Heena looked up from her quiet meditation to see Wod standing near. “I have seen the fires of two tribes near the sea,” he said as she began to stand up.

“Two tribes?” she echoed. “Are you sure?”

“My eyes are still strong, beauty, and I can count,” he said with a mocking grin on his face. He leaned over to give her a quick kiss. “We should go meet them.”

“Yes,” Heena said. “It will be good to see the children again. Go see how Ree is doing; perhaps the baby will come while we are with the Slow Fishers tribe.”

Heena started packing away her items as Wod ran off to see his current consort. Saska sat quietly nearby, watching her mother packing away the sacred items.

“Still can’t sense any sacred places,” Heena said as she continued packing. Perhaps the young one had sensed something she missed.

“Nothing since we met the Green Hunters tribe,” Saska said quietly. She was still preoccupied with the defiling of the sacred place.

“We will find something soon,” Heena said absently. She wasn’t sure she believed it.

The tribe had gathered up their gear and were ready to set out for the last leg of their journey. Heena lifted the pack to her shoulders and secured it. “Which way?” she asked Wod, and then led her tribe in the direction he had indicated.

The sun had passed the top of the sky when they came upon the dual encampment. Two tribes had indeed met and set up camp the previous night. The sound of children made it clear that one tribe was the Slow Fishers, and when she saw the members of the other tribe her paced quickened.

“Heena! What a nice surprise!” a voice called out from between the tents of the Slow Spears tribe. Dees walked out to meet Heena’s tribe as they approached. “Acti said you were due for a visit.”

Heena stood for a moment overwhelmed with joy at seeing her sister again. She dropped her heavy pack and embraced her sister. They held each other her tight for a while. To most, they appeared almost identical to each other even down to their matching pale green eyes. The embraced loosened and they looked at each other.

“It is a good to see you. I am glad to see you well,” Heena said, smiling for the first time in a long time.

“Of course, I am well. Did you have another bad vision?” Dees said as she frowned. “You think too much on bad dreams.”

“I worry about you,” Heena admitted. “Especially with the green ones and the Green Hunters tribe in the area.”

“You met up with them?” Dees asked. “I have not seen them for many seasons. How is Illis?”

“Same as always. Only caring about her hunt of the green ones and never about our sacred places.”

Dees nodded. “Let us get some food. Desso still has a talent for filling his nets with fish.”

Heena’s tribe had already started unpacking necessary things while the two sisters were talking. Saska was fidgiting impatiently nearby as the two talked.

“Go,” Heena told the young one to her obvious relief. “Find your friends.” Saska ran off to meet with her old friends from the Slow Fishers tribe.

Tama, Heena’s assistant, had gone off with Duni to go make a formal greeting to Acti, the leader of the Slow Fishers tribe. Duni ran back to tell Heena that the requests for hospitality were granted; it was a formality, but still important. Heena thanked the huntress, then walked with her sister toward the cooking fire near the beach. Taking some of the roasted fish, they went off to sit and talk together.

“How is your tribe?” Heena asked as they sat down.

“Not bad. Shae has kept me out of trouble, as usual,” Dees chuckled as she ate. “Natik is still opinionated, but I still enjoy his company.”

“What of Bralla?”

“She is still as sharp as ever. A strong mind in a strong body despite her age. She has remembered all of our travels and has made a few maps.”

“I should get some of those maps. I have had a hard time finding new sacred spaces. I can also show her where some of the recent ones are.”

Dees nodded. “But, she lost Moun. He passed during the last cold season.”

“I regret the loss,” Heena said with a frown. She put down the bit of fish she was eating and closed her eyes in remembrance.

“We took his body to one of the sacred places and prepared it properly,” Dees said, setting aside her own food. “His body rests peacefully now.”

“That’s good,” Heena said quietly as she made a promise to herself to talk to Bralla. “And Prin and Erdt?”

“They are fine. They are visiting their daughter with the Slow Fishers. She is old enough that she might join us soon.”

The two picked up their food again and ate quietly for a few minutes. “And your tribe? How are they doing?” Dees finally asked as she took a last bite of the fish.

“Saska still has her talent for finding the sacred places,” Heena said with a bit of pride. “She is more sensitive than I am.”

“It is good that she takes after her mother.”

Heena smiled. “Tama and Duni are same as always. Ree, however, is pregnant.”

“Who is the consort?” Dees asked with a grin.

“Wod! I cannot imagine Skiro being her type,” Heena said, smiling.

“Ha! How is that old man?” Dees asked after they shared a laugh.

“Cranky. He does not hunt well, and I think he does not enjoy being with us.”

“Too bad. He does not know how good he has it.” Dees took a drink from a skin and passed it to Heena.

Heena drank the cool water deeply. “Enough talking for now, let us go see the children!”

The two got up and walked toward the sound of children splashing in the water. The sun had set into the water, casting light all around the beach. Heena watched Saska laughing and splashing around with the other young girls. Haanu, the mother of the Slow Fishers, called the children in before the night fell completely.

“So,” Dees spoke quietly as they watched the children put on clothes. “Wod is now Ree’s consort?”

“Yes,” Heena replied. “They are happy together.”

“Will you consort with him, too?”

“No,” Heena shook her head. “I don’t think I need another little one to look after.”

“You’re lucky,” Dees said, looking over the children settling by the fire. “I wish I had a little one to look after.” Heena reached out and squeezed her hand. She had been trying for a child, but there was nothing yet.

The night surrounded them as Bralla’s strong old voice rose up to draw all attention near the fire. The stories she told from memory always entertained any who heard her. The two sisters sat quietly together and listened to stories new and old.


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