|Written by:||Lisa Godin (bio, contact, other stories)|
|Story type:||Serial Fiction|
|Location:||Cleveland Ohio USA|
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|Written by:||Lisa Godin (bio, contact, other stories)|
|Story type:||Serial Fiction|
|Location:||Cleveland Ohio USA|
Supreme Tahna Ohnaà, mighty Amazoni, Shesh by birth, a warrior whose name cast fear into the once fearless, a warrior who now led the most ferocious fighters, sat helpless beside her mate, Ojah, lying unconscious in the medicine lodge, struck down by a devastating fever. Gently she smoothed aside a flaxen wisp of hair plastered against Ojah's damp brow. Drawing higher the blanket over him, a long ebony lock of hair brushed delicately across Ojah's heaving chest, which shuddered beneath a renewed onslaught of chills.
"Ojah grows worse, Medicine Woman."
The shaman sprinkled fragrant herbs into the fire that flared yellow smoke purifying the stuffy air.
"Indeed. This sickness that claims the lives of your parents and so many others is beyond Amazoni medicine.
"No, your medicine is strong. I have seen it cure worse."
"I cannot cure Outsider sickness," Medicine Woman insisted.
Ohnaà rested a huge mahogany-skinned hand upon Ojah's chest.
"I am to blame. Ojah begged me to take him to visit the Trader Lodge. Unable to deny him, I allowed it. Because of that mistake my people are dying."
"You did not know Traders carry the sickness or that Ojah would spread it."
"I have been to the Trader Lodge many times. Why am I not ill?"
"Because you are very strong."
Ohnaà blinked back the tears of anger and guilt eating away at her. Strong? She was faced by an enemy bug she couldn't even see, and she never felt weaker.
"You must not blame yourself. Ojah needs you."
"I watch him die and can do nothing! I am a warrior, not a healer."
"You can heal. You must go soon to the Trader Lodge of our friend, Jo-teff, for medicine."
Ohnaà glared at Medicine Woman.
"I am no beggar!"
"Ojah will die."
"You will not let him die."
Sprinkling more herbs into the fire, Medicine Woman fanned the smoke over her patient with an eagle wing.
"Pride will not save your people; Trader medicine will. Your friend, Jo-teff, will help you any way he can. Asking help from a friend is not begging."
"It is your choice. Stay and condemn your people to death, or ask a friend's help and save them."
The warrior angrily stormed out.
Sitting before her fire deep in thought, Ohnaà puffed on her pipe. Medicine Woman's wisdom was right as usual. Joseph was her only chance to save Amazoni and Ojah, but she resented having to appear weak and dependent upon Outsiders. Torn, she continued to mull over the dilemma as she stared into the fire through a pungent cloud of pipe smoke.
"I would join you?" a voice inquired.
Ohnaà looked up, brightening at the sight of war chief
Et-esh at her tepee door. It seemed only yesterday, not fifteen seasons ago, that Et-esh was a worshipful five-season-old. Now she was a warrior of distinction, standing tall and proud. Powerfully built, her piercing blue eyes steady, she had an air of confidence and strength. Her long flaxen hair adorned with a thread of tiny black beads cascaded thickly over broad shoulders. From a spirited child to a trusted equal--Ohnaà was pleased.
The war chief took her place at the fire opposite Ohnaà, accepting the pipe, neither speaking until the tobacco was ash and the pipe set aside.
"How is Ojah?"
"No better. Medicine Woman says it is the Trader sickness."
"If she cannot cure him, Ojah will die."
"He will not die. I will not allow it!"
"Even you cannot stop the power of nature."
Ohnaà angrily stoked the fire with a stick, sending up an explosive burst of sparks. "There is a way," she growled. "Medicine Woman insists that I go to Jo-teff at his Trader Lodge to ask him for a cure. To beg!" She jammed her stick into the fire, provoking more sparks.
"You will not go?"
"I will not beg!"
"How long have you known Jo-teff?"
"Since I was ten seasons."
"Has he not stood by you and Amazoni? Is he not a man to be counted on?"
"Then I see no problem asking help from such a man."
Ohnaà's anger gradually cooled.
"It is decided then. I and six warriors will join your quest for medicine. Jo-teff will enjoy hearing you speak his tongue."
"A strange, harsh language you master better."
"Not much better."
"You speak enough."
"Your presence will speak louder."
"When the sun rises we ride."
At dawn in the medicine lodge, armed with bow and quiver, Ohnaà sat close beside her mate, half-listening to Medicine Woman's chant and the snapping of her rattle.
Suddenly, Ojah opened his eyes for the first time since his illness struck. Ohnaà gently grasped his hand, ignoring its clamminess.
"I am here, Ojah."
"You must not stay so close or you will fall ill."
"You know no sickness will keep me from you."
Ojah smiled weakly, touched by Ohnaà's steadfast loyalty and unconditional love. As he listened to Medicine Woman's soothing chant, his breathing became slightly more labored.
"Soon you will be strong again, Ojah. I grow tired of cooking for myself."
"You keep our lodge cluttered and dirty too, I suppose."
"That is what you get for joining with a warrior who prefers hunting and battle over cooking and keeping a lodge. Man's work is not my way."
"You should not tire Ojah with talk," Medicine Woman advised.
Et-esh entered the medicine lodge. "We should go," she gently reminded as she adjusted her bow over a shoulder.
"Tend Ojah well, Medicine Woman."
The elderly shaman nodded.
"Do not leave me, my warrior," Ojah pleaded weakly.
"Trader Jo-teff has medicine to make you well. I will not be gone long."
Ojah closed his eyes.
Ohnaà left with Et-esh. She nodded satisfaction at her friend's choice of six warriors. Vaulting onto Appaloosa Ohnaà signaled the party out.
She pushed them for hours, calling a halt on the grasslands only when her mount's superior stamina began to falter. She slid off the foaming animal, patting him on the neck for running so long, given his age.
"Time runs out," Et-esh protested impatiently.
"Horses dead of exhaustion are useless."
Smarting under the rebuke, the frowning Et-esh dismounted.
"Nyah, Beechuk, scout far ahead. Ride easy to cool your horses," Ohnaà instructed.
The scouts headed out at a trot.
"Hungry for fresh meat, young one?"
Et-esh scanned the seemingly desolate grassland. She sniffed for boar scent but detected nothing.
"Hunt what, grass?"
Following Ohnaà's point, Et-esh noted the slight quivering of tall grassland and frowned, knowing instantly the movement's source. "Snake," she grumbled.
"Perhaps a fat one."
"I hate snake." She delved into her ration pouch for a small strip of jerked boar meat, holding it up. "This is food!" she exclaimed, and with strong teeth she ripped into the tough meat.
Ohnaà tensed, seeing the scouts. "Nyah and Beechuck found someone."
The scouts drew closer at an easy canter, nothing in their demeanor indicating anything amiss.
"How do you know?"
Et-esh sighed, wondering if she'd ever develop Ohnaà's shrewd perception.
"Two Traders," Beechuk reported, "on foot. They appear lost."
"Did they see you?" Ohnaà demanded.
"No," Nyah replied, "they were too busy yelling at each other."
"One was short," Beechuk said, "with a big knife I have never before seen on a Trader. The other was tall with no hair. He did most of the yelling, although we understood none of his words."
Et-esh noted the subtle veil of recognition harden Ohnaà's dark eyes.
"You know these men."
"Long ago they cheated and insulted me. Come!"
The scouts looked questioningly at Et-esh.
"For once I do not know her plans."
The bald Trader Doo and his companion were indeed lost. Coated with dust and grime, exhausted and stinking of sweat, they sat, breathing hard and discouraged.
"Damn it! I told you we should've taken the canyon route, not the river. We're hopelessly lost thanks to you," Doo snarled.
"My fault! You said you knew the way to that new town of yours. Just over the next hill you said. This way is shorter you said. I'm following you, remember?"
"They must've moved the damn town."
"So you blame me?"
"Of course! Everything's your--wait--do you hear that?"
"Now, you're hearing things."
"Quit flapping your jaws and listen!"
The Amazoni party materialized at a hard gallop. Scrambling to his feet, Trader Doo yanked his partner up by the arm. His blood ran cold recognizing the Shesh-Amazoni in the lead, her mahogany skin and long sable mane standing out among her six white-skinned, tow-headed companions like a menacing demon from Hell.
"Son-of-a horse's ass, it's her!"
"You said she was dead."
"I was told wrong."
The party thundered closer.
"W-what'll we do?"
"Nothing, you idiot, absolutely nothing."
The Amazoni surrounded their captives like a pack of hungry wolves. Ohnaà nudged her horse into the ring to inspect her prey. Curtly she signaled the ring to tighten.
"You ever learn Amazoni after all these years, Doo?"
"It's not the best."
Ohnaà menacingly advanced closer.
"By the looks of her, b-better try to best it."
Trader Doo cleared his throat. "Dahò, Ohnaà. Hoashkà may...uh...doedeh doho coe yahtoo."
The warrior scowled.
"You say something wrong?"
"Don't think so."
"Well, she don't look too pleased."
Ohnaà dismounted. Shoving aside the smaller Trader, she slowly circled Trader Doo, carefully inspecting his every grimy detail, impressed that he met her gaze unflinchingly. She moved to the smaller man trembling with fear and avoiding her stare. Seizing his hair, she yanked his head up forcing him to look at her.
"D-don't hurt me, please," he whimpered. "D-don't hurt me."
Strengthened by his fear, Ohnaà roughly released his hair. She squeezed his thin left arm, smiling slightly when he winced in pain under her steely grip. She flexed her right arm, arrogantly baring its hardened girth of superior strength. "Naygoatseh," she grunted the comment drawing a chuckle from the warriors. She moved back to Trader Doo.
"No Hair speak good Amazoni. Ohnaà speak good Trader, yes?"
"For a trained barbarian," Doo replied with bitter sarcasm. "No doubt you can be trained to do a lot of tricks."
The warrior forced herself to remain civil in spite of her seething rage against such blatant disrespect.
"Jo-teff teach Ohnaà good. Et-esh," she called sharply, "gohjahgohnà."
Et-esh advanced slightly.
"She speak good Trader."
"Heard you were dead."
"Take very great warrior to kill Ohnaà. No Hair glad to see Ohnaà after many seasons, yes?"
"I'd prefer your Shesh-Amazoni ass rotting in Hell."
"We see this day who go to this Hell," she snarled. Facing the small Trader, she seized him by the collar. "Cojay sohdahjo dàhko," she growled, "hoashkà doe doashka dahshoke. Dayesh, hoashkà zayeet dok."
"She says," Et-esh interpreted, "many seasons ago, she win your knife. Today she claim it."
Ohnaà ripped the sheathed blade off the Trader, snapping his belt loose and sending his pants drooping to his ankles to the laughter of the warriors. Her light shove sent him sprawling to his back. Feeling playful, she flipped him to his belly, restraining him with a knee to the spine. With his own knife she sliced the Trader's underwear off and slapped his bony rump.
Pointing, Et-esh laughed loudest of the warriors, punctuating her glee with a shrill shout.
Sheathing the blade she coveted so long, Ohnaà jammed it triumphantly into her skin bikini's belt and held up a silencing hand.
"Beast!" the humiliated Trader shouted, struggling to his feet. "Stinking no good beast!"
Ohnaà toppled him with a fist to the jaw, kicking him to his back. "Kootseh!" she yelled and slammed a moccasined foot with all her might upon his chest, killing him instantly.
Trader Doo stood paralyzed with horror, watching her scalp his friend and cram the bloody trophy into the corpse's mouth in her contempt.
Teeth bared, she glared at Doo. Her knife sailed, burying itself to the hilt in his throat. Sinking slowly to his knees, he desperately clawed at his throat, choking up blood. "Kootseh," she hissed, and grasping the knife, shoved, her tremendous strength forcing the blade with a sickening crackle through the back of Doo's neck. She slammed him to the ground.
Under the supportive piercing cries of the warriors, she retrieved her weapon and cleaned it upon her enemy's slick skull, delivering a final kick to the ribs. Vaulting upon Appaloosa, the journey was resumed.
The Amazoni swiftly covered miles of grassland, cropped prairie, and canyon alley. They sloshed through frigid brooks and a swift moving river. A halt was finally called at a babbling brook. Ohnaà, with Et-esh beside her, tracked the bank where she knew it was deep enough to swim.
"It will be night soon, Ohnaà. I told the others to make camp."
The warrior nodded.
Arriving at their destination, they stripped off their bows and quivers, and waded into the brook's deep mouth.
Et-esh laughed at Ohnaà floating on her back spewing a high stream of chilled water from her mouth. Et-esh disappeared underwater and playfully tugged her friend under.
Like exuberant otters they twisted and chased each other in a liquid ballet and rode each other's backs. With powerful strokes they slithered over slimy rocks, rotting vegetation and tree roots.
Refreshed, they emerged onto the bank, wringing cascades of water from their long, thick hair, dousing the black dirt into mud. Shouldering their weapons, they walked several yards to lean against a mammoth wall of sandstone.
"I wonder why Jo-teff no longer trades with us except at his Trader Lodge, Et-esh mused.
"He is too busy to leave." Ohnaà grinned. "I remember the first time you went. We had that strange bird meat and you became sick. Jo-teff gave you much burning water to settle your stomach."
Et-esh patted her hard belly.
"It helped greatly."
"It helped greatly your becoming drunk and short-tempered. Jo-teff's lodge looked as though a great wind swept through."
"My head ached for days."
"You learned the hard way to avoid burning water."
Ohnaà slid long brown fingers through her drying onyx hair to smooth it.
"What happened when you first went?" Et-esh asked.
Ohnaà shrugged massive shoulders.
"Where you go, 'nothing' never follows."
Folding brawny arms across her chest, Ohnaà shifted her weight against the smooth sandstone wall. Studying the littered ground she spied a red striped, silver, six-eyed slug oozing over slivers of black wood and brown shriveled leaves, leaving a glistening trail of slime.
"I fought a Trader."
"Were you drunk?"
"I do not care for burning water."
"What happened?" Et-esh pressed.
"I went to trade furs for a metal cooking pot and blanket for Ojah. A Trader, wanting to make a name for himself pushed me and angrily tugged my scalpcord. He boasted there was no Amazoni he could not take."
"Was he drunk to claim such a thing?"
"Foolish. He pushed me again. Obeying Jo-teff's rule of no killing in his Trader Lodge this Trader no longer walks free of pain and his bow arm hangs useless." Ohnaà gazed into the darkening sky's twin rising moons. "Let us return to the others."
The Amazoni resumed their trek at daybreak, traveling at breakneck speed across miles of dry cropped prairie. Ahead circled a flock of screeching black goraks, the object of their attention a body lying on its back. They raced toward it, scattering a gang of goraks that had begun to peck at the body. Ohnaà recognized it as an Ossit, his gray skin mottled with maggot infested sores. Noting the long multi-shelled earrings all Ossit wore, she would have paid no further attention had she not noticed the brave's scalplock dressed with red trade beads and a ragged white feather.
Et-esh saw no sign of human violence on the body or tracks.
"I know this man, Et-esh. He is Dweegut the wandering storyteller I met long ago, a strange brave with a good heart and joyful spirit."
Et-esh kept a wary eye on the circling screeching birds.
"We should bury him to prevent the goraks from further desecrating the body."
"No. Dweegut has already joined his spirits, leaving but a shell that feels nothing. We must leave him."
The party pressed on and by dusk arrived at the Trader Lodge crowded with eating and drinking hunters, traders, and trappers, their buzz of conversation abruptly ceasing at the sight of the armed Amazoni.
Et-esh and Ohnaà stepped to the counter; the six others settled at a hastily abandoned table. The portly counterman unknown to the warriors greeted them with a nod and set out a bottle of spirits. Et-esh spat her dislike.
"Didn't realize you could be so particular." He looked Ohnaà up and down, impressed with what he saw. "What a burly one you are. You look able to handle two bottles of spirits."
Ohnaà shook her head.
Counterman produced a loaf of black bread studded with white seeds. Et-esh reached for it only to have the Outsider rest a beefy hand upon hers.
"Not so fast, barbarian. No gold or fur, no bread."
"You new, yes?" Ohnaà asked in Trader.
"What of it?"
"Amazoni no trade for food," Et-esh declared. "Always eat free."
"We take," Ohnaà grunted.
"You take nothing. While I'm here you pay like everyone else. Now what do you say to that?"
Ohnaà grabbed Counterman by his filthy collar, yanking him close. "We take," she repeated. "Ohnaà say also not to touch Et-esh or make great pain for you."
"Best heed her," a customer called, "because the last time a man stepped on her last nerve, he got himself crippled good."
Counterman lifted his hand off Et-esh, who took the bread to the others. Greedily they tore into the loaf, savoring its unusual sweetness.
Gently releasing the man, Ohnaà smoothed his ruffled collar.
"Friend now, yes?"
Resentful being bested by a woman, Counterman glared at her.
A tipsy midget with a curly mop of white hair and a half-bottle of liquor wobbled up beside the warrior, tugging her scalpcord to be noticed.
"When you tire of him, I'll take good care of you."
Grinning, the Shesh-Amazoni picked up the midget and held him at arm's length. "Little White Hair never give up he get Ohnaà, yes?"
"Never! Under all that muscle lies a soft woman who's got me under her spell, and I'm going to get her."
The warrior gently set the midget down. "Day Little White Hair not stink of burning water, day he get Ohnaà for night he never forget."
White Hair hefted his bottle in salute. "I'll drink to that!" he slurred and tottered back to his laughing friends.
"Ohnaà," a rotund trapper called, "I'm not drunk. How about giving me a night to remember!"
"You old slug. Ohnaà too strong for you."
"An arm wrestling match'll say different. When I win, you're mine for a night, and we'll see who outlasts who, unless you're scared of old Big Boar."
Not one to pass up a friendly display of strength to prove her superiority, the Shesh-Amazoni, smiling amiably, joined the trapper's table. Sitting, she made a show of positioning herself for friendly combat, her dark eyes glittering.
Big Boar assumed his position. "I'll go easy on you, warrior--you being a woman and all."
For several minutes nothing happened as Big Boar strained to grapple Ohnaà's bulging arm down. She chuckled at his efforts.
"C'mon, Big Boar, try harder," a trapper heckled. "Look at her laughing at you. She's not even breathing hard. Wipe the table with her, not let her toy with you."
Tightening his grip, Big Boar strained harder, to no avail.
Ohnaà flexed her arm slightly, smacking the trapper's arm to the table with a rattling thud, as the watchers groaned. Standing, she good-naturedly slapped Big Boar's fleshy shoulder.
"Old slug, now you need drink."
Shaking their heads in awe, the trappers watched the Shesh-Amazoni stride to Counterman.
"Ohnaà look for Jo-teff. You call, yes?"
"He's not here, barbarian."
All humor evaporated.
"You call Jo-teff."
"I said he's not here, now get out!"
The room fell silent at Counterman's outburst the Outsiders fearing for him against Ohnaà's explosive temper. Uninterested in a fight, Ohnaà turned to her eating warriors. "Baychahlà dot," she ordered, motioning to the open backroom door behind the counter. "Doenah Jo-teff hoashkà may hesh."
The warriors stormed the back room to search its corridor's branches of smaller rooms.
"Y-you can't do that! You have no right!"
"It done," Ohnaà retorted.
A warrior poked her head out of the bar's backroom door.
"Jo-teff coyo coe yahtoo."
Trader Joseph was joking with Et-esh seated upon the floor with her companions when Ohnaà appeared. Happily he clasped wrists with her in formal Amazoni greeting, then hugged her hard, slapping her on the back and rattling her quiver's arrows. "So wonderful to see you!" he exclaimed in Trader. "I don't get to often enough with me on the run getting supplies for this place. You haven't changed a bit these last fifteen years. Still young and strong."
"Jo-teff change again," she replied in his tongue "Lose belly, now hair face. Soon Ohnaà not know you."
"I'll never change that much! Et-esh tells me White Hair still has the drools for you."
"He never give up. Still stink of burning water. Never get Ohnaà that way."
"White Hair is quite fond of you," Joseph said in Amazoni. "I am glad you can play along with the lovesick little drunk."
Ohnaà perched cross-legged on a small table. "He is not the only one who wants me. Big Boar tried to win me in arm wrestling. I am stronger."
"And the show off in you never tires of proving it."
Indifferent to the trapper's bruised ego, Ohnaà shrugged massive shoulders.
"Et-esh mentioned my man challenging you two. I am afraid he is one who sits on his brains more than uses them."
"Next time I will teach him a lesson."
"There will be no next time. I will get rid of him."
"No!" Et-esh exclaimed, leaping to her feet. "My bow will speak to him for daring to lay hands upon a war chief."
"My problem. I will deal with it my own way."
Et-esh looked to Ohnaà, who inclined her head slightly in deference to the Trader's promise. "As you wish, Jo-teff," the young warrior relented, regaining her seat on the floor.
"I will get us some hot boar stew and you, Ohnaà, can tell me why you are really here so late."
Ohnaà succinctly related to Trader Joseph her mission of getting medicine to cure her mate, Ojah, dying of Trader sickness that shaman Medicine Woman said he had.
"I am sorry to say she was wrong about me. I have no such cure."
Ohnaà jumped off her table seat, her black eyes blazing. "I return to my people then. When Ojah dies your people will suffer my grief! You, too, will suffer!" she vowed.
Fists clenched, Joseph stalked up to the outraged warrior. "Who do you think you are threatening me?" he scolded. "I do not have medicine but know one who does, and I cannot promise he will freely give it without persuasion. You want the medicine, you better settle that Shesh-Amazoni temper of yours because I am not the enemy--the sickness is."
An angry warrior defensively pushed Joseph away. "You will speak with respect to Ohnaà," she snapped grasping the hilt of her knife.
"Stay your hand, Cho-hot. Jo-teff is right to speak against me for treating a friend as the enemy when it is sickness I fight. I will follow his lead."
The doctor's squat cabin lay on a well-traveled route a scant quarter-mile from the Trader Lodge, its rooms dark except for the bedroom bathed in soft golden candle light. The door locked, their need for silence paramount, the Amazoni warriors and Trader Joseph slipped through an unlocked window and padded to the doctor's room.
Et-esh approached the snoring physician. Unshouldering her bow she jabbed him in the ribs, awakening him with a start. Joseph, leaning against the door frame winced.
"Bet that stung!"
Doctor sprang to a sitting position. He rubbed his eyes hard, trying to rid himself of the terrifying grim-faced Amazoni vision surrounding him. He rubbed his eyes again.
"No, Doc, you're not dreaming."
"What is the meaning of this, Joseph!"
"Just a friendly call. You did say your door was always open."
"At a more decent hour." Doctor glared at the warriors. "What are these barbarians doing in my house?" he demanded.
Flinging off his covers, Ohnaà yanked Doctor out of bed.
"Amazoni die of Trader sickness. You help with medicine."
Spotting a black leather bag resting on a nightstand by the bed, Et-esh grabbed it, dumping it's contents on the bed.
Ohnaà pointed at the jumbled packets of white and black powder, slim glass tubes of colorful pills, flattened wooden sticks, and vials of clear and yellow liquid--their uses meaningless. "You use medicine bag. You help Amazoni," she commanded.
"Can't or won't, Doc?
"Do you realize how many of us are dying, Joseph? Medication is in short supply, yet these heathens expect me to have enough for them?"
Joseph interpreted the comment.
"Et-esh, Cho-hot, dejò nee," Ohnaà barked.
Doctor was roughly secured.
Ohnaà drew her knife and ran it lightly along Doctor's stubbly left cheek, then pressed its point under his chin, propping his head up slightly, annoyed that everything had to be a fight.
"You help Amazoni or die."
The Trader made no move to interfere. Realizing he was on his own against the determined warrior, Doctor nodded consent of his cooperation. Et-esh and Cho-hot released him.
Sheathing her blade, Ohnaà motioned Joseph beside her.
Hands quaking, Doctor surrendered his packets of black powder to Ohnaà, who planted them carefully in her empty ration pouch.
"Tell your barbarian to dissolve those packets in boiling water. Cool, then administer an exact cupful once a day to each adult. They'll experience some cramping, but that's nothing of concern. Children get half a cup, babies a spoonful until the fever breaks.
"Broth must be given for a week after the fever breaks and plenty of water, forced if necessary, to flush out the system.
"These instructions must be followed to the letter. No shortcuts or omissions, or the medicine will be useless."
Ohnaà listened intently to Joseph's translation.
"Does she understand my instructions?"
"Hoashkà nahcoatà. Dotska Neeha chaylo shahote doashka soakahs."
"She understands. Medicine Woman will obey your words, she says."
"Charming. Now get out of here and take your rabble with you!"
Ohnaà extended a muscled arm.
Doctor stared blankly at the austere warrior.
Ohnaà grabbed his arm, clasping his wrist in an iron grip.
"Don't pull away, Doc. It's a warrior's gesture of greeting and thanks. Strangers she respects are honored this way."
"She was going to kill me!"
"Hardly. She didn't come all this way to kill the only one who could help. She lost her parents to sickness, and you've just saved her mate and her people."
Doctor's manner softened.
"Take care, barbarian."
Ohnaà answered with a nod. She turned to Joseph, exchanging wrist clasps, awarding him a nod of gratitude before leaving with her warriors.
"It seems I seriously misjudged her, Joseph."
"By our standards, Ohnaà may very well be a barbarian. She can't read or write, she sleeps in a tepee, and is expert at making war. Like us, she shares the love of family and friends, and as their leader, places their protection and safety above her own needs.
"If we ever bother to take time to understand the Amazoni, we'll understand our so-called civilized selves a hell of a lot better."
"That's a lesson I certainly won't forget."
Nestled in her strong protective arms, Ohnaà carried Ojah to her tepee. Tenderly she rested him atop the high bed of soft furs. Holding his head, she administered the liquid medicine from a small wooden bowl left by the shaman. Covering Ojah with the bed's fur blanket, Ohnaà kissed him on the forehead.
Smiling, Ojah closed his eyes.