Author Topic: Sky People  (Read 6452 times)

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Offline Puvomun

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2010, 12:41:29 pm »
21. A reason to go flying

In the afternoon Puvomun, Amhul and Amaya decided they would go and visit the Sky people again. Perhaps there was something they could do there, to help. From what Jake had heard of Norm, the situation in the cabin on the old base was becoming a problem. It was unclear to Puvomun however what kind of problem had arisen there.

As the three reached the new village, the sawtute were sitting around, eating and talking. The Omatikaya were welcomed and invited to join the meal, but the visitors had already eaten their fill at Kelutral.

Work had continued at a good pace, Puvomun saw. There was another part of the tree sealed off, and Norm showed them that they had even managed to build a way to an upper floor where separate sleeping spaces had been made.

"All the rooms have their own little air-tree," the scientist explained, "and we've done some tests with them. They really work."

The tests had consisted of two people sleeping in one of the rooms, one with a mask and one without. Paul Cameron had discovered something amazing for his own people, Puvomun realised. This tree would make their existence on this world a lot easier.

"Is there something we can still help with?" Amhul asked, after Norm had given them a tour around the novelties.

"Not really," the man said. "The outside things have all been taken care of. That sticky tree stuff Eyamsiyu mentioned is really amazing, it seals off everything perfectly. Most things we now have to do are inside, and you won't fit in there. And-" he chuckled "-you wouldn't be able to breathe in there either."

The teachers laughed at that. It was a very strange situation, that they would not be able to breathe in a part of the forest where they lived.

Amaya, Puvomun noticed, stayed remarkably close to him and Amhul.

"Is something the matter?" he asked her.

"Yes. He is looking again."

Puvomun nodded but did not attempt to look at Paul Cameron. "I can ask him why he does that, if you want."

"Sran. I will go back now." Amaya did not wait for another word, she turned and jogged off, leaving Puvomun rather surprised.

"What was that about?" Norm asked. He couldn't have missed this if he wanted to.

"Nothing important, I hope," Puvomun said. "For some reason your scientist Paul Cameron is looking at Amaya more than she likes."

"Really? And do you know why?" Norm inquired.

"Not yet," said the teacher. He looked at Amhul for a moment, and then went to find Paul Cameron.

"Kaltxì, ma Puvomun," the man said as the teacher sat down with him.

"Kaltxì, ma Pawl Kamron," Puvomun said. "Nga liyevu siltsan. May you be well."

"I am fine, thank you, but I suspect that you did not join me to exchange pleasantries. In fact I would be surprised if you do not want to ask me about Amaya."

"Ngay. True. She is nervous because you look at her so often," Puvomun explained. "And I would like to hear from you why you do that, so we understand."

Paul Cameron nodded and ate his last bit of food. Puvomun saw that the man was very experienced at that, after all his time in the forest. He barely had to hold his breath while taking a bite.

"Amaya reminds me of my daughter," the man then said. "Back on 'Rrta I was married. I had a mate, like you and Amhul are together." Paul Cameron stared into some void for a moment. "In the area where I lived there had always been problems, but we never had expected that things would erupt so violently. One night I came home and found there was no home anymore."

This sounded confusing to Puvomun.

"A few people had gone crazy and built bombs. Explosives. And whether it went wrong by accident of deliberately, we still don't know, but a few of these people blew up the bombs and destroyed two large buildings and everyone in them. My wife and my daughter were in one of these buildings."

The scientist had spoken slowly. It was clear that talking about this was still very difficult for him.

"After that, my life had been destroyed. Everyone that was important to me had been eradicated in one insane moment. So that is when I focussed on coming to Pandora, and I was determined to find a way to make life easier for everyone here. For the Sky people, the sawtute."

Paul Cameron reached into a pocket of his thin, sleeveless jacket and picked out something. "Here, this is the only memory I still have of my wife and my daughter." He handed a small paper to the teacher.

Puvomun saw two tawtute women on it, with pale faces and yellow hair, like some of the women here. It was a small picture, but he recognised the features in the young woman's face that made Pawl Kamron look at Amaya. It was surprising that these two people, who had never been close to each other, looked so similar.

"Oe kame," he said. "I understand. Yes. Your 'ite looks a little like Amaya." He handed back the picture. "I will talk with Amaya and explain this to her. Maybe she will talk with you, and you can show her the picture as well, ma Pawl."

"Sure. I really would like to talk to her." Paul Cameron probably saw something in Puvomun's face. "No, not as a father to a daughter, but just to explain this. And perhaps get to know her a bit if she wants to."

Puvomun promised he would tell Amaya, but the rest would be up to Amaya herself.

"Thank you, Puvomun. Irayo. I appreciate your concern for her. And I do apologise for making her feel so uncomfortable. It is not even the last thing I'd want."

Puvomun joined Amhul again and told him what Pawl Kamron had said.

She understood this too, and suggested that they should go back to Kelutral and tell Amaya. "She should know this."

The teachers went back home after wishing the Sky people a good day and there they told Amaya what Puvomun had heard from Paul Cameron.

"How can I look like his daughter?" Amaya was surprised, almost shocked. "They are not like us, they are from far away!"

She was talking so agitatedly that Mo'at came to them, to find out what was the matter. Mo'at was surprised about the news as well.

"You should talk to this man," the Tsahik said. "It is good for you and good for him."

Amaya nodded. "Oel omum, I know. Maybe I should go now. But I am not certain if it is good to go alone."

"I will come with you," Amhul offered. "If you want."

Amaya smiled. "Srane. That would be good. Thank you, ma Amhul."

Puvomun was glad his mate had offered this. Amhul was a good person, and Amaya trusted her. He and Mo'at watched as the two walked off, towards the forest.

"Very good," Mo'at simply said, and then went back to what she had been doing before Amaya's loud voice had dragged her away from it.

The teacher then looked for Nusumea Tirea, his friend. He found the hunter healer working on a few new leather bracelets, painting intricate patterns on them.

"No tormenting of children for you, my friend?" Nusumea asked as he laughed.

"Kehe. They had a nice trip to the forest. I heard that the situation of the sawtute is rather poor now, at their camp. maybe someone should go there to see if there is anything we can do until they come to their new home."

Nusumea nodded. "That is a good idea.  So go."

"Go? Why should I go?" Puvomun wondered.

"Because you have time and it was your idea." The man's logic was irrefutable.

"I'll first ask Jake about this," Puvomun told his friend.

"Then you have to wait. Jake and Neytiri left a while ago, with some others."

That limited the option to confer with someone. Puvomun decided to leave on his own then, as Nusumea said he would be busy for a while, helping Eyamsiyu with the smaller Sky people drum.

Puvomun went up to where Kilvan was after fetching one of the hard roots ikrans like. He called her and fed her the root. It was not necessary to feed her, he knew that she would fly off when she needed to eat, but this simple gesture at times made their relationship special. It was something Neytiri had told Amhul and him. Even Jake would do this for his ikran at times.

Kilvan seemed excited over something. As Puvomun made the bond, her anxiousness surprised him. Only with difficulty Kilvan waited for him to get on her shoulders, and as soon as he told her they were going to fly, she near threw herself from the wide branch, falling down with half opened wings to gain speed.

The teacher knew he could trust the ikran, but the ground came closer at an alarming rate. Kilvan threw her wings open and they levelled out.

"What is the matter, girl," he wondered, saying the words out loud. Kilvan had never done like this before, so he was curious why now.

The teacher noticed that Kilvan wanted to go somewhere, and that was not to the Sky people base. "Show me, Kilvan. What is the matter?"

The ikran felt that she had the freedom to go where she wanted to. Higher and higher she climbed, as they set course to the east. Puvomun was not certain why she wanted to go there, he had never heard of anything important there. But then, he thought, ikrans probably had other ideas about important things than Na'vi.

From the enormous altitude they had gained now, Puvomun saw mountains in the distance. They were floating ones, like the ones where the home of the mountain ikrans were. And it seemed that they were going there. Kilvan headed directly towards them.

They flew for a long time. Puvomun wondered how far they still had to go, because the day was coming to an end, and Nusumea would probably have told Amhul that Puvomun had gone to the sawtute base.
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Offline Puvomun

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2010, 03:06:04 am »
22. At the distant mountains

Kilvan persisted in flying on, even when darkness had settled over the land and the forest beneath them was in full glow, the bioluminscence in all living things weaving amazing patterns.

One time Puvomun had tried to make her land so she could rest, but the ikran had downright refused that, so the teacher singer was now at the mercy of his ikran. It was only when they were very close to the group of floating mountains that Kilvan set in to land.

The area was strangely silent, Puvomun noticed as he slipped off her back. He left his queue attached to Kilvan's lead, trying to understand why she had brought him here, but the ikran was tired now and only wanted to feed and sleep. The teacher understood those feelings. He had to find something to eat as well. Doing so in this strange area, in the dark, would be a special occasion.

Later the teacher sat on a branch of the tree, eating what he had found in the forest. He had not heard any dangerous animals, so there were no nantangs here. He had not heard many animals, and that was strange. Usually everywhere in the jungle there was life and noise. The sounds of the jungle were part of his life, and their absence gnawed at his mind. The strange silence also made it very hard to find sleep, as the constant background noise was so faint and dim.

The next morning, Puvomun woke very early. He knew where he was, he missed Amhul, and again the relative silence from his environment hit him. From the tree he looked around. In the distance he saw a few ikrans fly. The mountain banshees probably lived in the mountains. A thought came to him. Perhaps this was where Kilvan had come from, and Taw, Amhul's ikran. And the one that had been hurt so badly that it had no chance to survive. Puvomun cringed inside as he remembered how he had killed the suffering animal.

After a hasty breakfast he mounted Kilvan and told her to show him why she had brought him. Less wild now she fell from the tree, spread her wings, and flew him directly to one of the floating mountains.

The teacher braced himself when he noticed their destination. Ikrans in the wild were not exactly his field of expertise.

Once they were close to the mountain, Puvomun saw that two large streams fell down to the ground from it. The mountain grew a lot of plants as well, their long vines and leaves hanging down. Soon they were surrounded by ikrans, screeching out what Puvomun hoped was a welcome.

Kilvan seemed to know where she went, as she flew straight up to a high ledge. She circled over it a few times. Puvomun could see about twelve ikrans sitting there. That was not a large count, he realised. Iknimaya, back home, had a society of at least a hundred ikrans there. But then there might be other places where ikrans lived over here.

Kilvan then set in to land, and Puvomun slowly slipped off her strong shoulders. He was not certain what he was supposed to see or do here. Then he noticed one of the ikrans...

-=-=-

The animal did not look well. It sat upright, but hardly moved. It also sat away from the others, as if it was sick.

Puvomun carefully started walking towards it, avoiding any eye contact with the other ikrans. He was not certain if he had to, but it was the safest thing to do with the wing-flapping and hissing animals around. When he reached the silent ikran it did not even react much to his presence. The animal turned its head, opened its impressive beak, but that was it.

"Tam, tam, ma 'eylan," he calmly said, "easy now, my friend. What is wrong with you?" From a safe distance he watched the ikran. Nothing seemed to be wrong with it. There were no wounds or strange marks on its body, its wings looked well also. It just did not move. Something was wrong with the animal, and the teacher could not say what that was. If only Amaya was here, he thought, or Nusumea. They might know.

He went back to Kilvan and as he patted her neck, he asked: "Did you bring me here to see your sick friend? There is nothing I can do." It hurt him having to say these words. He climbed onto Kilvan's back again. She cried out in a way Puvomun had never heard before and then she jumped from the high cliff, some of the ikrans following them.

Puvomun expected a visit to another part of the mountain, but instead Kilvan sailed downwards in wide circles and put them on the ground almost directly below the mountain. Already before she had landed, Puvomun had seen what she clearly wanted to show him.

The dead bodies of at least thirty ikrans lay on the ground, scattered about as if a giant hand had tossed them away. He went closer to the silent bodies. Some of them had been torn open by animals, and he saw the broken bones inside the carcasses.

Feeding animals did not usually break the bones of their prey, the teacher knew. The only way that could have happened was that the animals had been as sick as the one he'd seen, and had fallen down to their death. And still, apart from the wounds that had been made by other animals, he could not see what was wrong with the animals. And there had to be something wrong. Thirty ikrans would not fall down like that for no reason.

After going around the dead ikrans, Puvomun returned to Kilvan. "We have to go back and inform the people about this," he told her as he climbed on her back. She understood that, he was certain, because he did not need to encourage his ikran to fly home.

-=-=-

When they had come back to Kelutral, several people came running towards him as he reached the forest floor again.

"Ma Puvomun, where have you been?"

The teacher tried to tell the people that he had to see Nusumea, and Jake, and Neytiri and Amaya. And Amhul.

"Amhul has gone to the sawtute camp with Nusumea," Mo'at told him. "The healer told her you were there."

"It was my plan, but Kilvan changed my mind."

The Tsahik frowned at him, as this was not a normal thing to hear. "Someone is calling Jake," she just said then.

Puvomun was now torn between flying to the sawtute camp, to see Amhul, and waiting for Jake and the others. Luckily he did not have to wait long.

"Puvomun, what's the matter?"

The teacher singer told what had happened the day before, and how he had found the sick ikran and the dead ones. This news started a lot of subdued discussion.

"Ikrans?" Lolet asked. "Out east? I never heard of that."

No one had.

Then Puvomun told them that he had also noticed the lack of animal sounds.

"That is strange," Amaya said, "there are animals everywhere. I know that near Iknimaya there are lots of animals."

"I heard some, but only the ones that live up in the trees," Puvomun then realised. "Not the larger ones that live on the ground."

These words added even more strangeness to the already uncanny facts.

"Can you show us where this is, Puvomun?" Neytiri asked. "This is not the way it should be."

"Sran, I can."

"Is Kilvan up for flying that stretch again?" Amaya then asked. She was always concerned about animals.

"I am not sure. It was quite far..."

Mo'at decided that Puvomun should eat something, in that time the ikran could do that too.

By the time Puvomun was ready to leave again, Jake and Neytiri had assembled a complete taskforce to join them, so once they left for the faraway place, there were eight people on ikran.

Amaya was a bit disappointed that she could not come, but she understood that none of the ikrans would be able to carry her for so long, and stopping to get her on another ikran would take too long.

Kilvan was not in such a terrible hurry this time, Puvomun noticed. He was not certain if that was because of the second long flight, or if she knew now that someone had seen this. It was still confusing to him why his ikran had been so demanding about this in her own way, but he was happy he had given in and gone along with her.

Lolet wondered about how long they still had to go. Puvomun told her that they were almost there now. He recognised the slightly different vegetation of the area, and he pointed out the floating mountains in the distance.

Puvomun had to take the lead then, as he knew where the large number of dead ikrans lay.

-=-=-

When the group had arrived, the people were silent as they watched and walked around. Jake had cautioned everyone not to touch anything, which was wise. Nobody knew what had caused the death of the animals, it might affect people as well.

"This is bad," Jake said after they had gone back to their ikrans. "Nothing seems to be wrong with them except that they're dead. And there is one up there that's doing poorly, right?"

"Sran, ma Jake. A few can go up, but not everyone."

"I don't think we have to. We all believe what you said. But what caused this?"

Nobody had an answer to this question.

"We should fly around this area," one of the hunters said, "and see if we can find something that's not normal. Ikrans fly out all the time, to find their food."

"Good plan. Let's split up in pairs and search in all directions for a while. We all come back here and see what we found."

Puvomun flew out with Ateyo, further to the east. They did not go fast or high, so they could look around as well as they could. Most of the ground they had to survey was covered in forest though, there was not much to see while they were up in the air.

"We should go to the ground a few times," Ateyo suggested. "You said that you did not hear large ground animals, maybe we can find some traces or tracks."

They went to the forest floor and looked around. Puvomun found a tree that was often used by nantangs to climb in. There were claw traces, but none of them were fresh. Yet, he saw, this tree had been used a lot.

Ateyo was also puzzled by this.

Around the tree they found some pawprints from nantangs, but these too were old.

Quietly they stood and listened, but as Puvomun had expected there were only sounds of the syaksyuk high in the trees and a few -

"Do you hear the forest ikrans?" Ateyo asked. "The ikranay?"

"Sran. Yes." Puvomun was surprised. He had not heard them here before.

The warrior hunter determined where the sound came from and the two then ran towards it as fast as they could. Perhaps they would not find the forest ikrans, but they might find something else.

What they found was a lot of noise as the ikranay were disturbed by the two men coming closer, and four dead animals lying at the foot of a tree. These too looked unhurt and seemed to have fallen from their tree without a reason.

"There must be a sickness here," Ateyo said. "One that affects ikrans, and chases the other animals away."

It certainly looked like it. They went back to where they had left their ikrans, and Puvomun worried about Kilvan. He hoped she would not get sick of this disease; suddenly he was terrified by the thought of losing her.

"Puvomun."

Ateyo's voice made the teacher stop and watch to where the warrior pointed.

The large hulk of a palulukan lay behind a tree.

Puvomun and Ateyo carefully walked around it, ready to run off, but there was no need. The animal was dead. And also this one had no wounds.

"We must go back and tell the others," Puvomun told Ateyo, who agreed.

They hurried along, to the spot where they would meet the others again. There they told about their findings.

Rakan then told about what they had found: the dead bodies of several sturmbeests, lying half in the water of a small lake not far north.

"We also saw a few dead nantang," Lolet added.

The others also had located a few dead ground-animals, which sounded very worrying. Not only ikrans were affected.

Jake and Neytiri looked at all the people who had brought this serious news. "We'd best head back home first. I'll then go to the sawtute village and see if any of them have a clue what might have happened here."

Everyone was anxious to get away from this place where so many animals had died without any apparent reason.
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Ngopyu ayvurä.

Offline Puvomun

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2010, 10:06:11 am »
23. Another trip

Kilvan was tired when they arrived at Hometree. Puvomun felt sorry for her, she had flown an enormous distance that day.

Jake, Neytiri and Ateyo went on towards the sawtute village, to find out of they knew something of that area.

Amhul and Nusumea Tirea had returned from the the old base, and both were very relieved to see the teacher singer again.

"I looked for you at the base, but you were not there!" Amhul said, "and when we came back we heard this strange story that you had gone to somewhere unknown. Because of Kilvan?"

Puvomun told them about his experiences, which worried both of them.

"Why would the Sky people know something about this?" Amhul wondered.

"They were the reason of many strange things," Nusumea replied for Puvomun, "perhaps they know of this as well. Do you feel well, ma tsmukan?"

"Yes, I am well. I don't feel sick," Puvomun said.

"Still you should stay here and be calm for a while," Nusumea ordered. "I will talk with Mo'at about this."

Puvomun wanted to stop his friend, but Nusumea already walked off.

"He is right, ma yawne," Amhul said. "You should rest."

"Tam. Okay. I'll make some arrows then, or some new bow strings." Puvomun knew that Amhul would not accept anything else. As he went to fetch his material, she walked with him, and then together they sat and talked while his fingers made a bow string.

Apxanari sat with them then, and looked at how Puvomun braided the string. "Can you teach me how to do that?"

"I can, but perhaps Ekirä is better at that," Puvomun replied.

"Ekirä is not here, you are." Apxanari smiled at him.

"Ngay. True." The teacher handed her a few lines. Three of them were from a very strong and touch plant, and one was from the dried intestines of a yerik. He showed her how to make the start of the string, hooking it around a toe to keep the tension on it.

Amhul, who had never been interested in that, took similar lines and copied his movements together with Apxanari.

Puvomun then showed them slowly what the right way was to make the string, braiding the four lines in a certain way to make it as strong as possible.

"Why do you make bows and arrows?" Apxanari asked. "Most hunters make their own bow."

"Not everyone is a hunter," Puvomun said. "And most people don't want to sit and make arrows. It is boring work, they say."

Apxanari nodded as she kept working on the string.

Puvomun finished his string, and then he show Amhul and Apxanari how to finish theirs, making the short sling at the end to hook to the wood. They'd need more practice, but the strings would be fine for practice bows for children.

As he started working on an arrow, someone called his name. It was the man Randolph, who had been a military leader before. Ateyo was with him.

"Puvomun, can I talk to you?"

Sky people often asked the most obvious things.

"Yes, you can."

"Jake told us what you have discovered. Can you describe where it was?" The man carried a small device, Puvomun had seen them before. It showed lines and colours. "This is a map of the area Jake described."

Randolph pointed out where the floating mountains were.

"Yes. This is where I saw the dead ikrans. And... there, I think, we found the dead palulukan." Puvomun tried to make sense of the coloured parts and lines.

"Palulukan?" Randolph was terrible with even the simplest Na'vi words.

"Thanator," Amhul helped the man.

"Oh. Right." Randolph studied the device. "That looks like it's far away. I don't know if something happened there. Too many people were doing too many things when the RDA was still here, hard to keep track of everything."

Puvomun agreed in silence. There had been too many people then. "What is your question, ma Randolph?"

"Jake asked if I could go over there, with a few of you, and have a look. Perhaps there is something I can recognise that you can't. Suppose some of us left something there that presents a problem..." Randolph did not look happy as he said that.

Ateyo then added that Jake hoped Puvomun was able to go there again, with him. Ateyo would carry Randolph on his ikran.

"But why should I go?" the teacher asked. "You have been there already."

"We just followed you and Kilvan," Ateyo said. "You know where to go."

Amhul looked worried. "He has already flown so much. As has Kilvan."

"Ikrans are strong," the warrior said, "it will be fine."

"I will come with you," Amhul said, her jaw determined.

"Kehe." Ateyo shook his head. "Jake said only two. Puvomun and I. And Randolph."

"Puvomun is my mate and I am coming with you," Amhul stated, and her face told everyone that the only answer was 'yes'. "Jake can say what he wants. I am Na'vi and I can fly with whom I want."

Ateyo looked surprised.

"It seems that Amhul is coming with us." Puvomun laughed.

"She spends too much time with Neytiri," Ateyo complained.

Randolph looked up at the three people. "I'm not sure what you are talking about, but it would be a good time to leave now."

Ateyo nodded.

Puvomun and Ateyo had to help Randolph to get to the upper branches of Hometree. Ateyo then called his ikran.

"You have to hold on strong," Puvomun told the Sky man. "An ikran flies fast, and until we are well on the way you will bounce."

Randolph nodded. He had looked forward to this, but this latest news clearly made him see things in a new light.

Puvomun lifted the man up to Ateyo, who pulled him up in front of him.

"You can hold on to the leads from the ikran's head," Puvomun told Randolph.

Randolph looked down at Puvomun. "Right."

Then Ateyo made his ikran jump from the branch.

Puvomun saw that Amhul was on Taw already. He called Kilvan and soon the three were flying.

The teacher made certain that Randolph was still with them, and safe. Then he took the lead and the next journey to the east started.

-=-=-

The journey to the strange area went smoothly. They made one stop, so Randolph could stretch his legs. He was not used to this kind of travel.

After reaching the floating mountains, all of them needed some rest. Puvomun and Amhul looked for something edible. Randolph had something with him that was prepared by his own people.

As they ate, Randolph commented on the strange absence of sound from the forest.

"It's uncanny," he said. "We've been working in the forest so long now that we grew accustomed to it."

"Yes. That is what we noticed as well," Puvomun said.

Amhul did not feel comfortable. "You spent a night here."

"Sran. I did. It was not a good night."

After taking some time off, they went on a walk around the area. Randolph had a device in his hand that he kept checking.

They came by the dead palulukan.

Randolph walked around nervously as he kept looking at his small machine. "This is not good," he said. "This is not good and I don't know what caused it."

When Puvomun asked the man what the problem was, Randolph digressed into a rain of words that meant nothing to the singer teacher.

The Sky man tried again. "This animal," he said, pointing at the palulukan, "died of something that is not from this world. This thing tells me so. But I don't know how it could have happened."

"It was something from your world?" Ateyo asked.

"Yes. I'm sorry. It is deadly and it should not be here."

"Then we have to find it and destroy it," Puvomun said.

"That would be a good idea, but if it is what I think it is, it's not something you easily destroy," said Randolph.

This was worrying as well as hard to comprehend for Puvomun, but he thought he managed to tell Ateyo what Randolph had said.

"What is the problem then?" Puvomun asked.

"When I am right, it is something in a small container that is made of a very hard material. Difficult to destroy even with our things. But I would have to see it first."

The small group spent a long time searching for the thing Randolph had tried to describe, but the day came to an end before they had located it.

Ateyo had offered to go hunting, but Puvomun had advised against that.

"Perhaps the animal you find is suffering from the death stuff already, and when we eat that, it might harm us."  So they just ate what they found in the forest and then looked for a safe spot to sleep, in one of the higher trees.

Randolph was not at ease, but he relaxed a bit when he found that the branch Amhul had located for him was like a small cradle that held him.

The next morning they had a sparse breakfast and decided to go back to Kelutral, because Randolph stated that there was not much they could do here lacking more and better equipment.

Puvomun sighed again, about the dependency of these people on their machinery. They flew back, and this time Randolph was riding along with Amhul, who had offered to take him.

Amhul said she would take Randolph directly to the new village, Puvomun and Ateyo would fly back to Kelutral.

While Puvomun waited for his mate to return, Ateyo told Jake and Neytiri, and also Nusumea, what they had found. Or rather, how disappointingly little they had found.

Amhul returned after quite some time. She had talked with the people in the new village.

"They are nearly ready to move here from their old base," she told. That was good news. "And they want to fly one of their Samsons to where we were and look for what is making the animals there die. It is the only way, they said."

Jake nodded. "I see reason in that. When they fly over the area they can scan much faster. Did they say when they will come to live here?"

"I think tomorrow. Trray."

"That's great." Jake sounded very happy with the prospect. "The sooner they are here, the better."

"But they do not yet know where they can put their Samsons," Amhul then said. "They have two that work, but the forest near them is dense."

"There's always something," said Jake, "but I am sure we can work this out. They won't be flying their machines for much longer as they have barely any fuel left."

This was also something to consider, Puvomun knew.

"Some of us will have to be there with them when they are searching for the thing that makes the animals die, Jake. If their machines cannot fly back, we will have to help them."

"Indeed. Good thinking. But let's first see that they get here."

That was all they could do for now.

Amhul suggested then that they should find Apxanari and I'vawm, and teach them some specific things to become singer teachers. Puvomun agreed with that. They had to start their training somewhere, and now was a good moment.

They found Apxanari with her mother. She was helping to putting yarn on the new loom that had been made recently. The young girl said she'd come as soon as she was done with the loom, so Puvomun went to find I'vawm. The boy was trying to fish in the river, without much success. He was pleased to hear about the start of the training, so fishing was quickly abandoned.

Amhul and Puvomun took the two children to a quiet side of the tree where hardly anyone came. The only sounds came from the river on the other side of Kelutral, and the usual sounds the animals in the forest made.

The first thing I'vawm and Apxanari had to learn was one of the important First Songs. The words were old and the lyrics were difficult to remember, and they made many mistakes. The teachers were patient, though, and understood the frustration of their pupils as they were not able to remember a few complex sentences.

"Relax, ma meveng" said Amhul. "We know this is hard to learn. You do not have to know it all in one day. We will repeat this until you know the words. Everything you remember next time is good."

"I feel so stupid that I cannot pronounce some words," I'vawm muttered.

"The words are old, and many are not used anymore, ma I'vawm. We had to practice them for a long time too. You will learn." Puvomun knew that both children would be fine. They just needed time.
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Re: Sky People
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2010, 12:12:01 pm »
24. Nusumea on the lookout

In the afternoon the teacher singers looked for Nusumea. The two had been talking about their trip to the distant floating mountains and an idea was born. An idea that included the healer hunter, who was now patiently working on something that needed adjusting for the large drum. Eyamsiyu sat with him, also busy with a drum component. Puvomun did not recognise the things.

"Ma Amhul, ma Puvomun," Eyamsiyu said, "there is nothing more you can help with."

"Kaltxì, ma Eyamsiyu. Hello. We are not looking for more work," Amhul grinned. "We have a few things that we want to ask Nusumea."

"Oh? Do you want me to help the sawtute when they come here? To carry their boxes?" Nusumea said, his eyes betraying his joy.

"We did not think of that, but that would be a good idea!" Puvomun teased his friend. "But first we want to ask you something else."

Nusumea nodded and put his tools aside. "Plltxe, ma tsmukan. Speak, brother."

"You have found people before, using this strange way you possess." Puvomun waited for a moment, while Nusumea nodded, with a smile. "Would you be able to find this bad sawtute thing in the same way?"

The hunter healer frowned. He clearly had not expected such a strange question. "I don't know, ma Puvomun, oel ke omum. I have never tried that."

"Would you try it?"

"Sran. I can try it. But it will be difficult because I don't know what I am looking for."

Amhul and Puvomun understood that.

"But I am willing to do this. If there is something we can do to find that thing, we should," Nusumea said. "I will need you both to tell me about the area, so I can 'find' it more easily. Come."

They moved to a silent place, where Nusumea had all the peace he needed, and the teachers told him where they had gone, how long they had flown, and as much detail of the environment as they could remember.

The healer hunter closed his eyes and became very silent as Puvomun and Amhul kept talking about the area. Suddenly they both sensed that they should be silent.

Amaya joined them, and whispered: "What is he doing?"

Puvomun explained as well as he could, and the young woman nodded that she understood.

They waited, while Nusumea Tirea was away inside his head, his mind, on a journey no one could fathom, except probably Mo'at.

After what seemed an eternity, Nusumea slowly moved his head, then his lips, and calmly he then opened his eyes.

"Kaltxì," he simply said. "This was... interesting."

"Did you find something?" Amhul asked, not eager to wait for the man to start talking.

"Sran. I found... something. I do not know if it is what causes the deaths, but there is something there that does not belong there. It is in the river." Nusumea looked troubled for a moment. "That is best I know. It is large, round, white and it is in the water there. And it is not so close to the floating mountains."

He picked up a twig and drew some lines in the sand. "This is where I think the mountains are. You were here and here?" He marked a few spots.

"Kehe, we were not there," said Puvomun. He erased the spots and made two new ones.

Nusumea pondered that. "Then the river is... somewhere about here." He made a crude line and stuck the twig in it. "And there is the problem thing. Or close to there."

Puvomun looked at the location. It was not somewhere he had been. He memorised the spot though, so he could find it if he went there again. Or probably when he did. Somehow that seemed unavoidable. Maybe Nusumea could go with them then.

"Yes," the healer hunter said.

"Yes what?"

"Perhaps I can come along when you have to go there again. It would be sensible, although I would not look forward to this trip."

Sometimes Nusumea spooked Puvomun.

"We will hear about that," the teacher said. "For now we have flown over to that place enough."

Nusumea nodded.

The Puvomun turned to Amaya. "I have not talked to you since you left to see Paul Cameron. Did you speak with him about his 'ite, his daughter?"

Amaya smiled as she thought back to the talk with the man. "Srane. I went to see him and we talked. He showed me the picture of his child." She was silent for a moment and swallowed. "She looked like me, srak?"

"Yes, she did," said Puvomun.

"Paul Kamron apologised to me," Amaya continued, "he did not know he was making me feel uneasy with his staring. He said he would not do that anymore."

Puvomun knew that the man was sorry about that.

"But I told him he can look at me if he wants," Amaya continued. "He thanked me. And he said that he will not think I am his daughter. His daughter was much smaller." Amaya grinned a bit about that.

"It is good that we brought this to his attention," Amhul said. "He was relieved that we came to him and that Amaya talked to him. As long as we can do this with the sawtute, we will be good neighbours."

That was important.

"They will soon be here, living close to us," Amhul said, as if she was thinking about something. "I wonder if that will make our life different."

The others understood what she meant. Until a while ago, the Sky people lived far away and that made that the people did not interact with them very much. This had increased while the work on the new hometree had gone on. It was not something bad, and Puvomun hoped that it would remain that way.

"If Eyamsiyu gets his way," Nusumea said, "we will hear them often."

"Why is that?"

The hunter healer's face showed pleasure. "The large drum for their village is ready. We want to go there and put it up for them tomorrow, when they are coming to live here forgood. That way we can also explain to them how to use it."

Puvomun and Amhul nodded. "That is very good. Do you need help to put up the drum?"

"We will need a few people to carry everything, if you could assist us with that, we would be grateful." Nusumea led the three to Eyamsiyu who was twining a long strong cord using fibers he had peeled from a long stem.

"Ma Eyamsiyu, oengä pxeylan, our three friends have offered to help carry the drum to the sawtute village."

"Ah, tewti, that is wonderful!" The instrument maker's face lit up in appreciation. He quickly finished the work he was doing and then led them to a space where he had prepared everything for the small large drum.

"Six people should be enough to bring everything," Eyamsiyu estimated. "I asked Ekirä and she said she would tell Korun to help us."

Puvomun looked over the assorted items and agreed. Six people should be enough. It was funny to see such a small version of the large drum. He looked up to where their own large drum was taking shape more and more. The skin was over it, and the lines for the swing had been tied to a higher branch already.

"You did good work, ma Eyamsiyu," the teacher complimented him. "You will put the skin on the drum when we are there, I see?"

"Srane. That makes the ring easier to carry, and the skin is less likely to be scratched when we take it there."

I'vawm came closer and looked at the collection. "Oh. A drum!" The boy looked happy.

Eyamsiyu explained to him who it was for, and I'vawm immediately wanted to come with the people when they were taking the drum to the Sky people village. He would tell Apxanari as well, she might want to come too.

"I think Korun won't be necessary," Amhul grinned, "if the two come with us, they can carry a few things as well."

I'vawm stared at the teacher. "Can we?" It made the boy feel very important, that was clear.

"Sran, ma I'vawm," Eyamsiyu told him, "Apxanari and you can carry the ropes and the wire to attach the skin."

"One of them could also show the sawtute how to use the drum," Nusumea then suggested. "They are almost the same height."

I'vawm let out a whoop for joy. Children were never allowed to use the large drum, so this was an amazing thing he heard. "Apxanari! Ma Apxanari!" he yelled as he ran off.

The adults laughed at the boy's reaction.

Soon I'vawm came running back, Apxanari on his heels. "Look! A small large drum," he pointed out almost out of breath, "and we can help to bring it to the sawtute and show them how to play the drum!"

Over their heads, Puvomun and Nusumea exchanged a grin. The suggestion had grown to be a fact very quickly.

Apxanari kneeled down with the parts and touched them as if they were sacred. Then she looked up at Eyamsiyu and asked him if this was true. As he told her that they were indeed invited to come and help with the drum, Apxanari also let out a cry of happiness.

-=-=-

The next morning Jake and Neytiri left for the new village, accompanied by a number of people. The occupants would arrive soon, and it would be good that there were a few Omatikaya there, so they thought.

Everyone who was in on the present joined Eyamsiyu. Korun was there also, as was Ekirä. And Lolet, and Rakan, and several others.

"I will not have enough things for everyone to carry something," the instrument maker laughed. He made sure that the children both had something to hold, though.

Puvomun appreciated that very much.

Korun was asked to carry the large hoop, which made Rakan frown. Nusumea noticed that too and he handled the situation by making Rakan carry the skin for the drum, which was a double layer, rolled up.

"Make sure it does not get damaged or scratched," he warned the young warrior.

"Or else?" Rakan challenged him.

"Else we'll find someone who damages you," Eyamsiyu said.

Rakan laughed at the threat, but did hold the skins with a bit more care than a moment earlier.

Once all parts were loaded into arms and hands, the group set off towards the sawtute village.
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Re: Sky People
« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2011, 12:04:05 pm »
25. Mipa tsray

The drum carriers arrived in a place that was upside down with activity. Obviously the Sky people had found a place where they could land their Samson machines.

People walked back and forth, carrying boxes and crates and bags and all kinds of other things. Many Omatikaya were helping them to get their many, many things moved to the tree, where Norm Spellman and Mendelson were directing what had to go where. Sometimes they disagreed, but there never were harsh words spoken.

Jake and Neytiri were there also, helping to arrange all kinds of things. They greeted the newcomers from where they were, waving their hands, and then continued with what they were busy with.

During all that, Eyamsiyu walked round and looked if the tree he had initially chosen to carry the drum was indeed a good one. He nodded to himself. It seemed to be good.

Paul Cameron, the scientists, noticed the small group with all their things and came over. "Kaltxì, ma eylan, hello friends. What brings you here, and what are you bringing?"

Eyamsiyu, relieved that the man spoke Na'vi, told that they were bringing a large drum. "We are going to put it up today, as a welcome for you."

Paul Cameron's eyes grew large behind the mask. "That is a wonderful gesture, my friend. Let me tell the others-"

"Kehe, ma Pawl Kamron," Amaya said.

The man stood still and smiled as he noticed her. "Why not?"

"This is a surprise. Everybody is working. We will also work. And then when everyone is done with their work, we can show them the drum, and Apxanari and I'vawm here will show you how to use it."

"Txantsan," Paul Cameron said. "Excellent. I'll go and help the others too then, so nobody gets suspicious. Irayo! Thank you!" He waved at the two children and set off to find boxes to carry.

Eyamsiyu then told everyone where to lay down their things, so it would be easiest to put up the drum.

Rakan and Puvomun climbed into the tree and from there lowered ropes that Eyamsiyu attached to the drum hoop. They pulled it up and tied the thing to the branches.

Puvomun nodded to himself as he noticed how snug the hoop fit. Eyamsiyu's eye for this was amazing.

After tying the hoop, they went down and Eyamsiyu went up with a long thin wire. Rakan followed him with the roll of skin that the instrument maker was going to sew onto the hoop.

The others already started to tie lines to the swing that was going on a branch over the drum. That was quickly done, so then they had to wait for Rakan and Eyamsiyu. The swing could not be mounted until the skin was in place and tightened.

Apxanari and I'vawm left the waiting ones. They said they would go and help the sawtute, and would be back soon.

Puvomun and Amhul grinned, they knew the children were curious about all the things that the Sky people had with them.

Eyamsiyu was done with the small large drum quite soon, so Amaya and Amhul climbed up to the branch where they caught the long lines that Puvomun threw up at them. They pulled up the swing.

It was a small tree-trunk, with notches in the bark for foothold. One end was chipped off and rounded, so it would make a good end to hit the drum. Puvomun held the small trunk while the two women pulled it up. Usually this would take three men, but this swing was tawtute sized.

Rakan and Eyamsiyu, up in the tree also, guided the lines, so the swing would not hit the drum, or one of them. They had to tell the two women, the mesute, how high each end of the swing had to be for the best angle to the drum. Then Eyamsiyu had to lean out, while being held by an arm by Rakan, to see what the proper distance would be for the swing to hang from the drum.

This was a painstaking bit of work, as the swing had to be positioned well, but in the end they had the small trunk in place, and Amhul and Amaya securely tied the ropes.

The two children had returned from their trip to look at things and beamed with the prospect to climb on the swing and hit the drum with it.

"I want first," I'vawm said.

"Perhaps Eyamsiyu will have a different idea, ma 'eveng," said Puvomun. "We will find out who goes up there first."

The boy looked at Puvomun. "Maybe I should stop wanting so many things."

Apxanari grinned.

"Wanting things is not bad, ma I'vawm," said Puvomun as he kneeled down with the boy. "Wanting too much is. And when you say what you want, then people can stop you if you want too much."

Their talk was interrupted by a loud announcement from one of the new villagers.

"Well, that was the last stuff, people! Most pilots and technicians are now officially out of a job, as a rotor on one of the Samsons got damaged coming in, and the rest of the crew is getting there. The remaining Samson carries all the fuel we've got left."

Puvomun had spoken with these people often enough to understand that this was not good news for the Sky people.

"Mark, don't worry. Plenty to do, you won't be bored for the coming time," someone responded, which caused a lot of laughter.

"At least we have some spare windows," the first man, Mark, said. "We'll take them out somewhere tomorrow, and store them near here."

As the four people came from the tree, swing and drum properly in place, Paul Cameron talked to Norm and pointed at the Omatikaya who were standing near each other. Norm watched them, nodded and came walking towards the Na'vi.

"Hello everyone, can I have your attention for a moment?" He had to repeat this a few times before everyone was actually paying attention.

"Alright. Well, uhm, welcome to your new home," Norm said. "And mine. It's a good thing we all managed to get it ready so quickly, because at the base... well, you know that. There should be enough space for everyone to store your things, we'll get to that in a bit. I would really like to thank our friends, the Omatikaya, who helped us with everything."

The bearded scientist looked up at the Omatikaya. "Irayo, ma eylan. For everything. I see you have brought us a surprise."

Mendelson made his way to the small group, a smile on his face and his eyes on the drum. "That is magnificent."

Several people made hissing sounds and held their finger in front of their masked mouths and Mendelson quickly sat down, silent.

Amhul had already been appointed to speak to the sawtute about the drum. She explained that the drum was a present to the Sky people, as a welcome to their new village, foyä mipa tsray.

"We use the large drum for alarm signals," she said, "and also with certain festivities. We think that it is a good way for you to let us know if there is a problem. If you want to use the drum for one of your festivities, it is good if you tell us first."

"I understand," Norm nodded, "otherwise you think there is a problem."

"Srane."

"So how do you play that drum? I can see that you would be able to swing that log up there by pulling the ropes, but we could never get much sound from it!"

The two children grinned.

"That is why I'vawm and Apxanari are here. They will show you."

Quickly the two children climbed up the tree. Puvomun saw them go and smiled when I'vawm said: "You go first."

Apxanari wsa surprised about that, then she lowered herself from the high branch onto the swing, holding on to the two ropes, at the front and back of the wood. She started swinging the trunk, slow at first but gained momentum quickly, and soon the rounded part of the wood hit the drum. A deep sound came from it, rolled over the open area in front of the sawtute home tree and disappeared into the forest.

It was good that the people who had remained at Kelutral were aware of the drumming, so they knew they did not have to come running.

Apxanari made the drum sound a few more times, then she stopped the rocking motion. "Come," she said to I'vawm, "together!"

The boy slipped down on the swing and together they increased the sound of the drum.

The two stopped when Eyamsiyu waved at them, and came down.

Everyone appeared very impressed by the sound that the drum had made, Puvomun noticed. Several of the Sky people wanted to try the drum as well. They were very clumsy climbing onto the swing and the Omatikaya kept an eye on them. If someone fell, they would be there to catch the person.

There were no falling people though, only someone who could not get off the swing anymore, so Eyamsiyu and Amaya tied an extra rope from the branch that held the swing, with knots that the small people could use to climb up again. That proved to be a good solution.

"We can even make one that lets us slide down again," Randolph brought up. "Later, of course."

The last bits and pieces of the Sky people's things were then put away. A few Omatikaya hunters had been out with some Sky people to show them the right animals to take for their food.

Puvomun was eager to learn that the Sky people hunters had agreed not to take more than they needed. He assumed that they would still lack the respect for Eywa, but perhaps, later, that would change too.

Randolph had then assigned guard duty to a few men, who walked off to walk a round.

Jake asked Randolph why he did that, as they were the only people in the forest, next to the Omatikaya.

"Old habits are hard to get rid of," Randolph said with a shrug.

Amhul and Puvomun suggested to all the people who had come with them that they should go back to Kelutral now, as the sawtute were very busy preparing for their first meal and night in their new home.

While they were wishing the Sky people a good first night, there suddenly came a lot of screaming from the men who had been sent on their rounds. Several Sky people and Omatikaya hunters and warriors ran towards where the noise was coming from.

Puvomun held I'vawm back, who also wanted to go. "Kehe, ma I'vawm, this is something for saronyu, for warriors. Not for teachers."
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Re: Sky People
« Reply #25 on: January 05, 2011, 10:28:09 am »
26. Beyond the floating mountains

It did not take long before the hunters came back. They laughed and told the others that there had been a nantang. "For us a nantang is not so large, but for the sawtute it is very large."

"I hope they will never run into a palulukan or a sturmbeest," Neytiri said. "These are large."

Puvomun nodded. "Or a hammerhead. They would find one of those sooner than sturmbeests."

The Sky people would have to get used to nantangs and find a way to chase them off. The animals were not very common around here, but there were a few small families of them living in the area.

"We should teach the sawtute about nantangs and the other animals," Amhul said. "They are so ill prepared for this."

Puvomun agreed. They would have to find a way to educate these people, and make sure they would survive here.

Randolph and Norm walked over. "Do you have any ideas on when we can go to the other mountains?"

"No, not yet. We should try to do that soon." Puvomun wondered if he could explain about what Nusumea had "seen". He tried it.

The men looked a bit undecided as the teacher talked, but did not make comments.

"I think your friend should come with us," Randolph then said. "If he knows something, that would be valuable."

Nusumea, who was listening, said that he would come. "I do not know if what I have seen is correct," he warned the others, "but I trust my visions."

"Right. When do you think we could go over there?" Randolph asked.

"Not today." Norm shook his head. "Too much stuff still to do here. If you can go tomorrow, that would work. I think."

They agreed that Puvomun would come to the mipa tsray the next day, the new village, to see if the people there were ready to go to the place where animals died.

-=-=-

"Looks like we're all set," Randolph said to Puvomun the next day. "Plenty of people still here to do what needs to be done, so if you and your friends are ready also, we can go. I have six men along, and all the equipment we may need."

"Good. I will go back and tell the others. We will come here on ikran and you can then fly with us in your Samson."

"Great. We'll be at the chopper and wait until we see you." Randolph nodded, as to emphasise his words.

Puvomun went back to Kelutral, where Nusumea was waiting with Rakan, Lolet and Amhul. Jake and Neytiri would come along too, so it was quite a large group that flew over the sawtute village, waiting for the Samson to lift off.

With the noisy machine nearby, they flew east.

"I wonder if we have too many people with us," Jake shared with Puvomun.

"So do I. I tried to tell Amhul to stay home," the teacher said.

"Tried, yes," Jake laughed, "we're equally successful with that."

Talking and joking, the flight to the far floating mountains went rather quickly. Before they went into the area they were going to examine, the group landed, to eat and give the ikrans time to rest. They also went over a plan on how to search the area, as the Samson did not have an unlimited amount of fuel, and it would be convenient if the machine could take the sawtute home again. It was too far to walk for them.

Puvomun, Nusumea and Amhul found a silent place away from the others, and while the two teachers kept watch to assure the healer-hunter's peace, Nusumea did his uncanny viewing again, with his eyes closed.

When Nusumea opened his eyes again, he quickly reached for a twig and scratched lines in the sand. As he was drawing, he said that the thing he had seen before had moved. "It is still in water, but further away. We are here, and the thing is there. There is a river, here a lake, and we have to go that way." Each word was accompanied by a line or a mark.

Jake and Randolph came to see what Nusumea had created after Puvomun had signalled to them.

"Right. Crude map, but it should work," said the Sky man. He compared the lines and marks with a map on one of his devices. "Damn, that's scary."

He was able to locate most points that Nusumea had marked. "If he's right, we have to go north east from here, passing under those mountains, and then after a while we should find the problem maker."

"We should first locate the river and that lake," Jake pointed. "From there it should be easy."

Once again the group took to the skies and the ikran aymaktoyu followed the Samson, which Randolph had insisted on. "We have proper navigation stuff on board."

The flight to their destination took longer than Puvomun had expected. On Nusumea's map in the sand it had not looked far, nor on the small thing Randolph'd had in his hand. Finally they spotted a river.

The teacher looked at his friend and was impressed. He had seen a river in a place where he had never been before. Puvomun saw that it was a different water than what he had seen before, on a previous visit.

The Samson turned right, to follow the river, and the ikran riders did so as well, but they flew lower. Near the water they saw many dead animals, in or close to the water.

"Ma Jake," Neytiri said, "with so many animals dead, is it safe for us to be here?"

"Randolph said he has measuring equipment that will tell him when we have to stop," Jake replied.

Puvomun looked at his mate. He hoped that the equipment worked well.

"People, turn back!" Randolph's voice came from the Samson, very loudly. That was the signal.

The group flew back to a spot where the ikrans had trees to land in, and the Samson a spot near the water.

"We're coming close to the thing," Randolph told Jake as the other men came from the helicopter. "I don't know how your man did it, but he led us spot on. A few of us are putting on the protective suits and then we go in to disable the thing. You wait here."

Jake nodded and explained to the Omatikaya what the Sky man had said, in more understandable words. Neytiri and Amhul helped translating for the ones who did not know Inglìsì so well.

Three Sky men put on white covers. It made them look very strange. Then they went back into the Samson and, with engines roaring, the machine lifted off.

Puvomun, Amhul and Nusumea walked around, looking at the bodies of animals they found everywhere.

"Tìkangkem ayvrrtepä," Amhul whispered. "The work of demons."

Puvomun understood her feelings. This was sad to witness, and even though they could not attribute this to the remaining sawtute, it was hard to keep a clear head with all this senseless death all around.

The three walked around for a short while longer but then returned to the others in the group and waited there.

Lolet hummed a song. Rakan held her hand, something rarely seen in public.

Amhul and Puvomun joined Lolet in the song, singing quietly. Then Nusumea and Neytiri also joined in, as it was a song of sorrow, and there was plenty of that around.

The wait was a long one, but finally the Samson returned. The men came from it and still wearing their strange white suits they came to Jake.

"We found the container," Randolph said. Apparently it's not damaged a lot. But we have a complication."

"And what might that be?" Jake asked.

"It's inside a sturmbeest."

"Oh s***," said the clan leader. "Is it alive or dead?"

"Alive enough not to let us near it," one of the other men said. "And there are a few others with it that make getting to it even harder."

"I think the problem is that most of them are affected by it, and they are too weak to run off," Randolph explained. "Usually sturmbeests scoot when a Samson comes near, but not those. They stay near to the one that has the container inside it."

Puvomun understood the problem. Sturmbeests were not agressive by nature, but extremely large and strong. A group of them together was not something to disrespect.

"How ill are the other sturmbeests? Will they be better when this 'container' is..." Puvomun lacked the words.

"When it's taken care of, you mean?" Jake filled in for him.

"I have no idea," Randolph admitted. "They're weak, but far from dead. I'd give them a good chance. We're lucky it is only a radiation cluster, although I don't have a clue how it got here in the first place. It affected the water as long as it was inside it, but now it is only taking apart the sturmbeest. It is beyond saving."

Rakan said: "We have to kill the very sick sturmbeest then, if that is dying. But we have to chase the others away first."

"Good luck," Randolph said. "If they won't run from a Samson, I don't what will get that done."

Rakan got up. "Po ke lu taronyu."

Puvomun nodded. "Indeed. He is not a hunter. Do you have a plan?"

"Sran. We will need everyone who flies ikran."

Neytiri looked at Rakan. "What do you want to do?"

"Hunt them," was the simple answer.

"But ma Rakan, they are sick," Lolet reminded him.

"Ma Lolet, I have seen sick sturmbeest run when they are hunted in the right way," Rakan said. "And I know the right way."

Puvomun somehow worried hearing that from Rakan. It usually involved danger. But nobody had a better solution.

"Tell the sawtute to stay away," Rakan said. Inglìsì was not his strength. "One of us will come back here and warn them when the sturmbeest is dead."

Randolph understood and wished the ikran riders good luck. "You should be fine as long as the radiation cluster is inside the animal. Just try to stay out of the water, to be safe. When you follow the stream up north you'll find them. They're not very far away."

Amhul translated that for everyone, this was important. Then the group went to their ikrans and took to the skies.

As they flew, Rakan explained his plan and detailed who should do what, in his vision. Neytiri chewed his tail about some details and Rakan agreed that her idea was good. They followed the river up north, as Randolph had told them, and repeated the plan a few times, to be sure everyone knew their part, and to see if there were still things not covered.

Puvomun and Amhul were worried about this. Not the flying or the sturmbeests, but their part in the chasing. They were no hunters, they had never done this kind of maneuvering on ikrans before.

"Just relax, ma meylan," said Nusumea Tirea, who obviously sensed their uncertainty. "Just follow the plan and follow me. We are supposed to stay together, I will lead and you do what I do. Unless I fall."

"You are not going to fall," Jake said, who had caught that part. "I have not given you permission to fall." The man laughed.

"Sometimes we do things without permission, ma Jake," Nusumea calmly retorted, then he too laughed.

The laughing died away when the river became wider. In the distance the large shapes of sturmbeests became visible.

"Okay people, let's dance," said Jake. "This is for real."

Quickly they approached the sturmbeests. There were eight of them, and the bull was still standing. That, Puvomun knew, could be used to their advantage. Very low the ikrans flew over the herb of animals, their riders screaming. As soon as they had passed the sturmbeests, they turned sharply and repeated their screaming. They did that a few times, until as six animals were standing. One of them tried but couldn't, and another one didn't even move.

"One more time!" Rakan yelled, and the group shot down again, low over the animals.

Puvomun and Amhul had never been this close to a sturmbeest before. They stayed behind Nusumea and swooped over the large heads, while the animals cried their eerie sound.

One of the females slowly moved away from the group. The bull cried out once more. Puvomun was not sure if that was directed at the female or the people who were pestering his family.

And again they had to go back to the animals.

"Haaa, haaaa!" everyone shouted, trying to make the sturmbeests move. Rakan released a few arrows, hitting the water next to the bull. Often that helped in shaking a herd up, but not this time.

"We need some people shouting from the ground!" Rakan yelled. "Lolet, take Puvomun!"

Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2011, 09:46:11 am »
27. Put the thing away.

Puvomun saw how Lolet looked and waved at him. He followed her. She landed her ikran hard and jumped off. The teacher was more considerate with Kilvan, despite being in a hurry, and then he ran after the woman.

"Run towards them," she called out, "and scream. And don't get trampled."

That last bit was good advice, the rest seemed to be the exact opposite.

Puvomun knew that normally this kind of hunt tactic was done with a horse, and even then a sturmbeest was large. On foot the animals looked like small mountains. Together Lolet and the teacher shouted and ran towards the large beasts, while over them the ikrans kept coming in, again and again.

One of the standing sturmbeests suddenly started moving, but the wrong way. It turned and went after Lolet.

Sturmbeests were basically harmless, but not in this situation. An animal as large and massive as this could develop an astonishing speed.

Puvomun yelled out to Lolet that she had to be careful, but was not certain if she heard him. He scooped up a rock and threw that at the animal, but he missed. A second rock hit the beast, but it did not seem to notice it. By that time the teacher had to avoid being run over by another sturmbeest that had also picked up the pace.

Then a second one was coming up behind Puvomun, he heard the splashing of the water and the heavy snorting of the animal's breathing.

At that point Lolet had noticed the animal that was chasing her. She dove to the side and curled herself in a ball, hoping that the animal would run past her. It did.

Puvomun was relieved that the woman was safe. Now he had to get there as well, which proved to be a problem as now all the sturmbeests were running.

It was what they wanted to achieve, but without a man running among the animals.

Suddenly Puvomun saw an opening between two animals and ran as fast as he could towards it, doing the same jump and curl action he had seen Lolet perform. He fell hard on his back and rolled on, while giant pillars of sturmbeest legs pounded the ground less than an armlength from him.

The teacher did not move, even with his face mostly in the water, until he heard Amhul's calls for him. The sound of the sturmbeest stampede was far away.

"Puvomun, are you hurt?" It was Lolet's voice. The woman came running towards him as he unfolded himself and sat up.

"I think I am still in one piece," he replied and stood. "And you?"

"Oe lu nìltsan, I am well."

The two saw how some ikran riders were still chasing the sturmbeests. Then they turned and saw two of the huge animals lie still. Rakan and Jake had already landed their ikrans and were walking towards the animals, bows and arrows at the ready, but the bodies were silent. Dead.

"Come, karyu," Lolet said. "Let's go and see."

They walked back to the others. As they did so, the chasers returned and touched down with their ikrans.

Amhul came running towards Puvomun, who caught her.

"You are okay, you are okay," she kept saying, "I was so scared when Lolet and you disappeared between the animals!"

When they reached the others, Jake declared the two animals dead. "Nusumea, can you go and tell the sawtute that they can come now, to disarm the cluster?"

The hunter healer nodded and quickly left on Rìk.

Soon he returned, with the Samson near.

Randolph and his men were dressed in the white covers when they emerged from the machine.

"It is best that you get out of here," Randolph said, "we're going to cut the carcass open and that will leak radiation until we've contained the thing. Best that you go back to where we waited. We'll come back there when we're done here."

Some of the men with him looked at the many marks in the sand and the deep marks in the water. They clearly wondered what had happened here.

Jake told everyone to fly back.

-=-=-

The Samson landed nearthe waiting Omatikaya.

Randolph and the others stepped out, wearing their regular clothes. Two of them together carried a blue thing.

"It is safe now." Randolph pointed at the blue thing. "The cluster is inside it and will do no more harm."

"That's good news, but what is going to happen with it now?" Jake asked.

"We hope  it can be buried somewhere on top of one of those mountains up there," Randolph said as he pointed. "We'd do it ourselves, but we're saving fuel to get back."

Jake turned to the people and talked with them about this option. Taking it back would be another one, but nobody thought that smart. Putting it in the ground was not good according to Randolph, as it was never certain if an animal would dig it up again.

The olo'eyktan looked at Rakan and Lolet. "Do you think you can get that thing up there and hide it?"

Rakan took the blue box from the men who held it. "Sran. Yes. That won't be difficult, ma Jake. Lolet, come, we're going to take this to one of the floating mountains."

Puvomun watched the two walk off, and soon two ikrans winged their way up to the rocks that were high up in the air. The two seemed to search the best place first, as they circled over several mountains for a while before disappearing from view over one of them.

"I hope they know what they are doing," said one of the men, "I've seen some of the things this Rakan can do, and that worries me."

"Do not worry," said Neytiri. "He acts like he is crazy, lekye'ung, but he is a good hunter."

Puvomun looked at Amhul, who smiled. They had never before heard Neytiri speak for Rakan like that.

"What's taking them?" another tawtute man wondered after some time had passed.

"Calm down," Randolph urged the man, "we don't know what they have to dig through up there. And they did not have a toolbox with them."

The teacher appreciated the way Randolph dealt with the men.

Then two ikrans came down again. Rakan and Lolet landed them close to the people and told Jake where they had hidden the blue container. The clan leader nodded and then turned to the others.

"They hid it in a safe place. Deep enough, and impossible to find, from the sound of it. I think it's time to pack up and go home, unless there is something else we have to do here."

Randolph conferred with a few of the men, and then he said that the dead animals would not cause a threat for the environment.

"But what if others eat from them?" Lolet asked. "Will they get sick and die then?"

More conferring ensued, after which the sawtute said that they thought everything was safe.

Puvomun did not feel very confident, if they only "thought" it. "Maybe we should find most of the dead animals and burn them."

"Ma Puvomun, that is a noble idea, but not practical. This area is too large, there are so many places to look at then. It would take too long." Neytiri touched his arm for a moment.

The teacher understood that. Reluctantly he nodded. They would have to hope for the best.

Nobody knew of things that needed doing, so they commenced the journey back home.

-=-=-

When they were very close to the new sawtute village, the Samson suddenly started flying very low over the treetops. Jake went to fly as close to it as he dared, and asked if there was a problem.

"It sounds like we are down to fuel fumes," Randolph cryptically replied through the machinery on the Samson, "the pilot is staying low in case we have to go down fast."

Jake told the ikran riders to stay well away from the flying machine, as it was not certain what it would do if its fuel would really be depleted.

Puvomun worried about the men inside the thing until the machine was safely on the ground.

The men who had been inside it all looked strained as they walked to their new home. They had been under quite some tension.

The pilot announced that he now was officially grounded forever. "I think there is still enough juice in the tank to fire up the rotors one more time, but lifting off is out of the question, folks. Better get used to walking."

Amhul translated the words for the other Omatikaya, who laughed about them as had the Sky people. then she said: "We should not call them sawtute anymore. They cannot go into the sky anymore."

Jake grinned; he had understood her words. Neytiri laughed also, and agreed with Amhul. But what would they call the former Sky people?

The walk to the village was not long enough to find a good name for them. The people would think of something later, Puvomun was certain. For now the most important thing was that the danger had been taken away from the distant place. He hoped that there were no more places like that, where some irresponsible tawtute had left something dangerous like the thing they had put away now.

Norm welcomed the group as they entered the space that was Mipa Tsray, the new village. Randolph and the other men told everyone what they had done, and that the danger was now eliminated.

Amhul and Puvomun discovered Amaya, I'vamn and Apxanari. They sat with Mendelson, they had clearly been talking. The teachers joined them.

"Kaltxì, ma eylan," said the scientist, pleased to see them. "From what I hear, your mission is a success."

"Sran. We hope it is," said Puvomun. "How are you doing, Mendelson?" He knew that the scientist was one of the eldest people in this village.

"Oe lu nìltsan, ma Puvomun, I am well. Thank you. Like many of us I am still getting used to living here." He gestured to the tree and the area around it. "But knowing that your people are nearby is a big help. And it is peaceful here, with more resources than we had at the small cabin."

Mendelson explained that they had already made plans for people to gather things. There were people who went to get water, people who went to find food or firewood and several more.

"We are also learning to make fire bowls, like you have at your hometree."

That was good, Puvomun thought. The Omatikaya had given them one fire bowl, so they could make a safe fire, but the sawtute would need a few more.

"I helped them with that," I'vawm said with pride. "Together with Amaya."

Amaya grinned. "I'vawm is a good teacher already," she said.

The good teacher looked at Amaya in surprise. "I am?"

"They listened to you, and they did what you said, srak?"

The boy nodded and smiled. "Yes, they did."

Puvomun grinned silently. Making a fire bowl was quite simple, but the fact that I'vawm had taken it upon himself to tell the sawtute how to make one was very promising.

"Paul Cameron has been in the forest again," Apxanari said, "trying to find more different plants that they can use. I think he found nothing though."

Amaya confirmed that. "I talked with him. There are things they would like to have, but our world cannot provide them. I told him that they will have to adjust to the world. Our world will not adjust to them."

"And he understood that," Mendelson added. "Most of us do, by now, and the last few are not far behind in understanding."

That was also good news.

Then a shadow fell over Amhul. When the teachers looked up over their shoulder, they saw Jake, sporting his famous grin.

"Scared you, didn't I? We're going back home," the man informed them. "You're invited to stay here, Norm said, so see for yourselves."

"Sran, ma Jake," said Amhul. "We'll come back home soon."

Jake and the others left, and soon a small flock of ikrans soared over the village, heading towards Kelutral.
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2011, 02:34:06 pm »
28. Teachers and stuff

As the teachers looked up at the ikrans leaving, someone approached them. "Hi. I am Mary."

"Kaltxì, Mary," said Puvomun. "Nice to meet you."

"I'm sorry, I stink at speaking Na'vi. Norm asked me to see if you want to eat something. You've been gone for so long, and Sam Randolph and the others were ravenous."

Puvomun looked at Amhul, who nodded. Yes, they were both hungry, so Mary left them with the message that she'd return with something good.

"Mary used to be a technician who worked on the Samsons and the larger aircraft," Mendelson said. "The news that the last Samson has officially no more fuel has put her out of her old job. No need for people to maintain the machines when they are not going to fly anymore."

The man's eyes followed Mary around for a while.

"Now she's doing her best to find something else to do. It's difficult for her though, she's been a technician all her life."

Puvomun watched the woman, who was now standing with Norm. Norm's arm, he noticed, gently slid around Mary's waist for a few moments, and the man with the small beard clearly did not want to remove his arm from there.

Mary took Norm's hand, said something to him and laughed. Then she walked into the tree and was invisible for the teacher.

"I think she has some attention to keep her from worrying," Puvomun said to Mendelson.

The old scientist smiled. "Srane. And that is good. Also for Norm. He needs some company. He's become a little... difficult, since Trudy was killed in that ugly war."

Trudy. Puvomun remembered the little woman with the black hair, the tanned skin and the big smile. He had not known that she and Norm were together. And Norm had never mentioned anything. Yes, it was even better then.

The general atmosphere in the new village was relaxed and most people seemed content. Some were busy making things, some just sat around and talked.

Mary returned with another person. They carried bowls with food and offered those to the teachers. The food was good, be it quite different from what the Omatikaya were used to, but they did not mind. The people here had made it to the best of their abilities, and that should be appreciated.

Mary sat down with them, and babbled about the new life here, and how different it was. Puvomun and Amhul had heard this before, but were pleased that the woman also liked the new home.

As Mary rose to get back to some more chores, a man Puvomun had seen before slowly approached the small group. He searched his memory. Jennings. That was the man's name.

"Hello, ma Jennings."

The man looked surprised. "You remember my name?"

"Yes, I do."

Amhul and Amaya nodded at the man. As Puvomun knew him, they would let him do the first talking.

"Can we do something for you, Jennings?" Puvomun asked.

The man nodded as he sat down. "And please call me Tom."

"Tom," Amhul said. "That was also the name of Jake's tsmukan. Tom."

Tom Jennings nodded again and tried a careful smile. "You are teachers and stuff, right?"

"We are teachers, yes." Puvomun was not sure about the 'and stuff', so he left that unaddressed.

"Cool. I think a bunch of us will need to be taught." Tom Jennings carefully looked at each of the Omatikaya before he continued. "Most of us don't speak your language well, and I think we should change that. I talked to some and they agree. We want to learn your language."

Amhul said: "That is a good thing, ma Tom. We can help you learn our language."

"Great. Tan, right?"

"Txan," Amhul corrected him. "But you probably mean siltsan or txantsan."

"Siltsan. I'll remember that. And there is something else I'm worried about, maybe you can do something for us there as well. Or have some advice. We're running out of ammo. So I was hoping you could teach us how to make bows and show us how to use them."

"I think there is some work for Ekirä," Amaya grinned.

"Oh, I talked to Norm about this, and he agrees," Tom Jennings said. He really did not understand Na'vi.

All the Omatikaya laughed and then Amaya explained what she had said. Tom Jennings laughed too then.

"See, we really need to learn your language."

After more laughing, Puvomun explained that Ekirä was considered the master archer in their village. "We will ask her if she can help you with tsko swizaw. Bow and arrow."

"Great. uhm Siltsan." Tom Jennings looked very happy after this.

"Ekirä and Puvomun are bow makers," Amaya told the man. "I am sure they will be able to make bows for you."

"And we will help!" Apxanari said. "We are their size, we can make the right bows for them!"

The girl had a good point, and it would also teach them something.

Tom Jennings was rather puzzled by that, as the children did not look like they knew how to make a bow, which indeed they hardly knew.

Puvomun explained things to him, during which Mary returned to ask if they wanted more food. "There is plenty more where this came from."

Everyone had had enough though, so they thanked her. It was also a good moment to go back home, so the teachers, Nusumea and Amaya wished the Sky people a good day.

Amaya took the two children with her. Puvomun and Nusumea had thought about taking the three back on ikran, but the children were too small, it would be dangerous. This of course made for disappointed children, but Amaya agreed with the decision. She'd had enough work staying on the ikran.

The three ikran aymaktoyu flew back to their home, and by the time they had reached the forest floor again, Amaya and the children had come back too. They were panting, and Amaya explained between gasps that they had run a race to get back as fast as possible, and the children had won.

Puvomun knew she had let them win.

Nusumea and Amaya then left the teacher singers, as they had things to do. The children ran off to play, the teachers thought they had done enough for the day.

Puvomun and Amhul then looked for Ekirä. They found her near the river, making new strings for bows.

"Kaltxì, ma mefaryu," she greeted them, "hello teachers. How did your visit to the sawtute go?"

They told her about the visit, and about the talk they'd had with Tom Jennings.

Ekirä nodded, understanding the need for bows and arrows for the Sky people. She smiled as they told her about Apxanari and I'vawm offering to help with determining the right size of the bows. "That's so sweet," the master archer said, "and a good suggestion as well. We could make a children's bow, but then at proper strength. And some arrows that are short enough for them to use."

Puvomun said that it might also be good to teach some sawtute how to make their own arrows. Amhul and he would take care of that.

"Maybe that is a good thing for the people who used to fly the ayfunsip, the gunships," Amhul suggested, "they are looking for new things to do, and this is new. And important for them."

"Srane," Ekirä agreed. "I can teach your new successors a bit more about the bows and the arrows then, as well. I think making the bows and arrows in the new village is the best way. Apxanari and I'vawm will come with me then."

Puvomun nodded. These were good things. "I will talk with the children, so they know about this."

"Oe mllte," Amhul said, "I agree. It is best that you do that. That way they know that you and I know about this idea. And they like going to the sawtute. And you and I, ma yawne, will be the ones to teach our language to the Inglìsì speaking ones."

"Yes. Perhaps the children can help there as well, they speak the ketuwong language quite well."

Amhul had a faraway look in her eyes. "Toktor Grace would be so proud of them," she then explained her moment of silence.

It was clear that they would spend a lot of time in the sawtute village.

-=-=-

Jake had agreed with their plans. Neytiri was pleased with them also, but cautioned the small group that they should not spend too much time there, as there were also things to be done at Kelutral.

Amhul laughed. "Do not worry, ma tsmuke, we know this. But the faster the Sky people know what they need to, the sooner they do not depend on us so much."

Ekirä wondered how many bows the Sky people would need. They'd need the proper wooden parts for those, and also make the strings. Puvomun suggested that they should get some of their neighbours to the village and teach them how to make bow strings.

"Strings will break first, so they should know how to make them."

Ekirä agreed with that. "Maybe we should go to them and tell them."

Puvomun nodded. "We can do that now."

Amhul said she would stay at Kelutral and help a few children with things where needed.

Ekirä went to fetch a children's bow and a few small arrows. "Maybe someone there already knows how to shoot, and we can leave this with them."

They then set off towards the new village. They knew the trail well now and could cross the distance quickly.

Ekirä, with Puvomun's help, talked to Norm, Randolph and Tom Jennings, explaining what they had thought of, and the Sky people agreed that the plan was sound.

"We'll find a few people who can do things like that," Randolph said. "Tomorrow we'll send them over. Well, I'll take them to you, to make sure they don't get lost."

Ekirä then presented the small bow and the arrows.

The Sky people were surprised by that. It was a bit too large for most of them, but they seemed exhilarated with the idea that they were going to learn how to use it.

"Oh! A bow! How nice!" a woman's voice sounded. To everyone's surprise it was Mary, Norm's new love. She came forward and examined the bow.

"You held a bow before," Ekirä saw.

"Yes, I did. My Dad used to take me and my brother out hunting and he was fond of bows so we had to learn."

"Here." Ekirä handed her an arrow. "Try."

Ekirä and Mary moved away from the crowd, Puvomun went with them.

Mary notched the arrow and tried to take aim, but the bow was too big for her. The bottom end scraped the ground. "Oh. That's too bad." The woman sounded very disappointed and wanted to return the bow to Ekirä.

"No. Keep it." Ekirä frowned as she hunted for the Inglìsì words to say to Mary. "Keep the bow not straight. Look." Quickly she unhooked her own bow, which she had brought as well. Then she kneeled down while holding the bow straight up. "See? This is you. This is not good. But you keep it like this..."

Ekirä tilted her bow diagonally, so the arrow still rested on her finger while the bottom end of the bow was free from the ground. "This way you can shoot."

Mary shook her head. "We were told that way is wrong."

"It is not wrong, Mary. You try it."

Puvomun could tell that Ekirä was almost ready to grab Mary's hands and put them in the right position, the way she was used to do with Na'vi students. He told her to do it. "They need help, like our children."

"Sran," Ekirä nodded. "Mary, look. Like this." She carefully guided Mary's bow-hand, tilting the bow. "Now you put the arrow."

Mary lay the arrow on her finger and notched it.

"Silstan. Good. Now pull and shoot."

The tawtute woman did it. She missed the tree she aimed for, but the arrow flew straight. "Oh... that is a weird way to shoot!" she laughed as she ran to retrieve the arrow.

Puvomun sat down as Ekirä and Mary shot the arrow a few more times. Once the woman had gotten used to the bow and the way she had to hold it, her aim improved quickly.

"You should come tomorrow," Puvomun said then. "You can use the tsko to protect your people when you travel through the forest. We have four arrows for you."

Mary stared at the bow in her hand. "I don't know what to say."

"Then say nothing," Ekirä laughed. "Appreciate the bow. You will learn to make more. A better size for you."

Mary giggled. "Norm will be surprised when he hears that. And you will teach me how to make bows?"

"Sran. I will do, and Puvomun will do. And the children will help too, where they can." Ekirä looked proud of her command of the sawtute language, as Mary understood every word.

Mary copied the movement as Ekirä hooked her bow over her shoulder again. "I feel wonderful," she shared. "Just for having this bow, and knowing how to hold it. It's special, because it is from this planet."

Puvomun smiled and was pleased that the woman was so thrilled over a children's bow. "We will see you tomorrow then, with Randolph and the other people who will come to us to learn." He already had an idea to bring some children in to play along, and teach the sawtute some Na'vi words
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

Offline Puvomun

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2011, 12:26:25 pm »
29. The making of bows and strings

Amhul agreed with the idea when Puvomun told her about it. "The children will have fun with that," she said, "we'll ask a few of them before the Sky people come here."

The forest was alight, as evening had come. The two teachers were walking around Hometree, hand in hand, and tried to see the forest with new eyes, experiencing their environment like the children they taught.

Amhul touched a twig, from which a fan lizard lifted up, its large back-wing lighting up as it chirped away from them. She grinned.

The sounds of the nightly jungle made the two teachers feel at peace. A few yapping nantangs seemed to be very close, but the animals would not bother people who were near Kelutral.

"Do you think there have ever been teachers like we are?" Amhul voiced her thoughts.

Puvomun understood what she meant. "I doubt it. But we are just reacting to what is happening around us. I do not think there ever were teachers who had neighbours like the Sky people."

"Ngay. True. These times are strange. Different."

A few insects with colourful wings rose up as the teachers disturbed them, walking by. They fluttered around the two people and then disappeared between the trees.

"Do you think that the Sky people will find a real home here?"

Puvomun stood still as he looked at Amhul. "I don't know. I hope they will. They are all intent on it, and they work hard to achieve it. They will need a lot of time to find and adjust their ways."

"Yes. If only they knew how to make tsaheylu. That would teach them so much so quickly." Amhul took Puvomun's hand and gently pulled him along.

"Maybe they will develop a way, if they stay long enough," Puvomun said, unsure if something like that would be physically possible. After all, the Na'vi had always lived here, and the Sky people were new to the environment and still learning to live here.

Then Amhul froze, holding Puvomun back. She crouched down, pulling him along and gestured he should be quiet. The teacher was puzzled for a moment about the why, but then he heard what had triggered her.

There was someone coming towards them.

"Kaltxì? Tetuo lu tsatsenge srak? Is someone there?"

The teachers recognised the voice of Pawl Kamron, the scientist who had been missing for so long. They rose again. "Sran. Meoeng fìtsenge lu. The two of us are here."

The man plowed through the thicket that was almost too dense for him to traverse. "Eywa mengahu, ma eylan," he said, huffing and puffing in his mask. "I was hoping to find you."

Puvomun wondered why the man had come through the nightly jungle. It had to be for something urgent, as the forest night was filled with dangers for the Sky people.

"I need a way to get to the forest clan," Paul Cameron said, without any further introduction.

"And why do you come to us at this time, ma Pawl?" Amhul asked.

"I need to know if you have a way for me to go there," the man replied. "I don't know why, but I have a feeling that Zunìl needs me. Something is wrong there."

Before either of the teachers could say something, he added: "If you can't get me there, I will walk."

"You would not survive," Amhul simply stated, and everyone knew that was the truth. "I am sure we can find someone who can fly you to the forest clan. Come with us, we will talk to Jake and Neytiri."

"I would rather speak with Mo'at," Paul Cameron said, "but let's first go to your clan."

The teachers led the scientist to the village. At times they had to wait up for him, as he was looking at some plants and their glowing pattern, eager to touch the leaves but never daring it.

"Why are you here, Pawl Kamron?" Mo'at asked the man. Jake and Neytiri sat with them, also curious why the Sky person had ventured into the jungle.

"I feel there is something wrong with Zunìl, ma Mo'at. I cannot explain it. But I feel that I have to go to the forest clan."

Mo'at pondered the simple words. "How can this be," she asked, more to herself than to the others.

The Tsahik looked up. "Find Nusumea Tirea."

Amhul was already on her feet and walked off. If the Tsahik asked something, she was heard.

The teacher returned with the healer hunter.

"Ma Mo'at," he said as he sat down.

"We have to talk to the forest," the Tsahik said. "Pawl Kamron says there is something not right at the forst clan."

Nusumea nodded. Together with Mo'at he rose and they walked off.

Puvomun knew they had a way to talk with the forest that was beyond anything he knew.

"What are they going to do?" Paul Cameron asked. Despite being on this world for long, there was still a lot he did not know.

"They do... special things," Amhul said. "We don't know."

"I think it is a special form of tsaheylu with the trees," Puvomun explained. "Something each of them can do. Perhaps if they do this together it is stronger." Maybe, he thought, his friend could explain something of this someday.

Paul Cameron seemed to be much more relaxed now he was at Kelutral. At his leisure he looked around, until Mo'at and Nusumea returned.

"We know there is indeed something to wonder about," the Tsahik said. "There are signs of unrest."

"The forest clan is in a kind of uproar," Nusumea added, "but there is no fighting. It is unclear what is happening." He regarded the scientist. Then he asked him if there were people with special mind-gifts in his family.

Paul Cameron shook his head. "None. Not that I know of, anyway."

"We will send people to the forest clan tomorrow, at light," Mo'at decreed.

Jake frowned a bit at that but nodded. He knew better than to counter Mo'at's decisions.

"I will go with them," Paul Cameron said.

"You will not, ma Pawl," the Tsahik said. "You are needed with your sute, your people. If there is something you must do for the forest clan, for Zunìl, we will come to you and tell."

The scientists looked at Mo'at, a mix of worry and displeasure on his face. There was a tense moment, but then he nodded. "Very well. I will wait for your information. Irayo, ma Mo'at. I will go back to Mipa Tsray now."

"I will go with you," Nusumea said, "to be safe."

"There is no need, really." Paul Cameron got up.

"I will come," the healer hunter said. "There is need. There are small animals out at night that are larger than you are."

Paul Cameron shook his head and left with Nusumea. He knew that there was no way he'd be leaving alone.

Puvomun knew better than to ask Mo'at how they had found out this strange and unnerving news. She would not tell, this was something for Tsahiks and clearly for Nusumea.

The two decided not to wait up until the hunter healer returned...

-=-=-

"Puvomun, you should go with them." Jake looked at the teacher. "The forest clan knows you."

Several hunters were waiting for the signal to leave, but Puvomun was objecting.

"There are sawtute coming here today for lessons, ma Jake. Amhul can go with the hunters, the forest clan knows her too."

Amhul agreed with her mate. "I will go. I can do what Puvomun can do there, but I cannot do what he will do here."

Jake looked at Neytiri, who said: "She is right. Let her go."

"I sometimes wonder if you really need me here," the clan leader grinned, "you always have things arranged before I am involved."

That was not entirely true, but the Omatikaya were always ready to decide things by themselves.

"Okay. Amhul will go with you," Jake told the hunters.

Rakan and Lolet promised Puvomun that they would watch over Amhul. Amhul commented that she was able to watch over herself, but Puvomun appreciated the words of the two.

After the group had left, Puvomun and Ekirä started preparing their class for the sawtute, to make bows and arrows. Not only I'vawm and Apxanari wanted to help, also a few other children pitched in as they were eager to learn more about this and share in the fun.

When Mary arrived, with a number of people in her wake, everything was in place already. Mary had her children's bow and arrows with her, and she still looked proud to have those.

Puvomun and Ekirä showed the group the proper wood for the bows, and all material for making strings. There were some frowns on sawtute faces when they learnt that they would be working with animal gut, but most people seemed to accept that as a given.

Ekirä explained what they were going to do and showed the Sky people a few children's bows.

"We will have to see if one of these is a good size bow for you," she said. "The good size is important if you want to use it well."

Mary nodded. She knew.

The people all picked up the different bows in turn, while Ekirä and Puvomun helped them judge which one would be best for each.

Mary was a bit disappointed that she had to say goodbye to the bow she had carried, but it was really too large for her. There was another one that suited her much better.

Tom Jennings grinned as he held the bow that would be good for him. "I like the feel of this one," he said as he balanced the bow on his palm.

Finally it was clear that they only needed two sizes of bows, which was better than Puvomun had assumed. It would make the work a lot easier.

They started making the main part of the bow. Soon it was obvious that the Sky people would need their own set of tools for this, as the tools the Omatikaya used were too big for their hands. But with combined efforts and help from the children, the Sky people managed to use the tools. As the sun was on its highest point, they had prepared five bows.

Most sawtute hands were sore, some even bleeding, but all were happy that they had made such good progress.

I'vawm and Apxanari sat with Ekirä and Puvomun as they all were eating. "They are not very skilled, are they?" I'vawm asked.

"They use tools that do a lot of work for them," Puvomun knew, "and they have problems with ours."

"But they will have to learn, srak?" Apxanari asked, and answered her own question: "If their own tools break they cannot repair them."

"We should teach them to make tools too," I'vawm nodded.

Puvomun had also considered that. Perhaps this was something that Nusumea Tirea could help with, and there were tool makers that could provide tips and materials for that. He suddenly wondered how much more work the clan would have with the people from Mipa Tsray.

Nusumea Tirea sat down with the tsko swizaw teachers. "How are they progressing?"

"Quite well. We will make strings for five bows today, and as many arrows as we can, so they are armed."

"Siltsan. Good. Ma Puvomun, I would like to talk with you, Mo'at and Amaya. Have you seen them?"

Ekirä knew that Amaya was out with a few people to find food. Mo'at had to be around somewhere.

"Are you in a hurry to speak, ma tsmukan?" Puvomun asked.

Nusumea nodded. "It is about Pawl Kamron."
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Re: Sky People
« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2011, 04:28:56 am »
30. Talking about people

Puvomun looked over to where the scientist was sitting, merrily talking to the other sawtute. It amused him to see how they all had found a way to sit in the open air to eat, without being hindered by the air they could not breathe. "I see." He suspected that it had to do with the visit of the man, the previous evening.

"Go and talk with Mo'at," Ekirä said. "I will start teaching them to make strings. The children speak Inglìsì well, they can translate for me."

"Irayo, ma Ekirä," the hunter healer said.

The two men went to look for Mo'at and found her in a far corner beneath Kelutral.

Nusumea said: "When I walked Pawl to Mipa Tsray, New Village, he told me that he had strange dreams since some time. Dreams of trees, of the forest, and he heard voices. He did not call them voices but that is what it has to be from what he said. I asked him again if he had family who had a connection to their spirit world. He said not to know."

Mo'at thought about that for a few moments. "The dreams would explain how he heard what he heard. Without such connection nobody can be aware of something that happens so far away. We have to wait for the return of the riders who went to the forest clan, to learn more. It is good that you came to tell me about this, Nusumea Tirea."

When the two returned to the bow-makers, there was a lot of laughter going on as everyone tried to make a good string. The Sky people all watched carefully as Ekirä slowly showed the proper way of braiding, and I'vawm and Apxanari copied her movements.

Some of the other children also tried it, but they were not very motivated to do it properly, Puvomun saw. They were just there to show off. It would be best if the sawtute did not watch what they were doing.

Puvomun then helped Mary and Tom to get started on the strings for their bows.

"Take off your shoes," he said, "and hook the lower sling over your toe. That is the way. See how the others do that also?"

Mary managed to tie the string to her toe too tightly, so the vine had to be cut off, but the second time she got it right.

Making a good bowstring was a painstaking job and, for inexperienced and already sore fingers, a tediously slow job, but the Sky people persisted and in the end almost all of them had a proper string for their bow.

Ekirä and Puvomun helped each one to tie the end together, so they could take the string off their toe and examine what they had made.

Then came the moment of truth, when the bows and strings were united. Mary proved to be knowledgeable on that point, she quickly had the string on the bow she had made herself. Tom Jennings proved to be a quick study. The others needed some help, but they too had their bow ready at the end of the day.

Puvomun and Ekirä had quickly made a dozen arrows for the sawtute. The arrows were not of the best quality, but for a first round of shooting they were good enough. They would do for some target practice or even to shoot at a larger animal, in case of trouble.

As they took the people to a far corner of the village area, there was an unmistakable sound coming from above: ikran riders returning.

Puvomun looked up, trying to discern Amhul and Taw, but the riders were already among the branches.

Ekirä laughed. "If it is Amhul, go to her. I will help them with the tsko swizaw, ma Puvomun. Pawl Kamron will be able to translate."

"And we will help," I'vawm said.

After they had designated a few targets, the sawtute with their bows lined up. Except Mary. She walked along them and started telling them how to hold the bows and the arrows without hurting themselves.

"You are not wearing arm protection, so if you mess up shooting, you will lose some skin, and that burns," the woman said. Ekirä knew she spoke from experience.

Before the first arrow had flown, Puvomun saw his mate come down Kelutral. He saw that Ekirä had seen her as well, so he walked off. The Sky people were busy and concentrated, he did not need to say something, but Paul Cameron put his bow down and followed them. After all, he had been the reason for the group to go to the forest clan.

From somewhere Nusumea also appeared and together they reached the group of ikranä aymaktoyu, just in time to hear what they had to say.

"We saw Zunìl," Lolet started, "and she was acting very strangely. As if she was trying to keep something a secret from us, but not exactly like that. The clan leader, Txep'rea, seemed very distracted."

"I told you that there is something wrong," Paul Cameron pitched in, "I really have to go there."

"And what will you do there, ma Pawl," Neytiri asked, "will you tell them to behave? To tell you what is wrong and you can make it all well?"

"No, of course not." The scientist stared at Neytiri as if she had revealed something incredible to him. "I just..." Suddenly he looked very confused and slumped down. "I don't know. I just know that Zunìl needs me."

Nusumea put a hand on the man's shoulder. "Did you dream again in the night?"

"Sran, I did." Pawl looked at the hunter healer. "And it bothers me. I don't know where the dreams come from."

Jake said: "You scientists are all the same. Grace told me stuff too, you know, how scientists don't believe in fairy tales. But Paul, it is about time to start doing that. With all that happens here, what we've seen. Don't you agree?"

"It is not 'fairy tale', Jakesully," Mo'at said, reminding the clan leader of his past. "It is all real. Pawl Kamron's cup needs to be emptied. He needs to See, not just see."

Puvomun and the others laughed about that statement, while they knew it was true. Pawl Kamron was a very good man, but he needed to learn so much. Like the others. But one at the time would be best, probably.

A few cheers from far away made everyone look. The tsko swizaw sawtute were jumping and cheering, obviously they had managed to hit something with an arrow.

"I am not sure if I want my cup emptied," Paul Cameron then said. "I like my cup the way it is, to be honest, I worked hard to get it that way."

Mo'at looked at the man so long that he began to feel uncomfortable. "That is the problem. You want to know what causes ngayä ayunil, your dreams. But with your cup the way it is, you cannot learn to know what is the reason."

Paul Cameron looked at the Tsahik, silently pondering her words. "I am a scientist."

"I was a hunter," Nusumea said. "And I have changed my ways too. I do not feel like I have lost something. I have gained something which made my existence richer. I am still a hunter. But also more."

Puvomun was glad that his friend was there. He had experiences that he could share with Pawl Kamron.

"You should think about this, Paul," Jake said. "We're all willing to help, but you have to open the door for that. As long as we're outside shouting and you don't want to hear us, you will be stuck with your questions."

"You had your dreams every night now?" Mo'at asked.

"Sran. I did. Three nights so far."

"Next night you will have it again. And tomorrow you will feel bad, for not sleeping and not knowing," Mo'at predicted. "You have a connection with this world, ma Pawl Kamron. You lived in it, alone, and with Zunìl. I think there is something inside you, from your family, that is open to the world. Like tsaheylu without a physical connection."

The scientist was quick to shake his head. "I am afraid that you are reading too much into this, ma Mo'at."

Then Neytiri surprised everyone. "Toktor Grace used to say that a good scientist always has an open mind and gets samples. You can have an open mind now, and get a sample."

Paul Cameron looked at Neytiri. And then he grinned. Very good. You got me there." He thought of something again, his eyebrows showed that. "So how do we go about this?"

Nusumea and Mo'at looked at each other.

"We will work with you, Pawl Kamron. We will help you learn what the dream means."

Then Jake brought the focus back to the people who had visited the forest clan.

"We tried to speak with Txep'rea," said Amhul, "but he evaded all direct answers to our questions. He said that everything was fine, and he thanked us for the visit. We also talked with Nue'wah, but she did not want to say much either. Just that Txep'rea had been acting a bit out of the ordinary since Zunìl had returned, and he..." She seemed to look for the right words.

"He did not want to talk to Zunìl," Rakan said, "it is that simple. Nobody said it, but we could see it."

Lolet nodded. "He avoided her."

Mo'at looked disturbed. "Why would a clan leader avoid the Tsahik of his clan? She did nothing to him or the clan."

"Well, she did disappear from her village for me," Paul Cameron reminded her.

Another cheer rose up from the archery group, they were still shooting and clearly enjoying it.

Puvomun said that he should join the archers again, Ekirä would have her hands full with them. He knew he would hear more of the talk later, from Amhul.

As he was with the shooting party once more, Ekirä was laughing over some of the things the sawtute were doing. One of them was actually throwing an arrow by hand, stating that he would do better that way than by using a bow.

Mary was sitting a bit away from the others, chopping at a part of her bow. She explained that it needed a bit more balance and Ekirä had told her to do this.

Ekirä seemed to be more in control than Puvomun had expected, but he remained with the group and helped left and right with the ones who were new to tsko swizaw.

Three broken arrows and two lost in the forest were the only victims, as the day was drawing to an end. The Sky people were tired and had sore fingers.

Puvomun and Amhul offered to guide them back through the forest, but Tom Jennings said that it was about time that they knew their way.

"I would appreciate it if you would come along," he said, "as we're still learning, but please let us take the lead. You can tell us when we go the wrong way."

That was a smart plan.

Ekirä had already invited them to come back the next day, so they could make more arrows and learn to make arm and hand protection for the bows.

"Pawl Kamron will stay here," Amhul said. "Nusumea and Mo'at will teach him things."

"I come with you too," Apxanari said as she strapped her bow to her back. She had made a new bow for herself, with the help of Ekirä and Puvomun, and she was so proud of it.

I'vawm had made one as well, but he said he wanted to go to his parents, to show them his bow.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 05:41:04 am by Puvomun »
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Re: Sky People
« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2011, 11:09:43 am »
31. Talking with a scientist

After returning from Mipa Tsray, as everyone had started calling the Sky people village, New Village, Puvomun and Amhul found most people of their clan already retreated to their hammocks.

The teachers had spent a while longer there, talking with Norm and Randolph and Mendelson, telling them that Pawl Kamron would be at Kelutral this night.

"Where is Pawl Kamron?" Amhul wondered as she looked around.

"I don't know. Perhaps they found him a place to sleep. Perhaps Nusumea and Mo'at are working with him," Puvomun guessed.

"We should talk with Pawl, to learn how he feels about the work with the Tsahik and the healer, ma Puvomun."

"Srane, we will. Later."

-=-=-

The next morning, the archery people came to Kelutral by themselves.

The teachers had agreed that the Sky people would do that, as now they were armed with their own bows. And at some point the sawtute would have to travel the forest alone anyway.

"Puvomun! We are here!" Mary's voice rang out over the field as she was frantically waving.

Puvomun laughed, he had seen them coming before they had come out of the forest, but he waved as well.

Ekirä laughed also. "They are lively today," she said as she got up.

Puvomun picked up the leather and the strings they would need today and then they walked over to the archers.

They all had their bows with them, Puvomun saw, and they carried them with confidence. They needed more arrows though, because with the ones gone and broken the day before they only had two arrows per person, which was not much. Ekirä agreed that they would be making more arrows that day.

Several children from the village came to see what the group was doing, but preparing arm and hand protection for archers was deemed not so interesting. Amhul luckily was there for them and she decided that the children should do some more horse riding.

Patiently Ekirä and Puvomun showed their pupils how to make the protection parts for their hands and arms, and as the sawtute started to outline their own, Paul Cameron came running.

"Am I too late to join?" he asked, panting.

"Kehe, ma Pawl, please come and work with us," Ekirä invited him.

The scientist quickly caught up with what they were doing. "I have my bow back there somewhere," he pointed towards Hometree. "I can fetch it when we're done with this."

Puvomun nodded and watched the man. Pawl Kamron clearly had been working with Mo'at and Nusumea. He had coloured streaks over his forehead and on his arms were symbols depicting animals from the forest. There also was something else. The man moved more slowly, as if his mind was occupied with more than just working with the yerik skin.

At one point Puvomun had to react quickly, as Paul Cameron was so deep in thought that he almost cut into his hand.

"Ma Pawl, come with me. You are distracted."

Paul looked at the knife and his hand. "You are right. I am a danger to myself now."

Puvomun and Paul walked off, while Ekirä took over the entire 'class' of leather workers. The two sat down near where Amhul was having fun with the children.

"I am glad you pulled me out, ma Puvomun," Paul said. "My head is spinning."

"Did you sleep enough?" the teacher asked.

"I think I did. But..." the man shook his head. "I'm not sure." He did not need any encouragement to go on. "These two people... they've been messing with my head like you would not believe. They first insisted on a lot of drumming for a while, which reminded me of what I have read of shaman practices back on 'Rrta, on Earth. Then they made smoke and painted me up as a canvas." He held out his arms.

"It all means something, they said. I had to lay down and they kept drumming, and put some herbs or plants in a fire. You know, the RDA always said these masks are air tight, but the stuff in the plants got to me."

Puvomun knew about the herbs and plants. "The effect comes through the skin, not the nose."

Paul Cameron looked at the teacher, some horror on his face. "That's dangerous! God knows what that could have done to me!"

Amhul looked at the two men as she heard Pawl's outburst. Also one of the children stared at them for a moment, but then turned to the horse again that it was about to ride.

"You have to trust, ma Pawl," said the teacher. "Mo'at and Nusumea are skilled and will not do something that is dangerous. They are guided by Eywa, and Eywa provides. Also for you and the other Sky people."

The scientist looked ill at ease, but shrugged. "It happened, so I guess you are right. Still it was an irresponsible experiment."

It had not been an experiment, Puvomun knew, but did not say that. "What else do you remember?"

"They buried my arms in the sand. It was a very strange feeling. They put twigs on my arms too, and then the dreams started. Not the dreams I had, mind you, about Zunìl and the forest clan. I saw animals, and I heard them. There was a bear, there was a hellfire wasp, and there were prolemuris, syaksyuk. I told them too, after it all had happened, and they said it was good."

"It was good then, ma Pawl." Puvomun would have to talk to Nusumea, to understand more if he could. "Did you dream of Zunìl last night?"

"Kehe. I did not. Maybe I was too tired. Or I already had my dream with all these two did."

"Are you calm now? Can you go back to the handwork without cutting your fingers, ma 'eylan?"

Paul Cameron looked at his hands. "I think I am, yes."

"Good. We will go and finish your hand protection."

When they were almost done with the work, some people had already started making more arrows, I'vawm came to the group, carrying his bow. Puvomun was glad to see the young singer teacher apprentice.

"Look what I did!" the boy proudly said, holding up the tsko. He had tied feathers to it.

The sawtute all admired the feathers, as the boy told them where he had found them.

Then I'vawm looked at Pawl Kamron. "I have something for you. I found it in the forest this morning and Mo'at said it would be good for your bow." In his hand he held the hard shell of a hellfire wasp.

Slowly Paul Cameron held out his hand and looked at the bright orange shell I'vawm put in his hand.

Ekirä and all others came to look at it. "That is special."

"Irayo, ma 'ewana 'eylan," the scientist said, clearly impressed and touched. "Thank you, little friend."

"It's just the shell, it's not dangerous," I'vawm said. "Even a living one won't kill you, ma Kamron."

The scientist found a piece of split jungle vine and tied the shell to the lower part of his bow. "That's amazing."

Ekirä then clapped her hands. "Come. We need to make things! Ayswizaw, arrows!"

That broke the moment, in a good way, and everyone returned to the arrow making until there was a considerable stack of them. Puvomun had already decided that the next step would be gathering the material for making arrows, so the sawtute could do this at their Mipa Tsray.

When the day came to an end, Ekirä offered to walk the sawtute back to their village, but Mary and also Tom Jennings said that they would be fine.

"We appreciate that you are so worried about us, but we have to learn to take care of ourselves. We are with a good group, we'll be safe."

They searched for Paul Cameron, but Mo'at told them that the scientist would stay at Kelutral for at least one more night. The man himself came to wish his friends a safe trip and said he would see them again soon.

Before the sawtute walked off, Eyamsiyu came running over. "We are going to use the big drum tonight," he said, and Amhul translated it to Inglìsì. "When you hear the sound, there should be no worrying."

Tom Jennings nodded. "Tell you something, as soon as we hear your drum, we'll try and make our drum sounds as well."

Everyone appreciated that idea. Amhul said they would tell the others of the clan.

After the group had left, Pawl Kamron looked at Nusumea. "What kind of strange things are you planning for me tonight?"

"We never plan strange things, ma Pawl," the hunter-healer said. "Things happen that need to happen."

"And when can we go to the forest clan? The feeling that something is wrong keeps bugging me."

"Soon we will work with you so you are not bugged with the feeling," Mo'at said to the scientist. "You have to accept the feeling without having the worry. Only then your mind is clear and you can make the right decisions, based on the right understanding."

Puvomun looked away. He could not suppress his grin after seeing the annoyed and disappointed face of Pawl Kamron, which reminded him a little of a whining child.

"You are doing well, Pawl Kamron," said Mo'at. "Tomorrow we will speak again of this."

Paul looked up at Puvomun and Amhul. "When she says that, I start to worry about the time before tomorrow." His grin showed them that he was not very serious. Then the scientist walked off with the Tsahik and the hunter-healer.

As the clan had gathered to eat, the teachers looked at the scientist as he sat there, next to Nusumea. Puvomun wondered what the man was thinking, but it was not up to him to find that out. For now it was encouraging that he still was here. Nobody kept him from leaving.

In the evening, the singers and musicians prepared for an evening of fun, song and dance. The flutes were in places, the log drums were ready to be used, and Eyamsiyu could hardly wait to climb in the tree to get on the swinger and sound the large drum.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2011, 02:17:48 pm by Puvomun »
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Re: Sky People
« Reply #31 on: January 21, 2011, 12:23:50 pm »
32. Party time

As the singers and musicians were occupied, Puvomun noticed how Pawl Kamron was watching everything that was going on, or at least he was making quite the effort. The man had not been with a Na'vi party before, so this all had to be very new for him.

I'vawm and Apxanari sat with the scientist and talked to him. Puvomun assumed they told him about the instruments, because they kept pointing at the drums and the large flutes.

Eyamsiyu carried something to the place where the instruments were. It was the strange gourd with the strings on top.

"Are you going to use that?" Puvomun asked the instrument maker.

"I will try. I think we have it working now, but I am not sure if everyone can hear it. It is not a loud instrument, so we'll see what happens."

Puvomun grinned. "Do not worry, ma tsmukan. You will have a loud instrument to play this evening."

They did not have to look at the big drum as they laughed.

Several people came along carrying food they had prepared over one of the large fire bowls and soon the area was filled up with Omatikaya.

Somehow a number of hunters had gathered around the instruments and were talking among each other.

Puvomun looked at Amhul who smiled. They both knew how the evening would start.

Ateyo, one of the hunters, suddenly screamed and pointed. He grabbed his bow from his back. The other hunters did the same thing and spread out around the fire pit, as they started chanting an ancient hunting song.

The song portrayed the discovery and capture of a large animal. The hunters often sang it, as it involved a lot of jumping and swinging their bows. The people who sat around all clapped their hands in the rhythm of the song, and Pawl Kamron tried to understand the rhythm.

Puvomun had already found out a while ago that the sawtute had problems following Na'vi music as their own music was apparently very simple and organised.

The hunting song ended with a lot of cheering, as the hunters had caught their prey, and water and ka'va were brought round by some people.

Puvomun and a few other male singers got up and started singing one of the old songs that told about the beginning of life, and then the female singers joined, continuing with songs about all the life that was in the world.

After these songs, many singers went on singing with a number of children.

Puvomun and Amhul sat down with Pawl Kamron. "Do you like our songs?"

"Sran, I do," he said, "but your music is difficult for us. It sounds amazing and wonderful, but some of our people have the feeling that when your people make music, you just do something."

Puvomun did not understand what Pawl meant.

"Music from Earth, 'Rrta, has rules. There are many kinds of music, so many rules, but in the end each song is defined and people know what to expect when a song is sung, or music is played on instruments." Pawl waited until the singer-teachers nodded, that they understood.

"For us, the Na'vi music does not seem to have any rules. An 'Rrta song is always sung the same way. The Omatikaya seem to change a song all the time. It sounds almost the same but there is always something new, something that's different."

Puvomun was not sure he understood the man. The songs they sang were always the same songs, it was just the voices and the group feeling that could make it a bit different from other times.

Amaya, who was sitting near them as well, then said: "Ma Pawl, can you sing us a song from your people?"

Paul Cameron looked at the young woman. "Ma Amaya, oe ke lu rolyu. I am not a singer."

"You are! Everyone can sing," Amaya insisted. She got up. "Ma smuk! Pawl Kamron will sing for us!"

"Amaya, no, sit down!" The scientist hissed and gestured, but Amaya did not pay him any mind. There was no way, Puvomun knew, the man would get away from singing unless he died where he sat. And Pawl Kamron seemed to understand that as well.

All Omatikaya cheered as the man stood up and walked to the large fire bowls where the singers usually stood, in clear view of all the people.

"You did take me by surprise a bit," he said, looking at Amaya, "but I will try to sing something. If it gets too bad, just tell me to stop, okay?"

His remark only caused laughter. The man walked to where one of the log drums lay. He picked up the stick to beat on it, but it was far too big and heavy for him.

Eyamsiyu went over to Pawl, took the stick, and talked to Pawl Kamron for a moment. The scientists tapped on the drum, to show the proper beat to the instrument maker. Eyamsiyu quickly picked up the rhythm and started beating the drum, carefully, so the voice of the tawtutan could still be heard.

"Desmond has his barrow in the market place, Molly is the singer in a band. Desmond says to Molly 'Girl, I like your face'. And Molly says this as she takes him by the hand. Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, brah!... Lala how the life goes on."

Puvomun looked at Amhul, surprised about the strange sounds that Pawl was making among the words they understood. "Ob la da?"

Amhul shook her head. "Perhaps it is a language that is spoken where Pawl Kamron is from," she guessed.

The scientist sang on, while Eyamsiyu kept the beat. Some Omatikaya carefully clapped their hands, not to drown out the singer's voice, that would be very disrespectful.

After Pawl had ended his song, everyone cheered him. Several children offered him water for his voice, which he accepted gratefully. Very skilled, he drank from the cups, while holding up his mask just enough.

When he was sitting again, Puvomun asked the man about the strange words in the song, which made Pawl laugh. He explained that they were used to fill up the song without proper words. They were just sounds that sounded good.

Amhul wondered why someone would do that. "There are enough words to put into a song, ma Pawl, why use sounds with no meaning?"

"I'm sorry, I did not make the song, I just know how to sing it." Paul Cameron looked apologetic in such a way that it made the people around him laugh.

"Will you dance with us?" Lolet asked as she had walked up to the small group. "We will be careful around you."

This caused even more laughter. Paul Cameron looked a bit uncomfortable. "I'm not much of a dancer."

Amhul and Puvomun laughed. "Come. Dance with us, friend. Srerew hu ayoeng, ma 'eylan!"

Many musicians took their instruments, flutes and drums began to set the beat, and finally Eyamsiyu had his moment of glory. Rapidly he climbed the tree that held the drum, the large drum that was built by so many hands. He slid down onto the large wooden swing and started swaying, keeping up with the beat of the music that the others were making.

All Omatikaya were now dancing and jumping around the fire bowl, Pawl Kamron staying close to the children, who were about his size, and then the deep pounding from the large drum rang over the crowd and through the forest.

Yes, Puvomun thought as he was in the dancing circle, this was a proud drum sound. It could be heard very far. Eyamsiyu and Nusumea Tirea had done a wonderful job with it.

After a short while the power of the sound from the large drum went up, and when the singer-teacher looked, he saw that Nusumea had joined Eyamsiyu on the swing and together they made the drum throw its booming sound even further.

"The sawtute won't know what is happening," Rakan laughed, shouting to be heard over the drumming.

When finally the drumming died down, people were able to talk normally again. Eyamsiyu and Nusumea sat to the side, catching their breath from the drumming they had done.

The dancing music came to an end, and then the children got around, together with Ninat and Amhul, to sing some of their favourite songs.

Puvomun always enjoyed the children singing, so it was difficult for him to divide his attention between them and the talk that Nusumea and Pawl Kamron were having.

Pawl tried to find out whether or not Mo'at and Nusumea had something 'interesting' in mind for the coming night. Nusumea said there would be nothing strange, nothing like the night before.

"I am not certain if this makes me feel better," Pawl Kamron said. He was laughing a bit, but Puvomun noticed a little nervousness in the man's voice.

"Ngari txe'lan mawey livu, ma Pawl, may your heart be calm. You need not worry. After the party we will take a walk through the forest with you," Mo'at said. "If you want, you can ask some other people to come."

Paul Cameron looked at the Tsahik. "Irayo, ma Mo'at."

He then looked around until his eyes were on Amaya. "Would you come with us?"

Amaya, Puvomun noticed, was surprised. "Uh... Sran. Oel sayi. I will."

At that moment the conversation came to an abrupt end when Rakan and some other young hunters came along. They carried cups that they were handing out to the group, urging everyone to drink with them.

Puvomun laughed as he recognised the smell of kava. Amhul laughed as well as she accepted a cup. Pawl looked a bit worried as he held the cup, which looked very large in his hands.

"Do you think you can drink this?" Amhul asked the scientist. She had not heard of a tawtutan who had drunk kava.

Pawl nodded. "I can certainly drink it. What it will do... nobody knows. There is just one way to find out."

Rakan and the noisy gang had already moved on when Pawl Kamron moved his mask out of the way and carefully sipped some of the drink. He put his mask back.

Puvomun could tell he had not swallowed the drink yet. He sipped some himself.

Paul Cameron slowly swallowed, his face betraying surprise. "WOU... that is serious..."

The man was so surprised by the taste that he had spoken in Inglìsì. Amhul translated the words, and the Omatikaya laughed as they heard them. Pawl Kamron then said that he liked the kava, despite its very unfamiliar taste.

"But I am not going to drink all of this," he then said. "I'd sleep for a week, and wake up with a headache the world has never seen before."

This also needed some translation, and then Amaya went to get the man a smaller cup, something he appreciated very much.
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Re: Sky People
« Reply #32 on: January 24, 2011, 11:50:56 am »
33. Listening to flowers

"You are awake," were the first words Puvomun heard the next morning.

"Sran. Oe lu."

"Why did you not say so?" Amhul asked.

"Because I did not feel like it. I still don't feel like it. You feel too good." He kept his arm around her, preventing her from moving away. He smiled as she moved a hand to hold his.

"You make me happy when you say words like that, ma yawne," she whispered.

Puvomun, his eyes still closed, noticed how she moved her head a bit. "What are you doing?"

"Making sure there are no nosy children watching us."

The calm way she said that told the teacher-singer that there were no curious eyes. They remained in their nivi for a while longer, simply enjoying the relative silence.

When they came down, they found Nusumea and Eyamsiyu in a discussion about the large drum. Amaya and also Paul Cameron were not to be seen.

Puvomun asked Nusumea if he had forgotten to bring the two back from the forest.

"Hah, no, they just were tired," the hunter-healer said. "Amaya stayed with us all the time, she was very tired. I don't think she will do much today."

"And Pawl?" Amhul asked.

Nusumea grinned.

This, Puvomun knew, could mean anything, but he started to feel somewhat sorry for the scientist.

"You should ask him yourself. It was... interesting for him."

Puvomun and Amhul were telling stories to some children when Paul Cameron finally surfaced. He looked as if he had fought Palulukan all night. The man was chewing on some food as he silently sat down near the teachers and the children, clearly interested in the stories that were told.

After a while the children got restless, so the teachers chased them off. Then they turned their attention to the scientist. Somehow they knew he needed to talk to them.

"I am very confused," the man simply said.

"Have you talked with Mo'at and Nusumea?" Amhul asked him.

"Yes. I did. And it did not help much. So I thought maybe you, as teachers, can help me. Teach me." Pawl stretched his legs. "You tell nice stories."

Puvomun was not certain how they could help the man by telling stories. After all, they were just teachers of basic abilities and songs, not of the ways of Tsahiks and other healers.

After being asked what confused him, Pawl said: "Last night they took me into the forest. I must admit I was quite drunk from the kava. If we could sell that stuff on Earth, we'd..."

Pawl frowned. "I digress. Sorry. Right, where was I... Oh, yes. Mo'at and Nusumea took me to the forest. We were at a tree with many atokirina, and they told me to just stand there with my eyes closed. I thought I would fall over, being so drunk, but it felt as if someone held me up without touching me."

Puvomun and Amhul were at a loss. They had never heard of something like that. "Did you feel something special?" Puvomun tried.

"I am not sure. That is why I ask you, if I should have. I get the impression that you cannot help me."

"We are sorry, but we do not know about your experience, ma Pawl," said Puvomun. "Did you dream last night?"

Pawl Kamron frowned as he tried to recall any dreams from the mists of his fading intoxication. "I'm not sure... But still I feel that we should go to the forest clan. That we should have gone there long ago."

"Lolet and Rakan were there," Amhul reminded him, "and they did find that there were some strange things, but nothing alarming enough, ma 'eylan."

The teachers agreed though that going to the forest clan would be a good idea. Together with Paul Cameron they went to talk with Mo'at and Jake about this.

"I see no problem if you go there," said Jake after they had spoken. "I'd like you to take Nusumea with you, and Rakan."

"And Lolet," Mo'at added, "she is the only person who can retain Rakan."

Amhul nodded in agreement.

Pawl Kamron was visibly relieved when he heard all this.

Puvomun could almost sense his anxiousness to get to the forest clan, to Zunìl. He wondered if there was something special between the forest clan Tsahik and this man, how unbelievable it might be. He did not ask. Once they arrived at the tree of the forest clan, he'd just observe. There was time for asking questions later.

As the teacher was looking for Rakan and Lolet, I'vawm came to him.

"Are you going away?" the boy asked.

"Srane, we have to take Pawl Kamron to the forest clan," Puvomun explained.

"Oel tsleram, I understand. And when will you be back? Apxanari and I have many questions for you."

"Ngaytxoa, ma 'eveng, I am sorry, I don't know. Do you have difficult questions?" Puvomun kneeled with the boy. As I'vawm was one of the two apprentices, he did not want to run away. The boy deserved his time and attention.

I'vawm nodded sincerely. "We wonder if we can talk to our mother's fathers who are with Eywa. At Utral Aymokriyä, the Tree of Souls."

Puvomun promised the boy that they would go to Utral Aymokriyä once they came back from the forest clan. "We will then see if you can talk to them."

"Irayo, ma Puvomun," I'vawm said, a happy face being the teacher's reward. "I will tell Apxanari!" He darted off, then changed his mind and came running back to Puvomun. "Makto zong, ma Puvomun. Travel safely." Then I'vawm ran.

Puvomun still grinned as he found Rakan. "We are going to the forest clan, and you and Lolet are assigned to be our body guards, ma Rakan."

"Hah! Lolet is not a body guard," the hunter said as he got up. "But we can take her anyway. The forest clan people are not dangerous."

They agreed to meet near the crown of Kelutral, where the ikrans lived.

-=-=-

The scientist was getting used to travelling by ikran, in front of an Omatikaya. He sat more relaxed now, Puvomun noticed, and that was beneficial for Kilvan as well. She was not so twitchy and half-nervous as she had been the first time.

It was almost impossible for Pawl to speak with Puvomun, as their speed was high and his voice was dimmed by the mask, so they travelled mostly in silence, except for when they were on the ground for a rest.

"It would be wonderful if we could fly ikrans ourselves," Paul Cameron marvelled as he looked at the animals.

"I cannot see your people tame an ikran," Rakan said, very to the point as usual. "You are too small. And even if you could catch one that did not eat you, you have no way to make tsaheylu."

Paul Cameron nodded, a look of regret on his face. "Srane. That is the biggest miss we have here on the planet. I have talked about this with others, and we decided that this is like missing one of our senses. It is probably like having no eyes and no ears."

"Kehe, ma Pawl," Amhul said, "having no menari sì memikyun would not be as bad as not having tsaheylu."

"It is that powerful?"

"Yes. It is. When I close my eyes, and I make tsaheylu with Puvomun, then I can see what he sees. It is not precisely that way, but it is close enough. It is hard to tell."

"I think I understand somewhat," the scientist said. "And I really envy you for this."

"With envy you will not get a tswin, ma Pawl," Puvomun said. "It only wastes your energy on something futile and impossible."

Pawl let out a grinning snort. "You are teachers alright. So cut out for the job."

After not much more talking they flew on. This time the scientist was flying with Lolet.

Soon the hills came into sight. The ikran riders flew around them, and decided to fly slowly so Pawl Kamron could see the environment from above.

The ikrans flew around over the Hometree of the forest clan, so the people there knew that visitors were coming. Then the riders made their animals find a safe spot in nearby trees, where they could wait and from where they could go to hunt.

Puvomun patted the strong neck of his animal before he disconnected his queue from her lead. "You fly well, ma Kilvan," he told her, and smiled at the sense of appreciation that he received back.

Climbing down the tree proved to be a challenge for Paul Cameron. "Zunìl always carried me," he explained, "these trees are too huge for me to navigate."

Rakan laughed, and then offered to carry the scientist to the ground.

"Oel ayngati kameie," one of the guards said as they approached the large tree. The two men stared at Paul Cameron suspiciously, but allowed the group to continue.

"Did you notice how they looked at Pawl?" Nusumea asked the others.

"They don't see many Sky people here," Lolet said, "and the times when they did, there was bad stuff involved."

The first inhabitants of the village they encountered were children playing. They practiced their hunting skills, Puvomun saw, as they carried their small bows.

Most of the children recognised the two teachers, and some ran off to the tree, to announce who were coming.

It was not much of a surprise that Txep'rea was waiting for them. Zunìl stood next to him, but not for long. Once she saw Pawl Kamron, she quickly walked forward and kneeled down to greet him.

Puvomun and Amhul exchanged glances. This meant something, they knew.

"I welcome you to our home," the olo'eyktan greeted the visitors.

Puvomun watched the man carefully, but did not notice anything out of the ordinary. He was certain that Lolet and Rakan would keep their eyes on the people here as well, as they had sensed something strange in the village, during their last visit.

Nusumea silently stood by, as he was not a familiar face here.

"It is our pleasure to have returned, ma Txep'rea," Puvomun said, as the others seemed to wait for him to take the initiative. "You are probably surprised about our sudden visit."

Txep'rea nodded. "Yes. We were not aware that the Omatikaya find the forest clan so interesting." His eyes now seemed to rest on the tawtute visitor.

"As you see, we brought Pawl Kamron with us. The man who learnt from your Tsahik. He asked us if we could take him here so he can speak with Zunìl again."

Txep'rea nodded. "This is good, srak?"

Zunìl was standing next to Pawl. She looked at the clan leader for a moment and then turned to the people who had brought Pawl to the village. "Irayo, ma eylan, for bringing him. We have so much to talk about."

Puvomun smiled and Amhul touched Zunìl's arm for a moment.

Txep'rea hesitated for a moment. It was just a little too long. "Join us for a meal, please," he then said.

Somehow the man was becoming nervous, or feeling uneasy in another way, Puvomun noticed. He looked at Amhul, Lolet and Rakan, who nodded, and then accepted the invitation.

In English, Amhul said to Pawl that he should, for now, stay close to her and Puvomun, so they could get a feel for what was going on. He reluctantly agreed.

Nusumea, staying with the teachers and the scientist as well, whispered something to Pawl, who nodded. Puvomun wondered what had been said.

Zunìl seemed very happy that the man was near. Wherever he went, she would be. Puvomun thought this a good thing, as that way Amhul and he would be able to easily talk with her.

As the clan and the visitors sat to eat, Txep'rea sat far from Pawl Kamron. Puvomun found it blatantly clear that the man seemed to be scared of him, or held a grudge of sorts. Scared would be strange, so he ruled that out. A grudge might be possible. After all, Pawl had kept their Tsahik away from the village for a long time.

Nue'wah, the clan's teacher-singer, sat with Puvomun and Amhul, and did her best to keep the conversation going. There was something very restricting in the air, though, as time and again the subject was steered away from the scientist when it seemed to point towards his presence.

Puvomun had never before encountered such a strange atmosphere in this clan.

Things, uncomfortable as they were already, went very bad as Zunìl said she wanted to go and talk with Pawl Kamron in private.

Txep'rea rose to his feet, pointed at the Tsahik and said: "No. I forbid it."
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Re: Sky People
« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2011, 11:55:25 am »
34. Forbidding

The clan members as well as the visitors looked at the man in utter surprise; this was not a way someone would address the Tsahik. Not even an olo'eyktan.

Zunìl slowly got up as well. "What did you say?"

"I forbid it," Txep'rea repeated. "You cannot go away with this... murderer."

A silence fell.

Amhul and Puvomun were on their feet as well now.

Nusumea held back Rakan and Lolet, which Puvomun appreciated. Too many Omatikaya standing would create an atmosphere even more precarious than it already was.

"Ma Txep'rea, we know this man. He is not a murderer. He is a man who studies things, he is not here to kill."

"Do not contradict me, singer." The clan leader was becoming visibly angry new.

Rakan's hand moved to his knife, but Lolet stopped the warrior's movement. "Kehe," she whispered.

"I know about his kind," Txep'rea continued, as if he had not seen Rakan's move. "They cannot be trusted. He has poisoned the mind of our Tsahik, and for that I have tried to-" He fell silent.

Amhul looked at Zunìl. "What has he tried?" she asked.

Zunìl shook her head. Clearly she did not deem it a good moment to explain.

"We will not discuss this," Txep'rea then decided, "and return to our food."

Puvomun and Amhul looked at Zunìl, who gestured Pawl Kamron to sit down as she did so too. Then they looked at Nusumea, who pointed that they should also sit down.

The rest of the meal went in a forced and very unpleasant way; none of the people was hungry anymore after this strange episode.

"When are you leaving?"

Puvomun was surprised about this offense. It was not what he had ever encountered in this village, so something very bad had happened here since Zunìl had returned.

"We will leave when we have done what we came here for," Nusumea answered.

"And why are you here?" Txep'rea sounded downright hostile now.

"I just want to talk," the hunter healer said. "With you."

Defensively the clan leader folded his arms over his chest. "I have nothing to say to you."

"I am sure you do," Nusumea said, and then remained silent.

The teachers did not understand what he was doing. The clan leader was close to becoming openly agressive and Nusumea invited him to talk.

When the meal was finished, which happened very quickly all of a sudden, Nusumea said to Pawl and Zunìl: "I need to talk with you. And the teachers should join us as well."

Puvomun wondered why he did not invite Lolet and Rakan, but these two said they were going to check on the ikrans for some reason.

The small group walked off, disregarding the olo'eyktan, and sat down further.

"So, what do you want to say, hunter?" said Zunìl who did not know Nusumea very well yet.

"I am giving you time to talk with Pawl Kamron," the healer hunter simply said, "while it looks as if I am doing most of the talking. I will be talking with Amhul and Puvomun during this. Txep'rea will be curious enough not to let us sit here alone, and when he comes, Amhul and I will walk with him, and make him talk."

"I would rather sit here," Amhul confessed.

"Lu sìltsan, that's alright, then Puvomun will walk along."

Puvomun nodded, although he was in the dark about why and what, but that would become clear once the clan leader showed.

This did not take long.

"You will tell me why you think we have to talk," Txep'rea said, interrupting the talk that Nusumea and the teachers had. They had expected that.

Nusumea and Puvomun got up.

"Yes, I will," said the healer hunter. "But it is best if we do this where not all ears can hear."

Puvomun was still uncertain what his friend had in mind, but as Txep'rea seemed to go along, he decided to just listen. He caught a small glance from Nusumea, one he knew. Someone who did not know the hunter healer well would have missed it.

As the three men had walked off, out of earshot, Nusumea said something that shocked Puvomun. "I understand you, my friend. These sawtute are dangerous."

Txep'rea remained silent for a few more steps. "They are," he then said. "I have never trusted them."

Puvomun started to understand Nusumea's tactics. He was working on the clan leader's feelings, he tried to make the man talk and say what was on his mind.

"They came from the sky," Txep'rea went on without encouragement, "and they started destroying our world. They started to-" The man's words seemed to get stuck in his throat. "Kill our people."

Puvomun was not sure if he could say something that might help. He looked over at Nusumea, his face (he hoped) showing his question, his wonder. Nusumea calmly smiled a nod, Puvomun interpreted that as a go ahead.

"We know, ma Txep'rea," the teacher singer said. "The Omatikaya have suffered tremendously at their hands." This was nothing but the truth.

Txep'rea stopped walking and looked at the teacher. "And yet you are bringing one of them here. You seem to be constantly around one of them."

Puvomun thought fast. "Sran, ma Txep'rea. What is the best way to keep an eye on what they do? Be close to them. We know what they can do when nobody pays attention to them."

Nusumea added: "We have seen that not long ago, they even do things among themselves that create problems." He was referring to the ayuniltìranyu who had kidnapped the two children from Txep'rea's clan.

The olo'eyktan nodded. "Ngay. True." He started walking again. "If only they did things to their own race," he then muttered, "and not to ours."

Puvomun started to get a feel for the way they could get the clan leader to talk.

"They took down our Hometree," Nusumea reminded the man. "They killed many people, including children, for their profit, for the things they want."

"They do nothing but kill," Txep'rea growled. He slapped a tree, hard. Anger was coming to the surface, even Puvomun could see that with ease.

"Did they kill here?" Nusumea asked quite bluntly.

"They did. Long ago. When I was still 'eveng, a child, the sawtute with their machines and masks and weapons came to us."

A silence told Puvomun that the man had something more to tell but that it was a painful thing perhaps, a difficult thing to talk about.

"Did they hurt you?" Nusumea asked, his voice gentle.

"Kehe. No." Txep'rea responded with unneeded fierceness to that simple question.

"They hurt us," Nusumea continued. "So many people we cared about, that we loved. And they were taken away from us, sent to Eywa before their time. When you see things like that, ma Txep'rea, they hurt deep inside. They kill something inside you if you are not careful."

"I am fine. I was not hurt," Txep'rea said, his voice void of emotion. Without another word, he turned and paced off, back to the village.

"He has a big problem inside him, ma Puvomun," Nusumea said. "If we push him too much, he will become very dangerous, not only towards Pawl Kamron but also towards us."

Puvomun understood. "I wonder what happened here, or to him, long ago."

The two followed the clan leader, to be around in case something would happen.

In the village of the forest clan, most people had gone back to their chores. Zunìl and Pawl still sat where they had been when Nusumea and Puvomun had walked off with Txep'rea. Nue'wah and Amhul were with them.

The clan leader was not to be seen, so Nusumea and Puvomun sat down with the others.

Pawl looked at them, obviously hoping for some information.

"Are Rakan and Lolet still away?" Puvomun asked.

"Sran, but I am sure we can get them here quickly if we need to," Amhul replied. "What did you talk about?"

Puvomun touched her lips for a moment, indicating that she should be careful speaking now, and simply said "About sawtute."

"Our olo'eyktan..." Nue'wah started, when Txep'rea suddenly appeared from among the trees. Puvomun noticed the big knife the man had strapped to his chest, which had not been there before.

"Ma Txep'r-" Nue'wah said, and that was all she could say.

Txep'rea drew his knife and jumped at Pawl Kamron.

Puvomun, Amhul and Nusumea had suspected something like this and jumped up, blocking the clan leader's way, while Zunìl pulled Pawl away.

Puvomun hardly registered the screams from some of the clan members as the struggle took place. Txep'rea was strong and a skilled warrior. Two teachers were no match for him, it was only because of Nusumea that neither of them got hurt in the first moments of the fight. A sharp pain flashed through Puvomun's left arm as Txep'rea blindly slashed his knife around, and suddenly the man was gone.

The teacher needed a few moments to realise that the next touch was not from the attacking olo'eyktan, but from his friend, the healer.

"Calm, ma Puvomun!"

"Ma yawne, you are bleeding," Amhul said. She had a few small cuts on her arms as well, and one on a leg.

Instead of acknowledging what she said, the teacher stared at Rakan who sat on Txep'rea's chest. He held his knife to the man's throat, but the clan leader did not seem to notice.

"He has to die!" Txep'rea shouted as he tried to hit Rakan. The young warrior evaded the attempts with ease.

"He is here to kill us, or he will bring more of his kind! Like they did to my family so long ago! They want to cut us open!"
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2011, 08:25:43 am »
35. A sad olo'eyktan

Puvomun heard the words of the clan leader, as did everyone else. Suddenly it became clearer why Txep'rea was so hostile towards Pawl Kamron.

Nusumea walked over to the still flailing clan leader and took the man's hands. "Tam, tam, calm, it is all well," the healer hunter said, "no one is going to be cut open." He reached into a small pouch, brought out a leaf and crushed that under Txep'rea's nose. It did not take long before the man indeed calmed down, probably because of the leaf.

Consternation ruled among the members of the clan. Zunìl was speaking to them, urging them to stay calm, that Txep'rea was not himself at the moment and that Nusumea would be able to help.

Lolet, Nue'wah and Amhul stood next to Puvomun and they saw how Nusumea motioned Rakan to release the floored chief, whose voice had now reduced to a mere whimper.

Together with Rakan, Nusumea helped the clan leader to his feet and they led him to a spot away from the people. Zunìl wanted to go with them, but the healer hunter shook his head. The three disappeared among the trees, and soon after that Rakan came back.

"He sent me away," the warrior said, clearly annoyed.

There was nothing they could do but wait, and time went by very slowly.

-=-=-

Txep'rea came back, Nusumea with him. The clan leader looked a broken man. Everyone stood and watched the two.

Txep'rea sat down in silence. Someone quickly went to get him something to drink, and the man accepted the cup quietly.

Nusumea sat down as well.

"We have talked," the healer hunter said. "Txep'rea is a sad person but he will be fine over time."

The healer explained that, when the clan leader was a small child, a group of Sky people had come to the village where he lived then. The Sky people had been very hostile towards the people, killing them without any reason. They had also captured a few villagers who were never seen again. The people from the village had assumed that those captured had been killed as well.

"I think the worst thing he has seen, and repressed so far, was that the sawtute took knives and cut open some of the bodies, to take out some of their organs, leaving the mutilated corpses where they had been killed. His father was one of them."

A heavy silence spread over the people who had heard the healer hunter speak. Most eyes were on the clan leader, who sat among them with tears streaming down his cheeks.

Puvomun felt deeply sorry for Txep'rea. He could not know what this man had been through, having seen this slaughter as a young child. He could only compare it to the massacre that had happened when the sawtute had destroyed the old Hometree of the Omatikaya, and whenever he thought back to that, his head filled up with anger.

Amhul's touch on his arm made him look at her. "Do not get angry, ma yawne," she said. Clearly she had noticed how he had tensed up over his thoughts.

"You are right. This is not the time for that." Puvomun looked at Nue'wah and Zunìl. "We have to find a good way to keep the clan going while Txep'rea recovers." The teacher looked at Nusumea. "He will recover, srak?"

Nusumea looked at the sobbing man next to him. "Srane. He will. It will take time, because he went through something very difficult, but he will recover. He is a good olo'eyktan."

Zunìl placed a hand on Txep'rea's shoulder. "We will take care of him. Nobody knew, but we all saw him change rapidly. He did not want anyone to leave the village, so I had to use Tsahik ways to try and contact someone for help. I asked Eywa to talk to Pawl Kamron, to make him see."

"And you succeeded," said Amhul. "Pawl Kamron came to use, telling about his strange dreams."

The scientist looked at Zunìl, confusion all over him. "I still don't understand. These dreams... they really came from you?"

"I hope they did. I called to you, ma Pawl," said the Tsahik. "It was the only thing I knew to do."

Pawl looked at Nusumea, then at the teachers. "Do you think I can stay here for a while? To help them if I can?"

"I see no problem," said Nusumea. "We can tell the people at Mipa Tsray about your choice."

"And you lived in the forest quite long, helped by Zunìl," Puvomun added, "that you should be able to survive here, in the village, as well. But you should not ask us, ma Pawl, ask the people of olo'utri, the forest clan."

Paul Cameron did not have to ask. The people all agreed that the scientist would be welcome in their village.

"Is there something we should know or do about Txep'rea?" Nue'wah asked. "Usually he is the person who knows things, but he is not able now."

Nusumea explained that the man would need a lot of care and comfort. "Do not leave him alone for the coming days. He will feel lost several times, and disoriented, so he needs to have someone near that he knows, that he trusts."

Zunìl nodded. "There are people who will do that. Irayo, ma Nusumea, for your help."

"I hope he will recover completely," one of the clan members said. "He looks very frail now. I have never seen him like this."

"It will be decided by Eywa," Zunìl said. "We will take Txep'rea to Utral Aymokriyä soon."

Puvomun understood that.

Amhul asked Zunìl if they should stay around, to help, but Zunìl said there was little the teachers could do.

"Our clan leader needs to heal now, and that only requires time and attention," the Tsahik elaborated. "You can go home, to your clan. Of course, you are free to stay here, but you can return to us when you want."

Amhul and Puvomun talked with Rakan and Lolet, as they were in the party as well. They did not mind staying or going home. Rakan was just a bit disappointed about the calm outcome of it all.

Nusumea Tirea confirmed that they could do very little here. "We should go back."

Puvomun asked Pawl Kamron if he would be fine in the village of the forest clan.

"Ma Puvomun, trust me, I will be safe here. Nue'wah and Zunìl will watch over me, and we hope that in a few days, when Txep'rea is feeling better, he and I will be able to talk and find a good understanding."

Zunìl added that she would have a way to contact Mo'at if there were problems, and in that case some ikran riders could be at olo'utri very soon.

Puvomun agreed, although he did not have a very good feeling about it all.

"Come back with me," Amhul said as she made her tail tap his leg. "We have other duties that are waiting for us. The children need teaching, and we can go to Mipa Tsray to tell the sawtute about what has happened here."

Nue'wah warned them not to tell too much. "We should protect the honour of our clan leader. It is good that people know that he is weak and getting stronger, but perhaps we should not tell everyone what happened. How he attacked you, I mean."

"Srane, oel omum. I know. But it is good to tell the sawtute a few things of what he has seen," Nusumea proposed. "The way that families were butchered, I mean. They have to know."

Zunìl agreed with that.

After making certain one more time that Pawl Kamron would not change his mind, the Omatikaya said their goodbyes to the forest clan.

Siltsere and Tey'ran, who had stayed to the side very much during this strange visit, now came to hug the teachers, and also Nusumea. Then it was Lolet's turn, and finally Rakan could not escape their affection.

Puvomun grinned as he saw how the young man tried to retain his warrior surface, which broke quickly. Rakan had been a child himself not even that long ago.

Then the group returned to where the ikrans were waiting, and started the journey home.

-=-=-

"Where is Pawl Kamron?" That question was one of the first that the group heard as they had arrived at Kelutral. The answer was quite simple, but Jake did not seem very happy with it.

"Are you sure that was clever?" he asked. "He's so far away, and if that clan leader is not so cured as you think he is..."

"You need not worry, ma Jake," said Nusumea. "He will be fine. Remember, he survived in the forest, with just Zunìl helping him."

"Yeah, true, but you should go and tell the sawtute that their scientist won't be back for a while. And I want you to go to the forest clan again tomorrow or so, to make sure things are fine."

Lolet nodded. "Rakan and I will do that. They know us now."

"Then Amhul and I will go to Mìpa Tsray, to tell that Pawl Kamron will be away for a while," Puvomun said.

"First see that you eat and drink" Neytiri reminded them.

Amhul grinned and explained that they had eaten already, before they had left the forest clan. Then Puvomun and she left, to talk to the people at the sawtute village.

Norm and Mendelson were very surprised when they heard the news.

Randolph actually looked worried. "Are you certain that he is safe there? What if that clan leader gets a fallback and he goes after Paul again?"

"Zunìl and Nue'wah will make sure he will not be hurt. And Nusumea told us that Txep'rea will be fine."

Randolph talked with Norm about Pawl's absence and wished he had an ikran, so he could fly to the olo'utri and see for himself that the scientist was safe.

"Tomorrow some people will go back to them and see if Pawl is well, and then someone will come and tell you."

Randolph did not look entirely pleased with that idea, but he accepted it. "If your people take too long to come, I'll come to you and ask, though."

"Sìltsan, ma Ran'tof," said Puvomun, "good, but remember that someone has to go there and come back. If you hear nothing in the morning, that means nothing."

"I hear you, Puvomun." Randolph nodded.

Norm, his new girlfriend Mary and some others had joined the talking group. Mary told Puvomun and Amhul that they would tie Randolph down if he were to become too impatient.

Laughing, the teachers left Mìpa Tsray.
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2011, 09:38:49 am »
36. Language class

The next days went by peacefully. Lolet and Rakan had gone to the olo'utri and found everything nice and calm there, although Txep'rea, the clan leader, was still very silent and had not spoken to Pawl Kamron. But that was nothing to worry about, according to Mo'at and Nusumea.

A routine was coming back into the life of the village people at Kelutral, as there was also around Mìpa Tsray. The people there were settling in well, at regular intervals there were sawtute coming over to learn better archery, and more and more came to learn the Na'vi language.

Even Randolph was there very often, he seemed an eager student even though he had an even harder time understanding the language as it was so free and seemingly unstructured.

"Come on, Amhul," he said.

"Ma Amhul," the teacher corrected him. "You speak to me, so you say ma Amhul."

Several others laughed as Randolph threw his arms up in the air in mock despair. "Ma Amhul." He exaggerated the 'ma' but Amhul just nodded.

"You can't be serious that in Na'vi you can put just about any word anywhere and still hope that what you say makes sense?" Randolph shook his head at the idea.

"Not everywhere and always," Norm said, who had come along for the occasion. His Na'vi was very good, and the teachers appreciated Norm being there as he was able to explain things to the aynumeyu, the students, more easily at times.

"Normally you would say 'oel ngati kame', I see you," Norm continued.

"Yeah, I got that. I see inside you, knowing who you are." Randolph looked at Puvomun and relaxed slightly as the teacher gave him an approving look. It had taken the man a long time to understand the difference between kame and tse'a. Tse'a merely meant looking at something.

"But 'oel kame ngati' is okay as well, right?" Randolph asked.

"Yes," Norm said patiently. "As is 'ngati oel kame'. You stick the 'l' after the word or person that does the kame-ing, and the 'ti' after the thing that's being kame'd."

"And there's another one. "ti". Just now we covered 'fìtsengit'. Shouldn't that be fìtsengti then?"

Amhul laughed. "No, ma Rantolfì, nga ends on..."

Puvomun saw how she tried to recall the proper word.

"A consonant," Norm helped. "If a word ends on a consonant, you use the version that starts with a vowel. And you use the one with the consonant, that's 'ti', on a word that ends on a vowel. Like ngati and ikranit."

Some of the Sky people were taking notes of all that was being said, nodding as they understood.

"As long as nobody shoots me when I get it wrong, I'll be fine," Randolph said with an apologising smile.

"No one here will shoot you, ma Rantolfì," Amhul said. "We all are proud that so many of you want to learn our language. We know it is difficult for you. Jake had a lot of problems too."

"Hey, I didn't have a teacher like you two," the clan leader laughed as he heard that. "I had to learn it the hard way. Hey, ouch!"

The latter came to be as Neytiri slapped him on the back of the head. "I taught you well, Jake Sully!" Neytiri only used his last name when she was really trying to make a point.

Jake laughed and tried to catch his mate, but she was too quick for him and danced away from his grabbing hands.

After a few more words and sentences, Puvomun and Amhul noticed clearly that the sawtute were becoming tired, their attention drifting like with the children. Some of the people were then at the relentless comments of Ekirä, as they were still practicing their archery skills. Some of them found a few willing others to help them make arrows, something the Sky people were becoming rather good at by now.

"We'll go back to Mìpa Tsray," Norm and Mary said, some of the others standing with them.

"My head is spinning," Mary confessed, "but it feels good to learn your language. I hope that future generations of us will have less of a hard time." Without noticing probably, she put her hand on her belly for a moment, something the teachers did not miss.

"Ma Mary," Amhul said as she kneeled down, to be at eye level with the woman. "Are you blessed by Eywa?"

Mary blushed. "That is a very pretty way to say it. Yes. I think so."

Norm put a protective arm around her. "We were not sure if we could take this... risk. But somehow it felt the right thing. To have a child. Here."

"Do you have people in your village who know how to help you?" Amhul asked. "Our bodies are not the same, but I am sure that women from Kelutral will help you when you need help."

Mary blushed again and thanked Amhul. "I am sure we will be able to cope, but we'll ask around to be certain."

Then the sawtute left.

Puvomun and Amhul had arms around each other as they stood next to each other, their tails tenderly touching. They stood there and watched until the small people were no longer visible.

"They look happy together, Mary and Norm," Amhul said. "That is a good sign. Are you happy, ma yawne?"

"I am, ma Amhul. You make me happy."

"Even when I don't give you a child?" Amhul sounded a bit guilty.

Puvomun turned her towards him and looked at her, his hands on the sides of her neck and his thumbs caressing her jaw. "Ma Amhul, you should not worry about that. I know you are beyond that age. I did not mate with you for having a child, but for you. We are teachers, we have so many children, and now we have two to teach, to be like us. To become us. That is more than I could ask."

He saw Amhul's eyes water up for a moment, just before she turned her face away. With one gentle hand he turned her head back. "I saw your tears, ma Amhul."

Amhul smiled, trying to wipe away the wet streaks from her cheeks. "I am not sad, ma yawne. I just don't know at times why I was lucky enough to become your mate. You make me feel so... precious."

"You are precious. You are my precious woman, ma Amhul." Puvomun did not need to pull her against him, she wrapped her arms around him and held him tight. Until two children's voices interrupted their moment.

"Are we going to sing the old songs?"

The teachers laughed and then took I'vawm and Apxanari to a quiet spot, to sing some of the old songs with them.

Near the end of the day Ekirä returned with the archers. The group had done well, she said, and one of them had actually made a clean kill.

"Then he is ready for Iknimaya," Ateio joked. "Maybe there are baby ikrans he can tame."

The people laughed, as Puvomun explained what Ateio had said. Then the sawtute archers all laughed as well.

"I don't think I fancy owning one of these dragons," the lucky archer, whose name was Tim, said.

"Ikran is not dragon, ma Tim," Puvomun explained, but Tim was laughing so much that he did not need to bother saying more.

The Sky people shared a meal and then Ekirä and Amaya said they'd guide the sawtute back to Mìpa Tsray.

"Such an interesting day," Nusumea said to the teachers. "No strange things happened, at all."

Amhul and Puvomun laughed with him. It was indeed remarkable to have a day like that again, where some kind of normality had settled over the village.

"It is good," Amhul stated. "This way we have time for the children again, and for our normal things."

"Srane," Nusumea said. "I had many people ask for things as well, and today I had time to make some. And see to some people who needed help as well."

"How is Amaya doing, as your assistent, the way Jake suggested?" Puvomun asked.

Nusumea frowned for a while. "I don't really know. She is around a lot, looks, learns and then she's gone again, off to some animal or so. She's addicted to animals, and honestly it would not surprise me if she were to show up with a baby palulukan some day soon."

"Oisss..." Amhul shivered, "she shouldn't! No one here would appreciate that!"

Nusumea laughed. "No, that is true. It won't be that bad, I am sure. But if someone could do it, it would be Amaya."

"What would I?" Amaya asked. She had just caught the last words as she passed by.

"You would be able to bring a baby palulukan to the village," Nusumea explained calmly.

Amaya thought for a moment, then grinned. "Why only a baby?" she then asked, before walking on.

Puvomun watched her go and hoped that she had joked. With someone who was so much into animals as Amaya was... one would never know.

"How did your children get along?" Nusumea asked. "They seem eager to learn."

"They are, yes, and we think they will become good singer-teachers," said Amhul. "Apxanari is very good already in staying focussed. I'vawm is still young, and quickly distracted."

"Maybe you should tell his father and mother that he is doing well, his father wants to be proud of his son," Nusumea suggested. Things like that were quickly known by everyone, and Puvomun agreed. He'd do that the next day.

-=-=-

The following morning, after talking to I'vawm's father, Puvomun and Amhul walked to Mìpa Tsray. They would do the next round of language lessons there.

All the 'students' were waiting already, and the morning went by quickly. The teachers were invited to stay and eat with the sawtute.

During the meal, Puvomun kept the language lesson going.

"Yom is to eat," he told them. Most of the people nodded, they had remembered the word.

"And 'I am eating now' is yolom, right?" Pete Jennings did not look very confident as he spoke.

"Kehe, ma Pete," Amhul laughed. "Yolom means you just did it. Yerom says that you are now eating."

Pete shook his head. "I recall Jake once telling Dr. Augustine that your language is a pain in the rear, and he was right."
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #36 on: February 17, 2011, 01:11:21 pm »
37. Ferns and lessons

After clearing up the confusion about the strange expression of the pain in the rear, the teachers thanked the Sky people for the food and then went back to their own village again.

"Maybe we can go and fly," Amhul suggested.

"Yes. That is a wonderful plan. Our ikrans will be pleased too," Puvomun agreed.

When they came to the village, they found their two special students completely taken up in a game with other children, so they had their hands free.

The ikrans were indeed very pleased to go and fly. Puvomun enjoyed the scream of Kilvan as they dropped away from the branch, sensing her joy also through their tsaheylu.

Taw and Kilvan took the opportunity to race each other, getting to speeds that were amazing for the teachers. They had never thought that their ikrans could be so fast.

As they were flying, a few others joined them, so soon a group of eight flew over the forest, enjoying the view and the feeling of freedom.

First they circled around Hometree, then they flew over Mìpa Tsray, from where shouts came up and people were waving.

"Follow us!" Ateyo then called out to the teachers, as he pointed towards the waterfall that was near. The other experienced ikran maktoyu seemed to know what he planned, as they laughed and made their animals fly ahead fast.

The teacher-singers were curious what the hunters were planning. They followed them as close as they could, but while the others flew over the stream that led towards the rapids, Taw and Kilvan flew along the side, where they were not over the water.

Puvomun hoped that the ikrans would get over their fear soon, as sometimes they had no choice. He knew that he could make Kilvan fly over the water, but that would not make for a happy animal, and there was no real need for that now.

Ateyo and the others turned and then flew along the waterline as well, where the ground changed from forest to a rocky plateau.

Amhul yelled something as she pointed to where the water dropped down, but the noise of the rapids was too loud, Puvomun could not understand what she said. He looked ahead, and saw some of the hunters and their ikrans drop over the side of the rock, just over the water. Were they crazy?

"Lekye'ung!" he shouted, just before Kilvan pulled her wings back and also dove over the edge. "Insane!"

Puvomun held on to his ikran with all his might, as they fell down like rocks, going ever faster. Deep inside he did not want to see what was happening, but he was also afraid that closing his eyes might confuse his ikran, so he saw the river close in at a ridiculous speed.

"Keep us alive, ma Kilvan," was all he could think.

Kilvan screamed, and just before they would hit the river's surface, she opened her wings and pulled straight.

Puvomun's heart pounded. He was certain that Kilvan's legs got wet, so close as they had come to the water. At the same time he screamed and laughed, as the feeling that came from her was so exhilarating and triumphant that he could not ignore it.

Amhul's screams, and those of the others reached his ears. Puvomun was certain that the hunters did this often, as they seemed so relaxed about it right after this mad drop. He found Amhul and Taw, and laughed at her radiating face.

Some of the hunters went up and made another dive. The teachers thought one was enough for the day and gently sailed over the trees, letting the thrill of the experience slowly dissipate from their bodies. It was hardly something they would forget.

As the hunters did their steep dives, the teachers had time to see what they had done themselves, and Amhul told Puvomun that she would not have done it if she had seen this first.

"I know, ma Amhul," he said. "But Kilvan felt so safe about this. I would do it again someday."

"So would I." Amhul grinned as if she was a child with a new toy.

The group then reassembled and in a wide swoop over the forest they returned home. The teachers had a fabulous tale to tell the children.

-=-=-

The following days, life around Kelutral  returned to a normal rhythm again. The tsko swizaw sawtute came to the village for archery lessons. Puvomun and Amhul continued the language lessons, either going to Mìpa Tsray or at their own village.

The teachers also talked to hunters, loom builders and weavers, about the progress some of the older children were making. They decided that the children should start learning with these people now, to become proficient in what they wanted to do best.

The younger children were proud of their older friends, who had grown up enough now to be close to adult life, and Amhul had several long talks with the younger ones on what they might want to become later. A few times she and Puvomun would let the children run free so they could see what their older friends were doing. They knew it was a good thing for the little ones, and it also gave them some free time to spend together.

One morning, the teacher had planned to go to Mìpa Tsray, one of the older women asked if she could walk with them. It was Potiru, who had appointed herself to be Mary's personal caretaker after it had become public that the woman was pregnant.

"Of course, do come with us," Amhul invited her. "Mary will be glad to see you again."

That the Sky people woman had taken a liking towards Potiru was common knowledge. Mary had stated more than once that she felt lucky to have someone from the local population look after her as well. Not that she needed much looking after yet.

At Mìpa Tsray the people also had found a routine. Tasks were shared between the women and the men, each doing what they were comfortable with and good at. When the teachers and Potiru arrived, many people were working on making things for inside their house. Things to sit on, things to put other things on.

Puvomun shook his head for a moment. They needed so many things. Why did they not adopt the personal rack the Omatikaya used for their belongings? And what was wrong with sitting on the ground? He would never understand them fully.

"Good morning," said Norm as he waved at the visitors. "Most people for language class are still away."

"Rewon lefpom lu ngaru, ma Norm," said Amhul, "good morning to you. Where did the people go? Puvomun and I had said we would come today."

Puvomun watched Potiru walk over to Mary, who was sitting against a tree, working on something small. He smiled as he recognised it was to be a puppet. Maybe he should also make a toy for the sawtute baby. Perhaps Norm or Mendelson could tell him how long Mary still would be carrying.

Norm explained to Amhul that a group had gone into the forest, with most of the archers, to look for more tough ferns. "These ferns make for very comfortable mats, so we want to make a few more. We found that they are very easy to weave."

The teachers wondered what the man was talking about, and were surprised to see the 'mats'. The squares, woven from fern, were very convenient for the Sky people, obviously. For now they made good replacements for the sitting things, the 'chairs'.

A noise made everyone look towards the forest. The group of fern collectors returned, their arms full with the material they wanted to make more mats with. The people were sweaty, streaks of dirt were on every part of their skin and their clothes were stained, but they all laughed and cheerfully talked as they dropped their precious cargo onto one big heap.

"They are becoming part of the world this way,"Amhul observed. "I have never seen them this happy and satisfied."

Puvomun agreed, and they went to look at the stack of material that had appeared. They recognised the fern leaves. They were from a very fast growing kind, within days no one would see that these leaves had been taken from where they came.

The teachers waited until the people had arranged their things and cleaned themselves up. They were not in a hurry, so it was only near the noon that the language lessons started.

Potiru had joined the class, trying to pick up some Inglìsì. She had told the teachers that Mary was doing fine, although some of the sawtute women had said that there was something different about Mary's pregnancy compared to how it would be on 'Rrta.

"Their world is different," said Potiru, spreading her newly acquired wisdom. "The air there seems to push down on them harder, which the sawtute think is the reason they are so small compared to us."

Randolph was sighing heavily under the strain of learning the new words and ways to make sentences. He asked if someone could simply stick a Na'vi brain in his head. "That would make things a lot easier for everyone."

The group laughed, and Amhul told the man that he was doing fine. "You need to speak more Na'vi with us, Rantolfì. When you use the language more, it will become easier. You only talk when we are here, or when you visit us. And sometimes you fall back to Inglìsì then."

Randolph nodded. "I plead guilty..."

A few people came carrying cups of water, for the students and the teachers.

Puvomun noticed one of them. The man was looking around as if he was searching for something. "Are you missing something?" the teacher asked.

"Not something. Someone."

"Oh? Who is missing?"

The question made more people look around.

"I haven't seen Mark around for a while," the man said. "He was here when we brought the fern leaves, but he disappeared somehow."
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #37 on: February 21, 2011, 11:25:51 am »
38. Where is Mark?

A few people went around to look for Mark, the missing man. It was not common for people from Mìpa Tsray to just go missing: everyone was far too much aware of the dangers that surrounded them in and among the trees.

Mendelson had checked the quarters of the man and reported that Mark was not there either. A slight sense of unrest went through the Sky people, because no one had seen Mark walk off, and clearly he had not mentioned leaving either.

"Should we go out into the forest and look for him?" Pete Jennings asked Norm, who had somehow become the olo'eyktan in Mìpa Tsray, sharing the responsibility with Mendelson and Randolph.

"And what direction would you go?" Norm asked. "He could've gone anywhere, and we don't have that many people to cover every spot of forest."

Puvomun and Amhul offered to help, they could go around the forest much faster than the sawtute.

Norm gladly accepted that offer, so the two teachers set off into the forest, using luck as their guide to find the missing man.

They went around for a long time, trying to find traces of the man's footprints, but that was a lost cause. All the sawtute still wore their shoes and everywhere the forest floor was littered with the prints. Nothing told them where the man could have gone.

That was also what they could tell Norm and Mary, who were waiting for the teachers' return.

"I feared that," Norm nodded, "he's crazy to run off on his own like that."

"Are you certain he went alone?" Amhul asked, to be clear on that.

"Yes. We know where everyone is, except Mark. Some people formed a small group and went up north to see if they can find him there. I told them not to stay away too long, we can't afford to lose more people."

"But Mark is not... lost. Is he?" Amhul scowled for a moment at the words of Norm.

"No, he isn't. Well, not yet. It is a way of saying something in Ìnglìsì," Norm explained. "I'm not really considering him 'lost' unless he's still away in, let's say three days."

Randolph also had that idea. "An exopack, when used smart, can hold upto three days, so that would be a good period to consider. We'll keep going out once in a while, to see if we can find him, of course."

Puvomun said that he would ask some Omatikaya to join the search for the man, unless the sawtute did not appreciate that. But on the contrary, Norm and his people were very happy with the offer, so the teachers left Mìpa Tsray and informed the clan of the missing man.

"We can have some people out on ikran to look for him," Jake suggested, "that way we can cover a lot more distance than we can on foot. Also, he's walking, so he can't be very far away. Not if he is careful and makes sure he stays safe. Whatever that means for someone who's not from here," the olo'eyktan added.

Puvomun chuckled when he heard these words. After all, Jake was not 'from here' either. The man seemed to forget that once in a while. Which was a good thing, the teacher was aware.

"We can fly out for some time as well," Amhul reminded Jake. "We have no pressing things to do. I'vawm and Apxanari are busy, we've seen them as we returned."

"Good idea," Jake said, "you know the area so that's a big help. Nusumea can help as well, if he has time. And Amaya can go out on pa'li, with some others."

Quickly a few groups were formed and they headed out in several directions that seemed logical. The teachers quickly went up the tree, to their ikrans, others in front of them and some others coming up behind them. Puvomun always felt good if there was a reason to fly out, even when flying out just for the sheer sensation of it was fabulous also. But now there was a task ahead, to find a small sky person in the forest.

"The more experienced flyers will fly low, and among the branches," Tawtewng warned the teachers. "You'd better stay higher up, and look around their village. There are plenty of areas where the growth is less dense, you can see enough there."

That was sound advice. Nusumea also flew with Amhul and Puvomun.

"We had a few calm days," the hunter-healer laughed as they flew towards the village. "More than a few quiet days does Eywa not grant us, with the sawtute here."

The teachers laughed, because he was right.

Very quickly their ikrans had taken them to Mìpa Tsray, from where they started flying in ever expanding circles, keeping their ikrans as low and slow as possible, so they had ample time to scan the area.

"There," Amhul pointed, "there are some people from Mìpa Tsray, also looking."

As if they had heard her, the people looked up and waved. Maybe they even called out something, but the distance was too great. The singer-teachers and the hunter-healer just waved at the sawtute, and continued their own search for the missing man.

At times Nusumea would fly up and away, to learn if the other ikran aymakto had discovered something, but each time he returned with the same message, that they all were still looking.

Puvomun wondered if they would be able to find the missing man. Finding a Na'vi in the forest was difficult already, so a smaller person would be even harder. In the end it was not a big surprise for him that they returned to Kelutral without having retrieved the man.

The teacher assumed that Mark had walked off for something he wanted to do, and that he did not want to be found. Amhul and Nusumea had come to the same conclusion by the time he could vent his ideas.

They found Ekirä and asked her if she remembered a man called Mark in her archery lessons, but she was not sure.

"The sawtute all look so much the same to me," she shrugged, "I can't tell many of them apart. I am sure I never heard the name Markì. Why do you ask, ma Puvomun?"

"I would feel a bit better if he had learnt to use tsko swizaw. Now he may be walking around in the forest alone, without a way to protect himself."

"Maybe he has a knife with him," Amhul hoped.

"Their children's knives would not be enough to keep a stingbat away," Ekirä said, and everyone knew she was right.

And stingbats would be the least of someone's problem in the dark. Nantangs and other larger predators would be of much more consequence. Although, Puvomun thought with a dark grimace, the man would not suffer long from one of those.

Jake and Neytiri listened to their words and nodded. "The fa'li aymakto have not returned yet. Maybe they will find him. You are right, finding someone from up there is not easy."

Two hunters said they'd go to Mìpa Tsray, to tell the people there that the search from the air so far had not had any sighting of Mark. Puvomun and Amhul decided they'd stay near Kelutral and wait for the riders to return.

Time seemed to crawl by for them, until Apxanari found them and convinced the singers to teach I'vawm and her a new song.

The children were so eager to learn the new song, that Puvomun and Amhul missed the moment when the riders came back to the village. It was only when Apxanari looked up and waved at one of the riders, who was her uncle, that the singer-teachers noticed the group.

Amhul insisted on singing the song one more time, before they all went to hear what the group had to share. The children almost had the song right, so doing it once more would help them to remember it better.

It was soon obvious that they had not succeeded in finding the missing man.

"We went down the most obvious tracks, but found nothing," Apxanari's brother said. "Several small groups of sawtute were looking there as well, so we then went through the forest as much as possible. Also there we found no trace of him."

Amaya added that they would ride out again the next morning.

"You should first ask the sawtute, if they found him," Mo'at said, who was present. "If he is back at Mìpa Tsray you can ride a lot and not find him."

"Srane, ma Tsahik," Amaya agreed.

None of the riders needed to go to the sawtute village though. It was dark already when suddenly the bioluminescence of the forest seemed to move about violently.

"We have sawtute visitors," someone dryly remarked. It could only be them, to move through the forest so noisily.

Randolph and a woman appeared from among the trees. Puvomun had seen the woman before but did not recall her name.

Neytiri was already on her way to meet the two, this was something she should do.

Puvomun looked at Amhul, wondering what news the two brought. It had to be important for them to defy the dangers of the nightly forest. At least they both carried their mesko, their bows.

The two nightly visitors talked with Neytiri, gesturing a lot with their hands, pointing at Kelutral and back at the forest.

The future Tsahik took the two closer to the fire where the people were sitting, where they told their story anew.

The Sky people had found the missing man. He was wounded and unconscious since they had found him.

"They found him towards the river," Randolph said. "We don't know yet what he wanted to do there, but something tore him up badly. It is a miracle that he is still alive, our doctor said."

"Towards the river?" Amaya asked. "North or south of Kelutral?"

"South. About -" Randolph stopped talking, his forehead in a frown. "About two hours walking, but that means nothing to you I guess."

Amaya looked at Lolet, who seemed to think the same thing. "Ayikranay."

Puvomun could not believe that. "Do you really think that he wanted to try and catch a forest ikran?"

Randolph and the woman with him, her name was Tracy, looked a bit lost, as the teacher had spoken in Na'vi. "Sorry?"

Neytiri repeated Puvomun's words in Ìnglìsì.

"God, I hope he was't that stupid," Tracy said. "These animals are vicious!"

"They are not vicious," Amhul corrected her, "but an ikranay does not like to be disturbed by people. There are ways to catch one, the Na'vi know these ways, but there is no reason for us to tame ikranay."

Nusumea was already talking to Mo'at, about going to Mìpa Tsray and having a look at the wounded man.

"Is there something we can do?" Puvomun asked.

"No. Not there," Mo'at said. "Amaya could come, perhaps. You should stay here, you are no healers. Neytiri comes with us for translating the sawtute lì'fya."

Tracy sighed. "Here we go again."

"If you are tired, ma Trä'sì, you can rest here," Amhul offered. "We have a spare hammock for you if you want."

Tracy looked at Randolph. "Do you think that is safe? I'm really beat, you know."

Randolph nodded. "The Omatikaya will take good care of you. Stay here, see if there's something to eat, and then sleep." Then he got to his feet.

The small group walked off into the relative darkness of the jungle, towards Mìpa Tsray.
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #38 on: February 25, 2011, 01:53:14 pm »
39. Trä'sì

Tracy watched the small group go. When Amhul asked her if she wanted something to eat or drink, the woman almost startled. "Oh... I'm sorry. Yes, something to drink would be good. I'm so thirsty lately."

Quickly a leaf cup with water was fetched, and Tracy drank it all. It surprised the teacher singers, as this was quite a lot of water, even for an Omatikaya.

Amhul glanced at her mate when Tracy asked if she could have some more water. Of course, there was more, and the woman drank most of that in one long gulp as well. Then she sighed and visibly relaxed.

"That was exactly what I needed," she said. Without any encouragement to talk, she then told the people that she had been in the group who had found Mark near the river. Amhul and Puvomun translated her words for the others.

"We found him half in the water." Tracy shuddered. "He was bleeding a lot, and we all thought he was dead." The woman nervously wrung her hands. "Well, he was almost dead. Somehow his spirit had kept him alive long enough for us to find him."

"Did you hear screams of the forest banshees?" someone asked.

"We heard a lot of sounds, but we were focussing on getting Mark back. We didn't really pay much attention to what was going on around us, except for animals wanting to jump us. And there were none of those, for some reason."

Tracy picked up the leaf cup and drank the last bit of water from it. As she put it down, she looked around. Her eyes rested on her bow and arrows for a moment, then she looked at the people near her again.

"And then we got him back to the village. Norm told Randolph and me to come here and warn you that we found him. That's it."

Puvomun noticed that for some reason she had cut her account of things short. "It looks like you are very tired, ma Trä'sì. Do you want to sleep now?"

Tracy nodded. "Yes. Please. That would be... nice."

The woman looked as if she suddenly gave in to her tiredness.

As the teachers spoke her language best, they took her up to where the nivi were.

Tracy insisted on taking her tsko swizaw with her. She agreed that Amhul would hang it safely from a twig, while Puvomun lifted her into the hammock. The distance from the branch to the nivi was too great for her, so she needed the help.

The mefaryu made sure Tracy was lying safely, with the hammock closed around her, before they descended again.

"She is fine," Puvomun assured the others. "She slept almost before the nivi was closed around her."

The clan members talked a bit longer, trying to understand why one of the sawtute would want to catch an ikranay. These people had no tswin, they could not make tsaheylu, so they would not be able to make a full bond with any living organism on this world.

Before long, most of them went to sleep. Some said they would wait until Mo'at, Nusumea and Amaya returned.

-=-=-

The next morning Puvomun and Amhul were up early, and went to see Tracy in her hammock. The tawtute woman was still asleep, lying very still.

"Would she be well?" Amhul wondered. They had seen Jake lie very still when he was not inside his uniltìranyu body, but Tracy was there herself.

"We will assume so much," Puvomun said. "We will let her sleep longer. We can come here and check how she is at times. Let's find out if Mo'at and the others returned last night, and what they found at Mìpa Tsray."

The people around the fire bowl knew that the healers had indeed returned, very late at night. No one mentioned anything specific, except that the man Mark had been still alive when the healers had left him for the night.

After eating something, Amhul went up Kelutral.

Soon she returned. "Trä'sì is still sleeping. She moved since we last saw her."

Puvomun noticed something about Amhul's expression and wanted to know what was the matter.

"It looks as if one of her arms, peyä mepun, is thicker than the other arm," Amhul explained.

"That's strange. When she wakes, we will ask her about that," Puvomun nodded.

Then there were children to teach. It was time to sing songs about plants and herbs again, so they would learn about the good and bad properties of the floral life around them. Once in a while one of the mefaryu would go to check on Tracy who kept sleeping.

After the noon meal, Tracy was still asleep. Amhul and Puvomun worried about the woman and asked Amaya if she could come with them to see her.

They found Tracy still asleep, so Amaya lowered herself onto the nivi and carefully looked the woman over. Puvomun now also clearly saw the swollen arm. It was not only thick but also very red.

"This can't be good," Amaya pointed at the arm. "Maybe we have to take her to her own people."

They decided that Mo'at and Nusumea should be warned first, but the Tsahik nor the hunter healer had ever seen something like this before.

"It must be something sawtute," Mo'at thought. "Maybe she touched a plant that they react to."

Nusumea agreed. "I would not know of a cure for this." As he sat in the hammock, he lifted the limp body of Tracy and handed it to Puvomun.

They would walk to Mìpa Tsray. Flying was out of the question, and riding pa'li would not be a good idea either, as Puvomun needed both hands to keep the woman.

Nusumea and Mo'at came with them. They could check on Mark in the village. Nusumea had also brought the tsko swizaw that Tracy had so proudly carried.

Puvomun noticed that Tracy's skin was very warm. He pondered over what could have happened to her, and discussed it with Nusumea.

"It must have been some plant she touched," the healer said. "There is no sting mark on her skin. Some plants have small hairs that break when you touch them, as you know. The sawtute skin must be very different from ours, so I would not be surprised when the sap from some plants will make them sick."

"How remarkable," Amhul pitched in, "that plants that are good for us are bad for them, and plants that are bad for us can help them."

She referred to the strange twigs that allowed the Sky people to breathe without the extra machines for their masks.

As they reached Mìpa Tsray, many of its villagers came out to meet them, and able hands took Tracy from Puvomun's arms. Of course there were many questions on what was wrong with her, but the Omatikaya had no answer beyond their few speculations.

The teachers watched how the sky people took care of Tracy. Mo'at, Amaya and Nusumea walked off to see the man that had survived his unfortunate encounter with the ikranay.

Many people were very busy, and Puvomun looked at Amhul. He felt as if their presence was not necessary now, because there was nothing they could do.

The strange feeling was brushed away by Mendelson, the older scientist, who came sauntering along.

"Trr lefpom, ma eylan," the man greeted them. "Good day, friends."

"Oel ngati kameie, ma Mendelson," they returned the greeting.

"I wonder if you have time to listen to some of my questions," the grey-haired man carefully inquired.

"Srane, we do," Amhul smiled. She sounded almost relieved not to be in what felt as an unuseful situation anymore.

They sat down together, and then Mendelson started talking.

"You probably remember the nasty period that I was part of, when the small group of ayuniltìranyu was out and about to discover things about your world." His face showed his sadness about that time.

"Srane. It was not a good time," Puvomun agreed. He wondered where this would lead to.

Mendelson slowly nodded, letting out a sigh. "You should know that the original plan did not have such misery in it. As far as we scientists were concerned, we would only go out on a expedition to learn more of your world, of your ancestors."

"But, ma Mendelson, we know of our ancestors through our songs," Amhul said in surprise. "You could have come to us and ask. You speak our language well, you will understand the words from the song."

The gentle man smiled. "Oel omum, ma Amhul, I know. But what we were interested in is your physical history. We wanted to know if there were other places where the Na'vi have lived, ancient places that might tell us more about your way of life."

Puvomun and Amhul exchanged glances. Then Puvomun asked Mendelson why the sawtute would be interested in something like that. "We live now, and we have our connection to our ancestors through Eywa, ma Mendelson." He reached for his queue and held up the end that showed the tendrils which enabled a Na'vi to make tsaheylu.

Mendelson laughed for a moment. "Do not understand me wrong, ma Puvomun, I do not make fun of you. But people like us are curious of many things. As an example, you teach children how to make bows and arrows. What we want to know is if the bow you make now is the same as the bow that your people made long time ago."

Puvomun pushed his tswin back over his shoulder. "Why would you want to know that? And to your question: the bows we have now are different. Many hunters made them better over time."

"Sawtute are very curious," Mendelson explained. "Some are so curious that they will risk their own death to find something."

The mefaryu nodded, they knew there were Na'vi like that also, but those were only few.

"Sometimes it takes a risk to learn about something," Amhul said. "When Jake went on his uniltaron, his dreamhunt, nobody knew if his dreamwalker body would be able to deal with..."

Puvomun saw her momentary frown. She did not want to tell this man the details of the dreamhunt. "The dreamhunt involves a ritual, ma Mendelson," the teacher took over from his mate. "Parts of the ritual are very intense. Even Na'vi are not certain if they survive it, because sometimes the experience is very powerful."

Mendelson looked very intrigued. "Fascinating. Can you tell me more about this? Until now I have only heard many rumours about these dreamhunt rituals, I would love to know what this encompasses."

The teachers fell silent. This was a difficult issue, as the clan did not want outsiders to know about the ritual. It was one for hunters, a very sacred one. Many details were involved with an uniltaron, making a mistake in one could be very dangerous for the person doing it, so the risk of someone attempting this on their own and doing it all wrong was far too great.

"Ah. Oel mllte. I understand. This is not something you can talk about freely," Mendelson said, his face wrinkling with an understanding smile. "That is the problem always, so many mysteries and secrets that go with a culture. A clan."

"Are there many mysteries and secrets in your tawtute clan?" Amhul grabbed the moment to turn the direction of their talk. She was certain that Mendelson would come back to the uniltaron, but this might give them a little time to come up with something.

"There are many different clans among my people. Or rather, what used to be my people." The man slowly pulled his fingers through the little remaining hair on his head. "Maybe, ma Amhul, you have just given me an idea without knowing it. Perhaps it is time for us to stop seeing ourselves as the last sawtute. Perhaps we should give ourselves a new name. It is not good to keep thinking of ourselves as the last of a disappearing race. We have to become the first generations of a new race on Pandora."
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

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Re: Sky People
« Reply #39 on: March 02, 2011, 12:31:48 pm »
40. The state of people

Mendelson's eyes were shining as the thoughts behind his forehead seemed to take shape.

"Yes," he continued, his eyes seeing something distant, the way Mo'at could make her eyes see what others could not. "We have to become part of this world, the way you are. We should all learn your language, ayngeyä ayli'fya, and speak only that."

"This would mean you leave your own culture, the habits of your old clan, behind you, ma Mendelson," Amhul understood. "Are you sure that is a good thing? Can you do this?"

"Many here may object," Puvomun added to her words. "I have seen your people search for their old belongings, the memories of their old life and family, when the old sawtute base was destroyed by the explosions."

"We have left so much behind us already, that the remaining shards of our culture, our clan life, will not make things much worse," the scientist voiced his thoughts. "We chose to stay here after being chosen by your people. That was the start of a new life, a new beginning. Of Mìpa Tsray, our new village. What better moment is there then to create more new things? Do not worry, ma eylan, there will be things we would not forget. But I think there are ways we can make these part of our new community."

Mendelson's eyes got that far-away look again. "I have to speak about this with Norman." Then he focussed on the two teachers again. "Thank you, for this most enlightening conversation."

The man got up and while mumbling to himself he walked off, looking for Norm.

"Do you understand that?" Puvomun asked.

Amhul shook her head, making her small braids dance around. "Not everything. But he seems to feel good about his idea."

Amaya then called to them. She stood under the tree that was the main part of Mìpa Tsray, next to one of the walls that kept the sawtute atmosphere in. Mo'at and Nusumea were waiting there with her.

The teachers quickly walked over to her.

"The Sky people say too many things we do not understand," Mo'at complained. "They should learn to speak properly."

Amhul and Puvomun grinned and told the three what they had been talking about with Mendelson.

"Too bad they are not so far yet," Mo'at muttered.

"Some of the sawtute are in there, with Mark," Nusumea said, "and we can only speak with them through this." He pointed at a black box attached to the wall, the radio Jake had often used to speak with others far away. "We want them to bring the man outside so we can look at him, but they do not understand."

Puvomun nodded and pressed the switch on the radio. "Kaltxì. I am Puvomun. There are three healers from the Omatikaya with us. They want to see Mark. How is he?"

"Puvo... Oh, you are one of the singers, right? Glad you are there to translate, we were so puzzled. Let me see if we can cart Mark out for your people to have a look. He's not too bad, you can tell them that. Wait a minute."

Shortly after Puvomun told the others what had been said, the door opened.

Two men and a woman came outside, the men carrying a bed with handles on the far ends. Mark was on the bed. They put the contraption down in the shade, under the tree, where Nusumea and Mo'at, helped in translation by Amhul, had a look at the man.

Puvomun stood and watched. The tawtutan was badly hurt, that much was obvious. The karyu shook his head. What had gotten into this man, trying to approach an ikranay?

"Oh, kaltxì ma Puvomun, how nice to tse'a nga."

Puvomun turned as he heard this interesting mix of Na'vi and Ìnglìsì.

"Kaltxì, ma Mary, oel ngati kameie," he then said. "How are you doing? It is nice to see you as well."

Mary involuntarily put both her hands on her belly. "I am doing well," she said, a smile unfolding on her face. "Norm is fussing too much, he acts as if the baby can come every moment."

"Mary!" Norm came running and wrapped his arms around the woman. "Are you sure you should be walking around so much?"

"Norm. Please. I just got up, walked forty feet and now I am talking to Puvomun. You don't even give me a chance to get anything close to tired!"

"Hmm, yeah, well, I'm worrying," the scientist with the beard said. "Hello, ma Puvomun. Can you please tell her she has to take it easy?"

"Do you wish your child to have a lazy and bored mother, ma Norm?" the teacher asked in return.

"No, but... why take risks?"

"See?" Mary sighed, "and he's like that since this morning. Norm, you drive me crazy. Go do something. Wasn't Mr. Mendelson talking to you?"

"Uhm, yes, he was. Maybe I should go back," Norm replied, clearly still struggling with himself.

"Ma Norm, Mary will be fine. You have to trust her," said Puvomun. "Go back."

"Okay, okay." Norm went back, half of the time walking backwards to keep an eye on Mary, who did not look back at him on purpose, obviously.

"He's really cute, ma Puvomun, but he is a bit overprotective."

"A bit, sran," Puvomun grinned.

"I was going to see how Tracy is doing," Mary then explained why she was outside. "She was asleep when you brought her, yes?"

"Yes. I will come with you. It would be good if she is awake now," the teacher offered, and then they walked to where Tracy was lying, in a shady area.

It surprised Puvomun that the sawtute had not brought her inside, like Mark. As he asked for the reason, one of the women with Tracy said: "We did that, but she started convulsing violently when we took her mask off. So we put her mask back on and took her here. She relaxed quickly after that, but she is still asleep."

"We hope it is not a coma," a man said, sitting and holding Tracy's hand.

It took a bit of verbal sparring before Puvomun understood that 'coma' was a strange kind of sleep brought about by a severe sickness.

Tracy lay very still. Puvomun could barely see her breathe, and when she did it was very shallow.

"Her heart goes very slow," the man said. "We are very worried, because we don't know what is wrong."

"We believe she touched a plant with her arm," Puvomun explained. "Not know we which plant, but there is no bite mark from an animal."

"Not know we?" the first woman remarked.

Mary giggled. "It is something of their language. They can put words almost everywhere. It's surprising that Puvomun and also Amhul can speak English so well, with all its rules," she explained.

Puvomun smiled as he noticed the slip he'd made.

"Oh, right! I'm surprised too, actually. Never gave it much notice, as they are so fluent in English. I'm sorry," the first woman said as she got up. "My name is Karissa Grant. Pleased to meet you." She then hesitated. "I don't know if I should shake your hand," she then confessed.

Puvomun kneeled, to be at eye level with Karissa Grant. "It is nice to meet you, Kari'sat." He held out his hand. "We are aware of this sawtute habit. Habit of sky people," he added. Karissa's face showed that she did not understand the one Na'vi word he had spoken.

"Damn, I should join the language class," the woman said, as she shook Puvomun's hand. "I feel stupid now."

"You can always join." Puvomun then looked at Tracy. "How will you treat Trä'si?"

Karissa sighed as she sat down. "We really don't know. Phil and I are supposed to be the doctors around here, but with this we're out of our league."

"She is at least stable now," the man said. Puvomun assumed this was Phil. "Her arm stopped swelling, and she's breathing regularly now. Her fever's gone down a bit as well."

The man bent over and inspected the swollen arm. "There's just this... weird stuff."

"Weird stuff?" Puvomun repeated. He knew what that encompassed, but he saw nothing. He went over to Phil and kneeled with him.

"Here," Phil pointed out, running his finger over Tracy's arm. Where he indicated, there was a thin line of short, white hair, or something that looked like it. Where Phil's finger touched it, the hair seemed to withdraw into Tracy's skin, to reappear seconds after the finger had moved on. "Have you ever seen that?"

Puvomun shook his head. Slowly he ran his finger along the strange line of hairs and the hairs withdrew as soon as his skin came close. "Kehe. No. This is new for me as well. Mo'at should see this."

"I'll go find her," Karissa said, and quickly walked off, to return with the Tsahik not long after.

Mo'at sat with Puvomun and had a look at the strange phenomenon on the sleeping woman's arm. "This is strange. I need to think about this, ma Puvomun. Can you tell them this?"

The teacher translated.

"Trä'si will stay here for now," Mo'at then decided. It sounded to Puvomun that Tracy would be moved back to Kelutral sometime later, but he did not convey that idea to the sawtute. Nothing was certain yet.

Phil and Karissa nodded. "Should we worry about her not eating or drinking?" they asked then.

Mo'at pondered the question for a while, as it was a valid one. "You tried to give her water?"

"Yes, when we pour some in her mouth she will drink it, but very slowly."

"Good. Help her drink slowly then. Maybe crush some food and mix it with the water. We will come back tomorrow and see again." Mo'at rose to her feet again.

"How is Mark doing?" Puvomun asked as he also got up.

"He will recover. The skxawng will have to live with only one ear, and one less finger. The ikranay took the other ones."

Then the Tsahik appeared to have an idea. "You. Do you have yerik skin here?"

Phil and Karissa, who were the 'you', both nodded. "We do, yes."

"Good. You take a piece and put it around her arm. Nobody touch the strange place that way. Yes?"

"We'll do that, ma'am." Phil was already on his feet. "I'll get to it right away."
Krr a lì'fya lam sraw, may' frivìp utralit.

Ngopyu ayvurä.

 

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