Muna and Ernesto: A tale of two fates
March 1984, Tennessee, Muna Sunshadow sobbed silently as she made her way home. She was not going to show any weakness, at least not now. She regained control over herself, and wiped her warm tears from her eyes and set her resolve not to shed another one over the matter. The matter at hand was her decision to leave the tribe. Her father was furious, when she advised the tribal council that she would not be participating in the Alisdelisgi ceremony. When the council asked her reason why, she simply explained that she had been given a vision quest by her spirit guide and that she needed to leave the reservation and complete it before she could become an Alisdelisgi. The tribal elders looked at one another and granted her permission to leave. She was after all 20 years old and could make decisions for herself. That was not good enough for her father, who simply crossed his arms and stared at her scornfully. She knew his words would be dagger sharp when they came, and she was not looking forward to the confrontation.
Her father had been an Alisdelisgi or protector most of his adult life, as was her mother. It was her turn now, to follow in their footsteps and assume the role that was expected of her since birth. She had turned and exited the meeting hall and made her way to the house. She had lived in it with her family her entire life. As she entered, she spotted her grandfather asleep in an easy chair. She walked over and placed a blanket over him. Nathaniel “Never Tires” Sunshadow was nearly eighty years old now, as far as she could tell. He had been a guardian until he was sixty years old. His chest, face and arms were covered in all manner of scars and burns. It was a common condition amongst all Alisdelisgis. He was also a good man, gentle and wise. It was his words that helped her decide to follow her vision quest. She hoped he had been right. Becoming an Alisdelisgi required a complete commitment, and leaving her vision quest unfinished would haunt her for the rest of her life. She made her way upstairs and began packing; she felt the sooner she left the easier it would be.
“Muna, Muna where are you?” The front door slammed shut, and she could now hear her father’s heavy footsteps coming up the stairs towards her room.
“I’m in here father,” She replied gently. She readied herself for what was sure to be a screaming match. She heard her father enter her room behind her.
“You are not leaving, and that is final!” Jericho “Grey Bear” Sunshadow was a tall and bulky man; he had long black hair tied in two braids one draped over each one of his shoulders, and like her grandfather was covered in countless scars.
“I have made up my mind father,” she turned and looked up at him and gazed into his bright green eyes. She had hoped that he could see her resolve in her own green eyes. “I have to do this, please understand.”
“No child, I do not understand,” Jericho walked into her room and sat down in a chair by her desk, “please explain it to me.”
“Father, I have been given a vision quest, by my spirit guide. I feel it’s very important, I can’t explain how, but I feel it in my heart, that I must do this.” She was both relieved and surprised that her father’s was not screaming at her.
“It is almost time for you to join the Alisdelisgis,” Jericho looked at her “we will need you. You know what is at stake.”
“I’m truly sorry father but it’s the path I must take.” She kept her eyes locked on his to prove her determination.