Broken Wings Part Eight The Outcasts

by Jack Lhasa Runa jumped playfully through the trees, but made no more noise than a squirrel. She was naturally small and fast, and had become acclimated to the way of surviving alone in the forest at a young age. She was at one with nature, a part of it, as she leaped through the tops of the trees, from branch to branch. It was a two day journey to the outcasts, even at her speeds. She stopped several times a day to eat dried foods from her bag, and to sleep in the early mornings. She arrived at the camp early on the third morning and slept in the trees a few hundred yards away until the early evening. When she awoke, she walked towards the village on the scarce pathway that its people sometimes used to get to the spring. As she approached the working areas of the village, she slung her hood back, revealing her small dark face, and the tattoo of the star that surrounded her eye, marking her a messenger from the Tribe of the Star. She held in front of her the canister, containing the message from Malig-Jon. Soon, two hooded men approached her and stood in her path. “Hai. A messenger?” The taller of the two stepped towards Runa. “Hai. I bring a message of peace from the Tribe of the Star. I am Runa Dag. Let the crops grow tall. The hunt shall be good, the visions peaceful.” “Yes, the crops grow tall, the hunt is good, and the visions are peaceful,” replied the second hooded man,with the traditional Star Tribe greeting. “My cousin, Malig-Jon, of the Seeker-Shaman caste, has asked that I read this message to your village.” “It must be of importance, for we are outcast,” said the

taller man. “It is forbidden to speak with us. Come with us, as we are about to feast. After we eat, the council may let you speak.” “Thank you, Chosen,” Runa answered quickly, using the name of honor reserved for the Shaman caste. She hungered for the hot meal after the diet of dried meats, nuts and berries she had lived on for the past few days. They turned and began to walk through the village and she followed closely, watching the strange looks from many of the villagers. She was seated at a long, round table, across from seven hooded figures, four male, and three female, that served as the council for this outcast tribe. Many other members of the tribe also sat around the table, and the rest of the village was set to gather for her message at the end of the meal. The men and women that sat around the table were from various castes, and talked about many things over the course of the dinner. Runa was not used to eating with people of different castes, aside from her cousin and his wife, who occasionally held small dinners at their house. She enjoyed the meal very much, and found the mix of people to be refreshing. No one shied away, or held their tongue like she would have expected with a tribe of outcasts. Perhaps here they were free from such things as caste entrapment and prideful honor codes. “The wind turns slightly more to the west this year,” said the woman next to her, who she had not noticed before. The woman was small and lean, obviously a scout like herself. “It does, indeed,” replied Runa, “and the rains have ended late.” “The ven come closer this year, and make for easy pickings for our hunters.” “As do they do for ours. This will be an easy winter,” Runa observed thoughtfully.

“If the Star does bless.” “If the Star does bless,” Runa answered. It was a traditional saying amongst the Star Tribe when speaking of the future. “I am Klassa Ah,” the scout replied. “I am Runa Dag. May the wind carry our words and minds.” Runa was interrupted as the man who sat, hooded, in the middle of the council stood and clapped his hands for silence.