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wonder

One, Two, Three!

(Realm of Elysia)

Robyn said, “Come now, we must all enter together, form a line with me.”

Grace, rolling her eyes, said, “Do we have to? You do this every time.”

“Of course! It’s now a tradition!” she said, making sure everyone lined up precisely. “Okay, with me, step! One, two, three!”

As they all crossed the threshold together, they shouted gleefully, “We’re here, we’re here, we’re here!” laughing.

Bren, gazing upon the glowing festival the size of a small city, looked up at the living arch above them, made of some flowering vine, with great trunks at either side, the girth reminding her of ancient oaks from the forests of her childhood.

The twilight of the sky lay like a dome of light, silhouetting the brightly lit booths and stalls before them. Ahead, on either side, lay a grand fairway which branched as a tree into the far reaches of the feast, each leading to a different section of the celebration.

Brenzel…of Eden

“Would you like a map?” a tall, beautiful red-haired woman approached and offered.

Brenzel, looking up in to her bright smile, said, “Yes, of course, thank you.”

“I’m Dornee of Gaddril. Welcome to the feast!”

Bren, looking at her questioning expression replied, “I am Brenzel…of Eden. I’m glad to be here.”

Eyes widening, Dornee said, “You are the first person I’ve ever met from Eden! Thank you for coming from so far, we are all honored! If there’s anything I can do for you, please, I’m at your service!”

“Thanks, “Bren said, as her small entourage pulled her along with them into the crowds.

Hope, coming near, said, “Bren, here’s the plan. Each of us will take turns helping you go wherever you want to. It’s overwhelming at first, I know, but just go wherever want, one of us will tag along. If in doubt, just ask, we’ve been here a lot, so we know all the best things. Okay?”

“Sounds good to me! Who do I get first?” she asked.

“Well, you’re extremely fortunate tonight: Me!” Smiling, Bren took her small friend’s offered arm and they set off, while the others scattered gleefully into the Seven Days of Wonder.

Mysteries

Looking down at the brochure, Bren read,

Welcome to the Seven Days of Wonder!

On the leaflet’s opposite was a map that showed areas for Music, Arts and Crafts, Feasting, Stories, Acts, Mysteries, Fashion, and a Main Stage with surrounding Dance Floor.

Looking over the festival layout, Bren said, “I’m famished, but what is this place called ‘Mysteries’?”

Hope, looking at the map said, “That’s odd, it’s completely new. I’ve never seen it before.”

“Well, can we go there after we’ve had a bite?”

“Of course!” she said, leading the way through the throng of happy people towards the feast.

Stampede

(Lakota Tribe, Montana Territory, 1877)

Chaska ran from teepee after teepee, yelling, “Tanka! Stampede!” as men, women, and children poured out and sought refuge. The first of the great beasts lumbered into camp, crashing through everything, barely slowing or trying to avoid. Once the herd began to move, those at the front knew that to stop or even slow down meant their death too, so all ran until exhausted to save themselves.

Women screamed as they bolted with their children in arm for the trees. Carrying little ones some men ran, while others waving blankets tried to divert the animals from them. Chaska, seeing a lone little girl crying in the midst of the rushing animals, dashed headlong into the deadly flow, dodging the running beasts, zig-zagging his way towards her.

Brave

A huge bull appearing suddenly out of the dust, seemingly lunging right for him, he jumped and rolled barely in time to get out of the way, it’s hooves coming down hard near his head. Springing up again, he ran, scooping up the terrified child, and sprinted, as fast as he could, with the herd, hoping to find a sturdy tree to hide behind.

The great sea of buffalo, now only moments from the village, progressed like a tidal wave of brown, blotting out the earth. A line of living death to everyone in its path, it swept towards the edge of the encampment, as everyone ran for their lives.

Stop

Waking, yawning, Wichapi stretched. Feeling refreshed for the first time in months, her eyes opened to the shaking ground. Standing up, without dressing, she threw open the teepee’s flap, only to see buffalo running by. Wading into the stampede, buffalo flowed around her, parting as if she were Moses at the Red Sea. Turning to face the rushing herd Wichapi said softly, “Stop,” and all the Bison, as if one animal, skidded in short hops to a stand still, panting and roiling their heads back and fort, up and down.

Looking around at the destruction as the dust settled, she wept. Some teepees lay torn and trampled while others survived without a scratch. All the horses scattered. Her people, the ones near enough to see, many in shock, stood either numb or wailing. The Indian princess felt her stomach churn as she worried if some were hurt or even dead.

Out of the settling dust, Chaska appeared. Fetching a blanket from her tent, he covered her.

The buffalo as one animal, together, turned and walked peacefully out of the village, carefully avoiding creating any more damage. Now, as gentle as family dogs, they left without fuss, as if led by a pied piper. Men, women, and eventually children, stood or knelt in awe assuming the great Spirit, Wakȟáŋ Tȟáŋka, had just intervened to save them from certain destruction.

Wichapi, sitting on a rock near her tent, dried her eyes as Chaska sat in silence next to her.

Turning to her brother, she said, “I’m sorry.”

Chaska, after awhile said, “At least you were here to stop it.”

Chapi, taking his sweating hand in hers, said, “You know it’s me.”

The big strong brave said, “Yes.”

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