#2 Atawhai, Tribe shaman

| November 2, 2011 | 0 Comments


Atawhai is the shaman of the redmane tribe and has been for as long as any other
living member of the tribe can recall. He has become as much a fixture as a person in
the village, and young and old alike seek his advice. His advanced age prevents
him from exiting his lodge often, only coming out for the monthly tribal council and
other important occasions. Atawhai only recently took a new apprentice under his wing after his first one died in an accident Atawhai blamed himself for,
and many members of the tribe are worried that he will die before passing on all the tribe’s secrets.
Atawhai braids his grey hair in the traditional style for shamans of the Redmanes, into three braids which are then further braided together.
He wears loose-fitting robes of red squirrel’s fur, the tribe’s namesake, draped over his bony frame.
Like many members of the Redmane tribe, his neck is overgrown with fur, though his has long turned to grey and then white.
Atawhai has long claws that served him well in his climbing days, and is one of the few Redmanes that can boast of a tail that is more than a vestigial
addition. Atawhai is too old to handle the education of the youngsters on his own now, and leaves most of the work to his apprentice. He does always
take it upon himself to tell the legend of the People’s origin to young children who attend the shaman’s words for the first time in their lives.

Gather ’round younglings, sit closer to the fire. Yes, just like that. Now, you are here to be told a story, but it’s no story like your mothers
ever told you before bed, nor a hunting story like your father boasted at dinner. No, this is the first story, the story that birthed all the other
stories like the tree gave birth to our souls and our mothers to our bodies. This is the story of where we come from, and not just the Redmanes, no, all
the people share this story. We were always one people, even before coming here. We lived in a fertile place, where many plants grew. Great magic held
the sea back from sand, and we lived and died on that sand. Let me start at the beginning.
Before the first day, when there was no sun in the sky, nor stars or moons, but only the world, without life and a sky without stars.
The sky and the world fell in love, and in their embrace were born three sons, the sun, two moons and countless stars.
When they were born, the fluids of the sky’s pregnancy splattered onto the world, and therefrom sprang life.
The earth realized that without both sons and daughters, his line would end. So he made us, humans, much different then than we are now, to
steward life when he was no longer there to do so. But the humans were cruel, greedy and curious, and they opened
up great wounds in their father in search of riches and wealth. They found substance there that would bend only to fire, and from it made a new god,
a great dragon with scales as knives and teeth like daggers, a god of fire and war. This new god told the humans to conquer and murder in his name,
but not all heeded his words. Our ancestors still remembered the old gods, and upon seeing what the dragon they had wrought was capable of, reverted back
to their worship and fled south, across the sea. They were followed by demons formed from the same material as the dragon, who could trod across water as
if it were solid and who would not give up the chase. Now you may remember earlier that the earth begot two moons upon the sky, where there is only one now.
One of the moons took pity on our fleeing ancestors, and threw himself into the sea. From his body grew a great tree, our tree, and our ancestors took
refuge on the shore. But the demons kept coming and so the people fled again, this time into the roots, leaving behind the soldiers and warriors in their
number to try and fight off the demons. The demons defeated and broke the warriors though, and many fled for their lives, they were the ancestors of the
Seastriders, the People that still live on the shores of the tree. The people were once again pursued and fled up the trunk of the tree, leaving behind
the hunters and trappers to set their traps among the roots. They, too, failed to stop the demons and had to go into hiding, they were the ancestors of
the Rootwalkers. The demons chased the People up the trunk, and the artisans and craftsmen among them bravely picked up their tools and vowed to give their
lives defending the People. They, too, failed against the demons, and became our ancestors, the first Barkrunners.
It was not untill the demons were upon the elderly, the infirm, the women and the children that the tree himself interfered.
He threw the demons back into the sea and summoned a great serpent to coil around his roots to protect us. From that they forward we have been
endebted to the tree, and from that day forward every child who comes of age is changed in some way to mark him as a child of the tree.
When the sky weeps for her lost son, it rains, and we must always remember the terrible mistakes we made and how the gods saved us from our own
foolishness, even after we hurt them.

Category: 2011, Fantasy

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