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Prologue, Part Seven

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     In the newly revealed area was a boy no older than sixteen and obviously mature for his age. His skin was of a tint similar to Mister Saint-Christopher's, but it seemed to alternate between a darker and lighter tone at the same time. His eyes seemed like black pools, and looked terrifying even to me, as they covered the entirety of his eye sockets, coating even the white of the eye. In my very small studies of shamanism and the tribes of America, I had re-called that the garb he wore and symbols there on denoted him of great importance. The symbols of Coyotes on his skins revealed to me this was the one I had heard so much of, and indeed, he was Elder of his tribe.
     His face was focused on Joanna most intently and he spoke with great power, yet controlled, "Ghost." said he, simply.
     Joanna knelt down in front of him, "Please accept my apologies, Coyote. I lost track of time."
     She had always been precise when she came here, and this was the first deviation from her chosen times to visit the warehouse. Coyote narrowed his eyes, then smiled in the warmest fashion one could do so to someone who was of no relation to them.
     "You're not my slave, Ghost. You may come and go when you please, I only want to teach you what I know," he said, leaning back on his hands while his legs remained crossed.
     "Thank you, how kind you..."
     "Thanks later hush now and concentrate. You are late, and we won't be able to get as much done to-day as I wanted to," he said, interrupting Joanna.
     Looking a little sad, Joanna sat and crossed her legs as well, "I will concentrate then, but are you not going to ask why I was late?"
     "I know why you're late, of course," Coyote said, sitting forward and folding his hands together.
     Joanna looked back to Mister Saint-Christopher, but he had retired from the area and Coyote raised a hand, "He mentioned nothing to me, but I know of certain things which go on."
     Nodding, the young woman placed her hands on her knees and closed her eyes, breathing deeply. All these activities seemed quite unnatural to me and quite un-expected as this was a side of Joanna I had not imagined or been exposed to before. She seemed quite adamant in her disbelief of Mister Saint-Christopher's ways in the open and whenever it came up; why she should embrace this shamanism, I could not say.
     It was at that time a most extraordinary thing happened. After a few minutes of silence, the entire warehouse seemed to shift and turn, as if the grounds, crates, and walls were melting. Both Coyote and Joanna had their eyes closed and I figured my mind must have been going mad. I re-called my cameras and crept off the boxes as they became slippery to the touch, but the paths began to blur and I could not find my way. It seemed like all objects began to take on another shape, and appearance, and to my surprise I found myself standing now behind a thick tree, taller than the skies it seemed.

     My cloak began to flicker and my earpiece went dead. I tapped it, and brought down the micro-screen, but it too would not function. Again, my cloak fluttered and the cracking lines of technology sparkled until I was visible to any who might happen by. A small panic gripped me as I peered from behind the tree to the two who were still close-eyed and on the now grassy floor. My senses were wildly out of tune in this land as I again tried for my devices to work. It had been too long since I had relied solely on my natural, or as some would say un-natural, senses to assist me in an observation, but I knew now that it must be so.
     The smell in the air was rich and seemed to be a combination of fresh peaches and summer blossoms. Whereever this was, if I were to be spotted, I should not have a way to escape. Crouching down behind the tree, I used a bush of rhododendrons to conceal myself, watching the two. The boy, Coyote, now stood and I do fancy I could see a faint out-line around him not un-like a coyote in its youth, yet around Joanna there was no out-line of an animal, but a faint flickering of a barrier of fire; she stood as well.
     Coyote shook his head and walked around Joanna once, "It's still not there," he said, sighing.
     "Well it is not the end of the world," Joanna said, flicking a small puff of fire from the barrier.
     Coyote glared at the woman now and folded his arms, "This is not something to be taken lightly, Ghost. You are using magic, yet no animal has claimed you."
     Joanna rubbed her forehead as Coyote walked to her side, "I am not Western, like you and Neil are. I do not rely on the totems of your faction."
     Coyote shook his head and began to walk, and Joanna followed, then I did as well, relieved that there were trees and bushes I could conceal myself behind.
     "You are learning the shamanistic ways of my people and totems do claim those of our paths," the youth said.
Joanna quickened her step a little to keep up with the fast paced boy, "Mage ways, Coyote. I am learning all this red mage information."
     Furrowing his brow a little, Coyote stopped at a small cliff and looked over it, "You are learning it the Western way. Which-ever way you take it when you leave here, you are learning it as shamanism, and there-fore it should be that you acquire a totem."
     She too stopped at the cliff and looked over. In the brief silence that followed, I was keenly aware of the strange winds that blew through this seeming forest and the valley below the cliff. It was unusual and yet not so unfamiliar to me, but from where I could not place. Joanna sat down on the cliffs edge and closed her eyes, obviously deep in thought now. As if to reflect her thoughts, through the open space beyond the cliff it seemed as if images of the past began to flicker through like a video screen or film screen.
     The images were not solid at all and depicted a man no older than twenty with a scaled cloak draped over his back; its glistening scales flickering in some sunlight. He was not pale, but not tanned, and he wore black slacks and equally radiant scale torso armour, inlaid with symbols and hieroglyphs. Behind him came forth what could be nothing other than a dragon. It was taller by so much that he was almost eclipsed by the beast, and as it stretched out its wings, it seemed as if the world could be engulfed in those glittering sapphire scales.
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