Dragon Shaman Book One: Taming the Blowing Wind by Teresa Garcia

Teresa Garcia
By Teresa Garcia November 10, 2012 18:05

Dragon Shaman Book One: Taming the Blowing Wind by Teresa Garcia

Summary:

Every girl yearns for adventure, romance and magic in their lives. BlowingWind had all of these and lost them, just as she was starting on what she thought would be the greatest adventure of her life. Now, she is being called out by the forces of life and undertaking the journey into adulthood alone. However, journeys always seem to entail healing, and a quest to find her lost love turns into something even greater.

Take Ryu is a boisterous magma ryugami trapped for five years beneath Mt. Fuji for the crime of becoming too engrossed in human affairs. Upon the end of his imprisonment he emerges to find a strange and undefended shaman woman within his territory. Falling prey once more to his kind heart he too is swept up in the threads of a destiny that neither human nor dragon could have ever believed.

The author has rated this book PG-13 (questionable content for children under 13).

Excerpt:

Chapter 1: Remembering the Beginning

She had gone to bed hours ago. However, just because mother had made her go to bed did not mean that she had necessarily gone to sleep. Mother might have thought that the silence meant that her little bundle of energy was lost in dreams of desert adventures with Hawk and Coyote. This was not so though. Blue eyes had been open for around two hours after bed-time, watching the Star People spin by in the night sky. A red cotton hand-me-down night gown hung down around her pale and skinny seven year old body while little hands supported a tiny chin as she pouted at the window.

Her father had not been allowed to take her with him to the protest and anti-nuclear power rally, this time because she had been grounded by her mother for skipping school earlier that Arizona spring day.

“It’s Coyote’s fault, he was the one lurking behind a trash can on the playground waiting for a chance to steal my stuff, including my homework. The teacher wasn’t going to believe that Coyote stole my homework. If even Mom won’t believe me about him, how does she expect me to show up in class and get made fun of again?”

It had been a long and dusty chase away from the playground after Trickster. Ultimately though, he had out run her, leaving her where old man FourHorses had found her spread out by his well. The school had not been happy, Father had been mildly amused, and Mother was absolutely furious. BlowingWind had always been complaining nearly ever since she could talk that Coyote was either making her do bad things, or framing her for doing bad things.

“It was fun though. I’ve always liked leaving Town behind. Did he have to get me in trouble for stealing cookies from the jar again too? I swear, sometimes Mom must be blind. He walked right past her covered in cookie crumbs, but I get yelled at for ditching and filching.”

A scratching pulled the child’s attention down from the moon to the dust outside of the stucco and adobe home. A scraggly and thin yellow coyote sat panting outside of her open window, her now very ragged and dirty red bag at his feet… minus her school books.

“Hey, you ruined my favorite backpack and got Mom mad at me again.”

“I’m sorry I got you in trouble again. Why won’t you ever come and run with me? You would certainly get in less trouble.”

“Father told me that you would get me in trouble no matter what I do, but that I would be safer if I didn’t. I’m not like you, you know. I won’t come back to life if I die.”

“And you won’t learn what really matters if you keep hiding safely in Town.”

The coyote changed form, shedding his fur in exchange for sun leathered skin that bore wrinkles as deep as the Badlands, though his hair was still as black as the arrowhead point on the Sacred Arrow that her cousin was the Keeper of. His buckskins, although the fine white preferred by the holy beings, were covered with the dirt of a long hunt. Smiling, Old Man Coyote gave her pack back.

“Old Woman Coyote will be angry at you for dirtying your leathers again.”

“It won’t be the first time.” He sighed, a wry smile playing at the corners of his lips. Coyote was about to leave, when a gust of wind kicked up the dust, causing him to stay.

“Ba’ts’osé, is she still awake?”

The wind settled to reveal the speaker as a large golden hawk who had settled on Coyote’s shoulder. Coyote rolled his eyes.

“Yes Hawk, BlowingWind is still awake. Why?”

“You had better stop bothering her and let her get to bed then. Come to Council.”

Coyote resumed his animal shape, loping off after the Hawk who had gained the air once again. Shaking her head, BlowingWind went back to bed.

“I hope Hawk doesn’t tell Father I’m up past bedtime again. He really will be angry about that.”

Laying down in her bed and pulling up the thin blanket, she stifled a yawn.

“He still has my homework hidden somewhere, and I’ll bet he ate my lunch. I hope someone runs him over again.”

The drone of her mother sewing new clothes out in the living room drifted through the night, another calico dress for a stretching body conjured by a mother’s magic. An hour later she still had not found sleep, but a loud knock at the door relieved her boredom. The young and happy voice of her mother carried softly through the home.

“RedFeather, ‘tis a pleasant surprise it is to see ye, for sure. Are ye stayin’ the night again, leanbh? Where’s my Soaring’awk now?”

“Uncle was shot Aunt Marie. They want you at the hospital, but there isn’t any hope. He’s gone.”

RedFeather had tried to keep his voice down, not wanting to wake up the little one. BlowingWind had heard though, and heard her mother’s anguished cries as the child was forgotten for a moment. BlowingWind got out of bed and went to her mother. Rivers of red hair spilled down from where a beaded barrette had corralled it while she was working, strands escaping where her curls rebelled. Blue eyes leaked liquid crystals onto high, freckle spattered cheeks, and a tall dark boy handed Marie his red handkerchief.

“Mommy, why are you so sad?”

Marie MountainChild grew silent as she saw her little one standing in her bedroom door, and then drew a breath before diving into carefully crafted words.

“Daddy ‘as gone away, and ‘e won’ be coming back.”

“Why Mom? Why won’t Daddy come home?”

“Daddy ‘as to go somewhere we can’t.”

“Will we ever see him again?”

Marie looked at the child, and then at RedFeather, who was nodding his head and motioning for her to go.

“You will see your Daddy again.” Red Feather bent down to his cousin’s height. “He was shot, kind of like when my little brother went hunting the first time when he got too excited, remember? David put that hole in his foot, and you doodled all over his bandages?”

BlowingWind nodded, and RedFeather continued.

“Well, your Dad’s at the hospital right now. After the doctors fix him, Kato’ya needs to see him, so he is walking the Star Path. Mommy has some work that she has to do now, but I’ll be here to watch you while she is gone.”

“Ok. Will you tell me a story Feather?”

“Sure Wind, but then you have to get to bed. You won’t receive any dreams from the Ancestors if you’re awake.”

Marie kissed BlowingWind goodbye before leaving. RedFeather sat down on the blanket covered couch, pulling out the red feather that he always wore, while he waited for the child to situate herself on his lap.

It was a few days later at the funeral that young BlowingWind had begun to understand what the Star Path really was, when she saw Grandmother crying that her son was dead. Not long after her father’s death, BlowingWind found herself moving.

“Where are we going Mother?”

“Somewhere new, leanbh.”

“Mom, why can’t you just speak English like other moms?”

“Tis a ‘ard ‘abit to break for sure now. Would ye rather I spoke like a bloody Brit then?”

“Mom, Ms. Sanchez said it’s not okay to call them that.”

“Well, then, don’ ye be gettin’ all uppity there with me. I’m sure that after a few more years ‘ere my accent will a slowly change. We’re moving to McCloud sure enough now, to answer ye question.”

Mother had taken a job in Northern California as a wood worker and carpenter. The house they moved to had been a large two story, an 1800’s historical home hidden away in the woods near the old logging town. The mountain forests had suited her well, and she had freely and happily roamed that summer while her mother got everything in order. Eventually, things had settled down enough that they could go camping like they used to.

Watching her daughter perform the prayers that her husband had once done while they set up camp in the high desert that held Medicine Lake had been odd, and it brought the loss back as sharply as if it had been just yesterday. In order to move past it, Marie had paid attention to establishing camp, instead of watching her daughter follow SoaringHawk’s footsteps into the forests of spirituality.

When BlowingWind had been singing the old prayers, she had been facing towards the lake. The layers of green reached into the distance beyond the condensed sky that had formed the waters and even further beyond this, like a smiling father had loomed the sacred mountain. Something about the area soothed her wounded soul, and she could almost feel the presence of her father, urging her to look into the lake. And so, after the songs had been finished, she had followed the tugging on her soul.

Twin whirlpools of chocolate and mud had pulled her soul to the lake bottom, creating a longing that the eleven-year-old did not fully comprehend. She felt safe and whole looking into the orbs that were in the water, paying no heed to how guarded they were, nor to the black fur around the pointed face, or the scales running along the lithe body. Neither did she see the great red mane as it waved in the currents where the lake serpent hid beneath the surface. She was in ecstasy that there was someone who could take away her pain for even a moment. In joy, she had called to her mother.

“Mama, look what’s in the water. Aren’t his eyes beautiful?”

The woman’s screams pierced the ears of both the child and the water creature still hiding in the murk and lake plants. They echoed out over the lake, rebounding off of trees and rocks to amplify even more, and flocks of birds abandoned their nests believing it was a warning of danger.

“Whoever ye be, Spirit, leave my baby alone! Ye can’t take ‘er too!”

BlowingWind watched as the eyes faded, and ripples moved in the water as the creature swam away. Turning, she realized her mother was paler than usual, shivering the way she did when shocked or frightened, like when they had found a rattlesnake contentedly sleeping on their porch not so long ago.

“What’s wrong Mother?”

“Draigan. Mother was telling me for true, an’ she wasn’t touched. They be real.” She held her head, rubbing between her eyes, for a moment her gaze pulled from the present into a locked area of her memories. Every muscle bunched and tenses, and hair lifted as BlowingWind watched.

“Mom, are you ok? You’re acting kind of weird.”

Marie’s eye cleared, and once more she was the practical Irishwoman BlowingWind knew.

“Oh, for sure now. T’was but a trick of the light now. Come now, we’ll go for a bit of a stroll for some firewood.”

“Ok.”

Later that same night, a fire crackled only to die down into their makeshift hearth to cook their dinner.

“Alright, story time. What is it tonight Mother?”

“Tonight, I’ll be telling a story about long ago, and about a geas laid on our family by a draigan.”

“What’s a geas?”

“That’s a curse, my leanbh.”

“Oh.”

“Maeve was a brave lass, and was among the finest of Brigit’s priestesses. There were few warriors better, man or woman, and ‘er prowess attracted a draigan that knew the magic of shape trickery. As a comely lad, ‘e enticed ‘er to join with ‘im in marriage, and being lonely, she was sorely tempted. There was another lad, a cobbler, in another Clan that also loved ‘er, and war was common then.”

BlowingWind leaned in closer, and Marie’s speech dropped some of the heavy accent, though not all.

“Maeve loved this draigan, but ‘er service to ‘er goddess required that she ‘ave permission before taking a ‘usband. The well and forge that she was a protector, and keeper, of was attacked before she could do anything about ‘er suitor though, and Maeve was one of the priestesses who were captured.”

“If she was so good, how was she caught?”

“The story is old, me mother did not remember all of it. Bits ‘ave been forgotten over time, they ‘ave.”

Marie dropped her gaze from her daughter, looking into the fire instead.

“Ultimately, Maeve was dishonored by the cobbler, who somehow was involved in the raid. Drake, the draigan, learned of it, and the draigan came to stop it, but was too late. She ‘ad already been taken, and in a rage ‘e had not only killed the cobbler but also cursed any children that the cobbler had ever begotten. Unknown to Drake, Maeve had been more dishonored than ‘e ‘ad ‘eard tell of, and a cursed child came under ‘is care due to ‘is own wrath. Now, every child of that child loses the first marriage partner to the curse. That is ‘ow our family was named, and why the Spirit World is so drawn to you. We ‘ave unfinished business with the spirits, an’ so ye must be careful with what ye do, and who ye trust.”

Understanding her mother a bit more, BlowingWind secretly made an apology to the lake spirit after her mother was asleep.

The next day, she had woken up with a polished obsidian mirror and a swirling snail shell necklace beside her pillow. The child put on the necklace and dropped it beneath her shirt, then hid the mirror. Her mother would surely take these away if she saw them, and the lake spirit obviously had given them to her. There was power in the gifts, and she knew better than to refuse the sacred medicines she had been granted guardianship of.

A year later on another camping trip, this time with friends, she met a boy there of about her own age. Strong and well built for his youth, he had impressed her with how he was able to keep up with her on heart pounding runs through the wilderness. His dark eyes had captivated her, always reminding her of the unnameable and only half-remembered shape of the thing that had been calling to her soul from ever since she could remember. The boy had always been there on every trip after that she had taken, until her mother put a stop to her going to the lake. After a while, he had begun to show up in town to walk with her. This was a discovery that her mother could not and did not reject out of hand.

BlowingWind had never questioned it. It just felt right. When he was around, she felt like she belonged somewhere, as if she had roots of some kind. Obsidian was a fixture in the family before the three even realized what had happened.

Copyright© Teresa Garcia. All rights reserved.

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Teresa Garcia
By Teresa Garcia November 10, 2012 18:05
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