After writing the short piece Totem of Earth I thought about how I might take that vision and make a story out of it. Perhaps this is the beginning?
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We are bound to nine spirits. Souls intertwined before the creation of the thing we call time. Born and reborn again and again, we search for one another in each life until all pieces are bound together once more in perfect harmony. Why do we do this? It is a calling that must be heard or true peace and balance will never be felt. This circle is not one that belongs only to me or my people; it is one that is fated to all. Yet so many no longer know what that calling is that they feel so vividly within their very being; their nine totem spirits calling out to them. In an ageing society that shuns the ancient ways, souls have forgotten how to obtain their balance and in that inability to find peace chaos reins freely.
Yet even when all hope seems lost the great mother, like all good mothers in the physical realm, knows how to heal a wound no matter how deep it might be.
Each breath I release mists out before my lips, enchanted and mystified by the crisp air of late autumn. I travel with a single companion this early morning; he moving silently behind me only a few paces away. The snap of a twig echoes through the still of the forest stopping me instantly. My hand moves behind me as I signal for my companion to halt. I feel a quick tap in the center of my palm; a signal designed by us so that the leader knows that the other understands and is close behind. My eyes scan the area ahead, looking for the one who so prominently declared their presence by stepping on but a single dried stick. A gloved hand taps my right arm, the owner demanding my attention. Pushing the large hood of my cloak back just enough to fully expose my face, I glance back over my shoulder. Ronin's large, dark eyes peer out into the forest just to our right, his hand soon following his gaze as he points out what he has found.
My eyes move over his face before I close my eyes with out even looking at what he points at. My heart flutters and then feels as if it slows. My lips part as I take in a single deep breath, the frigid air entwining with my soul as it whispers secrets known to me. I already know the creature before I open my eyes, our souls bound in a single spirit. I finally force my eyes open and turn my gaze to my kindred soul. A young doe stands perhaps only forty feet away nibbling at the last blades of grass for the season. I watch her for a long moment with out movement before feeling the gloved hand on my arm again. I can not take my eyes from the doe and it is not long before Ronin leans in near to me and whispers in my ear.
"We need the meat," he speaks in that deep yet still soft voice. "I can take its life for you."
He knows of the bond between the deer and I; the deer being one of my totem animals.
I shake my head and take hold of the bow that rests over my shoulder. Without a word I pull an arrow from the quiver that hangs loosely from my left hip. In a single motion I place the arrow and draw back my bow. The doe lifts her head and locks eyes with me. She knows we are near but does not move; she knows her fate this day and accepts it fully without fear. I take in a single deep breath and release it in a whisper. "Our hearts are one as they beat in harmony. Our souls are bound in ancient destiny. Forgive this dead I must perform. Love and light will always be yours," I release the arrow as I finish my words.
The arrow enters her body in perfect form, the air being ripped from my own lungs as it does. The young doe takes but a single step before falling to the earth. Without a thought I run to her, dropping to my knees at her side and throwing my bow to the ground as I do. She struggles to breath, forcing air in her lungs in large gulps. I place my hands on her neck and let them run down her body to her chest.
"Be free from this life my sister," as I finish such simple words a single gust of wind blows through the trees that chills me to the bone. The doe's chest does not rise again as she departs from this world. "Though your spirit is free your body remains. Return to the earth from which you came," I whisper thrice before turning back to look for Ronin.
I find him standing silently behind me, my bow in his hands.
"She returns to the great mother now," he says softly before moving nearer to me and putting out a hand for me to take.