In answer to the daily prompt Mutants and Hybrids: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/mutants-and-hybrids/
The calling was the most important day in a teenager’s life; the life on the plains wasn’t an easy one. And it was a recognition that a child was entering into adult life. Enola had been waiting for it ever since she remembered her elder brother coming back revealed onto himself. Her sixteenth birthday had come and gone and their shaman hadn’t called her name; within a couple of months she would be seventeen and she couldn’t wait. She tried not to worry much, after all one couldn’t force the spirits to call one’s name, but all the other tribe members her age had been called already. Most of the girls – well women since they were recognized as such now – teased her relentlessly treating her as a baby even though she was their age. She resented it and spent hours brooding walking away from the temporary camp… They always came here for the summer when most of the callings happened; but it was the fourth summer since she first had her woman’s courses and still she was counted among the children. Even her younger brother was called the previous summer and he was fourteen; at least he refrained from patronizing her though sometimes he could be seen smirking at the teasing of the others. One couldn’t force the spirits but one could be mad at them sometimes.
So that day past mid-summer when old Meda announced that the spirits had finally spoken her name, Enola almost jumped out of her skin. She barely could sit; she knew that the night of the calling was meant to be a meditation but she was too excited to settled down. She kept trying to guess what her guide would be; what place would she hold in the tribe? Would she be called to hunting like Hehewuti who was her mother’s sister or to creating things the tribe needed like peaceful Langundo, whom all the girls found handsome?
Her father eventually walked out – annoyed by her constant chatter – and her mother threatened to go away as well and leave her alone to prepare. That calmed her down slightly.
“Whatever you are called to be Enola we will love you.” She was suddenly worried…
“Is there a calling that’s wrong mother?” Her mother laughed embracing her.
“No child. Every calling has its meaning and its place in the tribe. But you’re so wild and independent; do not be disappointed if you don’t get a hunter’s calling.” She frowned.
“I don’t think I could be called to be gatherer.”
“That is true… Still. Everything is valued.” Aiyanna kissed her daughter’s brow before braiding her long dark hair. If her mother had an idea of what she could be she didn’t say. Enola knew her mother’s calling hadn’t been a surprise but Aiyanna had been old in many ways before she was even called. Hers was the name the spirits spoke earliest; she was only eleven when she became a woman in the tribe. What piece of irony that her daughter be the one whose name the spirits spoke the latest.
When she was ready her mother left and Meda came to sit with her; she held a mug of fuming content in her hands and bid her drink it. She would be leaving the camp at sunset and find her way into the nearby forest; the night was hers to search and find her inner true self. She looked into the eyes of the old woman: raven eyes of knowledge, of magic. She was their spiritual guide.
“You will make us proud child, don’t worry.”
“Even if I came back…”
“Don’t worry about it Enola. Every calling is worthy. Even the aggressive gazelle has something to bring to the tribe.” She meant to ask something. “Just pray. The next hours are yours but they must be spent wisely. The spirits will know your name.”
Enola nodded and drank the content of the mug; it tasted curious like a mix of water and fire, and mouldy like tree moss were part of the mixture. She breathed in deeply and let herself drift in contemplation of the spirits while Meda left. She didn’t know how long it lasted but at some point she heard her named breathed in the wind and she followed the voice she was hearing. She followed it for a long time until she reached a little grove a place she’d never been to… there she knelt and waited. She waited a long time; the moon appeared over her head and travelled across the skies. When it started disappearing she wondered. And suddenly behind her a light started to burn brightly; she turned her eyes widening with awe. Had every member of the tribe felt such humility in front of their guide and element? She knew what this meant; they all learned the symbolism of the spirit animals and element. And she felt unworthy.
“I didn’t…” She whispered but the animal shook its beautiful head. She approached it and slowly brought her hand to it. The eyes caught her; they held the secret of her calling, her true name. She knelt again and prayed to the spirits in thanks for being acknowledged as a child of the tribe and for trusting her with such beautiful gifts. In this humble position she felt the connexion with the beast strengthen. She knew when it became one with her and she felt its strength course through her; the sensation in her eyes as they changed was particularly intense. And the burning in her back as the wings tore through her skin and clothes caused her to gasp.
Aiyanna and her husband Napayshni had spent the night in the same way they passed the night their two sons were called: in silence. They didn’t need to speak the two of them having been called to one another before they became adult members of the tribe. Their children didn’t know that; they didn’t need to. They trusted whatever their child’s calling it would be worthy. In the morning they left their hut and as they waited for Enola to come out of the wood their hands and tails reached for each other: lynx and lion both called to the tree as an element and as such to guide this tribe they were among the few whose animal spirits showed physically.
Waiting Aiyanna only hoped their daughter would accept her place; Enola was such a wild child always eager to take risk, discover new places. She was not sure she could face her child leaving. As unlikely as it was that she refused it was known sometimes a tribe member didn’t accept their place and renounced their tribe. More often than not they crossed the plains to live in the cities by the sea where it was easier to make a life.
When they saw their daughter come out of the wood they heard the gasps of those behind them who waited also. A lot of the women Enola’s age who had teased her throughout the past three summers started muttering until Meda came through the throng of people waiting for the latest member of the tribe. Enola’s changes were obvious and proof of a power to come. One couldn’t miss the eagle wing sprouting out of her back. That only would have been a source of pride for any parent: the eagle was a powerful guide. But it was her eyes that caught Aiyanna’s attention for they too had changed; they were different from Meda’s raven eyes. The old woman was their spiritual guide with the knowledge the ravens were said to hold. Enola’s eyes had lost their colour and as she met people’s gaze it was reflecting their own. What people would see in her daughter’s eyes she could only guess. She had heard of one with such a calling that of the soul mirror. No one would ever be able to deny their true self in the presence of their daughter.
Meda’s voice rose. “The spirits know her name. Let it be known that Enola, daughter of Aiyanna and Napayshni, is the eagle of the tribe as well as its soul mirror.”
Enola bowed to the shaman and approached them somewhat uncertainly.
“Did I do well mother? Father?”
She embraced her daughter even as her husband gathered himself; he was shocked. There had only been one soul mirror since the Conflagration that destroyed most of the world. His life was complicated… but their daughter was unique.
“You did great daughter mine,” Napayshni answered as he brought his arms around the both of them.
In native american culture the eagle represents Divine spirit, sacrifice, connection to creator, intelligence, renewal, courage, illumination of spirit, healing, creation, freedom, and risk-taker…
picture found here: http://s698.photobucket.com/user/Prodigal_One/media/9%20Female%20Angels/beautiful-angel.jpg.html