Mahpiya slipped away from the encampment and walked slowly thru the dark woods, her footsteps lit only by the pale moon. She carried with her a knife that had once belonged to her grandmother, and had been handed down to her mother, and now her.
When she reached the clearing she sat down on the soft carpet of pine needles and dried grass. Pulling the knife from it's sheath, she laid it gently across her knees. Tears streamed down her face as she crooned softly, singing her own death song to the stars above.
Mahpiya had dishonered her family. A young maiden, and the daughter of a village elder, she had become pregnant by man from another branch of the tribe who already had a wife and child. When caught together, he had been run off by her brothers and uncles, with them keeping his horse as a penalty for his crime. He was lucky to escape with his life.
No one spoke to her now, they turned away when she approached them, averting their eyes as if she wasn't there at all. Only the aunt who had raised her showed compassion, letting Mahpiya continue to live with her in her tipi. The aunt was well respected and no one dared to confront her. She protected Mahpiya from the others and saw that she had all that she needed.
But Mahpiya knew that she was a burden, and had caused disssention in the tribe, as many had wanted to send her away to live alone with her shame. No one would want her as a wife now, in one impetuous act of youth and desire she had ruined her entire life.
Examining the edge of the knife in the moonlight, Mahpiya tested it with her finger to see if it still held sufficient sharpness to do the job. Her hands began to tremble but her resolve remained strong. She saw no other answer.
Lifting the the kife high and pointing it toward her chest where her heart pounded, she suddenly found herself in the presence of many tiny glowing orbs of light, darting here and there and then gathering around her as if to form a protective circle.
In front of her, a whisp of white vapor formed and rose up tall. Wrapping itself around the knife in her hands, Mahpiya felt it yanked from her grasp. She stared at the knife where it fell softly on the ground.
Then a voice, gentle and ancient spoke to her thru the mist. "This is not our way, daughter, you must not do this. The child you carry will one day save your people; you must carry him and give him life, and teach him all of our ways."
Hearing this, Mahpiya put her face in her hands and wept. The spirit orbs hovered around her, covering her like a soft blanket of light, and crooning a strange melody that her own spirit recognized as the song of her ancestors from long ago. Slowly she felt her strength and her courage return.
Finally Mahpiya stood up, put the knife back into it's sheath and tied it to her waist. One day soon she would use it to sever the umbilical cord of her newborn son. The spirit orbs escorted her as she returned to the village, disappearing as she entered the edge of the encampment.
Her father and her brothers rushed to greet her, as did her aunt and other women of the tribe. "Daughter, I feared you were lost," her aunt cried. "I had a vision in which the old ones told me that you were sacred, carrying a child they have sent to save us. We have come to return you to your rightful place in the family and in the tribe."
With that, her father led her to the campfire and everyone in the village gathered around as he spoke. "This night my daughter has returned to us, she will be shown the love and respect of everyone from this day forward." Then the aunt told everyone of her vision and the people murmered in awe.
From that time on Mahpiya held a place of honor in the tribe. Her son grew up to be kind and wise, and loved by all. She knew that the prophecy was true, and one day his destiny would be fulfilled.
For the rest of her life, Mahpiya would return to the clearing on the first night of each full moon. Once again the spirit orbs would appear and dance around her, and she would join them in singing the ancient song of her people which she knew was a song of the sacredness of life.
This post is linked up at Two Shoes Tuesday,
where the prompt this week is "light(s)".