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Amazoni #27 Rendezvous

Story ID:6973
Written by:Lisa Godin (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Serial Fiction
Location:Cleveland Ohio USA
Year:2011
Person:me
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Amazoni #27 Rendezvous

1999
Lisa Godin

Chapter 1
Spring at long last embraced the proud Amazoni with temperate arms, transmuting their land from a glacial wasteland into an explosion of life.
Blossoms dazzled the grasslands and prairies with vibrant tint, spreading eager petals to attract scouting stinger bees and butterflies fresh from the cocoon.
Newborn fawns upon wobbly legs suckled their mothers.
Drowsy, six-pawed, long-haired, gray bears lumbered from their dens, their single yellow eyes blinking in the unaccustomed sun.
Packs of Amazoni hunters felled stout boar and bush deer for the sunset dance honoring the seasons' change.
Amazoni men and warriors foraged in the woods, returning with armloads of wood for the pounds of roasting meat brought down by the hunters.
Medicine Woman blessed the dance ground with prayer and a sprinkling of sweet water.
Unruly dogs were tied behind their masters' tepees.
As the sun set, Ohna, refreshed from her bath, prepared for the dance. Seated upon her high fur bed she delved into her wolf skin bag, drawing forth a burnished, silver Trader comb. With firm strokes she combed her waist-length hair until it shimmered like an oiled raven's wing. She ornamented her glistening raven side locks with a beaded tri-strand tipped with inch-long gold metal rods.
Around her throat was fastened the choker of glossy black gorak bird beaks.
Above her colossal right bicep Ohna roped a beaded thong with three eagle feather dangles.
Drawing her trade mirror, she checked her hair ornaments adjusting them slightly. With a grin she shook her head gently to jangle the metal golden rods.
Aroused by the furious drumming and energetic singing, Ohna stepped into the Amazoni twilight and walked briskly toward the active dance ground.
Chapter 2
Bathed in torchlight, Ohna gleefully assumed her position within the ranks of the warriors shuffling around the fire arm in arm, bobbing and weaving. With a suppleness belying her advanced seasons, she glided gracefully, her hair ornaments chiming at each grand step to the drummers' slight increase in tempo.
The singing and clapping stirred Ohna. Laughing, she slammed her feet and bobbed with extra enthusiasm. As with battle, she loved to prance. Exploding with joy she whooped, prompting her friends to pepper the air with shouts.
Ojah, swaying next to the drummers, was clothed in his best tan fringe dress collared with white fur. He clapped madly, his heavy gold and silver bracelets clanking. His singing grew louder as he observed Ohna stamp, moved by her catlike grace packed within her huge strong frame.
Each time Ohna passed Ojah she winked and flashed a gargantuan smile.
Ojah was touched that, although engaged, Ohna still paid him heed.
The wild drumming gradually ceased, overwhelmed by the crunching of wood rattles.
Ohna and her dance companions assumed their places among the seated.
Two warriors, rattles in hand, entered the dance circle.
Depicting Winter, the warrior's skin was plastered with white clay. Atop her head rested a white feathered cap supporting a long tail of white feathers. Her sleeveless shirt, as well as her knee-high moccasins and deerskin trousers sported layers of white feathers.
Portraying Spring, that warrior was clad in gaudy feathers, her cap trailed with green leaves.
Shaking their rattles, the two 'seasons' battled each other in dance and song. The stronger Spring warrior sang the loudest, forcing the weaker Winter warrior to cower and retreat into the audience, prompting applause.
For another season, Winter was driven away.
Striding to Ohna, the Spring warrior motioned her to rise. The silent request was instantly obeyed, for it was bad luck to provoke a Spring spirit representative who rarely tread with mortals.
Side by side, Ohna and the Spring dancer stamped and swayed, signaling the drummers to thunder.
Chapter 3
A month passed before Trader Joseph paid a visit. He reined up at the corral where he knew Et-esh would be and found her grooming a recently broken black mare.
"New horse, Et-esh?" Joseph bellowed in Trader.
Startled the war chief jumped slightly, frightening the skittish mare into trotting toward the other horses that congregated in a far corner of the corral.
Trader Joseph burst into hearty laughter at Et-esh's scowl.
"You enjoyed doing that, Jo-teff," she grumbled, tossing aside her grooming brush. She joined Joseph at the corral gate.
"Of course I did. A warrior with humor, I knew you'd appreciate my joke."
"When you find your horses suddenly missing, you will see my appreciation of your joke."
Trader Joseph chuckled.
"Ohna around?"
"She polishes her rifle."
"With no wars to use it in, I suppose."
Et-esh climbed over the corral fence.
"Not lately, and she hunts only with the bow."
"And you?"
"Bullets make meat taste like metal. Even I will eat no metal. But I keep in practice shooting with Ohna. I use my rifle well."
"I don't doubt that for a moment."
"All the warriors are expert shots. Ohna sees that we often practice your lessons."
Trader Joseph frowned.
"Amazoni have to take it easy on ammunition. It doesn't grow on trees."
Et-esh flashed a sly grin.
"Bullets grow on your people for the plucking."
"No stealing ammunition. That's what I'm to provide."
"I joke, Jo-teff."
"Sometimes I wonder."
Et-esh giggled.
"I have an interesting proposal for Ohna. It's something you'd like, I think. Care to join me?"
Et-esh nodded.
The war chief and Trader Joseph met Ohna in her tepee seated by the fire, lovingly rubbing a piece of cottony hide over her rifle's sleek barrel and gold inlaid stock.
"May we join you?" Joseph posed.
Ohna tenderly set aside her carbine.
"My fire is always here for you to share, my friend."
Et-esh and Trader sat opposite the Shesh-Amazoni.
"If I didn't know better, I'd say you love that rifle more than Ojah."
"It is good that you do know better, Jo-teff." She began to fill her pipe. "It has been many seasons since last your family visited. How is your daughter, Xo-nah?" she asked.
"She just celebrated her twelfth birthday."
Ohna lit the pipe and puffed it several times before passing it to Et-esh.
"And your woman, Kid-deh?"
"Kiddy's pregnant with our second."
After taking a deep puff, Et-esh passed the pipe to Joseph, who enjoyed several drags.
"Ah yah!" Ohna exclaimed. "This is very good news. When is this child to come into the world?"
"Soon."
"It will be another girl," Ohna declared. "How will you call this young one?"
Trader Joseph shrugged.
"All the more reason to bring your new one to us. Amazoni will choose a strong name," Et-esh said.
"What if it's a boy?"
"The spirits speak to Ohna," Et-esh reminded. "They tell her you would have a girl and it will be so."
An unbeliever, in no mood to argue, Ohna's visitor decided to come to the point of his visit.
Chapter 4
Trader Joseph cleared his dry throat.
"I'd like to invite Amazoni to what we call Rendezvous. Once a season, traders, trappers and hunters gather for food, riding, shooting and wrestling, and drunken horseplay, as well as a little trading.
"Et-esh would beat the moccasins off anyone with her riding, while you, Ohna, well, with your strength, you'd bring down the biggest man in wrestling."
"Ah yah! I and my warriors would gain greater respect winning your games. Where is this Run-duh-voo?"
"Follow Fox River upstream to the meadow. It starts in two days and lasts a month."
"I, Et-esh, and others will go to Run-duh-voo."
Trader Joseph stood.
"Excellent!"
"As you said, I will humiliate Traders who cannot ride like I can," Et-esh boasted.
"The point is to have fun."
Et-esh grinned. "It will be fun to humiliate your people who cannot ride," she corrected.
Trader Joseph sighed with slight annoyance over Et-esh's idea of enjoyment.
"Uh, I'd like to stay longer to debate that with you, Et-esh, but I have to get back to Kiddy."
"Tell her she is in my thoughts, Jo-teff," Ohna reminded, "and tell Xo-nah she must stay out of trouble."
"I certainly will."
Ohna hefted a huge hand in farewell.
Two days later, the carbine-armed party of Ohna, war chiefs Et-esh and Chooka, and eight warriors, trotted out of camp for Rendezvous following Fox River upstream to the meadow.
Slowing to a walk, the Amazoni entered the meadow crowded with traders, trappers, and hunters.
Horse bartering occupied one pocket of the meadow.
In another section, traders shuffled clumsily to the accompaniment of stringed instruments, their grating notes as alien to the Amazoni as the Outsider dances.
They passed a team of mismatched wrestling trappers.
Ahead sounded rifle fire from drunken hunters as they futilely attempted to blast bottles off a tree trunk perch.
Cocking her carbine with a sharp snap, a grinning Ohna met Et-esh's gaze.
"Let us show these Outsiders our strength with rifles."
Yapping like crazed wolves, the warriors thundered toward the Trader shooters.
Et-esh, clinging to the outside flank of her fleet buckskin, fired her carbine from beneath the galloping beast's arching neck, her rounds exploding two bottles.
Chooka, reins clenched in her teeth, blasted two bottles.
Ohna and the other warriors shattered the remaining bottles with well-aimed rounds.
Laughing, Ohna swung around, prancing Appaloosa before the amazed hunter shooters and witnesses. Hefting her carbine overhead, the sun sparkled off its gold inlaid stock. "Eyeeeah! Yeh, yeh, yeh, eyeeeah! I, Ohna, daughter of Codot, claim victory in your game!" she shouted.
Laughing, the warrior led her proud band in search of Trader Joseph, leaving her Outsider audience in awe.