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little birds

Into the Buffalo Grass

(Lakota Tribe, Montana Territory, 1876)

As Brenzel and Wichapi walked side by side in the morning light, everything around them appeared especially crisp and clear. Making their way through the endless rolling expanse of buffalo grass, the many and varied sounds and smells delighted all their senses.

Following some distance behind the braves, who led their best horses on foot so as not to tire them, Wichapi asked, “Bren, do you like animals?”

Enjoying herself, Bren said absentmindedly, “Well, not really,…at least I thought I didn’t.”

The Indian maiden, quiet for a moment, veered nearer Bren and spoke into her ear. Bren then looked at her in surprise, saying, “No way? Really? Can you show me?”

Little birds

Wichapi stopped and said, “Be perfectly still,” then stretching out her hand, palm up and flat, she closed her eyes. In the silence Brenzel felt the soft wind on her face, gently stirring her hair. As the sun warmed Bren a deep sense of peace enveloped her like a thick blanket. All of a sudden, two little birds, brightly yellow, flew into her friend’s hand, at first looking around furtively, then settling down as if to nest. Opening her eyes slowly, Wichapi, beautiful and statuesque, smiled broadly.

“That is amazing!” Bren whispered, wonder and excitement clearly showing on her face. Looking at her friend, Brenzel felt as though she just wanted to be near Wichapi forever. She knew there was no other place she’d rather be. Wichapi pursed her lips, as if to kiss the little birds, and as her lips parted, her little friends flew away.

Reveille

(7th Cavalry, Montana Territory, 1876)

The staccato sounds of reveille found Derek already dressed and ready to ride. While the others moaned, groaned and cursed their way out of bed, Custer’s scout relished the final chapter of his dime novel, entitled, “Buffalo Bill, From Boyhood to Manhood.”

Nearly a week before, because Derek’s mother didn’t raise no fool, he wisely lowered his weapons at Custer’s polite, but insistent, request. Lieutenant Colonel Custer told the two furious soldiers to pick up their fallen comrade, threatening them both with the stockade if they ever made trouble with Two Guns again. Turning to the still livid black man, Custer said, “Two Guns, you are smarter than you look, just don’t be threatening to kill my corporals anymore. They might not be the sharpest tools in the shed, but when you are fighting Injuns, every last man counts. Do you understand my meaning?” Derek, nodded, uncocking and holstering his guns.

I’s understands

Looking at Custer, he said, “Pardon my bad manners sir, I’s a might sensitive when people shows me disrespect.”

Custer, studying the scout closely replied, “Good Scout, I believe that every man should be respected on his own merits and I sympathize with your plight. Yet know this, if you’d have moved but a fraction of an inch in the wrong direction, I’d have most certainly shot you.”

Looking at Custer, Derek said, “Yes sir, I’s understands perfectly.”

What do you mean, two?

(Elysia Sanctuary, Realm of Hala)

Early morning rays filtered through the stained glass lattice above them, forming multicolored patterns of sunlight on their bed. Doc asked, “What do you mean, two? I mean, that’s impossible, isn’t it? The Librarian says only one recurrence has ever been prophesied. There can’t be two, can there?”

3, wishing he had gotten his abacus out of his bag, said, “Well, that is what she seems to have said, but over the years I’ve come to realize that Librarians don’t always say what you think they are saying. They’re always truthful, but at times those who listen to them may jump to conclusions. Perhaps this is one of those times. Truth is, I’ve never really thought much about it, just accepted what everyone told me”. 3, reciting the Abel’s prophesy, sang it in the old tongue,

Abel’s prophecy

“Beauty from old sees a final blow,

Seven days shall pass until the prophecy unfolds.

A Seraph in season, in time shall recur,

From one shall be two, as seen in a mirror.”

Doc listened thoughtfully, then said, “So, what the prophesy may be saying is that the Seraph is one of two that recur at the same time, not another recurrence of Beauty?”

“Maybe,” 3 said, “but at this point, it’s all speculation. However, the fact remains that Bren and her new Lakota friend, Wichapi, are a dual recurrence. I think we will have to pay a visit to the Librarian while we are here.”

Doc, pulling the covers over her head once again, said, “3, please wake me up and tell me this is all just a bad dream.”

I hope it’s “not far”

(Montana Territory, 1876)

After a few hours of walking Bren’s feet became sore, and she asked Wichapi to slow down and take a break. Looking out over the horizon, Wichapi said, “It is not far now.” Grimacing, Bren trudged onward, hoping that her’s and the Indian princess’s idea of “not far” was one and the same.

Climbing one more large hill, Bren felt relieved to see the flat plain open up below, nestled among the other hills in the distance. Higher than the other hills around it, the ridge on which they stood, dropped off sharply, giving Bren a view of the prairie that truly impressed upon her the immensity of the land. She felt insignificant, like standing on the ocean shore, gazing at undulating hills rolling onward as far as her eyes could see.

Chaska, Wichapi’s brother, climbed towards them from below, where he’d stationed his men and horses. As he approached, Bren smiled weakly, flipping her hair neatly behind her shoulder with her left hand.

Sister, are you sure?

Chaska, grave as usual, looked directly at Bren, then at Wichapi, saying, “Sister, are you sure? I do not like this. No one in our tribe knows, so why trust this outsider?”

Face serene, Wichapi said, “Brother, I am sure about her, and it is time.”

Snorting, Chaska finished by saying, “You think you always know best, but I hope you are not wrong,” as he turned and walked back down the hill.

Bren, turning away, feeling vulnerable with her cheeks a deep red, thought to herself, “Right, Brenzel, could you have been any more obvious?”

Pulling herself back together, Bren asked with a puzzled look on her face, “What was that about?”

Her friend, moving over to the ponies, untied a deerskin bag from one, and started unpacking its contents on the ground. “You know how brothers are, always worried about something, but I am really quite sure about this Bren,” Wichapi said as she carefully arranged her items.

A Holy Kiss

“Men,” Wichapi began, “seem to be always looking for meaning and purpose in life. This is why they are always doing vision quests, making war, and trying to have power over people. You and I, unlike them, give life through our bodies, and we know our purpose”. Bren just listened as Chapi disrobed, as she always did, completely unaware of how uneasy it made Bren feel. Slipping on her ceremonial dress, beads, and headband, she continued, “I have always known my purpose, or at least part of it”. Now, since you came, I know I am not alone.”

“Alone?” Bren repeated questioningly.

“Yes, until you came, I thought I was the only one, unique in a world that would never understand me. You have given me hope,” Wichapi finished as she came close to Bren, kissing her on the lips, then hugging her, saying, “Thank you, sister.”

Connected

Bren, shocked, stomach fluttering, trembled at the softness of Chapi’s lips lingering on hers, feeling utterly loved. Emotions, all of them positive, cascaded through her at once. Deep friendship, yet somehow more, a connecting of something spiritual – yes, that was it, a spiritual connection – made her feel whole for the first time in her life. Like a revelation, Bren knew that she and Chapi were meant to find each other. Brenzel, understood that her kiss was, more than anything else, a ‘welcome home sister’.

Not knowing what to do, Bren looked out over the flat plain below. Wichapi began to dance, beating a small handheld drum as she did. Chanting, she danced in small, rhythmical hopping motions in a sort of loose circle. Chapi’s voice, contralto and clear, rose and fell like the hills the surrounded them. Bren felt a magnetic force emanating from the Indian princess as she moved, similar to when the birds nested in her hand, but in a much deeper, feral way.

Sit with me sister

All of a sudden, Wichapi stopped moving and smiled.

“That was beautiful,” Brenzel commented.

“Come, sit with me sister,” Wichapi suggested.

Looking over the valley before them, Bren said as she sat cross-legged on the ground near her native friend, “What are Chaska and the braves going to hunt? I don’t see any Buffalo.

Wichapi simply said, “They’re coming.”

Trying hard to understand her friend’s cryptic response, Bren felt the earth begin to tremble saying, “Chapi, do you feel that?” Wichapi just smiled and said nothing. As the trembling increased, alarmed, Bren got up to search the sky, for she heard thunder, too. Nothing, not a cloud anywhere on the horizon. Wichapi, standing now, came next to Bren, putting her arm around her waist. Looking at the valley below, Brenzel’s jaw dropped as her eyes grew wide. Where heaven met earth, all at once appeared a dark line stretching across the entire horizon. Soon, line began to move forward, breaking into tens of thousands of moving dots.

Wichapi leaned over to Bren and said, “They’re here…”

SEOISB.