A prequel of historical fiction about the early days of the Tsi people.
In the early days of the Tsi people, Cloud Seeker sought a vision. There were a number of signs given to the people during that time that he could not understand, so he traveled to the north to be alone. It was a land he had never seen before, in the late winter – early spring. This was during the time of Standing on the Mountain’s, grandfather’s, grandfather.
He leaned over instinctively after they had come to a stop, and rubbed his horse’s neck, apologizing for the long distance. They had gone a long ways, in a short amount of time, and she was tired now. He jumped down, and speaking quietly to her, he led her to the stream they both had been eyeing. They both drank in gulps, while he used his hand for a cup. She was his favorite horse, and he needed to be more careful with her. Holding her bridle, and rubbing her nose, he apologized again. He was already beginning to sense the Creator, and he could feel the calm. He looked at the world around him he breathed in the goodness.
Three days later, and still traveling north, the land had changed. The plains were giving way to a few hills here and there, and even some trees. There were patches of snow and it was colder. At night it was much colder, and he was thankful for the buffalo robe he carried. In the distance he could see some trees on a hill that would make a good camp, and he aimed the mare in that direction.
During his journey he had been asking the Creator for direction, and what all the signs meant. He sang, and contemplated the nature. There was also his pipe. Smoke from his pipe took his thoughts upwards, and his used the special pipe that his grandfather had given him. This night, in the small patch of woods, he fell asleep by the fire, wrapped in his robe, dreaming of lying next to his wife. He missed her warmth.
He heard a twig snap, and bolted straight up. He reached for his knife, but everything had changed, the air was hot like summer, and was filled with fog. There it was! A noise again – an animal he guessed, moving in the bushes. Instead of the knife he reached for his bow, and very quietly, without a sound, he slowly took an arrow from the quiver, and placed it ready. He silently went from sitting up to crouching, and waited. Although he could not see it, he could hear the animal, moving, and coming closer.
It was then that he saw the largest buffalo head he had ever seen, pushing its way through the fog, like a child being born. It was massive, and only a few feet away. The huge animal looked him square in the eye and said: “Are you Tsi?” It was a deep voice but not threatening. He did not see the animal’s lips move, yet he heard the words.
The animal asked again: “Are you Tsi?” Cloud Seeker was no longer afraid, so he replied, “Yes I am”.
“You do not belong here; you should be with your people”. The massive head spoke again, “The land they are in, is for them to use, and you will have many years of peace. Other people will come to you, do not be afraid of them”. Some will be suffering from terrible war, and will seek the peace you have. They will become Tsi and will add strength to your people. Do not be afraid of them”.
Cloud Seeker said nothing but listened. The massive head spoke again, “In the winter go to the great forest. There is a valley, on the other side of Old Woman Mountain. The entrance is on the right side.” He thought about the Ulani living there, but the animal said, “Do not be concerned about the Ulani, they have moved to the south”. The buffalo continued: The forest will keep you safe. When there is trouble you can go there, it is a place of safety.”
Suddenly, Cloud Seeker heard another twig snap to his right. His neck shot his head there, but he saw nothing. When he turned back, the buffalo was gone.
And then he woke up. He bolted up again, only to find that he, and everything else was covered with a fresh snow, and the air was cold. The only sign of any animals, were tracks from a rabbit. He had dreamed the vision, but he knew it was real.
And that is how the Creator directed the Tsi people to where they live now.
This is a rewrite of a story I wrote some time ago, so those who have been reading awhile, might recognize part of it.
They talked all night and did not go to sleep until the sun came up. Most of the people were wondering where they were during the day. After Cricket in the Meadow and Sky woke up, there was more talking. Sky had learned a lot form her mother, and thanked her with tears in her eyes. She needed some air and time to think, so she went for a walk, with a very large buffalo robe wrapped around her, and extra coverings on her feet.
She walked along the paths the people made, towards the great forest, and around where the horses were kept, thinking about all that was said. She did not realize she had been angry with her husband-to-be. She was using this term now, in the Tsi language, not out of wishful thinking, but from a deep sense of knowing. Her mother had shown her that the anger she felt was destructive, and once she dealt with it, the insight came. She did love him, and was moved by him in a strange way.
There was so much to learn! Cricket in the Meadow, had never been given the title, “medicine woman”. The Tsi did not give titles like that, even though that’s what she was. All the people referred to her as a healer, and once in a while Sky heard the term, “one who sees”, but these were just practical terms. Everyone loved and respected Cricket in the Meadow. They all knew, she was the one to go to if someone was sick, or injured, or if there was grief in the heart. She always knew what to do, or what to say.
Last night, it was Sky’s turn. Cricket in the Meadow told her that one day she would be a healer, and a seer, but that it was not for Sky’s benefit this was happening. It was happening for the benefit of the people. It was the Creator’s way of taking careof the people. Cricket in the Meadow made it very clear that pride had no place in the life of a healer. The weight of these words weighed heavy on her.
As she walked through the herd of horses, they moved aside. She noticed their breath coming out and wondered how they could live out here in the extreme cold. Her own pony came up to her. He was a spotted one and she loved his coloring. She stroked his nose, and spoke quietly to him. She reached into a pouch and pulled out the wild carrots she had been saving. She fed him and closed her eyes to pray.
Could she do it? Could she learn everything about herbs, and their combinations so that they brought healing? Could she learn all about wounds, and how to keep away infections? All the women of the village knew how to sew up a wound, but no one knew how to like Cricket in the Meadow. No one knew how to clean a wound like she did. No one knew herbs like she did. And then there was the spiritual side, and prayer. There was so much to learn!
As she walked along the path, back towards the village, she was shocked to see her husband-to-be coming towards her. She was nervous, and her palms began sweating. As he drew close he said “Hello!”, and took her hands in his. Oh! Her heart was racing – how she loved him! But she knew this was her chance, so she took it. “You hurt me!” “You hurt me by pulling away, and by being so….so….polite!” “Why did you do this?!!”
He looked down, looking for words to say. He looked at her now, and said, “I didn’t want to get in the way of your healing”. “I didn’t want to be a distraction to you”. She was stunned. She had not thought of that. All she could say was, “Oh.” She realized now, he had cared about her the whole time.
Now it was his chance, so he took it. He was still holding her hands and said, “Sky you are so spiritual, and I am not!” “I’m just an average man”. He smiled and added, “But I am a great hunter!”, while pounding his chest. They both laughed, and this allowed them to talk freely. He whispered into her ear, and they both undid their buffalo robes, drew each other in close, and wrapped themselves in the robes like a single caterpillar in a cocoon. He could feel her heart beating. She whispered, “I love you too”, as the snow began to fall.
As they held each other, she had a vision of their wedding ceremony. It was spring then, and everything was green. Could they wait that long?