The last of Ruby’s girls passed away yesterday. She was my soul sister. I honor her strength of will, her tenacity and her great capacity for love as she passes on to the Summerland. A clan blessing from my book – “By the fang and the fur, May you sing with the wind, Grow strong like the trees. By the claw and the howl, May your spirit burn bright as flame…Flow ever onwards like the river.”
This is an exerpt from a book I wrote a while ago that is finished but not done yet.
“For many days, we fought and rested and fought again. With Longtoes holed up in some secret place fighting for her life with the healers, we had lost some of our order. Our troops had fallen into chaos, spread out among the Forest, fighting in small groups. We had pushed the kozam north into the foothills of the Cracked Hoof Mountains, but the wolves could not hold them.
That night when the Ip Sharam met to rest and eat our dinner, I watched the sisters closely. After dinner, Kindtounge looked over at me while still munching a grasshopper she had found, and thumped her tail on the ground rather pathetically.
“Are we making progress?” She asked, her voice raw around the edges from exhaustion. “Are we pushing them north or are they leading us north? It seems too easy.”
Traya stood slowly and went over to her sister. She sat down in front of her and began meticulously to lick her face and ears. I watched, my eyes nearly brimming over with tears as Snaptooth went over every inch of her sister’s head, tenderly cleaning away the dried blood and dirt until Grada’s black fur shone in the moonlight. When Traya had finished with her face she moved down her neck, paying special attention to the nicked places and tender scratches that covered her body like a network of vines. Both of the sisters were missing patches of fur and both had jagged tears in their ears. When Snaptooth had finished her grooming, Grada lay on her side, her eyes closed contentedly in sleep.
I went to Traya, whose eyes were dull with exhaustion as well. When I pressed my palms on either side of her face, she let her head rest heavily in my hands and her eyes closed for a moment. Massaging her jaw muscles, I let my hands move gently over her muzzle and down her chest. Her muscles were tight and I had not found a place on her yet that wasn’t swollen from some heavy blow or nicked by a kozam spear. The medicines that the healers had left with us were helping, but it seemed that everyday there was new wound or sore place.
“We have grown tired, Pine Witch. We have been fighting for days and already we have lost too many of our brethren.” She whispered, “I think that we still fight because we don’t know what else to do.
With each day of fighting, I had begun to fear that the storms inside of me were gone forever. It seemed that when I needed them most, they had deserted me. My storms could turn the tide of this war and carry us to victory. But they stayed hidden down within the dark places of my heart. Shaking my head, I resolved not to think about it anymore. Worrying did none of us any good.
“Hush, dear one.” I said and pulled her down gently into my lap. She rested her head over my knee as I went over the rest of her body, picking out burrs and testing sore spots for anything more than minor wounds. Aza lay sprawled out next to the turtle shell full of paste Penya had given me. Stretching to reach it with my feet, I bumped Aza who snorted and woke up long enough to push it over to me.
As I doctored the deeper wounds, cleaning them and applying the thick paste, a high wind picked up and moaned through the bare limbs of the poplars. We had found a place sheltered by a bank and surrounded by trees, but it was not enough to keep the harsh wind from our fur when it blew like this. What the sisters had left unsaid, I knew deep in my bones. We were losing this war and with it would go our freedom and our home.”