I almost didn’t have a blog post for today, but then I remembered my back-up plan. This is a story I wrote about my main character, Abedabun. It was first published back on the Stone Guard forums, but here it is again.The Sight of Day
“Hush, Honia,” the gentle-faced tauren said to the young calf, “your mother’s resting.”
“She’s always resting, father. Why doesn’t she want to play anymore?”
Avonaco, the boy’s father, sighed as he explained his wife’s pregnancy for what seemed like the hundredth time.
Lying back in the wagon, drifting in and out of sleep with the rocking of the wheels, Ominotago smiled to hear her family, soon to be enlarged with the imminent arrival. She felt her stomach – perhaps a little too imminent. Sleep left her as she thought about the distance still to travel. They had spent the summer following the kodo herds through the Barrens; Avonaco and his brother would hunt them, Ominotago and her sister-in-law would prepare the skins and craft wonderful clothes and other leather goods for trading. It had been a good year, as the large pile of leather goods she was resting on proved. However, when things are going well, it is easy to push your luck – Omi wondered if they had. They’d decided to stay an extra week to get one more kodo as they had wonderful markings this year – a sure selling point – but now Omi wasn’t sure they’d make it back to Mulgore in time. They certainly wouldn’t miss the trading caravans, as they would be there until spring, but the kicking in her belly was starting to get impatient.
Despite Avonaco’s assurances, Omi really didn’t want to give birth before reaching her home mesa in Mulgore. She knew her sister-in-law was a capable mid-wife, but until the child could be brought to the Elder Cave then it wouldn’t have a name. Omi shuddered at the thought of what could happen to a nameless child – unprotected and innocent. Avonaco was sceptical of the ‘superstitious tradition’, but Omi was the daughter of the Elder and wasn’t sceptical at all.
Well, they were going as fast as they could with a wagon full of leather, a pregnant tauren and a 5 year old child. All she could do was lay back and relax.
“Omi, we have to make camp, love.”
“No – we’ll keep on going – the babe will hang on,” Omi gasped, “We’ll get there before morning.”
Avonaco went to the fire to talk to his brother.
“Is mother alright?” Honia asked his aunt.
“She will be, child. She will be. Go sit by the fire, out of the way.”
Honia stomped off to his father, annoyed at not being wanted or needed.
“Ah – Honiahaka, the very man!” exclaimed Avonaco. Honia looked worried; his father only used his full name when he was in trouble. Avonaco bent down to his son and said quietly, “Can you do me a favour? Your uncle is going to look after the leathers so that your mother can get to the Elder Cave quicker – but I don’t think he can manage on his own”
“I’ll help!” said Honia, eager to please. “Uncle’s too old to fight off prowlers, so I’d best look after him!”
“That’s my little wolf!”
Avonaco shed a proud tear as he looked back at his son, waving in the firelight. He turned to face forward and drive the now lighter wagon to the Elder Cave – his sister-in-law looking after Omi in the back.
Avonaco paced to and fro next to the hastily built fire. His driving role over for now – he’d got them to within an hour of the Elder Cave, but the child would wait no longer. He felt he ought to be doing something to help, but he knew that he would only be in the way. All he could do was comfort his wife as she lay in pain and exhaustion. Later, Omi would tell him that his comfort meant everything to her.
In the waning hours of the night, Omi had finished her labours. The three adults looked at each other – the unspoken words etched in each face.
“It’s a girl!”
Omi looked at Avonaco, and he knew that she would insist on getting the girl to the Elder Cave straight away. There seemed to be less urgency now – Omi was too tired to insist on haste. Avonaco kept looking back at his new daughter.
The first tendrils of dawn were appearing at the horizon when they reached the path to the Cave. It was too narrow for the wagon. Omi was asleep, holding the child.
“Omi, love, we’re here” said Avonaco.
“Hmm? Oh, so we are. Here,” she said, proffering the child to him, “Take her!”
As Avonaco strapped the baby to himself, he remembered the first time he’d done this, with his son. That hadn’t been so fraught – they’d had a naming party and it was a fine sunny day. They’d had the benefit of two weeks back home before the birth that time though. He sighed, and looked up at the steep path. “See you soon, my love”
The path was tougher than he’d remembered. Maybe the girl was heavier than Honia. No – Avonaco was five years older and feeling it. The girl was beautifully formed – neither too heavy nor too thin, with pale golden fur. Apart from the first crying, she was well behaved too. Avonaco had thought too soon; the girl started whimpering in her wrappings. “Hush, child – father’s here.” The babe quietened, and slept.
Avonaco felt apprehensive. What if the Elder wasn’t there? She’d always been there before for namings, no matter the time of birth. But, said a sceptical part of Avonaco’s mind, what if she wasn’t really a seer? What if she was just very good at telling when expectant mothers were about to give birth? Ah well – his wife wouldn’t rest unless he tried.
As he neared the ledge of the Cave, he was reassured by the sight of smoke. The Elder was in.
“Nokomis!” exclaimed Avonaco, “I wasn’t sure if…”
“Bring her to me, husband of my daughter,” The old tauren spoke from behind the fire, which smelt of sweet herbs. “You’re late!”
Avonaco kept silent, knowing that he had no excuses. He passed the baby through the smoke, and the Elder held her above the fire.
“You might have been late, but the child is exactly on time! Look behind you!”
Avonaco turned around, and could see the sun creeping above the plains of Mulgore.
“Your daughter is called Abedabun – the sight of day!”
Note: ‘Abedabun’ is a Cheyenne name meaning the sight of day. http://www.cantodimezzanotte.com/names.html