Year 2 Day 337

I couldn’t find Storm Cloud’s group yesterday evening, or the evening before! I wasn’t  too worried about them; they were getting into an area where they could find ground melons, if not surface water. But I wanted to talk with Storm Cloud about the other groups I’ve seen, especially about the one with only a single survivor.

Luckily I remembered how easily Patches backtracked the hyena, and this morning I teleported her to the last place I’m sure was on the group’s trail, and asked her to find Songbird. She set off at once, though somewhat puzzled by my wanting her to follow such an old trail. I flew above her, coming back to earth often to rest my mind, and by late in the afternoon we had caught up with the group. Obviously they did not need water; they were camped not far from a lake.

“Storm Cloud,” I said, “I need your advice,” and I poured out my problems: Lion’s group, the lone woman who was regaining her strength but was a magnet for predators, and the three other groups I’d seen. (I’d spotted another while searching for Storm Cloud’s group.)

She was a little shocked at my asking her for advice – she is still more than half convinced I am a god. But she was able to identify all of the other groups I had seen when I described their clothing, and confirm that they should also be heading for the Gather. In fact, it seems the woman who barely survived was her mother’s mate’s cousin’s niece, and Lion was some kind of a relative, too.

Songbird had been listening, and she was wiggling in a way that suggested she had something to say. “Speak, child,” Storm Cloud said.

“You could take me to see Uncle Lion,” she said. “I could tell him how you helped us.”

My doubt must have shown on my face, but Storm Cloud nodded. “I will give you a token.” She took off a shell necklace and handed it to Songbird. “Take great care of this, and bring it back to me safely, but this will tell Lion that you speak for me. When you return, we will speak of the woman.”

Did I have a choice? Songbird was the one person I was sure I could teleport safely, little though I liked reinforcing her love for being moved in this way.

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