Stories of the People-Niiganabiik's World
Mildred R Holmes
(1 reviews)
A collection of short stories told by the Storyteller of the People in Niganabiik’s World, a fantasy ... Show More
Genres:
Fantasy, High Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Tags:
fantasy, walkers, magic, dreams, holmes, niiganabiik's world

Storyteller

One drumbeat sounded.  The People quieted.  Their eyes turned to the center of the Circle.  The Storyteller stood, black eyes gazing at each one of those sitting in front.

“Long ago, the Clans all lived in one village. The valley was located deep in the mountains of the largest continent on the planet. The trees, some thought them the oldest in the world, provided a variety of food from the sap used for sweeteners, to nuts and leaves used for making drinks. Flowers, nestled among the roots, provided the base for potions used to cure a variety of physical ailments."

The Storyteller raised his staff.  He carried it around the fire.  All eyes were riveted to the staff.  When he lowered it to the ground, the People relaxed.  

“Some houses looked like they’d been grown on the valley floor. Newer residences, located nearer the center, stood out from the low, rounded homes of the Elders of the Clans. Long, narrow, flat roofs filled with plants covered walls dug into the ground. Short passages under the roofs provided ways out into the land around the village. A rounded canopy protected the buildings during the winter season. 

“The village consisted of circles with each Clan in one of eight sections. The center circle belonged to the Councils. Ceremonies at the Heart of the People took place three times a day in the Great Circle near the edge of the wide river flowing through the village. The fourth ceremony, held at the midnight moon, belonged to the Protector and Guardian Clans. Hunters lived in the north, and the Gatherers in the east. Crafters and Traders occupied the south and west. A clearing in the center of this area housed most of the animals used for traveling. The Southern Route to the Valley of the Long Ears was near the Crafts lodge. 

“Healers and apprentices lived in lodges closest to the Ceremony Lodge. Warriors, Guardians and Protectors scattered throughout the village to provide fighters and magic users for defense in all directions. 

“The Warrior Clan, most members among the People, had seven spokesmen to report to Councils held by the Elders. The Guardian and Protector Clans, most powerful of the Magic users, three; Hunters and Gatherers five.

"Hunters looked for anything to help the tribe, animals, birds, fish.  A few tracked those who fell from the Path of the People.  Not many fell, and so these special trackers became part of the Protectors and Guardians. Gatherers and Healers cared for children, the sick and and guarded all food stores. 

“The People, embroiled in a war with the Old Ones, debated the necessity of splitting the Healers from the Gatherers. Arguments among Healers ranged around duties, responsibilities, and concern for speakers in any Council. 

“Hunters, Gatherers and Protectors intended to go with the Caravan leaving the valley in three weeks time. They expected to be gone for the whole Sleeping Earth season. Snow blocked the high Pass and fierce winds blew down the peaks. They hoped to find a suitable site for another village. The village wasn’t overcrowded. Yet. 

“If the village separated, how would the Healers know who was sick? How would they split the experienced among themselves? The Elders said they best figure out something. The village would split sooner or later. Sooner would be best. The arguments went back and forth among the Healers.  The time of change was almost upon them."

TheStoryteller snorted.  The People hid their grins and smiles behind their hands.  Smirks flashed and laughter was barely reigned in.  He nodded his head, knocking loose the braids coiled about his ears.  The People let their laughter out in hushed tones, none dared look at the Healers who were in the crowd.

“The Great Circle filled to capacity when the Southern Caravan returned with trade goods from the Sky People. The Guardians and Hunters found a valley midway between the villages. It was bigger, plenty of food and water. Most important, hidden, higher up the mountain.  Elders and Spokes people chose from among the clans those who would journey to this new village.” 

The Storyteller looked into the flames at the center of the lodge. He stood, gazed at each of the People as he walked, slow and deliberate, about the fire. He lowered his lanky frame to the ground, crossing his legs once more. 

“A Healer, a young woman born to the People in the time of the War with the Old Ones, worried about the violence that touched the Clans. She was tired of the broken bones, the cuts, the bruises. She had to find time to rest, time to restore herself. Everywhere she looked, more people needed care. 

“One day, she walked to the river to get more plants, more water and food, if she could find any. One of the young warriors followed her. He questioned her about his brother’s wounds. She got angry with him, sent him back. All she wanted was some rest, some peace and quiet. She chased away guilt for her unkindness with thoughts of how she’d become Head Healer and save the wounded. The daydreams lasted through the rest of the afternoon. 

“When she returned to the village, she heard the young boy journeyed to the next world. She was filled with what ifs and rushed to the family’s Lodge. The young warrior saw her and chased her out of the circle. He shouted and shook his fist at her.

She stood in the light of the funeral fire and kept watch through the night. Others tried to tell her to ignore his grief. She closed her ears, closed her mind and waited for the dawn. Two Elders waited for the dawn in the shadows beside her. They felt her doubts, fear and guilt. They could do nothing until she reached out of herself. 

“When the dawn star was barely over the rim of the world, the young healer turned and walked away. She walked by the Elders, kept to herself. Days passed before she started healing. She had a cloud in her eyes, a dim spark in her Spirit. They grieved. They prayed for her. 

“The young woman went to the river, picked the few flowers ready for drying. She found a few berries and took them to her favorite spot. Trees formed a crescent shape like the sliver of the moon on it’s path. She wove flowers for drying. She became aware of someone watching her. She turned, dropped the flowers. 

“The young warrior stared at her. She saw his grief was a match for hers. She wanted to soothe away the grief. Her strength was no more. She waited for him to speak. After a long silence, she flicked her fingers, shooed him away from her. She tried not to let her irritation show at his continued presence. She gave up trying to out wait him. She took her things and fled to her house. He followed her. 

“Go home.  I can’t help you.” 

“I don’t want help.” 

“Go home.” 

“She changed course and went to the Healer’s Lodge. He followed her. She narrowed her eyes at his hesitation, the way his eyes flicked to the Center of the lodge before he walked in behind her. She took the flowers over to the drying racks. Daylight was a distant memory when she left the Lodge. The young warrior followed. 

“How long will you follow me?” She hissed. 

“As long as needed.” 
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Log in to add a comment or review for this chapter Chapter updated on: 5/28/2014 4:11:43 AM
  • annah brown commented on :
    4/1/2016 2:21:14 AM
    Hello good day, i will like to meet you in person, am miss Anna, am from France and am leaving in London, please contact me on my email id at (annh1brown@hotmail.com), ... Show More
  • a dabra commented on :
    9/16/2014 9:30:46 AM
    the changes are for better!
  • a dabra commented on :
    8/17/2014 4:14:22 PM
    great.
  • Mildred R Holmes commented on :
    4/24/2014 2:14:16 PM
    Made a couple changes, thanks to my cabin mate over to Camp NaNoWrimo. Let me know what you think.