grimm and tried
to ignore the pain. 'Must... become... that... which I fear... the
most!!' she thought, and she threw back her head, screaming at the
top of her lungs
for though he heard the scream, it no longer sounded fearful or pained.
Her voice thundered in his ears like the roaring of a bear. The glow
around the statue faded, but Rhonda was still shining with a light that
seemed like a flame around her. She was standing on the ground again,
her fists balled up, her mouth snarling, and her eyes burning with a
out of my BF's body!' she growled. Then she felt her tongue loosed
and heard herself speaking words she didn't understand.
thunderstruck. To his eyes, only a few seconds had passed. Everything
had been going exactly as he planned. Now the power he had felt in the
statue was gone, but Rhonda was standing before him, and a power was
radiating from her like waves of heat from a bonfire. She stepped forward,
and Maze felt a shudder of fear as she passed through the edge of the
wasn't sure what was guiding her, but she felt certain of what she was
doing. She raised her hand with another scream that thundered through
the hollow, she brought it back down, slashing the air in front of her.
an exploding crack like a thunderbolt and five sickles of white light,
like the tearing claws of a bear, spread from her fingertips. With a
roar like a passing train, the blinding white curves of light sped across
the ground, leaving deep gashes in the stone, and slammed into Grimm's
body. She heard Maze's voice screaming and saw Grimm stumble and fall
sideways, collapsing with a moan at the circle's edge.
body was slowly struggling to his elbows. Still disoriented from the
change in perspective, shifting from Grimm's awareness back to his own,
he cast his eyes around to get his bearings. A bright glow shone in
front of him and he cried out, shielding his eyes from the blaze of
light, and desperately chanted.
barrier surrounded him, but he cringed, throwing up his hands. He saw
Rhonda charging towards him, her face livid with anger, her whole form
surrounded by a bluish white halo. But behind Rhonda he saw something
else. As if through tinted glass, he saw the ghostly form of a beautiful
Indian woman. Her expression and her movements were a perfect match
to Rhonda's, charging towards him, her face cold and angry.
Maze whispered, but at that moment, Rhonda brought her hand down in
another slashing motion, and Maze heard two distinct voices, crying
curves of light rushed towards Maze, laughing through his shadow barrier.
He cried out in pain, tumbling backwards. He rose to his knees, groaning,
and shrank to see Rhonda still coming towards him.
away from me!!' he shouted, and desperately he turned to Grimm,
who was struggling to his feet, shaking his head. Maze concentrated
and brought forth what little strength he had taken from the bear monument,
casting his arm towards Grimm.
Rhonda shrieked. A tear of white light issued from Maze's hand, lashing
across Grimm's chest. She saw Grimm sailing backwards over the edge
of the cliff....
thinking, Rhonda leaped after him. She saw him falling, his face not
looking afraid, only confused. 'Just like him,' she thought.
'Always has to be cucumber-cool...' But he was reaching up to
her as she reached down to him, the realization of what was happening
seeming to dawn on him.
then realized herself - they were both plummeting towards the earth
from a drop of over five hundred feet, and there was nothing between
them and the ground. They were both finished. She didn't know what she
hoped to accomplish by leaping after him except to show her loyalty
by dying with him.
wanted to save you....' she thought, tears running down her face,
the cold air chilling them as she fell. Their reaching hands were so
far apart, the ground rushing towards them seemed like a blurry dreamscape
under the starry sky. Again, she heard herself chanting words that she
didn't know, but they flowed from her mouth as if she had used them
not aware of it happening, but the blue glow flared around her like
a star. And suddenly she was level with Grimm, clasping his hand and
holding him tightly...
- + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +
to the edge of the cliff where Grimm and Rhonda had gone over, looking
down, and he gripped his staff in stunned amazement. He saw Rhonda catching
Grimm and slamming into the ground like a meteor, a shockwave of light
spreading out beneath them like ripples in a pond. There was an echoing
explosion and the trees around them bent and swayed, the stone of the
ground where they had landed crumbled into dust. He rose up, shaking
his head in disbelief, and with a last glance at the dark pillar of
the bear monument, he shambled down the trail towards the forest.
- + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +
knelt in the crater where she had landed, holding Grimm tightly. She
opened her eyes slowly, looking around. The blue light that had surrounded
her was gone. She could hear only the roar of the nearby waterfall,
a fading echo like thunder, and the hissing sigh of wind in the pines.
The smell of freshly turned earth and broken stone was all around her,
a cloud of dust settling around them.
she heard Grimm's voice in her ear.
she shouted, feeling an embarrassing wetness streaming down her cheeks.
'Grimm you're alive...!'
he said softly, sitting up. 'The dead don't ache like this....' Rueful's
head popped out of Rhonda's backpack. His eyes were crossed and he looked
woozy, but he seemed otherwise all right.
OK?' she said, checking Grimm hurriedly.
his feet and hands, and winced. 'Right arm's broke.' he said.
stood up, not seeming to notice that she herself was completely unharmed.
'That... jerk!' she said, looking back up to the top of the cliff.
She started towards the trail.
was standing up. 'Where are you going?' he said.
turned back. 'I'm going back up there and I'm gonna kick his scrawny
double-crossing butt!!' she said furiously, pointing towards
it.' said Grimm, shaking his head with a wan smile. 'You'd never find
him. He's too woodcrafty. Besides, we need to get back to Kwitcherbeliakin
and get this arm taken care of. Even a minor injury can be fatal in
the wild if you don't tend to them fast. If the worst that happens after
taking a header off a five hundred foot cliff is a broken arm, I'll
count myself lucky.'
was looking at the cliff, and then at the crater, then to Grimm and
herself. 'Holy crud.' she said, as if just realizing what had
happened. 'We just... I mean, we just... The cliff... and the thing
with the.... and the.... and the.... whaugh... oooh....'
think the word you're searching for is booyah.' Grimm said, his
smirk creeping back into place. 'You just jumped off a cliff without
any kind of protection and walked away without a scratch. Way to step
was staring at her hands, and the mark on her shoulder. She smiled at
Grimm, looking at him adoringly. 'I couldn't have done it without you.'
she said softly. 'You gave me your courage - that was the only thing
that got me through.'
about that.' said Grimm. 'I didn't give you my courage.'
mouth fell open. 'What??' she screeched.
shrugged. 'Courage isn't like an iPod that you can just pass around
from person to person.' he said. 'You can't give courage to someone
else, you can only inspire someone to use their own.'
stammered and sputtered. 'But... you said.... that speech about spirit
he said. 'I lied.' and he was smiling mischievously. 'I had to
say something to jump-start you or you'd never have gone through with
you... lousy...!' she said, punching his arm.
he said. 'Not that arm!'
'Oh, sorry.' she said.
this means I'll have to pay more attention to you from now on.' he said
with a soft laugh. 'You were right when you said this place was trouble.'
paused, looking at him. 'What did you say?'
sighed. 'I said - you were right.' he answered, looking resigned.
looked excited and tapped her backpack. 'Rueful - Rueful!' she squealed,
'It's time to do the "Rhonda-Was-Right" dance!!'
leaped out of her pack with a chittering squeal and stood beside her,
both of them doing a synchronized series of taunting steps. 'I was ri-ight!
I was ri-ight!' she chanted while Grimm rolled his eyes and watched.
'Oh yeah! Oh yeah! It's mah birthday - I was ri-ght! Uh-huh!
have any idea how cute you are when you do that?' Grimm said. Rhonda
lost her rhythm at those words, blushing from head to toe.
walked, Grimm made himself a makeshift sling out of Maze's vest, gingerly
using his other arm to take out the communicator and check their location.
'That fall off the cliff actually gave us some good distance.' he said,
'We're not too far from one of the main trails leading back to camp.'
thought I'd be glad to be going back there...' she said quietly,
straightening her hair. It was then that Grimm noticed that tied behind
her left ear were two eagle feathers, which looked pale in the darkness
did those come from?' he said, gesturing with his good hand.
hadn't noticed them either, reaching up and feeling them trailing down
behind her ear and mingling into her hair. 'Beats me,' she said, looking
nervously at Grimm. 'I can ditch them if you don't like....'
hand wisped across her cheek, tracing her ear where the feathers hung
down. Rhonda shuddered, tingles running down her spine at his touch.
He was looking at her, his face smiling faintly.
it.' he said. 'It does something for you.'
A very special thank you goes to the Native American Languages website:
and the resident webmaster Laura Redish and her associates for their
unmatched assistance in making the Blackfoot chants which were used
for both Maze and for Rhonda. I have not put translations for these
chants here - but as my cunning way of getting you to visit their
site, to explore it, and to see just how great it is, I hope to place
a link to their site's FAQ in chapter 7. Then the translations may
be placed there for you to explore and find. The languages and the
site itself are treasures well worth the trouble to explore... And
Team Probable's experience at Kwitcherbeliakin isn't over just yet....
word pronunciation guide:
Fatigable: Katasistsikoowa - (Kah-tah-sist-sih-koh-wah) 'Never Gets
Grimm Probable: Otaatoyiwa - (Oh-tah-ah-to-yi-wah) 'Cunning Fox'.
Gentle Paw: Ikkinikinsstiwa - (ick-kih-nih-kinse-stih-wah) 'Gentle
Maze: Sskipoyiwa - (Sis-key-poh-yi-wah) 'Stands in Darkness'