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Yanaba the Warrior
My name is Yanaba, I am a South American Indian. I have been waiting to serve my tribe as a warrior since I can remember, and finally it is my time. I have been battling my family, my whole tribe, for as long as I can remember to become one of the warriors that fight surrounding tribes and the worst tribe of all the Zorrocas. They are big, mean, fierce, and they will take and do anything and everything to get what they want. And they own us. Every year we give them three quarters of our food and anything else they want. We have been trying to form a secret alliance behind them, but we have always been too weak to fight the Zorrocas. But something's going to change, it has too.
I walk into the hut, my mom is there making the dinner. I walk towards her as father is walking into the hut.
"I need to talk to you," I say to him.
"Not right now, my flower," he says. He's always calling me his flower because I'm still blooming. I hate that name I don't want to be a 'blooming flower', I want to be a full bloom flower. I walk over to my mat and sit down, mad that again he has something more important than me like always. Father is the head of the secret alliance and my grandfather is the chief of our tribe, so they are always busy. It has been in our family for generations to be the chief and I am the only girl to come out of our family, which is a grave disappointment. In my tribe, we are allowed to only have one child per couple because it is so small, you would think that you could have as many as you would want but his is another disadvantage of being ruled by the Zorrocas, they believe that woman are nothing more than little pieces of grain.
Then I hear my father talking to my mother saying, "We have a problem."
"What?" she replies with a concerned look on her face.
"The Spirit Mother said that the Zorrocas are coming early this year."
"Oh no! Why?"
"I don't know and the alliance isn't even ready to take them on. We haven't started training the new offspring, yet. I guess we're going to have to start their training early, too," he says, and then he turns around as I turn the opposite direction, but he knows that I was listening. "Except you!"
"What? C'mon father! You know that I have always wanted to be a warrior. Please!"
"It's not a game, Yanaba! What do you think we train hard then go out to have fun! No, this is war and if you get hurt then I don't know what I'll do with myself!" I start to say something, "No! It's decided, don't fight with me."
"I said 'No!" he yells and walks out. I started crying, I was so mad inside that I felt like I was going to scream! I have wanted this for so long and just because I am a girl and young doesn't mean I can't fight! Ugh.
"It's no use, honey," my mother says reassuringly me, "he's just trying to do the best for you."
"Well, what if this isn't the best for me?" I reply.
"It is, honey, I'm sorry. You’re just going to have to trust us. Please don't make it harder on us than it already is, do what your father says. He and I couldn't bare if you died," my mother admits.
"I know. But-"
"Can you help me with dinner?" That's my mother's way of saying end of conversation, but I will not go down without a fight, I just can't, not when my tribe needs me the most.
The next day my father has the first meeting with the Alliance.
"Don't follow me!" my father exclaims, "the Alliance has a secret spot and nobody goes there. Understood?!"
"Yes, father." I say trying my best not to show I'm lying.
As they gather the new trainees that are going with them they put bags over their heads so they don't know where they’re going. There are about 15 boys and 30 warriors there, the other 70 are on the look out for the Zorrocas. I follow them over the long walkway through the forest until we get to the Field of Caves, the caves are huge and many enormous rock formations. Where are they going? I think to myself. I am staying a good fifty feet away, so they don't see me. I step on a branch. Crunch! One of the warriors in the back of the group turns around, I hide behind a boulder. Then, I hear footsteps coming close, and I look over my shoulder and he comes on my side of the boulder, I go on the other side of the rock so he doesn't see me. Then, the warrior walks away and catches up with the others. Whew! That was close! Then, I look around the boulder and they were gone! Suddenly, I hear a few faint steps and looking down I saw that they went into the Shadow of the Bear, the biggest, steepest, and most secret rock formation. Because you can't see it until you fall down to your death. I found the hidden stairs that wrapped in the inner circle of the downward formation and as quiet as a mouse I walked down them being very careful that I didn't fall. As I reach the bottom I see the mouth of the cave which goes into a tunnel, they just walked around the first corner as I follow them and see the twists and turns, then it opens up to a huge room that was eighteen feet big. I slip in and sit down with the boys.
I hear my father talking to them, "Sons, this is your time, your time to shine and to be a man. It is are time, too, as a tribe to fight against the Zorrocas to get the things that rightfully belong to us back!" I hear a group of 'Ya's'. "Now men, stand up it's time for your training, get your robes in the back." I get up and grab a black robe like everyone is doing. I get back into the back off the pack, the warriors are all up in front so I should be okay, but just in case I got close to the mouth of the cave. I began to watch my father and do the moves he does, it quickly becomes easy to me faster than any other guy around me. Then I feel a tap on my shoulder, it is one of the warriors. Oh no, they caught me this is it I new that this was not going to work. I think to myself.
"Like this," the warrior says to me and shows me a better way how to do it.
" Umm....ya thanks!" I try to say in my boy voice. He looks at me strange, but just walks away. Whew! I let go of the breath that I didn't even know I was holding in. I finish my training and we all sit down and pass bread and have soup for dinner, I take some to not make a scene, and my stomach was growling. My father starts coming around and talking to the boys, I move farther in the circle. Suddenly I feel a tap on my shoulder, it’s my father! I look at the ground, so he can't see my face, and stand up.
"Uhh....Sensi....," I say in a boy voice. "Thank you for the great lessons. They have taught me a lot."
"Your welcome. I hear from one of the warriors that you are doing very good."
"I try my best, sir."
"Well, keep up the good work, son," my father says.
"I will." We bow and he leaves. I sit back down, I fell me heart pounding so fast it felt like it was coming out of my chest.
"Men. We will close now, our next practice will be at the same time in two nights. You boys look good and you will make your family and tries proud. Thank you." As they all stay around for a moment, I start going to the mouth and walking quickly away.
I hear a boy saying, "Your not supposed to go, yet."
"Well....uh...I have to get something for the Sensi. He picked me himself!" I say.
"Show off," he says in jealousy. Wow, boys are touchy, I think to myself as I run out of there. As I get home, I take off my robe and place it in my secret storage place, which is a hole that is three feet deep and a twenty-pound rock over it. I drop my robe in, put the rock back and run straight home.
"Where have you been? I've been worried sick!" my mom says.
"Sorry, I was just taking a walk," I say lying through my teeth. I lie on my mat on the floor, and pull the animal hide over me. "Good night." I feel my mother still looking at me deciding if I was lying or not, but then my dad walks in.
"Hello, darling," he says to my mother. "Thank you for not coming today, flower. I thought you might, but you didn't, so thanks," he whispers in my ear, and then kisses my cheek.
"Yep," I say acting sleepily. He gets up and walks over to my mother, he starts getting ready. And I hear him whispering to my mother.
"The trainees look good," he says.
"That's good," my mother replies.
"Especially this one boy, he looked like me when I first started out, a natural," my father gets onto his mat and my mother lies next to him. "I think he is the one that the Spirit Mother is talking about. 'The child is young, the child is unexpected, the child will not get your approval, and by the end of the third night that it is leader it will have to make a decision," my father repeats.
"Maybe. But I'm not thinking about it until the Spirit Mother picks him in a week. And you shouldn't worry about it either."
"Yes, I guess your right. Good night, then."
"Good night," my mother answers. My parents fall asleep, but I stay awake, thinking about the Chosen Child. Maybe it could be me? No. Well, wasn't that child me my father was talking about? I think to myself. I turn over and face the outer wall of the hut. As I fall asleep I dream about the Chosen Child, and how I will be a warrior yet.
Two nights later, I leave to go to the meeting. I go to the rock and pick up the big rock, my robe isn't there and I see my mother holding it coming from the direction of the forest.
"What is this?" she asks.
"Yes, I know that this is a robe, but why are you looking for it?"
"Yanaba Okapana! Do not lie to me!"
"I'm sorry. I got it from father's stuff, but you just have to get it, mother. I love fighting, when I do it I feel strong and powerful."
"Mother, please don't make me stop something I love," I plead to her.
"Okay. This is what we are going to do, you will keep on going to the lessons and you or I will not tell your father. But you have to promise me, no battle. If they get sent, you are not going. Understand?"
"Yes, thank you so much," I say. She hands me the rope.
"Now, get going you don't want to be late." I grab the robe, hug her, and start running to the hiding place. They have already started, but I slip into the back.
Five days later, after practice, I run straight home as fast as I can, I take off my robe and leave with my mother to the ceremony where they pick the Chosen Child. We get there just as the ceremony begins and we take our seats in the front row. The trainees are in a circle around the Spirit Mother.
"Tonight, we will find the Chosen Child," my father yells. "The one that will save us from the horrible Zorrocas." The Spirit Mother walks up to the fire, in the middle of the circle of boys, and says an ancient prayer. The fire grows big and we are all amazed. She closes her eyes and walks toward the boys, you can't even hear a pin drop. She looks all possessed as she comes straight at a boy named Okih, then she steps right over him grabs my hand and raises it.
Then, in a possessed voice she says, "This is the Chosen Child!" I hear gasps in the crowd and I look around, astonished. It can't be me, just can't! I think to myself. I look at my mother, her mouth is open. Then I do the worst thing ever, I look at me father and he doesn't look me in the eyes.
"This can't be! She's a woman, the gods said that it would be a boy!" my father tries to reason.
The Spirit Mother answers coming out of her trance, "No, the gods never said anything about sex of the child."
"Then, she isn't prepared since she hasn't been to one of the practices yet."
"No, you’re wrong again, she has never missed a practice." My father looks at me with shame for he now knows that I have been lying to him. The fire extinguishes and everybody is talking in hushed voices.
"The gods have spoken!" the Spirit Mother yells, and lets go of my arm, that she has been raising. I rub it, and sit down next to my mother. There's silence, even the crickets were quiet. I look at my feet, as everyone starts to leave knowing they're ashamed of me.
My mother says to me, "C'mon, honey lets go."
"Uhh..I'm just going to sit here for a while," I reply. My father looks at me with disgust, and then turns away and walks straight pass me like I don't even exist anymore. And I shouldn't since I just doomed are whole tribe from ever conquering the Zorrocas. I feel the stares and glares and hear my tribe whispering about me. Everyone is now gone. I look at the extinguished fire and throw a rock into it. Why me?! I've humiliated my whole tribe! I start to walk home. It's late the moon is shining, I look at myself as I walk along the stream. There's no use in even staying here anymore. I think to myself. I reach my hut and quietly walk past my parents and grab my mat, clothes, my doll that I got when I was a little girl, and some food, and put it into my moccasin backpack. Then, I kiss my mother's cheek and put my special shark bone necklace, that the Spirit gives to each newborn child to signify that they belong to the tribe, into my father's hand and walked out. I go behind my hut to the rock where I hide my robe, take it out, and put it on.
The next morning my mother wakes up, and sees my mat and moccasin bag gone. She looks around and sees none of my clothes, and then she sees my shark bone necklace in my father's hand. She wakes him up.
"What is the matter?"
"Yanaba, she's gone!" my mother exclaims.
"What?! How can that be?" my father gets up and goes outside to look around as my mother is holding on to my necklace and crying. My father comes back in. "No one has seen her all night."
"We should have waited to go to bed until she came home. I should have never let her say there by herself," my mother starts sobbing again.
As I keep walking I feel my stomach growl like a beast, I know I have to stop and eat. But if I stop here I will be wolf food for I am in the Bare Valley, the home of the wolves. I walk past one of the caves and see two big wolves biting and gnawing at a smaller wolf. I hear him whimper and try to get up, and get away, but he's to weak. I got to save him! I think to myself. But I can't just walk right over there they'll get me, too. Then, I see the little wolf close his eyes, he's giving up. A bear! That's it! I roar like the meanest bear ever and I hear them stop growling, I roar one more time even louder than the first. And I see the wolves run off, leaving the smaller one there. I look at the wolf he's not moving I grab a stick, walk up to him, and lightly poke him. It's still not moving, so I walk over to it, and put my head to where his heart is and I feel it pounding, and feel his breathe on my arm. He's unconscious. I back away and look at him again. He's only about a year old. I pick him up gently and start running, to get out of there. I reach the end of the valley and go into the woods. I set up camp, and make a fire. I start to dress his wounds, he has three really bad leg wounds on each leg that he will probably not be able to walk on and a deep neck wound, any deeper and he'd be dead. I finish and put him on my mat. As I take some bread, and dried meat and fruit out of my bag, he starts to wake up. The little wolf looks at his wounds and tries to lick them, but can't with the bandages on them, then he looks at me. He gives me a questioning look and tries to get up. I grab some dried meat and bring it over to him. I drop it on the ground in front of his mouth, he gives it a lick, looks at me, then eats it. I put some water into a piece of a tree trunk, that I found, and he drinks it up. I, then, put some dried fruit into my hand and gave it to him. He ate it out of my hand, as I petted him he looked at me with his big blue eyes, and put his head down and at that moment I knew he needed me and I needed him.
The next morning, I woke up first and started getting my stuff together. The little wolf just lays there occasionally looks at me, so helpless. I put my bag on my back and look at him. He looks back at me, I gently as I can put his body on my shoulders and start walking he doesn't move or anything just sits there. I walk a long way and finally there's a stream. I let him down and get some water for him and myself.
"Do you have a name?" He gives me a questioningly look and then shakes his head.
"Well, what about... Adelphos?" He gives me a little headshake and scrunches his nose.
"No? How 'bout Adli?" He looks at me and gives me a nod.
"Yeah. Good. I like that name too." I pick Adli up and start walking again. By noontime, I see a small fire in the distance and as I walk up closer I see it's a huge fire and a huge tribe. Who are they? I think to myself. I walk up slowly and smell the roasting of meat. Yumm...
"Hey! What are you doing?" someone yells from behind me and before I could away, he grabbed me.
"Let go of me!" I scream.
He brings me closer to the fire. "Who are you?" As he sees my face, he lets go of me. "Oh, your just a girl." I sneer at him, what does he mean just a girl? Oh my God! Is this the Zorrocas tribe? I think. The chief comes and looks at me and touches my hair. I shake my head, so my hair comes out of his hand.
"What is this?" he says, pointing to Adli.
"My wolf, he's badly hurt," I reply.
"She comes baring gifts!" he exclaims. "Tonight we will feast."
"Wait, no! He's like my...my...pet."
"I saved him."
"You look like a lost girl, you let us eat him, then you can stay, if not you will be beaten and thrown out."
I think about it. Both of them kind of stink, I think. "What about we don't eat him, and I will go out and get a deer twice the size of this wolf. Then bring it before nightfall, and I don't get beaten and can stay."
He thinks over it. "What if you don't come back?"
"I will leave the wolf and will come back to him," I reply.
"We have a deal," he says. "Tonight either way we will have a feast." He smiles and walks away. "You can put your pet in this hut."
I walk in, it's empty with a small fire pit. "Thank you." I put my mat down and lay Adli on it. He is sleeping, I put my things next to him and walk out. "I need a bow and arrows."
"Here," the chief says and hands me a bow with twelve arrows. "Good luck." He laughs and I walk away. I hate that guy.
I walk through the forest silently. I finished first in the hunting competition it only took me a hour and we had two, and where the sun is, I'll say, I have about four hours until nightfall. I kneel behind a tree and see the buck about fifty feet away. The deer is about 140 pounds, if I bring that back they'll be speechless. I put the arrow in and pull the bow back, the deer still hasn't heard me. I let go of the bow and the arrow goes flying, and the deer drops. I, still silent, walk up to the motionless deer. I pull the arrow out and run back to the tribe. When I arrive, they are all sitting around the fire. I drop the bloody arrow in front of the chief. He looks at it, then at me.
"Where's the deer?"
"To heavy for me to carry. I'll say it's about 140 pounds."
He looks amazed. "Umm.. you three. Go with her, I'll expect a 140 pound deer when I get back."
"Yes, sir," I say sarcastically. We walk back to the deer with no one talking, these men are taller than me and I'm tall. We get at the site, luckily no wild animal has gotten there first. The men look astonished and look at me.
"It only took you one hour," one of them says.
"And that's walking here and back," I reply. We pick up the deer and bring it back, it took us about double the time. When we got there, the whole tribe was waiting there and we put the deer down in front of the chief that is standing. The two guys go stand next to him. The chief looks at the deer walked around it like it had a disease.
"We have a feast of deer!" he yells. Thank God! I think, feeling relieved. I go into the hut with Adli in it. He's awake and is very scared I sit next to him and give him some cooked venison and some water. He gets more relaxed and falls back to sleep, I check his wounds. They look much better, and I change his bandages. Then, I fall asleep right next to him.
Two months later, I go out for another hunt because I am now the head hunter, I come back with big game. And that night, I sleep on my bed with Adli at the end, all healed up. As I barely fall asleep, I hear screams and see fire swung around and hit someone. Then, my apprentice comes in and gets shot in the back with an arrow. I grab my bow and arrows, Adli is growling at the big man in my doorway. He comes into view of my fire and I draw my bow. I see the man's face, it's my father. He has his bow drawn too, and then he lets it down. I still have mine drawn, and I release the bow, and the arrow goes straight past my father's left ear and hits the man behind him in the head, my target. My father looks at me and turns around to the outside and starts shooting.
"I thought you were dead, we searched and searched, but you were no were to be found," he explains.
"I know, I couldn't live with the shame of ruining our tribe," I reply, getting up and standing next to my father, shooting the Zorrocas.
"Honey, it's fine, come back. We don't care that you are the Chosen Child or not," he says. And hugs me, I have missed my family and friends, so much.
"These people are so different from us," I say in between shootings. "They don't love, hug, and care, about anything except exceeding."
"I know, they have no hearts," he replies. "Grab your things. I can take them for a while." I go and grab my things and Adli.
"Follow me, I know these woods by heart."
"No, I can-" my father starts.
"Okay, we'll follow you," he says. I lead them the back way that the Zorrocas don't know and we loose them fast, twenty minutes later we are at the Bare Valley.
"They have the wolves working for them, so we have to go on the edge of the valley and be silent. I know it takes double the time, but it's the only way," I explain. They listen to me and follow me around the valley. Soon enough, Adli does an almost silent growl and I stop and look around. Then, unexpectedly wolves surround us.
We all slowly grab our bows, "At the count of three," I say. The evil wolves start growling and foaming at the mouth. "One.......Two....." Adli starts growling deeper and louder, "Watch out for Adli.... three!" We all let go and take half the pack down. The other wolves attack, two jumps on me I take my knife out of my pocket and I stab them. I draw my bow and put three arrows on and take out three wolves. Then, I look over at Adli, he's attacking the same wolf that attacked him before. What goes around comes around. Then, I look at my father who has his bow pointed at me and lets go of it, I drop to the ground and two wolves in mid-jump get hit by his arrows behind me.
"Hey, I would have missed you," he says.
"Ya right! Old man!" I scream. As I see two, wolves hit Adli at one time, he tumbles over, I reach for an arrow, there's none. I can't throw my knife I might hit him. I think to myself. I run toward the corpse of a wolf and take out the arrow, I draw my bow and release. Then, I feel my knee buckle, I look down and see a knife in my leg. I pull it out and look behind me, and see the Zorrocas about one hundred feet behind us.
"Move out!" I yell and I try to walk but I can't. I look up and see Adli getting up and the two wolves are down. I got them both with one arrow. My father comes and picks me up, Adli follows. We run through the valley and get up to the Shadow of the Bear.
"Go to the Shadow of the Bear and follow the tunnel to our tribe," I say.
"How do you know about that?" my father questions.
"I am your child, father." We go down to the Shadow of the Bear and as we go through the tunnel, we hear the echo of some of the Zorrocan men fall down, but after a while we hear nothing. We keep going until we get to the end of the tunnel to our tribe. My father sets me down and gets some bandages and starts dressing my cut.
"It's not that bad, I'm fine," I say. "Go help someone else." And as soon as I say that I faint.
A few hours later I wake up, "What happened?"
"You fainted, honey."
"Mother?" I ask.
"Yes, it's me!" I open my eyes and see my mother she looks so old from the last time I saw her. We hug, and then Adli walks in and I pet him, he looks much healthier.
"Can I walk?"
"Yes, but be careful," my mother answers. I get up with her help and she gives me a cane to help me stand. As I walk out I see, everyone in our tribe turn to me and start clapping.
"What is this?" I ask.
My father comes over to me, "You have been given back your title as the Chosen Child. If you still want it."
"Yes, of course."
"I'm so sorry for not realizing your potential and not actually letting you be the Chosen Child. Will you ever forgive me?"
"I already have." I reply.