Kina woke with a start. It was dark out already, and many of the villagers were still at the bonfire celebrating their small victory over the sickness, not knowing that the danger was not over.
Yet, Kina wrung her hands and chewed on her bottom lip. Hours had passed since they administered the children her medicine, and though their fever had gone down considerably they still had yet to wake from his sick induced coma.
Did she forget to add an herb? Did she steep the medicine for too long in hot water? Or maybe she didn't steep the medicine long enough. Was she supposed to let the medicine dry before boiling it? Was it really the right consistency?
She was really beginning to wish she'd ...view middle of the document...
It was as if the water were guiding her rather than Kina guiding the canoe through the water.
High above, she heard Kally screeching. “You too?” she called out. “Well you know where we are going. To where I first found you. Meet us there!”
Kally circled twice more above Kina, then soared above the First Wood, diving to just above the tree tops causing thousands of birds to take off into the air like a huge could.
Kina let the water and the wind rush through her, enjoying the feel of freedom around her. She eventually came to the end of the rough patch and fast approached a section of river that seemed to have been blocked by overgrown vines. When she got near it, it almost seemed to shy away from her, allowing her access into the secluded glade. She glided through the vines and stopped when she hit one of the large tree roots that came out of the very shallow water. She sat the oar on the bottom of the canoe and climbed out and onto the root of the oak tree.
Within the centre of the glade stood the Great Tree, a large swamp white oak that had stood there for hundreds of years.
Kina filled her pouch with water. She then approached the Great Tree, knelt, and poured the water over its roots.
She lit some sacred medicine within a shell she took from the Sacred Circle, using the fallen branches around the Great Tree to create the fire. She plucked the feathers from braids in her hair to fan the fire, feathers she'd collected from Kally as the falcon grew and shed.
“Tasau, Great Tree,” she said, fanning the fire. “I need counsel.”
After several minutes of Kina tending to the fire and stirring the medicine in the shell, the smoke started twisting and turning, as if unseen hands were braiding it. The smoke began to seep into the Great Tree.
“Greetings, human-child,” said the Great Tree cordially. Its raspy voice seemed to come from everywhere. “Our Acorn of Two Spirits. What counsel do you request?”
“The strange light that came from the heavens, the sickness, and the marks on the children...” she asked. “What is it?”
“We do not know,” the Great Tree admitted. “It is neither from our world or yours. It is like trying to see a breeze in the barren sky at night.”
“I am also torn,” Kina admitted, her eyes never leaving the embers of the fire. “Between my father's edict to have me married and my connection here, with nature.”
“We do not interfere with the paltry matters of humans,” the voice of the Great Tree said.
Kina stopped fanning the embers, afraid of the upcoming news.
“But, Acorn of Two Spirits, you have also become a part of this world. My world.”
Kina nodded, placing the feathers down beside the fire to rub Bor's ears. “I am the chief's daughter. I have duties there. And I must obey my father. He believes it's the proper path for me to walk.”
“There's more,” the Great Tree said, his voice bouncing on the leaves whirling about in the air. “Or you would not come here, to me. You say you are torn. What is your second concern?”
“My visions,” she...