green willow(short story) part 2

Time walked forward through many seasons. Things were
very peaceful for the most part. Green Willow grew up
to be the fairest, if not one of the fairest women of
her tribe. Her skills as a medicine woman grew in
leaps and bounds under her grandmother’s tutleage.
Winter Dove was very proud. Green Willow had learned
her lessons well. She had even learned to communicate
fluently with the animals of the forest. This was seen
when a giant brown bear as tall as two men had attacked
the village. Green Willow rushed to the where the bear
was and clapped her hands once. The bear turned towards
her and as it did, she spoke to it in low grunts. The
bear sniffed, lowered its head and left quietly.

“She is a warrior and a healer. The Great Spirit has
chosen well.’ Proud Hawk said one night to Winter
Dove as they walked outside after a meeting of the
elders. “Yes, she will be special, and that may be
what we need most.”, she replied. Her heart was full
of joy, and some regret. She knew her moons would come
to an end soon. Winter Dove bade Proud Hawk farewell
and entered her tent, finding Green Willow sitting in
front of a simmering pot. In the rafters, Oueichi the
owl sat quietly, his blueish-tinted feathers casting
a soft glow as he slept. He was Green Willow’s loyal
companion since she was little. Some said he was a
warrior consigned to owl form serving penance for sins
committed against the great spirit. “Daughter, what
are you up to?” “Only preparing herbs for Red Elk.
She’s still bleeding after giving birth.” Green
Willow replied. A low hiss from the pot made steam
rise.

“Come. We must have words.” Winter Dove said as she
sat on her pallet and Green Wilow sat next to her.
She touched Green Willow’s face and smiled warmly.
“My child, you have grown in wisdom and beauty. My
time is almost at its end. I am proud to know that
this village, this tribe will prosper under your
great care. These are difficult times. Our people
are beset with disease. And war will soon be a way
of life here once again. And this time, we may not
win. It is up to you, Green Willow. You must have
heart. A medicine woman cannot heal without it. Your
mother knew this.”

“You’ve never told me much of her, grandmother. How
did she-“

“Your mother, Gentle Wind, one day had gone to the
glade beyond these woods, not far from the sea. She
saw a sight never seen before in these parts. Large
boats, far from the shore. And men with pale skin
wandering about. She began to make her way back
when she was spotted.” The light from the fire began
to soften. “She put up a struggle, even used her
long knife. But it was not enough in the end, they..
they…” “They what?!”, Green Willow asked, not
realizing her voice was raised. “Please, tell me.”
Winter Dove stared off into the distance. “They
killed her. But not before…using her. They wanted
to know where our village was. When she wouldn’t
talk, they tied her to a tree. Raped her. Then left
her, her belly slit open. That..is how we found her.
Still alive, but only for a few minutes.” Tears ran
down her cheeks. Green Willow found herself frozen,
even as Oueichi flew down and settled on her shoulder.

Winter Dove sighed heavily. “Gentle Wind did say
something. But she led them to the southern woods
where the great spirit sent the hand of plague. The
pale skins either left for the next world or sailed
away.” She stopped to look at Green Willow.”Your
father never got over it. And he left this world
soon after because of grief.” Green Willow’s face
was full of anguish. “I..I never knew.” was all she
could say. “Dear child, remember that you are a
healer and a warrior.”, Winter Dove said, wiping her
tears away as well as those that began to run down
her granddaughter’s face. “I am sure that with this
knowledge, that you will do what is right. It is in
your blood.”

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