Chief Black Bear leaps to his feet and answers Lone Wolf's challenge. "Behold, the Sun God has blessed me with his power!" he shouts as he unveils a supernaturally golden lance that glows like the amber flames of the sun. Brilliant light illuminates his eerie black-and-white painted face and his greedy smile. A glowing, celestial light creeps up his arms and arcs over his shoulders, then trails down his torso. His cold, hard eyes shift back and forth wildly. His long black hair blows back. Whereas Lone Wolf's war bonnet is crafted out of eagle feathers, Black Bear's war bonnet is made out of the sun.
"Warriors, hear me! Boulder Arms has asked to see my power, and here it is!"
"Ha ya!" the Cheyennes' whooping war cry begins.
Chief Black Bear swipes his fingers across Boulder Arms's chest to make the mark of the bear claw. Glowing light illuminates from the finger trace.
"He paints with the sun! Our chief has the power!" Boulder Arms declares.
"Let the bravest warriors touch Boulder Arms and share in my power."
One by one the strongest and bravest Cheyenne touch the magic mark and stand in awe as the amber aura passes from him to them.
Black Bear shouts, "See my power and believe my words. This is the first battle that will end the Kiowa. Tomorrow we will find the rest of their tribe and kill them all! Ready your tomahawks! Unsheathe your spears! Prepare your arrows! Spread your warrior wings and dip your feathers in the lake of their blood. Do not worry about your own scalp. Instead, let them fear the gleam of our scalping knives. Today the SUN GOD IS WITH US!"
A hundred black-and-white painted Cheyenne warriors, glowing with the light of the sun, circle around Black Bear and Gray Hawk to revel in their glory. Their hopes are high, and they are ready to attack.
Chief Black Bear steps out of the shadowy forest, parading the golden lance high above his head. Not wanting to commit his full force to the fight, he makes a strategic decision to divide his force into two groups: a main attack composed of his best warriors to wear the Kiowa down, and a reserve force he will send in later to finish them off.
Black Bear points his magic lance at the Kiowa and shouts, "TAKE COURAGE! KILL THEM ALL!"
Across the field, Lone Wolf is shocked to see a strange phenomenon emanating from within the forest, beneath the cawing raven. The sun seems to have fallen from the sky, and its rays now flicker and burst up out of the tree line.
Has the sun lost its place? Lone Wolf wonders.
The Kiowa warriors gasp at what they see. Chief Black Bear seems more like a god than a man.
Lone Wolf does something he's never done before; he takes a step back and feels a great fear tighten in his throat. His legs wobble and feel as heavy as mountains.
"Cheap tricks," Lone Wolf hears the medicine man, Onendah, protest, as he stops out of the mist. "If they could use that power to harm us, why wouldn't they?"
Onendah's calm voice reduces Lone Wolf's fear. As he looks heavenward, his worried eyes spy a pure white eagle soaring over the tall pointy pine trees. Its high-pitched screech scatters the ravens and sends them swarming for cover. Their cawing symphony mixes with the Kiowas' war song.
Without flapping its wings, the white eagle glides over towering evergreens that nearly touch the sky. Time seems to slow as the swaying trees lean one way, then gradually the other.
"I know not your name, White Eagle, but I must understand: Have you come to take me to the happy hunting grounds?" Lone Wolf questions.
Lone Wolf watches the elegant creature tilt its wings. His eyes grow heavy and drop to the earth; he watches the eagle's shadow slowly circle around him. He looks up and feels an avalanche of emotions crash inside him. For the first time in his life, he feels the frost of death nipping at his heels. As quickly as the fear came, it melts. Lone Wolf feels an immediate sense of calm that erases the pettiness of this world. For a tranquil moment, it is evident that his circle is complete.
"They sound close. Should we not step out of the mist and greet them?" Two Moons asks, breaking Lone Wolf's tranquility.
Lone Wolf takes a deep breath and looks beyond this life. He rests his weapon against his thigh. His massive shoulders rise and flex. The veins in his neck contract. His biceps pulsate. His back muscles tighten. He tilts his head and cracks his neck.
"Father, can you hear me?" Two Moons asks.
"Shields up! Arrows will soon fall like raindrops," Lone Wolf answers, wiping the tears from his eyes.
"What will we do?"
Lone Wolf searches for words that will inspire his son. They form slowly in his heart and come softly from his lips. "Live your lives as though there is no tomorrow, for today is all we really have! I have spent my life fighting. I know what I must do!"
Lone Wolf ties his shield to his arm, smiles, and then charges the Cheyenne all on his own.
A question: If you had the power of the sun, what might you transform into? I might try being an Orca, because then when I go swimming, I wouldn't be afraid of sharks. Well, if you're interested in the entire book, it's on Amazon. 'Harvest Moon" by Zachary Lovelady. Insta:harvest moon official
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Kiowa and Anoki lock hands and stare into each other's eyes. They listen intently to Onendah, the medicine man, officiate their wedding. "Yours is a forbidden love. Because you are from a war tribe, Kiowa, your people will not let you marry this pea...