Jared the Paramedic II ~ The Family Gathers

Chapter 32: Spirit Quest

The next weekend, the men had gathered at Grandfather's yard to await their final instructions before the commencement of their spirit quest.  He would be taking the young men up into the hills, valleys, and forests where these journeys have been conducted for generations.  The land to the north was sacred land, and land well inhabited by spirits and spirit guides.  The land would not only make sure the young men spoke with their spirit guides, but it would help protect them as much as it could from any shadows who may try to follow them.  The land was ancient, sacred, nurturing, and safe.

The men had arrived at noon, and they now stood around the fire pit in their mukluk-style leather footwear and loincloths waiting for further instructions from their grandfather. They all stood silently, staring at the fire while trying to anticipate what would happen to them.  Grandfather MathewGrandfather Mathew ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Mathew Bear (Grandfather)<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 98<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Jared and Melanie (grandchildren), Liam, Tyler, Troy, Darren, Josh, Jesse, Zane, Conner, Mark, Adam, Patrick (adopted grandchildren)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Most Sacred Medicine Man of the People, &#160;Shaman of the People, &#160;Most Elder of the People, &#160;Most Respected Elder in the Tribal Council of the Entire Western Region, &#160;Primary Messenger of the Sacred White Buffalo<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 12 &lt;- Jared, Chapter 8 (astral) &lt;-&#160;Jared, Chapter 2 (mentioned)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") and Grandfather TomGrandfather Tom ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Tom<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 75<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Owner and Operator of Tom's Marina<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Adam (grandson)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 17<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") joined the men at the fire flanked by JaredJared ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Jared<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 29<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'3\", 230 lbs of solid muscle, trimmed dark black hair and deep chocolate brown eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic (Partner: Liam) \/ Shift Supervisor \/ Paramedic Field Trainer<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Liam<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Mathew Bear (grandfather), Melanie Bear (cousin)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Bear<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nicknames: Masqua, Standing Bear<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Sacred Medicine Man of the People, President and CEO Bear Investment Group (secret), Shaman of the Forests<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") and ZaneZane ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Zane<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 26<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'8\" 140 lbs, brown hair, brown eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Director of the LGTBQ2 Centre<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Jesse<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Cougar<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 11<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">").

Mathew looked around the fire at LiamLiam ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Liam<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 22<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'0\", blue eyes, curly blond hair, nicely toned and tanned<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic (Partner: Jared)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Jared<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Eagle<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nicknames: Mikisow, Soaring Eagle<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Shaman of the Lost Tribe (Celtic)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), PatrickPatrick ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Patrick<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 17<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'0\", dark shaggy hair, large soft brown eyes, contagious smile, and a light mustache<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Lynx, Porcupine (secondary)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared II, Chapter 11<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), DarrenDarren ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Darren<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 26<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 6'0\", green eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Josh could pass for cousins or even brothers.<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Fire Fighter<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Josh<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nickname: Hose Puller<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 5<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), JesseJesse ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Jesse<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 32 (looks 22)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'10\" 160 lbs, blonde hair, clear blue eyes, light olive skin (darkens considerably when tanned). Has an eidetic memory.<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Lawyer, McCoy &amp; Associates (owner, President, CEO), McAdam Construction (owner, President, CEO)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Husband: Marc (deceased)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Zane<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Cougar<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance:&#160;Jared II, Chapter 1 &lt;- Jared, Chapter 16 (phone)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), AdamAdam ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Adam<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 19<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'8\", 145 lbs, black hair, chocolate brown eyes, olive skin<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Tom (grandfather), Frank (surrogate father)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Otter, Salamander (transitional)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Titles: Shaman of the Plains (future, still in training)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 17<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), ConnerConner ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Conner<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 18<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'10\", 150 lbs, slightly built, brown curly hair, hazel eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Student<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships:&#160;Frank (surrogate father)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Coyote<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 11<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), and MarkMark ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Mark<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 18<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'11\", 150 lbs, slightly built, dirty blonde straight hair, grey eyes<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Student<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Relationships: Sgt. Frank Myers (father)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Fox<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 15<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") who were all standing and ready to start their journey.  TylerTyler ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Tyler<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 25<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, dark brown hair, slim<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Officer (Partner: Josh)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Troy<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), TroyTroy ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Troy<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 25<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, blonde hair, solid but not overly muscular.<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Paramedic<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Tyler<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">"), and JoshJosh ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: left;\">Josh<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: left;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Age: 25<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Description: 5'8\", blue eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Darrin could pass for cousins or even brothers<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Job: Police Officer (Partner: Tyler)<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Boyfriend: Darren<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">Nickname: Ditch Pig<\/span><\/li>\r\n<li><span style=\"color: #999999;\">First Appearance: Jared, Chapter 1<\/span><\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: left;\">") were near their friends for support but had already made the journey themselves before.  Tonight, the three of them would be with their grandfathers and meditating near the fire and ready to protect their brothers if needed.

Grandfather moved forward and looked at the young men about to commence their spirit journey.  The old man was dressed in his finest furs including the buffalo robe with horns on his head.  His staff, which represented his position as the most senior medicine man of the people was decorated with beads, fur tails, animal teeth and bear claws in addition to the long stream of eagle feathers.  He raised it up and butted it onto the ground three times.  The ground under the men's feet shook with each hit.  Grandfather raised the staff skyward in both of his hands as he said:

"Oh, Great Spirit,
Whose Voice I hear in the winds,
Hear me, for I am flawed and weak.
I need your strength and wisdom.
I seek strength Oh Great One,
Not to be superior to my brothers,
But to conquer my greatest enemy, MYSELF."

The ancient man brought his staff down and held it similar to parade rest before he continued.

"Oh, Great Spirit,
Your grandchildren are here to seek wisdom and insight.
They continue to learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
They do this to learn the way and knowledge of the ancient times when you spoke the absolute truths to your children the first time.
They do this so they may learn and carry this message of life and hope to all the people of mother earth.
May their hands respect the many beautiful things you have made.
May their needs never take more from mother earth than they need and share whatever they can with anyone who needs it.
May their ears be sharp to hear your Voice in everything you have created for them.
May they always walk in your beauty,
And let their eyes ever behold the red and purple sunsets.
So when life fades like the setting sun all our spirits will come to you without shame to be reunited in the next world.
I HAVE SPOKEN."

Grandfather Tom stepped forward to the men.  He was dressed very similar to Mathew, consistent with his high rank as well.  In his hand were little leather pouches each attached to a leather thong.  He reached and put one over the head of each of the young men.  Tom then explained the purpose of the medicine pouch including the tradition and the possibility they may be able to hear the Creator speak to them through a talisman or sacred object.  They could then retain that sacred object for the rest of their lives in this pouch.  Tom also explained the origin of the spirit quest or as the ancient Celts called it, the Vigil, so they were absolutely clear what was to be done.

Tyler, Troy, and Josh stood forward and moved in front of their friends.  It was then that the men about to depart on their journey noted the way their friends were now dressed.  Each one of them had a necklace around their neck which was made up of bear claws, wolf claws, and eagle feathers as well as some multi-colored carved wooden beads.  Above that necklace, each wore a medium-sized medicine pouch as well.  Each of them was wearing a wolf skin and had a large knife in a beautiful leather sheath on their right hip.  Jesse looked at the knives quickly and realized the handles were carved from Elk antler, and the blades inside the leather sheath appeared to be at least 2-3" inches wide and 8-10" long.  The leatherwork and beading on the sheaths were beautiful.  The wolf's head was being worn as a hat, the front paws over their shoulders with the rest of the pelt hanging down their backs.  The black war paint each of them had on their faces would have terrified anyone who didn't know them.

Troy stood forward.  "My brothers… I have a small stone for each of you which is called Labradorite Crystal.  It is a stone of magic to awaken the sleeping abilities within you.  The Creator willing, it will awaken the psychic link between us as a tribe, family, and brothers.  It is a powerful gift for your medicine pouch to protect you, and it also comes with a piece of my own spirit which I freely give to you."  The young man stepped to each of his friends, and placed a stone in their medicine pouch, and then stepped backward out of the way.

Tyler stood forward.  "My brothers… I have a small stone for each of you which is called Amethyst.  It is Mother Earth's gift to mankind as the stone of change, protection and enlightenment.  It enhances spiritual awareness, serenity, and composure while drawing in both good energy and love.  It is a powerful gift for your medicine pouch to protect you, and it also comes with a piece of my own spirit which I freely give to you."  Tyler stepped to each of his friends, and placed a stone in their medicine pouch, and then stepped backward out of the way.

Josh stood forward.  "My brothers… I have an arrowhead made from flint by the hands of the ancient ones.  These are the first of the sacred objects you will collect in your lifetime.  This object is very, very powerful and full of knowledge.  It is a knowledge you may draw upon when you need it.  The style of arrowhead indicates your membership in our tribe and as one of the chosen people.  It is a powerful gift for your medicine pouch to protect you, and it also comes with a piece of my own spirit which I freely give to you."  Josh stepped to each of his friends, and placed an arrowhead in their medicine pouch, and then stepped backward out of the way.

Jared and Zane now stepped forward.  Zane held two ancient bowls… one filled with white liquid and the other filled with black liquid or paint which had been made in the traditional way.  The two men quickly painted their friends faces lightly with white paint, and then with the black paint, they applied the mark of the feather with the bear claw marks crossing it on each of their friends left upper arms.  Jared and Zane gave slight bows to their friends, and then stepped back and out of the way.

When no one had questions, Grandfather Mathew led them to the path and motioned for them to start their journey. Both ancient medicine men hugged each of the young men as they moved towards the path they were to follow.  The men had split up along the valley, each finding a place where they received some protection from the sun as well as the wind.  They had started their journey at approximately 1:00 pm and they would wander throughout the sacred land until the sun had begun its descent for the day.  Then they could settle for the night if they had not done so already and start a fire to sleep with. 


Liam

Liam had gone looking for a spot along one of the valley walls where he could do some meditating while his friends were seeking visions.  Liam was already a medicine man and very adept at traveling through the spiritual world.  Grandfather considered Liam to have already completed his spirit walking when he had met his Celtic ancestor but had sent him out into the valley in case someone did wish to speak with him from the other world.  The spot he found had a wide ledge which allowed him to keep a small fire going while sitting and chanting, facing the valley and keeping watch over his brothers, guiding them if directed.  Jared was doing much the same in another part of the valley.  He had no clue how long he had been chanting when someone appeared out of the shadows.  As the person moved forward and into the light of the fire, Liam saw it was again his ancestor.

"Please, join me Great-Great-Grandfather and sit by the fire to warm yourself."

The old man sat down and extended his hands to warm them from the flames.  "Thank you for the invitation, Grandson.  The heat feels good on these old bones."

Liam laughed.  "It feels good on the young bones as well, Grandfather.  It is an honor you join me on this evening, but I have nothing to offer you for your thirst or hunger."

"I understand, Grandson.  We will have something when we all come together later as part of our quest and your training.  We have much to talk about Liam.  We need to talk about the old ways."

"I am listening, Grandfather."

"Liam, you will find that much of what I have to say will surprise you.  Our history starts many, many years before the writings of all religions.  Once you understand our history, you will realize some of the faiths followed the teachings passed onto them while others began to modify or outright change them to become self-perpetuating and self-serving."

"I understand, Grandfather.  This would explain the battle we found ourselves in with a church Pastor.  He was acting on behalf of evil while spouting the words of the Creator's peace."

"Liam, you must understand that in the beginning the ways of the ancient ones were passed verbally from father to son through a lifetime of training.  There was no writing or books for many thousands of years for our people.  In fact, our ancestors didn't even write their own stories.  It was the Greeks and Romans who tried to conquer and subjugate us who began to write our history in the centuries BC.  What they didn't know was the training was only part of the knowledge.  The real knowledge was implanted into the chosen ones where it could sleep until required or awakened when it was time.

"In the beginning when the earth was ready for people, the Creator decided they must all be the same, know the same, be the same.  He wanted Mother Earth to have people who would love each other as much as they loved her.  He had created the Beaver and called them the little people.  When the time came to seed the earth, the biggest beaver was cut up into 12 pieces and sent all around the world, carried by the birds and animals.  They each breathed life into the pieces and taught the tribes of humans how to survive on the earth.

"In our ancestor's verbal history which was recorded by the Romans, it was also said the heaven and earth were great giants.  Their children lived in the darkness between them.  One son led his brothers to cut Heaven into pieces.  Heaven's skull made the firmament.  As his blood spilled forth, a great flood killed all humans except a single pair who were saved in a floating vessel.  The waters settled in hollows to become the oceans around the land.  You already know the version of the great flood discussed by the Christians and many of the other peoples of earth have similar stories.

"Grandson, it is the truth that all the tribes were created the same inside and with the same knowledge of the people.  The creator allowed some differences in facial structure, skin color and other minor things to allow each tribe to adapt to its specific environment better.  The biggest gift he gave to mankind was the gift of choice.  They are all brothers and sisters, and they are all exactly the same where it counts."

"Why do they kill each other, Grandfather?  We have been given everything we could ever need for good lives but people hate and kill each other."

The ancient man's face clearly showed pain as he looked at his grandson.  "There are more influences and forces at work in this reality.  You are beginning to realize that shadows and other things more evil are able to do many things among people.  They harvest spirits and lives for their own use like wild rice being collected in the fall.  There is much to discuss about this but understand when the Creator gave mankind the ability to make choices… there was risk in that decision."

"I am truly beginning to understand that, Grandfather."

"Let us talk more about the knowledge of the people.  The ancient Druids believed the Shamrock was a sacred plant that could ward off evil.  The ancient Celts believed the Shamrock had mystical properties because of the three heart-shaped leaves, which is also a sacred number.  Actually, three is the most sacred number.  Some Christians also believe the Shamrock has a special meaning… the three leaves representing the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."

"They are all commonly rooted in the original knowledge," Liam said quietly.

"One of the more humorous stories which has become a legend is Finn MacCool.  One popular story tells of a salmon that knew all of the world's knowledge and Finn fished and fished until he caught it.  He started to cook the salmon for eating so he could gain the knowledge.  As the fish was cooking, juice squirted out and burned Finn's thumb.  Finn stuck his thumb in his mouth to stop the pain and instantly learned the knowledge the salmon carried.  From then on, anytime Finn sucked his thumb he gained whatever knowledge he was seeking."

Liam chuckled at the story.

"Obviously that story isn't true, but no one realizes it is much truer than they think.  Liam, in the beginning, designated people such as myself would learn everything we as a people had done and could do.  We were at one time called 'The Order' by many people.  We would have a few people with the same level of learning in case something happened to one and everything was lost.  This was the time before writing.  As time progressed, we began to use three people as a triad and we would split the knowledge into specific disciplines and have a part to memorize as opposed to it all.  There was simply too much for one person to learn."

Liam was listening with great interest.  Grandfather reached out with his hands and gently clasped each side of Liam's head.  The memories buried deep within him, began to emerge.  Liam now understood the importance of the various ceremonies.  Each ceremony was a portal to recall or install more memory into a chosen one.  The ceremonies invoked a meditative trance in the people where not only communications with the spiritual world were possible, it allowed the absorption of access to information very quickly.  The other benefit was the amount of information which could be stored through a trance in a human brain was more than a person could ever voluntarily store in their lifetime.

"Liam, the order has survived to this very day.  Parts of the knowledge have been taken and used by people who believed they knew better.  While some good people did their best, the evil one was at work as well.  The true knowledge continued to be passed on in the traditional way, while others chose to write it down.  Some wrote it accurately, while others wrote it to meet their own goals.  Over time, the knowledge has become diluted and lost by the people except those of the triads who carry it.  You are one of the chosen, as is Jared, Adam, and Patrick...  Adam has unlocked much with his Grandfather Tom but still hasn't unlocked it all.  Patrick, however, has only just awakened and is getting only brief flashes of knowledge.  There are others still, but none have yet reached the point of awakening."

"Grandfather, a famous writer in my time summarized it as 'Men, the only animal in the world to fear'."

"It was not meant to be that way Liam, it was meant for everyone to love another.  Let us drum and sing together," said Grandfather.  The two men commenced drumming and calling through the throat singing. 


Adam

Adam was sitting at his fire, almost dozing off when a familiar face appeared in front of him.  Adam jumped to his feet and stepped backward in horror.

"Oh God no…" Adam sputtered.

The older man who stepped forward was Adam's former abusive boyfriend.  The man was dressed in leather shorts and leather studded belts across his chest.

"I thought I trained you better than this boy.  When I came home, you were to be doing what, Adam?" he yelled at the young man.

Adam had tears streaking down his face and he couldn't form words, only mumbling an incoherent answer.  The man stepped forward and backhanded the smaller, slightly built young man.  Adam screamed in agony.

"Stop daddy Lucas, please… no more beatings." The young man was sobbing almost uncontrollably.

"I will stop when you do what you were trained to do when I get home, boy.  Hurry up."

Adam stood slowly and looked at the man.  He began to remove his leggings and fold them up to be placed on a rock.

"This is taking too long boy!" the man yelled as he backhanded Adam again.  This time, Adam fell to his knees.  "Get your fucking clothes off now and assume the position with that ass in the air for my use, boy.  Your ass is so sloppy it barely meets my needs now, boy."

"Please, stop hitting me daddy Lucas.  Please, it hurts."

The man reached over and lifted Adam to his feet by pulling on his hair.  The man reached down and pulled the loincloth off the young man's body.  "Assume the position, boy," he said as he threw Adam to the ground.

Adam sat on the ground, his knees bent and apart, looking at Lucas through tear filled eyes.

"Who said you deserved hair down there, boy!  Men can have hair, not little boys like you.  That little fucking dick of yours could only satisfy some other piece of shit as useless as you are.  You are a waste of food and oxygen, and before I kill you… I am going to fuck you one more time."

Adam sat and looked at Lucas.  The young man thought to himself, "Please, God the Creator, I ask you to stop this.  This man has caused so much pain and suffering for me as well as to many others.  Some of the people he has abused like this already walk the spirit world with you.  I am ready, Creator; I give my life to you for you to end this.  Creator, take my life to protect others from the evil of this man."

Suddenly, anger was now focusing in his mind and presenting options to him to fight back.  Adam had never had something like this happen before.  He felt something in his chest, and it spread rapidly like a tidal wave.  His eyesight was more intense, his hearing more acute, his breathing had slowed but was much deeper.  Adam's body felt different, while he was lean, Adam was also muscular.  He felt like his muscles had just intensified and grown bigger.

Adam stood up straight with a new sense of confidence, something which had been taken from him by many others, but most of all by this man.  Adam slowly stood up straight, taking deep breaths.  His head was spinning from the feelings of power he had burning in his body.  He sensed the blood as it moved through his arteries and veins.  Adam felt the air rushing in and out of his lungs, he actually felt the tissues as the air flooded in and the carbon dioxide was expelled.  Adam was feeling a new sense of confidence.  He stood there in front of Lucas with his hands on his hips, and said, "This ends tonight, asshole.  I will never do anything for you again."

Daddy Lucas stood back in shock.  "How dare you speak to me like that, boy.  Your ass will always be mine.  Your scrawny little useless body will be mine, or I will destroy it so no one else can use it."

Adam heard a voice in his head.  He recognized it immediately as Jared.  "Adam, it is time to grow."

Adam wasn't sure what he meant, but before he could ask he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder.  Adam looked at the hand and it began to glow.  He turned his head slightly and saw his Grandfather Tom standing behind him, still dressed as a medicine man.  The glow expanded throughout his body and it felt like ants crawling on his skin as the glow spread.  There were images going through his mind rapidly, pictures of people of thousands of years ago and in few seconds, he had a seen a movie from the beginning of the 12 tribes to modern day.  It was a lot of information for Adam to grasp, and he really didn't even try.  His mind watched the images go by at the speed of a fast-forwarded movie.  The images stopped, and Adam felt something he had not felt in such a long time it brought tears of joy to his eyes.

He felt love for everyone, for everything around him... and for himself.  Adam felt confident the way he was looking around the world with a new set of eyes.  The confidence which had been stripped from him by many people's abuse, Lucas being the worse of all of them, had been restored.  Adam suddenly realized he was not alone as the Creator was part of him, and in absolutely everything around him.  Everything around him had energy for his use to fight evil, and he now understood his former boyfriend was evil.

"Lucas, it will never happen again, nor to anyone else ever again by your hand," stated Adam.

"Who you think you're talking to, boy?"

"You," Adam said with a strength and intensity he didn't know he had possessed.  The young man brought his hands together, rubbed them together and then turned them so the palms were now facing his former boyfriend.  Two orbs of bright white light came from the palms of his hands and hit Lucas in the chest.  The man started to scream in agony as two more of the power orbs hit him.  The vision of his boyfriend dissolved into smoke.

Adam suddenly became aware he was still sitting by the fire, except now Jared was sitting across from him dressed in his ceremonial clothing along with Grandfather Tom and behind both of them stood a bull moose.  It was one of the biggest bull moose Adam had ever seen.

"Adam, you have done well tonight," said Tom.  "I am so very proud of you, Grandson, and your spirit guide has stepped out of the shadows to formally meet you."

Grandfather Tom stood and motioned Adam forward.  "This is Mosra, the bull moose.  The moose is the master of self-camouflage in his environment and within himself as well.  He has the ability to conceal ideas, thoughts, actions until the appropriate time when your life is awakening inside of you.  He knows the truths needed in life to grow, Adam.

"The moose is a teacher and will increase your knowledge of emotions and emotional control, for self-awareness, strength, wisdom, and patience.  He gives you the ability to move swiftly but silently with wisdom.  Are you being gentle with yourself?  Do you need to be more graceful and humble, or to speak up more?  Mosra will show you balance along your life's path.  The moose is also the keeper of the sacred energy and has allowed you access to it.  When you need it, he will grant it, Adam.  This is a very special and powerful spirit guide for you, and he has waited a long time for you to be ready."

Tom gently placed Adam's hand on the moose's long nose, and the moose allowed it.  Adam began to sense a feeling deep inside of him grow when he noticed the moose's eye glowing, as were his own.  The moose and Adam became one in spirit, and the glow disappeared.

Adam stepped back from the moose and watched as the animal gave a deep, rumbling call before walking into the brush and disappearing.

"It is time for me to leave, but you have made me proud, my grandson.  I have and always will love you until the end of time."

Adam and Tom embraced tightly. Adam had closed his eyes tightly, trying to prevent the tears of joy from being seen.  Jared stood and embraced Tom as well.  Grandfather Tom stepped backward and drew into a white orb which shot up into the sky.

"Thank you, Masqua."

"You have much to learn about your gifts, and it will take some time, my little brother.  Tonight, you gave your heart to the Creator, and he accepted it.  He gave you a gift… a lifting of the pain in your heart and that allowed you to end it."

"Thank you, Creator.  I will do my best for you."

"I am proud of you, little brother.  You need rest."  Jared helped him move to his bed roll, put some more wood on the fire and touched the young man on the cheek tenderly.  "Adam, you are a good man, and I am proud to have you as a brother."

"Thank you, Jared," replied Adam with water building in his eyes.

"A gift for your pain," said Jared as his finger traced Adam's cheek.  Jared's eye's flashed for just a moment.  Adam's eye's closed as he inhaled sharply.  His head snapped back as he cried out, "Oh God."

Every nerve and sense in Adam's body had simultaneously fired which brought on wave after wave of ecstasy.  The euphoric sensations also manifested themselves in his groin, causing an instant erection in his leggings.  The waves of pleasure as he shot his load into his loincloth were immediate and intense.  Adam had never felt as many contractions deep inside him before as he came, filling the pouch of his loincloth full with his essence.  Adam laid back on the ground after the last contraction in post orgasmic bliss.  He didn't notice the yellow glow growing in his groin area, under the cloth.  The glow grew brighter until it formed an orb, moved through the clothing and it hung in the air above Adam's crotch.

Jared opened the palm of his hand, and the orb came to it and hovered.  "Creator, thank you for protecting this young man."  Jared concentrated his vision on the orb of yellow light and it dissolved into dust.  "Adam, the scars and pain caused by that man are gone… but the memories remain.  Sleep," he said, and Adam slipped deeply into a peaceful slumber.  Jared leaned over and gently kissed him on the forehead.  "Such a young man with a lifetime of pain experienced already," Jared thought.  "Good night, little brother."


Darren

Darren was watching the fire, but he wasn't very happy.  He thought he could handle the spirit quest, but it was going to be very difficult for him.  He was very close to his brothers, to his work mates and especially his boyfriend, Josh.  Darren needed to be with people he loved or at the very least, people he trusted.  Darren could spend time alone, but he needed the security of knowing he could be with people if or when he needed it.  He couldn't stand to lose anyone else after his brother.  He didn't want to be, or couldn't be, alone anymore.

He was sitting there staring into the fire when Tyler ran into sight.  He was out of breath and covered in sweat from his run.

"I found Josh with Troy at the bottom of the ravine.  Troy heard a scream while he was sitting at his fire and went to investigate.  When he got there, Josh was barely conscious but before he passed out..." Tyler hesitated and tears started leaking from his eyes.  "He said he loved you and will always be with you."

Darren jumped up.  "Take me to him, NOW!" he yelled.

The two men quickly moved along the paths through the bushes, and Tyler only hesitated a couple of times to choose the correct path.  The last trail they followed was the toughest as it went down the escarpment in a switchback style.  Both of them had stumbled a couple of times, but they made it to the bottom of the hill.

Tyler and Darren ran to where Josh was lying near the river.  Troy was over him and had used some bedrolls to make him more comfortable.  Darren ran up and knelt next to Josh.  Darren reached out and took one of Josh's hands into both of his.

"Joshie, Joshie, I'm here my man.  Speak to me please, Joshie."

It took a moment, but Josh opened his eyes.  Slowly and painfully, he spoke.  "Darren, I held on to say good bye to you."

Darren screamed "NO!  Where's Jared?  Where's Liam?  Creator, we need your help."

Tyler put his hand on Darren's shoulder, and lightly massaged it to let him know he was there.  Troy was holding Josh's other hand in both of his.

Josh looked deeply into Darren's eyes.  "You are the love of my life, the one and only love of my life.  The Creator would have been here by now if this wasn't the path I was meant to be on."

"I don't accept that, Josh.  It's not true, it can't be true.  I offered my life last time, and I still offer my life for yours because I will not live without you.  I will follow you into the next world as soon as I can.  I'm going to follow you right now, Josh."  Darren stood up and started to run towards the path up the hill.

Tyler ran up behind and grabbed him.  Twisting Darren around, he looked into the face of his brother. "What the hell do you think you are going to do?"

Without hesitation, Darren replied, "Throwing myself off the fucking cliff.  I want to be with Josh."

There was another voice from the darkness heard.  "Darren, you will never be alone." 

Darren whipped around to look for the source of the voice, but he knew it so well.  Standing there was his brother, dressed in his army fatigues.  Darren stepped to him and Cameron took him into a hug.

"Cameron, can you help Josh?  He's my boyfriend.  Please..." plead Darren.

"Darren, everything happens for a reason, and we are all following our path which the creator has built for us."

"No.  His and my paths are together, and if he dies… I will die with him.  I will not be left behind and alone again, ever."

Cameron smiled at his brother.  "You were never alone Darren, never."

"Yes, I was.  You died and there was no one left for me.  There was no one.  Mom and Dad were gone, everyone was gone.  Then you died and I was left alone until I found Josh.  Without Josh, I do not want to be living."

"Darren, you were never alone.  Now shut up and let me speak, or it will be over my knee."

Darren froze in his tracks.  "Yes, Cameron."

"Darren, do you remember the chat we had during that first sweat lodge ceremony you had?"

"Yes, I remember it, Cam."

"I told you I didn't have much time, but that you were never alone, and I will always love you, little brother."

"Yes, I remember."

"Darren, I have a bit more time to explain things to you this time.  There are four things you need to remember.  Actually, everyone here better listen to this.  One, everything on earth is alive; Two, everything on this earth has purpose; Three, everything on this earth is connected; and Four, everything on earth is to be embraced.  Remember these four rules.  You will learn more about these rules from the Creator."

"But Cameron, what about Josh; he needs help."

"Have faith and listen to me.  Law #3 – Everything on the earth is connected.  Darren, the love we have between us as brothers is a very special thing.  It is a very deep thing and something which we give to each other without reservation or conditions.  It is shared openly and on an emotional level.  The love you have for Josh is just as deep, but it is different.  There are different types of love because as a human, we are physical elements, a vessel for our spirit to grow stronger.  The love you have for Josh has many of the same elements which we share, except yours also has a physical element when you make love.  Your spirits intertwine and while you two are sharing your seed of life, your spirits are growing stronger with love.  Now that I have passed to the next world Darren, I have learned that love on this level is freely shared, but it is not sex.  It is on an emotional and intellectual level and something I can hardly wait to share with you."

"Wait, wait, wait," Darren interrupted.  "You took our love with you to the next world?"

"Yes, and more Darren. When you were depressed, or scared; do you remember a warm feeling suddenly... like the hugs we shared so often?"

"Yes... but I thought I was imagining it."

"Not at all Darren; did you feel better after?"

"After some time, I relaxed and felt better.  I remember it felt like someone rubbing my upper back like you used to do…"

"It was me... it was me each time looking out for my little brother.  I just couldn't say anything to you because you weren't ready."

"Ready for what?"

"Ready for what you and your adopted family are doing for the Creator.  Darren, you are part of a family who loves you.  Read my lips little man… you are not alone anymore.  Their love surrounds you wherever you go.  When you are apart, their love is still with you.  You are never alone, little brother."

"But Josh needs help…"

"No he doesn't, Darren," Cameron snapped his fingers and Josh appeared beside Darren.  Darren grabbed the man in a tight hug and started to cry.  Tyler and Troy stepped in and hugged them as well.  Cameron raised his hand, palm out to the group of men and said, "Feel."

The four men felt the love from each other, and how strong the love was.  The strongest feelings were between the partners, but the love between them as brothers was just as intense. Cameron added his love for Darren to the mixture.

"You all sense the love Darren and I have for each other.  Do you sense the similarity between two natural born brothers and then the four of you who have adopted each other as brothers?  They are just as strong as our connection.  You have all lost your families or your family's connection one way or another, but now you have a new one.  Love the family you have, count your blessings, enjoy your love and give it to each other unconditionally.

"Law #4, Everything on earth is to be embraced.  Embrace everything, my friends, everything you see, hear, feel, smell, or touch is a gift.  Embrace each other closely as partners and friends and embrace the fact if you become separated in the physical world, you will continue to embrace each other in the next world."

Darren broke free of the group to hug his brother.  "Thank you, Cameron.  I love you more today than I ever have."

Cameron hugged his little brother back.  "I know.  I sensed it all the time, especially when you felt alone and abandoned.  But no more Darren, you have more love in your new family than either of us could have ever dreamed of.  You love each other unconditionally, unlike what we had with our family.

"All four of you guys need to hear me clearly and remember the words I speak to you.  You are never alone; you are a part of a tremendous family of people.  You are all linked through your love, and you always will be.  You are not alone guys, you have each other."

They let go of each other.  Cameron stood back and said, "It is my time to move on, guys.  It has been a pleasure to actually meet you all, and always a pleasure to see my little brother.  May the peace of the Creator be with you all, brother wolves of the pack."

As the four young men replied, "May peace be with you as well," Cameron disappeared into an orb of light and shot into the sky.  The four men watched as it disappeared.  They all awoke at the same time, all kneeling at the same fire pit.  The fire had little heat left in it, and they started it burning again.  Once that was done, they laid on their bedrolls and fell asleep, both sets of boyfriends holding their partner's hand.  They hadn't said a word, but they felt an inner peace they didn't know existed. 


Jesse

Later that day, Liam took Jesse back into the old memories.

They both stood on the edge of a clearing in furs, hides and cured leather.  Jesse looked at Liam and chuckled.

"I don't think I will ever get used to this, Liam," said Jesse lifting his foot to look at the coverings.

"I know what you mean Jess, and it took me a while as well.  But, I love these furs," laughed Liam as he stretched his arms outwards.

Jesse laughed as he did the same.

"Keep your arms out Jesse, we'll go for a flight and look around," said Liam as his eyes flashed.  Both men transitioned into eagles and took to the air in a flurry of wings.

Jesse loved the feeling of flying this way, the quick turns, the three-dimensional moves he could make with no restrictions.  They flew over the countryside, mixed with trees, rivers and the limited crops of man which had been planted.  The two eagles flew over a small settlement of people.  The village consisted of huts with tall thatched roofs set on low circular mud walls.  The perimeter of the village had a tall horizontally woven fence made of saplings and willow to give some security to the people from animals or looters.  The compound was filled with small fires to cook, and a few children playing a game.

Liam pointed his wing and Jesse followed him in a gentle turn and decent into a small clearing not far from the camp.  Upon landing, the eagles transitioned back into men.

"I have never known such freedom as flying as a bird, my friend.  I could feel the gentleness and preciseness of the movements, the rush of the air passing over every square inch of my body, and the tranquility of silence in the heavens," exclaimed Jesse.

"They are wonderful sensations to experience, aren't they, Jesse.  There is more to come while you continue to learn and grow into what is expected of you."

Jesse and Liam walked towards the village, as they approached on the pathway, they were challenged.

The guard saw the two men walking up the trail.  The one who appeared to be the younger of the two had the clothes of a magus or priest.  But he had a wooden staff with tails from unknown animals hanging from it.  The other man was probably his servant thought the guard.

"Who goes there?" challenged the guard raising his spear.

"I am Liam, and this is my brother Jesse.  We are of the Bear clan and have come a long way to visit," replied Liam.  "I am a medicine man of my tribe, and Jesse is a scholar."  Liam smirked as he turned his head, "A low-level scholar, but a scholar."

Jesse rolled his eyes in his head.  "Whatever."

"Why do you come here?  We have nothing for you.  We are not rich, just farmers," said the man.

"We ask nothing but to share some tea, and then we would move on," replied Liam.

"I think you should move on now, it is dark soon and you need to be where you are going before the dark," he replied.

"What happens at night?" asked Jesse.

A woman's voice was heard from inside the compound.  "The pookas come to take our animals, food and sometimes kill our people.  We can't stop them," the young woman said.  "Are you really a healer?"

Liam answered quickly, "Yes, I am."

"My brother is a very good healer," added Jesse.

"Please, come in and look at my daughter.  Her husband is out hunting and I am watching her for him.  She is near delivery and having problems." said the woman.

"Martoch, is it safe to let them inside the compound?" asked the guard.

The woman looked at them both.  "I sense they are not from here, and either one of them could have ended your life easily if they had wished it." She looked into Jesse's eyes.  "This one is more dangerous in the physical world Trach, the other is very dangerous in the spiritual world.  They could have taken what they wanted by now, so I believe it is safe to let them look at my daughter."

Liam smiled at the woman.  "You're a traveler."

"I have traveled when necessary, but it is nothing compared to your journey this day."

"Let us check your daughter," said Liam.  He dug into his medicine bag and gave Jesse a small bag of tea.  "Would you have someone make us some tea, it has been a long day."

As they entered the compound, a few others came to them and were introduced.  One of the elderly ladies took Jesse to make tea.  He watched her heat rocks in the fire and add them to water in cups made from hollowed out wood.  He sprinkled some of the leaves into each cup and then offered her some as well.  She was very interested in the spice.  Jesse explained how during their travels they sometimes traded for different types of teas.  This was from many, many days of travel from a place called China and they had added some dried berries to it as well.  The smell intrigued the woman, and she was truly delighted by the taste.

They took two more cups over to Liam and Martoch.  They each sipped from their cups.

"The baby hasn't turned, and will probably breach deliver," said Liam.  The two women were sipping on their tea and listening to the two men, not understanding the words they were using but following the concepts easily.  "But it's nothing I can't handle, Jesse.  Why don't you go outside and look around while I help here?"  

Jesse hesitated, but he heard Liam's voice in his head, "Just call me if you need me."

Martoch took Jesse went outside and called to one of the young men, asking him to show the visitor around.  The young man didn't look very happy but nodded to Martoch.  She introduced him as Laird.  Jesse noticed the young man limped as he walked.

Jesse was fascinated as the young man explained everything as the toured the area, and he was introduced to many more people than he had seen from the air.  All of the people had commented on Jesse's command of the language for someone who had just arrived from so far away.  The young women thought Jesse was very cute, and his slight accent was considered very exotic, even erotic.

Laird took Jesse to the back of the compound where some youth were obviously practicing their battle skills in mock duels.  The young men were using wooden swords, the adults watching and teaching them wearing swords approximately 28" long from their belts.  There were also numerous spears leaning against a rail post fence making them available for teaching or the defense of the village.

The young man led Jesse towards the area but stayed back, hesitating to get any closer.  One of the young men finally spotted Laird and pointed him out to the rest of the group.

Jesse leaned over to Laird and asked directly, "Why are they making fun of you, Laird?"

Laird had water in his eyes as he replied "I was injured when I was younger and I have trouble with my right leg and knee.  It never healed properly after breaking and they see me as malformed and useless except to the women because I can't run.  If you can't run, you can't hunt or be a warrior."

"Bullshit," replied Jesse.

"I'm not familiar with that word, Jesse.  But, I think I grasp your meaning," replied Laird with a smirk.

The four boys came towards Laird.  "Who is this?  Another woman?"

Laird was upset at the disrespect shown and made it known.  "This is an important visitor from far away and you have dishonored our tribe by your words."

The young man stepped towards Laird, "What are you going to do about it, lame one."

"I find it distressing this type of behavior towards another member of your tribe is allowed," said Jesse as he eyed the aggressive young man.

"I'm related to the Chief, so I can do as I please," replied the young man.

"I'm considered to be a scholar and Chief where I come from, and I would punish anyone who behaved like you," said Jesse clearly.

The young men laughed at the words.  Laird said, "Jesse, please do not aggravate them, they might hurt you."

Jesse stepped forward to pass through the small group and into the center of their practice field.  He turned and looked at the mouthy young man.  The teenager stood 5'10" and was built like a linebacker.  In fact, all the young people were built the same way.  Even as youth, Jesse noticed the people were stocky, very muscular, with blonde or strawberry hair and crystal clear blue eyes.

Jesse smiled at the young men as he spoke, "You dishonored me by your words which gives me the right of calling you to battle to regain my honor."

The young man's face went blank with concern.  He looked at each of his friends and then back at the stranger.  The young man sized Jesse up and considered him to be old, too thin and too self-confident.  "What weapon do you choose?"

"I choose nothing but my body but you may choose anything you wish, little one," said Jesse with a smirk.

"I choose the practice sword," replied the young man.

"What have you done to dishonor this tribe, Matsi?" a booming voice was heard yelling.

"He challenged me, Uncle," replied the young man Jesse knew as Matsi.

A very solid looking man followed by three others entered the training area.  "I am Toolsi, Chief of this village.  I welcome you to our homes and apologize for the young one's dishonor," said the Chief.

Jesse stepped forward and they gripped each other's hand with strength.  "I am Jesse, a traveler and considered to be a scholar and chief of the scholars."

"Please allow me to make amends for this boy's challenge to you, Jesse.  I neither want him hurt nor a visitor to our village hurt by his actions."

"Toolsi, if I could teach him a lesson with no tools, and not hurting him very much, would you allow it?" asked Jesse with a smirk.

Toolsi used every skill he had learned as a hunter and warrior to size this man up.  He could see Jesse's eyes were full of secrets, mischievousness but what he really noticed was the absolute lack of fear.  This man was not scared of the situation.  "Jesse, I sense no evil or malice in you.  Please, teach the boy a lesson with just your hands."  The leader and his entourage moved back and leaned against the protection fence.  There were other people now collecting to watch this event.  Jesse moved to one side and removed his outer skins.  He was left wearing his tight fitting buckskin pants, skirt and deerskin boots similar to mukluks.  The clothing he was wearing was very exotic to the tribal people as they had never seen anything like it before. The leather was skin tight on his muscular chest, solid legs, firm buttocks and ample package.  The muscles which had been hidden by the cloak of furs did not go un-noticed by all the women of the tribe, as well as the young men.  Jesse began to stretch for a moment and then stood still, arms crossed and looked directly at Matsi with defiance.

Matsi watched the man as he took his outer clothing off and then stretch his muscles.  He knew the man was older but without his jacket, Matsi now realized this man was very solidly muscular.  "He is just a scholar and knows nothing," he thought to himself.

Jesse stood there defiantly watching the young man.  "Are you backing down now, boy?  You make no moves."

Toolsi didn't understand what he saw Jesse doing by just standing and waiting for Matsi to attack him.  He looked at Jesse standing there, full of confidence, and realized he had severely underestimated this man's abilities.  If he were not a seasoned warrior, he would not be doing what he was doing.

Matsi ran towards Jesse with his wooden sword held high, screaming the war cry.  Jesse watched him closely as he came closer, and finally into striking range.

Toolsi watched Jesse as he quickly moved to the side and swung behind Matsi.  Jesse then used his foot to push or kick Matsi in the ass so he landed face first in the dirt.  He then stood defiantly with his crossed again.  The crowd laughed at the antics.

The young man on the ground was furious now and got back onto his feet and ran towards Jesse again.  Jesse didn't move until Matsi swung his sword, and he bent backward which allowed the blade to swing by in the air.  When Jesse straightened up, he slapped Matsi's face with his open palm.  Jesse then crouched and sprung out of the range of the sword.  Matsi turned and started to swing the sword back and forth as he moved towards Jesse, his anger evident on his face.

Jesse blocked the sword arm, moved in and broke the secure grip holding the sword.  He pivoted and threw the young man over his shoulder.  Matsi landed on his back and had the wind knocked out of him.  The crowd was laughing.

Toolsi was laughing as well.  "I was right Jesse, this is not a fair fight... but not in the way I thought."

Jesse smirked at him and said, "Maybe Matsi would like his friends to help him as he fights like an old blind woman.  His mouth is spending coins his purse doesn't have."

Toolsi continued to laugh at the comments as he used his hands in a gesture to the young men Matsi had been with to attack Jesse.  Within seconds, the three additional young men were on the ground next to Matsi after Jesse had made his moves.

Matsi lost his temper and grabbed a real sword from the rack and charged Jesse.  Jesse again showed no fear as the young man came at him.  As Matsi swung the sword, Jesse caught the blade and trapped it between the palms of hands securely.  He quickly kicked up and out at Matsi's sternum, making hard contact.  The young man flew backward and onto the ground again.  Jesse flipped the sword up into the air and caught it by the grip.  He swung it in a figure-eight several times as he screamed the sound of the Japanese attack cry he had been taught.  He brought the sword down, point first in between Matsi's legs, cutting the pants open, allowing his penis to flop out and into view of everyone.  The crowd gasped at his actions.

Jesse pushed the sword deep into the ground until the hilt rested against the pelvic bone of the young man.

"Matsi, when you hunt or when you wage battle, never allow your own ego to be bigger than the animal you are hunting or the person you are fighting.  Very simply, you die if you do." Jesse reached down and grasped Matsi's cock and balls in his hand, stretching them enough to touch the blade of the sword.  The young man tensed as he imagined them being sliced off.

"Please, no.  I beg you," cried Matsi.

"Laird, what do you want me to do.  Should I cut this child's balls off, or allow him to breed more stupid people with this little piece of meat?"

Laird stepped forward and made eye contact with Jesse.  "Since the accident which made me lame, he has constantly made others laugh at me and reminded me I was a cripple.  I spent many hours fighting tears and wanting to run away from his actions.  But I realized I was damaged in a way all people could see by my limp and restrictions, but he was damaged in a way no one could see.  He felt better inside when he made me feel bad.  I also realized if this person made me feel bad, he would leave the woman, children and other weaker people alone.  If I stood up to him, he would find someone else who was not strong enough to take it."

Jesse listened to the words.  "Very intuitive, and you are showing very good scholarly thinking.  Why did you just not stop it by going to the Chief?"

"I could do that but it showed me being weak and Matsi stronger."

Toolsi now spoke, "Laird, if we had spoken we could have solved it.  I need to make sure people understand it is one thing to make jest of another, but never to hurt with words intentionally.  We are one tribe, with all different strengths which make us very strong together."

Jesse leaned over to look into Matsi's terror filled eyes.  "I hold your manhood boy, I can cut it off and you die with no children, no one to remember you."

"Please, mercy," he begged.

"Laird, what is your desire?" asked Jesse.

"Let him go, Jesse.  He does have the potential to be a great warier someday," said Laird.

Jesse gently manipulated the skin of Matsi's stretched ball sac gently over the blade.  The young man took a deep breath and closed his eyes.  "Matsi, I give your balls back to you, but your life is owed to Laird.  Am I clear in this?"

"Yes, yes, Jesse," he stammered.  Jesse let them go, and the young man crab-walked backward and sat, both hands gripping his groin.

Jesse stood up and pulled the sword out of the ground.  He gently placed it back onto the rack that Matsi had removed it from.  He noticed a longer and thinner sword similar to ones he had trained with and picked it up.

There were several thick rails and practice mannequins set up in the area.  Jesse looked at Matsi, Laird, and Toolsi as he spoke, "You underestimated me by my size."

Jesse quickly demonstrated his sword use, kicks, and strength by destroying the mannequins and splitting rails with nothing more than his feet and hands.  The crowd gasped at his demonstration.  He bowed to them.

"I wish you could stay and teach us how you fight," said Toolsi as he approached Jesse.

"I don't know if I can, I would have to speak with Liam," said Jesse.

Jesse had no sooner said the name of his friend when he heard Liam's voice, "It is a baby girl, Jesse."  He turned and embraced the medicine man.

"Liam, may I ask you to look at a young man's leg.  He has an injury which slows him down," asked Jesse.

"Of course I can, Jesse.  Where is he?" replied Liam.  Jesse waved to Laird to come towards them and sit on a bench nearby.  Laird did so and waited.

Liam moved behind the young man and grasped his shoulders.  "Jesse, we can fix his leg and he becomes just another hunter/warrior, or his leg can remain as it is and he can be a medicine man, one that this village needs."

"Not both, Liam?" asked Jesse.

"No, it's a choice, Jesse.  We can't fix everything, but if we choose well, the things we didn't fix won't matter compared to the ones we do."

Jesse looked at Liam.  "This is my lesson, isn't it?  We need to look at the big picture every time and keep it in sight but we don't have to solve everything in the picture at once."

Liam smiled and hugged Jesse tightly.  "Yes, my brother.  You are going to burn out well ahead of your time if you don't learn how to do this.  The Creator has good things in store for you and Zane, and he wanted you to learn the lesson that we cannot take on everyone else's problems all the time.  We need to determine what needs to be solved, and what needs to be empowered, and that is your lesson, my brother."

"How do you make him a medicine man, Liam?" asked Jesse.

Liam stood back, "Just watch.  You think your demonstration was cool, watch this."

Jesse leaned over and whispered, "That's not fair, little brother.  I did the best I could with what I had."

Liam laughed.  Laird was still sitting and trying to follow their conversation but they had switched to a language he didn't understand.

Liam stood behind Laird again and called out, "Toolsi, do you accept Laird as your Medicine Man?  If you do, I will give him the knowledge he needs to work with your village.  In time, he can train others."

"Liam, it would take years for him to learn the skills, but we would accept him with open hearts," replied the headman.

Liam raised both hands towards the sky, palms up and asked, "Creator, does this young man deserve the honor of serving you and treating the illnesses of others?"

The sky was clear above them, but a large crack of thunder was heard.  The entire village froze in their movements and all those at the end with Liam were staring at him.  "It shall be done," replied Liam as another crack of thunder was heard.  As Liam brought his face back down to look at the people, they gasped while falling to their knees.  They saw his eyes were glowing the brightest white they had ever seen.  Liam placed a hand on Laird's shoulders, and the young man sat up straight.  Liam's body began to glow brightly, and the people noticed Laird's body had begun to glow as well.  Soon, both of the men were of equal intensity, and then the glow dimmed to nothing.  Liam released the shoulders of the young man who stood, turned and kneeled in front of Liam.

"Stand, all of you.  You need not kneel to me," said Liam.

"Are you not gods?" asked Toolsi.

"No, we are just messengers of the Creator, and do his bidding," replied Liam.  "You have the knowledge of a medicine man now Laird and a bit extra."

"Liam, I understand all the medicines and treatments you have given me.  I also now understand it is not so much where you came from as when you came from."

Jesse blurted out, "Oops, Liam."

"Jesse," started Laird, "I believe what Liam would do at this moment is this…" as he stuck his tongue out at him.  Jesse roared with laughter as did Liam.

"You said it brother, oops," said Liam laughing.  "Jesse, I also fixed his leg just for you, older brother."

Jesse smiled at Liam and mouthed the words, "Thank you."

"It is time for us to continue our journey," said Liam.

Toolsi moved forward and took his sword off his belt.  He gently kneeled on one knee, lowered his head and shoulders and raised his hands upwards.  Using both hands, palm up he offered it to Jesse as a gift.  "For returning status to my son Laird, I give this as a gift to you."

"I cannot accept your sword Toolsi when your thanks are enough," replied Jesse.

"You have given us a gift, I must give you one in return although I could never match the value," replied Toolsi.

"Jesse, it is so," said Liam quietly.

Jesse took it into his hands, nodded his head and pulled it in tight to his body.  "I will always remember your village with fondness, Toolsi."  

"Peace be with you all," said Liam.

Before anyone could say anything, Jesse and Liam changed into large eagles, and they took to the sky.  Both of the eagles screeched as they circled the village, and then disappeared into the horizon.

Toolsi stepped forward and clasped his son's shoulder with his big hand.  "Are you really full of knowledge now, Laird?"

"I am father, and some of it I don't understand."

"What do you mean?" asked the headman.

"I do not understand, but I need to say… who was that masked man?"

Jesse came out of his trance to find Liam still seated with him but feeding the fire.  "Here's a cup of tea for you Jesse, take a deep drink and sleep."

"It was an incredible experience and so real," said Jesse as he took a sip of tea.

"If you look at the heels of your hands, you will see some marks resulting from you hitting the wood to break it.  Of course, the sword on the ground is also an indication."

Jesse looked and noticed a couple of red abrasions, and the skin appeared to be slightly pink.  He touched the sword on the ground, almost afraid of it burning him.  "It was real?"

The last word Jesse heard was, "Sleep."

Liam caught him, laid him down and covered him with a blanket before disappearing into the dark. 


Mark & Conner

Conner was meditating in front of his fire, holding Mark's hand who was doing the same to his right.  The two of them had asked to be together because of their limited experience in the wilds of nature, and Grandfather had nodded his head in agreement.

The two of them were having a vision, of them running through a field of long grasses.  Mark was a coyote, and Conner was in the spirit of a fox.  The two of them were chasing the ptarmigan from the grasses and into the air, jumping at them in mid-air.  Every time their jaws clamped shut, they just missed the tail feathers on each of the birds.  When the two boys couldn't find any birds to chase, they chased and wrestled with each other.  Mark's spirit was an average-sized coyote, while Conner as a fox would be considered very large.  Together, they actually appeared to both be coyotes and possibly even litter-mates as their coloring was almost identical.  The two animals played for hours until they were both tired out, lying on the sand next to a slow-moving river.

As they were laying there, the two animals became Conner and Mark.  No sooner when they had become human again, they sought each other's hand to hold as well as lips to kiss.  Neither had any clothing on.

Mark rolled Conner over so he ended up on top of the young man.  Looking into Conner's hazel eyes Mark said, "Conner, I have never been so happy to be with someone before.  I…" he stuttered for a moment.  "I need to tell you I have never felt like this with anyone before, and I want to tell you… I love you, Conner," he said with water in his eyes.

Conner was stunned, but a large smile erupted on his face.  "Mark, I've wanted to say that to you for a while now, but I was so scared."

"Why would anyone ever be scared to say they love someone?"

"You mean like the way you were just stuttering to me as you said it?"

Mark thought for a second before saying, "You're right.  I was afraid too.  I was afraid you didn't love me and our friendship would be destroyed."

Conner rolled and Mark was now pinned under him.  "I felt the same way.  I've never had a best friend like you before, and I was afraid if I said I loved you, you would leave me."

"Do you think we're normal?"

"Well, we're both naked on the shores of a river after having been a coyote and fox all day.  We are members of a new family of guys who all have spirit guides and talk with them, the Creator himself drops in talks with all of us at times.  WHAT THE FUCK IS NOT NORMAL ABOUT THAT?"

The two young men began to laugh until neither could breathe.  In time, the laughing stopped.  The two young men were lying on the sand staring at the sky, holding hands and their heads together.

"Mark, I don't know what I would do without you.  I just think about how we met…"

"I here ya Conner, I almost feel separation anxiety when we are not together.  I am so happy our paths are together."

"Can I ask you anything?"

"We can always be honest with each other and ask anything."

"Will you make love to me?  I mean……"

"Conner, there is no race for either of us to have anal sex for the first time.  I'm in no hurry, are you?"

"No, I'm not.  I just don't want you to leave me if I don't."

"Conner, I would never do that."  They both laid on the beach for a moment when Mark said, "I wish Liam were here to talk with.  He answers lots of my questions."

"I agree.  Liam is so patient with me while I am asking him so many things about life."

The voice from behind them startled them both.  "I've told you both... if you call, I will come to you as soon as I can."  Liam looked at the two astonished faces in front of him.  "Ok, it was quick today because I wasn't doing much… it won't always be this quick," laughed Liam.

The two young men got up and both wrapped Liam in full body hugs, which Liam returned with real love for the two younger brothers.

After the hug, the three of them started a small fire, and Liam made tea for everyone as they made small talk.  Once they all had a small cup of tea, Liam asked point blank, "So what is on your minds, little brothers?"

"Liam, how do you know when you are in love?"

"Wow, lead off with the hard one, Conner."  He paused for a moment, "There is an old Celtic Love Test you two can take."

"I'll take it," Mark jumped in.

"Me too," added Conner.

Liam sat with a straight, expressionless facial expression as he asked, "Mark, are you in love with Conner?"

"Yes, I am with all my heart."

"Conner, are you in love with Mark?"

"Yes, like I have never loved anyone else."

Without any expression on his face, Liam said, "You both passed the old Celtic love test…you're in love."  Liam then allowed a big smile to grow on his face.

"Shit, he got me, Mark."

"Me too, Conner."

"Boys, it was and wasn't a serious question.  Conner, when you answered, where did you feel the answer come from?"

Conner thought for a moment, "I felt it start here," he said as he placed a hand over his heart.  "But then it also came from my head too."

Mark spoke up, "That's the way it was with me too."

"That means your heart feels the love you have for each other, and you have thought about it too," replied Liam.  "Think about these ideas of what love is.  Does your love feel easy between the two of you?  I mean, you naturally feel emotional about them?"  Both young men nodded in agreement.

"Ok, I want you guys to experience something.  Sit crossed legged and hold your hands out… palms out and against each other's."  He gave them a moment to adjust their seating.

Liam reached out and grabbed the two wrists closest to him.  He concentrated and granted Conner and Mark a gift.  Mark was looking through Conner's eyes, becoming him with all the thoughts and baggage which accompanied him.  Conner became Mark as well.  They continued to look at each as they sorted out what was happening to them.  Mark could feel the lashes from Conner's father as they were delivered to his body and he started to shake.  Conner experienced the extreme isolation Mark had felt when he was left alone at home night after night while his father worked.  These feelings of sorrow and pain were quickly replaced by Mark feeling what Conner thought of him, and the love he had within him.  Mark was suddenly experiencing the emotional and physical reactions Conner had when they first kissed.  Conner had done the same thing as he had and that was to almost have an orgasm as they kissed the very first time.  Mark felt Conner's heart longing to be with him when he was away, and how he felt complete when they were even just in the same room together.  Mark realized Conner wanted to be with him, and it didn't matter where or what they were going to do, he wanted to be with him.  Mark was feeling Conner's body respond as there were images of them together in his mind.  He suddenly realized Liam was allowing them to actually feel the emotions they had for each other, first hand and he knew it was love.  He was looking out of Conner's eyes at his body.

Conner was looking out of Mark's eyes and coming to the same realization at the same time Mark was.  Except Conner was recognizing Mark loved him for who he was and didn't care anything about his past.  As Mark, Conner felt his body responding to the touch of his boyfriend.  When he looked down, he could see both of them were hard, their cocks sticking straight out from their bodies.

"There is no set time for anal penetration guys if you guys ever choose to do it at all.  It's up to each person and about communication between the two of you.  When the time is right, I can have a chat with you both to help you out," said Liam.

"Love is a gift and shared between people.  The physical act must never be forced, taken, or done without consent.  The physical act is part of the link between the people who share it.  It will happen when the time is right… for both of you."

"Thanks, Liam," the two said as they hugged him again.

"You two are so cute together, now stand up and give each other a good hug," directed Liam.

The two young men hugged.

"That's not a hug, a real hug."

The two young men hugged tightly, now aware of their erect cocks rubbing between their bodies.

"Now kiss guys, like you mean it and not like you are kissing your really ugly, old aunt."  The two young men began gently to kiss each other as Liam dissolved into air.  The two young men turned as he disappeared and both said thank you.  The two young men laid on the fur by the fire, Mark spooned behind Conner and held him tightly.  Before they both fell asleep, they made a couple of promises to each other.  The first promise was to never go to bed mad at each other, and the second promise was to always say to the other "I love you" before they went to sleep. 


Patrick

Patrick was sitting with his back against a rock escarpment and a fire burning at his feet.  He had been up and pacing back and forth along the edge of the drop-off… creating a path of many foot prints in the dust.  The young man was lonely, missing Tyler and Troy and the rest of the guys.  He was also scared because of where he was… alone, in an unfamiliar area, and in the dark.

The big furry head of Max nudged him playfully.  Patrick immediately hugged his big, furry friend Misiminôs, the sacred lynx.  The psychic link between the young man and his spirit guide needed no spoken words to communicate.

"Max, I am so happy you're here."

"Tadkia, I am never far from you.  I am you and you are me.  You are my human, Fast Runner."  Patrick held him tightly against his chest while rubbing the big cat's head.

A second voice was heard, and Patrick immediately knew he was as safe now as he could ever be.

"Tadika, we are never far from you… you are our little human."

Patrick chuckled as the big porcupine waddled closer to him.  The young man carefully reached out and stroked the animal's quills from head to his hips.

"Kâkwa, I am happy you are here too but it is young human, not little," replied Patrick.

"I shall have to speak further with the wolves about their term, but Tyler and Troy were quite clear about you being their little human."

Patrick smiled, "Probably meant little brother."

"Tadika, in the old language of the originals, human and brother are the same word," replied the porcupine.

The young man used his finger to scratch the chin and throat of the quilled animal.  "I understand, thank you for teaching me a new word, Kâkwa."

The lynx moved over to lay down with his head on his human's lap.  "Tadika, we need to continue your lessons.  The attack of the Wendigo, who posed as your father, has hurt you, little human.  We would like to speak of your father with you, so you know the truth."

Patrick started to say something, but he was cut off by Kâkwa, "Don't forget we are linked, and we know your questions before you ask because we hear your thoughts.  The Wendigo is a terrible creature who attempts to take possession of vulnerable people and lure them into evil activities.  It learns of spirits who have weaknesses or vulnerable spirits and pretends to meet their needs.  The evil leads the spirit into theft, hate, suspicion, murder, lust, and finally, it teaches the act of cannibalism.  The Wendigo possess and becomes the human it has enticed into its ways and gains strength every time another human is killed… and the heart eaten."

Patrick's mind was blank as he processed the information.

Misiminôs continued the conversation, "You have nothing to fear from the Wendigo, Patrick.  He is no match for our power… you are safe.  You are our human."

"Thank you both," the young man replied.

The porcupine sat up on his back legs and faced Patrick.  "Your father was not an evil man, Patrick.  Although he is now walking the next world, he was never evil.  Your father was a traveler and a member of the group of people who held the original knowledge.  He never knew what he had within him, but he did love both you and your mother.  But, he believed in chemical use to travel, instead of the traditional ways.  He ran away from the people who could have taught him the traditional ways and turned his back on his spirit guides."

"Too many are taken by the shadows when they under the influence of drug and alcohol," added Misiminôs.  "He was confused about many things in his life, Patrick, some of which you are confused about as well."

Patrick looked at his spirit guides.  "I have always thought or known my father was dead…"

"Patrick," said Misiminôs, "he is in the next world, and free of what he considered his flaws and pain while in the human form.  He avoided making the final decision in a couple of aspects in his life.  The term dead is not correct."

Patrick looked at his spirit guides again, "May I speak with him?"

Kâkwa answered this time, "When the time is right Patrick, you will speak with him.  But you must complete your journey first."

The young man thought for a moment, "I would like that, would you come with me when I meet him?"

Both of the spirit guides answered, "Of course we will be with you, Patrick."

"Do not ever forget little human, he loved you and your mother," stated Kâkwa.

Misiminôs sat up on his haunches, and looked at Patrick, "We also need to discuss your destiny."

"My destiny?"

"Your destiny, Patrick" replied the cat.  "We know of your long-time dilemma of deciding who you are.  You are the way you are made… perfect in every way.  It is the same questions your father wrestled with in his life."

The young man looked down at the ground and used his finger to make shapes in the dust.

The porcupine tilted his head sideways and spoke, "Patrick, we are you and you are us.  We know what you are thinking, and what you don't believe and deny.  To us, it is like saying you have no leg.  You are Patrick, our little human no matter what you are."

Patrick looked at the two animals for a couple of long moments before speaking to them.  "I appreciate your words, both of you.  But, I must know for sure what I am."

"Little human, no matter what you are… you were made by the Creator.  We believe in you to accept the truth," said the porcupine.  "The truth will heal the injured heart you hide so well."

"But I can't be," Patrick blurted out.  "They are different, not right, even in psychology class they talked about it as being a choice, learned, or even in the past called a mental illness."

Max reached up and put a huge paw on Patrick's shoulder.  "Patrick, you are our human and we are devoted to you.  Your friends love you, and you love them too.  The Creator made you, just love whoever you are drawn to… the gender doesn't matter.  Love is the gift, and that gift is sacred."

Patrick started to cry, "But my mother will be so disappointed in me…"

Max rubbed his head against Patrick's head, "You need to open your heart and feel the emotions that you are running from."

"But I can't, Max.  The one I feel an attachment to… it's not right, it can't be.  If I try to date more girls, it will happen."

"Patrick, look into your heart and understand it is not a choice or something you learn.  It is the way you were made and it is nothing to be ashamed of," said Max. "Have respect and pride in yourself.  You are the way you were created."

"But if I love someone like that, they will run away and leave me… like my father did."

Kâkwa's eyes glowed brilliant white for a moment, and when they returned to normal Jared was seated across the fire from Patrick.

The young man jumped.  "Shit, I'm sorry, Jared – you startled me."

"It is I who is sorry. I should have been less abrupt in joining you at the fire.  Kâkwa and Misiminôs both summoned me, Patrick.  They are concerned about you, little brother."

Patrick settled down and smiled at Jared.  "I know, they have been trying to help me, but I'm so confused."

"I know you are little brother, and the confusion is not what our concern is about.  It's the growing frustration and self-directed anger building within you."

"I wish someone would just tell me if I am gay, bi or straight," the young man said as tears began to escape his eyes.

"It's not something someone can tell you, little brother.  You are what you are.  You need to understand that you have been accepted into our family as a brother… and you have our protection on top of Kâkwa and Misiminôs.  We love our little brother, and we will always love our little brother no matter what he finally figures out as his sexuality.  We will love you as gay, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual or as a transgender, queer or two-spirit.  We are your brothers and we stand with you as a family.  We have you surrounded with love, and any one of us would make the ultimate sacrifice to protect you.  You are not alone in your life, and we will never abandon you.  We love you little brother… no matter what you are."

"You have to tell me what I am, Jared," yelled Patrick.  "I can't do it myself, you are one of the most powerful medicine men… tell me, please tell me."

Jared stood and motioned for Patrick to join him.  The young man moved quickly into Jared's arms, almost knocking him backward.  As soon as Patrick was in Jared's arms, he began to cry as he held his older brother tightly.  In return, Jared held the young man just as tight.  Kâkwa and Misiminôs were on each side of the two men, standing guard while they embraced.

A few moments later, Patrick regained his composure but remained holding onto Jared.  "You told me you can't lie and would never lie to me."

"That is true.  I will never lie to you as would none of your brothers.  Neither Kâkwa or Misiminôs are able to lie to you either, little brother."

Patrick moved back, his hands grasping Jared's biceps tightly as he looked into Jared's eyes.  "Would you swear to me something?"

"If I can do it, I will swear it, Patrick."

"I have no right to ask you…"

Jared's eyes turned brilliant white, and he gently kneeled down in front of the young man.  As he spoke, the ground shook with vibration.  "Patrick, I swear as the Sacred Medicine Man of the People, as Grandson of Running Elk, the Most Sacred Medicine Man of the People, and I swear as the living spirit of the bear.  I swear to you that you will never be alone, regardless of what you are.  I swear we will love you as a brother regardless.  I swear you will always be welcome in our homes or to be with us as our little brother.  I also swear that we will never abandon you."  Jared then released Patrick and took out his hunting knife.  He sliced his palm and allowed the blood to fall onto the ground and pool.

Jared looked skyward and said, "Patrick, I swear on my blood that I will do as I say or I will accept whatever judgment the Creator passes on me for my failure… including death."  Jared looked down and placed his uncut hand over the liquid blood.  When he removed his hand, the blood had been turned into a piece of beautiful red Jasper stone.  He picked it up and offered it to Patrick on the palm of his hand.

"Patrick, this rock is my bond to you.  It is my blood combined with mother earth and grandfather rock.  It gives you my power against things which may cloud your judgment and protects you from something which is not good for you.  It eases your emotional stress so you may make the best decision possible.  It also gives you the power to speak out and assert your personal independence.  The Jasper rock also removes your fear of the night, and it balances your body energy.  Finally, it provides balance in your emotional energy so you may think, and not react without clear thought." 

Patrick reached out with a shaking hand and took it and quickly put it into his medicine pouch.  The rock began to glow through the leather of the pouch and soon spread throughout Patrick's body until he was entirely red.  After one pulse of intense red light, the glow was absorbed into Patrick's heart.  The young man stumbled, and Jared caught him.  A moment later, Patrick stood up straight.

"I now understand what you have been saying Jared, and I thank you for the gift."  He lowered his head and continued, "You have honored me with more than I was owed or even deserved.  I thank you, and already feel the strength of your gift."

"Patrick, you do not need to tell us anything until you are ready.  This spirit quest was to help you gain direction in your search so you could move forward on your path of life, regardless of the direction, but always with our love.

"I thank you for that Jared, and I already feel relieved knowing what you said is true."

"One step at a time little brother.  You have taken the first step in understanding who you are."

The young man embraced his older brother tightly.  Jared's eye's flashed as he said, "Sleep."  He caught the young man and gently carried him to his sleeping bag.  When Patrick was lying flat, Jared placed his hand over the young man's medicine pouch.  "Sacred gemstone, guide this young man to that which he needs."

Jared stood and turned to Kâkwa and Misiminôs, "Please protect our little brother tonight.  He is going to be needed soon as one of the chosen after he has resolved his two-spirit."

The porcupine and lynx both assumed guarding positions nearby, protecting their human as Jared disappeared.

End of Chapter Thirty-Two

Comments Appreciated at Snowblind

 

Short stories I have written:

The Break In

The Wilderness Canoe Guide

The Extraction

The Veterans