The dying sun’s last rays highlighted the long grass of the Dirge Swamp, and the cicada’s drone played it’s theme. Magrat wondered just where, in it’s vast stretch, Yawn was at.
She wasn’t sure he was ready for it.
She wasn’t sure even she was ready.
The heat of these lowland summers was oppressive to her mountain-bred blood. She wondered if he had enough water, enough food.
She wondered if this would even work.
She had worked hard to earn her place. She went about her daily tasks with a zeal she had not displayed when she was back home.
If only this worked. She was confidant the Witches and Daughters could learn the divine magics. They had the healing, they just had to learn how to bless and to ward. But she could not leave her pack under-protected, and under-strength. The Undead were a new foe, unlike anything the ulven had ever to face. They would have to learn new ways of war, ways she was far too intimately aware of. She would give them this gift, this new way of war, but if she could, she would give them an even greater gift. A gift that no one could take away. A gift that could be given for generations.
Half of the ulven population could not protect themselves.
She kicked the dust up fitfully. The swamp had been quiet. The mordok were restless, but had not made any major movements. Perhaps the heat had gotten to them too. She hoped that they would not bother Yawn on his journey.
She didn’t understand, really, why males were not will-workers. Her own teacher had been male. She knew first hand, that one could be a mana weaver and still a fierce warrior. Old, remembered bruises attested to that. In fact, she well knew that the discipline a shaman had to cultivate became very useful upon the battlefield, and vice versa. Certainly she sometimes saw the Daughters and Witches out during combat training.
If her brand of magic could be learned by the males, she could open a whole new way for her pack. Those males that had the talent could learn to fight the undead, properly, for when their blades and shields inevitably failed them.
Some of the Longfang were confidant. They had never known an enemy that they couldn’t bludgeon to death. Perhaps that might work for the lesser undead, eventually. But the Lich, the Revenants, were different. Most required a concentrated group to be killed. That, or a sufficiently stupid and completely lucky paladin. She wasn’t sure how many of those the ulven could count on having.
Stanrick hadn’t really approved. But then again, Stanrick seemed to disprove of anything that smacked of ‘new’, unless it came packaged with breasts or tobacco. Yawn had been so eager. He had been a good student. Had she taught him enough? Did he understand how to properly spill his blood for his totem, so that the spirit would be bonded strongly, and he would not be weak from blood-loss? Would he remember how to call it forth even? Would he be able to recognize the tricksey spirits for what they were, when they tested him?
She traced the name of a dead ulven, carved into the posts of the watchtower. He had been dragged off by the mordok before she had arrived there. She had even gone with Harlok on a mission to retrieve his remains, starting her down the long road to acceptance by the Longfang. She felt a strange sort of kinship with the dead ulven for that. She sometimes made offerings to him, out of gratitude. She didn’t tell the other Longfangs that though. It was one of the many things about her people she wasn’t sure they’d understand.
She desperately hoped she wouldn’t be carving Yawn’s name into the wood, and making offerings to him anytime soon.