Archive for February 21, 2014

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This is a continuation from last week, taken from a book I’m working on called (tentatively) Both Sides Now. Mik has just been stunned by Nonie’s obvious enthusiasm for Kevi’s accompanying the clan on their migration, and asked if she would really feel safer with him along. Nonie is about 10; Coralie (Mik’s sister) is in her 20’s.

“Yes,” Nonie replied. “Doctor Alsyn is nice, but I like Kevi better. He understands about being scared.”

Coralie nodded. “I’d feel — safer — with him along, too. Mik, why are you so doubtful? The only problem I can see is that he might not be up to the trip. And we always carry the rigging for a horse litter in the emergency supplies.”

Mik turned away and walked quickly to the cave mouth, where he stood for a minute. “It’s just that I know more about his background than you do, Coralie,” he said finally, without turning around. “We do need somebody—with old Bethe gone, we don’t even have a midwife. And if Kevi’s really had medical training, and Doc says he has …. I don’t think we have much choice. Just remember there are some things you don’t know about him.”

Coralie looked at Mik’s back with some annoyance. Things she didn’t know? There were things she didn’t know about everyone, including herself. If Mik really knew something bad about Kevi, why wasn’t he ready to tell her about it? Well, she wasn’t listening to what were likely mere rumors. “I’ll remember,” she said stiffly. “But I’m glad Kevi’s coming with us.”

But Mik really does know something about Kevi, something he’s sworn not to reveal.

Year 9 Day 240

I found a group of the northern hunters yesterday, and the distort seemed to work. What’s more, several of the women were tanning furred skins, both salted from last year and a fresh one. Time to contact Songbird, I thought.

No problem locating her, and I teleported to her vicinity. Rain Cloud’s band was relatively used to my appearing out of nowhere by now, and most kept on with their tasks while Songbird ran to meet me.

“Are they tanning furs now? Will you take me to watch? Swallow is old enough now I can leave her with my mother for most of the day, and she’ll watch WildDog, too. But once I figure out how to tan furs she wants me to teach her.”

“First we need to be sure that the distorts I improvised work,” I told her. “Is Giraffe around?”

In response she turned to WildDog, trailing her as usual, and said, “Find Giraffe and tell him the god Jarn wishes his presence.”

I’ve about given up on protesting at being called a god. They make gods of everything else they don’t understand, after all.

I’d made a pendant with the two chips, and I placed it around Songbird’s neck. “When you press here,” and I indicated the sensitized patch, “No one will see you. I hope.”

She didn’t wait for me to tell her to press it; she simply disappeared. I could still perceiver her, of course, but when Giraffe came up, with WildDog riding his shoulders, he did not even look in her direction. “You wished to see me?” he asked politely.

“Do you see Songbird?” I asked.

He looked around puzzled. “No, he said slowly. “She must have just left, though. I can smell her.” By my side, Songbird giggled.

“It works. Now how do I turn it off?”

“Touch the same spot again,” I said, and she reappeared.

“That’ll make watching the others tan furs much easier. Are you going to take me there?”

“Tomorrow, if it’s all right with Giraffe and your mother. Rainbow has made you some warm clothes – at least I hope they’re warm enough. They’re small furs sewn together. And I’ve stored them with tree branches from where the norther hunters live, so they should smell familiar to the them. But you must be very quiet.”

“Oh, I wanted to let Giraffe know where I was. I can be quiet. So will you come at sunrise tomorrow?”

“A little before noon. The sun rises later there.”

Giraffe had looked doubtful at first, but he had seen some of the tanned furs and he seemed quite pleased with the idea that his mate should learn the secret of their fashioning.