Year 100 day 100
I seems very fast to me, but even the grandchildren of those I first knew as babies are gone. Some things are unchanged: the People still follow the game, there are good seasons and bad, and every year there are new children and new deaths.
The “sharing of power” has become an important part of the ritual of recognizing a new shaman. Not in public, thank goodness!
In fact, it is taken for granted now that I will sleep with the woman (generally single) who stays to prepare my food and clothing, and such women are eagerly sought by the men of the group when their term of serving me is over.
I miss my own people, but while I know how to build a starship, I do not have the tools or materials.
My apologies for being late this morning; yesterday I was busy making some of the arrangements necessary to fly to Anchorage with a portable oxygen concentrator for a doctor’s appointment. More phone calls today on the details, but I have the basics at this point.
Year 58 Day 102
Five years ago, WildDog’s plea to transfer some of my power to him via his mate was a shock to me as well as to the rest of the group. True, a number of the other male shamans made the sams request later, but I think the main motivation was not letting WildDog get ahead of them. A year after that, them woman who were leaders in their own right decided that they, too, wanted whatever power I could give them.
Today there are only a few holdouts. I even find myself looking forward to this new duty.
Year 54 Day 33
I begin to suspect a conspiracy on the part of the women shamans. Four groups led by women had arrived by yesterday, and all of the leaders agreed on the idea of a direct transfer of power. Today the first male-led group arrived, and the shaman, whose wife I slept with last year, was clearly not pleased to find himself placed behind the women.
I explained the new rules: no more than one a night, first priority to those to whom I had not yet transferred power, equality between male and female shamans. The men were not pleased, but with four women already having slept with me and the new rules established, there wasn’t much they could do.
Year 54 Day 30
The first group in this year was one of the three descended from Storm Cloud’s old group, the one headed up by Wind Storm. She came to see me almost at once.
“You pass part of your power to the male shamans through their mates,” she said. “Could you not pass it directly to the female shamans?”
I didn’t believe I was passing anything on but they clearly did. “No reason I can think of, “ I said. Mentally I was counting up the shamans. “But no more than one a night. And those to whom I have not yet transferred power come first.”
She bowed, and her expression was positively smug. “Then I shall come to you at moonrise,” she said.
Wind Storm is a very determined woman.
Year 53 Day 112
I had no idea WildDog’s idea would be so popular.
Not that I wasn’t ready to ease my own sexual frustration! In fact, the women of the People have been looking more and more attractive to me. My night with WildDog’s wife proved that the likeness was even closer than I supposed. We fit in every way possible. It’s just as well that offspring are impossible, or I’d be tempted to settle down with a local wife.
At this point, with the People getting ready to leave on their annual migration, I think about half of the shamans have insisted I sleep with their women, to pass the “powers” on to them. Truth to tell, I’m getting a bit exhausted.
“You want me to do what?” I gasped at WildDog.
“To sleep with my wife,” he said calmly, “that some of your power may pass to her, and through her to me.”
I gulped. These People were very like the R’il’noids in many ways, but I was sure our DNA was so different that no offspring could come from such a mating. And if it reassured WildDog, why not? Face it, I’m lonely.
Year 11 Day 165
“Greenland-musk-ox hg” by Hannes Grobe), AWI – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.
Remember the part of the tideless sea that reminded me of an underwater mountain range? I didn’t even know what I was talking about!
The northern shore of the main north continent was at least fairly well defined. During the warm season I could tell water from land, though when the ocean was frozen to the shore it was a little difficult. Eastward from the strait, though ….
Imagine a partly drowned mountain range. Not one with just the tips of the mountains poking up as islands, but one with all of the valleys drowned. Let it be so cold and so dry that little survives but rock and cushion plants. Allow some surprisingly large horned animals to survive on the sparce vegetation. Now add a highly variable amount of drift ice choking the water-filled valleys.
I don’t think that a lot of warm water could get through.
So, hypotheses: this ocean remains frozen because there is not enough oceanic heat transfer from the south.
Year 11 Day 130
I’ve come to a sea water strait that may or may not end this continent. It’s not very wide; I can levitate high enough to see land beyond. And it’s not very deep either. In fact, the whole sea water expanse between the northern continent and this land mass farther east is so shallow that it wouldn’t take much drop in sea level – no more that a buildup of the ice sheets – to make this new land continuous with the coast I’ve been following.
This strait is a bit wider than the one separating the tideless sea from the tidal see to the west, but shallower. I don’t believe it is really any as much of a division between continents as a flooded low-lying area.
Go on eastward, or follow the strait to the south? Since my main question is why this planet seems to have ice caps at both poles, I think I’ll assume that this strait is too narrow to allow much warm sea water in to melt the ice, and continue along the north coast of this new land mass. Right now the ice is within easy sight of the shore, but that may change as the season advances. At any rate, this will allow me to encircle the floating ice, and perhaps take an occasional side trip to the north.
Year 11 Day 106
I am going to have to start paying more attention to what I say, even casually.
I had to dispose of Patches’ body, and I was a little worried that the People would in fact take it as an insult if I buried her as if she were one of them. Sending her to the stars seemed a good way to comfort WildDog.
I forgot anything I said would be taken as the pronouncements of a god.
WildDog did not forget. He studied the stars, and decided the brightest star he could see must be Patches’ heart. He then informed anyone who would listen (which included most of the folk at the Gather) that the god Jarn had rewarded Patches for her faithfulness by putting her in the sky, where he happily pointed out her heart, her head and her feet.
What was really annoying was that most of them could see the outline he pointed out, and by the time the People left to follow the game, the bright star was the dog star, the group of stars was being referred to as the great dog, and there was a buzz of speculation as to what I would next put in the Heavens.
It’s a good thing I have a project: the Northern ice cap. It should be the right time of year to finish exploring its edge.
Year 11 Day 45
Some images stay in your head forever.
I think I will always remember WildDog, sitting on the ground next to the snowfield I teleported in for the Gather, with Patches’ head in his lap. I knew she was failing, but she so obviously wanted to go with WildDog that I didn’t even think to object. I don’t think WildDog encouraged her to overdo, it, either. It was just that her time had come.
Death is nothing new or strange to the children of the People, and WildDog looked up at me with tears running down his face, but with complete understanding that his companion was gone. “She just laid her head in my lap and died,” he said.
“She was old,” I told him. “I think she hung on to see you again, and I believe her last moments were happy.”
He looked down at Patches’ head, and gently stroked her half-bald ears. “Can we bury her?” he asked. “Or is that just for people? Because she’s sort of people too.”
Yes, the People buried their dead, but my own people teleported their dead into the sun. I couldn’t manage that; my esper skills weren’t up to it. But I could wait until night fell and send her body toward the stars, and that somehow felt right.
So I told WildDog to look for Patches in the stars, where she would be guarding him as she had done since his birth.