Author Topic: Sky People  (Read 6367 times)

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Offline Puvomun

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Sky People
« on: November 21, 2010, 02:57:16 am »
1. We're going to have to be clever

"We're going to have to be clever with the Samsons." The voice of the pilot sounded worried.

"Looks like it, Mark," a woman technician agreed. "Why is there nothing on this planet that we can use to make them fly?"

"Moon," the pilot reminded her, "this is a moon. Up there's the planet." He pointed to what remained of the ceiling.

They were in the only hangar that had remained standing after the insane trio had blown up most of the base. The structure had not gotten away unblemished: there were cracks in the walls and plenty of parts from the ceiling had come down. In general however, the place was still safe enough for maintenance on the few tiltrotor aircraft they still had operational.

"Yeah, whatever. When we used the last gallon of fuel, we're out of jobs though." The woman wiped her hands on a rag that hung from her overall pocket. "And then what?"

Mark laughed. "Are you afraid you'll get fired? Now really, that should be the least of your problems, Mary, stuff like food, water and air are more important. I am curious what the away team comes up with."

"I doubt they will find a few nice bungalows with all conveniences," Mary said as she crawled under the Samson one more time to check what she had already checked twice.

"You won't find the answer there," Mark commented. He understood that she was scared about the future. All their rooms and facilities had been blown to smithereens, some of their personal belongings too, and the remaining people now shared a decent and safe but far too small block hut.

"Screw you, Mark," Mary growled from under the big machine, "I'm trying to do my work here."

Mark decided to keep silent. Mary sounded more and more aggravated. More people were suffering from that.

-=-=-

"This is not a good idea," Norm said as he looked up the tree. He was part of the 'away team'.

"Why isn't it?" Neytiri asked him. "It is a good tree, and it is close to Kelutral."

"This is a very big tree," Norm pointed out the obvious.

"Srane. You cannot live in a small tree with so many people," Neytiri tried to keep her patience with the man.

Jake agreed with Neytiri. "She has a point there, Norm."

"The point is not that it's big, Jake, but that it is a tree." Norm looked up at the people who were with him to find a good place to live. "We are used to houses and buildings. Things you can make airtight, remember?" He tapped the mask, to make his reasoning clearer.

Puvomun, who was with the group, kneeled down and said: "When you make a house, you start with nothing. You first build the outside, which is like the tree. And then you make it good for your air. The forest has made this tree for you. You only have to make it good for your air."

Randolph and Mendelson, who were there as well, looked around.

Randolph argued: "Do you know how many holes there are in that tree that need to be closed?"

"I do. There are many. Do you see how many small trees and branches there are to close these holes?" Jake returned.

The older man, Mendelson, turned to Randolph. "Do not look at the gloomy side, sir. Look at all the support we are getting from these people. Be honest, Mr. Randolph, without help we are stuck in that oversized shack. Does that prospect make you happy?"

Randolph looked as if he wanted to say something nasty, but he shrugged it off. Mendelson was right, the block hut was crowded. It had been built in haste and served them well so far, but it was not a sustainable long term situation. That was why they were here, in the jungle, only a few stone throws away from the immense tree where the Omatikaya lived.

Neytiri had walked back into the tree and looked around. "This is a good place." Her words sounded final.

"Good place, good place," Norm muttered. "True, but it is still a tree."

"I am living in a tree too, Norm," Jake reminded him.

"Yeah, but you're..." the scientist swallowed a few words. "You're Omatikaya. I'm one of the little people here, remember? There are even plants out there that can eat us in one bite."

Norm was not exaggerating.

"I suggest that we grow up then." Mendelson, who had recovered from the wounds and hardship of his captivity, had sat down on the ground. "I have to agree with Jake and Neytiri that this is a very good place. I suggest that we take the others here someday soon and show them."

Puvomun agreed with that. "The sooner everyone agrees with this, the sooner the work can be done to make this tree a good home for you."

"We also will have to think of a way to get around fast," Randolph said. "We can't ride these ikran birds like you do."

"Ikrans are not birds," Mendelson said, sounding a bit tired of Randolph's words.

"Most of our people walk," Jake added, looking at Randolph. "Only the hunters and warriors fly ikrans."

"And your teachers," Randolph pointed at Puvomun.

"Not all teachers fly an ikran," Puvomun responded to the man. "These were found by Amhul, we did not go up Iknimaya to conquer one."

"Yeah, whatever. Some kind of vehicle would be nice."

"I am sure we can make a bicycle for you," Mendelson said, clearly pleased he could annoy Randolph.

The man addressed clutched the barrel of his gun a little tighter and did not respond.

Puvomun looked at Jake and Neytiri, who both had their eyes fixed on Randolph. They too had noticed the jerky reaction of the armed man. This man, the teacher concluded, could become a danger. It would be wise to keep an eye on him.

"Can we get back to this place? This big tree?" Norm asked, who seemed to notice that things were getting slightly out of hand.

"Of course, Norm. First agree on the location. If you can't live with the tree, or perhaps the majority can't, we can always see if there is a way to build a big house here, the way we put one up on the base." Jake's suggestion sounded reasonable.

Puvomun watched Randolph, who still looked grumpy, but whose mood seemed to turn for the better.

"I think that is an excellent idea," Mendelson said. "We should create some video material so the others can see that first. It may serve that not all want to come here." He took a device from his pack and started looking through it, all around him, and focussing on the tree they had picked as the future home for the sawtute.

"Do you want to come to visit the village?" Jake asked, as Mendelson was busy.

Randolph looked at Norm. His face was neutral.

"I think we should go back soon," Norm thought out loud, "they will want to know what we came across."

"I would think so," Mendelson responded from behind his little device, "so I agree." He tucked the little thing in his pack again.

The sawtute went back to their flying machines and left for the far-away base.

Puvomun had mixed feelings about the men and their reactions. Jake and Neytiri had asked him to come along as the teacher had a different view on these people, something he had been surprised about as Nusumea seemed a much more likely person for that.

"What do you think, ma Puvomun?" Neytiri asked.

The teacher told them his feelings. "They all seem to be willing to move, even this man Randolph. But for people like him I think the change will be difficult."

Jake and Neytiri nodded.

"Luckily there are not many like him. Most of them are regular folks, and scientists," Jake said. "We'll see how things go."

Back in the village, most people just went about their business, not yet very interested in what had gone on. That would come once the move was becoming more real. For now it had been just another visit of some of the sawtute, which was not much of a surprise these days.

Peyral, the hunter, was with Amhul, and Peyral's face lit up when she saw Puvomun. "Ma Puvomun, you saved me."

This was quite a surprising welcome, he had not expected that. "In what way?" he wondered.

"Amhul recruited me because you were gone. She wants to take some of the older children out riding on fa'li."

Puvomun grinned. He remembered how he and Peyral had once taught the small ones to ride, and make tsaheylu with the horses for the first time. Peyral had been scared that the children would fall from their backs and had kept running next to them.

"They are only children," Amhul said. She knew the story around Peyral and liked to tease the hunter with that. "But if you are scared, I will take Puvomun with me."

The teacher singer laughed. "Let me get my tsko swizaw, then I will join you."

Soon he walked with his mate, to where the horses and the children were waiting. There were six of them, and they all were very excited to go out for a ride with the teachers.

"Where are we going today?" one of them asked as the teachers helped the children up on the animals.

"Do you have a place you want to go?" Amhul asked.

Of course the children had a favourite spot in mind. Unfortunately they all thought of different spots, so Amhul decided they would follow the river to the north for a while and then circle back through the forest.
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

Offline Puvomun

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2010, 10:25:06 am »
2. Out riding - a strange find

"Ayoengil tsìye'a aynantangit srak? Are we going to see nantangs?" one of the boys asked as the group left the vicinity of Kelutral. "I want to see them."

"I hope we don't," said Puvomun, to the boy's dismay. "The nantang have young now, and then they are very protective. Dangerous. So when we see them, we will be very careful."

"And very quiet too," Amhul amended.

Most of the children nodded, but a few of the boys commented that they did not feel like being quiet.

Puvomun and Amhul exchanged glances. They had heard this kind of talk before, and usually the ones making so much noise at first were the most silent ones if really something happened. Puvomun felt reassured that he had brought his bow along, just to be safe.

They rode along the water for a while, then took the horses into the shallow part of the water and let them go a bit faster. The water splashed around and the children had a wonderful time, yelling and trying to get each other wet, a game at which they all were very good.

The group reached a spot where a large tree had fallen across the river, forming a natural bridge. The horses had to go back on land again in order to continue the trip. All the  children knew this place, most of them had seen it before. It was where Amhul had crossed the river, and found three wounded ikrans.

One of them had not survived, its wounds had been too grave. Puvomun had killed it to put an end to its suffering. He had sent its spirit to Eywa. The other two were now in the crown of Hometree, as ikrans of the teachers, which was something unheard of. Until now.

Puvomun saw how Amhul hesitated for a moment, before she led the group on. He knew that the remains of the dead ikran were still in the small clearing, and by now probably in not a very pretty state. But that was the way of nature.

The group rode on, along the river, until they came upon a number of large rocks that lay in the water. It was a good time, they decided, to take a break from riding. The children went swimming while the horses ventured around looking for ay'ä'o, the pitcher plants that held a syrupy liquid they liked to drink.

Puvomun talked about the tree they had located for the Sky people, which would be a good place for them to live.

"Why don't they believe us?" Amhul wondered as she heard about the objections to the tree and the idea to build a tawtuteyä house. "We have lived in the trees since the First Songs, and the trees protect us-" She fell silent for a moment.

Puvomun reached for her hand. He knew that the memory of the sawtute attack on their old Hometree was with her strongly, and as far as he knew that was the first time that a tree had not protected the people.

"They are gone, my love," he said. "The ones who are still here have no more weapons to do that."

Amhul nodded, her face showing her emotion, as she wiped a few tears away before they showed. "They should listen."

"Srane. Yes. They should." Puvomun held her hand for a moment longer, squeezing it lightly. "Come. We'll swim with the children."

Amhul nodded and smiled, a warm caring smile.

The two teachers went into the water and called the children for a lesson on water creatures.

"We'll go under water and see what animals we can find," Puvomun said, "and then we come up and tell what we saw."

The children all were game, and soon the surface of the river was only disturbed by kicking feet and the occasional tail floating up. Once they all had come out of the water, the children in turn told about the fish, the amphibians and the water worms they had seen. Many of the children also mentioned the dangerous ones and why people had to be careful around those.

The group went into the forest for a while, to gather some food to eat. After locating enough for everyone, they mounted the fa'li again and rode on while eating.

Amhul decided to cut through the forest and head back when the path along the river was becoming very narrow and hard to navigate for the horses. It was a good time for it anyway.

They came upon what looked like a wide path after riding in single file for quite a long time. The path led to the south, where they wanted to go.

Puvomun and Amhul examined the ground and the trees for a few moments and then they asked the children why there would be such a wide path in the forest.

"That is easy!" one of them exclaimed. "The tracks show there were ay'angstik here, hammerheads, and they pushed the trees to the side." He pointed to the damaged smaller trees that lay left and right of the path, broken by the enormous strength of huge animals.

"Very good," Amhul said. "Now we will do something special. Puvomun, will you go to the end of the path and see until where it is safe to go fast?"

The teacher grinned as he heard the excitement of the children. They were not allowed to ride fast very often yet, as they were not big enough to sit very stable on the large horses. "Of course. I'll call when I am there."

He let his pa'li run along the path at a good pace. Puvomun was not a rider who went fast, and at this pace he could also see if there were any dangerous spots in the ground, but things looked safe. He stopped near one of the trees that were broken by an 'angtsik. If the children would end their race here, there was ample space for all of them to come to a stop without the lot running into each other.

"Until here will be fine!" he called out, waving an arm.

He saw Amhul wave as well so she had heard him. In the distance he saw how the children were getting ready to race their horses over the trail and then the small horde came towards him. Puvomun manoeuvered  his pa'li out of the way. He did not want to end up mashed between several horses.

Yelling and screaming reached him before the first of the fast going daredevils raced past him, bringing their horses to a stop. Some of these children had a real talent to ride, he noticed, they were entirely relaxed after their mad dash.

Others came in a lot slower, faces tense and their postures all wrong for riding. Those were the kind that rode like he did. Just before reaching the others, one of the children fell from the pa'li.

Puvomun saw it happen, and dropped from his horse more than he slid down. Quickly he ran to the boy, because there were two more children coming towards the end of the trail at quite the speed. The teacher grabbed the boys legs and pulled him to the side. The two children however had seen that had happened, and slowed down smoothly, coming towards the fallen one to make sure everything was alright.

The boy was already getting to his feet again, be it a little shaky. He had some bruises and a few cuts on his chest, but that was all.

"Nga lu nìltsan srak? Are you well?" Puvomun asked.

"Srane, irayo," the boy thanked him.

"What happened? Why did you fall?" Amhul asked. She had sped her horse to the others as she had seen something go wrong.

The boy looked guilty. "I broke tsaheylu while we went so fast."

"You broke- Why?" Puvomun and Amhul were very surprised about that explanation.

"I wanted to know how much difference it would make, to ride without tsaheylu," the boy grinned, rubbing his arm. "And that was a bigger difference than I thought."

"And when are you going to do it again?" Amhul asked.

The boy shook his head. "When we get home." His words made everyone laugh, and after everyone was on horseback again, the journey continued. The babble about the fast riding kept going as they rode along the high trees, the thick dark bushy shrubs and the small fields of various plants.

Puvomun tried to interest their class in some of the plants, but he was out of luck. Instead of giving replies, the children asked when they would go fast again.

It took Amhul and her mate a while before the questioning ended. They made it very clear that this racing was not something they would do every time they were out on horseback.

"It is not just about seeing how fast you can fall from a pa'li," Amhul said, "it is also about learning your way in the jungle and learning how you can avoid dangers when you are on a horse. With a horse you do not quickly climb a tree."

The group of children nodded. They understood.

Puvomun then told everyone to stop. "Keep your horses from making noise," he instructed them. They had to learn that too, and using tsaheylu they could do that. "Make them stand still."

Amhul did it as well, with her horse. She was very good at it, the pa'li stood still as a tree. The children now looked very serious, as the game suddenly turned serious.

Puvomun pointed at a boy and a girl and gestured that they had to come with him, riding as noiselessly as they could. He then made his pa'li move over the path and turned into the jungle. He let the animal know where he wanted to go and left it to find its way. Any sound that the horses made was drowned out by the sounds of the jungle.

After proceeding a stretch, Puvomun was satisfied with how the children had managed their pa'li and turned with a smile. He nodded at the two and was about to point to the way back, when the girl who had looked around a bit, with her mouth open, pointed.

Puvomun frowned and looked where she was pointing. "Oìsss..."
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

Offline Puvomun

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2010, 12:36:47 pm »
3. The discovery

Puvomun slipped from the horse and took his bow. He moved to the girl and whispered: "Fmilan, go back to Amhul and tell her to bring the others. Quietly."

She nodded and turned her horse, making it pace back through the trees to fetch the others.

Puvomun looked at the boy. "Tsu'tri, come with me," he whispered. "Stay low."

The boy slid off his horse and followed the teacher through the low bushes until they were very close to the open patch they had seen from horseback. Kneeling behind huge fern, Puvomun told Tsu'tri to watch if he saw anyone moving. Together they scanned the area, but saw nothing moving.

"We go back to the horses and wait for Amhul," Puvomun said to the boy. Silently they moved through the trees and bushes and waited, which did not take long.

"Ma Puvomun," Amhul whispered as she dropped to the ground, "what is the matter?"

Puvomun first let all the children come off their horses and kneeled with them.

"Fmilan has seen something that worries me," he whispered. "There is a ta'leng lefngap standing in an open patch closeby. I don't know where it comes from or why it is here, but we have to make try and find out what it is doing here." He looked at everyone in turn. "This is not a game, so I need you all to be very quiet and careful, and watch out for sawtute if there are any. Srak?"

"Puvomun," Amhul hissed, "we need to get help. We are not warriors or hunters."

Puvomun looked in her eyes. "I know. But we train children to become them. Trust me, we won't take any risks. And if there are children who want to stay here, that is good. Just say so."

One girl and one boy nodded. "We will stay here. And watch the horses."

"Sìltsan. Good. The rest follows. Quietly."

They moved through the high grass like snakes, only making the slightest movements. Amhul and Puvomun made the group spread out and hide in the grass and behind plants, while the teacher held his tsko swizaw ready.

From behind the high shrubs Puvomun watched the single AMP suit that stood there. It had not moved since Tsu'tri and he had left it. After a while he moved along the edge of the open patch, going from cover to cover, asking if the child sitting there had seen anything or anyone move in or around the looming mass of metal. none of them had.

Amhul, who was watching the back of the thing, had also not seen any movement. "It looks deserted," she whispered, "but why is it here? And why alone? They never went out alone for what I know."

"Indeed, that is what I thought too," Puvomun agreed, "but it seems that we did not know everything." He scowled for a moment, while thinking. "Gather all the children and stay close to the horses. I will go to the thing and have a closer look."

"You are crazy!" Amhul hissed as she grabbed his arm. "Let a warrior do that."

"Ma Amhul, I can outrun that thing easily," Puvomun tried to reassure her. "It can not move fast in the jungle. If there is someone inside it at all. And if he wants to do something."

Amhul was not entirely satisfied, but with a sigh she gave in. She knew that Puvomun would not stop now. He was not crazy, as she had said. She knew he would have assessed the situation well. "Nìltsan. I will get the children. But be careful."

"I promise."

Amhul touched his cheek for a moment, then slipped away in the grass, while Puvomun kept his eyes on the AMP suit that still had not moved.

Once he had seen Amhul move the children to the horses, he rose up and approached the machine from the rear, an arrow on his bow. When he came closer, he noticed that there was a tiny bit of moss at the base of one of the huge legs of the machine.

"Prrwll," he confirmed, "moss." That meant the thing had been here for a prolongued period of time. This moss did not attach itself to things quickly. Slowly he walked round the silent machine, his eyes darting from the glass shielding of the cabin to the ground, where he noticed footprints. Tawtute footprints. Someone had jumped from the ta'leng lefngap, gone through the effort of closing the cabin, and then the person had walked off into the jungle.

Puvomun looked inside the thing and it was deserted, as he had expected. He did not see any damage to the glass shielding, so the person who had left the thing here had not been in any kind of danger. Except perhaps that the 'Rrta air he breathed inside the machine had run out. He then followed the tracks for a few hundred steps, but soon they were lost in the new high grass.

The teacher put his bow on his back and returned to the others. "The tawtute left his ta'leng lefngap and went into the forest. I can't read the track very far."

They all mounted their horses again, the teachers helping most of the children, and they set off towards their village along the shortest route, which meant leaving the direction to the fa'li...

-=-=-

Once they had returned and the children were seen off to their parents, the teachers went to find Jake. He was not around, so they went and looked for Neytiri. She was gone as well.

The teachers then saw Nusumea and Eyamsiyu sitting together. There was a gourd between them, they had mounted a twig over it and they were doing something with thin strips of vine.

"Dear friends, we have to tell you something," Puvomun said, not caring if he interrupted them for once.

"What is it?" The two men rose to their feet, leaving the gourd for what it was.

The two teachers explained what they had found during the ride with the children. Eyamsiyu as well as Nusumea were very surprised and spent some time guessing about the origin of the thing and the reason why it had been abandoned.

Then Nusumea said they should tell a few warriors or hunters. "Maybe they can have a look and find out more."

Puvomun agreed, so they went to look for Ateyo. Instead they found Rakan, so they told him about their discovery.

His first reaction was: "Who gave you too much kava?"

"We had no kava, Rakan, and you know that. We are serious, and if you can't be, we will find a warrior hunter who will listen to us."

"Wou, stop, wait," Rakan said as he sat up. "I'm joking. So what did you say? You found a deserted tawtute metal skin?"

"Yes. There was no one in it, I checked that. I saw some tracks but I could not follow them very far. The grass grew too fast there," Puvomun explained.

Rakan nodded. "For tracks we need Ateyo or Tawtewng," he said with a clarity of mind he hid most of the time. "Let me see if I can find one of them." He walked off towards the tree and returned soon, Tawtewng with him.

Rakan had already explained the situation to the other hunter. "I hear there was something strange. We should go there and look at it again," Tawtewng proposed. "It's a good thing you have ikrans."

"It is faster when we go on pa'li," Amhul said, "it is not so far from here."

"Good, let's do that then," Rakan agreed.

After telling Nusumea and Eyamsiyu that they were leaving again, the teachers and the hunters rode off, Puvomun in the lead, to where the strange AMP suit was waiting.

When they were standing in front of the tawtute machine, Rakan snorted. "Ikran would have been faster. Are you suddenly afraid of flying?"

Puvomun didn't even respond, it was typical for Rakan to throw in such a comment. Amhul instead looked the young man in the face and then slapped him over the head.

"Ouch," Rakan acted as if he was mortally wounded, "you hurt me!"

Tawtewng shook his head and asked everyone to move away from the machine so they would not mess up the footprints. Then he followed where the prints disappeared into the jungle. "I'll come back when I lose them, or I find something," he warned the people who stayed behind. "Don't follow me!"

While the three waited, Rakan climbed on the machine and looked inside it. "P'ha... so cramped and... tawtute." He jumped down again. Then he walked around the machine and muttered to himself.

"I'll be right back," he told the teachers, and walked off into another direction, disappearing between trees and ferns.

Amhul sat down. "Let them do the work. They were trained for that."

Puvomun grinned and sat down with her. Somehow it was very strange to him, that they were sitting and resting their backs against one of the machines that had caused their people so much hardship.

"How long has this been here?" Amhul wondered.

"At least forty days." Puvomun pointed out the moss on the metal.

"Do you think they will come to take it back to their base?"

Puvomun shrugged. "I don't know. They mentioned that their fuel for the machines is low, and this runs on it too. I doubt they can use this."

Amhul looked up at the monstrous machine. "It might help to build their house, to carry the heavy things."

"Srane. If they decide to live in the tree we found. They will have to agree to that."

Amhul understood. "It will all be fine."

Puvomun hoped so. The Sky people had made things difficult for the people twice already. Their numbers were dwindling, but the memories lingered.

Rakan returned and sat down with the teachers. "This thing came from far," he told them. "I tracked its steps back for a long time and I did not see where the trail started. I can't believe that someone wants to walk this... thing all the way from the sawtute base."

"And why would this person come alone?" Amhul wondered. That was a good question, the sawtute usually went out in groups of at least three.

They talked and thought about it until Tawtewng rejoined them. "The tracks go very deep into the forest. I lost them near the swamp. If the tawtute went in there, he will be dead now."

"He will be dead anyway," Puvomun shared. "Their breathing masks do not last that long. But we can ask Norm or Mendelson if they know of someone who went missing."

As there were no traces leading to a person and there was nothing they could do about the lump of metal, the scouts decided to go back to the village. They would inform Jake about all this and he would have to decide on further steps.

-=-=-

As they found Jake, the news of the find had already reached him through the children, so the Olo'eyktan was very curious to hear what the group had to tell him. After hearing them, he stared out over the village for a while, in thought.

"That's really weird," he agreed. "Nobody mentioned an AMP suit missing. Forty days or thereabouts... hmmm."

It meant that the AMP suit had been taken out between the moment that most of the Sky people had left this world and the time that the problems with the runaways had started.

"Considering that the person who drove the AMP suit is probably dead, there is no need for hurry. We'll go over to the base tomorrow and have a look around with Norm and Randolph," Jake decided. "Let's make this a calm evening, friends."

The evening remained calm, even when Puvomun and Amhul told a few exciting stories for the younger children, stories based on older songs that told about the times that Eywa seemed angry with the People...
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

Offline Puvomun

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2010, 09:56:42 am »
4. Is anyone missing

The next morning, Jake asked Puvomun and Tawtewng to come with him, to visit the Sky people.

Amhul smiled as Puvomun hugged her. "I will be back soon," he said.

"Oel omum, ma yawne, I know," she nodded, and then she gently pushed him towards the two waiting men. "Fly safely."

As they were in the air, Jake asked Puvomun if he could show him the deserted ta'leng lefngap.

The teacher looked down and decided he was not yet very good at finding the way there, and Tawtewng laughed.

"Don't worry, ma karyu, I know where it is," he said, and guided them to the spot without hesitation.

"Now that is a dumb place to leave that thing," Jake commented as they saw the metal hulk. "There's nothing around for Sky people. I really am curious who took this enormous hike."

The three turned north and flew to the old sawtute base. They left their ikrans in the forest, as they saw quite a lot of activity going on on the premises. Subjecting their animals to all that noise was not a good idea.

From all sides they were greeted and welcomed by the people who were outside. Most of them were digging through the rubble that had once been the buildings where they had lived. A woman explained that they were trying to find some more of their possessions, things they had not been able to save before the buildings had been blown up.

"It is hard work," she sighed, "and not much of what we salvage is still usable."

Jake and Tawtewng walked on while Puvomun stayed back to talk with the woman.

"Then why do you do it?" the teacher asked.

"It's all we had," she tried to explain. "All the little things from home. And we were not allowed to bring a lot anyway, so everything we find is precious."

Puvomun understood this, as he had dealt with Sky people so much now. They were very attached to the things they had. It made life rather difficult for them.

"Maybe you should look around and find things that are from here," he suggested to the woman who perspired behind her mask. "You have chosen our world as your home. It might be wise to see it as your home."

The woman, who had reached for a piece of wood, stopped her labour and turned to the teacher. She tilted her head a little and clearly was considering his words. "Yeah. But how would we do that?"

Puvomun then understood more the depth of her problem. They had no connection to the world, they were lost here. Even with their machines.

"Find a piece of wood and make something from it," he suggested. "You have tools to make things, knives. You can make something simple at first."

"Yeah..." The woman nodded, but she was not convinced, Puvomun saw that.

"I should find Jake," he said with a smile. "If you want to talk about this, you can always come to me when I am here."

"Thanks, Puvomun," she said and waved a goodbye.

As the teacher walked off, he heard how she started digging again.

He found Tawtewng and Jake sitting on the ground near the new building. There were several Sky people sitting with them, Pvuomun recognised Norm easily, he did not know the other two by name, although he had seen their faces before.

Without a word he sat down with them, as the small group was talking.

"Nobody noticed that the thing was gone, mind you," one of the unfamiliar people said. "So many things were destroyed during the bombing, and the explosion. And the mercenaries took a lot of that stuff with them when they left. Nobody took note of what they had left behind, we were trying to get ourselves organised."

"Mark, nobody is accusing anyone of something, okay?" Norm was calm as he talked to the man. "We just heard that one of the AMP suits turned up, abandoned, in a field near the village. And now we're trying to figure out who took it out there. The pour soul probably is dead and taken apart by god knows what kind of animal, but knowing a name would be nice."

"I am sure it was not one of the security folks that stayed behind," said the man named Mark. "I know all these guys and I've seen them daily."

"Must be one of the scientists then," Norm concluded, "many of us stayed here." He looked at Jake. "For whatever reason. I don't see any of the technicians doing something like that."

Jake grinned for a moment. "So you have a list of scientists that should be here?"

Norm and the man Puvomun did not know counted the scientists on their fingers, naming each one of them. They repeated the list and looked at each other. "How could we have missed him?"

"Who?" Jake asked.

"Paul Cameron. Silent type, always locked up in his lab, working on insane gadgets in his spare time."

"Insane gadgets?" Jake looked surprised and puzzled.

"Yes," the unnamed man nodded. "All kinds of equipment, like shoes to walk over water, exo-skeleton suits to lift heavy stuff. I recall he once built a ceramic coverall to work inside a volcano."

Puvomun did not really understand all that, but Jake nodded and agreed that these were insane gadgets.

"And you are sure he did not go back to Earth?"

"Pretty sure. As I said, he's the silent type. He could stand next to you and you wouldn't notice him." The unnamed man shrugged. "Although I am certain he is not here now. We would have seen him in the house. It's impossible to miss someone in there." The man stood.  "Let me check, just to be certain."

He went into the house and returned very soon. "Nope, not here. Mendelson agrees that Cameron stayed on Pandora, he's seen him. Once or twice."

Mendelson came out of the house, smiling as he saw the three guests.

"And this man Cameron, would he know how to use an AMP suit?" Jake then asked.

"It's not standard scientist material, but most of us know a bit about it," Norm shrugged. "Pete there," he pointed at the so far unnamed man, "is quite an expert on them."

"And knowing Paul Cameron, he had it figured out perfectly," Mendelson added. "He always got to the nitty gritty of things."

"Would he be able to walk a metal skin as far as our village?" Puvomun asked. "Because that is where we found it."

Pete, Norm and Mendelson conferred about that and decided that it would have taken an AMP suit a few days but that it was feasible. "The machine would be out of fuel by then though."

Which would make sense then, that the man had abandoned it. But why, Puvomun wondered, had he gone into the jungle on his own, towards a certain death, instead of coming to the village? Perhaps he had no idea that he was so close to Kelutral?

Nobody had a proper answer to those questions.

"I suggest we leave the thing where it is," Mark then said. "We can't spare the fuel to get it back here anyway." He looked at Jake, Tawtewng and Puvomun. "Unless it is in your way."

"It's not. We were just very worried about the thing being there," said Jake.

"Which is understandable," Mendelson nodded. "Oh, did they tell you about the housing conference we had last evening?"

This was news for the three guests. So far they had focussed on the ta'leng lefngap, but it was a nice change of subject.

Mendelson seemed to be very pleased that he could bring this news. "I showed the footage I recorded of the area, and everyone agrees that it looks a nice place to live. Also most of us agree that it is a good thing that you are our neighbours."

Puvomun clearly heard the 'most of us' but did not bother to react to that. Nor did the others.

"There's still some discussion going on about house or treehouse, but I am sure we will get through that too."

Pete nodded. "We'll have to. We don't have enough equipment to supply air to two houses, so we'll have to reach an agreement on that."

"I am pleased to announce, though, that a majority thinks that the tree is our best option."

Norm looked at Mendelson for a moment and nodded. "Yes, most are leaning towards that. We're going to have another discussion about it later today and then we hope we can make the decision."

Puvomun wondered why the Sky people needed so much talking for everything. They needed a good Olo'eyktan, and perhaps Mendelson was the person to be their first.

"Did you bring your remarkable animals with you?" Mendelson then asked. "Pxengayä pxeikran?"

"Srane, yes, we do," Puvomun said, as Jake and Tawtewng looked at him, offering him the freedom to speak. As Mendelson's face lit up, it was even more obvious that he would appreciate seeing the ikrans. "If you want, you can come with us when we leave."

"Which would be around now, anyway," Jake said as he got up.

"Oh, I would love to!" Mendelson exclaimed, and was on his feet before Puvomun and Tawtewng. It was as if he had never seen an ikran before. Perhaps, Puvomun thought to himself, the man hadn't.

Jake and Norm agreed to talk about things over the radio later, and then Jake and Tawtewng went ahead, while Puvomun walked slowly so Mendelson did not have to run. Puvomun knew that this man was one of the older people here.

Puvomun called Kilvan down to the ground, while the other two went up to their ikrans. They would fly home and the teacher would come a bit later.

Mendelson walked around Kilvan and almost looked greedy. He kept talking, but what he said was mostly incomprehensible for Puvomun, so the teacher just kept his hand on Kilvan's neck to keep her calm.

"And you make your bond with the ikran through one of these... leads, am I correct?" Mendelson asked as he stepped a bit too close to Kilvan for her comfort. Puvomun had to step in and push hard to prevent her from snapping at the man.

"Rutxe, stay away please, an ikran does not like it when others come too close," he warned the Sky person scientist. He suppressed a grin, because he had never expected that a man like Mendelson was able to jump so fast. "Yes, we make tsaheylu like this."

Kilvan calmed down a lot when the bond was established. Puvomun quickly climbed on her shoulders. "I will have to leave now. We will see each other again soon. Kìyevame, ma Mendelson."

"Kìyevame, Puvomun!" the small man replied.

Then, after a gentle thought, Kilvan jumped up while spreading her wings, and they took to the sky.
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2010, 09:37:12 am »
5. Talks, walks and music

Kilvan brought the teacher back home swiftly. He hardly had to watch where they were going and had learnt to trust the ikran. If something worrying would appear somewhere, he'd sense it and then his awareness would be directed to it. This was something he had discovered a few times already and impressed him deeply.

His head was filled with many things. The strange find, the man who had been in it, the fact that the Sky people would become 'neighbours' soon, that and more kept him occupied, and he was still trying to make sense of it all as he saw Jake and Neytiri, who were talking to Nusumea.

"Why is there a worry on your face?" Neytiri asked the teacher as he sat down with them.

Puvomun shook his head. "I think too much lately."

"Why are you doing that then?" Nusumea wanted to know. "You do not have to do everything, ma tsmukan."

Puvomun told them about his thoughts. They understood that these kept him busy but also stated that he should not spend too much time on them.

"Be the teacher singer that you are, Puvomun," Jake advised him, "and let us worry about things."

Puvomun grinned and nodded, knowing that mere words would not be enough to stop his thoughts from going around.

"And next time when you take the children out riding, please don't find things like AMP suits again." Jake laughed at that, with all the others.

Puvomun said he would go and be the teacher again. Then he left the group and went looking for Amhul.

He found her staring out over the river. He sat down next to her. "Do you want to be alone?" he asked his mate.

Amhul did not look at him, just shook her head a bit and remained silent. They sat there together, each with their own thoughts, enjoying the serenity of the moment.

"I am trying to make a new song," Amhul then suddenly broke the silence. "I want to compare the flow of life and the flow of the river to Eywa." She lay on her back and stared up at the sky. "But there are so many similarities, ma Puvomun, that I don't know where to begin and where to end."

"That is a difficult matter indeed, ma Amhul. Where does the river start? Where does life start? These things are easy. They start at the source, at the beginning. But where does Eywa start?"

She turned her head and grinned at Puvomun. "You are such a big help, pointing out what I know already." Then she looked up again. "It is nice and quiet. Do you think it will still be like that when the sawtute have moved here?"

"I hope so. They will not be far away, but the distance is great enough. And the river flows close to their new home as well, they will not need to come here." Puvomun lay down next to Amhul.

"They have not decided on how they will live yet, I heard," Amhul said as her hand searched for, and found, Puvomun's.

"They have not. They want to talk more." The teacher singer laughed. "In the time they spend talking, we can build their house for them and also make the tree habitable for their kind."

Amhul leaned on an elbow and looked at Puvomun. "Show me that tree, will you?"

"Of course."

They left their spot at the river and walked along it for a while.

When they reached the tree, Puvomun pointed at it. "That is the one we found."

Amhul looked the tree up and down. "It is a good tree. It would even make a good home for the clan."

They inspected the tree on the inside, going up halfway.

"Why did they not take this tree immediately?" Amhul wondered as she looked out over the area. "I can even see Kelutral from here."

"They are Sky people," Puvomun said as explanation. "With their Sky people ideas."

After wandering around the tree and the area a little longer, they took a detour back to their village. Walking silently, listening to the sounds of animals, they suddenly stopped. Something reached their ears that they had not expected here.

Curiosity got the better of them, so they proceeded as quietly as they could. Then, hidden in the thicket, they saw Lolet and Rakan.

Amhul held a hand over her mouth and moved away, Puvomun directly behind her. Once they were out of earshot, Amhul sighed in relief. "Tewti... how fortunate that we did not have any children with us, ma Puvomun!"

-=-=-

In the afternoon Jake's radio beeped. Puvomun and Amhul were nearby, teaching a few small children a simple song about the roots of a tree when it happened, so they caught the gist of the conversation.

Norm and Mendelson had talked with the other sawtute again, about where to live. Apparently it had been a very difficult decision, but in the end they had voted and the majority had chosen for the tree house. The others had accepted, as the vote had been fair.

Jake sounded glad that they had decided. "When will you be able to start preparing the tree?" he asked Norm.

"As soon as possible." Norm's reponse was healthy. "Let's get it over with."

"Outstanding. I'll ask some people here to help, we can start by closing most of the larger openings in the tree structure."

"That's great, Jake, we'll have a few people there to help too, and to see where we need windows."

Puvomun understood that. Without those things the inside of the tree would be very dark.

They continued teaching the song for some more time, until the children became restless.

"Go, you band of aynantangtsyìp," Amhul said, waving her hands as if to chase them away. "You are scaring us now!"

Laughing, the children ran off.

"So they are coming to the tree," Amhul then said. "They made the good choice."

Puvomun agreed. As Amhul said she wanted to find Ninat, Puvomun sauntered off towards Eyamsiyu who was again working on the strange new musical instrument.

"Ma Puvomun! I need your fingers!" The man looked hopeful.

"My fingers?" Puvomun had not expected that.

"Yes, I need to you hold this and that in place there, so I can do something else."

The teacher frowned at this rather cryptic explanation, but he kneeled down and kept the strings in place on the gourd where Eyamsiyu had asked him to. The instrument maker then was busy for a while, tying knots and pulling strings. Then he pushed the round twig over the gourd, pinning the ends in small openings he had prepared for them.

Puvomun watched how he pulled the strings over the twig, tightening them as he plucked each one in turn. Amazed, the teacher noticed that the sound that came from the small strings actually was quite pleasant. Some of them were not right, but he was sure that Eyamsiyu would have a solution for that.

Nusumea Tirea came walking to the two and watched as Eyamsiyu finished the last strings. "You found out how to make it work. Wou, that is good!"

Eyamsiyu looked very pleased with the result. "It is not right yet, but it is a good beginning. We will surprise Norm and also Mendelson when they visit us again." He held up the finished, rough instrument and regarded it from all sides. "A remarkable thing," he decided, "but an interesting one."

Carefully Eyamsiyu pulled a finger along the strings, evoking a set of sounds from the gourd. He frowned. "It sounds dull, though. Maybe I should make some openings in the gourd..."

"Before you start doing that, ma Eyamsiyu, I have been thinking about a new large drum. Do you think that would be feasible here?" Puvomun asked.

"A large drum..." Eyamsiyu's eyes started to glisten. "That is a good idea. We need to have a large drum."

Puvomun grinned. This was good. The seed was planted. Eyamsiyu would take care of the rest, and everyone would help where they could to make the large drum. The clan needed a large drum.

"Hey guys?" Jake's voice rang out over the area around Hometree. "Anyone out there that has nothing to do?"

Puvomun looked at their leader. "Why do you ask?"

"I just talked to Norm. A few people are coming over to have a look at their tree, and then we can make plans on what to do and how to do it. I would like as many people there as possible, at least those with ideas."

Rakan and Lolet, who had returned to the village a while ago, looked up and said they would come along. Rakan offered to tell the Sky people where they could put the jugs with kava, which earnt him a slap from Lolet, but they both laughed.

Nusumea was clearly torn between coming along and staying to help Eyamsiyu, but the latter resolved that by putting the string instrument to the side and volunteering as well. Tawtewng said he knew nothing about making homes, so he would stay at the tree. Ekirä and Korun were eager to come along as well, they wanted to know where the 'neighbours' were going to be. Muzer grinned as Ikranari and a few other children hassled him to come with them, so he gave in. Amhul was of course also with the group, as was Ninat. Even Peyral came along.

In the end it was quite a procession that moved through the forest and along the riverbank. They got there quite quickly; so quickly that they had to wait for the Sky people to arrive.

The new neighbours seemed a bit overwhelmed by the amount of Na'vi people that were there. Puvomun noticed the man Randolph with the group. Mendelson was there as well, and a few he had not heard a name of. He recognised the woman he had talked to, the one who had been digging for her belongings.

Jake did the initial talking and the Sky people then had time to look at the tree that had been selected as their future home. At first they seemed ill at ease as they ventured into the large open space beneath the tree. Some of them walked to the centre, where the spiraling core roots were along which someone could go up. Some went for a walk around the tree, to see the close environment, Norm among them. And Mendelson joined the people, sitting with Jake, Neytiri and the others he knew.

"You know, it is very strange to think of this, that we will be living in a tree. At home- I mean back on Earth, we shared stories of children making tree houses. We are going to make such a story come true," the man said.

Neytiri translated the man's words for the people who did not understand the Inglìsì language so well. With her help and that of Puvomun, the people started a conversation with some of the sawtute. Sometimes it was a bit cumbersome because of a lack of words, but overall it was going quite well.

Norm and Mendelson declared that they would need a lot of windows in the tree, as it was so big.

To everyone's surprise, Randolph then said that they could have quite a lot of windows from the Samsons and two of the larger aircraft that they did not use anymore. "And the windows in the block hut. We can use those as well. And perhaps we can find some more."

Randolph then pointed at a few short and thick trees. "If we can use these, and there is some kind of gum or rubber to close off the openings, we could make this all work quite nicely."

Jake asked the man how he knew all that.

"My grandfather was a carpenter and he built houses, and I learnt a lot from him."
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Ngopyu ayvurä.

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2010, 10:20:00 am »
6. A tree-house in the making

Eyamsiyu then said: "We have enough things to close openings. There are several forms too."

Puvomun knew what the instrument maker was talking about. They had used several different things to make instruments, and also to repair one of the flutes at their old home. Yes, closing the tree off would not be a problem.

Eyamsiyu looked at the two teachers. "Could one of you come with me so I can talk with this man?"

Amhul said she would be happy to interpret for them, so she joined Eyamsiyu and then they and Randolph walked off, while talking and pointing at things.

Puvomun had not expected this. Randolph had struck him as a difficult man at first, but now things were different all of a sudden.

Surprise about this was also among the others who knew Randolph. Jake looked baffled, as did several of the sawtute, but this change was a very good one.

As if they already were good neighbours, more and more people from both races started walking around and about, even going up the tree at times.

After their walk, Eyamisyu and Randolph, assisted by Amhul, explained about the way they thought that closing up the living area for the Sky people would be the best.

"I thought it would be a lot of work to get the boards done," Randolph said, "but Eyamsu here says there are better ways to get this all done."

"Eyamsiyu," Amhul corrected Randolph on the name, while grinning.

"What? Oh, right. Sorry." Randolph looked at Eyamsiyu and grinned. "I am probably the worst person to learn your language."

"Do you mean you ever tried?" Mendelson grinned.

Randolph stared at the scientist. "No. I wasn't here to talk to the nati- I mean to the Na'vi."

Jake suggested that someone who spoke Inglìsì and Na'vi should always be present then, if Randolph and Eyamsiyu, and others as well, were there. To make communication as easy as possible.

Mendelson and Norm agreed. "We will certainly be able to make that work."

The group then talked about the time that the house-tree building would have to start. As usual several of the Sky people wanted to talk and discuss problems, while the villagers had the idea to start as soon as possible. There were no problems so far, and if there were any they would be dealt with.

Nusumea Tirea suggested that they would begin with finding wood that was lying in the forest nearby, ready to be picked up and used. Everyone who understood him, including the Sky people who spoke Na'vi, agreed with that, so quite a large group moved off and started gathering large pieces of wood. In an amazingly short time there was quite an impressive stack of wood, with everything from small trees to large branches.

"Looks like there is no shortage of material," Randolph remarked as he looked at what the group had brought together.

"We will need to bring the windows here soon," Norm said. "With those here the building can start."

"Oh, we already sort of know where they have to come," Randolph told Norm, "there are plenty of spots we can start closing up already."

After some translating, Eyamsiyu and Nusumea proposed that they would go out and find some of the sticky plants and branches to prepare the first wooden boards. Some of the Sky people said they wanted to come along, so they could learn a few things about the forest that was going to become part of their home.

Jake and Mendelson agreed that would be a good thing, so Amhul and Puvomun were assigned to that group, to make sure that everyone would be able to communicate.

"Try to teach them at least some words," Neytiri whispered to Puvomun before the teacher went off with the group.

"I will try," he promised. "Some seem eager to know some more about us."

"Srane. Fi'u lu sìltsan. That is good."

The group went into the jungle, accompanied by Mendelson who did not want to miss this. The Na'vi took care to use paths that were safe for the Sky people to follow them. As they went along, Nusumea and Eyamsiyu pointed out the dangerous plants.

Mendelson urged the Sky people to take good notice of the dangers in the jungle. "There are a lot of hidden dangers here, so watch where you go, everyone. We are more sensitive to some of the things here than the Na'vi are."

Some people said things about this, proposing that they should build wooden clothes for going among the trees. Puvomun did not exactly understand what they meant by that, until it dawned on him that they were making jokes.

When they located a group of trees that had a sticky core, exactly what they were looking for, the Sky people were very relieved.

"We can take all these, that makes things a lot easier. And that so close to the tree!" someone said, sounding happy.

Nusumea looked at the man and shook his head. "Kehe. No. We do not take all these."

The happy man was less happy about that and wanted to know why the healer hunter was against that idea.

With the help of translators, Nusumea and also Puvomun explained that they should not take everything from one place. "That creates an imbalance in nature," they said, "and when there are no trees like this here, there may not be new ones anymore."

"Well, we can go deeper into the forest then, to find more..."

"You are missing the point," said Mendelson. "They are trying to explain that when you destroy something here, it will not regenerate. And that is exactly what happened on Earth, Jennings. We do not want to make the same mistakes here. And I am certain that the Na'vi, our friends here, will prevent us from doing that."

The man called Jennings shrugged. "Lot of trouble over nothing if you ask me."

Someone in the group said: "Well, nobody asked you" which made several Sky people laugh.

Amhul translated that into Na'vi and there was more laughing. Jennings did not look very pleased with that, but his friends told him to lighten up.

Nusumea, Puvomun and Eyamsiyu showed the Sky people how they should handle the trees with the sticky core. The trunks looked very thick and strong, but these trees needed to be handled with much care, as they were not so strong as they appeared.

The Sky people helped to cut one down, a smaller one. The bark splintered easily, but the rest gave them a lot of work, as the core of the tree was very tough and did not cooperate, not even in the very end. When they finally had managed to take down the one tree, the Sky people cheered, making the villagers grin. These people had not seen anything yet, and the tree still needed to be moved to their new home.

Full of high spirits everyone helped to drag the tree away from the group. Somewhat closer to the new home tree, they worked hard and long to cut the large tree into pieces that could be carried more easily. Everyone got smears of the sticky sap on their skin.

Amhul warned the Sky people that they should not try to scrape the sap spots from their arms. They should leave the spots there, like the Na'vi did, because the warm skin would make the spots dry out and then they would fall off by themselves.

"That is much better than doing it yourself. The sap sticks to your skin and your skin will come off when you try to peel it away."

The Sky people nodded as they inspected their arms and legs for spots. A few of them gave the spots a try by scratching lightly, and found that Amhul's tip was worth following.

"Also, the spots will start to itch a bit," Nusumea Tirea warned them.

"Rub the spots with some dry leaves when they do," Rakan said. That was actually very good advice, but Lolet had to repeat it before the Sky people believed it, much to Rakan's dismay. Perhaps the young man understood now that he had to start behaving differently a little.

After moving most of the parts of the tree, the man Jennings asked Amhul what time it was.

The teacher singer looked at Jennings, then at Puvomun. She was unsure what to respond.

"It is after the moment of the sun's highest position," Puvomun calmly said, "afternoon."

"Oh. Right." Jennings looked at the device on his wrist. It had caught quite a large blot of sap, making it unusable, and also it had gotten stuck to the man's skin. "Rubbing that with leaves won't help, right?"

Nusumea Tirea kneeled down and looked at the man's arm. "This is not very good." The healer hunter thought for a few moments. "Stay here, I will get something." With these words he rose again and left for Kelutral.

"What's he going to do?" Jennings asked.

"Calm down, Jennings," Norm reacted, "he's probably going to get an axe to cut your arm off."

"He what?!"

Again laughter rang through the forest as Puvomun translated this little conversation for the people.

Neytiri told Jennings that he man should not worry, because Nusumea was a very good healer.

Meanwhile, the people had started to sort the pieces of wood that were meant to close the tree off. As they were making nice stacks of the wood, Nusumea returned.

Puvomun watched how the healer hunter applied some of the herbs and some water to the patch on Jennings's skin. "Mo'at told me that this should be a good solution," Nusumea said. "I will wrap these leaves around it and you must keep them there for the rest of the day. It will make the sap dissolve more quickly, but it may burn a little."

Puvomun and Neytiri both translated, to make sure Jennings understood what Nusumea was telling him.

"So what when it burns too badly?" the man asked, as he watched the healer wrap another leaf around the wrist and tied a thin vine around it.

"Then he should take the wrapping off and let it dry," Nusumea said. "Then the sap will have to dry off naturally. This should help."

Amhul came to Puvomun and Neytiri. "The Sky people will go back to their base now," she informed them. "They have to eat and they will make a plan on how to make this tree habitable for them on the inside. They want to make separate dwellings for everyone."

Neytiri chuckled. "They will need a lot of wood then. They are in luck that there is enough."

Jake was talking to the Sky people when they all walked over to the group. He was telling them to let him know if they wanted to come and get on with making their own tree a home, so there would be Omatikaya present to help them.

All the Sky people thanked him, several of them saying "irayo" as well, more or less understandable. As the group wandered off to where they had landed their aircraft, Jake turned to the people.

"You are great," he said. "If things keep going this way, we'll have them moved very soon."

They went back home then, as it was well into the afternoon and they needed some food. Rakan suggested that Jake should take some more lessons in speaking the language, together with the Sky people.

Neytiri agreed with him.
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Ngopyu ayvurä.

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2010, 10:48:05 am »
7. Talking about drums

The rest of the day, Puvomun and Amhul talked with Nusumea and Eyamsiyu about the musical instruments. Amaya joined them, as there was nothing pressing that called for her attention.

"A large drum would be good," Amhul said, "I miss seeing one."

Amaya nodded. "Srane. And I think that it would be very good there." She pointed up at a tree close to Kelutral, that had a very thick branch protruding from it. The branch had broken off, so that would be a very good place for a large drum.

Eyamsiyu looked at the tree. "Srane. It would be." He walked up to the tree and looked at a few other branches, nodding to himself. Then, with a very smug look on his face, he returned to the others and said: "We may even be able to make a larger one than we had before."

"How much larger?" Amaya asked.

Eyamsiyu held his hand high over his head. "This would be good."

Puvomun stared at the man. "That is really very large, ma tsmukan. Will it be possible to find enough skin to cover a drum that big?"

Nusumea thought that the skins of six yeriks would be enough. Perhaps seven, but not more.

Eyamsiyu stood in silence, his face showing concentrated thought. "Seven or eight rather, I think," he revealed at the end of his thinking.

"We still have four somewhere," Amaya knew, "so if a few hunters are careful with their arrows, we only need three or four more..."

Then followed a talk about the thickness of the roundwood they'd need, the support beams for the drum and of course the size of the swing that belonged with the drum.

Amaya said that she and her friends would find vines thick and strong enough to carry the drum and the swing.

"Remember that we will need very strong ropes, so see that you can twist two vines together for each one," Eyamsiyu reminded her. "If four people can hang from it without a problem then it should be fine."

Then they went looking for a few others to seek the proper branches to make the roundwood. Rakan was there with Lolet, Korun and Ekirä were game to come along and also Tawtewng and Ateyo volunteered.

"Are you going to begin a war?" Jake asked as the group walked by. He and Neytiri laughed as Eyamsiyu replied that they were going to take over the other home tree.

Korun said that he had seen a few trees, a while ago, that might have the proper wood for the ring of the large drum. He led the way, crossing straight through the forest, which earnt him several complaints as there had to be more comfortable paths to follow.

Korun did not feel bothered at all by the grunted comments though.

"Stop!"

Ateyo and Tawtewng stood still and both looked in the same direction. Puvomun wondered why that was, so suddenly.

Korun came back. "Why? Do you think we are lost? I know where we are, don't worry."

"It's not that," Tawtewng said. "It's that." He pointed to a patch of forest.

Puvomun and Amhul looked where he pointed and did not discern anything special or remarkable.

"Tewti!" Rakan exclaimed. "I had missed that!" Then he looked around, as if he had said something stupid, but nobody seemed to take notice.

Tawtewng and Ateyo went ahead to the spot they had both noticed, the rest in their wake, and so they soon found themselves standing around what once had been a small and carefully made fire pit.

Puvomun was impressed that the two warrior hunters had seen this from such a distance. "Who made this?" he wondered.

The hunters and warriors kneeled with the small black patch and examined it. "It is old," they decided. "And was made by a tawtute. One of the Sky people."

"A good fire maker too," Rakan commented, "look. The way he used the stones. The fire was well contained, none of it could get to the plants."

Tawtewng looked around a bit more and decided that this had been made by the missing scientist, Paul Cameron. "The same footprints are here as with the ta'leng lefngap."

"Can you tell where he went?" Nusumea Tirea asked.

"Kehe. The prints are too old and he walked over the leaves a lot. I cannot tell."

The people looked around the tiny campsite for a while, but did not find any trace of a man, or of anything that could tell where he had gone, so they went back on their original trail, following Korun, who once more pushed on through the trees until they reached a group of five thick, low trees that stood among the other, more normal ones.

Puvomun looked at the group and was impressed. Never had he seen something like those trees, with their black bark and the strange round, leafless branches.

Eyamsiyu, who had muttered for a long time, fell silent as the trees were in front of him. As in a trance he walked towards and around them, his eyes fixed on the curly limbs that stood out from them. When finally he turned back to his friends, he said: "We can make an even larger one!"

Nusumea laughed. "Mawei, ma tsmukan, calm down. The one you told us of in the village should be large enough. But I have an idea..."

The healer hunter told everyone about what he had thought up, and everyone agreed that it was a really nice thing. Then they went to select the proper branch for the large drum that Eyamsiyu had in mind.

Finding the right one was not difficult. Convincing the tree to leave the branch to the People was much more difficult. At one point Lolet sighed and proposed that they should find another tree, but at that point the branch came free.

Ekirä looked at the spot where it had broken from the tree. "A very clean cut," she said. She sounded very content about that.

They needed a few more pieces of wood for the drum, but those were available much closer to the village, so the men picked up their bounty and the group headed back to the village. This time Amhul and Ekirä led the way, much to Rakan's disappointment. He had obviously been looking forward to trying to get the huge pieces of wood through the forest the way they had come. The women had more sense than that.

When they reached the village, they were tired and dirty and the day was coming to an end. After storing the wood in a place where it was out of everyone's way, the wood-hunters decided to go for a leisurely swim. Of course, many children who heard the splashing and laughing joined them, and after that many of the adults did as well.

As he was floating, Eyasmsiyu kept talking about the new big drum, and everyone who heard about it was enthusiastic. He was promised many hands to help whenever he needed them.

Puvomun felt very refreshed when he left the water.

"What's all the lumber for?" a voice next to him asked. It was Jake.

"The wood? That is for the drum we are going to make."

Jake grinned. "That is going to be one big drum, teacher."

"Sran. Did anyone tell you about what we found?" Puvomun asked the clan leader.

"About the fire pit? Yes. Tawtewng came to tell us about it. Looks like Cameron got around a bit, as that place is quite a stretch from where we found the AMP suit."

"Ngay. True. We looked if we could find more, but there was nothing."

"So I heard. Thanks for trying anyway. I hate to think of what happened to him, poor devil. There are just too many ways for a tawtute to get killed here."

Puvomun agreed, while he also grinned. Jake had used the Na'vi word without apparently thinking about it. But the man was right. This was a very dangerous world for the Sky people. He wondered, once more, why they had chosen to stay here instead of going back to their own world. But then he remembered Jake's words, about the state the tawtute homeworld was in, and then the decision made sense again. It was probably better to live and die here, in Eywa's cradle, than to go back to that dying world and hope to die before the world did.

"I sometimes wonder how these people feel, out there in their cabin," Jake said, as Amhul and Neytiri sat down with him and Puvomun. "They have so little space there, and without the main buildings there's nothing for them to do. I don't understand how they haven't killed each other yet."

"It is good that the work on their new home starts soon," Neytiri agreed. "And it is good that the tree is not so big, they will have a lot of space there."

"Will their air machine be enough for the entire tree?" Amhul asked.

"It should be," Jake assumed. "I'm not good with things like that, but if the thing could not handle it, I am sure that someone would've said something by now. They all saw the tree, they all know how much space they will have, so..."

Puvomun nodded. "If there is a problem, they will say so. I am certain we can make the space in the tree smaller if it has to be so, but that would be a sad thing."

"Indeed. We'll just wait until the morning and see what comes about then."

Amhul looked over her shoulder as a certain smell drifted over to where they sat. "I think we have to warn the others," she grinned.

Jake looked also and grinned. "Let me handle that." He got to his feet and walked down to the side of the river where still people were having fun, or just lazing around.

"Come and get it!" Jake yelled, pointing to where the light of the big fire lit up the surrounding trees.

The children started yelling the same words over and over again, making everyone laugh, Jake loudest.

Amhul took Puvomun's hand and held him back. "Wait," she softly said.

When everyone had left the waterside, Amhul looked at Puvomun. "You are a special person."

The teacher singer was surprised that she would say that. "Kehe, ma yawne, lu ngaru."

Amhul smiled, her eyes large in the dim light of the fire that barely reached them. "No. You are. You sit with Jake and talk with him about the things we don't know. As if you understand them. Jake told me that without Neytiri, you and Nusumea he would be no good as a clan leader."

Puvomun shrugged lightly. "He talks with everybody. That makes him a good clan leader. He knows the people, what they think and what they want. Talking with Nusumea or with me is only adding a little bit."

"Jake says something else, ma Puvomun," Amhul said as she got up. "Now come. Or there won't be any teylu left for us."
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2010, 02:11:51 pm »
8. Get out of here

The next morning Puvomun woke up to the laugher of children. It made him smile before he had opened his eyes. Feeling Amhul close to him, her tail lying over his leg, made him smile even more.

He had been a fool for too long, he scolded himself, for not sooner seeing her as the wonderful person she was.

"You are smiling," a still sleepy voice said. Amhul did not turn around, she just reached for his arm.

"How do you know?" Puvomun was surprised.

"I do. That is enough. Are you smiling about me?"

"Srane, I do."

"Good. You should smile about me. And at me."

More laughter of children, and only now Puvomun understood that they were a lot closer than he had assumed, so he opened his eyes and looked up. And yes, on the branch that their hammock hung from, sat four children who were staring down at the two teachers in their hammock.

"Are you smiling about me?" Ikranari asked loudly, making the children giggle.

"Srane!" Txetse called out, making the rest laugh even harder.

The sudden outburst of words and joy made Amhul look up also, and then the teachers laughed as well.

As Puvomun started to open the hammock, the eveng jumped up and ran off, laughing and yelling things about smiling old people.

By the time the teacher singers came to the forest floor, the children had disappeared, but their laughter could still be heard.

Several people asked what had happened, and Puvomun and Amhul explained the reason for the youth's laughter, which made even more people laugh.

"We already wondered where they had gone to," Peyral grinned, "it was so nice and quiet for a while."

"It was. Until it ended," Puvomun agreed.

"Ngay. True. Do you have things to do this day?" Peyral asked.

"Not something special," Amhul told her friend, the hunter. "Do you?"

"I am taking three of the older ones on their first real hunting trip," Peyral said. "Tracking and approaching."

"Will you let them take their tsko swizaw?"

Peyral shook her head. "No. This will be difficult enough for them. I hope I can keep them quiet, some of them are loud enough to make a deaf sturmbeest run off before we see it."

Amhul and Puvomun laughed, they knew exactly what Peyral was referring to.

"Ah, you are here." Neytiri walked in. "I need to talk to you."

The teachers looked at Jake's mate and wondered what news she brought.

Neytiri looked at the two with a serious expression. "Jake asked me to tell you something." She frowned for a moment, staring at the sand around her feet. "There is something he needs you to do."

Puvomun was curious. This had to be something very strange, if Neytiri took so long to tell them.

"Jake wants you to go away."

Amhul and Puvomun stared at the woman. "He wants us to go away?"

"Sran. His words were: tell them to get out of here."
Puvomun did not understand a word of this. Why would Jake want them to leave Kelutral?

Neytiri seemed to study their faces, and then a smile seemed to split her face in two. As she grinned, she explained that Jake just wanted to remind them that they still had to visit the two children from the forest clan that had been saved from the hands of the crazy Dreamwalkers.

"Your faces were wonderful to see," Neytiri laughed, "you really believed that Jake would send you away!"

Puvomun was totally taken by surprise, and Amhul was not far behind. This seemed to be the day where everyone was doing their best to tease the teachers!

"You have been so busy with everything else that Jake worried you would forget to visit the children," Neytiri told them. "So when you are ready here, you should go to the forest clan."

Puvomun, still amazed, nodded. "Yes, we should do that. We promised, and it was in my mind." He had not expected something like this coming from Jake, who also had a lot on his mind. Perhaps it was something Neytiri had reminded Jake of?

But either way, it was a good idea to go out, on ikran, and see the children that he had only met in such a terrible situation while they were kidnapped.

Neytiri had a big smile for the two teachers when she said: "Yes, you can go and fly again. Your ikrans will be grateful."

Puvomun returned her smile, as he thought of Kilvan. Amhul and he had not been flying a lot lately, although they had visited their ikrans at least once every few days. Flying out this day was a great prospect.

It did not take them long to be ready. There was no need to take bows and arrows, so soon the two singer teachers went up to the crown of Kelutral where they called their ikrans.

In a flurry of wings and leaves, the animals descended to the wide branch. The teachers had each brought a hard root which was a treat for the ikran, and fed that to them before making tsaheylu.

Again Puvomun was thrilled by sensing Kilvan, her strength and her desire to fly out with him. It complemented his feeling to fly out with her, so he jumped on her shoulders, and before he had told her to fly they were away from the tree already. Kilvan let out a raw cry of pleasure as Puvomun gave her the freedom to fly as she wanted for a while.

As Kilvan sailed around the high branches of the tree, Puvomun heard a wild yell and laughed. Amhul was away on Taw and she let her ikran fly free for a while as well. As if they were two children, the teachers chased each other in the air for a while, having fun and laughing as if they had lost their sanity.

Suddenly more people joined them. It were Rakan and Lolet, and also Nusumea flying Rìk. The group of five raced over the trees, swooped down where they could.

Puvomun sensed the thrill of the flight from himself and from Kilvan, and a feeling of bliss ran through him as he knew that the ikran and he were acting in perfect unison. The thrill of seeing the ground race up and knowing that Kilvan would be perfectly able to prevent the two of them from crashing into it, soaring around trees, it all was a wonderful game.

He sensed that Kilvan needed this kind of thing, to get rid of her energy and to strengthen the bond between ikran and rider. Puvomun vowed to himself that Amhul and he would fly out at least once every few days.

After having fun this way, Amhul and Puvomun found each other again, and after waving at the others, they directed their ikrans to the south and flew along the river towards the large lake.

Amhul took the lead, Puvomun let her, curious what she was going to do. She and Taw went down, flying close to the water surface in the way that they usually saw the ayfkio do. When Puvomun followed them, he sensed that Kilvan, despite her name, was not fond of being very close to the water. He gave her space to be high enough to feel comfortable. Amhul noticed that they were going higher and joined her mate.

"Do you sense that too?" she asked. Clearly she was aware of something with Taw.

"Yes. Kilvan does not like the water."

"Taw does not either. Maybe..." Amhul looked at Taw for a moment. "Maybe they are scared of it because they were shot down and fell into the river."

That was quite possible, Puvomun agreed.

"Kilvan feels safer now, higher over the water," he said.

"So does Taw. If I'd let her, she'd be over land," Amhul shared with him. "Does Kilvan as well?"

Puvomun suggested they'd try, and gave his ikran the freedom to fly where she wanted to, as long as they went to the forest clan. Kilvan, and also Taw, diverted their course and moved to flying over the trees on the east side of the river, keeping the water to their right.

The teacher petted the strong neck of Kilvan. "We are well, ma Kilvan. Tam tam, there are no more people who will shoot at you and hurt you. I will make sure of that." He was aware that this was a grave promise, but he intended to keep it.

The flight to the lake went well and without any strange happenings. It was just a nice time away from home for the two people and their ikrans. Once they reached the lake, they turned slightly to avoid going over the hills. They felt much safer with trees beneath them.

"Let's fly over their village a few times first, so they know we are coming," said Amhul as they were approaching the tree where the forest clan lived. "They told me that they would appreciate that."

As she knew a few things that Puvomun did not, he let her fly ahead again. They circled the huge tree.

Puvomun noticed that there were also a few people high up there, keeping watch. So far he had only seen guards on the ground. He wondered why this clan had guards at all, as the only other clan near here was the hill clan, and they seemed friendly enough.

One of the people in the tree waved at them, acknowledging that they had been seen, and then Amhul and Puvomun found a tree where they could leave their ikrans.

As they reached the forest floor, Amhul was beaming. "This is such a wonderful thing to share," she said, "flying with you, ma yawne."

"It is. Fi'u lu txantsan, this is excellent."

Hand in hand they walked to the home tree, where the clan leader, Txep'rea, was already waiting for them. Siltere and Tey'ran were standing there with him, and as soon as the children recognised the teachers, they ran forward and threw themselves into waiting arms.
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2010, 12:09:24 pm »
9. A visit with the forest clan

The children cried as they saw Amhul and Puvomun again.

More and more people from the forest clan gathered outside the tree and whispered among each other. Two of them then walked to the two teachers who also had tears on their cheeks.

Puvomun held the kids close, one after the other, and was not able to say a word for a while. He heard Amhul sniff away her tears.

"I am so glad to see you two," he then said to the children as he looked at them. "You look well again."

Tey'ran and Siltere had put on weight again. Their wounds had healed, only some faint scars were visible here and there, but that was nothing compared to what they had been through.

Only then the teachers noticed the two people who stood near them.

"Kaltxì," he said, acknowledging them.

"Kaltxì. Hello. You are the teacher who helped our children when the Dreamwalkers held them." The man stated it, it was not a question.

"Sran. Yes. I am," said Puvomun.

"We have to thank you for that. We heard you put yourself in danger for our children," said the woman, wrapping her arms around her daughter and holding her close.

Puvomun shook his head. "I had to. I can not let bad people do things to children. Everyone would have done the same thing."

Amhul touched his arm. "You know that this is not true, ma yawne."

"Oh! You are his mate, the woman who brought our children back!"

Puvomun was surprised to hear that they did not know Amhul, but then they explained that they had been away, to the hill clan. The parents of the children had gone there to see if the clan needed help, when Amhul had brought Tey'ran and Siltere back to the village.

Puvomun was aware that the other people from the clan kept their distance. He appreciated that. The moments that Amhul and he were now sharing with the family were precious and very intimate.

"Siltere told us how you ignored the weapons of the sawtute," said the girl's father whose name was Pantso. "You put her life and that of her brother before your own."

"They were in need of care," Puvomun simply said. "And I was there to give it to them as far as I could."

Siltsere looked at the teacher. "You saved our lives," she said. "Without you we would not have lived."

Tey'ran took one of Puvomun's hands. "You helped us, ma Puvomun. Because of you we put our trust in Eywa, and that made us want to live."

Puvomun was very surprised about that. He had no idea that the children had been in such a terrible situation. He had simply done what he thought had to be done.

"We want to invite you, Puvomun and Amhul. Stay with us for the day, and we will try to repay what you did for us." The mother, Lim'tsey, looked at them in a way that they could not refuse.

"Sìltsan, ma Lim'tsey," Amhul spoke for both of them. "We gladly accept your invitation."

"You honour us," said Pantso. Then the six walked to the others from the clan, and the children officially introduced the two visitors to the rest of the people.

Each of the people wanted to thank the teachers in person. It was very impressive to the two singer teachers. They had never expected this kind of ceremonial welcome.

Even the other children of the clan regarded the two as special people.

At some point it made Puvomun feel slightly uncomfortable, and he was certain Amhul felt the same way. Fortunately, at that moment, the ceremonial part of the welcome seemed to be at its end.

The clan went to work on preparing a special meal for the teachers, while Amhul and Puvomun were introduced to the singer teacher of the forest clan, a woman called Nue'wah.

"Oel mengati kameie, and it is wonderful to meet you," Nue'wah said to them. "I do not often get to meet teacher singers of another clan. We are rather isolated here."

Puvomun understood that. These people did not get around much, and on their small horses they could not go very far unless they travelled for a long time. He realised then that Amhul and he had been in the same situation not even so long ago. They only had a direhorse then, until Amhul had found their ikrans.

"You can go to the people of the hill clan, though," Amhul suggested.

"Srane, srane, yes I can go there, and they are always welcoming," Nue'wah said with a smile. "I know the singers from there quite well. Sometimes we sing together, and we can teach each other's children too."

Puvomun nodded. "I have a question for you. I am not sure if it is proper to ask this, but... why do your people value the rescue of the two children so much?"

Amhul looked quickly at her mate. Then her eyes went back to the forest clan singer.

Nue'wah was calm as she looked at the couple. "Yes, we value these children a lot. Siltere is to be the next Tsahik and Tey'ran will be her mate. She has learnt a lot already, and it would be very sad if we were to lose her as well."

"As well?" the two teachers asked as one.

Nue'wah remained silent as she stared at her hands for a while. "Our Tsahik disappeared a long time ago. She suddenly did not come back from a trip to the forest. We never found her, no matter how often we went looking for her."

"Disappeared? And nobody knows what happened to her?"

"Nobody. She had the habit of sometimes staying away one or two nights. But when she was not here for more than four nights, we started to worry and looked for her. All in vain. She was gone. We assume she has been taken by a wild animal, or drowned in the lake."

Puvomun understood why they had been so worried about Siltere then. The training of a Tsahik was very intense, and not all girls were equipped to handle such a task.

"And is Tey'ran a special person as well?" Amhul asked.

"Kehe. Not as such. His older brother will be Olo'eyktan, but he has already chosen a different woman as his mate. One who does her best to fill the space of Tsahik, but..." Nue'wah shrugged. "We can always call on the Tsahik of the hill clan. She is a good person and she comes here when we need her."

That was good. Puvomun was glad that the two clans were so friendly with each other.

The teacher singers talked for a while longer, about songs, working with the other clans,  and then they were asked by Tey'ran if they wanted to join the clan as the food was prepared.

The meal was very good. There were some surprising things with it, things that Puvomun had never seen or tasted before. Proudly the people from the forest clan explained what they had prepared, and what special herbs they had used to make the taste of the food.

Puvomun noticed how Amhul listened attentively, as she wanted to remember it all. The Omatikaya would have to taste this as well.

As the people sat together, Txep'rea had a question for Puvomun. "You know we are all grateful that the two children are safe and well. But can you tell me if there will be any more problems with the Sky people? We have not seen many of them, nor much of them, but the things they have done to our clan, and also to the hill clan, are sincerely bad. And we know what they did with your previous home."

Yes, Puvomun agreed, this was a valid question. He explained how most of the Sky people had left this world, and that only a few had remained. "And a few of those few caused this problem that endangered many clans. They are dead now, all of the bad ones. Of course. We cannot look into the hearts and minds of the Sky people who are now still here. But we know that they were as angry about what happened as we are."

Txep'rea nodded. "It would have been best if they never had come."

Amhul looked at the man. "Perhaps you are right. But you cannot live in the dreams that will not happen. The Sky people came. Things have become very bad. The clans came together to fight them, and we won. Every clan suffered great losses, srane, we have not forgotten that."

The clan leader looked at Amhul a bit disconcerted. Obviously he had not expected such a response.

"The Sky people will leave their base," said Puvomun. "We are helping them to make a tree their new home. They will be living close to us, and they are willing to become part of our world as much as they can."

"They will never be able to be a true part of our world," the olo'eyktan objected. "Never."

"We know that. And they do as well." Puvomun did not understand the hostility of Txep'rea towards the few Sky people that still were there. "But they are willing to give it a try as much as they can."

Siltere looked sharply at the olo'eytkan as he opened his mouth to say something. "No," the girl simply said. It was enough for the clan leader to close his mouth again.

Siltere then looked at Puvomun and Amhul. "I know I am not much more than a child. But I have learnt a lot already, and I see that you are txantslusama mesute. Two wise people. Tey'ran and I owe our lives to you. You came to the camp of the ayuniltìranyu without weapons, knowing that these men were dangerous."

The girl stood up and looked around at the people of her clan. "I heard that you also came to our tree earlier, to warn and ask about the dreamwalkers. You helped the hill clan when they had so many wounded. You have done so much for us, the forest clan, that I want to apologise for the behaviour of our olo'eyktan." Then, without looking at Txep'rea, she sat down again.

An uncomfortable silence lay over the clan. Txep'rea wanted to look daggers at the young girl, but he did not dare. There was much Tsahik in her already, attacking her would be the worst thing he could do.

Puvomun stood up, as if it was his turn. Amhul did the same thing, which made him feel good.

"Txep'rea," he started, "very much has happened, in a short time. We all are still getting over that, and the pressure it put on us. I am certain that everyone here has suffered much, in their own way." Puvomun then looked at Siltere and Tey'ran. "You suffered extremely. You were tricked by the men and they abused you."
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2010, 01:55:51 pm »
10. Normal teacher singers

Siltere and Tey'ran looked at the two teachers who stood there and who were talking to them.

"You can trust that we will do everything to prevent that something like this will happen again," said Puvomun.

"But you cannot guarantee that," Txep'rea threw in.

Puvomun and Amhul looked at the man, and so did Siltere and Nue'wah. Puvomun held up a hand, he wanted to address the clan leader.

"No. We can not. I sense that you wish to kill all the Sky people, so things will be like before they came."

In the short pause that fell, Txep'rea nodded. It was barely visible, but the teachers both saw it.

"This will not help. We have the memories of what happened," Amhul now spoke. "And in the past of the clans there have been wars and brutality as well, so you are not honest by blaming only the Sky people ."

"They did not kidnap children from your clan!" the man growled.

"No. They did not. They blew up our Kelutral, killing dozens of our people, wounding and maiming many more, leaving children without parents and people without their mates. Our clan leader, who was a Sky person, did all he could in bringing the clans together. He rode Toruk. Because of him we all fought side by side and won the war." Puvomun looked at the clan leader. "And you know all that. It does not give praise to you if you elect to forget this, ma Txep'rea."

The clan leader stood and faced the Puvomun. "You are a visitor of my clan. It does not give praise to you if you elect to insult me here, teacher."

"Puvomun is not insulting you, ma Txep'rea," Amhul interjected. "He is reminding and informing you of what has happened. Telling the things you may not know. Yes, two children from the forest clan were kidnapped and wounded, but they came back and they live. Too many of our clan will not come back to us the way they were."

Siltere, Nue'wah and also Tey'rean got up.

"Ma Olo'eyktan," said Nue'wah, "calm down. These teacher singers came to us to see the children, to know they are well. They have seen the children are well. There is no reason to attack them over what has happened."

The clan leader looked angry. Puvomun was afraid that this man was going to be a lot of trouble, but then Txep'rea took a deep breath and held out a hand. He put it on Puvomun's shoulder. "I am sorry. I apologise."

Puvomun put his hand over that of the clan leader and nodded. "It will all be well. Fi'u livu nìltsan. Too much has happened in too short a time. We will heal on the inside. But we cannot hurry this."

Spirits calmed down and everyone sat again, to finish the food that had been prepared. Then Puvomun and Amhul said they had appreciated the welcome and the meal, but that it was time for them to go back to their own village.

Siltere, Tey'ran and also Nue'wah made them promise that they would come back, something they gladly did.

The clan leader looked both of them in the eye and said: "You are always welcome here. We owe you gratitude."

Several people from the clan walked with the two teacher singers to the tree where the ikrans were waiting. The forest clan people did not see these animals very often, so they were curious.

Amhul invited the children up into the tree so they could see the ikrans more closely. "Do not look into their eyes," she warned the two, remembering how they had been told the same thing.

After making tsaheylu with their ikrans, they felt safe enough to let the children pet the animals for a few moments. Kilvan and Taw allowed it, but Puvomun knew Kilvan did not want this for too long.

"We have to go now," he told the children, touching their heads for a moment. Amhul was already on Taw's back.

"When will you come back?" Tey'ran asked.

"Soon, I hope. We cannot say when, but we will come back."

The children looked happy as they climbed down the tree, and then the teachers told their ikrans to fly.

Once in the air, they flew one round over the tree village of the clan, and then they set their minds to going home. It was all their ikrans needed.

-=-=-

Arriving in the village brought them to a lot of discussion that apparently was going on since a while already. People were pointing, talking, agreeing and shaking heads.

"What is going on?" Puvomun asked Amaya, who kept herself a bit away from the agitation.

"They can't decide on where the large drum should be built," Amaya told them. "Eyamsiyu and Nusumea think that the tree over there is the best place." She pointed to the spot that Puvomun had also pictured as the proper place for the drum. "But there are some people who think it should be somewhere else."

The problem was quite wide-spread, as the 'somewhere else' turned out to be four different places. Three of those, Puvomun thought, would be bad places. The trees there were not in the proper position to accomodate the large drum and the swing for it.

"And Mo'at?" Amhul asked. "What does she think of this?"

Amaya grinned. "Mo'at thinks they are all going crazy over this. The drum maker should decide where the drum has to go."

Puvomun and Amhul agreed. They then told Amaya about their visit to the forest clan.

"This clan leader does not sound very reliable," the young woman commented after hearing it all. "He should be aware of what happened. People of his clan have helped us too."

"It is hard to know what is in the head of a person," Puvomun said. "He will have his reasons."

By then the noise of the people had subdued for the most part, and many of them went back to their usual chores. As Eyamsiyu and Nusumea Tirea were now free to talk to, without disturbance, the singer teachers went to talk with them.

"So, is there a decision?"

Eyamsiyu laughed. "There still are four decisions, but the drum goes where we planned it."

"We told them that they should make their own large drum in the place where they think it is best," Nusumea grinned.

As there were only few people who had knowledge about making this kind of drum, that had been the best way to end the discussion.

The teachers noticed that the two men had already started working on the large drum. The outer ring was almost complete.

"I need to make the holes in the ring," Eyamsiyu said, "so the ropes for the skin can be attached. Some people are already working on preparing the skins and sewing them together."

"And Rakan, Lolet and Korun are doing what they can on the swinger," Nusumea added to that. "They are really eager to help with this. It is almost uncanny. So how was your visit?"

The teachers told their story again.

"Very strange that a Tsahik goes missing so suddenly," Nusumea said as they had finished their talking. "Usually a Tsahik is careful enough not to get into trouble."

"Perhaps their Tsahik was one of the few that are less careful," Amhul suggested. "They miss her, that was certain."

Puvomun then came back to the large drum. "Is there something we can help with, with the drum?"

Eyamsiyu shook his head. "Too much small work I have to do. Nusumea can help, or one of you, but not two or more."

Puvomun understood. They would be working together on the large wood, but with two they would not be in each other's way. "We will find a few other things to do then."

"Or do nothing for a while. You don't do nothing enough," the healer hunter told them.

The teachers looked at their friend, who made hand movements as if he was chasing them off as annoying bugs. "Kä, kä. Go, go."

Amhul laughed. She tookd Puvomun's hand and dragged him away. "We are not wanted here."

"Where will we go?" Puvomun wondered out loud.

"I don't know. We can go for a walk. We can swim. Or we can do nothing." Amhul grinned as she pulled her mate along. "I think beginning with nothing is a good idea. We are really busy all the time."

They found a good spot to lie down, to the side of their home tree.

"This is good," Amhul said as she lay next to Puvomun, the sunlight warming their bodies.

Puvomun smiled. "Yes. This is good. We should do this more often."

After they had been silent for a while, Puvomun's thoughts suddenly drifted off to someone who had always been a very strange person towards him. It was Tsu'tey, the man that Neytiri had originally should have been mated to.

Puvomun wondered how their life would have been if Jake had not been there. How would the fight with the Sky people have gone? Would there have been an attack like they had survived? At least many of them? Would their life have changed the same way? Or in a different way?

"What are you thinking about, ma yawne?" Amhul's voice drew him back to the present, to the place where he was lying next to the woman he loved.

Puvomun told her about Tsu'tey and what he had been trying to work out.

"You think too much, ma Puvomun." Amhul sat up and looked at him, frowning a bit. "We live now, we live here. You should not do what you told Txep'rea to avoid."

Puvomun grinned. "You are correct. Mostly. I was trying to think harmless things, though, not considering people to die. I was thinking about the lives lost, and if there would be a difference with Tsu'tey still alive."

"There would be. Nobody knows what the difference will be, and that is good." Amhul put a hand on his arm. "Our life is normal the way it is now."

Puvomun looked at her. "Yes. We are normal teacher singers."

"Sran."

"With ikrans."

The hand on his arm slapped.

"Yes. With ikrans. Normal ikrans."

Puvomun sat up and took her hands in his. "Are you sure? The way you found them, and how we made them ours..."

Amhul's gaze difted away over the river as memories rushed along faster than the water. "Yes. That was... not so normal."

They looked to the side, when they heard hurried footsteps coming their way. Rakan came around the tree with a grin that was ominous.

"What is your hurry, Rakan?" Amhul asked.

"Oh, I am helping at the home tree of the Sky people, and they need something done. I am going to have so much fun with this!" Then he ran on.

"Maybe we should go there and take a look. Rakan and fun can only mean trouble," Puvomun sighed.
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Re: Sky People
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2010, 09:54:31 am »
11. Rakan is having fun

Amhul and Puvomun had no idea where Rakan was going, so they decided to hurry as they went on their way to the home tree of the Sky people. When they arrived there, they were surprised by the amount of activity in and around the tree.

Sky people machines had been brought over, for cutting wood. Several large openings from the tree had been closed already. Some of them had windows too, and people were using the sticky inside from a certain tree to secure them in the wooden walls.

"Kaltxì," Neytiri greeted them, walking up to the two singer teachers. "Why are you here?" She looked genuinely surprised. "How was your visit to the forest clan?"

"We came because Rakan was running past us, telling us he was going to have fun here," Amhul offered as an explanation for their presence.

"Oh. Right." Neytiri frowned. "I am not entirely sure what he has in mind, but he said he had a plan and ran off without telling us. So, your visit?"

Amhul and Puvomun told her of their morning, and Mo'at's daughter agreed that Txep'rea had acted a bit strange. "But people react differently to difficult situations..."

A cry from above made most people look up. Several moments later they saw someone falling down the tree and arriving on the forest floor with a controlled fall. It was Rakan, making one of his spectacular entries.

The Sky people who were present ran away from the man who came tumbling down.

"He is acting himself again," Neytiri sighed. As Jake and Norm walked over to Rakan, Neytiri went there as well. The teachers followed her, curious about what all this was good for.

"I am here," Rakan grinned.

"Hard to notice when you almost flatten a few people," Neytiri snapped at him. "Lolet should train you better."

"I would have more success with a sturmbeest," Lolet growled as she came closer too, glaring at Rakan. She slapped him over the head. "You never grow up, do you?"

"No. That is why you love me," Rakan laughed.

"Can we get back to business please?" Norm asked. "We have the cables ready. We hope they are long enough."

Puvomun and Amhul looked at each other. Cables?

They were soon enlightened on the subject. Jake picked up the ends of two rolls of tawtute cable and gave those to Rakan, who tied those around his waist.

"Are you certain this will work?" Randolph, who was there as well, asked.

"Oh, of course!" Rakan sounded too confident for Puvomun's taste, but the teacher still had no real idea of what was going to happen. He still hadn't when Rakan walked off to the spiral column inside the tree and started to go up.

Lolet told the teachers that Rakan would take the two cables up to the crown of the tree. The cables would be attached to a few large tawtute panels that would generate energy for their machines. "They say that the panels have to be high up to catch the light of the sun, and these things will be pulled up with the cables." Lolet pointed at a small stack of large squares that lay on the ground.

"He won't be able to pull those up through the inside of the tree," Puvomun saw.

Jake said: "He's going to pull the cables up and lower them down from a branch. We'll attach them to the panels and then he will lift them."

"I see. But why did he get his ikran for that?"

"Ikran?" Jake looked surprised.

"Sran. He came to Kelutral, saying he would have fun, and now he came from the treetop. I assume he went there by ikran." Puvomun looked up but the leaves were too many, he could not detect an animal.

"Oh. We may have to worry now. Can you go up after him?" Jake asked the teacher.

Puvomun nodded and ran up the tree as quickly as he could, Amhul on his heels. As they went, they had to take care not to get caught in the two ropes that Rakan was pulling up.

"Why are you here?" the young warrrior wondered as the two teachers joined him on the branch. And yes, his ikran was perched there as well, a little higher.

"Jake asked us to keep an eye on you," Amhul said.

"Oh. Hrmpf. Well, since you are here, can you help me pull these ropes up then?" Rakan asked Puvomun.

The teacher helped Rakan with the ropes. That was interesting as they had to roll up the long lines first while preventing the ropes from falling down where they shouldn't.

After getting the entire lengths high up, Rakan and Puvomun hauled the rolls to the furthest safe end of the branch. Rakan broke off a piece of wood and tied the ends of the ropes to it. Then the men lowered the cables again, down the outside of tree.

"I will go down," Amhul said, "and see if the ropes are coming down or if they get caught somewhere."

"Good plan," Puvomun agreed. It was hard to see if the piece of wood kept going down after a certain length of the ropes".

"When we have the ends here, we'll wait. Yank one of the lines when you see them," Rakan suggested. "And when the things are tied to the ropes, someone has to come up and tell us."

"Srane, I will see to that." Amhul disappeared into the tree and started her way down.

"Why did you get your ikran?" Puvomun asked the young warrior.

"We will need it," was the short and uninformative reply.

"And you know this? How?"

"Trust me. I may act an idiot, but I am quite certain of this."

Rakan's words failed to instill trust in Puvomun, even when the young man had surprised the teacher a few times.

When they reached the end of their ropes, they tied them to a few strong twigs and waited, both with a bit of the rope in hand. That way they could feel the tugging, provided the ropes had made it all the way down.

Movement in the rope, somewhat later, told them that the lines had indeed reached the base of the tree.

"Now we have to wait for the message that the panels are tied up," Rakan commented. "Isn't it nice having to do nothing while others work?"

Puvomun failed to see the man's entire point, but this was not the first time.

They waited.

After a while Amhul came up again. "The things are tied to the lines," she reported. "Jennings and Randolph asked me to tell you to be careful as these things break quickly."

Puvomun felt uneasy. Rakan and careful. Again such a strange combination. But the teacher was determined to give the warrior the benefit of the doubt.

Together, the men slowly started to pull in the lines. For a while things went well, but inevitably there was a snag: the panels got caught under something. And the people could not see what it was that held them back.

"I was afraid of that," Rakan surprised Puvomun. "That is why I brought my ikran."

"How is your ikran going to help?" Puvomun wondered. "We need to find where the things are stuck and get them loose."

Rakan shook his head. "That will be hard, we can hardly get down there unless you want to climb down one of these ropes. We must lower the pack and then tie the ropes together. I will fly off the branch, you two hold up the ropes and I will get my ikran to pick up the ropes and then we lift the pack up."

"You are mad!" Puvomun said.

"Everyone says so, even Lolet does at times," Rakan shrugged. "Do you have a better plan?"

"We could tie the ropes up and go down, to see if they have plans there."

"Hurh..." Rakan gave in though, so the three descended and found Jake and Randolph staring up.

"It's caught up there," Randolph pointed.

The pack of panels had gotten stuck in a group of smaller branches.

Rakan then told them about his plan and was pronounced a skxawng by Neytiri, but he did not seem impressed.

"Can you not do this with one of your flying machines?" Puvomun asked Norm and Jennings.

"We could, but we're running out of fuel for them. We're trying to fly as efficiently as we can already, and this would not be efficient."

"And climbing up there isn't going to work either," Jake said. "Looks like we're stuck with the crazy plan."

Randolph objected, because if this stunt failed, they would probably lose the panels, and therewith the best possible powersource for their machines. His concerns were valid, but there was no other way to get the panels to the top of the tree. They were too big to be transported over the inner spiral.

"Are you sure you can do this?" Jake asked Rakan.

Before the warrior could reply, Lolet stepped in. "If anyone can, then Rakan can. He can fly his ikran so slowly that he can scoop a fish from the lake."

"He what?"

"Hanging beneath his ikran," Lolet added, as if that would make things so much better.

-=-=-

Puvomun and Amhul stood on the branch, high over the ground. Together they held the ropes that were tied together. They had first lowered the pack far enough to get it free from the hindering branches.

The spot where they balanced was insane, further out on the tree's limb than anyone would deem safe. But they had to be there, otherwise Rakan and his ikran would not be able to catch the ropes.

Jake and Tawtewng were in the highest reachable part of the tree, to grab the pack of panels once Rakan had picked it from the hands of the teachers.

Rakan had warned the teachers that they would have to be ready to hold onto something once he came close. Puvomun and Amhul wondered how they would do that as they both had their hands full keeping the ropes up.

"Do you think that you can become crazy when you are around a crazy person long enough?" Amhul asked as they waited for Rakan.

"Considering where we are now, I think it is possible, yes," Puvomun said.

A coarse cry made them look up. It was the sound of an ikran, and that meant the warrior was coming.

Puvomun saw the ikran approach the tree almost lazily, its wings level and unmoving. It came up to them very fast anyway, or so it seemed. He knew that the ikran would have to grab the ropes with its beak, so they had to hold up the ropes high, giving the animal lots of slack to grab it.

Just before the ikran slammed into the tree, it beat the air with its wings, coming almost to a stop in the air.

"NOW!" he heard Rakan yell, and at the same moment the rope was yanked from his fingers.
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Re: Sky People
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2010, 02:29:03 am »
12. Panels up, lights down

As soon as the rope was gone, Puvomun looked down for a safe place to grab as he fell. They had anticipated falling, the wings of the ikran would cause a small local storm.

"Ma yawne, are you well?" he asked as he saw Amhul hanging from the branch.

"I am. And you?"

"I am fine. And yes, I now know for certain that you become crazy when you are around someone like that long enough."

Calmly the teachers fought their way back to the top of the branch where they could sit and get over their brandnew experience.

As they sat there, high over them they heard loud voices and screaming, and the cries of Rakan's ikran. Puvomun expected that any moment a pack of panels would come crashing down through the foliage, but nothing of the kind happened.

"We got it!" Jake and Tawtewng suddenly yelled out. "It's almost in place, we got it! Puvomun, Amhul can you hear us?"

"We can!" Amhul called upwards.

"Can you go down and ask one of the technicians to come up so they can hook up the wires?" came a new question.

"We will go down!" Puvomun exclaimed as they got up.

"The crazy plan worked," Amhul grinned as they started their way down.

Everyone was glad to hear that the panels had made it to the top without a problem.

"Jake asked for a te'nì'sien to go up," Amhul told the Sky people. "To do something."

One of the Sky people nodded. "That would be me. But how the hell am I going to make it all the way up there? I've gone up a stretch a few days ago, but..."

Puvomun understood the man's predicament. Further up the tree the Omatikaya simply jumped from step to step, but the small people would never be able to do that.

"I will carry you on my back," the teacher said. It was the only way. The other Na'vi were busy working with the Sky people and Puvomun thought it best if they continued doing that. There was little he could do here, and he was certain he could get the man up.

Quickly they made a set of ropes that would keep the man safe. Puvomun would need his hands free in the higher branches.

"Are you well?" the teacher asked the man who hung in the ropes. Attached to Stanely's belt was another line, one that would bring the power from the panels to the machines on the ground.

"I'm not sure," the man laughed, "ask me when we're there."

Puvomun laughed too, and then he began the climb up to the top. The first part was easy, the man was not very heavy. When they reached the steps that were wider apart, the man on his back, his name was Stanley, announced that he would keep his eyes closed.

"We're pretty high up already, aren't we?"

Puvomun did not answer. He jumped from foothold to foothold. Then they reached the crown of the majestic tree, from where the climb required more syaksyuk skills.

Stanley sometimes muttered, when a few leaves would slap him in the face, but soon they reached the high part of the tree.

"Ma Jake, where are you?" Puvomun asked, searching for the people who should already be there.

"Over here, to your left!"

When Puvomun delivered Stanley, Jake and Tawtewng grinned about the way the man had been transported, but agreed that it was a good way.

As they released Stanley from his awkward position, the man commented that it had been "quite a ride" coming up the tree.

Jake and he fell into a discussion in rapid Inglìsì, too fast and confusing for Puvomun to understand, so he and Tawtewng just made sure that Stanley was safe while he did his work with some tools and the cable.

The large panels were connected together and Stanley tied them to the tree with some small ropes he had with him. Then he attached the long cable they had brought up together.

Puvomun frowned at the presence of the large panels on the tree but apparently it was necessary.

Stanley was done quite quickly though, and the tree looked undamaged. Also, most of the surface of leaves was still not covered.

The man was tied to Puvomun's back again, and the trip downwards began.

When they were on the ground again, Stanley looked a bit green.

"Down is worse than up, Puvomun," he said when he was free of ropes.

Puvomun had to agree, going down did involve some more motion, and that clearly had affected the Sky person. "It is all done now, though."

"Yes! Aren't we great?!" Rakan had returned after his amazing flying. "My ikran is with the rest again. Nothing bad happened, did it? I had half expected that you two would crash down."

Puvomun stared at the warrior. "You did? And you did not warn us?"

"Why, would that have made any difference?" Rakan grinned and walked off, calling for Lolet.

Jake and Tawtewng, who had come down also, looked at him go.

"I never know what to think of him," Jake said, "sometimes he is a complete skxawng, and sometimes he amazes the hell out of everyone."

Stanley had started to connect the long wire that came from the panels to a machine that was placed under one spiral column. He was looking at a lot of things on the machine as he pushed on others things, and suddenly he cried out something that sounded happy.

Jake and Norm went over to the man, to see what had happened.

Amhul said she hoped that the move of the Sky people was a good idea. "They are in need of so many things."

"It has to be good, ma yawne," Puvomun said. "Even when this is a big responsibility for us now. At least they are not so far away."

Under the tree, people had already started to make separate spaces with wooden boards. One of the most important things of course was their air, so that was a priority.

The teacher singers could not help with that, so they told Neytiri they were going back to the village.

"Srane, you had enough excitement for one day," Neytiri agreed.

The teachers said their goodbyes and left the crowd. As they went along the river, they walked slowly, enjoying the silence and the simple fact of being there together.

Eventually they reached their village again. Most activities for the day had ended, as the daylight would leave soon as well. The teachers went to take care of the fire and help prepare the food for the people. Not much later, the others who had worked at the Sky people home tree also came back, and the stories of the day were shared.

Rakan was unmistakably proud of the way he had solved the problem with the panels, but some people shook their heads at his madness. Again.

Hunters had been away to hunt sturmbeests and they had been successful, and Ekirä was proud of the children she had taken along for more tsko swizaw practice. They had done well too.

Puvomun asked Amhul if she wanted to come with him. He wanted to fly out for a short while, to see the night forest from above.

Amhul did not have to think about an answer. "Maybe Nusumea Tirea wants to fly with us as well."

They asked him, and the healer hunter appreciated their invitation. A few more people heard about the plan and joined, so in the end there was quite a group who went to their ikrans and soon were in the soft evening air.

Darkness had already started to embrace the world. The scents of the forest still rose up sharply, treating the flyers to a concerto of smells and impressions. Wordlessly they flew on, as more and more trees and bushes became illuminated with its inner brilliance. The water in the river became alive with the glowing creatures that lived in it, and as Puvomun looked around, the wonder of the light specks in the ikrans and their riders made him think of them as groups of flying insects for a moment.

It made him smile. His hand touched the neck of Kilvan as she carried him effortlessly over the magnificent view that unfolded beneath them. Never before had he seen the forest like this, in all its splendour of the night, from so high up.

"This was a wonderful idea, ma tsmukan," a gentle voice shook him from his dreamy state. "Not many people can appreciate such beauty from here, so we are privileged."

Puvomun looked at Nusumea Tirea, who flew to his left side. "Srane. This is amazing. Seeing the forest from the high branches is beautiful, but this is..." He tried to find a word, but failed.

Amhul was to his right, and she just kept staring at the myriads of coloured lights beneath them. Until a few loud voices broke the spell.

The three tried to understand what was being said, but they were too far away. As they joined the hunters, Tawtewng pointed downwards.

"There was a small fire," he said.

"How can you know?" Nusumea asked, "There is so much light there."

"I can tell the difference between a tree and a fire," Tawtewng said proudly. "Trust me, there was a fire. But whoever is there, this person extinguished it. Maybe he heard us, or saw us and does not want to be found."

"But who would be there in the forest?" Amhul wondered as the group made a gentle turn to fly over the area again.

"I don't know," Tawtewng said. "It is quite far from Kelutral, it is not someone from the People. And a tawtute would not live long enough to enjoy his fire."

"Do you think you can find this spot tomorrow?" Puvomun asked the warrior.

"Sran, I can. We should go there, yes, and see what we can find. Maybe there are tracks to follow."

The group scattered over the forest again and most people flew their own path for a while, until it was time to settle down for the night.
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Re: Sky People
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2010, 02:52:40 pm »
13. Where did the fire come from

The next morning a few men from the village prepared to go out into the forest.

Jake asked Puvomun to join them.

"Why, Jake? There is nothing I can do there," the teacher said, wondering about this request.

"Perhaps there is a Sky person out there, ma Puvomun. And if that's so, he or she may not speak enough Na'vi to talk to the others, so you should go to do the talking."

That made sense, so Puvomun left the village with the small group.

Tawtewng was leading them, as he was certain that he knew where the fire had been. He kept the pace high, but not in a way that would wear the teacher out.

The forest seemed to wait for them, the sounds of the animals did not appear to be as loud and vibrant as usual. It was seemed to the teacher singer that there were less animals visible than usual.

Tawtewng slowed down and told everyone to spread out. "The fire was near here. Look carefully, it may have been covered. A small mound of fresh earth can be a sign."

Puvomun looked around as he moved forward, but it was Txonway who called out. He had found the place where indeed the fire had been covered with soil. As he scooped away the sand, there were the remnants of a small fire and some bones of a small animal that had been a meal.

"Someone was here," Tawtewng stated, "I told you I saw a fire."

Then the people looked if they could find any footprints that might point to whom had been there, but the person either had flown, or he had stayed on the leaves that lay on the ground. That was disappointing. They could only decide there had been only one person, because the fire would not have been large enough to prepare food for two.

"Unless they ate in turn," Puvomun thought.

"Why would they do that?"

"To keep the fire as small as possible, so they would remain undetected."

Rakan shook his head. "There was only one animal cooked. It could not have fed two, teacher."

"Ma tsamsiyu, warrior, remember that the aysawtute are much smaller than we are. They eat less."

Txonway and Tawtewng had to agree with that. Rakan did not want to, but the others ignored his muttering.

"Whoever was here, they went through a lot of work to remain unseen," Tawtewng decided.

They then tried to find some signs of people leaving the area, but the ground did not reveal anything.

"It was at least one Sky person!" Rakan called out when they searched.

When the others had joined him, he pointed at a very stubby tree. On some of its many low branches there were marks of climbing that would be left there by the boots of a tawtute. Na'vi feet never left marks like that.

"Maybe it was the scientist. Paul Cameron," Puvomun suggested.

"Do you think so, karyu? Do you really think that a Sky person can survive for so long in the forest with no breathing mask?"

Rakan had a point, Tawtewng agreed.

Puvomun had to agree too. Sky people depended too much on their machines. But who or what then could have made this mark? There had been no word from the Sky people of someone missing. But then, they had not missed the scientist Cameron either, maybe there was another person out here.

Puvomun decided to ask this next time he saw the aysawtute.

There was nothing more to be done there, however, so the group headed back home and reported to Jake what they had found.

As the warriors talked with their clan leader, Puvomun went looking where Amhul was, but he could not find her.

Amaya knew she had gone off somewhere, with a bunch of the children, to look at flowers. "I had almost gone with them," she grinned.

"Why didn't you? Flowers are nice to look at," Puvomun wanted to know.

"I was curious about what you would find at the fire place. But that was not very much."

"Srane. Yes. But at least we have seen that someone was there. People will fly out every evening now, to see if they can find more fireplaces." Puvomun had heard Jake say something along those lines.

Amaya nodded, understanding the reason. "What are you going to do now?"

"I will make some arrows. Or perhaps a new bow. Why?"

"I will help you. There are no animals or people who need me at the moment. Nusumea is busy again with Eyamsiyu, about the large drum, and I want to feel useful."

"Sìltsan. Good. Come, we'll make arrows."

The two sat down away from the small fire, with a lot of wood, tips and feathers, and made arrows. A few children came to watch, and a few asked if they could learn how to make arrows as well.

Amaya grinned as she watched Puvomun explain about the wood and the strings, and then three children started to work on arrows as well. The others sat and watched for a while, then they got bored and ran off, making a lot of noise.

"Making good arrows is important," one of the children said. He probably had heard that from his parents at one point.

After watching the children ruin a few pieces of wood, he thanked them for their effort and sent them running. It would be good to do some lessons with material that was less valuable.

Amaya asked about the experience Puvomun and Amhul had had at the home tree of the Sky people. "I heard many things from Rakan, but he is so full of himself it seems. Did he really fly his ikran up close to the tree to pick the sawtute things from your hands?"

"He did. It was amazing to see."

Amaya stared at the teacher. "Weren't you scared?"

He grinned. "We both were."

-=-=-

At the end of the day, several people flew out again, to oversee the forest and to look for a small fire.

Puvomun and Amhul did not go out, there were plenty of people gone already. Instead they sat with Nusumea, Eyamsiyu and Amaya, talking about the progress of the drum and of the Sky people home tree that they had heard of.

Kelsawtute, as they called the house of the Sky people, now had one small room that was sealed entirely, and apparently it was considered safe by the sawtute. No air from inside escaped out of it, which was very important.

"Do they know when they will be ready with it?" Amhul asked.

Nusumea said that Randolph had been very positive and that they would have more "living space" than the cabin offered within a few more days, because the Omatikaya were helping.

"The sticky cores work very well in making the walls for their rooms," the healer hunter said.

Eyamsiyu nodded. "I know. It works for making a lot of things stick together, and once it dries it gets very tough."

"Do you use it with the drum too?" Amaya asked.

The instrument maker laughed. "No, I don't plan to anyway. The drum is coming along well. When I need a sticky core tree, there is something wrong. A large drum needs to be made without that."

"And the swing? Are people done with that now?"

Eyamsiyu nodded. "That is all done. We only need to attach the ropes to it, and the weavers are making them now."

"Special ropes."

"Sran. Very special." The man smiled, clearly very satisfied with everything he was doing and how these things progressed. "We will have a good party when the drum is ready."

"Do you already know who will drum it first?" Puvomun asked.

"I would like that to be Jake, but I don't think he will do that," Eyamsiyu said.

"We'll ask him," Amhul said.

"No. We will tell him," said Neytiri who had heard the last part of the conversation. "He is olo'eyktan, so he has to use the new large drum first."

Puvomun looked at Neytiri. "But he knows almost nothing about it."

"Then you have work to do, ma karyu," she grinned. "I am so glad I can now leave that to you!"

Amhul laughed as she saw Puvomun's face. They all knew how hard a time Neytiri'd had with Jake when she had been told by her mother to teach Jake their ways. "I will help you with him, ma yawne," she promised him.

"I am sure," Puvomun said, "you will laugh when I tell him what to do, and he makes me show it to him."

"Yes, of course," Amhul grinned. "And I will ask Neytiri to come and watch too. After all, Jake is her mate."

Puvomun decided that he would first talk to Jake and see how that would go, while Neytiri laughed and said that she would appreciate that very much.

The rest of the evening went by without many eventful things. Rakan and Korun got into a fight over apparently nothing, and laughed afterwards while Lolet scolded the two of them for behaving like idiots.

Ekirä shook her head as Korun sat down, wiping some blood from his mouth.

"Will they ever learn?" Amhul wondered.

"Of course. But with some it will take longer." Puvomun had seen many children grow up and come to their senses.

"I am not sure about Rakan," Amhul grinned.

"Hmm. I have to agree. He is Rakan."

One after the other, the flyers came back. None of them had seen a new fire in the forest, which was strange. The flyers had gone out in all directions, very far, and if there had been one or more Sky people, they would have had a lot of work getting that far away.

Puvomun had an idea. "I have to talk to Jake for a moment..."

He went to find the clan leader. "Jake. How much worries it you that there are people in the forest somewhere when we don't know who they are, or how many?"

"It's worrying, yes. As long as they stay away and don't give us problems, I should be fine, but I would like to know who it is. Or who they are. Why's that?"

"I have an idea, Jake. I first want to know how you feel about it. I know that Nusumea Tirea can do something like a Dream Hunt, to find people and animals. I would like to know if it is acceptable to ask him to see if he could find this person, or persons."

Jake thought about that. "Are you sure it's safe? If so, I'm okay with it. Perhaps we need to tell Mo'at about that, so she knows. Maybe she has a few ideas of her own about that."

"I will see to that, ma Jake. Irayo."

Puvomun asked Mo'at, who was aware that Nusumea had these abilitites, since he'd scared his ikran.

"Sìltsan. I agree. He can do this, but not for too long. You have to stay with him and tell him to return when it is taking too long," the Tsahik said. "He will not need any help from me."
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Offline Puvomun

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2010, 01:16:58 pm »
14. The dream search

Puvomun returned to the small group of friends and told them what he had talked about with Jake and Mo'at, and how they had responded to his questions.

Nusumea looked a bit surprised. "I had not expected this. But I will try."

"Will you need any help from us? Can we do something?" Puvomun asked.

"If you can make sure that nobody bothers me while I am searching, that will be a big help. I won't need more than a calm place."

The spot where they sat was calm enough, so Nusumea sat at ease and closed his eyes.

Amaya, sitting close to Nusumea, kept watching the healer hunter's face, as if she could read signs from it. Amhul and Eyamsiyu quietly sat and occasionally looked around, seeing to it that nobody would interfere with what was happening. Puvomun also kept looking at the face of his friend, wondering what was going on inside the man that sat so silently, his breath so shallow.

It seemed to take forever until Nusumea opened his eyes again. Everyone who had sitting with him released a breath that they had not noticed holding.

Puvomun knew that Nusumea would start speaking once he was ready for that.

"There is a Sky person out there. Far away, and he does not wish to be discovered. He is alone now, but sometimes he is not alone."

Puvomun digested this information, which in itself was already surprising. A Sky person alone, out in the woods, was amazing. But the message that this person sometimes was not alone was puzzling.

"Do you know who it is?" the teacher asked.

"Kehe. No, I don't. I know in which direction to search for him, but he is doing a lot of work not to stay in one place for a long time."

"Because he does not want to be discovered," Amhul nodded.

"Srane. And he is far from where we found the fire," Nusumea said. "I am very surprised that he managed to cover so much ground in one day. Sky people need machines for that. And he has no machines with him."

"But how can he survive out there? His mask will not last forever," Amaya wondered.

"I don't know how he does it," Nusumea said, "I sensed somewhat of worry with this person but he did not seem worried about breathing."

Puvomun wondered about this strange ability of Nusumea Tirea. How was it possible that someone could know these things about a person he had never seen and who was in a place nobody knew of?

Puvomun thought that his friend should tell these things to Jake as well, and walked along with him.

Jake looked at Nusumea. "I see. A bit thin on details, but very good to know. Do you think you can point the hunters to the right place tomorrow?"

"I can try," said the hunter healer.

"That's all I ask," Jake said. "Thanks for letting me know. I am glad we have something to go on now."

Puvomun and Nusumea went back to the little group and shared what Jake had said.

"It looks like Rìk will be lead ikran tomorrow," Nusumea grinned. "Not many warriors and hunters will appreciate that."

"It is how it will be," Amhul voiced her opinion. "You know most of this now, so you lead the way."

"I will try to detect more of this person tomorrow, before we leave." The hunter healer looked thoughtful. "Perhaps he moves in the night. Then I would guide the group to the wrong place."

-=-=-

The next morning a small group left Kelutral. A few hunters accompanied Nusumea on the journey to try and locate the person the healer hunter claimed to have 'seen'.

"Do you think they will find someone?" Amhul asked Puvomun.

"I don't know. I hope so. This unknown person around is..." Puvomun was not sure how he could express what he felt. "Po fìtsenge lu kxan. He should not be here."

"I know. We'll have to wait until they return, and listen to their words."

"And until then we should go fishing with some of the children," Puvomun suggested.

"Ma Puvomun, we have so many dried fishes already," Amhul said. "Why get more?"

"To have fresh fish."

She laughed. "That is a good reason."

They went to see which children were up to fishing. To their surprise there were not many. Only two children said they wanted to come along, so there was only a small group going to the river with short spears for fishing.

Fishing in the river was difficult. In the lake, the fish was calmer and slower. In the flowing water, the fish could not be calm if they wanted to, so fishing meant going into the water and be very quick.

For the children it was more or less a game, but the teachers always knew how to make it interesting enough for them to learn a few new skills with the short spear. Skills that would come in handy with a long spear as well.

As so often, the game ended with wet and tired children and no fish. Puvomun and Amhul were not very good at this way of catching fish, and the splashing children did not help for concentrated fishing anyway, so when the lesson was over, the two teachers took a break after making sure the children were not in dangerous places.

As they returned to the village centre, Nusumea and the warriors had come back from their look-out for the person with the small fire.

"We found another place where he stayed," Ateyo informed everyone. "Nusumea was right, there was someone. This time we found footprints. Only a few, but clearly tawtute prints."

"But again also there was no trail to be found in any direction. The person left through the trees again, we think, but we did not find a scratch on any of them," Nusumea added.

"This tute, this person must be a very good climber," I'awn said, "most trees are difficult to climb for Sky people, yet he did it."

"We should ask the Sky people if they know if this man Cameron is a good climber," Puvomun suggested.

The others agreed with that, even though the idea that a Sky person could survive this long away from their machines was quite unbelievable.

"They should be working on their own home tree now, we can go and ask."

Puvomun and Amhul agreed, so four people, the teachers, Nusumea and Ateyo, made their way over there.

-=-=-

Ik looked as if all the sawtute were present at the new home. Norm and Randolph were very busy, running around like crazy people. Everyone else was occupied with a task, to get things done. Everything looked surprisingly organised, and Puvomun wondered how much talking had been done before they had agreed on all this.

They found Mendelson, sitting on a tree stump, working on crude seats.

"Oh, hello there," the man said, "how nice to see you people. Do sit down. I am sorry, I don't have seats prepared for everyone." He chuckled at his own words.

The people also laughed, as the seats he was making were far too small for them to use. They sat down with Mendelson.

"Can you tell us, Mendelson," Ateyo asked, "if your scientist Paul Cameron is a good climber?"

The man put down his tools and looked at his damaged hands for a moment. Then he shook his head. "You should ask if he was. Lamu, not lu. And as far as I know he was not a better climber than most of us. Why?"

They told him about the find of the small fireplaces and the footprints that never seemed to go anywhere except for into the trees.

Mendelson laughed. "These trees? Good man, no, Paul would not be able to negotiate any of those even if he wanted to. There were a few soldiers, long ago, who managed that, but not us scientists. We're too cerebral and stuffy for that. But perhaps Natasha knows some more about him. She's over there, making doors. God, that woman is gifted with tools."

Puvomun looked to where Mendelson pointed and recognised the woman. His memory darted back to the place where they had found her dead Dreamwalker body, and how they had buried it with only the smallest of ritual possible. "Irayo, ma Mendelson. Thank you. We will talk to her then. Good luck with what you are making."

"Kevlar gloves is what I need, next to luck," Mendelson grinned. The words did not mean much to the Omatikaya, but they nodded and then went over to where Natasha Gorodzy was busy.

"Ma Natasha," Puvomun said. She had already seen them coming and put away her tools. Sweat dripped from every bit of skin, and the rest was drenching her clothes.

"Ma Puvomun. Oel ayngati kameie, ma eylan. I see you, friends." Natasha wiped her forehead. She had done that before, the smeared pattern on her skin just changed a bit. "What is the reason for your visit? Pelun ayngal tok fìtsengit?"

They asked her the same question.

She sat down on the workbench and considered the question. "No. He was not a good climber. Not better than most of us anyway."

As she too wanted to know why this question, Amhul suggested to tell all the Sky people at the same time. "It will save time and repeating."

It took a while but when they explained what they had found, all the Sky people were surprised and discussing the possibilities and impossibilities of this.

"But what if he is alive, and he found a way to breathe here?"

"That's impossible! You know what the air here contains. And how could he have survived in the jungle?"

All the questions the Omatikaya had asked themselves already were asked again, and some more that none of them understood.

Norm then tried to get his people back to order. "I am sure that our friends here will keep an eye on whatever is happening. If it is Paul Cameron, they'll find him. If it is someone else..." Norm looked lost a bit.

"We'll find out then, and deal with whatever happens," Stanley the technician said. "We'd better get to work again and get done what we can."

Norm agreed. While the others picked up their tools and work again, he offered the visitors to show what had been accomplished already.

"We decided that we will just close off the space we need," he pointed at the large opening under the tree. "Closing all of it would take far too long and serve no purpose."

They had made a closed space to the left side of the tree, large enough for all the Sky people. To the side of the tree there were a few windows, so light could come in, as had the front of the space. They had made a tilted roof on it, that also had a few windows mounted in them. These clearly came from a few Samson flying machines.

The entire construction was high enough for even very tall sawtute to walk around, and Norm was proud of the separate sleeping areas they had already prepared.

"The panels are making more than enough power," he said, "so we can already have air in two of the larger rooms."

The progress was encouraging. Norm and Randolph estimated that their people could move to the tree in five or six more days.

"We will tell Jake about this," Ateyo said as the Omatikaya were about to leave the Sky people village. "He will be pleased with that."

"I am sure," Norm said, proud of what had been achieved.
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Re: Sky People
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2010, 11:36:20 am »
15. Where someone else goes missing

Jake was very surprised to hear about the progress in the new village. "Five or six days? That's great."

Puvomun and Amhul agreed. The sooner the Sky people moved, the sooner Eywa could start to cover the remains of the old base. It was far away, but that did not make it a lesser concern.

"I should go and see them myself. I'm curious how they solved certain problems," the olo'eyktan said. "Are you coming with me?"

"We just came from there, Jake," said Puvomun, "and we want to rehearse a few old songs with the children."

"Sure. I'll see if I can find Neytiri and then I'll go have a look."

Not much later Puvomun and Amhul sat with a group of children, singing a few of the old songs. These songs were considered very important, as they helped the singers to open up more to Eywa. Puvomun knew that Mo'at used a few of those often, to make her connection deeper.

The teacher singer looked at the children and his eyes lingered on two of them. I'vawm and Apxanari. They sat next to each other and sang with their eyes closed, while their hands rested on the ground.

He touched Amhul's arm and nodded towards the girl and the boy. He saw something in Amhul's eyes, she had also seen them.

After the song, Amhul started one of the First Songs, and again I'vawm and Apxanari attracted the attention of the two singers.

It was remarkable, as these two children had never stood out. They did not excel in anything. Not in tsko swizaw, not in riding, not in tracking animals. And now they displayed this typical behaviour while singing. It was the way how Puvomun had found he would become a singer teacher.

After the song, Amhul said that the lesson was over, and asked Apxanari and I'vawm to stay.

"We noticed that you are closing your eyes when you sing," Puvomun said after the other children had left. "Can you tell us why?"

The two children looked at each other. "We like to sing the songs, and when we close our eyes we can feel what they mean. Inside."

Obviously they had been singing together too, as they almost said the same thing at the same time.

"Have you ever thought about what you want to be?" Puvomun asked them.

Again the children looked at each other. "Not really."

"Do you think you would like to be singer teachers?"

Apxanari, the girl, looked at Amhul. "I don't know. I never thought of that."

The boy, I'vawm, did not look very certain either. "Maybe. I - uhm - my father wants me to be taronyu. Hunter. But I am not a good hunter."

"You can learn," Apxanari said to him, although her voice did not hold much confidence.

I'vawm looked at the teachers. "I don't want to be taronyu."

Apxanari looked relieved for a moment, then her face was calm and neutral again.

"If you two will think about becoming teacher singers, we can talk to your parents," Puvomun proposed.

I'vawm appeared somewhat shocked. "We are too young to be singer teachers, ma Puvomun. And the clan has you and Amhul."

"Sran, yes, but Amhul and I will become old, and we must have good singer teachers before we die, ma I'vawm."

"Menga ke lu koak mi! You two are not yet old!" The boy looked upset at the idea of the teachers not being there.

Amhul laughed. "No, we are not, but we will be one day. If you want to become our pupils, there is a lot you will have to learn. There are many songs that only the teacher singers know, many stories. You will learn how to teach things to others. Many things. Also the things you are not good at."

It was only fair, Puvomun knew, to tell this. They should know what they would commit to if they chose to become the new teacher singers.

"How can we teach things we are not good at?" I'vawm wondered.

"By teaching them as well as you can. Every Omatikaya needs to know the basic things. If you want to become a better pa'li maktoyu, you can learn that from a hunter like Peyral. If you want to be a better archer, you talk to Ekirä and she will show you. If you want to learn to handle animals, you can always ask Amaya to teach you. Everyone can do that. The teachers, aykaryu, will give everyone the start, not the perfection."

Apxanari smiled. "But for the songs you do that."

I'vawm nodded in agreement. "I think I want to become a teacher singer."

"Think about this well, ma I'vawm, ma Apxanari. And when you have questions, you can always come to us."

The boy looked happy. "Do we also get to fly an ikran?"

"If you find one, you might," Amhul laughed at the boy's question. "But remember that flying an ikran is normally for taronyu and tsamsiyu, the hunter and the warrior."

Her words cast a momentary shadow on I'vawm's face, but that disappeared quickly.

"Irayo, ma Amhul," he said. Then he got up and asked Apxanari if she wanted to come with him, so they could talk. And sing.

"We may have found successors," Amhul said, her face alight with satisfied pleasure as she saw the children walk off.

"You found successors?" Neytiri's voice surprised the two. "If you are so good at finding people, can you help me find ma oeyä sa'nok? I cannot find my mother, and someone needs her."

"Neytiri? You are not with Jake?"

"Kehe. I was busy, I told him to go alone. And now I am looking for ma sa'nok and she is nowhere."

The teachers were confused by that. Mo'at was not in the habit of disappearing without notice.

"Perhaps you can ask Nusumea for help, or Amaya," Amhul suggested, "while we look for our Tsahik."

"Good." Neytiri walked off to Nusumea, who was working on the drum with Eyamsiyu.

Puvomun and Amhul started to look for Mo'at, but after looking everywhere near the village, they did not find her. And that was very disturbing.

-=-=-

"Have you looked in the right places?" Jake asked. He had returned from the Sky people and learnt of Mo'at being missing.

"Jake, there are no right and wrong places," Puvomun said. "We looked everywhere, in and around the village. A few people went up in the tree, Amaya went to where the ikrans are even. Some people were out on fa'li, to see if she went further away. We went down the river, she is not there either."

"Can someone have taken her?" the clan leader asked.

"We would have heard, or found signs of a struggle," Ateyo said. "Mo'at is not someone who would let another person take her away without a fight."

"Isn't it strange that she disappears just like that?" Amhul then thought. "Just like the Tsahik of the forest clan did?"

While Jake ordered every available person to head out into the forest, or out over it on ikran, Puvomun considered Amhul's remark. It was indeed strange that both Tsahiks had left their village in a similar strange way, without a word.

At that moment a small person came running into the village.

"Jake! Jake!" the Sky person yelled. It was Norm Spellman.

Everyone looked at him as he ran the last stretch and came to a panting halt. He had clearly been running the whole route from his new village to Kelutral, as his clothes were wet from perspiration. "Jake," the man said one more time.

"Norm, what's wrong?" Jake wanted to know, but he too had to wait for Norm to catch his breath.

"It's Mo'at," Norm finally managed.

"Mo'at! What's wrong with her?"

"Nothing. She's fine. She's with us." Norm was still fighting the air supply in his mask, clearly.

"With you? Why is she with you?"

Everyone was puzzled now. Why would Mo'at disappear to the Sky people village without telling anyone? It was by far not her favourite place.

"They brought Paul Cameron," Norm then said, not making much clear.

"Who they? And Paul Cameron, isn't that the scientist who went missing?" Jake sounded worried, irritated and relieved.

"Yeah. I suggest you all come with me, I ran off to come for you before I heard everything," Norm said.

That sounded like the best plan, so everyone near got to their feet.

As they all walked through the forest, Neytiri bombarded Norm with questions about her mother, but he was not able to tell her much. Everyone understood they'd have to wait until they reached the new home tree.

-=-=-

The new village of the sawtute was in a slight uproar. Everyone sat around a a few people who were talking. Puvomun recognised Mo'at. She sat next to a small person, who had to be Paul Cameron, and a Na'vi woman he had never seen before.

As the group entered the village, most people looked up.

Jake and Neytiri rushed forward to Mo'at. Puvomun and Amhul waited, they would hear more soon, they were convinced of that.

"I think the other woman is the Tsahik of the forest clan," Amhul whispered

Puvomun looked again. "You could be right."

The woman next to Mo'at did not look like a Tsahik. Her attire, or what remained of it, was not that what they would expect of a clan shaman.

Mo'at was on her feet, talking to Neytiri and Jake, gesturing to the woman and the man with her. Norm had joined them and tried to talk too, but the Omatikaya did not take notice of him.

Finally Jake and Neytiri seemed satisfied and they sat down, as did Mo'at.

The people in the middle did not tell everything from the beginning, but Puvomun and the others learnt that the man was indeed Paul Cameron, and that the woman was the Tsahik of the forest clan. Her name was Zunìl.

The scientist had left the sawtute base before the problems with the dreamwalkers had started. He had used an AMP suit to travel south as far as he could. When the machine had run out of fuel, he had gone further on foot, carrying some food, a knife and several breathing masks. After many days he had reached the area of the forest clan where he had met Zunìl.
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Re: Sky People
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2010, 03:02:31 am »
16. Zunìl's story

Zunìl had been in the forest alone, on a dream quest, as she'd had a feeling that she would be needed. After meeting Paul Cameron, she knew that this was the reason for her feelings, and she had joined him without thinking. This had been too important to waste time.

Paul Cameron, the listeners heard, had been working on finding a way to generate breathable air from elements of this world. He had discovered a certain type of low tree that proved to be exactly what he needed for that.

Then the scientists took over. Partly in Inglìsì, partly in Na'vi, he told that the mask he was wearing now did not rely on an oxygen container. He held his arms out and turned, to show everyone that he only wore the mask and not the equipment that all Omatikaya knew to come with it.

"I only use a twig from the tree," Paul Cameron said. "I have cut into it a few times and put it inside the mask so it is around my face."

He continued with details that Puvomun did not understood, but it was very clear that the man had discovered a way for the sawtute to live here without the need of machines to breathe. He was not sure what type of tree the man was referring to, but he would like to know that.

"So if this place is airtight," Paul Cameron said as he pointed to the tree home, "we can keep the air supply inside perfect just using these twigs. We might even be able to plant a small tree somewhere inside, to see if that is enough."

A loud discussion emerged from the assembled Sky people, to whom all this was of course very important news.

Mo'at did not wait for the people to stop their talking. "Zunìl has taken care of the man Cameron for a long time. To support him, to carry him through the forest so he could move fast from one place to another, she has gone through a lot of hardship, and she ignored her own needs. Puvomun, Amhul, I want you two to take her to Kelutral. Tell Nusumea to take care of her, and make sure she gets proper food."

The teacher singers nodded and went into the group to pick up and guide Zunìl. The woman was very thin, it scared Puvomun how light she was.

The singer teachers slowly walked back home with the woman. They did not talk much, as the woman looked weak, and she needed her all energy to walk along, even when the two supported her.

When they reached Kelutral, many people rushed up to help them, while Amhul explained who the woman was. Quickly food was brought, and Zunìl gladly accepted it. After a while Zunìl was able to talk.

Nusumea joined them. He did what he could to examine Zunìl and found there was nothing wrong with her, except for a lack of food.

Slowly the Tsahik  told them how she had been on her dream quest. "I wandered among the trees. I do this often, when Eywa wants to talk to me. Then I had the urge to go to a place I never go, far from the village. That is where I found him. Pawl Kamron. He was alive, but in need of food and water. I wanted to take him to the village, to the river, but he did not want that. He was... stubborn."

Zunìl needed a moment to catch her breath. Puvomun understood she was exhausted from what she had done.

"We do not see many ayuniltìranyu, dreamwalkers, in our forest," Zunìl continued. "We do not know their ways so well. I was lucky he speaks our language well. He told me what he was doing, looking for plants and trees and twigs, so his people could breathe here. I did not understand him, but I knew, in my heart, ma oeyä txe'lan, that he was the reason that Eywa had sent me there."

The woman reached for the water cup and drank, slowly. A previous attempt had been too fast and thrown her in a coughing fit.

"Why did they not get you anything at the Sky people village?" Amhul wondered.

"They have nothing," was the simple answer. Then she continued. "Pawl Kamron told me about his dream, of the aysawtute living here with the Na'vi, and that he was trying to find ways to make this possible."

Paul Cameron had told her that he needed to travel a lot, and as fast as he could. That his machine, the AMP suit, had stopped working. Zunìl had offered to take him where he wanted to go, just like that. With no further thought. And he had accepted.

Nusumea Tirea frowned at this. It was very unlike a person should react. But then, this had been a very uncommon situation.

Together, Zunìl continued, they had roamed through large parts of the forest, living on very little, facing animals that were no problem for the Na'vi but that were dangerous and large for the tawtutan, the Sky man. It had been a difficult time for both of them, Zunìl told them, where frustration on either side sometimes led to fights and anger, but every time Eywa had provided an answer, a solution, or just a situation that made them pull together to get through.

Amhul and Puvomun would love to know more of that, but Zunìl was too tired to talk more. She almost fell asleep sitting there, so the two showed her a safe place to lie down. Before they had left the sleeping area, Zunìl was unaware of anything.

The teachers went round, telling everyone to be quiet near Zunìl. Especially the children, who were curious about the new person, had to be told.

"Why would she have gone so far?" Amhul wondered about Zunìl. "She looks like a skeleton, she has taken such poor care of herself."

Puvomun did not know the answer. "She will have to tell if she wants to. If she can. I think that we should go to the forest clan though, to tell them that we have their Tsahik here."

Amhul nodded as she looked up. "It is getting dark soon, ma Puvomun."

"Oel omum, I know. But our ikrans will be able to find the way," the teacher said.

"If you want to go to them, then go. I will stay here and make sure she recovers. There are enough people that will help, and Mo'at will return too, I am certain. Perhaps you can also find a way to get her back to her people when you are there," Nusumea reminded them. "She does not look strong enough to ride a horse that far yet."

Puvomun acknowledged that. "We should go then."

Amhul and he hurried to the top of the tree and called their ikrans. It did not take them long to be in the air and head to the south where the forest clan lived.

As they travelled, daylight left and darkness came to rule their world. From their position on the ikran, a breathtaking view unfolded around them, as the shadows became longer and slowly disappeared inside the long veils that chased away the sunset.

The further south they came, the darker their world turned, and then they came upon the lake. It glowed in a stunning way.

"Ma Puvomun!" Amhul exclaimed, "look!"

It was hard not to see. The brilliance of glowing life in the water in many shades of white and blue was almost mesmerising, so Puvomun had to remind himself why they were here.

The ikrans turned away from the lake and headed over the hills towards the home of the forest clan. They found a good place for their ikrans and walked over to the large tree.

Even though they knew, Puvomun was again slightly amazed by the presence of the two guards that stopped them.

"Oh, they are the two Omatikaya teachers," one of them, a woman, said. "They were here not long ago, to see the children."

"I remember," the other one said. "Welcome, dear friends. Oel mengati kameie. Please go on."

That was good, they were not guided along like strangers this time. Puvomun thanked the two and together with Amhul he made his way to the tree, where a large fire was burning. At the smell of food he suddenly remembered they had not eaten before leaving Kelutral.

The forest clan welcomed the two visitors. The people there were more than amazed over the news that their Tsahik had been 'found' and was resting at Kelutral.

The teachers told what they knew and answered the questions from the clan members as well as they could.

Siltere almost sat on top of the teachers, as she wanted to know everything they had to say. Puvomun understood that, after all Zunìl was the person who should be teaching Siltere everything she had to know to become the next Tsahik.

"When will Zunìl come back to us?" Siltere asked.

"We are not certain. She was weak and needed a lot of sleep. She cannot ride a horse for so long," Amhul explained. "When we get back, we will see that she is taken care of. But you can be certain that the Omatikaya will do that already. Mo'at, our Tsahik, was very worried about Zunìl."

Txep'rea, the clan leader, was remarkably friendly towards the teachers. He asked them if they wanted to stay there for the night, as they had flown over so very late.

Puvomun and Amhul discussed that among themselves, and decided to accept the offer. It was a sign of trust and friendship, and things like that should be honoured.

Together with Nue'wah, the clan's singer teacher, they sang songs and led in dances, as the night begged the forest to show its glowing splendour.

It was late in the night as Nue'wah showed Puvomun and Amhul where they could lie down for the night. It was a comfortable hammock like the ones they were used to

"I hope you will sleep well," Nue'wah said to them, "and thank you again for coming over to us, to tell the news about Zunìl."

"Txon lefpom, ma Nue'wah," said Amhul. "We are pleased that everyone appreciated us coming."

Then they laid down, and soon sleep came.
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Re: Sky People
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2010, 12:27:24 pm »
17. The village of the Sky people

Puvomun woke up to unfamiliar sounds after a sleep that had been punctured with many short waking moments. With the forest clan, the day seemed to start in a much different way from the Omatikaya. He sensed that Amhul was awake as well, as her tail twitched and stroked his leg.

"Did you sleep well?" he asked his mate.

"Well enough," was her reply, which told him she had not slept as well as normally either. "I felt you were awake a few times too."

Her senses were better than Puvomun's, he thought. He had not noticed her being awake in the night.

"I was, indeed."

They decided to get up and went down the tree. Its inside was slightly different from the kind of tree they were used to. Puvomun would like to know more about it, but doubted that there was time for that. Probably the only person who knew something about it as Zunìl anyway.

Over breakfast, the teachers once more promised to make sure Zunìl was well taken care of.

"We will find a way to get her home to you as soon as she can travel," Amhul smiled. "If it takes longer, we will come and let you know how she is doing."

As they were ready to leave, Txep'rea handed them a small banner in the colours of the forest clan. "This is a token of our appreciation for everything the Omatikaya have done for us," he said. "We hope its colours will fly next to the banners of your clan."

Amhul and Puvomun thanked the clan leader. "We will present your colours to our olo'eyktan, ma Txep'rea. We are certain he appreciates them."

Again, Siltere and Tey'ran walked with them, to see the ikrans. Also Nue'wah came with them, curious about the animals that were so rare in their area.

The teachers hugged the children and their equal of the forest clan, and then climbed the tree. The ikrans were ready to leave and left the branch with loud cries, making it impossible to hear what the children called up to them.

Fast strong beats of the ikran wings took the teachers up into the sky. Puvomun enjoyed the morning freshness of the air as they flew through it. He watched Amhul, who grinned at him, and they made a round to wave at the children and the teacher singer on the ground before they told their ikrans to go home.

The ikrans found their way over the forest, keeping the river in sight. Suddenly some shrieks from below made the teachers look down. A small swarm of ikranay, forest banshees, flew up from the trees.

Puvomun sensed how Kilvan noticed the animals, but she did not feel the need to react on their appearance. Again he was surprised how smooth and gentle the flow of tsaheylu was between ikran and rider.

The teachers watched the ayikranay cross the river and soon lost them as they dove into the foliage again.

"That was a nice surprise," Amhul said as they flew next to each other again.

Puvomun agreed.

The rest of the flight was not exciting, but the two enjoyed their voyage nonetheless, as the views on their world were so different again from the air.

Once they reached home and had joined the clan again, they found Mo'at talking with Zunìl. The conversation was swiftly shoved aside as they wanted to know what news the teachers had brought.

Zunìl smiled as she heard them tell of Siltere and Tey'ran. "They are such good children. I must go back as soon as I can. Siltere still needs to learn so much."

"You need to wait for that," Mo'at sternly said. "You are weak and the journey to your clan is a far one."

"Srane, you are right of course, ma Mo'at," Zunìl nodded. "But I have been away from them for so long."

"Ngay. True. So another day will not make a difference. And in that day we can think of how you can go back." Mo'at had a tone in her voice that indicated that the matter was closed with that remark.

-=-=-

Puvomun and Amhul gathered a few children who wanted to become hunters. Their plan was to go into the forest and find animal tracks. Amaya said she wanted to come along as well.

They invited Zunìl, but the Tsahik would rather spend some more time resting.

Amhul went to find I'vawm and Apxanari, the two children who were their candidates for becoming singer teachers. It took a while before she returned, but she did with the two children with her.

"I had to explain why this is important," she told Puvomun.

He understood.

The group set off into the forest. They did not have a particular goal in mind, as there were animals everywhere, so any given spot would be a good one. Still, Amhul and Puvomun tried to find the places that were the most interesting and challenging for their pupils.

As they stopped, Puvomun told the children to just look around and tell how many different animal tracks they could find. I'vawn did his best to find tracks as well. Apxanari was not so keen though. She kept a bit to the side with Amaya.

Amaya scanned the ground and pointed at a few tracks she noticed. Apxanari was not interested at first, but the way Amaya talked about the tracks and the animal that had made it slowly pulled the girl into the game.

Ikranari, young as he was, discovered the trails of three different animals. "There were yerik here," he pointed, "and nantang. And those are from a direhorse."

He was right. Puvomun wondered why there had been a horse here recently. The tracks were not deep enough for a horse and its rider. Were there wild fa'li here? That would be interesting, as no one had ever mentioned those.

Chatter overhead made everyone look up, even when they knew there were syaksyuks, the prolemuris who lived high in the trees.

Ikranari immediately started to look for someting he hoped to find on the ground.

"What are you searching, ma Ikranari?" Puvomun wanted to know.

"Fruit," said the boy.

"Why that?"

"To throw at them before they start throwing it at us."

The laughter that followed was so loud that the syaksyuk disappeared under loud protest, without any fruit being thrown.

All intent for the tracking lesson had vanished with this intermezzo. Amhul suggested that they could visit the sawtute village, as they were not very far from it. Puvomun agreed, and the children all were eager to see the place.

The walk to the new village was easy, as the forest was not very dense. As they approached the sawtute village, the group encountered three Sky people who were on their knees studying a few plants. The sawtute quickly got to their feet as the Omatikaya approached.

Puvomun recognised the man Paul Cameron, and Natasha, the woman whose uniltìrantokx had died from poisonouse nettles. The third man was only a face he had seen before.

"Kaltxì," Paul Cameron greeted the group. "Oel ayngati kameie. I see you all."

"Kaltxì, ma Pawl Kamron," said the teacher. "What are you looking at?"

"We are looking at species of plants that might be from the same family that the trees are which can supply our air."

The group heard the words, but more words were needed before they understood what had been said.

"What is the tree you use now?" Amhul asked.

Natasha looked around. "That one," she said, pointing to a small tree near where they stood.

The Omatikaya were surprised. That kind of tree was dangerous to the people. The bark was rough and scratched the skin very easily, and that could inflict a lot of pain for days. Every Na'vi knew this type of tree and that it should be avoided.

Natasha in the meantime stared at the children. "They are tall."

Ikranari grinned. Puvomun knew why. The boy had never been considered very tall, and now he was taller than the tawtute woman who was an adult.

Paul Cameron laughed. "They only are tall to us, Natasha."

The man looked in decent shape, and he was wearing his mask without the regular attachment, Puvomun noticed.

The scientist noticed the curious looks of the teacher. "Yes, as you see it really works. And it is the same piece of wood that I used when you saw me the first time, ma Puvomun. It works quite long. Natasha is also using it now."

Puvomun and the others now noticed that the woman was also not having the usual device with her.

"It works, yes," Natasha said, looking up at the Na'vi people. "At first I was sceptic, but it is wonderful like this, not having to carry that extra stuff along."

Puvomun was certain of that. Having to carry so much, in these clothes that looked very warm, had to be very annoying.

"Why are you here, with the children?" Paul Cameron then asked. Puvomun noticed that his eyes lingered on Amaya a bit longer than would be necessary.

"We wanted to show them your new village," Amhul said.

"That's nice!" Natasha smiled. "I will come with you and show you around."

Paul Cameron said he would continue the work with the other man, so with a guide the group walked on towards the village. Many voices greeted them as they emerged from the forest.

A lot of work had been done again since Puvomun and Amhul had been there. A large part under the tree had been closed off now, and there was a proper entrance in it. The space that the Sky people had available in it was at least three times of what they had in the cabin at the old base. The people had to be very happy about that, as they had complained about the crowded space a lot.

"We are almost ready to come and live here," Natasha said, sounding very happy with the prospect. "We have rooms for everyone. Randolph and Pete are trying to work out something for beds."

The children looked at all the things in amazement, and asked many questions. Most of them the teachers could answer, some however required translation and a lot of patience before Natasha or another person could supply the answer. Everyone however was in a good mood and willing to help in making things clear to the young visitors.

When Amhul and the children sat with a woman who was making a kind of drapes from cloth, Amaya tapped Puvomun's elbow.

"Back in the forest, the man Kamron stared at me," she said, quietly.

"I noticed. He probably thinks you are pretty." The teacher grinned as he saw Amaya's face.

"I don't want him staring that way."

"You could tell him not to do that," Puvomun teased her.

"Hrah, you are not helping me, karyu!" Amaya tried to look angry for a moment, and then she grinned with him.
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Re: Sky People
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2010, 12:17:19 pm »
18. Return to the forest clan

Puvomun and Amhul rounded up the children again and went back to Kelutral. The tracking lesson had ended up being something entirely different, but had turned out to be good in all. The children would see the Sky people a lot so the more they knew of them, the better it would be.

When they arrived, Jake was having a converstaion with Neytiri, Mo'at and Zunìl.

The children went to find parents, friends or things to do, as the teachers and Amaya joined Jake and the others. The conversation was about Zunìl, of course, and how she could be taken back to her own clan.

"You should have kept Toruk, Jake," Amaya grinned. "Toruk is big enough to carry several people."

"Oh, sure," Jake mockingly agreed. "I did what I had to do, Amaya. Have any other smart ideas?"

Zunìl looked a bit lost as the talk between the two went on in Inglìsì, so the teachers and Neytiri did their best to tell her what was said.

"I do," the young woman said. "I think that if Zunìl can ride pa'li, and a few of us go with her, we can get her back to her clan in a few days."

Zunìl looked pleased with that idea, but Mo'at shook her head. "I do not think she should ride that far."

"I do need to go back to my people, Sister," Zunìl said, "and if we go slow enough..."

"There would be another option," Amhul then brought up. "We have been flying with I'awn and Txonway, a long time ago. And Puvomun once took Amaya on his ikran. And that went well. We could take Zunìl home that way."

Neytiri sharply looked at Amhul. "You are crazy. You cannot do that."

"We already did," Puvomun supported Amhul. "Kilvan did not feel very tired after taking Amaya here."

Before Jake could voice his mind, Neytiri already spoke. "That is different, teacher. Amaya is small and thin, and you probably did not take her very far. Your ikran did not even notice that she was there."

"Kilvan knew," Puvomun said. He knew this.

"Rutxe. Please. Stop, people, this bickering is not getting Zunìl home," Jake said as there was an opening for him. "Do you two think this can be done?"

Puvomun and Amhul were certain. They could fly a stretch, until the ikran with the passenger was getting tired. They could then stop, rest, and fly on with the passenger on the other ikran.

Neytiri still disagreed, stating this was a stupid idea.

Zunìl said that she was willing to do this, if the teachers thought it was safe. This ticked Neytiri off even more, as she was a hunter and knew much more about flying an ikran than the two teachers combined.

Neytiri had a point, Puvomun agreed, she had been flying for years already. Amhul and he for just some months, and far less intense than the hunters or the warriors. Still he was convinced that they could do this. The bond with Kilvan he shared, and the way Amhul could sense Taw was amazing, they knew when their ikrans were getting tired. And they had not felt that very often.

"Still I think this is a dangerous thing," Jake said. "I can see that you are convinced it is possible. I'll strike you a deal. You two will do what you say can be done, but I want two people to go with you. If something happens, then you are not alone."

Amhul nodded. "Oe mllte, Jake, I agree."

"Siltsan. Good. Tell Lolet and Rakan I ask them to join you."

Neytiri stared at Jake for a long moment, then she burst out laughing. Her joy made Zunìl frown, though, as the Tsahik suspected something at least slightly unnerving now.

When Neytiri stopped laughing, she told the teachers to be very careful. "If anything happens, I will come after you."

Puvomun understood that part of her words were in jest, but another part was meant seriously. Neytiri was to become the next Tsahik, and because of that she felt responsible for Zunìl's wellbeing.

Mo'at had remained silent so far. "Good, it has been decided. You will leave today?"

"Yes, we will. If we can find Lolet and Rakan," Amhul said.

"Rakan... Just go where the most noise is," Mo'at spread her wisdom, "as usual."

The teachers found Lolet and Rakan near the river. For a change, Rakan was very calm and the two were simply talking. When they heard about their new task, they were surprised, but Rakan was immediately game for doing the passenger flying.

"No, Rakan. Amhul and I will carry Zunìl. You and Lolet will come with us for safety. Although I am not certain why Jake assigned that to you," Puvomun grinned at the young warrior, who knew how to take the stab. It was not the first, and definitely not the last.

"You'll know when you are falling down and someone's there to catch you," Rakan grinned back. "We'll get ready and wait for you up there."

The teachers watched the pair walk off.

"They are remarkable," Amhul said. Puvomun just nodded, and then they walked back to where Mo'at and Zunìl were, telling them that their escorts would be waiting.

Zunìl was all ready for the journey. Mo'at still worried, but did not speak out. Jake and Neytiri wished them all a safe journey, and Neytiri added that they had to be very careful and not take risks.

"We have Rakan with us for that," Amhul remarked. Then the three went up to where the ikrans lived.

"You have a reputation, young man," Zunìl said to Rakan when she met him and Lolet.

"Yes," he merrily agreed, "I worked hard for that. We'll make sure you get home safely."

Zunìl thanked him for his words and watched in awe how Rakan and Lolet then called their ikrans and flew them off the tree. Amhul called Taw and left the wide branch too. Then Puvomun called Kilvan.

After making tsaheylu, the bond, he calmed her and took his time to let her get accustomed to the presence of the stranger.

After getting on Kilvan's shoulders, he held out his hand and helped Zunìl up. "Hold on tight," he warned the Tsahik, "we will first drop down before Kilvan spreads her wings. It is all well."

"You are the strangest teachers I have met," Zunìl said. It was the last thing she said for a while, because then Puvomun told Kilvan to fly, launching as carefully as possible.

Amazingly gentle they became airborne. Zunìl held on to Puvomun and was silent, so the teacher singer asked if she was well.

"Sran, oe lu nìtsan, ma Puvomun," she said, "I am well. This is just so overwhelming and strange."

Puvomun laughed. He knew what she meant. Amhul and he had felt the very same way during that first flight they had made with their friends.

The four ikrans lined up, with the teachers in the middle and started their journey south.

The journey went calm and almost had the feel of a fun trip away. By the time they reached the space where once the Samson of the angry Dreamwalkers had crashed, Puvomun sensed that Kilvan was getting tired.

"We have to rest soon," he warned the other ikran riders.

"Good. I will go and find a good place for that," said Lolet. She made her ikran plummet down and then raced over the high leaves.

Soon she returned. "A little further ahead there is a nice place. Follow me."

The spot she had found was very pleasant indeed. There was a large tree with an internal structure like Hometree along which they could go down to the floor. The tree was close to the river, so they went to the waterside and sat down there.

Amhul found a few pieces of fruit that so far had escaped the attention of the aysyaksyuk, so they had a nice snack while they rested.

Of course the conversation came back to the strange happenings around Zunìl and the scientist, Paul Cameron. And again Zunìl explained about the strange feeling she'd had just before going into the forest where she had found the man. "It was something so strong that I could not ignore it, or deny that it was there. It just pushed me onwards. And it pushed us forward also, once I had found him."

"But your mate..." Puvomun started, when he realised that this subject had never been touched so far as he knew.

Zunìl shook her head. "There is no mate. He joined Eywa during the war with the aysawtute." She clearly understood the asking faces, for she continued: "It was strange for me, yes, to find that tawtute, that Sky person, in the place where I had to go."

The woman slowly nibbled from the remains of the fruit in her hand as she went through her memories. "When I saw him, I had to think of Toeryon - he was my mate - but Pawl Kamron looked so helpless and lost that I could not be angry with him for what the others of his race had done."

"So you just went around the forest with him to find that tree that helps them breathe," Rakan tried to deduce.

"Not just that. We talked as much as we could. He learnt more and more Na'vi, so talking became easier as we spent more time together. He wanted to learn from me. From us."

"Like Dr. Grace," Amhul nodded. "Some of them really want to see. Dr. Grace was one of them. And our olo'eyktan learnt it the hard way."

"Yes. Neytiri taught him," Lolet chuckled. "I think some days she had a sore hand from slapping him. He was such a skxawng at first."

Zunìl nodded. "We thought they were all skxawng at first. But we have to keep an open mind. Listen to the person."

Puvomun agreed with that. It was wrong to judge a person for what his race did. It was not right.

For some time they lingered at the river. Then the journey had to go on.

Amhul was curious how her flying would go with Zunìl, she said.

"If it is a problem, tell us soon," Rakan said. "We can all take turns, no need for someone to get into trouble."

As they left the tree, Puvomun stayed very close to Amhul. She had not seemed very safe as Zunìl climbed behind her. After a while though, he noticed that the two looked relaxed enough.

"How is Taw feeling?" he asked.

"Very good," Amhul replied. "She does not seem to notice two passengers very much."

Puvomun saw that Rakan kept a close eye on Amhul as well. The young man was really one with many faces. This was a Rakan the teacher singer would blindly trust.

As they reached the place where the river joined the lake, they had another rest. Amhul said it had been very good flying, but she hoped that Puvomun could take Zunìl for the last part of the journey. Kilvan was well rested, so that was no problem.

The small group flew over the forest that lay behind the hills. Zunìl was getting excited now, as she recognised the area of her home.

Amhul led them to a good tree to leave the ikrans and soon after that they were on their way to the tree.

As usual they encountered two guards. Their reaction was one of surprise when they saw Zunìl. One of them ran off to the tree, the other could not find enough words to express how he felt, that the Tsahik was back. He ushered them on, forgetting all about what he was guarding.

Siltere was the first to come running towards them. The girl flung herself in the arms of Zùnìl as tears flowed from both their faces. Several others, also Txep'rea, then came along.

Puvomun saw Rakan and Lolet staying back. "Come here," he said to them, "you are part of this too."

"They're crying," Rakan whispered, as if that was a problem for him.

"Yes. And that is good," Amhul grinned as she saw how Zunìl was greeted and welcomed back by everyone from the clan.

Txep'rea, the clan leader, nodded and smiled as he saw the teachers. "You are almost soaia olo'ru, family of the clan, singers," he said. "Welcome. And our gratitude for bringing our Tsahik back so soon. We were already planning to send out riders."

Amhul introduced Lolet and Rakan, they were also welcomed and thanked.

The clan invited the flyers to stay for a while and celebrate with them. Quickly everything was prepared for a feast. Obviously the clan was very happy that Zunìl was back with them.

As the people were singing and drinking, Amhul touched Puvomun's arm. "It is almost as if Siltere is Zunìl's daughter," she grinned.

"Sran, they are very close."

Siltere was sitting next to Zunìl and was talking a lot, almost without breathing. Zunìl sometimes said a few words.

"I never saw Mo'at and Neytiri talk that way. Not even when Neytiri was younger," Puvomun noticed.

"Neytiri is so different from Siltere," Amhul pointed out. "Neytiri is strong. She burns like fire. Siltere is strong, but flows like water."

Puvomun nodded, that was very well described. There could be a song in these words.
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

Offline Puvomun

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2010, 04:04:21 am »
19. Talking with a proud father

When the Omatikaya were ready to go back home, Zunìl thanked them once more.

"I cannot say what it means that your clan has done," she said. "Please tell your people. And when you see Pawl Kamron, tell him that I will come again, to visit, and to talk with him."

Puvomun promised that they would deliver the messages. Then the four walked away from the village.

When they were far enough from the forest clan, Lolet said: "That is a strange community."

"Why do you say that, ma Lolet?" Amhul asked.

"I'm not sure, but it feels and looks as if many people there are scared," Lolet tried to explain. "There are small groups all the time. Some are with the Tsahik, some are with the leader, and some are separate."

"How do you think they are scared then?" Puvomun asked. He recognised Lolet's concern, it was how he felt too, but he had never voiced it.

"It is in the way they sometimes look at each other."

"Some do not trust each other," Rakan then said. "They protect their own little group, and they never move among each other for a long time."

"Perhaps this was just because of their interests and ideas, during the feast," Amhul suggested.

"No." Rakan sounded determined. "That is different. These people keep a secret and they all know it, and they all try to keep each other from accidentally telling."

Lolet nodded. "That is it."

Puvomun and Amhul regarded each other. Then Puvomun asked how the two hunter warriors had gotten that feeling, as he had not been able to pinpoint it this precisely.

"It is just by looking at them," Lolet explained. "We are hunters. We have to look closely and decide on what we see."

"And quickly too," Rakan added.

By then they had reached their ikrans.

"Do you think we should pay a visit to the hill clan and ask them if they know something about the forest clan? If they have some ideas, or suspicions?" Puvomun asked his companions.

"Perhaps it is a good idea to visit them, and tell them that the Tsahik of the forest clan is back. We can first watch their reaction," Amhul suggested.

Everyone agreed with that, so they flew towards the clan who lived in the caves.

It was a short flight. All they had to do was cross the higher ridge of the hills. After that Rakan led them to where he knew that the clan now lived.

The arrival of four ikrans was special for the hill clan, and soon the entire community had assembled around them. Rakan told the people to stay away from the animals.

"Kaltxì, ma eylan," said the clan leader. "Welcome, friends. What brings you to us this time? I hope they are good tidings."

The teachers told the clan about the return of Zunìl.

They seemed very glad about that. The Tsahik of the hill clan, a surprisingly young woman by the name of Palako, said that she had begged Eywa for the safe return of her Tsahik sister, because taking care of two clans was quite a strain for her.

"Young Siltere does what she can, but there is so much she still has to learn," Palako said, "and I am never certain that I can tell her enough."

Puvomun and Amhul then learnt that Palako had stepped in as Tsahik too early, because their previous Tsahik had been killed during the bombing by the crazy Dreamwalkers.

"It is good then that Zunìl is home again. Maybe you can go to her and learn what you think you are not good at?" Amhul asked the young Tsahik.

"I have done that a few times," Palako nodded, "but that is not always... convenient."

"Things will be better now," the clan leader cut in. "We appreciate your message very much, dear friends."

It was clear that they were being sent home. The teachers greeted the people from the clan, and then mounted their ikrans. Rakan and Lolet were already waiting for them, and quickly they left the hills.

"Did you notice something there?" Puvomun asked Rakan and Lolet as they flew home.

"Yes. Some of them looked uneasy when you spoke with them."

"Who? Do you know?"

"A few of the people. Not the clan leader. The young Tsahik did not feel comfortable though."

Yet the clan leader had interrupted the talk, and politely told them to go, which was very strange. Puvomun decided he would mention this to Jake and Neytiri. Maybe there was something behind this, and maybe there was nothing but his mind seeing things that were not there.

The flight home went a lot faster as now there was no passenger to consider.

Kilvan, Puvomun noticed, enjoyed the flight as much as he did, and he gave her the freedom to go as she pleased. The flight became wild, but the rider shared the thrill with the ikran, was one with her, so it was an adventure.

When he went down to the ground, after reaching Hometree, Amhul told him how scared she'd been seeing their strange stunts, but he tried to convince her that they had not been in any danger.

Amhul had her doubts though, that was apparent.

Jake and Neytiri were there, to their surprise, so they could tell about their experiences . Lolet and Rakan added their opinions to what Puvomun and Amhul said, and this caused some questions from Jake and Neytiri, as this was rather strange.

"Na'vi don't do things like that unless something is a problem," Neytiri said. "I think we should inform Tsahik about this too, she may have learnt something from Zunìl. They talked a lot."

But Mo'at was surprised of this strange behaviour as well. "This is not how visitors are treated," she claimed, as her daughter had done already. "Unless there are clan mysteries to keep secret."

But the four had no idea of forest clan mysteries, and Zunìl had not mentioned anything to Mo'at..

"Maybe they are just being difficult because of things," Jake said. He did not look as if he believed that. "Let's just keep it at that, we have enough to do here."

"Puvomun," Mo'at addressed the teacher, "you have to talk with someone. I'vawm's father has learnt that his son wants to become a singer teacher, and the father is not happy with that choice."

Puvomun nodded, he had expected this. I'vawm's father was a hunter, and the boy had mentioned this as well.

Amhul asked if she should come with him, but he thought it better to speak with the man alone.

I'vawm's father sat with his two children. I'vawm and his brother were helping their sempul to make arrows as Puvomun sat down with them.

"Kenang, oel ngati kameie."

"I see you, singer," Kenang replied. "We need to talk."

"I know. That is why I am here."

Kenang wanted to send his children away, but Puvomun asked if they could stay.

"This concerns I'vawm, he can hear what we have to say."

Kenang nodded. "My son cannot be a singer teacher, Puvomun. It is simple as that."

"But he can. And he wants to."

The hunter stared at the arrow tip he had in his hand. "There has never been a singer in my family."

Puvomun understood that the hunter was proud of his ancestors, all hunters. "Does that mean there never can be, or will be? The clan need singers and teachers as well as hunters, ma Kenang. Singer teachers recall the deeds of our ancestors, as you know. Need I remind you of the kill your grandfather's grandfather made, when he flew with Toruk Makto, who was Neytiri's grandfather's grandfather?"

Kenang looked Puvomun in the eye. "You remember that?"

"It is in one of the songs, ma Kenang. Does I'vawm know this?" Puvomun looked at the man's son.

The boy shook his head.

Kenang asked: "But why I'vawm?"

"Why not? Why did you become taronyu? Why did I become singer teacher? It is what Eywa showed us to become as that is what we do best. And Eywa showed I'vawm he can be a singer teacher, rolyu sì karyu. Apxanari has also said she wants to learn from Amhul and me."

"But Apxanari is a girl. I'vawm is a boy." Kenang was not convinced yet.

"I started learning as a boy also, ma Kenang. We cannot start learning our trade late, because there is so much to learn." Puvomun spoke calmly.

A woman sat with them then, she was Kenang's mate and I'vawm's mother. "Ma Puvomun..."

He greeted her. "Kenang does not think being a singer teacher is a good thing, it seems," Puvomun then challenged the man indirectly.

"I did not say that. It is just not right for my son."

"So you would rather see I'vawm become an average hunter than a good singer teacher?"

Kenang shook his head. "I want him to become a good hunter. Like me."

"I understand," Puvomun said. "Ma Kenang, tell me, would you be a good singer teacher?"

"Kehe... I don't want to be one. I'd be a bad teacher, and you know that."

"Srane, I know." Puvomun did not say more, as more was not needed.

Kenang thought for a while as he tried to work on his arrow, but the arrow did not make progress in his fingers. "Singer teacher... I understand what you say. You tell me that my son will never be a good hunter. It is not what I want to hear, ma Puvomun, but you are right."

The man's mate smiled. She was glad that her man saw sense.

Kenang looked at his oldest son. "I'vawm. You have to become the greatest singer teacher of the Omatikaya." Then he looked at his youngest. "And you?"

"I want to go hunting, ma sempul," the young boy said, his face happy with the prospect. "Puvomun, when can we go hunting again?"

Kenang grinned a proud grin.

Puvomun grinned also, a happy one. This had gone well.

I'vawm then surprised his father. "Puvomun, I will come with you. I want to learn how to teach children to hunt, so they can become taronyu."

"We will go hunting tomorrow morning," the teacher said. "Amhul and I have been flying far today."

"Siltsan, ma Puvomun," I'vawm said, a smile on his face. "I will find Apxanari and tell her."

As the boy ran off, Kenang watched him. "Make me proud of him, teacher," he said.

"Ma Kenang, you should already be proud of him. He has learnt to hear Eywa."

Puvomun was glad to see that I'vawm's mother smiled at that.

Kenang nodded. That was enough for the teacher singer. He greeted the family members and went back to Amhul and Mo'at, to tell them what had happened.
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

Offline Puvomun

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2010, 11:50:54 am »
20. Morning hunt

I'vawm and his younger brother, Tatew, were arguing. Puvomun heard them before he saw them.

"A real hunter wears his bow on his back," the youngest said. He demonstrated how fast he could pull his children's bow over his shoulder. "You don't have to."

I'vawm also wore his bow over his shoulder.

"Tell me, Tatew, why would he not wear his bow like that?" Puvomun asked the little hot-head.

"He is not going to be a hunter," was the simple answer.

"I am not a hunter either, but you never said that to me," the teacher grinned. Puvomun also wore his bow over his shoulder when he had it with him.

Tatew looked up. "But you are a teacher, you are karyu."

"And I'vawm will be one too," Puvomun said. "You know that."

The boy shrugged.

Apxanari joined them, and a few more young children as well, all carrying their bow. For hunting exercises, children were never allowed to bring arrows. Accidents could happen too easily.

Puvomun then waited for Ekirä to join them. He had asked her to come along on the trip, she would be able to show the children the best way to handle a bow when in a difficult position.

Once the group was complete, they set off into the forest. Puvomun and Ekirä worked together like a good team there, they had done this before.

At certain points one of them would act as if there was an animal, telling the children about it and telling them how to behave should they encounter one for real.

"If you see a nantang, would you shoot it?" Puvomun asked.

"Not if it is walking away from me," Tatew said.

"And if it looks at you without moving?"

Tatew frowned, looking at his big brother.

I'vawm grinned, barely visible. And waited if another in the group could give an answer. Puvomun appreciated that. The boy would be a good teacher, he thought.

"You don't shoot a nantang unless it wants to attack you," a young girl said, clutching her bow with both hands as if she expected a direwolf to appear from the shrubbery any moment.

"Very good." Puvomun did not ask her how one could tell an attacking wolf from a peaceful one, she was too young for that.

Tatew did not look happy. He hated to be outsmarted by kids younger than he was.

Ekirä then kneeled down. "Everyone, pay attention. There is a nantang there." She pointed at where two trees grew from a single point. "It's behind these trees, you can just see it."

The children all were into the play, crouching down, bow in hand and keeping their eye on the 'nantang'. The younger ones watched the older ones and Puvomun, as Ekirä continued talking about the situation.

"The nantang is a mother, she has two cubs with her, and they are playing. The mother has seen you but she does not move. What will you do?"

Entirely serious, the children whispered: "Mawei, ma tsmuke, tam tam. Calm, my friend, it is all well." Slowly, as they whispered, they crawled backwards, to get out of the way of the imaginary predator and her cubs.

Puvomun crawled backwards also, making it all the more real for them. He knew that Ekirä would watch the children, to see if they did something dumb.

Everything went well, though, and Ekirä complimented the children.

"What do you do when you see an ikran here?" Puvomun then asked, knowing he asked a silly question. The children needed something like that once in a while.

They all laughed. It would be impossible for an ikran to get to this part of the forest, with its dense growth of trees.

Then Ekirä took over for a while. She showed the children how to hold their bow while lying down, or kneeling behind a bush, or while crawling over a path.

Puvomun always had fun looking at how the young woman worked with the children, she had a lot of fun with them, which made it a lot of fun for the children also.

They spent a while walking around the forest, climbing a few trees and shooting imaginary arrows from them, even while hanging upside down from branches. Ekirä told them that this was a good exercise if ever they would be flying an ikran and go to hunt the Sturmbeest.

"You will need to know how to keep your balance and your aim on a moving animal, and that is not as easy as the experienced hunters make it look."

Tatew said that he would be able to do that, and Txetse agreed with that. Puvomun challenged them then, by picking them up and swinging them just a bit while they had to aim their bow at a tree. That was how they learnt that Ekirä was right. Shooting a bow while moving was not difficult but aiming was.

Puvomun recognised the signs when the children had been "hunting" enough. He rounded up the group and they went back home, singing a few of the hunting songs.

I'vawm looked happy as he walked next to his little brother. The two had found each other again, and Tatew no longer wanted to mock his older brother.

Apxanari walked with Ekirä, talking to the archer about the lesson they had had. The girl clearly was inclined to learn more about archery and Ekirä promised to show her more about it.

As the group arrived, the children ran off to tell their parents about the hunting trip, which made Puvomun laugh.

Someone called out Ekirä's name, so she walked off after thanking Puvomun for a nice time with the children.

The teacher then found Amhul standing with Eyamsiyu and Nusumea. They were looking at the tree where the large drum would be mounted. He went to see if there was something he could assist with.

"Ma Puvomun," Eyamsiyu greeted him, "did you know we were waiting for you?"

"No, I did not. What is the matter?"

"We are ready to put the round wood in the tree, but we have not enough hands to keep it there." Eyamsiyu pointed at the huge rim that lay at the foot of the tree. "It will take two of us to lift it, and there have to be two in the tree to pull it up."

Puvomun had seen the two ropes that had been tied to the rim. "Siltsan, good, Amhul and I can do that."

The two teachers climbed into the tree and then Nusumea and Eyamsiyu threw the ropes up. While the teachers pulled, the two men on the ground lifted and pushed the large piece of wood upwards.

"Need some help?" Rakan asked, almost startling the four.

"Can you come up?" Puvomun asked him. "This thing is really heavy."

Quickly Rakan climbed up to where the teachers were hoisting and helped them in turn, while on the ground a few more people assisted Nusumea and Eyamsiyu to keep the big ring under control. It became quite an effort for lots of people, but in the end the massive hoop was securely lodged between two thick branches of the tree. While the teachers and Rakan held the ring in place, Eyamsiyu came up and started tying the ring to the tree with thick wet leather strips. The leather would dry, and pull the drum's outer rim even tighter.

"Tomorrow we can start applying the skin," the instrument maker said. He looked extremely satisfied with the way the large drum was beginning to become real.

"The swing is ready, so maybe in a few days already we have a new large drum."

Jake and Neytiri came over to the assembled people and looked up at the ring.

"That's big," the clan leader assessed. "That will make a lot of noise."

"It is meant to," Eyamsiyu grinned, wiping sweat beads his forehead. "I am also making one, a smaller one, for the Sky people."

"Really? Why's that?" Jake asked.

"It is a way for them to be more part of us," Eyamsiyu said with the help of Amhul translating. "And they can alert us quickly if there is a problem."

Neytiri and Jake were surprised by the ingenuity of the drum maker.

Eyamsiyu said he had thought of that together with Nusumea Tirea. "Once we have our large drum ready, we will take the small one to the other village and put it in a tree for them. Some of the younger ones were my model for the size of it, and we also made the swing according to their size. The Sky people don't know about the drum. It will be a present."

Everyone who had not heard of this before was enthused about that news. The Sky people, the group thought, would appreciate such a gift.

"When will you bring them the drum?" Neytiri asked. She seemed very amused by the idea.

"When they are really living there," Eyamsiyu explained. "The drum is not done yet, and we still need one yerik skin to cover it."

"If you need a yerik, I can get one quickly," Rakan said, looking at Neytiri with a wicked grin.

Neytiri just stared at him, her face telling him enough.

"I said I can," Rakan grinned, "that doesn't mean I will go out and get one!"

"Whatever Lolet sees in you is beyond me," Neytiri sighed.

"Oh, that reminds me," said Rakan. "I have to go and annoy her for a while." Then he sauntered off.

"He is..." Jake began.

"...Rakan," Amhul finished. "That is all."
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

 

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