In the late of spring, as fruit trees began to drop their flowers and the green foliage for the summer grew thick, the peoples of the Silver Wood normally should have been preparing for festivals. Instead, this year, they wondered if they’d live to see the harvest. News and refugees had been flood south all season, bring tidings of a powerful war leader from the north. Most claimed it was his armor of warriors armed with the metal weapons of old, who had defeated every tribe who had stood before him but others whispered that he was a returned magi, come to destroy the world again and it was his magics which had won all the battles.
Swift runners from the Wolf Tribe had traveled between the trees, baring the carved sticks used to summon a council, to every village, every cave and every camp. Never in living memory had so many invites been sent out. Normally only small groups would be called forth, to deal with problems in sections of the wood, mostly when wars got out of hand and started effecting neighboring tribes. The council would force the two factions to find a way to end the conflict or at least restrict it to their own people. Not this time though.
No, this time, all of the peoples of the great Silver Woods would gather and talk among themselves, until some plan was made to protect themselves. They had to, least they be divided when the man known as Blackthorn arrived in their homes, visiting with fire and death. No tribe had ever been able to stand alone before him but could the tribes and clans of this forest stand together? So many years of raids and feuds, had driven deep wedges between them.
Thunder Walker sighed softly, as he sat beside his son, the final preparation for the grand council finished. The hollow in the middle of the Silver Woods was lined with soft, buckskin blankets, the fire pit was filled with logs and woven grass baskets filled with food were placed around the ring. The sun slowly set and the twilight filled the trees with mists, clinging to branches and swirling around the hollow. The slight light of the blue hour, turned the world into a surreal dance of shadows. High above them, the clear full moon appeared in the darkening sky, the first of the night’s stars twinkled faintly in the heavens.
“The hour is near” said old Red Stag, the medicine man of the Wolf Tribe, as he worked a fire bow, to light the tinder among the logs. Unlike the rest of the men with Thunder Walker, his white hair was not cut into the mohawk, but remained long and loose, with feathers or quills tied among the strands. He was much too old to be warrior anymore. He also was dressed different, remaining in winter garb (leggings, breechcloth and a buckskin shirt), rather then summer garb of just a breechcloth.
Deer Stalker shifted slightly, as he rearranged how his legs were crossed. It was more a nervous fidget then an attempt to get comfortable. He had never been to a council before and felt rather naked with only his knife. What would he do if those wretches from the Eagle Tribe showed up with tomahawks, with his weapons left an hour’s walk from this sacred hollow? More then likely, he would die, several of the axes buried in his chest, thrown by cowards (who rightly feared his prowess).
“I wish they’d hurry” grumped the chieftain’s son, as he rubbed at his stomach and the fire took to the logs. He hadn’t eaten since morning and they had to wait for a majority of the rest of the tribe to arrive, before they could starting eating the food the Wolf Tribe had to provide.
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