This takes place on the planet Surnova during the end of their dinosaur period. The human’s here evolved faster than did their counter part on Earth.
The story is now being told by my son War Hawk.
I just laid to rest my father Red Hawk, and now I am the chief of the tribe. A few years ago a sickness attacked the tribe and many died including, Wolfgard, my mother Sparrow, and my aunt Robin. The shaman also passed away before the sickness came. My aunt Fawn is still alive, and helps me when I ask her.
I am now training both of my son’s War Eagle, and Thunder Bird, on just how to be chief. I have four boys and five girls, from my three wives. The tribe is strong with more than 200 members now. It is a full time job just getting enough food to feed them all.
The tribe is sort of split into two segments. The original tribe my father restarted is mainly in the caves and on the North side of the river. The tribe that joined us after the raiders killed most of their men, is on the South side of the river, living mainly in tents. Some of our original tribe members have joined them.
Even though I am chief of both tribes. Sometimes I feel that since my father is gone, there is a difference that I can’t just understand yet. Almost like two separate factions at work here.
At least once a year maybe more a different tribe comes wonder by, and my father always made them feel welcome. As per custom we took new wives. In return we lost our sisters, daughters, or female friends. This exchange is good for the tribe, as the new blood helps to produced healthier children.
As my father always said, a healthy tribe is a strong tribe, and a strong tribe keeps the enemies away. I miss him and his wisdom. Now the younger tribe members, look to me for the leadership and wisdom.
There has been an increase in talking about going back to the great meeting grounds. Since the attack by the raiders, on the great meeting grounds, fifteen years ago or so. The tribes now only meets every three years. We have not been back since we came to this beautiful valley. The last tribe through here four moons ago, mentioned that they were going to the great meeting grounds this year. There was great pressure put on me to go, but we all could not go.
After lots of discussion, it was decided by the tribal council, of which I am the leader, that 90 members of the tribe would go. Then it came down to who would go, and who would be staying. It was decided that the old and the young, and any woman with children would stay. Thunder Bird would be in charge, along with a group of hunters.
We said our goodbyes, and loaded up the camels. We headed East toward the great meeting ground. The journey would take more than a full moon to get there. We did the same thing as last time. We stop a day short and loaded up with food and water. When we got close, I had the hunters put away their bows, and just be armed with clubs and spears. We camped in about the same spot, on the South end of the meeting grounds. We did a couple of trial camp protection runs, just as Wolfgard did with me, about 15 years ago.
I left for a chieftain meeting and War Eagle was left in charge. As I made my rounds to different tribes, I noticed a few had bows out, but all were a type of short bow, and very crude. Not one was as advanced as the ones we had. The arrows were also very crude compare to ours. I watched them shoot the bows at targets and they were lousy shots. Most arrows wobbled a lot in flight, because the arrow head was too large for the arrow. This caused the arrow to drop quickly when it lost speed.
At the chieftain meeting, those chiefs’ who had the bows were bragging about how good they are, and that they are more advance that the rest of us. It was starting to make me gag. There was talk about games and contest with the bows to see who was the best shot.
I was so tempted to run back to our camp, and get my bow. I would show them all, who was the best. But I could hear the words of my father ringing in my ears. He would preach patience, and never give up the element of surprise. He would say that surprise is something that you just might need down the road. To give away that edge just might turn the tide against you.
We had a good time at this meeting festival. I would spell War Eagle and give him a chance to meet other people. As with our custom, women were married off to different tribes. We lost some of our women and gained new family members. One of the big topics was the possibility of a very large raider tribe on the other side of the Spine of the World mountain range, way up toward the North.
The festival last just over a week and the tribes broke up and headed back to their territories. Again it almost took us a full new moon to get back home. Thunder Bird was there to greet us.
“It was very quiet while you were gone, but we did have one small encounter with a group of what look like raiders. They left when the hunters and I arrived at the East end of the valley.” He reported to me.
“I think that we need to start posting a couple of guards at both ends of the valley?” I told him, as I did not like the sound of raiders scouting our location.
“What we should do is construct six small blinds to hide our guards in, so they are out of sight. Do this at both ends of the valley, and they can rotate into different blinds, on different days.” I said this to both War Eagle and Thunder Bird. They nodded in agreement.
Work started on both ends of the valley as we constructed different types of blinds for the guards to hide in. Also, I had the arrow makers start working on more arrows to double our supply. I had more bows and spears made for each hunter. This preparation kept the tribe busy for a while.
I sent scouting parties out to check the area around us. On their return they would do some hunting to get us some fresh meat. The women were grinding up seeds to make a paste for tending to wounds. Other women were making paste type breads and other grain foods. They made more baskets and skin pouches to hold water. It seems like we were preparing for a fight that may never come. But I just had this feeling in my gut that something was not right.
After about 3-4 new moons of preparation, and many hours of practice. Finally our defenses were built. We had dug pits, and cover them with branches. The bottom of the pits was lined with stakes. We erected barricades of trees and boulders away from the camp toward the East. We had an area in front of the barricades cleared so they could not sneak up on us. The river on the South side of us helps to act as a barrier.
A few days later a small worn out tribe came into the valley. They reported heavy fighting to the North as a large tribe of raiders has attacked. We gave them some food and patched up their wounds. I gathered a dozen hunters and we headed North to do some scouting. After a fast three-day march, we encountered the raiders. They were resting in a large valley. There had to be hundreds of them.
We raced back to camp to prepare. I sent scout teams out to keep watch of the raiders and inform me of their location. The rest of the tribe started to prepared for battle. I felt that we were ready for anything. I could not have been more wrong.
A few days later, there was a shout with members of the tribe point to the top of the cliffs on the North side of our camp. There as far as I could see were raiders’ standing there. I heard a scream and another one, and a third one. They had captured our scout team and threw them off the cliff.
I called our tribe into battle action, and recalled the advance guards from both directions. I figured it would take them about a day to get into position to attack us. I knew that they had bows, I just hoped they were not as good as ours. Their attack would probably come from the East, as it was very difficult to get to us from the West atop of those cliffs.
We had plenty of food and livestock. Camels and bisons have been capture and put into a make shift enclosure. All the water containers were full, and we had the rivers for water also. We had lots of firewood stacked in the caves to keep it dry. If they try a siege, we should be in good shape for a while.
The raiders did attack from the East, and we could see them in front of us. They were trying to light the valley on fire. The valley is very green and nothing seemed to burn very well, but the fires generated lots of smoke. Which I could not figure out, until I realized that they were trying to blind us with the smoke, and sneak in through it. The smoke is one thing that can neutralize the bows. It is hard to shoot, if you can’t see anything to shoot at.
I had all the hunters fall back toward the center of camp, where the smoke was not as thick. The thick smoke took away some of our ability to defend ourselves. We could hear screams as some of the raiders fell into our pits. A short time later we could hear raiders, but we could not see them through the dense smoke in front of us.
“If they shoot arrows at us, then get your shield up to protect yourselves with them.” I shouted at the hunters.
The words were hardly out of my mouth and I could hear the singing of arrows in flight at us.
“Shield’s Shield’s.” I screamed as loud as I could.
Even with the shields up, we still had a number of hunters go down with arrows stuck into them.
“Form up, and do not shoot till you see a target to shoot at.” I hollered at the hunters. “Get those injured hunters out of here and attend to their wounds.” I said to the women.
Just then there was a loud scream and the raiders attacked. We fired volley after volley of arrows at them killing many. A few managed to get through and there was hand to hand combat then. We were holding our own so far. But what I did not anticipate were the raiders scaling down the North cliff, using hemp ropes and vines. The cliff was covered with smoke, and we could not see them coming down.
There were not a lot of them but they attacked us from the North side which was unprotected. Their attack caught me by surprise. Many of us died. I diverted some of my hunters to the North. The confusion gave the main force the diversion they needed to make a strong push. They were starting to overrun us.
I took Thunder Bird aside and told him to take all the young hunters, and women, and the children. Get some supplies, and escape to the West. We will try and hold them off. As you can expect there was a big argument, but in the end he did as I requested. He loaded up a couple of camels with supplies and they left.
The fighting was fierce, and we were out numbered at least 4-1. Slowly they were beating us back. War Eagle and I were fighting back to back, when I heard him grunt in pain, and he slid down the back of me. As I turned, two raiders shoved spears into my chest, and I joined my son on the ground with our life force dripping out of us. As I was dying, I looked to the West, and I could see no sign of Thunder Bird. I hope he escapes.
After War Eagle and I died, the rest of the tribe broke and tried to flee. The raiders chased and killed all the remaining members of the tribe. Our last hope of the tribe continuing, rest on the shoulders of Thunder Bird.