This Sight is Continuously Evolving

Children of the Coyote

Chapter 27
Paradise Lost

        On the seventh day Lizardfoot enters their camp with a brace of rabbits in his left hand and the spear in his right. His wounds have completely heeled leaving four long white scars running diagonally across his chest. He wares the puma skin like a cape a bone sliver pins the cape together at his throat it covers his shoulders and hangs down his back. His long black hair flows behind him as he strolls along with a confident gate.
        A drying rack, heavy with meat stands in the smoke of the fire before their shelter.
        Tagalong kneels near a staked out dried deer hide off to one side. She is pounding it with a rounded stone to make it soft enough to use as a cape for herself. The nights have been getting steadily colder and they will need warm coverings to protect them from the approaching autumn chill.
        Sky-eyes runs to meet Lizardfoot. He notices an expression of anxiety on her face. When she reaches him she drops and roles on her back exposing her belly in an attitude of submission, as is the customary greeting to the alpha male of the pack.
        Lizardfoot stops near the shelter, leans the spear against the side and reaches down to pats Sky-eyes on the belly.
        "I am so glad that you are back." Sky-eyes says anxiously as she regains her feet. "There is something terribly wrong," she whines.
        "What could possibly be wrong in this place of tranquillity?" Lizardfoot asks with a chuckle.
        "I'm not sure," she replies. "I just have a feeling that something bad is going to happen." By now Tagalong is standing and she walks to meet Lizardfoot. Wordlessly they embrace for a long moment, both of them reveling in the feel of the others body.
        Presently Lizardfoot puts his hand on her shoulders and backs up to look in her eyes
        "What do you make of Sky-eyes' fears," he asks seriously.
        "I don't know," she replies. "Sky-eyes has been fretful ever since you left this morning. She keeps insisting that some calamity is coming but she doesn't know what it is."
        At that moment Sky-eyes begins to howl mournfully.
        The two humans look at her and then at each other.
        Suddenly Sky-eyes stops howling and turns to her friends.
        "Listen!" She whispers loudly.
        The two Fug-a-we cock there heads and listen intently.
        "I don't hear anything but the water fall" Lizardfoot admits after a moment. "What about you Tag?"
        "No," she answers.
        "That's just it!" Sky-eyes barks. "No bird calls no insect noises not even a breeze rustling the leaves on the trees.
        Tagalong and Lizardfoot look around fearfully.
        "Listen!" Sky-eyes whines again.
        At first the humans hear only the silence. Then slowly they begin to feel the sound more than hear it. A low rumbling deep in the earth begins to vibrate their feet. The vibration quickly escalates. The earth beneath them begins to heave in great waves knocking them to the ground. a deafening rumble drowns out Tagalongs screams. The earth bucks and pitches tossing trees to the ground. A great fisher opens in the earth along the bottom of the cliff and the stream drains into the crack. Gouts of steam erupt into the air along the cliff's base. The wall begins to move upwards, pushed up by the titanic forces beneath it. Great chunks of stone fall from the cliff as cracks open all along its face. The cliff continues to grow taller as the earth shudders from the strain.
        Finally the quaking subsides and the rumbling sound drifts away. All is silence once more.
        Slowly the sounds of the birds and insects returns.
        Tagalong and Lizardfoot untangle themselves from each other and begin to take stock of there surrounding. A great sadness descends upon them as they survey the destruction wrought by the earthquake.
        The Enchanted forest of South fork of the Wa'ste River is no more. The beautiful ancient trees lay scattered on the ground, those that were not uprooted by the quake have been broken off. Their shattered remains poking into the air like the arms of a corpse beckoning from the grave. The stream has disappeared. The thundering of the waterfall is silent. The Wa'ste river has changed its course and will never flow in this channel again. The fish that weren't sucked underground with the water, now lie flopping on the drying gravel bed or are trapped in small pools that will soon dry up leaving piles of rotting flesh for the scavengers to gorge themselves on for a short time.
        Tagalong begins to sob uncontrollably. "Gone, its all gone," she blubbers between sobs. "This beautiful enchanted place, destroyed In only a few moments."
        Lizardfoot holds her in his arms. Silently he waits for her sobbing to subside. When she is back in control of herself he holds her at arm's length and looks into her eyes.
        "It is as Bringer of Fire foretold," he says softly. "Even the great forces of this world will attempt to hinder his progress," were his words.
        "Even so we survive and must adapt to these new circumstances" Lizardfoot goes on. "We must salvage what we can from our camp and continue the quest. We would have had to leave some time any way," he says looking deep into her eyes.
        "Yes, you are right," she replies with a sigh. "I guess it was just a dream that we could stay for ever in the security of this enchanted place but you are right we must continue the quest."
        "Sky-eyes," Tagalong cries. "Were is Sky-eyes?" she asks casting about for the young animal. "Sky-eyes!" She calls. Where are you Sky-eyes! An edge of panic colors her voice.
        Soon they hear whining sounds coming from under a pile of downed trees nearby. The two humans rush to the trees and begin moving branches and rolling logs off one another. After a short time of intense labor they reach their friend. Sky-eyes is not seriously injured but it takes some time to extricate her from the cage of twisted branches that hold her captive. Finally she is free. The ecstatic little canine can hardly control herself. She licks at the faces of her friends and wags her entire body with joy.
        "Oh thank you for freeing me," She squeals. "I was so afraid that you would not find me and I would be left behind to perish."
        "We would never leave you behind," Tagalong assures her. "You are a member of our tribe, you are Fug-a-we." Tagalong says as she storks her furry friend.
        Sky-eyes relaxes.
        Lizardfoot begins rummaging through the wreckage of their camp. The Shelter that Tagalong had erected lies crushed by two large Aspens. Fortunately Tagalong and Lizardfoot were not in the shelter at the time of the quake. He shakes his head; "I don't know how we survived this catastrophe" he says seriously. "Trees are scattered every ware and we are left unscathed." He shakes his head again. "Coyote must indeed be watching over us."
        The rest of the day is spent salvaging their equipment and collecting supplies for the next phase of the trek. They manage to retrieve most of the dried meat, fruit and nuts that they had been collecting. They fill their water skins at the puddles that are quickly disappearing as the full force of the sun beats down on them. There are now three water skins the third Tagalong has taken from the deer whose skin she was softening before the quake hit.
        Each of them will carry one water bladder. Tagalong has fashioned a small pack for Sky-eyes. It is a simple construction of cordage and rabbit skins laced together to form a wide strap across the animals back with pockets on each side that will contain some food and a water skin.
        By evening their preparations are complete. They will spend this last night in the desolation of their enchanted forest and in the morning they will resume the quest.

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