June 5

[Darkling Light]

I thought my heart would break when Dancing Grass and I left Moondog and Gobetween at the Great Circle. There I was the epitome of a seasoned, Antelope buck on the verge of weeping the inconsolable tears of a love-struck young girl suffering her first unrequited crush. I wanted to crumble into a gelatinous mass of self-pity. My gentle companion held his place at the containing edge that insulated my woe from the scrutiny of an otherwise intolerant outer world. Had our roles been reversed I doubt I could have mustered the same conviction of character that nurtured compassion rather than the spirit of contempt attracted to such a display.

By sunset we will reach the Heathland village where we would sweep in as though we alone were the keepers of all resolution. What would they think of the blubbering buck to which I had been reduced? When our ancestors walked the Earth, feeling profoundly was regarded as the depth and breadth of spirit, but not now. In this village the old ways were being systematically traded off for the spirit of convenience.  They were bartering away the very soul of our people and my reach into their lives was diminishing. I had a powerful sense that I was now regarded as quaint, a character from a Bardic drama about the mythological realms of the Ancient Ones, shrouded in mist and peculiarity. Once the ambassador of cosmic duality, my place in the Heath was nothing more than that of a relic.

Without Dancing Grass my mission here would fail. He alone could peer into manipulated matter and pull out a clandestine path of invisible pursuit. Troubles in this village ran a parallel world with the insurgence of the technology they so admired and invited into their lives. Their confidence tore across the land like a flood consuming the spirit of humility, disguised as the fancy clothes of a Greihound runner. It was inevitable, unstoppable. I had failed to stay ahead of it even as Dancing Grass managed to out pace it with his uncanny perception into the workings of the human spirit.

The nucleus of the issue was the Weaving Women. They had given themselves entirely to new ideas and with malicious intent had stolen the power of the old, traditional weavers and basket makers to fuel their own ends. This move was so egregious that the spirit world took six of their sons. The sign was painfully obvious to many of us but was, in the end, dismissed as no more significant than any other deeply tragic accident. Unmoved, the Weaving Women sailed into the world that would bring us to the ultimate tragedy, the loss of an entire people.

They couldn’t be stopped but something on which they had recently embarked could. The Weaving Women were exerting unprecedented pressure on the Sheep people. Tired of importing wool from the farming community in the north, the Weaving Women wanted to corral sheep and produce their own. That would not stand with either the Sheep or its ally the Ram. It was rumored that, undaunted, the women had resorted to casting spells in order to steal the resolve of these ancient clans. Nowhere in our history had such a thing happened where one group prayed for the demise of another.

From far and wide the Old Ones had made the trek. They formed a conclave of untouchable power and so long as they drew breath our elders would forbid this. The village was fractured, groups allying themselves in unprecedented ways, shattering traditions that were millennia old. Even a few of Clan Ram sided with the Weaving Women and it was evident that many of the clans here were breaking apart. Bards were scattered like so many fallen leaves, some pledging allegiance to the Weaving Women, others standing with the Old Ones. It was a horrendous mess.

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