19th day of Descending Wood, 768th year of the Reign of the Scarlet Empress
Mishowi Village, lands of the Tushiwi people
Late in the day, the Solars finally leave the mountains. Ahead, they see the adobe apartments of a village, and they are soon met by Red Crow, the Trade Master for Mishowi Village, and his wife Currant. The trader and his wife welcome the Solars as traders, and mention that trade from the North is unusual, but now they’ve had two visitors from the North within five days.
Currant takes a liking to the box of beads and other trims that used to be fancy clothing that the heroes retrieved from Gunslan’s tomb, and offered to provide the Solars with fresh clothes in exchange for the box of beads.
Currant also provides some gossip about the previous visitor- Makes the Sinews Dance. The details of his conversation with village matron Jay Flower aren’t known, but he did go on to Sityakwi – the one city in Tushiwi lands – as the Lizard Clan champion, in place of Jay Flower’s son Corn Hawk.
The Solars then went to speak with Jay Flower, who acknowledged her meeting with Makes the Sinews Dance.
According to Jay Flower, Sinews claimed to be descended from the Heron Clan – a clan that was supposedly wiped out by the Deer Clan one hundred years ago. Why was not brought up. Sinews hoped to reclaim his family lands from the ghosts who live there.
Jay Feather, on the other hand, was debating how to answer the call from Sityakwi for Champions to compete in a tournament to receive a blessing from the gods and face the impending forces of the new War Leader of the Abakwi People – a powerful, strong willed woman. Since the Abakwi people live to the south of the great basin that the Tushiwi claim as their own, Jay Feather wasn’t convinced that she really needed to send her own son to the tournament, and was only too glad to accept Sinews’ offer to go in Corn Hawk’s place.
Most of the Circle returns to Red Crow’s lodge to rest – or in Djoh’s case, to help Currant with dinner duties so that Currant can instead focus on making clothing for the circle to honor their trade agreement and allow the circle to travel on quickly. Sela decided instead to patrol the village, and so was aware when there was a commotion at the south gateway into the village. A young man of about sixteen years was there, shouting for the “Sun Dragons.” When he saw Sela, he smiled for a moment, saying that Kokiye had sent him – before he collapsed.
The circle joined Sela as Flute – the village Shaman and Healer – brought the boy up to his lodge, where Dogwood – another patient of Flute’s – recognized the boy as Cedar Rain, the apprentice to the former Shaman of Wolf Clan, Gray Fir.
As Flute tended Cedar Rain, Dogwood happily informed them of the situation at Yunawi village and the Wolf Clan – how he was the ex-husband of Foxfire, the previous Matron of the Wolf clan, and how after she stepped down in favor of Elk Feather, he was forcably escorted out of the village and beaten. Three months later, his leg still has yet to heal properly. As for Gray Fir, he died under strange circumstances, and both the new War Chief Iron Dog and the new Shaman Yellow Spruce were exceptionally devoted to Elk Feather.
Ishanvi drew some of Cedar Rain’s injuries into herself to help the boy wake faster, and Cedar Rain, glad to be alive and in Mishowi village. He told the circle that Sinews had indeed visited Wolf Clan, and after he left, Elk Feather began summoning Demons, sacrificing members of her clan to do so. Cedar Rain was granted a vision from Kokiye to retrieve the Sun Dragons from Mishowi Village, but he was captured by Red Elk, one of Iron Dog’s lieutenants.
Cedar Rain managed to escape, though Red Elk was soon after him, and that’s when he ran to Mishowi village.
Before they can discuss what to do next, Red Elk and a group of Wolf Clan warriors arrived to reclaim Cedar Rain, but Turtle, the War Chief of the Lizard Clan, was ready for them, and between Turtle’s warriors and the actions of the Solars, the Wolf Clan’s raiding party was quickly routed.
That done, the circle wanted to set out immediately, but realized that it would be best for Ishanvi to rest for the night. In the morning, Tefari persuaded Flute to allow him into the village Kiva in order to speak with Kokiye and maybe get some straight answers.
Fortunately for Tefari, Kokiye was in a mood to give them.
Yes, she had sent visions to young Cedar Rain to fetch them. But though she was perfectly willing to have them deal with the mess than was Wolf Clan, her ultimate objective was to have them go on to Sityakwi village and Yellow Mountain clan, in order to put an end to this champion nonsense that Totoha came up with. However, the mess in Wolf Clam would need to be cleaned up first. The Sorceress Elk Feather needs to be stopped. To make things easier, she provided all the information she knew, despite having trouble seeing into Yunakwi village for the past three months since Elk Feather became Matron.
She knows that Elk Feather became a sorcerer through a pact with Tshikike, one of the four demons that like to torment the Tushiwi people… well, three, since one of the four was imprisoned before the Usurpation. She knows that Tshikike gave Elk Feather a Kwahi familar to help with her sorcery. But more, she is not sure of.
Kokiye also promised to have Manawsa, the local god of both death and healing, offer a blessing to Ishanvi to speed her healing along.
The Circle set out as quickly as they could and arrived at Yunakwi Village just at sunset. As with Mishowi village, the Solars were greeted by the village trader, Kettle, who brought them and their goods to his lodge – a second story affair. Kettle also pulled up the ladder for the night. Many of the Circle went out onto the patio to watch and listen, and Ishanvi thought she heard screams in the night, but wasn’t sure if they were actual screams of distress, or just a child’s cry. Nisha was dispatched to investigate.
The Night Caste approached the Kiva to hear what she expected – a woman’s voice engaged in ominous chanting, and another voice pleading for its life.