I might as well give up trying not to interfere.

Songbird walks over from the camp every day, generally loaded down with gifts from the clan. She is quite convinced that I am a god, and that I cannot possibly do without her help in finding food (or bringing over what her relatives have provided) and cooking it. From what she said, her people – including the shaman – are just as thoroughly convinced.

And there are at least one leopard, a family of lions, and a pack of hyenas in the area, any of which would find Songbird, alone, a tasty snack.

The first two days I teleported her back to where she could walk back safely, explaining as I did so that it was too dangerous for her to make the walk alone.

She loves being teleported.

Today I walked back to her relatives’ camp with her, thinking that I would explain the dangers and ask her parents to keep her in the camp.

The next thing I knew, I was in the middle of a greeting ceremony, with a number of strangers who were, to put it mildly, terrified of me.

Now I know how to shield against emotions. With animals, it’s automatic – I have to think to feel them. With other R’ilnai it is a matter of politeness. But for almost two years now, the only sentient being I’ve had to shield against was Songbird, and I generally didn’t, because I wanted to know if she was in trouble. To be blunt, it just isn’t automatic any more, and being surrounded by that much fear ….

Well, I managed to excuse myself somehow. I think I babbled something about having to check the food Songbird had left cooking. But the shaman, just before I bolted, urged me to come tomorrow for a proper greeting – and from the texture of her mind, she meant a proper worshiping.

And I think I agreed.

I had better practice my shielding technique.