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Chapter 23: Dragonfly's Lessons

by Sheila L. Chingwa 4 months ago in Fantasy
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Wind Witch by Sheila L. Chingwa

Chapter 23: Dragonfly's Lessons
Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

Sarah woke the next morning by a small tapping on her shoulder. At first, she just shifted and stirred under her blankets. A moment later she felt another tap that she could not ignore. She rolled over to see who was annoying her first thing in the morning. She opened her eyes to see Dragonfly looking at her. She pulled the blanket up and tucked it securely under chin.

"Wake, Wind Witch." Dragonfly said in his hiss like voice.

"The sun isn't up yet. I am so tried. Just a little longer please." Sarah said with a yawn.

"There is no time to spare. My yeti brothers tell me that the wendigo is determined to get back here. We must work hard to get you ready to defend yourself." The creature crawled up on her bed and sat across from her.

Sarah shifted her body and sat up and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. With a stretch and yawn, she began to clear her mind as she focused on the old grey creature. Vibration began to come from the quiver and Sarah and Dragonfly looked at it in a curious manner. Sarah pulled the quiver and arrows from under her covers and held it in her hands.

"It has never done that before." she said in curiosity.

Dragonfly's crooked smile could be seen in the dim light in the room. "It is time, for you to know the truth."

Sarah watched the creature unstrap his quiver and laid in front of her on the bed. Dragonfly rose to his feet and opened the curtains to expose the moon shining in her glory in the night sky. The cascading light spilled across the bed to land on Dragonfly's quiver. As her eyes adjusted, she could see many arrows tucked in the shaft of the quiver and one began to glow.

The light from the arrow pulsated as Dragonfly retrieved the arrow and held it in his hand he said, "Show me yours."

Sarah lifted the two arrows from her quiver and laid them in front of her in the moonlight. The three arrows laid on the bed cascading the light through the room. The pair watched the obsidian arrows' shafts shimmer and shift in a mist like fashion.

"I can't believe that three of them are known now." He sat back down just to admire the moment.

"You said the other day that there are ten?" said Sarah.

"Yes, there are ten. I serve one, you my dear, will one day be the mistress of all. I have made a vow to protect Peter, so I am bound to this one until that vow is fulfilled. For now, it will remain loyal to me until I release it." he said as he admired the ones lying on the bed in front of her.

"How is it that yours have come to you?" she said as her dark eyes focused on the creature.

"Well, I am an excellent archer. Just like many of us. However, I am able to take down a short nose bear. When I defeated it, I was given this one by my father." He smiled and puffed his chest out in pride.

"Short nose bears, those are extinct!" Sarah said with a shake of her head. "They only live in our stories."

"Ah child, I am from an ancient culture." he scratched the top of his head and Dragonfly looked as if he was calculating his age. "I was very young when men came. I have no idea how old I really am."

Sarah sat looking at the creature's old hands and all the wrinkles on his face. It was clear to her that he was indeed very old. As she scanned his body, she noticed that there wasn't any hair on his head or body. The only hair on him was from animals of all sorts. She remembered how much he struggled to stand and walk. He's older than the men's arrival? She couldn't wrap her thoughts about the creature in a comprehensible manner.

"It's time to tell you what I know." He picked up his arrow and held it lovingly in his boney hands. "Humans, were not always here. I am sure you know that your people came to this land after a great fall. The churches of human kind talk about the ten lost tribes that wandered to all corners of the world. Before the tribes split, the ancestors took back those arrows to protect them from ill use. You see, each tribe were gifted with their own magic. In turn, each arrow has its own magical strength. However, each arrow is true to their mark. They will never miss." he leveled his eyes on her. "One doesn't shoot them for game. They only are to be used at the time in which they are intended for. Never squander their magic. You do not want to anger the ancestors."

"How do you know what one to use at the time?" her forehead creased in confusion. "I mean, they all look alike."

"I am not certain." he said shaking his head. "There has only been one known by my people. We, my family, made a vow with Peter's ancestral line to always protect them. They were Medicine men or Shaman ancestors." He rose his eyes to fix on Sarah's eyes, "It is clear, we have a lot to learn about these magical objects. After all, you will be the mistress of all of them one day. You will need clarity in their use."

Sarah shifted under his gaze. "I am just a girl, and not even one who has come into woman hood. I am just a kid. What can I do?"

"It is normal to doubt yourself young one. Humility, is a good thing for you to practice. Have the knowing, that you, are the Wind Witch and let doubt go on the wind. Learn, listen, grow and practice what is being taught to you. This is time for you to come into your power. That mark on your arm, that is the kiss of the Wind. You can wield the magic of all winds. Northern wind, which you seem to favor, brings in the winter months. Western wind drives the weather. Southern wind is dry and hot. The eastern wind drives the oceanic weather mainly the great winds and storms. There is a purpose for each wind. Study what men have learned when they studied each wind type." he paced on the bed as he toyed with his thoughts.

The sun began to rise and the moon settled beneath the forest line. As the moon's light faded, so did the light of the arrows. The two arrow keepers sat and watched their light dissipate and the darkness of the room overtook them. Sarah could see Dragonfly return his arrow to his quiver and she followed his lead.

In the kitchen, Sarah could hear Mary and Verna begin their day. Dragonfly jumped off the bed and scurried to the door. He opened the door and slithered out to greet the ladies. Sarah smiled as she heard them scream with fright for they didn't know he was there. After a moment, Markus joined them and heard their startled laughter and laughed a hardy belly laugh. A moment later, as Sarah dressed she could hear the boys laughing as the story was retold. It was clear, the house was awake for the day.

Sarah dressed and wandered out of her room. She could smell breakfast cooking on the stove. Pancakes were on the griddle and scrambled eggs were cooking and Sarah's stomach begged to be fed. A hot cup of tea landed near her and the honey pot slid to stand next to her cup. A moment later, a plate of food sat in front of her. She dug in and listened to Markus and Dragonfly make plans for the day.

"It is time my big friend, she must learn to shoot." said the little creature.

"Her hands are going to freeze out in those winds." Markus's forehead was creased with thought. "I guess we can expand the work shed enough to put a range in there."

"The wendigo is on its way here. We have no time to waste." Said the old one.

At that moment, an grey owl landed on the ledge of the window. In its beak, it held a letter. Markus left his friend and walked over to the window. On the envelope was written, "Sarah Shingway".

"Shingway? Is that your last name?" Said Markus.

Sarah shrugged and nodded, "Yes, I guess, that is what they always wrote in the school ledger."

Dragonfly's eyes squinted. "Another medicine woman in our presence. Another ancient line that my kind protect." His eyes and focused on Sarah.

Markus handed the letter to Sarah and she looked around the room. Everyone in the room paid close attention to her. As she looked at the envelope, she could see that the writing was scribbled hurriedly. She opened the envelope and it contained a card decorated by flowers that said:

"My Dearest Eugene,

It is hard to believe that another year, 55 to be exact, has passed since Eugene John Unis was born. Happy Birthday, my son.

Your Loving Mother."

Sarah's held the card in her hand and looked around at the others. "Why would I get this?"

Dragonfly Jumped up on the table and pulled the card from her hand. Slowly a smile stretched over his sharp crooked teeth as he read the card. He stepped over full breakfast plates to get to Markus and handed the letter to his friend. He watched Markus read the card and waited for his reaction.

"Good Gravy Dragonfly!" Said Marcus in an exasperated tone.

Marcus handed the card to Mary who, in turn, passed the card to Verna. The women's eyes widened with acknowledgement.

"Sit down and eat, little Wind Witch. It is time for you to learn to shoot." Hissed Dragonfly.

******

After Markus finished his meal, he and Dragonfly exited the cabin. The ladies kept picking up the card and reading it. The boys dressed and head towards the old crone's house for their lesson for the day. Sarah put on her coat, grabbed her bow and bowstring as the quiver fastened itself to her. When she stepped out the door, she saw that the work shed grew long and narrow. Markus and Dragonfly stood admiring their work as she approached.

"I will leave you two to your lessons." said Marcus as he handed Sarah a handful wooden arrows with yellow shafts crowned with a series of black lines ringing the crest.

Dragonfly pulled at the shed door and slid through. Sarah tugged the door open and entered into work shed. A long chamber stood in front of her. She could see Dragonfly eyes settle on her.

"I have been told you have an unusual gift given by Ralph." he nodded towards the bow string in Sarah's hand.

"Two actually." Sarah lifted the bow string and she reached into her pocket and pulled out the emblem she wore while she was at the hovel.

Dragonfly began to pace. He feet moved quickly back and forth in front of her. He mumbled under his breath as he processed his thoughts. Every now and then, he threw his arms up into the air. He seemed to be talking to others but there was no one there. Sarah just stood there watching the old one carry on.

"I just do not understand. I mean, the wizards didn't erase your memories of the hovel." said the creature.

"No, the council agreed that I would need to aware when the sentries were needing to talk to me. I was to wear it so the wizards would know not to erase my memory and the sentries could communicate with me when they needed to." she scuffed her foot into the sandy soil.

"Then Ralph gave you his fur? He actually gave you his fur?" Dragonfly began to pace again.

Sarah held out the bow string, "Yes, and we wove it into a bow string with the old crone yesterday. She said that the string wouldn't be able to be cut nor will it ever fray. She also said the fur from Ralph was a pledge of protection."

It was very clear to Sarah that Dragonfly was exasperated with the news. He paced, held his head, talked out loud in a loud rant. Sarah slowly backed up to the door and began to lift the latch to make her escape. The squeak of the metal latch alerted Dragonfly of her escape.

"Oh come child, come back. I am no danger to you. Why didn't you tell me you also had the emblem?" Dragonfly's arms coaxed her back inside.

Sarah stopped and closed the door, "I don't know. I had forgotten about it. I really didn't need it because Ralph can speak to me. I haven't even put it on since I've been home."

The creature approached the child and laid his hand on hers, "It is very clear, you are very protected. Now, it is time. Lets begin."

Dragonfly wore his bow over his shoulder. His small arms were thinner than the limbs of his bow. He unstrung it and held his bowstring in his hand. Sarah watched as he slid one end of the bow string on one side then hooked the other end with the bow string loop on the other. He waited for Sarah to copy him. Once she was ready, he showed her how to bend the limbs of the bow so he could hook the opposite end. Sarah struggled to bend the arms of her bow but after a small struggle, she smiled at her friend when the bowstring was in the proper nook on the bow.

Dragonfly stood aside her and said with a nod, "If I were you, I would leave it strung. Its not healthy for the bow but you will need to take it with you wherever you go. That is, until the wendigo has been destroyed. Which, was written on the card."

Sarah's smile faded, "You mean, you only need to have his name to kill him?"

"With the black arrow, your magic, and Father Unis' full given name, you will be able to bring him down. Now, it's time to Wind Witch," he said with a hiss.

Sarah's day was long. Dragon fly drilled her as her muscles strained to pull the bow and release the arrow. Her aim was miserable. Out of multiple shots, she only hit the target twice. She felt deflated that she was not a natural shot. Dragon fly worked with her on her form and chastised her for forgetting to slow down and concentrate. By the end of the day, she had had enough and stormed out of the work shed and into the house.

Sarah stormed into the cabin and said nothing to the curious onlookers. She unrobed, shed her boots, and proceeded into her room. She threw her quiver onto the bed and stared at them in disgust. She thought, "I am no Wind Witch." She changed into her pajamas as she heard Markus and Dragonfly talking about the day. Sarah climbed into her bed, exhausted and ready for a night's rest. She closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

Fantasy

About the author

Sheila L. Chingwa

Welcome to my world.

Welcome to my thoughts.

I am proud to be a Native American Elder born and raised in Northern Michigan. Thanks to my hard work I have a B.A. in Education and a Masters in Administration and Supervision in Education.

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