The Amazon Chronicle
Book II Part I

First Chieftess of the Amazoi

One morning Taysha and a few others were practicing to run, stop and shoot arrows at the moving targets at the far end of the village when they heard Wofala squeal with glee from somewhere near the river. In that instant, it was obvious to everyone that Wofala's man had finally returned.

Without a thought, Taysha and her group abandoned their training and quickly made their way towards the village entrance. They were joined by the entire tribe as it gathered at the start of the forest.

Taysha came around the last hut to see Wayu standing and embracing Wofala in a big hug. The two stayed that way until Gelvloa went up to them with pats on their backs and coughed at them.
"Alright, alright you two. You have all night for that."
Wayu looked around with a big smile. "Hello?" he said in his heavy Wedic accent, "I see new faces. What is happening here while I am gone?"
Wofala led him by the hand towards the village without an answer, while Wayu smiled and nodded in friendly greeting to the new women and men that stood respectfully in the distance and cautiously looking back at this man who obviously wasn't Amazoi.
At the main fire, he was given fresh tea and was introduced to the people that Intar had rescued from slavery.

When he was told of the young girl who had died from the fever, Wayu showed the new tribe members his good character by stopping further conversation so he could be introduced to the mother to offer his sincere condolences. It was clear this man of darker skin meant them no ill-will, and the new-New Comers were able to relax as the Amazoi went on to tell Wayu all that had happened since his departure.

He was surprised to hear young Tolra and Ufrua were pregnant. Apparently while the adults were organising themselves for the battle, those younger ones left to sentry duties had been busy with other things. Wayu sat patiently and listened as the jeers and comments of how certain some-bodies had originally been pissed-in-the-mouth over it until Udora had told them that if the Wedic beliefs were true about the After Life, they could be carrying the spirits of Spila and Loela. The tribe was now convinced they would bear two baby girls.

Over the jovial atmosphere that rose up over the issue, Wayu took the opportunity to deliver the bad news to Taysha that her second daughter still refused to come see her.
He spoke in Wedic, so none of the others could understand.
But for Taysha, it was not something she hadn't already sorted in her mind. The more surprising thing was Wayu's following comment that Bahnu had just had her second child with Tapal.
Taysha could feel the familiar feeling of regret and loneliness build within her breast.
Before it could take root, she pushed the thoughts of Bahnu away.
"Has she Come of Age yet?" she asked, redirecting conversation to her daughter Pierla.
"Maybe. It's kind of hard to tell under the winter clothes . . . I didn't think to ask."
A half-smile and a nod was Taysha's only reply.

Wayu, seeing the conversation was over, switched to speaking Osfer so that everyone would understand the good news. The Wedic had agreed to come to their aid. They would be at the Amazoi village before the Thaws had past.
And they would be armed and ready for battle.

"How will they know how to find us?"
"How did you get them to come?"
"How many of them will come?"
"What if they come too late?"
It seemed that Wayu had ample time to prepare answers for such questions during his solitary walk back. Where they would sleep, how they would feed themselves, how far they would travel, to what extent they would commit themselves to battle, who would be in charge, at what point of a losing battle would they retreat, where they would retreat to, and the chain of command had all been brought up and discussed at the Wedic Council more than a month earlier. Each question of the Amazoi had answers and each answer was uplifting and comforting.
Seeing the tears of joy welling in Taysha's eyes, Wayu told her that she would have been proud to see how her friends had taken to her defence and worked through every concern in her favour until all were satisfied.

It had been a long process in typical Wedic fashion. And the trip back to the Amazoi village was a lonely road for Wayu. He had worked hard in his mission in hopes to open communication between the Anshe and the Wedic with the Amazoi in the middle. During all the time he had been with the Amazoi he hadn't gone to the Anshe village as he feared he would have been recognised by someone. He was just a little younger than Anami when the Great Ambush divided their people. He was sure there would be someone he knew there and he honestly longed to go and see.
This conflict with the other tribes prompted Wayu to seek amends for his divided people. Especially seeing the Anshe were providing so much support for Taysha. He couldn't see why they could not exist as two separate tribes. Separated by land and ideals, yet united in custom and language. Particularly now that most of the elders had passed on, he couldn't think of any reason to continue the grievances of their fathers. And he was relieved to find the others felt the same way.

This great addition to the list of things the Amazoi had to wait for only seemed to lengthen the thawing season.

When the Wedic finally arrived in their armour, with banners and song, Anami was in the lead with Adit beside him. Not far behind stood Bajesh with that shy smile of his. Taysha's eyes lingered on the one who was her saviour and unspoken husband. She couldn't help thinking he looked so old. Like a younger version of his father. She felt it strange his eyes showed the same feelings for her than the first time they met. She knew, deep inside, she could just hold him for a day and a half.

Her eyes rested on Adit, he had his typically confident sneer that had somehow softened with age. It was obvious he was keeping his emotions under tight leash, but his eyes betrayed the feelings for her that he tried not to show.

As for Anami, he stood with a smile that she hadn't seen since the days he trained alone with her.

Tears of joy were soon running down Taysha's cheeks.
Bajesh was the first to abandon protocol and embraced his old lover and friend. She was and would always be his Star, the mother of his children. She put her head on the rabbit fur that lined his armour and held him tightly. They stood there embraced while he whispered news to her about his mother, Bahnu and their daughter. Bajesh told Taysha that Pierla would probably end up coming down sometime when she was older.

From the top of the hill Shaymo, with her hair still steaming from her hot bath, ran and jumped on her father with a big hug and kiss almost knocking them all over.
The other Wedic joked about how nice it must be to be so popular with the women as they followed the invitation of Falotra to the fire.
"Gods . . . you're a woman!" Bajesh exclaimed as he held his daughter at arms distance to look at her.
"And a mother." Taysha added.
Bajesh looked at Shaymo out of the corner of his eyes and she nodded with a smile.
"Boy or girl?" he asked.
"Girl."Shaymo said as her smiled broadened, "Her name's Tayna. Come meet her! Come!"
She grabbed her father by the hand and led him into the village.
Falotra joined the conversations with Taysha and Wayu as they escorted the others.

Bajesh met Tayna and Taysha's youngest daughter, Ulforta. He was also introduced to Wayu's children. A short silence fell when Taysha asked if Bajesh had any other children and all he did was smile and shake his head. It was hard for Taysha to associate the man she saw before him as the boy that saved her life so long ago.
"You look like your father now." Taysha said, "Is good . . . He was handsome man."
"Daddy is the most handsome of all the Wedic . . ." Shaymo stated with her arms wrapped around his armour and her cheek on his shoulder. ". . . and of all the Amazoi . . . but don't tell anyone here." she whispered in Wedic.
"I thought you said I was the handsomest Wedic." Wayu joked.
"Only when Daddy isn't here." Shaymo replied with a noble nod of the head.

The Wedic had been brought to the village center and began organising the seating around the fire. It was then Utol came out of his hut. The sight of him made Taysha turn away in fear of crying.
In the last few days the Sickness had started making him convulse as his muscles would contract. He would clench his teeth in terrible pain while he moaned and arched his body like a rigid human bridge. Potrana had broken down many times from the stress and the others took turns to sit with Utol through the night. Ufrudroia spent more time than any other, sitting with her son in Potrana's hut.

Taysha could only stand to see him when he was well enough to talk. She had endured one of his seizures and with the memories of watching Bajesh's father die, she became lost in her anguish and feared her tears wouldn't stop.
Today, although hunched over, he stood smiling and met the Wedic as friends. It had been ten winters since he had first met the Wedic people, but he remembered them fondly, and he enjoyed meeting them as a man.

Anami, seeing the condition he was in, asked Wayu to translate something for him.
"Uh, Utol. Anami saying he have medicine for you. This stop these shaking and such. And stop pain in jaw . . . here. Relaxing for jaw. Then this Sickness, it will leave you after some time. Yes? You want this?"
Utol looked at Anami. His eyes were hollow but his smile showed the gratitude he felt.

Taysha soon became busy with Adit and the rest of her old friends and drinking partners.
"Hey, kiddo . . . you look old enough to be my mother." Adit shot out with widened eyes.
"Oh oh. Another challenge?" Bahrat added with a laugh. Tapal and young Dinesh who had helped Taysha learn the martial arts long ago, joined in on the merriment.
Taysha stuck her tongue out at Adit and looked over at Dinesh, "You've grown as well."
Dinesh ran his hand down his thin beard. "Not a little boy anymore." he said with a wink.
"Well, now . . ." she looked at him coyly, "There is room in our hut tonight if . . ."
"Mother!" Shaymo scolded.
"I meant for you . . . I meant for you." she looked back in mock surprise and then up over to Tapal.
"I hear you and Bahnu have had a second child."
Tapal just nodded and looked into his cup of tea. "It's good to see you. I wish Bahnu could have come."
Taysha didn't doubt his honesty. If Taysha had her way, she, Bahnu, Tapal and Bajesh would all live together in one big hut and start their own tribe. She stood and was happy to find he accepted her big hug. All the while the thought that this man could be Shaymo's father raced through her mind.

The other people she had grown up with were there as well.
It was hard not to notice how much older they looked with their bellies and fuller beards.
Antar the Bear, Ariya, Indar and Natu . . . it was great to see them all. They told her about how much Kala wanted to come. She had become a skilled fighter herself. Continuing the martial arts well after Coming of Age, she wanted to come with all of them but, of course, Anami hadn't allowed it.
"Oh . . . don't tell me that." Taysha checked to see that Anami was sitting out of hearing distance and sighed. "Tell Kala I remember her and I am waiting for her here."
Adit sat back, "Tell her that and she'll come looking for you by herself."
"Most likely." Ariya added.
"There's little I can teach her now. I can tell she's getting restless."
"Yeah. Reminds me of you when you were her age." Adit added with a wink to Taysha.
"Well . . . send her over. She should fight if she wants."
"I agree." nodded Ariya.

Taysha turned to the big quiet fellow sitting on the end getting a hot drink from one of the New Comers.
"Antar! My Bear!" she stood up and went to hug him as he delicately juggled his hot mint tea off to one side.
"Let me eat you! Yum yum yum!" she kissed his nose and forehead knowing it was embarrassing him then stopped suddenly and licked her lips.
"Yeuk . . . you tasting bad! Peh . . . Peh . . ." she made little spitting sounds and wiped her mouth.
"Not surprising." Natu came to the aid of his poor friend, "We've been marching steadily for ten days now."
"Ahhhhh" Taysha cooed, as she pushed at Antar's shoulder with her groin. "A bath time! I can see My Bear naked once again."
"Mother!" came Shaymo's practiced part of the conversation.
"Forana!" Taysha called over to the quietest one of the group. "Can you help prepare a bath for our guests?"
"Yes . . . of course." She stood and left towards the bathing pool. A couple of the New Comers followed her to the bath area to help her re-heat more rocks.
"A bath in this weather . . ." Adit shook his head and was given a cup of tea himself. "I forgot how crazy you Amazoi are."
"Yes, maybe." Taysha retorted, "But you don't get kisses from Amazoi girl if you are smelly."
"In that case, I'd better go first." Adit said as he stood up.
"You have to wait for the fire to warm the stones, Adit." Shaymo instructed, but he only looked down at her with narrowed eyes and pursed lips.
"You . . . don't worry about me." he said as he turned to Taysha. "What's the name of the woman you sent off there?"
Taysha's let her mouth hang open in mock disbelief. "Okay . . . I understand. She is Forana and she is with Falotra." She warned.
"Forrraaana." he cried as if she had broken her heart.
"I thought you Amazoi didn't belong to one another." Ariya added to Adit's comic show.
Taysha let her head fall to the side as she thought of how to explain, but Adit had no real interest in the deeper philosophies at the moment.
"Well then!" he bellowed as he sauntered back over to where Taysha sat. His thumb lodged in his war-sash and he drummed his fingers over his armour. For a dreadfully exciting moment Taysha thought he would make a public show of his affection for her, yet the scoundrel simply put his drink down next to her, stepped past and stood in front of Shaymo. "Then I will have to take a younger bride!" he exclaimed while raising both arms out towards her.
Shaymo was up and wrapping her arms around good old Adit, "Can I mother? Can I become a Wedic bride?" Taysha just shook her head with a big smile on her face and flicked her hand at him to be off.
"Ahhh . . . the Amazoi . . ." he said with a satisfied grin and a kiss on Shaymo's forehead, "It's good to be back." He gave Shaymo a friendly pat on the back and stepped away while she wiped off the itchies his beard had brought to her face, "Still, I'd like to see the bath. So, I will take my chances with Falotra's anger."

Taysha shot a look of warning at him and he replied with a nod to indicate it was all just fun and games. As he walked away and the others started talking he yelled back, "But there are too many men here now. What's going on?"
Taysha waved him on with a 'yeah, yeah, yeah' as she watched her old rival, friend and lover disappear around the huts. "Come on, Daddy! Let's go too." Shaymo stood holding Bajesh by the wrist.
"Didn't you just come from having a bath?" he asked, but Shaymo's reply was quickly interrupted by Taysha.
"Maybe is a good idea. You are little stinky too." she finished with a wink.

After most of the Wedic had their turn cramming into the bathing pool, it came the dreaded time for all when Taysha and Anami would need to sit down to discuss the different avenues of proceeding further.
When the group of leaders met in Taysha's hut, everyone was pleased to find the two of them on their best behaviour.
Anami made no impression of rebuking Taysha and she in turn showed nothing of what she wished to say. More over, in some strange way only known to human nature, they gave a genuine feeling they were truly happy to see each other again.

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