by Dustin Evermore and Ryan McCollough
As William paced the room, like a cat, waiting for the time to arrive, he
began to think. Thinking of things that have transpired, and things yet to
Tonight I will be going to someplace special, he thought. I will be visiting
those who believe in my mistress, as much as I believe in her. To me she is
the Lady Mika, and I will do anything she asks, for I am William Wallace. I
am a Bastet, a werecat, and the new Bear Warrior for the Tribe. I am one of
the chosen, to help protect the Lady Mika and her people.
It was time for him to leave, time to go meet the tribe.
Mika arrived at William's apartment, careful as ever not to bump into things
or trip over things. As she acclimatized herself to her new body, it was
becoming more and more natural to her to get around. A lot of height had
been added, a lot of it in the legs, and it required an adjustment period.
He knew she was there before she had even knocked on his door. He opened it.
"Will. I'm glad to see you tonight. You remember what tonight is?" she
"Mi'lady Mika, it is always a pleasure to be with you." Will said with a
smile. "Tonight I am to be introduced to the tribe, as your new Bear
She chatted as they headed down the stairs, out to the street together. "And
you're the lucky man who gets to drive." She sighed, "With everything else
that has been happening, I've never had time to learn to drive this past
year. Maybe you'll have to show me sometime. That or a motorcycle. They look
like so much fun."
"Yes, I can teach you to drive, and anything else you may wish to learn from
me. Although right now I don't know how to ride a motorcycle." he sighed.
"It can't be that hard to learn. But there are other things I know. I am
well learned in modern ways of war, along with other combat techniques."
Soon the two had piled into the car Mika had borrowed from February for the
evening. "It will be just us tonight, Will. I have February busy with her
studies of course, and Strong Bow is. Busy. But the elders will have
assembled by the time we arrive at Haven." Haven was the term she had begun
using to refer to the land on which her tribe of people had settled. It
included something of an underground fortress, making the name especially
Mika gave William careful directions as the made their way out of town. She
wanted him to remember the route well so that he could make his way to and
from there during the day. Once Celeste had fixed up Mika's BMW, he would be
able to use that car during the day to get around as necessary.
It took awhile to get out of the city proper and out into the country.
As Will was driving, he was feeling a bit anxious, and was unsure as to what
was going to happen.
The drive was beautiful in its own way, passing farm land, taking various
dirt roads, and woodlands as well. The cat inside William was just wanting
to get out, to run free through the countryside. To feel the thrill of the
hunt, stalking out your game, and then pouncing for the kill.
"Lady Mika, how much land does your Tribe own?" asked Will.
"I believe it's just about a mile on a side. A roughly square plot." They
approached a driveway off the road. "This is it. You can turn here. Why do
you ask. William?"
"I was just curious. I was wondering about running space for myself, for
when I am in the form of the cat." William paused, and then asked, "Lady
Mika, when we are alone, may I have permission to speak freely?"
"Certainly William. I value your thoughts, too." Mika looked at him
carefully. "As far as running space, you will have some here. But be very
aware of the limits. Beyond the borders of our land, I cannot protect you
from the Werewolves. If they scent you, they will hunt you."
William parked the car, got out and opened the door for Lady Mika. As she
got out, he offered her his arm, as it was the gentlemanly thing to do.
"So to where shall I guide you?" asked William.
Mika smiled at his thoughtfulness and took his arm. "I decided that the
meeting would be a private one this evening. Since it is close to dawn,
after the council has met with you, they can take you around when the sun
She gestured toward a large, prominent hill. It was covered with grass,
healthy and new-looking. There were a few small trees and bushes, but they
had obviously been planted only within the past year. "This is the hill I
built with the help of faithful members of the tribe. This is the first
example of something I can do that the other members of the never do. I can
harness the faith of my followers to magnify my power. They do not need to
be instructed in the actual use of the magic, they need only believe it will
work. This place is a monument to the power of their faith."
At Mika's gentle urging, William led her up the hill. Several times she had
to lean heavily on his arm for support when she tripped over some small
clump of grass or slope. A middle aged man, whose hair was graying but still
looked strong and healthy, met them part way up the hill. He carried a torch
to light the way.
"Mahpiya Winyam. It is good to see you. Although your body has changed
appearance, you are as beautiful as always."
"Flatterer," she told him, but didn't hide a pleased smile. "Two Bears, this
He turned and looked at William. "Pleased to meet you." He stuck out a hand
to greet the newcomer.
William accepted the hand, and said. "Pleased to meet you as well, Two
Two Bears shook hands firmly and released William quickly. His eyes
hesitated on William's face for a moment.
Mika intervened. "He is not full-blooded, Two Bears. But you will shortly
see that his spirit is."
Two Bears nodded. The explanation was enough for him. He turned and led the
two the rest of the way to the entrance, which was a stone door carved in
the solid rock heart of the hill.
Once inside, Two Bears moved to walk behind and to the side of Mika and
motioned for William to do the same. They would be close enough they could
catch her if she fell, but it was more appropriate for her to enter the
council chamber on her own power.
The long tunnel was mysteriously light by glowing stones set in chest-high
niches along the wall. No heat radiated from them, yet there was more than
enough light to see by. Soon, the trio entered the chamber. There were a two
older men and two women seated in a circle around a sunken firepit which
contain even larger, glowing stones.
Three spaces remained. Two Bears sat down cross legged on a one of the three
small mats, leaving Mika to sit in the middle of them and William to sit on
the right. Mika sat down, but leaned too far.
William quick to act, deftly caught Mika, and aided her to her seat. As he
had her in his hands, he let out a slight purr, from deep in his throat,
before he also sat down.
"Thank you William." A pipe was passed around and everyone took a puff. The
pipe was also offered to William.
William accepted the pipe graciously, took a puff, and passed it on.
Mika continued. "Everyone, this is William. William, this is Red Doe,
Mathieu, Cloud, and Willow. He is an extremely rare find and an important
addition our people. He has asked to be a part of what we have and I have
decided to sponsor his application. There are legends about people like
William, tales of skinwalkers and shapechangers who existed in the old days
before the Europeans came. Now, the skinwalkers who originally inhabited
these lands have been hunted and killed by shapechangers who followed the
Europeans here, and such legends soon came to be thought of as mere fantasy.
Tonight, William will speak to us and tell us what this power of his is. He
will also tell us how he will help the tribe when he is a member."
"As the Lady Mika said, I am, as you would call, a skinwalker. When I
choose to, I can take the form of a mountain lion. If you will permit me, I
will show you know what I can do." After saying this, William stood, and
begins to transform. He did it slow, as to not startle anyone, and changed
from man to cat.
Gasps echoed around the chamber. Mika raised a reassuring hand.
When the change was complete, there stood a very large mountain lion. In
this form, he went to each member that was there and, very catlike, nuzzled
at their cheek and neck, followed by a deep purring. He did this to Mika
last and a feeling of great warmth come over him.
After he made his rounds, William went back to his place, and changed once
again. This time, he chose the form of the half lion, half man.
With a deep growl to his voice, William said, "This is the form I take in
times of war, or when it is the three days of the full moon."
With that, William started to transform back into his human form. "Excuse me
for a moment, this takes a lot out me when I go between forms in such a
short period of time." After William was done, he sat back down. "As for
other skills that I know, I have various military training that I believe
could be of some use."
All was silent for a moment and Willian could smell the fear lingering in
the air. Yet there was another feeling present, as well.
"You see," said Mika, "your old legends are true. There are indeed
skinwalkers. It is a very real power. William might be said to be a Bear
Warrior for this tribe, yet he is obviously no bear."
Nervous chuckles spread in the room.
"Cloud, I know you have questions on your mind. Please speak them."
The man in question looked at William briefly and then looked to Mika. "Can
this power be taught to us?" Many nodded their heads in agreement. This was
a valuable power, one that could make the tribe safe for all for a long time
"I do not know. William?"
"I wish I could teach you all this power, but this is something that can't
be taught," he said with a frown. "I was born this way, my memory is not
what it once was, so I don't know if I got this from my mother or father.
This power can only be bred, but it will be a rare child who will attain
"But I will tell you all this now, I will put my life down for the
protection of everyone in the tribe."
"Are there any more questions?" asked William.
"Are there others like you?" asked Willow. "And is this power dangerous to
people around you?"
"There are others like me, hence I would not be who I am today. But so far
during my life so far, I have yet to encounter another like me." said
William. "So it seems I am a rare breed indeed. But to answer your second
question, I will not lie to you, I can be a dangerous person. Fear not, I
have control over my powers, and it is only during the phase of the full
moon, will I need to be careful."
"I do not wish to alarm you by telling you all this. I knew the Lady Mika
from a previous life. I have come to her now to seek her aid, and to also
help protect her from her enemies." said William with a bleak smile.
Mika nodded and looked around at the others to see if they had more
questions. Red Doe spoke up. "Have you found a wife yet? If your power can
only be inherited and people like you are so rare, you should think about
your future. There are many young women here to choose from. Many of them
have had hard lives, but they are good people. Some of them would be very
interested in a man like you, William."
Mika chuckled, "Since he is only just now joining, that question may be
premature, Red Doe. Still, it's something you should think about, William.
Since you could be the last of your line, you have a duty to protect it."
"That is something to think about," said William, " as of now I have no
wife. My life up to this point has been on a very dangerous road, and I
would not want to those who I love in that kind of danger. But to preserve
who and what I am, I see it as something necessary. I mean no disrespect
with what I say, it is just that I have had very little love in my life."
William said that last with a sadness to his voice.
One of the men chuckled softly. "You'll have to forgive Red Doe, William.
She has a tendency to meddle in the personal affairs of others. If Mika her
was mortal and not a spirit of power, I daresay she'd be busy trying to find
a suitor for her as well." The others laughed at that, while Red Doe made a
sour face at him.
After things subsided a little, Mika spoke. At the sound of her voice,
chatter in the room hushed immediately. "Thank you all for taking the time
to meet William tonight." There were murmured 'of course Sky Woman' and
other polite replies. "In the future, I would like William to visit here
often. He knows a lot about how to defend oneself against people and
evil powers who might wish to do evil. He can help with personal training
and tactics, while Two Bears establishes a solid emergency evacuation
procedure. While Strong Bow is away on a mission, my Apprentice will
continue to arrive from time to time during daylight hours to help and learn
where she can."
Soon after, Mika dismissed the four elders. She turned to William. "This
underground complex is my haven against the world. It is a stronghold dear
to my heart. Deep within here, I lay asleep when the sun takes to the sky,
protected by the bones and flesh of the Earth herself."
"A well protected area indeed Lady Mika." said William. With a sniff, William could tell that others were approaching.
Five women entered the chamber, some with flowers in their hands, others
with combs, cloths, water and soap. They stood at the far end of the council
chamber waited to be called.
"These women have volunteered to help take care of me before I go to rest
each night. Many times in the past several months I have come home hurt,
bloodied and sometimes reeking of foul things. They ready my earthly body so
that when I rise again tomorrow night, I will be fresh and unsullied by the
mark of combats I so often am drawn into in defense of myself, my friends,
and my followers. One day these five Maidens will be mirrored by the five
Bear Warriors of this Clan." She used an Indian word for 'whole family' but
it translated well to Clan.
"When I rest, I become one with the Earth's Bones. I become one with stone.
I am telling you these things so that you understand that if you should need
me, should some dire situation mean that you think you must find me during
the day, I do not leave behind a body to be found as do Kindred like me. In
this place I am secure and cannot be touched unless I wish it."
"I can sense that you are one with the earth, for I can feel that I will someday know how to ask the earth for help. But that is aside from the point, I am keeping your maidens from you. Do you wish me to stay or go?"
"In time you will have the freedom to choose. But for now, it is still suspected you may still have enemies about. You should return to your apartment in the city and always be careful you are not followed when you come here. Give it some time for things to calm down and you may be able to travel more freely. I wish also to put in place more security to protect both of us from those who would track us and hurt us in our home."
"I will endeavor to not be followed." said William. "Will you need a ride back to the city tomorrow night?"
Mika smiled. "No, I will have Two Bears take me in. The less the traffic back and forth from here, the better, I think. I will see you at your apartment when I need you again."
"If that is all Mi'lady, I shall leave you till night."