Ok folks you talked me into it. This is the first chapter of a story I have working on for the past eight months Please send feedback on what you think of it. This story picks up at the end of the Painted Caves

Chapter 1

The two hunters stalked the bison through the trees toward the east. Locar and Targ had been hunting together almost from the day they met. There was about one year's difference in the ages of the two boys, Locar could count fifteen summers and Targ about fourteen. Targ was full clan and Locar was half-clan and they had the same mother. Their mother Moa had given birth to Locar and was forced to leave him outside for Ursus because they thought he was deformed, but instead she had left him near the cave of the Other's. Then a year later Targ was born, but Moa could not forget her first born son. She knew that he was not deformed, she had been given the signal by a man of the Other's and she assumed the position. He walked around behind her and entered her. He was not harsh and the entire time he was pushing his organ in and out he was also stroking her back and breasts. She had enjoyed the way he relieved himself and she had felt things that she never felt before. He was not mean to her and he had the most beautiful blue-grey eyes. She kept watch on her first born from a distance for a longtime, then when he was five summers old she saw him and the woman that had found him at the berry patch. She stepped out and made the clan greeting sign to him and at first he didn't understand. Then she did it again and he seemed to understand. Over the next few years they got to know each other then one day she didn't come anymore. That was how he met Targ, when he went looking for her, Targ had said that she had gone out and was attacked by a cave lion and they had been friends since then. The bison was moving slowly and the boys were able to get in front of him, Locar told Targ to go on ahead to the other side of the woods if he missed or it was not a clean kill he was to run out and finish the animal. When the bison was even with Locar he stepped out drew back his spear thrower and cast his spear. He hit the animal but it did not drop and started to run, after a few steps Targ came running out and drove his heavy clan spear into the animals neck just behind the head. Once the animal was down they wasted no time in butchering and gutting it. Targ asked, Brother, can I have the head, the bison is my totem spirit. Locar replied, Yes my brother, you made the kill. The boys loaded the cuts of meat and internal organs they wanted to keep into their backpacks then carried the head and hide between them. When they had reached the trail where Targ would turn off they noticed one of the other clan hunters coming their way. It was Narg and he knew that they hunted together, he would come out to help Targ take whatever he had killed. Narg said, Was good hunt got nice signed a greeting then signed, Targ made good kill today but only one bison. Locar raised his hand and signed, Walk with Ursus.†then turned and started back to his cave up the valley. When he got home his unloaded his backpack and told his mother that they had been lucky today. Lenora stated that the other hunters had not returned yet but she hoped that their hunt had been as good as his. She also asked how Targ was doing, and he told her that though his spear had hit the bison first it was Targ that made the kill. When the hunters returned later they brought in five bison and Locar's grandfather was happy. When Lenora told him that Locar and Targ had also killed a bison he had looked at Locar and said, It's time that you hunt with the other hunters.†Locar looked at Tomar and asked, Can Targ hunt with us? His cave is having trouble making kills. Tomar looked at the boy and said, He can hunt with us and each time he does he will get an entire animal to take back with him. The old man knew the history of the two boys and he would do whatever he could to help. Tomar remembered the day he had met the clan woman in the berry patch and remembered seeing a clan man give a clan woman a signal and they had coupled, he gave her the same signal and she assumed the position and he had shared pleasures with her. He had no way of knowing that Locar was the offspring of that coupling. She was not an ugly woman and he had enjoyed being with her but he never saw her again. Later that night Locar went to sleep and had a dream that would haunt him for the next three years. At the fourth cave of the Giornadonii a young woman named Alana was walking back toward the dwelling she shared with her mother Ika when she saw a friend named Mara and stopped to talk. Ika came awake with a start and shouted; Wymez, Ranec where are you! the young woman came running into the shelter and cried, Mother, what's wrong? She looked at the young woman and asked, What did you call me? Mother what's the matter with you, it's me Alana? Rika looked at her and asked, Why do you call me mother, I have no daughter. Just my son and my mate, we crossed the southern sea a few days ago and I have not been able to find them. The young woman then ran to the entry and pulled back the drape and called out, Mara get Granada something is wrong with mother. A short time later an older woman came into the shelter and asked what was wrong. Alana told Granada that her mother did not seem to know her. The older woman turned to her and asked, Ika what is wrong with you, why are you acting this way? Rika looked at Granada and replied, My name is Rika not Ika and I was washed ashore a few days ago and can't find my son and mate. Granada who was One Who Serves the Great Earth Mother knelt by the bed, felt her cheek and forehead then told her, You have lived in this cave for the past fifteen summers and when you came here you came alone and pregnant. You called yourself Ika and made no mention of having a mate and son. But I remember the night we tried to cross the southern sea. We had been warned that it was the wrong time of year to try but we had little time to waist. If we didn't cross we would get caught up in a war that we didn't want to fight. We set out and got caught up in a very bad storm and the boat we were in overturned and I was the only one that made it to shore. I went up and down the beach in both directions for days but found nothing. My mate Wymez and my son Ranec were gone. After many days of searching I headed inland and that is all I remember until I woke up here just now. Alana looked stricken at her mother and asked, Mother you don't remember me at all? Rika replied, No I'm sorry but I don't. Turning to Granada Alana asked, What has caused this? Granada looked at Rika and started this story. Fifteen summers ago you came stumbling into the cave. When the leader asked your name all he could understand was Ika then you passed out. You could not speak our language when you first came here but as time passed you learned. It was not until a month later that we noticed you were pregnant and you gave birth to Alana that winter. You never mentioned having any other family. Rika looked down at her hands and asked, Why can't I remember the last fifteen summers or my daughter. I'm sorry Alana but everything is a blank. Rika and Alana spent many hours talking about the forgotten years of her life trying to get her to remember. They went around the cave and Alana introduced Rika to the other cave members. Once she was introduced to them she could remember their names but not her life in the cave over the years. She wondered if she would ever remember, she had forgotten her mate and son for fifteen years and now she couldn't remember the last fifteen years with her daughter. Was the Great Earth Mother punishing her for some reason? She made up her mind to try to recapture those lost memories if possible. One day she asked Alana, Have I been with a man in the time that I've been here? Alana replied, Yes, at a few summer meetings during a Mother Festival, but not very often here. Then in early spring while they were talking Rika looked at Alana and said, We need to try to find Wymez and your brother. I know that they survived and they are somewhere east of here. He was born in the mammoth territory. No that's not right, what did he call his people? When Granada came in Rika ask her, who are the mammoth people? She thought a moment then said, You must mean the Mamutoi people they are called the mammoth hunters. Rika said, Yes, that's it. How far is it to their homeland? Granada told her it was less than half a year's journey to the east. But you would need someone to guide you there and there has not been anyone going there in years. I must try to find someone to take me there. Rika said. For the next two years people came through going west, south and north but nobody was going east. Locar's dreams were coming more and more often. At first he saw only a darkened cave and heard the words, When the time comes you must go east. Then he would awaken, and wonder what the dream ment. Over the next two years they continued and starting that next winter the dream changed. Two old men one man of the clan and the other like himself told him that he must leave for the east in the early spring. He told his mother and Tomar about what the two had told him. He said that he must leave in the spring and go east. Neither was happy about it but they both knew that if he was going to be happy he would have to follow his dreams. A few days later while they were hunting he told Targ that he would be leaving to go east. He said that Creb a clan Mog-ur and another old man who called himself Mamut had told him to go to a valley in the east and that he would meet some others along the way and take them with him. The first days of spring he started out, just Shadow his horse and himself. It would take a month to reach the land of the Giornadonii. In the spring of the third year a man of mixed spirits came into the forth cave of the Giornadonii headed east to the land of the mammoth hunters. His name was Locar and he told the cave leader Danar that he had a vision that there was to be a gathering of those of mixed spirits in a valley near the Mamutoi territory and he had to get there. In his dream an old clan man called Creb with one eye, one arm and who walked with a staff and a man named Mamut had told him that those like him would be gathering in a valley to the east. He said that he would trade work for food and supplies. Locar said he was a flint knapper and showed Danar some of his work. Danar told him that they needed a man who worked the stone and if his work was good he would give him the supplies he needed for the trip. Locar went to work making axes, knives, spear points and other tools. Alana and Rika visited and watched him work and talked to him, after about two moon cycles Locar was finished. Danar asked Locar if he would like to stay at the cave because his work was very good and they needed a tool and weapons maker. When Locar said that he had to go east Danar gave the supplies as promised. Then two days before he was to leave Rika asked if he would take her daughter and herself with him. Locar had talked to Rika while he was working and they had gotten along well. He asked her, Why do you want to go to the Mamutoi territory? She replied, Because my mate and son may be there, that was where we were going when we got separated. Like you he is a worker of stone Locar said he would think about it and give her an answer the next morning. Granada tried everything she could think of to talk Alana and Rika out of going but they both had made up their minds, if he would take them they would go. That night they started packing the things they wanted to take. Both had spear throwers and various types of spears, slings and knives. They gathered the food they would take and their traveling tent. They went to sleep and were awakened the next morning by someone rapping on the entry post of their dwelling. When Alana pulled back the drape Locar said, If you still want to go we will leave early tomorrow morning. Rika said, We'll be ready. They spent the day saying goodbye and thanking those who had taken care of them for the last eighteen summers. Later that night Alana asked her mother what they would do if Wymez and her brother were not with the Mamutoi. Rika looked at her daughter and said, Keep looking, I know they are out there somewhere. There are many camps and we shall look at each one until we find them. As she dozed off she hoped that they were there. Early the next morning just as Locar was about to tap on the entry post Rika pulled the drape back and said, We are ready to leave. Locar checked their back packs and water bags asked if they had extra clothing, foot coverings, tent and ground cloth and furs. He led them to a clearing just east of the cave and had them put their packs in the sled. He then led a horse out of the trees and harnessed it to the sled. He looked at Rika and told her to get on the horse that she would ride the first half of the day then Alana would ride the last half. He said they would make better time that way. Rika ask Locar how he came to have a horse. He said, I was at a Zelandonii summer meeting seven summers ago when I saw a young woman named Ayla ride her horse during a hunt. I listened as she told everyone that all they had to do was to find an animal young enough, feed and love them and they will be like family she also had a large grey timber wolf and I saw it playing with small children. When I went home I started looking for an animal that I could train, it was almost the next summer before I found the young horse. His mother had been killed by a hyenia and he was backed into a box canyon when I found him. I called him Shadow because my mother said that it looked like I had a second shadow because he was always right behind me. I have trained him to pull a sled, pull logs back to the cave and I even ride on his back. Do not be afraid he is a very gentle animal. He showed her how to mount and how to stay on the horses back. They traveled until the sun was at its highest and took a break. Rika was going to start a fire to make some tea when Locar stopped her saying. There is a faster way to do it, the woman Ayla found the fire stones in the valley she lived in. He took a pouch from his pack and placed some cattail fuzz next to the kindling, then he took the two stones from the pouch and kneeling near the fuzz struck the stones together. Rika noticed a spark then some smoke coming from the fuzz as Locar bent over and blew on it a small flame started. He fed it with kindling and then larger pieces of wood. He showed them each how to use the stones and gave Rika a set. In a short time he had a blaze going and stones in the fire to heat the water for tea. They had traveling cakes and tea then started out again. Rika was walking beside Locar as they started out and she asked where he came from. When I was born the leader of the cave would not allow a deformed child to live at his cave. He told my mother to take me out and leave me to the animals. My mother took me to a cave of the Other's and left me there. A young Southern Zelandonii woman who had just lost her baby found me and brought me into her cave. Their leader didn't have the heart to tell his mate's daughter that she could not keep me. So I was raised by a woman who loved me very much and I was not treated any differently by the rest of the cave. I was out gathering berries with my mother one day when a clan woman walked into the patch where we were. The woman made some signs with her hands and at first I didn't know what she was doing. When she started again I began to see the words she was signing in my head. She came to the clearing everyday and I learned how to speak with my hands and then my mother told me that I was her adopted son. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said that I had two mothers that loved me very much. For the next few years I saw my birth mother almost every day, then one day she didn't come anymore. I went looking a few days later and after many weeks I found a clan boy near the berry patch and asked him where Moa was. He signed that she had been killed by a cave lion while out gathering plants. The boy told me his name was Targ and she was his mother, I told him that she was my mother also, he signed, You are Locar? And I signed, Yes! He said, She told me I had a sibling and she would take me to meet him one day, but she was killed before she could. We became fast friends up until I left on this journey. Rika asked how his mother felt about him leaving. Locar said, We talked about the dream and I told her that I would not be happy until I was with others like myself. I loved her and would always love her but I felt I had to go. Something was calling me to that valley. She said she would miss me but I should follow my heart. Later when the sun started getting low Locar called a halt and they set up camp. While the women were doing that Locar went hunting. He returned a short time later with two rabbits. Rika and Alana skinned and spitted them and had them roasting, Alana had found some tubers and they were wrapped in large leaves and placed on the coals. After they had finished eating they sat by the fire drinking tea and talking. Locar said he wanted to start out at daybreak and they had made good time this first day and he hoped that they could keep up the pace. As they were entering the tent Rika asked if he would like to share their tent. Locar thanked her but said he would rather sleep outside as much a possible. The next morning they were up had some tea and traveling cakes then started out. Alana started out on Shadow and again they were making good time. They stopped for a break and the women went into the trees to pass their water and when they came out two men were holding Locar while a third was taking their things out of the sled. Rika took out her sling and cast a stone at the man next to the sled. Alana threw one at one of the others and the third stepped back and turned to run when Rika caught him in the thigh with another stone. Locar picked up his spear thrower and set a spear in it and was ready to throw. Rika told them to get up and move toward the trees. Alana brought over some rawhide lashing and had the men place their hands around a tree. She tied them to the trees then Locar walked up to them and said, Do you see that tree with the split trunk? Watch the tree behind it. When he threw the spear it went through the split and hit the narrow tree behind it. If you come after us I will use the spears on you and you are much better targets. The leader said, You can't leave us like this it's not human! Rika replied, I think you had something much worse in mind for us. They repacked the sled and started out again. Locar kept looking back until the clearing was out of sight. After about an hour Locar stopped and told them to wait here. He unharnessed Shadow and rode into the trees and when he returned he told them that he got back to the clearing about the time the men freed themselves and they had collected their weapons and set out for the west. He had followed them for a while then turned back when he was sure they were going to keep going the other way. They still made good time that day even with the delays. Locar brought down two ducks while they were traveling that would give them a good meal that night. They made camp at dusk and everyone was ready to get into their furs. In the middle of the night it started thundering and Rika pulled the tent flap back and told Locar to get his furs and get in the tent before it started to rain. She told him that they didn't need him getting sick. It rained most of the night and slowed down to a drizzle just before dawn. They ate inside the tent and then started packing up after putting on their rain gear. As they started the sun came out from behind the clouds. It looked like it was going to be another beautiful day. Rika only hoped that they would have many beautiful days as they made their way east. She had noticed that Locar and Alana were forming a relationship, and just what that relationship would be she did not know. She did trust that her daughter could take care of herself, she would wait and see. Locar started to teach Alana the clan sign language and Rika started learning it to. They found that they could use the signs to communicate with each other when they needed to be silent. Locar said that he and Targ had hunted together and used the sign and bird calls. As the days turned into weeks Rika could see that Alana was falling in love with Locar and she thought that he was feeling the same. She talked to Alana about it and Alana asked, How did your mother and her mate feel when you decided to mate Wymez? They asked the same questions I'm asking now then told me to follow my heart. If I loved him enough things would work themselves out. And that's what I'm telling you. But you must know that there are those that will object to your mating because he is mixed. said Rika. The next morning when they started out Rika told Locar, Alana and I talked last night and she says that she loves you. How do you feel Locar? He replied, “I do love her very much. But if you object I will not take the relationship any further. Rika looked at him and said, It is not my place to object if a grown woman is in love with a man. Locar said, But it might affect her status if she mates me. Taking his left hand in her right she held it next to her left hand then said. I lost what status I had when my mate and I took my son and left my people and my homeland. I no longer worry about such things. I doubt that people would look with favor on Wymez and my mating. But it matters not, as long as you make each other happy. Rika and Locar looked back and smiled at Alana and Rika nodded. They had been on the trail about four moon cycles when they encountered two young mixed spirit women. They said that their cave was to the south on the coast and that they were told in a dream to come to this place and wait for their guide their names were Noma and Oma. Both young women said that the man who came to them said that his name was Creb and he was once a great mog-ur and that they were to go to the east where others were gathering. Like Locar they had been raised by the others, and they were twins. Locar told them that they could travel with them and asked if they knew how to use weapons. They said they could use the sling, bola, spear thrower, hand held spears and knives. They had their own tent and other supplies. After a demonstration by the twins it was decided that they would hunt with Locar. But the way it worked out the twins would scout ahead and when the others caught up they had already gotten the midday or evening meal and were preparing it. Both young women were proficient with the clan sign and they helped Locar teach Alana and Rika. The group of five had been on the trail for about one moon cycle and it was getting cooler every day and winter would soon be upon them. They would need to find a place to hold up when the first cold spell hit. Every day they would search for a cave that could be used for winter shelter. They would need to start putting back dried meat and vegetables before it got too late. About five days later they found such a shelter and there was a small chamber in the back where they could keep their winter stores. Once they were settled in Locar and the twins started hunting every day. There was plenty of red deer, bison and smaller game in the area and many of the vegetables that they knew. By the first cold spell they were set with plenty of everything. There was even a small spring at the back of the cave for a water supply. The women had made enough baskets to hold everything. The four women worked the hides into buckskin for clothing and furs for bedding and parkas. Shadow was kept out of the weather on the other side of the cave near Locar's fire. Rika knew that Alana and Locar were sharing pleasures soon after they started living in the cave. Rika was lying awake when Alana returned to their fire. She asked, Why don't you stay in those warm furs with him instead of coming back here? Alana blushed and said, I didn't think you knew mother. Rika smiled and said, With the amount of noise you make, all three of us other women know what you are doing, and are wishing we had someone too. Alana giggled and replied, I didn't think I was that vocal. Honey if you were any more vocal the Mamutoi would be able to hear you, I'm just glad that he makes you happy. said Rika. Alana replied, Oh yes he does, then you wouldn't mind if I started sleeping in his furs at night. No , replied Rika, You are a woman now; you can make your own decisions, said Rika. She wanted to find her love and her son Ranec then pick up her life again, she only hoped Wymez had gone back to his people. And would there still be a place for her in his life, only the Mother could answer that.