It had been a year since her mother's death, and still
SuSaan didn't know the truth. Killed in a storm, that's
all her father had said. Yet even if she were to learn the
truth after four seasons, she didn't really care how her
mother, Saatiiko, had died. All that mattered now was
that she was gone, and today's Karuk ceremony made
that departure permanent.
Shakers rattled. SuSaan's father, Black Bear,
stepped grim-faced into the circle and began the final
dance of the sending-off. Others joined in---closest
friends first, then those more distant.
SuSaan knew her father assumed she would dance
too, to pay her respects to her mother's departing spirit,
but she simply watched. Remaining still through this
part of the ceremony would dishonor her mother's
memory. Yet that was the very thing which kept her
from dancing. SuSaan loved her mother. It was her
mother's memory that she had learned to hate.
SuSaan felt a hand on her shoulder, and an elderly
voice said, "Before you dance, I would like to speak
with you." It was Lugo, the village shaman. SuSaan
nodded, and he continued. "I have a memory of your
mother to share. When you were born, I saw the spark
in your mother's eyes. Over the seasons of your life,
SuSaan, I saw that same spark---always when your
mother looked at you. She loved you deeply, SuSaan. I
know it's hard to remember that after losing her, but I
SuSaan replied, "I know she loved me." She looked
down, and scratched the ground with her toes.
"What, SuSaan?" Lugo asked. SuSaan just shook
Stroking SuSaan's long dark hair, Lugo said, "You
and your mother---"
In a flash, SuSaan grabbed Lugo's hand and forced it
away. She cried through clenched teeth, "I'm not her!"
Lugo made no reply or resistance. The wrinkles in
his face, though, for an instant they seemed to streak
with tears. The impression fled as soon as it came, but
its passage quenched the burning in SuSaan's heart.
"I'm sorry," she said, voice weak with shame. She
clasped Lugo's hand between her own, and he nodded
slowly, compassion shining in his eyes. SuSaan, too
embarrassed at herself to say anything more, released
him and walked into the circle. Though tears threatened
to cloud her vision, she refused to let them flow as she
danced for her mother.
As the morning shadows shrank, the village gathered
for a great meal, celebrating the end of the Karuk
ceremony. Close friends and family had fasted since the
previous night, but SuSaan's father had told her she
could only observe full ceremony after she became an
adult---after her Taakaayp.
"It's one moon phase away," she replied.
"One moon or ten, you're not of-age until your
"But I'm her daughter."
Outwardly, SuSaan bowed to her father's authority.
Inwardly, she decided to fast anyway. Not so much for
her mother, but to prove she was worthy---that she was
more than people like her father believed.
Through the night she remained awake, listening to
the Bird Singers, sometimes joining in softly to take her
mind off the hunger. After the final dance at
midmorning, it all came to an abrupt end with blazing
fires surrounded by feasting people.
SuSaan sat away from them in solitude, content to
consider the hum of conversation and the crack of
burning wood. She sipped the last of the water from her
olla. After so long without food, she had devoured
everything she could get her hands on in order to satisfy
her hunger. Now, though, she felt ready to burst, and
her stomach continued to cry out for water to wash the
SuSaan walked over to one of the fires and dipped
her olla into a wide clay pot. As the olla filled, she saw
her father's scowling features and long nose silhouetted
by the firelight. He spoke with Lugo, and their words
drifted over to SuSaan with the heat of the flames.
"I've missed Saatiiko. It's been so difficult without
her. I still ask myself why I couldn't have arrived
"You know the futility of such a question," Lugo
"Yes... I mean, no. I might have saved her."
"Or died trying. Then your daughter would have lost
"I wonder if it would have been better that way. I
have done poorly as mother and father both."
"Few have walked in such shoes. Do not judge
"Now her Taakaayp approaches, and she'll be a
woman. Her mother and I wanted to give her a new
name, but I have none for her yet---her mother was to
choose it. I'm afraid I will shame Saatiiko's memory if I
have no name to give."
"Ah, Black Bear, you worry overmuch. A full moon
remains before the Taakaayp, and you will surely have a
name for SuSaan by then."
"Yes, I hope. There is so much life in her, I want to
honor her with a great name." He paused, tilting his
head in thought. "When I look at her, I often see her
mother there. I sometimes think... I think of naming her
Saatiiko after her mother."
"I believe that decision would be unwise."
SuSaan didn't hear Lugo's response. She was
taking a drink from her olla when her father spoke of the
Taakaayp naming. "No!" she tried to scream, but
inhaled water into her lungs. It shot pain down her
throat and sent her into an uncontrollable hacking. In her
fit, she cast her olla to the ground. It landed on a rock
and exploded. The fire mixed with the sunlight and
reflected off the water and clay shards, creating a yellow
blanket over SuSaan's form.
Lugo and Black Bear saw SuSaan gagging. Black
Bear thought she was choking and ran over to help, but
she pushed him away.
SuSaan coughed wildly trying to eject the liquid she
had inhaled. She doubled over onto her hands and
knees, mouth open, spit and water dribbling into the dirt
as she gasped for air between convulsions. Each breath
rasped down her throat and worsened her condition. It's
never going to end, she thought. Only when she sucked
slowly could she get small bits of air into her lungs.
Concentrating on the small breaths, her coughing began
to subside until, suddenly, it was over.
She pushed herself up from the ground. Seeing her
father's concern, all the tension went out of her and she
fell into his arms.
Black Bear handed SuSaan an olla of warm sage tea.
"This should soothe the burning in your throat. Sip it,"
"How long were you standing there?" Black Bear
asked, wondering if SuSaan had heard his conversation
"Not long," she whispered back, her voice still too
painful to use.
"Were you listening?"
SuSaan shook her head slowly, staring at the
tea-filled olla. "No," she replied. "I was just getting
some water." Looking up to her father, she searched his
features for a sign that he believed the lie.
"It's already been a hard day," he said. "I planned
to tell you something about your mother, but... I'm
loathe to do so. Too much for one day."
SuSaan was only half listening, relieved that her
father had not seen through her deception. She sighed
Black Bear misinterpreted her sigh. "You agree?" he
asked with a chuckle. "Tomorrow's a new day. A new
season for us. Let's start it off right. Do you think you
can trap a rabbit?" SuSaan nodded in surprise. "Then
you do that tomorrow, and I'll cook it for the two of us.
Would you like that?"
SuSaan's eyes widened. Rabbit was her favorite
meal. It was one her father always insisted on cooking,
even when her mother was alive. Her voice returned
instantly. "I'd like that very much."
"Good," her father replied. He reached out to her,
arms wide, and SuSaan stood, entering his hug. He
squeezed her with the strength of the black bear, his
SuSaan awoke to the warmth of desert in the air.
She dressed quickly and hurried out of the wickiup.
Embers still smoldered in fire rings around the village,
filling the morning with the smell of smoke. Dry wind
gusted between the wickiups, mixing with the smoky
scent and bringing the scorch of the desert floor from the
east. Overhead, tree branches danced with the wind's
strength as it headed across the mountains and out to the
An updraft caught SuSaan's hair and lifted it toward
the sky, leaving strands dancing in the energy of its
passage. SuSaan inhaled the desert wind. It made her
giddy with excitement, and it erased the pain of
yesterday's Karuk ceremony.
Black Bear's head poked out of the wickiup. He
raised his hand to shield his face from the heat and said,
"Still plan to trap on a day like this?"
"Of course," SuSaan replied. "I would never miss a
chance at cooked rabbit."
"Well, don't get your hopes up," Black Bear said,
stepping out of the wickiup. "You probably won't be
seeing too many mountain rabbits in this heat."
"What?" he asked. SuSaan's only reply was ducking
back into the wickiup. When she returned she held a
double necked traveling olla, several lengths of mescal
rope, and an arrowweed net wrapped around some bread
taken from cool storage at the rear of their wickiup.
Seeing her supplies, Black Bear asked, "Know
something I don't?"
SuSaan ignored the question and began stretching her
"Come now, I won't tell anyone."
"Okay," she said, pausing in her exercise. "I have a
secret place. A nice, cool spring. It's about a half-day's
walk to the north."
"A half day? Doesn't leave much of a chance to catch
a rabbit and make it back for dinner."
"I won't be walking."
Concern washed over Black Bear's features. "You
plan to run that far on a day like this? I would rather---"
"Father," SuSaan interrupted. "You've seen me
"Yes, but only as a sprinter."
"I can run distance too, don't worry."
"How about taking someone with you?"
"I don't think so."
"It's just your..."
SuSaan took a quick breath, anticipating another
unwanted comparison. Black Bear caught the action.
His thick lips turned downward into a deep frown as he
regarded his daughter. A sudden resolution came over
him, and he bent into the wickiup, producing another
"Take this," he said. "You'll need the extra water.
And don't rush. I promise to cook the rabbit no matter
how dark the sky is when you return."
"Okay," SuSaan said. She cast the ollas around
opposite shoulders by their deer-leather straps, and
lashed the rope and netting to her back. She stepped to
her father to kiss him. Though he was tall, even for a
Kwaaymii, she already had nearly the same height, and
needed only to raise herself slightly to reach his cheek.
"Good bye, father," she said. "Have everything
prepared because I'll be carrying a rabbit when you see
"Just be careful," her father said as she departed.
Morning was still young when SuSaan reached the
spring. Using the loping jog of Kwaaymii distance
runners, and with the strength of the desert wind around
her, her journey passed quickly.
To cool down, she paced around the small pool. It
sparkled like crystal, and though nearly two arm-lengths
deep, SuSaan could see the rocky bottom clearly. Trees
and boulders surrounded the spring, birds sang from the
trees and animals rustled through the bushes. Rabbits
were silent creatures, but SuSaan knew there were some
nearby---she had been here before.
SuSaan found an overhanging branch, and set the
trap. Laying the net on the ground, she covered it with
pine needles. She held up a piece of bread, letting the
breeze blow over it and carry its scent into the bushes.
She placed the bread in the center of the net, and tied four
thin strands of string to each corner. After throwing the
mescal rope over the branch, she lashed all four strands
to its end. Completing her task, she said to any listening
rabbits, "Enter my trap and I will thank the Great Spirit."
The other end of rope was long, and she unreeled it
to a nearby clearing. She sat and leaned back against the
rock, the strand of mescal rope near her hand. Relaxing,
SuSaan thought back to the day she found the spring.
She had stumbled across it while out running in the
forest. Her throat parched with thirst and she was
turning back to the village when she broke through the
trees and nearly fell into the pool.
A favorable discovery on such a frustrating day.
SuSaan's memories drifted back to the misfortunes that
had sent her fleeing into the forest on that dark morning.
"Straight Branch is weaving baskets today," Black
Bear had said as he greeted the morning. "You should
"But father," SuSaan replied. "I planned to run in
"I'm sorry SuSaan, you can't. We're having the
spring gathering today. And before that starts, you have
a good opportunity to learn some basketry."
"I hate basket making!" she cried.
Anger touched Black Bear's voice. "Now that your
mother is gone, you will need to take some of her
"I know. But weaving?"
"Your mother enjoyed weaving. You'll learn to
enjoy it as well."
"No more words. I have spoken, daughter. Go to
Straight Branch and learn."
Unable to convince her father, SuSaan walked to
Straight Branch's wickiup. When she arrived, Straight
Branch greeted her. "SuSaan!" She said. "You've come
to watch me? What an honor. Your mother was one of
the best weavers in the village. I hope the same for
Missing SuSaan's look, Straight Branch waved her
to a seat amongst a group of other young women and
turned to her work. Before everyone's eyes, she
constructed a basket with several feathers entwined in the
shape of a Kwaaymii bird. She then produced another
feather and said, "Would anyone like to help me with
this? Some of you seemed to be watching quite closely."
SuSaan froze. She knew exactly who Straight
Branch was thinking of.
"SuSaan. How about you?" Before SuSaan could
even shake her head, Straight Branch pushed the feather
into her hand and gave her the basket. Any one of the
women would have produced a weave as bold as Straight
Branch. SuSaan, however, broke the shaft of the feather
as she tried to fit it into the basket.
"Hmm... umm," Straight Branch mumbled as she
examined SuSaan's handiwork. "It seems that you have
some practice before you match your mother's skill."
SuSaan would have replied, but a cry from the center of
the village interrupted.
Straight Branch clapped her hands and said,
"Gathering begins." She studied the young women
briefly and continued, "It seems we have a nice group
here. Maybe before we join our families, we can do a bit
of gathering on our own. Let's leave the saawii acorns
until later and go get our pick of the berries---before
everyone else beats us to them."
Taking a basket, SuSaan struck off alone to idle in
the forest. At first, she shuffled through pine needles
and kicked stones back and forth between the trees. She
soon grew bored and began following the breeze as it
wove its way through the pines. It lead her from bush to
bush, and she chose her berries carefully, picking only
the best and explaining her intent to each one, "I sure
enjoy you berries. I hope you will feed and please me
with your sweetness." But as she went along, she felt
less and less thankful until she was simply plucking the
fruit and dropping it into her basket without a word.
When she could fit no more, SuSaan wandered back to
Straight Branch's wickiup.
Straight Branch was there with several of the others
who had returned before SuSaan. She looked into the
basket and gasped. "SuSaan, where do you find such
"Oh, around." SuSaan replied. "Some here, some
there. I don't know."
A few of the young women came near when they
heard Straight Branch's question. Some groped for the
basket, and Straight Branch handed it off for them see.
Exclamations arose from their midst, as their fullest
basket had only half the berries of SuSaan's.
"Did your mother tell you where to look?" Straight
"My mother? No, she didn't even like berries."
The eldest of the group---well past Taakaayp---had
been particularly unsuccessful at gathering, and she
interrupted with a sharp edge in her voice. "Then how
did you find them?"
"I just sort of let the wind lead me."
The woman laughed, "Surely, your mother Saatiiko
showed you where to find them."
"No!" SuSaan replied. "I mean it, I... I went with
The woman laughed again. "Claiming to be a
shaman? I think you're just too proud to give away your
SuSaan grabbed the basket from the woman. She
made to throw the berries into her face, but Straight
Branch placed a restraining grip on SuSaan's arm.
SuSaan moved to pull away, but the grip tightened.
Straight Branch's cheeks burned and she said, "Stop.
Do not dishonor yourself---or your mother's spirit---like
SuSaan's face flushed. She wanted to rip her arm
away, but bowed her head in defeat instead.
Straight Branch released her, and SuSaan, without a
word, left the basket and headed into the forest. When
she was sure none of the gatherers watched, she sprinted
away from the village.
A pricking in her neck brought SuSaan out of her
memories. She refocused her eyes and searched the trap.
Nothing. The bread remained undisturbed. She glanced
toward the pool and there at the waters edge sat a rabbit
staring right back at her, its nose twitching in curiosity.
SuSaan sighed. "You silly thing. The trap's over
there. Have a drink and run along." The rabbit
continued twitching at her. She shook her head and laid
back against the rock. Closing her eyes, she sighed
again and let her thoughts wander freely.
SuSaan had forgotten her lack of sleep during the
previous day's Karuk ceremony. It came back to her as
she lay comfortably against the stone, and she drifted
As she slept, the hot wind wafted across the spring
and stirred SuSaan into a vivid dream. In it, she found
herself in the midst of a desert village shadowed by the
fading light of evening. She wandered amongst the dry
palm wickiups, poking her head inside some of them,
searching. What she was looking for, she wasn't sure,
but she knew it was something important.
A man stepped from behind a structure, and she
thought that he might be able to help. She came up to
him and saw that he was cradling a child, nestling it
against his chest and whispering in its ear. He resembled
the typical Kwaaymii---long hair, high forehead, dark
features---but a blemish stained his cheek. A birthmark,
SuSaan guessed, yet she thought that it added to his
She was about to ask her question, but was stopped
as a tear streaked down the man's reddened skin and
spattered on the child's forehead. The baby lay limp, a
lifeless shell in the man's arms. His whispers, his tears
plead for the child to return from the spirit world and
walk again with the living.
SuSaan reached out to offer her sympathy, but a
figure jumped between them. She had never seen the
like of him before. His hair was arrow straight and short
cropped, his skin was olive colored, and his nose was
flat and wide. In one hand, he held a torch. Reaching
up with his free hand, he swung his stubby arm and
clubbed SuSaan aside.
From the ground she rolled over to see the
tainted-faced man's mouth open as though he were
screaming, but no sound escaped. His hands were
empty now, and he reached out to strangle the torch
bearer. As he made contact, the wickiup behind the two
figures exploded into flame, and they were engulfed.
Throughout the village, wickiups were burning and
olive-skinned figures were darting back and forth with
their torches. The smoke surrounded and choked
SuSaan. She crawled away, thinking not of the
scorching heat, but that she was still lost, and she would
never find what she was seeking.
Her arm splashed into a pool. The water was warm,
and she scooped it to her face to clear her sight. Slurping
in a mouthful to wash away the soot, she tasted a mineral
flavor that made her retch.
She turned aside to spit the sourness out. The taste
was gone instantly, and she was beside the mountain
spring once again. The water trickled as she gazed into
the pool. Beneath the surface was the outline of a bird,
the shape of a hawk, but larger than even the tallest
Kwaaymii. It took form and rose from the pool and up
over SuSaan. Its head was blue as the sky, and its
stomach bore all the colors of a rainbow, washing down
from neck to tail. The bird's great wings spread with a
red like blood and streaked with cactus green, and in
them it held two moons.
Now SuSaan would find her answer, now she would know what she sought, for
the majestic bird was here to tell her. She was listening, but when its beak opened, it
screeched with a voice that pierced the forest. SuSaan covered her ears and yelled at it to
stop, but her words were lost.
As suddenly as the outcry had begun, it ended. The bird disappeared with its song,
but a feather, glowing red and green, twirled its way downward, coming to rest at
SuSaan bolted awake, her heart thundering in her
chest. A dream, she told herself. It was only a dream.
Breathing deeply, she concentrated on calming her racing
heart. About her, everything seemed to be as it was
when she fell asleep---the spring sang quietly, the wind
drifted through the trees, and the trap was set.
The trap! Right in its center stood a rabbit eating the
bread. Reflex took over; SuSaan grabbed the rope and
pulled. The net leapt up and wrapped around the rabbit,
lifting it into the air. SuSaan tied off her end and ran over
to her captive, but when she grasped at it, the net was
"It escaped?" she asked aloud as she undid the trap.
Within it, she realized, something was entangled after
all---though it was definitely too small to be a rabbit.
Carefully, she unwrapped it. When the last strand was
freed, out fell a long, shining feather. She picked it up.
Down its shaft were red and green barbs.
SuSaan's dream came rushing back, and in her mind
she heard the scream of the great bird again. She
dropped the feather and covered her ears. "No!" she
yelled to drown the memory out. "Get away!" her voice
told her. "Get away!" Ripping the net from its bindings,
she bolted back to her resting place and tried to reel in the
line, but it was stuck in the branches. Frantically, she
shoved the rope aside and grabbed her ollas.
Fleeing the spring, she glanced back to make sure
Though SuSaan kept a steady pace all the way to the
Kwaaymii village, she was able to collect her thoughts
and decide on a course of action. She needed to see a
shaman. With that in mind, she sped straight for Lugo's
wickiup. He was exactly where she expected, sitting
before his home, enjoying the hot wind coming up from
the desert. In front of him, though, another man paced,
making gestures with his hands to emphasize words
SuSaan was unable to hear.
SuSaan recognized him. It was Swift Foot, the
fastest man in the village. She suddenly realized she had
stopped her sprint, and was walking. Frowning, she
picked up the pace, and came to a halt before the two
"Lugo!" She gasped. "Lugo!"
"Stop," Lugo commanded. "Catch your breath. We
"I just---" she protested, but Lugo had closed his
eyes and bowed his head. Reluctantly, she obeyed,
dropping her things and walking in circles with an effort
to cool down.
"Now, SuSaan," Lugo said presently. "Speak."
"I was at the spring. The one a half-day north of
here. I had a dream, Lugo! I mean it wasn't just a
dream. I saw a lot of things. But there was this huge
bird with many colors. I dreamed it dropped a feather to
me, and then I woke up and saw the real feather!"
Lugo stood immediately, and his wrinkles bent
downward. He said to Swift Foot, "Go get Black Bear.
Swift Foot spun toward SuSaan. Lowering his
voice, he grunted, "Must you always do this." Before
SuSaan could reply, he ran to fulfill his errand.
"Come inside," Lugo told her, and entered the
SuSaan settled herself in a daze. Things were
happening so fast---the run, Swift Foot, being invited
inside a shaman's wickiup---it was almost like she was
still in the dream.
"...A dream," Lugo was saying. "I am very
interested in what your dream was like and what it told
you. I would like you to describe it to me. Everything
"It was so strange," SuSaan said. "I was lost. Well,
sort of, I guess."
"You were going somewhere and you couldn't find
"I don't know. There was more to it than that. It
was like I was looking for something."
"And you never found what you sought?"
"No. I saw a man, and I wanted to ask him, but his
baby was dead."
The conversation continued with SuSaan giving
small details, and Lugo questioning everything she said.
SuSaan felt as though her tale was wild and disjointed,
and that Lugo would never believe her, but he offered no
hint of doubt.
"The giant bird," Lugo said after SuSaan had gone
through the whole dream. "Did it show you what you
were looking for?"
"No," she answered. "I thought it would, but---"
Black Bear stuck his head into the wickiup,
"Enter," Lugo directed.
Black Bear's lips were pulled into a tight line as he
crossed his legs. "What new trouble has my daughter
gotten herself into?" he asked.
"The trouble she brings may reach well beyond
herself," Lugo answered. Black Bear's muscles
tightened in a way that chilled SuSaan.
Lugo returned to his questioning. "You mentioned a
feather, SuSaan. What did you do with it?"
SuSaan's eyes darted between Lugo and her father.
"I... I dropped it," she stammered. "I guess it's still at
Lugo's head lowered at her response. That's it,
SuSaan thought, afraid to look at her father. I'm in for it
Black Bear asked urgently, "Was it a colored
SuSaan's voice deserted her, chased away by an
unexpected tinge in her father's tone; it was as if he were
curious rather than angry. In her confusion all she could
do was nod.
"Wait," Black Bear said. He climbed out of the
wickiup, and immediately reentered.
"Is this what you're talking about?" He held up a red
and green feather.
SuSaan gasped. "That's it!"
"I saw it tangled in the netting outside," he replied,
handing it to Lugo.
Lugo held the feather to catch the light from the entry
way; he rubbed his hand up and down its shaft, and
rolled it in his palms. Finally, handing it to SuSaan, he
asked, "Do you know what this is?"
She considered the feather, but gave no response.
In answer to his own question, Lugo said, "It is the
proof. You were visited by the Kwaaymii bird."
"What?" SuSaan exclaimed. "But I thought that was
just a legend!"
"Unfortunately, you are not alone in that belief.
Many have forgotten the Kwaaymii bird. But we take
our people's name from more than a simple legend. The
Kwaaymii bird is our guide, our protector. It appears to
people of its own choosing. And when it does, it always
tells of some event. Usually a warning to the tribe, but
only in the most grave circumstances."
Black Bear said, "You're telling us that the
Kwaaymii bird has chosen SuSaan."
"Yes. Without question."
Black Bear paused in contemplation, his jaw slack as
he considered the implications of Lugo's statement.
Lugo hesitated, giving Black Bear the opportunity to
reply. When he held his silence, Lugo addressed
SuSaan, "In seeing the Kwaaymii bird, there are always
things---important things---that stand out."
"The whole dream!" SuSaan said.
"Of course," Lugo replied patiently. "But was
anything extremely unusual or striking?"
"Beside the bird? I guess the warm water, and...
Yes! The village burners! They were like no one I've
ever seen. Their faces are so clear in my memory."
"The olive-skinned men? Tell me more."
She had mentioned them earlier, but not their faces.
As she described their wide noses, her father expelled a
loud breath and she thought she heard him whisper her
mother's name. His face took on a far away look. Some
memory had crept upon him, and he lived it again as he
"This is something I feared," Lugo said when
SuSaan wanted to ask Lugo what he meant, but
Black Bear snapped back into the conversation. "Why
"I cannot say," Lugo answered as though he
understood the question.
"She is too young. She's not even through
Too young! SuSaan thought with a grimace. Too
young for what?
Lugo replied to Black Bear, "The Kwaaymii bird is
the messenger of the Great Spirit. It must have its
"I am blind to any reason here."
"I too sit in darkness. But I trust the Kwaaymii bird
as I trust the Great Spirit."
"You are a shaman! You live your life in belief and
conviction. It's not so simple for me."
Lugo sighed. "Have you no faith at all? Has your
well run dry?"
Furling his brow and clenching his fists at his side,
Black Bear grunted and shook his head as if he were
casting aside unwanted thoughts. In avoidance, he
steered to a different subject, "You are sure the vision is
real. And that they have returned."
Lugo gave a shallow nod.
"How am I supposed to protect my daughter? I
failed with her mother. And now they come to burn our
"No," Lugo said. "Not Kwaaymii, but a desert
"That may not matter. She's had the vision, she'll be
caught up in it. Isn't that how it works?"
"Whatever the outcome, it is the Kwaaymii bird who
has chosen her. We cannot deny the path it has laid
Black Bear began to reply, but Lugo held up his
hand. "I feel your pain, Black Bear, you know I do.
But argument will simply lead us in circles. Let us take
the next step without delay. We need to call a council.
Our desert cousins are in trouble, and it seems that we
must help them."