Thursday, April 9
Phoenix woke up in a frenzy of nervous excitement. She had one final step to complete on her peace offering, then she’d go and deliver it to Sage Eagle. She felt like her entire life depended on this morning! She prayed desperately to anyone who might be listening – that her work would not be in vain, but that she might be able to be friends with Sage Eagle starting today. Anything beyond that would be a bonus.
She went out to cook, but Dancing Bear was already making breakfast. “Trace a line around the medallion onto the felt and cut it to size. Then glue it onto the back of your work. It needs to be dry when you take it over.”
Phoenix nodded and got to work, grateful that her ankle was only slightly sore following kicking Jade Wolf the previous day.
“Am I right that your ex raped you?” Dancing Bear asked.
“Yes,” Phoenix admitted, still feeling the shame.
“Yet, you were able to kick Jade Wolf for overstepping his bounds?”
“I think you’re cured of that too. You will never let a man take advantage of you again.”
Phoenix nodded, feeling proud of her accomplishment.
“You should be proud,” Dancing Bear echoed in that way that made Phoenix wonder just how psychic the woman was, but it didn’t bother her anymore.
“What if someone intends to rape me? He could still overpower me.”
“Yes, without extensive martial arts training, you will never be completely impervious to attack, but then neither are most men. And remember that most violations aren’t violent ones, but matters of overstepping boundaries and women not being brave enough to fight them off. No one will do that to you again.”
Phoenix nodded as she finished tracing the medallion shape onto the felt. She took the scissors and trimmed it just inside the line. She put a light scribble of glue on the felt and pressed it carefully, but firmly onto the back of the medallion, wishing she could seal in her love at the same time.
Would it be enough? Would he forgive her and be her friend?
Done, she put the medallion on a cooling rack to dry. She felt more nervous than ever, but knew she could not do anything better than what she’d just accomplished.
“When are you going to deliver it?” Dancing Bear asked.
“I’ll take Skye to school, then I’ll do it.”
“I’ll watch Rose.”
“No thanks is necessary, this peace offering is for the benefit of the entire community as I’ve already told you.”
Phoenix felt the blush creep up her cheeks, though she tried to fight it.
“Eat,” Dancing Bear encouraged.
“I’m not sure I can!” Phoenix replied, feeling the butterflies in her stomach. “How can I eat when my entire future is on the line?!”
“Same as anyone else, Phoenix… but if you would feel better, I’ll keep your breakfast warm for after you get back.”
“Please… I think I’ll be sick if I eat first!”
Dancing Bear smiled, like she knew what Phoenix's heart was doing as well.
“Is my hair okay?” Phoenix asked nervously. “I should have had Little Deer redye it already!”
“You are beautiful – because you are a beautiful person, Phoenix. No amount of make-up can make you prettier and no amount of morning hair can make you ugly!”
Breakfast seemed to drag on forever, but Phoenix couldn’t bring herself to eat anything – not yet… not until she knew what lay in her future. She had to wait for the glue to finish drying though… which also seemed to take forever. She should have glued it last night, then it would be done now!
One of the kittens played with her shoelace, but right then, she didn’t care. Except that her shoe wouldn’t be a tripping hazard when she went out. She pushed the kitten away and fixed the lace.
Finally, it was time to take Skye to school. She carefully wrapped up the medallion in tissue paper, then placed it carefully in her coat pocket so it wouldn’t get damaged while she used the crutches to get around. She didn’t want to stress it more after her incident with Jade Wolf.
“Good luck,” Dancing Bear said as she left.
“Thanks.” She felt she would need it. This was more nerve-wracking than when she’d used the Neme’o’ng language to ask permission to stay.
She felt weak as she left the school and hobbled towards the other earthship. She had no idea what to say, just that she had to do it – now… before she lost the courage to do what had to be done.
Standing at the door, she nearly lost the courage and wanted to pass out. Her stomach was tied up in knots – and empty. At last, she took a deep breath and knocked.
The door opened more quickly than she would had expected. And there he was, looking at her.
“I… uh…,” she stammered, then put her hand in her pocket to pull out the crumpled tissue paper. “I come asking you for peace,” she finally said and held out her hand with the offering in it. “It’s not much, but I made it myself.”
For a moment, she wasn’t sure how he was going to react, but then he took it from her outstretched palm. She watched him open the tissue paper, trying not to chew on her lip in nervousness.
She watched his eyes scan critically over the offering, taking in the beaded eagle and the flames.
“You made this?” he asked, catching her eyes.
“Yes… It’s not very good – not like what your sister can do, but...”
“It’s good,” he interrupted. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” she replied, then turned away, unsure what to do next, but she felt dizzy and needed to go and sit down – somewhere safe.
“I accept,” he said.
“What?” Phoenix asked, turning around.
“Peace. I accept your offer of peace.”
“Thank you!” she gushed with relief. “I must go now.”
“Come again soon,” he invited.
“I’m sure I will!” she replied, but then turned away again, unable to trust herself with more words. She went back to Dancing Bear’s feeling much lighter than when she’d left. Maybe they could be friends now!
Back to the prologue
Available to purchase at Books2Read. Print version will be available soon.
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Previous Swan Valley Stories:
- Native Concession either in ebook form or [print]( . (June 2014, approximately 9 months before Phoenix.)
Swan Valley is a fictitious American Indian reservation located in the Great Divide Basin of Wyoming, USA. The Neme'o'ng (Swan People) are based on the idea of blending the Shoshoni and Arapaho peoples - as might have happened if they were stranded in a desolate area as a small band of misfits. I have developed their language from the same ideas.
Please read my note on romance, teenage intimate relationships and underage sex. I apologize if my understanding conflicts with your sense of morality, but I'm only looking at things realistically, not ideologically. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing!
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