Author Topic: Completed Character: Kamu  (Read 6234 times)

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Offline Wentil

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Re: Completed Character: Kamu
« Reply #40 on: December 07, 2008, 07:20:46 PM »
Kamu regards the distant treetops silently for a moment, wondering at what is taking place by the giant pig before setting to his task.  One by one, he takes ten arrows from his quiver and carefully pushes their points down in the dirt before him, each ready to hand, glancing toward the first tidal cut with each placement.  Intent, he inspects his bowstring where it is seated at the upper and lower nocks.  Once satisfied that all is ready, he settles down to wait, trying to empty his mind of everything but the task at hand; to be still and cool, like the waters of the sacred lake.

Yet calm stillness eludes him, try as he might to imagine the waters of the sacred lake.  His mind returns to the experience he had with Kani there -- her very touch upon his body.  He shivers slightly at the memory, though he is not cold.  Never would he have expected such a thing to be even possible.  In so many ways he has been honored.  Then, too, he had cried out to Kani on the beach, when the dark spirit had taken him again and bid him to smash her statue upon the rock.  She had heard him, and had come -- or something of her power had come through her statue; that flash of cold that had run down through his body like a shock of pure, cold water, quenching and driving out the heat of the dark spirit.

Water.  Fire.  Moments ago, Monuau had said Agatti was "fire aspected".  A strange word, aspected.  Used in such a way by Monuau, it seemed to carry meaning beyond Kamu's ken.  Yet, he could see that Kani was related to water.  Her hand had formed from the water, and he had spent those glorious moments with her deep beneath the sacred waters of her lake.  Indeed, her power itself had always felt like cold water.  This must be, at least in part, what Monuau meant.  Kani was "water aspected".

Kamu's keen eyes regard the canopy and open areas for any signs of movement as his mind ranges far afield of his normal paths of thought.  Was there then a being like Kani here, called Agatti, but dwelling in fire, rather than cool water?  If so, were the dark spirits that had plagued him, Kahiku, the pig-man, the giant pig and others, parts of Agatti, even as the presence in the Lake had been part of Kani?  Or was the dark spirit that had come into Kamu different in some way?  All too well he remembers that sense of disgust, of hate, the urging him to crush and to harm the woman before him.  How it had fastened upon the slightest seed of curiosity, turned it to a spark of suspicion, then fanned that flame into an almost mindless rage.  Had such emotion not been so foreign to Kamu, he might never have realized its source as being outside of himself.  What had it been like for the pig-masked man, growing up from a child here on Agatti with such fiery hatred being stoked in his heart and mind each day and night?

Scowling, Kamu shakes his head slightly, pushing that thought away and instead thinking back, recalling his initial approach and fly-over of Agatti, of the plumes of smoke that in the distance he had first mistaken for towns and inhabitants.  Vents they were, from beneath which some deeply-buried burning fire gave forth smoke from all parts of the island, but especially its center.  And at that center, when he had passed near the strange, upthrust stone spires and had begun to attempt a descent, Monuau had warned him off violently.  What had he said back then, once they had landed upon the shore and Monuau recovered from the attack?  Kamu squints, remembering.  Monuau had said he sensed an immense "hunger" from that place.  Hunger, indeed.  Knowing what he does now, to Kamu those words carry a far more terrible meaning than they had at the time.  Fire-aspected.  Agatti itself dwelt at that burning center, in that towering ring of stones.  Had they landed there, they would all have been destroyed -- eaten, indeed, by Agatti, almost as surely as if they had landed in the open ocean.  Kamu shivers at the thought.  Who could have imagined such a terrible horror lurking out of sight?

Kamu blinks.  The pigs, it was possible, were being driven and controlled by the dark spirits, or Agatti itself -- if indeed they were one and the same, and not separate beings -- perhaps in the same way that the thing had taken him over twice, directing him like an awkward puppet, filling him with hate and anger -- the terrible lust to crush and destroy.  Is it possible that this was in some way similar to the hatred of the sea?  The hate that would drive any and every sea-creature available in the direction of any man in or near the waters, with a raging lust to kill, destroy and eat?  If so, and Agatti was the name of the great spirit of this Island, what Spirit was the Sea?  And why did it hate Men?  And why had it all changed twenty years ago?  What had happened to anger all these Spirits?

Unanswerable questions.  Surely even the Elders did not know that.  Perhaps Kani knew, but she had not told him.  If even it was a thing that his human mind could grasp.  Kamu sighs softly.  He has so very many questions to ask of Monuau, when there is time to do so.  If there was any such time.

Kamu's eyebrows draw down in thought as he carefully brings up Monuau's recent words in his memory once more.  "Agatti has a weak grip on this islet", he had said.  The spirit that had taken over Kamu's body when he still had stood on the beach of the main island had been terribly strong -- stronger than before, almost impossible to resist, and it had overcome all of Kani's protections and purifications in one fell swoop, without any apparent trouble.

This was a terrible problem.  While the islet could be protected with the Statues, any time any of the riders were to set foot on the main island itself they would be in jeopardy of being taken over by the dark spirits.  How then could they explore and search for other survivors, other Villages?  Perhaps... perhaps they could not.  But need that mean failure of their task here?  Agatti's power seemed to only affect males.  Even Monuau himself was puzzled at how the Women of the Village were untouched.

Kamu's eyes widen slightly at the thought.  Perhaps then, his plan to train the Women could be the path to success.  Here on the comparative safety of the Islet, they could train the Women in everything they had been taught, from strength of the body, to the use of weapons, moving quietly, the proper use of their memory and more.  Then, in groups of four, they could go out as search parties, mapping out the island, seeking other Villages, other survivors.  If Agatti could not sense them, could not see them, they would be safer than any man.  And trained as Kamu and the riders could train them, acting as a group, they would be able to defeat any single opponent.  Hopefully single opponents would be all they would have to face; apparently, to judge from the Women's reaction upon the arrival of Bovanu, men would attack one another on sight under the influence of Agatti, and probably fight to the death under the lash of the dark spirits.  Thus, it was unlikely that the hunting parties of Women would ever need to defeat more than one at a time to liberate other Villages.  Assuming, of course, that there were any other Villages.  Assuming too, that the Women, having grown up from children in fear of Men and their violence could be taught to fight and hold their own against them.

But even if it were possible, looking forward, what future did that leave for Agatti?  Without Men and Women working together, how could Man survive here?  Without both Men and Women, there could be no children, and in time, any survivors would all perish of old age or sickness.  Agatti would eventually become as untenanted as the Hunting Islands, overrun by pigs and other wild beasts.  To simply keep going, the Women would be driven to keep some male children alive, and when they did, eventually the madness of Agatti would take them.  With the males filled with the hateful poison of the dark spirits, the cycle of pain and suffering would begin anew, and never end.

Kamu's hands tighten slightly on his bow as his eyes continue to rove, seeking movement in the trees below.  There had to be a way.  But it could not be done by just fighting Agatti, taking parts of the island and giving it over to Kani -- even if such a thing were possible to do for more than this disconnected spit of land.  The Spirit was powerful, and it could doubtless bring terrible forces to bear if it roused itself to full fury.  As Kani could bring her hand into being, perhaps too so could Agatti -- but one of flame, not cool water.  Before things reached that point, there had to be a way to appease it ... to placate it ... to somehow co-exist in harmony with it.  Was such a thing possible?  Monuau had said that it was the nature of fire to consume and destroy, but surely the people of Agatti had existed here in peace before.  Was it possible to go back to that way of life?  Or was Agatti angered beyond all reason, like the Sea, and there was nothing that could be done?  What if blind hate and the lust to harm were the only things left in the bosom of Agatti when it came to Man?  To be sure, there had been nothing but hate and cruelty flooding Kamu's mind when the thing had come into him that first time.  Even when he rejected it, and it left him in disgust, it had shown no curiosity, no desire to speak to him or even to look into his memories like Kani had.  Yet, it was not unthinking, or unaware, to be sure -- it had recognized the danger of the statue, and had tried to have him destroy it.  Perhaps there was a way to speak to Agatti?  To reason with it?

Kamu shakes his head slightly.  Monuau was a better person to be thinking these thoughts, and asking these questions.  Moreover, any discussion or negotiation could only take place from a position of strength, once the Statues were in place and the Islet securely defended against all attackers.  Only then, when Agatti realized they were a true threat and danger, and at the same time realized that it could not throw them off, would it be willing to talk.  If it were a person, that is.  Who knew if Spirits thought the same way?

Once more, Kamu sighs, feeling terribly uncomfortable with all of these thoughts.  He hopes Monuau finishes his tasks quickly.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2008, 03:07:51 AM by Wentil »
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Offline Celedor

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Re: Completed Character: Kamu
« Reply #41 on: December 14, 2008, 03:14:53 AM »
This long pause of thought, tensions building, and yet, the movement in the trees indicates the pigs have not crossed the first tidal cut. . .the activity on the far side must be more agitated though, for the trees shake even more.

The visible area, fewer and fewer large pigs are visible, smaller pigs are all that are left. . .the large ones cut their way out of view under the trees.

Whatever's going on down there you hear a lot of squealing.

This time. . .this time you feel it happening. . .you can sense the very first touches, almost like something breathing on the back of your neck. All your body hair stands on end as your amulet pulses cold.

Before, you couldn't sense it until it actually was already in your mind, this time, you can sense it still outside you, trying to grab hold.
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Offline Wentil

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Re: Completed Character: Kamu
« Reply #42 on: December 14, 2008, 03:26:50 AM »
Shuddering at the sensation, Kamu clasps the chilled pouch around his neck with his right hand, willing himself to be strong and to hold the thing at bay.  He leans his bow against the rounded upthrust of rock and lightly places that other hand upon the statue before him, keeping his breathing steady.

Kamu has never felt this sensation before; the scrabbling of claws at the door of his mind, but he knows all too well what the terrible result will be if that door is allowed to open.

He was not been trained in this by the Elders, but he has always been the quickest to learn from experience.  And so, with each hand upon a part of Kani, with every fiber of his being he strives to keep that door shut, to be cool and still like the waters of the sacred lake; to let Kani's icy power flow through him from the Statue to the Amulet, to fill him and shield him from the talons of the dark spirit.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2008, 03:07:03 AM by Wentil »
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Offline Celedor

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Re: Completed Character: Kamu
« Reply #43 on: December 15, 2008, 03:58:23 AM »
Kamu is beginning to learn the sensations of pushing and pulling, opening and closing, clawing his way toward being able to act, rather than react to this new experience.

Shaking his head doesn't shake loose the feeling, like a hot worm crawling into the back of his head, but focus, and grabbing the pouch seems to block it, to push it out before it can get in.

It's rebuffed, but not gone. . .taking a hand off the pouch and touching the statue, more cold, but not uncomfortable. . .it pulls away. . . .now it's no longer intruding or attacking, but Kamu can sense a presence, a feeling of being watched.
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Offline Wentil

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Re: Completed Character: Kamu
« Reply #44 on: December 16, 2008, 04:55:50 AM »
The sense of the hot pressure on the back of his head pulling away leaves Kamu feeling profoundly relieved.  For all that he would wish Monuau present for this, the older boy is not here.  Kamu must make the best of it.  He releases a pent breath he did not realize he was holding and begins to speak, his hands remaining upon their respective cold surfaces.

"I no longer wish for you to touch me." Kamu says softly to the empty air where he senses the presence hovers, watching him.  He uses his most formal and respectful phrasing, as he would address a revered Elder.  "I have come in peace, not to kill or be killed.  I have borne the Staff of Peace from afar, across the sea.  I am not a pig or a toy for you to play with.  Must we fight?  I would speak with you, if you can give voice to words."
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Offline Celedor

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Re: Completed Character: Kamu
« Reply #45 on: December 20, 2008, 04:11:30 PM »
The presence around you is building, but it's not saying anything back. . .Struggling to find a way to deal with this, Kamu's mind jumps around .. . .

. . .grabbing the pregnant woman's arm, feeling the need to crush her, dominate her. . .

. . .words that are not words, just strong emotions, feelings, but not Kamu's, outisde. . .

. . .held in Kani's embrace feeling so safe, serene, loved. . . .

. . .holding the statue over his head feeling the need to destroy it. . .

Kamu feels power building around him. . . .but he also feels a trickle, a touch of that serenity from the idol.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2008, 01:12:19 AM by Celedor »
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Offline Wentil

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Re: Completed Character: Kamu
« Reply #46 on: December 20, 2008, 05:23:15 PM »
Kamu's brow furrows in concentration.  Everything that he had ever felt when the spirit had been within him had been feelings, not words.  Even when it had been urging him to crush and hurt the woman in the hut, it was his own mind that had been saying the words.  Only the feelings had been coming from the outside.  Only the urging.

Then too, Kani had not spoken, for all that she had looked into his mind and held him to her bosom like a baby as he breathed her very essence beneath the waters of the sacred lake.

Perhaps... perhaps the great spirits, like Kani and Agatti... not having mouths... could not speak words, as Men could?

Kamu bites his lower lip at that thought.  He had never thought of the Spirits being unable to do anything.  Always his mind had imagined Kani as being all-powerful, all-present, all-capable.

Without words, how could they speak to one another?  To be sure, there was the reading of his memories that Kani had performed in the lake, but Kamu was resolved to never again let Agatti or any other dark spirit into his mind and body, and certainly not to open his memories to it.

Writing, perhaps?  Scratched into the dirt with a stick?  But having no body, Agatti could not scratch back.  Even taking over a pig, it seemed doubtful that Agatti could make the pig do anything it was not normally capable of.

Glancing once more towards the tidal cut to make certain he is not being rushed by a wave of enemies while distracted by this Spirit, Kamu closes his eyes for a moment, to better feel the sensations flowing through and around him.

The cold presence of Kani from the idol and amulet is indeed reassuring.  She is here, or some part of her, reaching out from her distant Island.  Kamu does not doubt that she is aware of what is taking place here, at this very moment.  Her eyes are upon him, her arm is about him.  She is protecting him even now.

Yet Kani and Agatti were opposites.  Water and Fire.  Never could the two meet.  Perhaps they were also as incapable of speaking to each other as... as Kamu was to a fish from the sea.  Yet if Kamu could somehow serve as a messenger between them... was such a thing even possible?  Or better yet, was it even desired, or needed?  Nothing but hate had come from Agatti into his mind.  Nothing but love had ever come from Kani.  Does Agatti even want to speak?  Or is it just a different version of the pig-man, screaming, charging him and swinging a spiked club?

Kamu shivers slightly, as the sensation of building power around him cannot be a good thing.  Agatti is about to do something.  What, he cannot tell.  He opens his eyes and focuses his resolve.  Whatever is about to come, he will meet it with all his strength.  He only wishes Monuau was here.

His left hand tightens on the pouch about his neck while his right remains flat against the cold surface of the statue.
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Offline Celedor

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Re: Completed Character: Kamu
« Reply #47 on: December 25, 2008, 05:37:03 AM »
You feel wrapped in coolness, but you can sense the heat beyond. .. the closest analogy in your experience was standing outside the door of the forge, where the blaze in the fire not only radiated light, but heat. Within the room it was almost unbearable.

Just outside the door, you were comfortable, in the cool breeze, but could still feel that roaring heat on your skin wherever the light of it touched you. . .the source of the light, the place of the heat you feel, is somewhere over the edge of the cliff, out there toward the main island.
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Offline Wentil

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Re: Completed Character: Kamu
« Reply #48 on: December 25, 2008, 12:33:07 PM »
Kamu closes his eyes again, trying to more accurately sense the direction of that heat, and draw from his memory of the fly-over on the initial approach to Agatti.  If the central spire of stones is indeed the "home" of Agatti, as the Sacred Lake is of Kani. then that sense of heat should come from there.  If it is indeed coming from that place, then the presence hovering here is indeed a part of Agatti, and not some other being.

Although there is no true sense of direction of the coolness -- Kamu knows it is coming from Kani.  Yet the feeling of coolness comes from the pouch and the statue, not from the distant island of Kani.  How is it that the power of Kani can flow from these things?  There must be some sort of... hidden connection between the two, like an underwater tunnel, linking two ponds.

Perhaps that is why Kamu had never felt such a presence from Kani, yet he had been taught she was everywhere?  Perhaps she could "see" through the statues that were all over the island, and had no need of doing what this presence was doing?  Or perhaps Kani and Agatti were just different, and it was not her way to do something of this nature?  Monuau would know, of that Kamu is certain.

Kamu's untrained senses struggle, trying to find the direction of the heat in the same fashion he would with his eyes closed, turning his head from side to side, be able to locate the blazing heat of the forge.
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Offline Celedor

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Re: Completed Character: Kamu
« Reply #49 on: December 27, 2008, 01:37:17 AM »
The sense of heat is definitely in front of you, sort of like a blind man might take off a glove and grope his way toward the fire by the heat of the stove, Kamu tries to sense the source.

The heat, it's sort of a cloud in front of you, but it's coming from that way off toward the island, you cannot sense any more clearly than that. Straining toward the source, looking toward the rocky spires at the center of Agatti Kamu tries his utmost to get a feel for the source.

Taking off a glove makes it easier to sense the heat, but it also makes it a lot easier to get burned if you misjudge it.

Kamu starts to feel like the direction he selected is right, but just as that sensation begins to firm up, the force rushes into him again.

**BLACKNESS**
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Offline Celedor

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Re: Completed Character: Kamu
« Reply #50 on: January 07, 2009, 12:50:23 AM »
Kamu could feel himself losing, and was almost lost, when suddenly the force crushing him relaxed, and with a surge he could throw it off.

In throwing it off, you can feel you were being attacked by almost a finger from a fist, at the end of an outstretched arm. . .

Opening his eyes and scrambling to his feet, Kamu can see what Emu saw, the glowing cloud, which Kamu's mind immediately lables as the hand or fist in the metaphor above, additionally Kamu can sense, but not see, the "arm" reaching off toward the center of the main island.

Kamu can see the strands reaching out from Emu's hands and head, penetrating the cloud.

But the sight of it is fading. . .the real world becoming more solid as his mind gets more and more awake, and these dream things fading from view.
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Offline Celedor

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Re: Completed Character: Kamu
« Reply #51 on: January 10, 2009, 07:32:57 PM »
The hot feeling fades, replaced by cold, but you sense nothing more than that.
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Re: Completed Character: Kamu
« Reply #52 on: January 14, 2009, 03:16:56 AM »
Kamu feels a pulse of cold, a faint echo compared to either Monuau's healing touch, or the plunge into the lake, but he feels himself whole again, the touch of that thing gone. . .Kani is so faint, so far away, but she answered your call.
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Offline Wentil

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Kamu's Backstory (Not Previously Posted)
« Reply #53 on: January 28, 2009, 07:42:28 PM »

Kamu's Backstory



The young boy had not yet earned his first name, but he was called "Stick" by his playmates, for he was very thin. His ribs showed, and he seemed gaunt. Yet he had a quick mind, laughed easily, and made friends without hesitation. His light frame allowed him a greater relative strength of his hands, and so he would often sport about, climbing things -- so much so that his first name became "Kau", after the climbing insect.

Kau lived in a small lodge with his Mother and Father, and often would accompany his parents on reed-cutting expeditions near the edge of the Forest, where it became Swamp, and the trees grew up from beneath the water. They would return late in the day, everyone loaded down with bundles of reeds, and Kau's Mother and Father would take the sleepy boy and put him to bed. Often, too, his Father would go into the Forest to Hunt, for he was also a Hunter. While at times he would return with nothing, more often he would bring back a deer slung across his shoulders, and Kau's Mother would set to work cleaning and skinning it. Kau would help as best he could, holding the hides while his Mother scraped them, and chewing strips of leather to make them soft enough to become lacing.

It was a great sorrow to Kau and his Father when his Mother died of a fever one night. It had not seemed so very serious; a slight cough, a pain in the head, a dizziness. Each had had such a sickness before, and it was nothing a night's rest could not cure. Yet his Mother's head pain turned into a burning fire, and her body shook and sweated. Kau's Father went to seek a Medicine Man, but by the time he returned, she was dead.

Kau's Father did not want to leave the lodge he had built with his wife, nor subject the small boy to the annoyances of the Men's Lodge. As there was no one in Kau's Mother's family left to claim the property or the boy, and their lodge was well set off in the Forest, they were not troubled.

Kau's initial thinness filled out as he began to leave his childhood, but his agile nature did not change. He would climb cliffs for birds' eggs, trees for fruit and nuts. One day an Elder saw him hanging upside-down from a branch by his bent knees, cheerfully plucking gourd fruit and stuffing it into a sack, and spoke with his Father.

Kau's life changed that day, although he himself did not immediately notice it. It began with his Father growing more distant, regarding him over the light of the cooking fire at night in silence. Kau's father's face seemed sad and drawn as he considered his only son, but after two days, he awoke the boy at the first light of dawn, bade him get dressed and come with him.

Unexpectedly, and much to Kau's delight, his Father began to teach him how to Hunt. It began with learning the tools and ways of the weapon; understanding the crafting of arrows, the selection of shafts, the drying and stiffening of them by the side of the fire, fletching of them with split feathers and a sticky, boiled-down paste made from tree sap that Father had travelled all the way to Forest Town years before to get a pot of. The careful chipping and weighing of arrowheads, and the binding of them to the shaft with thin lacing. Lastly, the making of gut bowstrings and then the crafting of a bow itself, of proper size and weight for a youth of his age.

Kau took to the craft with all the intense seriousness that an eight-year-old can muster. His hands were constantly busy, and when he had finished his work each day, he worked at crafting arrows by the firelight until his eyes burned from the strain and his head drooped down on his chest with exhaustion.

Once his bow was complete, the boy practiced diligently, both with his Father and on his own. It was a joy to be able to prove his worth to his Father, and a true challenge to master the bow. After his skill in arrow-making had advanced to where his arrows were straight and flew true, Kau showed an aptitude with the weapon, and soon he could shoot as well as his Father, who had been using the bow and arrow for many years, Hunting in the Forest. Kau's heart sang at the grudging approval in his Father's eyes, and eagerly took to his next lessons, which were the art of walking softly, finding tracks, stalking and taking animals; the creation of small nooses and other traps, the finding of animal paths, the rites to appease the spirits of the animals one took, that they might not grow angry, and a thousand other things.

Yet Kau's Father's joy at his son's quickly-growing skill was tempered with unease, for what the Elder had told him sat and worried at the back of his mind. Yet there was no other choice for him, nor for the boy. He placed his faith in the Elders.

Once Kau had passed his twelfth year, and had begun bringing in animals of his own while hunting, without need of his Father to guide him, the next stage of his unusual education began.

After a day's journey out of the Forest and to the border of the Swamp, Kau and his Father came upon an unpleasant hut, ramshackle, surrounded by a strange stink, of boiled herbs and foul smokes. It was a Medicine Hut, and Kau's Father approached it reluctantly. But the Medicine Man seemed to somehow have sensed his approach, and emerged from the hut, his headdress adorned with the glittering, white skulls of hundreds of mice. Although not fearsome of visage, the Medicine Man had a presence that stopped Kau's father in his tracks. Nervously, he muttered, making the hand-sign to ward off unpleasantness, "I have come, oh Keshtu." he said, glancing down at Kau. "Here is the boy, for the teaching."

Kau looked up at his father, then back at the man in the headdress. He felt somewhat nervous in his presence, and the many Mouse skulls glittered queerly in the sunlight, but Kau neither quailed nor hid behind his father. He stood straight, and regarded the Medicine Man without fear -- ignorance was his shield that day, and it served him well, for the Medicine Man took it as a good sign of his courage, and nodded his acceptance of the boy.

And thus Kau's instruction began in the makings of substances into which arrowheads could be dipped, increasing their deadliness, or powders which could be added to bait, to render a creature senseless, that it might be taken alive, to be sold to a Shaman or added to a herd. For Kau's task was not to be a simple Hunter, yet why he was being taught this Medicine was not revealed to him. He was painfully disciplined by the Medicine Man if he made a mistake or did not pay close attention. It was dangerous work, and more than once he made himself sick by accidentally putting a finger in his mouth when he had not cleaned his nails well enough, or by eating some food while there still remained some residue of herbs on his fingertips.

But at last, his month of training there was complete, and he returned to his Father. It was a joy to be home at last, to see the lodge, just as it had been before.

But his Father did not greet him warmly, as he would a boy -- he held him off, and clasped his hands. For Kau was now thirteen years of age -- a Man, and it was time for his ceremony. His Father was going to return to the Men's Lodge. Together, they worked their last task together, breaking down their small lodge -- it was no longer to be their home.

It was hard for Kau, and he was silent as memories came and went as the task was undertaken. He remembered his Mother and his Father, the things that had been said, the food that had been cooked, laughter and smiles, arguments and crying. He looked over at his Father as they set aside the bundle of wattle they were carrying. "I am sorry, Father." he said.

His Father looked back at his son, surprised. "What has made you ashamed, son?" he asked.

"I am sorry that I was not a better son." Kau replied, glancing up at his Father with sorrowful eyes. "I made you and Mother upset sometimes, and I would never eat as much as you wanted me to. And I ran away one time, to not help with the reeds, and you had to look for me in the Forest."

Kau's Father smiled then, a little, something he had rarely done since the passing of Kau's Mother. He glanced back at the half-torn-down lodge, then at his son. "You are a good boy." he said, then hesitated. "You... you have always made me proud. I am glad I could show you how to use the bow... how to hunt, and track -- all the ways of the Forest. I think... Theni, your Mother, would have been proud of you, too. You have done well."

Kau's Father glanced down at his hands, hard and calloused from years of hard labor, then back up at his son.

"Son... you have... been chosen, by the Elders, for a... special purpose." he said. "It is a great honor... to be so chosen. Already your training has begun, before you were even a Man. You... are not going to be a Hunter. You may go far beyond the Forest... to other Villages... wherever the Elders send you. You may even be an Elder yourself, some day. You... where you are going, son... I cannot follow. But I will always wish you well. I have given you everything I could while you were a boy, and I know that you will be a good Man. In time, you will have sons of your own... and then you will be a good Father."

Kau blinked solemnly at his Father, for it was not his habit to speak at length on anything, especially of his Mother, and never with such emotion.

Together then, in silence, they finished clearing the lodge. Together, they walked back to the Forest Village, with all of their possessions in bundles atop their shoulders. It was a long walk, and they did not speak, each being lost in their own thoughts, their own memories.

Kau's Rite of Adulthood took place in the Forest Village the next day, together with all of the other boys who were becoming Men that Moon, and he passed all of the tests with ease. He was daubed with the colors of the Forest Village, and drank the potent brew of the Elders and was given his Adult Name: KAMU. After dancing and eating his fill, he returned dizzily to his Father, his heart singing, now a Man, his hair now properly arranged, silently shaping the word "Kamu" with his mouth, still marveling at the feel of it.

His Father brought them to the Men's Lodge and instructed him how to behave in the company of other Men, but they were there only a few days before a message arrived from the Elders.

His Father had someone read the message to him, for he himself could not read, and then the two of them walked overland to the very edge of the Forest, a journey of some two days, where they came to a camp. There, Kamu's Father said his farewells and left him. It was sad to be parted, when so many changes had taken place, but Kamu's Father's heart was all the heavier, for he knew that what was to come was dangerous, and his son might well not survive it. But he did not tell Kamu, for the Elder had made it clear he was to know nothing. But Kamu sensed his Father's sadness, and clasped him to his breast before he left, as though he were a small boy again. Kamu's Father accepted the embrace, and left silently, his eyes glistening.

At the camp, Kamu came to dwell with many other young Men of his age and older, all of whom were to be trained yet further, to contest against one another and together as teams, with some great but hidden prize being the reward of the victors.

At the camp, although he made many friends, Kamu's best friend was Swalau, a young Man from the Swamp Village who had great skill with the fishing spear. His father was a Shaman, and Swalau was regarded differently by most of the other boys, but Kamu, who had been raised in the Forest, held no special fear of him, and so the two became close.

Together over the next year and a half, the two braved every trial, and struggled to learn all that they were being tasked with. Elders often watched their contests and muttered to one another. It was all very mysterious.

One day, after bathing and wrestling a bit by the side of a stream, Kamu and Swalau lay panting on the bank, looking up at the sky above.

"I wish we knew what the Elders are planning for us." Kamu said. "My father never went through any of this training when he was young."

"It is a great Mystery." Swalau replied, slowly and thoughtfully, as was his way. "We are not yet worthy of that knowledge, or we would surely know the answer."

Kamu glanced over at his friend and smiled ruefully. "I wish I could rest and be at ease as you can, with that as the answer." he said.

Swalau shook his head slightly, closing his eyes as the sun emerged briefly from behind a fluffy cloud, dazzling in its brilliance. "You are always... wishing for things, Kamu." he said. "You wish to have answers, you wish to have less work, you wish you could just go back and hunt in the Forest with your Father... you should not say such things. We walk the path we are upon, step by step. If you want to change something in your life, and you can, just do it. If you cannot, do not bemoan it. Accept it."

Kamu thought about Swalau's words in silence for a few moments, his mind roaming back to the days he had spent with his Father and Mother in their lodge. Crickets chirped in the grass, and the stream gurgled its way past. Kamu's mind wandered a bit, and frustrated, he propped his head on one elbow and frowned. "I think you really are wise, Swalau." he said. "You think deep thoughts. But they are like fish in the river to me at times, darting away when I try to reach for them."

Swalau turned his head towards Kamu and opened his eyes, smiling a little. "You may only be seeing the glittering of the sun on the water." he said. "The fish are not as fast, or hard to seize, as you might imagine."

Kamu blinked thoughtfully, not knowing whether Swalau was talking about fish as thoughts, or real fish... or if the glittering water he spoke of was real water or some clever way of saying that Kamu was not looking at the truth, but was instead being distracted by something between him and the truth. Worse, what that thing was, or could be meant by the glittering sun, was so vague it led his mind to ever-branching paths of thought from which there was no easy return. It was often that way with what Swalau said, with meanings within meanings, which left Kamu's head spinning at times. Kamu opened his mouth to ask which was what, and to try and make a single path of his thoughts again, but was forestalled by Swalau sitting up and looking at him. "You can think well, Kamu." he said. "You just choose not to. I think you could even be a Medicine Man if you chose."

Kamu laughed and made the hand gesture of deflecting something unpleasant, as was his way when Swalau grew serious like this. "No, no, I already have seen the inside of one Medicine Hut." he said. "And have come to know something of the work. It is not to my taste at all."

Swalau shook his head and smiled, but then came the clanging of the bar calling everyone back to the camp for the next lesson. The paid got to their feet and raced back, for being late would draw punishment.

And so the training at the camp continued, day in and day out. It became increasingly more punishing. Increasingly more complex. Many left the camp, unable to pass the trials. Many were the times that Kamu himself would have not succeeded were it not for Swalau's aid and calm thinking, especially in areas of puzzles, or in remembering how many feathers the Elder had in her hair. Kamu at times felt as though he was not as helpful to Swalau, for the few things that he could do better -- climbing, swimming, shooting of the bow, fighting, wrestling... none of them could he really help Swalau with, for not only were they not teamed, but it was more a matter of physique than of skill -- each knew how to do the same things, Kamu could simply do them better; his body was lighter, more lithe and wiry than Swalau's.

This was never more regrettable than the sad day when the rock crumbled beneath his fingers, and Swalau fell from the cliff face they were climbing in a trial, after having safely negotiated so many earlier dangers alongside his friend.

There was nothing Kamu could do, but cry out and watch his friend's body pinwheel through the air, then bounce off the rocks, far below. Kamu recklessly slid and leapt down from point to point, heedlessly risking his own life in the descent, but Swalau was already dead by the time he reached him.

Kamu was no stranger to death, but his friend had meant a great deal to him, and he wept bitterly over his body until the Trainers came, and he was carried away.

That night and the next, Kamu lay on his pallet and thought of Swalau. His words that day by the stream echoed in Kamu's memory -- if you cannot change something, do not bemoan it. Accept it. As best as he could, Kamu did, and went on with the training.

Swalau was not the first to die, nor the last, in the training, but his passing changed Kamu. He spent no more time in games or playing with the other boys in the camp. He rarely found a reason to smile, and pressed himself hard, devoting himself to the exercises and trials of the camp, paying attention like never before. Although he could never put it into words, within his heart, Kamu felt that his efforts somehow made Swalau's death worthwhile -- that Swalau was still with him, helping him, cheering him on. Although he never spoke the thought to anyone, Kamu felt in his heart that perhaps, in becoming Swalai, he had chosen to stay behind -- he was the son of a Shaman, after all. Kamu even spoke under his breath to Swalai during the most dangerous challenges, when he had to be very careful. Perhaps it was his imagination, but sometimes he could almost hear his friend giving him the same comforting advice he always had.

As a result, Kamu excelled among the other young Men at the camp in the trials, despite the fact that he had only seen fifteen summers, and others were much older. While he was not unfriendly to the other boys, Kamu kept his own counsel, and never made any other close friends. Yet for this he was not reviled, and indeed was often chosen as a team leader, for he had no bias, was very skilled, and would often be very impartial. He tried to always follow Swalau's principles of logic and measured thought, for he held them in high esteem, and was all too conscious of his own profound lack of brilliance. Too, he suspected that Swalai's eye was still upon him, and he tried to always do things in a way his friend would have found proper and pleasing.

Kamu had turned sixteen when the final contest came. It was a trial like no other, and he was one of the few to claim the feather, and with it, a purpose and glory he could never have imagined -- the glory of flight, and being one of the few who would be able to reach out past the Raging Seas to find what was left of the world past the Breaking. He did not quail before the giant white birds, as many of the others did, for he had come to achieve a peaceful place within himself at this moment of victory -- a place that Swalau would have called "perfect acceptance". What would be, would be, and Kamu would take it as it came.

But he wept, that night, thinking of how Swalau also deserved this honor, and how he too would have marvelled at what was being proposed. He knew that Swalau would have had many deep thoughts on what was to come, and whatever happened, he would sorely miss his friend's careful and measured counsel. He hoped Swalai would remain with him, but he suspected that now that the trials were over, he would go to his Father the Shaman, if ever he had remained behind at all.
"The people would cheer just as loudly were I to be hanged."

Offline Celedor

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Re: Completed Character: Kamu
« Reply #54 on: May 17, 2009, 04:16:56 PM »
What kind of method are you going to use to keep looking?
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Offline Wentil

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Re: Completed Character: Kamu
« Reply #55 on: May 17, 2009, 05:14:02 PM »
Kamu was hoping, through cleverness, to try and get Dinah to help him through guilt and implication of disappointment, but ... if you're asking that question, clearly he has failed in this.

With no response from Dinah to his turning away in sad disappointment, Kamu feels that his chance for quickly and easily finding Hailena has slipped away.  He is not willing to employ physical coercion against the young girl, and so he takes Monuau by the arm and hurries back the way they came, toward the village.

As he goes, he will speak to Monuau, asking him if he has any idea of where Woanu would have attempted his descent to the water.  If not, Kamu will attempt to employ Tracking to see if there are any trails worn in that direction (of the cliffs) -- deeming it more likely that Woanu would have gone by a travelled route than to have struck off completely on his own through the trees.
"The people would cheer just as loudly were I to be hanged."

 

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