Year 2, Day 337 Continued
To my considerable surprise Songbird, with the authority of the Shaman’s necklace, was actually able to convince Lion that my “godly” powers did not extend to making it rain, though I could transport water-filled containers to a band on the move. They were far more apprehensive about Patches, whom they had not seen before. Songbird laughed and hugged the animal, which seemed to reassure them a little. At least they didn’t totally panic when I had the wild dog get their scent so I could have her track them.
The sun was already low when I teleported Songbird, Patches and myself, along with a ground melon and some groundnuts, to the place where I had left the woman. She, too, was shocked, but chatted freely with Songbird while she kept a wary eye on Patches and I added a few more thorn branches to her barrier. Songbird looked carefully around her before we left. “Could you raise us up, so I can see farther?” she asked. Puzzled, I complied, letting her look around a little before I teleported us all back to Storm Cloud’s camp.
We arrived at sunset, with a hunting bird soaring overhead. “I know where they are,” Songbird told the Shaman as she returned the necklace, “and Jarn will bring them water as they move North. And I know where your sister’s kinswoman is, too.” She then proceeded to give a series of landmarks I had not even noticed, followed by precise directions for reaching the half-starved woman. How had she known that?
Two of the best hunters listened carefully and then nodded. “We will bring her here, but it will take two days running to reach her, and more to bring her back. Can she walk?” They looked in my direction, though not directly at me.
“She is walking around within the thorn barrier now,” I told them. “But she cannot run. You will set out in the morning? I will bring you water, fish and figs at your night camp.” I would take the same to the woman, I decided. She would need the strength if she was to cover the distance back to Storm Wind’s camp.
It was fully dark by then, and I was eager to get back to the safety of my shelter – but I had one more question to ask. “Songbird,” I said, “how did you know the way to where the woman was?”
She grinned. “Oh, I described where this camp is, she recognized it, and told me how to get to her camp from here. I’ll be able to do it someday, but I don’t know all of the landmarks yet.”
When I was back at my shelter and putting today’s doings into my journal I thought a bit about these people’s ability to move around their landscape, and their ability to follow an unknown trail from a single second-hand description. I could not do that. But to survive as hunters and gatherers, they had to.
Jarn’s Journal is the fictional Journal of a Human-like alien stranded in Africa roughly 125,000 years ago. His story is part of the remote background of the Jarnian Confederation, the setting or both my science fiction novels. The Journal to date is on my author website.