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Wakan Tanka

(Great Spirit)

“What are your people?” Wichapi asked wiggling and slipping her buckskin dress over her head.

“I come from a land called Yorkshire, my people are called English“.

Wichapi frowned, “They say the English came to our lands many winters ago and now desire to take it away from us. How did you come here?” the young Indian maiden quizzed further.

Bren, at a loss for words, simply said, “The Great Spirit brought me, and I found myself in a meadow up on the mountain.”

Eyes widening, Wichapi seemed to understand, saying, “Come, we must go, the sun is setting. My father will wonder where I am.”

As Bren followed her new acquaintance up a narrow foot path, she wondered how much she could tell Wichapi. Always before she felt it best not to tell anyone anything, but something inside her felt like sharing much more with her new friend.

I still love her so much

(Realm of Elysia)

Dove, wings folding, stepped onto the living stones of her sanctuary. Thandeka, bright, yellow hair shining like the sun, touched down shortly afterwards. Both Seraphs made their way into the inner chamber where attendants stood waiting to minister.

Looking gratefully at Thandeka, Dove said, “Thank you for coming with me, I appreciate your support.”

“Sister, you know I’d never let you bear this burden alone,” Thandeka smiled as she lay her ebony hand on Dove’s ivory shoulder.

“I always knew this was a possibility, but I’d put it so far away from my heart and mind. . .” the elder Seraph said, trailing off with a faraway look in her eyes.

“Dear, the heart and minds of all Zulu are with you, and we stand united. Whatever happens, we will go through it together.” Thandeka pledged.

Thinking back to the first time she saw Beauty, the queen of Elysia felt a wave of sorrow flood her heart and spirit. Long ago, as Dove first emerged from the stones of fire, she saw Beauty, a mirror image of herself, smiling warmly. The sum of all wisdom, stepping towards her, began to sing a new song, a melody so sweet and simple it caused Dove’s spirit to unfold. In a word, as their eyes met, it was love at first sight.

Feeling her sister’s pain, Thandeka drew Dove close, wings folding around her. Like a dam bursting, Dove began to sob, as great tears rolled down her porcelain features. Between tears, Dove confessed, “God help me, what do I do now? I still love her so much.”

Up a tree

(Montana Territory, 1876)

Shadows lengthening, Wichapi led Bren through a grove of quaking aspen, down across a small brook, then up a steep, rocky embankment. Just as they crested the ridge, they both heard faint screams in the distance. Wichapi, like a deer, ran quickly towards the pleas for help as Bren followed, struggling to keep her in view.

When Bren caught up with her, Wichapi motioned her behind a large pine tree. Several hundred feet in front, a large black bear, standing on its hind legs, shook a tall, slender, dead tree as a woman clung desperately near the top.

“No one from our camp will hear her cries for help!” Wichapi said breathlessly as the bear continued to push the tree, causing it to whipsaw. Leaning back, then coming down hard on the brittle trunk, both women heard the cracking of wood. The bear, clearly eager for its next meal, growled ferociously.

Stop!

“Stop!” Bren shouted as she stepped out from behind Wichapi.

Horror taking hold of her face, the Indian girl grabbed the white woman’s sleeve demanding, “What are you doing!?”

Truthfully, Brenzel had no idea what she was doing, only that she felt to say again, “Stop!” Then, remembering what a priest once said, added, “In Jesus’ name!”

The bear, looking over at Bren, as if surprised, dropped to all fours. Still snarling, it began to move towards them. Wichapi, backing away in panic yelled “Run!” as she began to do so herself.

Moving forward, though, the young Seraph Hunter said, “Stop! In Jesus’ name.” The bear stopped, swaying back and forth, making noises as if unsure of what to do next. Then, jumping up once on its hind legs, dropped back to the ground, turned and lumbered away.

Reaching the base of the dead tree, Brenzel looked up at the still trembling woman, shouting in Lakota, “You can come down now, the bear is gone.” Across the other side of the clearing, men burst through the forest at full speed, closing upon them swiftly, one shouting commands to the others. Shortly, four braves came and stood by Bren and the treed woman, while a half dozen more took off in the direction the bear went.

The White Buffalo

A tall, fierce-looking warrior in buckskin grabbed Brenzel’s arm tightly demanding, “Who are you?”

Bren, feeling his strength, said, “Hey, stop it!”, trying to break free.

Just then, out of the forest, Wichapi appeared, running to them, clearly winded. Arriving, putting her hand to the man’s arm she panted, “Stop, she is my friend.”

“What friend can a white woman make?” the young man commented disdainfully, releasing Bren’s arm a little.

Gradually, the young men coaxed the woman down, her hands and arms scratched and bloodied from climbing the sharp branches of the dead snag. One of the braves, lifting her up, carried her away, escorted by two others. Standing between the young leader and Bren, Wichapi declared, “Pte Ska Win.”

“What?” the brave said, looking astonished, letting go of Bren and taking a step back.

“Chaska … Brother…,” looking into his questioning eyes, “She is the White Buffalo”.

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