I am Mondo when my story began I was 16 years old. My Father was killed by a cave bear 5 years earlier and my Mother was claimed by Grog.... Grog hates me.
The men are gathering for a hunt, we are traveling to a summer camp and need to have meat for the trek. Grog kicks me because he says I am too slow..... soon , very soon I will challenge him. He says my big feet make me clumsy.
The men are ready to hunt and the Head man Tondor calls us to move out. Lateen has spotted a herd of Bison not to far from our camp. We will trail them and set up an ambush. Tondor tells Grog and I to move ahead on the right while Lateen and Gorbus does the same to the left.
I ease behind a rock with my spear in hand when something startles the herd and they began running towards me. I hear a grunt and look over my shoulder and see Grog swinging his club at my head. My movement caused the blow to be a stunning blow instead of killing me it knocked me unconscious and I fell in to the stampede. Luckily there was a dead tree that had fallen and lay in their path and my lifeless body rolled under its branches.
I opened my eyes, my head hurt and I could hardly see. I try to stand but could not. I check and I still had my water skin. I took a drink and poured some over my head. Slowly very slowly I began to come to my senses. Grog tried to kill me before I could challenged him.
Grog was about 5' tall and weighed about 200 lbs. I on the other hand stood at 6' and weighed about the same but where Grog was fat mine was muscle. One day I will take him down, maybe today when I get back to camp.
I found my spear and using it as a staff I made my way back to camp. Before I made it to the camp area I realized something was very wrong, no smoke, as I rounded the boulder that marked the entrance to the box canyon where the camp had been for months. Before me was a barren area no huts no people... I was alone... I collapsed to the ground.
The Clan probably thought I was dead , Grog would have told them that I got caught in the stampede. That was when I also realized that I did not know how long I was out, as weak as I felt it could have been days. I knew where there were some berry vines near by and I went to them that at least gave me a bit of nourishment.
After I had eaten my fill of the berries I made my way back to where the stampede had occurred. I followed in the Bison's wake. I don't know what I was expecting but … where else was I to go, I had been following for hours when I noticed a carcass. As I drew near I could see a spear sticking out of the Bison's belly. It must have eluded the Clan and died slowly. I took my flint knife and began the process of skinning it. Before I was half done I decided to build a fire to keep predators away. I gathered wood and pulled out my fire stones struck them together and directed the sparks to the tinder and in moments I had my fire I fed it larger pieces of wood till I had a raging fire.
I cut off some of the meat and placed it on a stone near the fire. Just by accident, a few years ago a hunk of meat was dropped into the coals of our fire. Some time later my Father noticed the tantalizing smell from the cooking meat he raked it out, brushed it off and took a bite. We each tried a piece of the cooked meat and now often cooked our meat. I stood up from placing the meat and went back to the skinning of the bison.
There was a stream near by so I decided to just stay right where I was. I made Racks and hung pieces of meat to smoke and to dry. I staked out the Bison skin and began to scrape the hide and tan it.
I stayed there for a week and ate my fill and although I heard predators almost every night my fire seemed to keep them at bay. I found some small trees with straight trunks about an inch to an inch and a half in diameter. I cut two about eight feet long then I cut smaller ones to make a spread of about three foot. These I tied to the longer poles to make a travois. I cut a lot of thin strips from the Bison skin for this and more to tie the skin and and the meat to the travois.
Grog set looking into the campfire thinking about how his plan to get rid of Mondo had worked so well, he laughed to himself. It was even better than he had planed, Mondo had fell right in front of the stampede. He laughs to himself nothing left of Mondo.
Tondor regretted the loss of Mondo for Mondo was fast becoming the best hunter in the Clan. They had looked for him but Grog had seen him fall in front of the stampede so there was not much sense in too long of a search.
They had traveled many days to their summer Camp only to discover that there had been a forest fire during the winter and the area was nothing but ashes. Tondor decided to turn North east in search of new land.
Mondo's mother was sure that Grog was at fault for her sons death but was afraid to say anything. She knew that Grog would beat her and leave her behind. So she kept her thoughts to herself.
Lateen's daughter Sonda was heartbroken... Even though she was only eleven she had a crush on Mondo. Mondo was the tallest, strongest and most handsome and Sonda knew that one day he would pick her...She just had to grow a little bit...well since her chest was flat and she was as skinny as a bamboo shoot, maybe a lot of growing.
Mondo lifted the poles to his shoulders and began his search for the Clan. It was at least a moon to the summer camp. He had made a sling from a couple of strands cut from the bison skin and kept the sling in his hand as he walked . By the time he stopped for the day he had three Rabbits and a badger. He had gutted them while walking then when he stopped he finished skinning them. Mondo was bent over scrapping the badger pelt when he heard a roar... He grabbed his spear and turned , he barley had time to set himself as a saber-tooth Tiger launched itself toward him. Mondo dropped to his knees and steadied his spear. The Tiger hit the spear and drove the spear into its chest the force of the impact carried the tiger over and past Mondo ripping the spear out of his hands. Mondo grabbed for his flint knife and leaped on to the tigers back and with the razor sharp flint knife attacked the throat of the tiger. The force of the Tiger landing broke the spear in half. The blade of the spear pierced the heart of the beast as it slung Mondo off its back . It roared then dropped at Mondo's feet … dead. Mondo had closed his eyes because he knew he was dead... nothing happened …. he opened his eyes to see the tiger at his feet, then he shook.
He had no time to fall apart. He gathered wood and built a large fire. He began skinning the Tiger noting the fact that it was a female and looked like it may have been nursing. Mondo staked out the tiger skin out to make scraping easier. Then he drug the carcass away from camp. Returning to the camp he found three kittens eating his rabbits that he had planned on having himself. Well he thought that answers the question about if the Tiger had kits or not.. Mondo picked up the rabbits and stuck them on sticks over the fire. He cut the badger into small pieces and fed it to the kits. They ate their fill then curled up next to Mondo and went to sleep.
The next morning Mondo went back to the tigers carcass ...it was almost clean nothing but bones left. He looked around and found the head and removed the Saber- tooth. Being about six inches long they would be good for stabbing. He headed back to camp the kits were playing and nipping at the badger bones. He staked out the tiger skin and went to work on scrapping.
Mondo lifted the poles and started off it had been three days preparing the tiger skin, the kits played around his feet. They would take a few steps and look back and mew. Then run to catch up then repeat, they were not sure what to do for Mondo kept on walking. This went on for over an hour then the kits started drifting farther back. Until Mondo heard a mournful cry and an answering growl.... a coyote looking for an easy meal. Why? Mondo does not know but he dropped the poles grabbed the half spear and attacked the coyote. Being a coward the coyote ran away … well just out of reach... Mondo scratched his head wondering why he did some of the things he did. He walked back to the tired and scared kits and picked up one turned it over … it was a male he said “ You are Bruno”. The next had tabby stripes and was female for some reason it reminded him of Lateen's daughter, “You are Sondi.” The last one was small but male Mondo laughed at the struggles and said “You are Runt.” He carried them back to the carrier and placed them on the skins. They settled down to sleep.
As the days passed the kits would get down from the carrier run and play till they tired then they would climb back up and go to sleep. Mondo began to notice a slight chill in the air he began to worry that there might be a late snow storm coming. He started searching for a place to hold up and wait it out. With the aid of his sling he had plenty of meat to last so that was no worry but he did need to find a straight pole to make into a spear. Another hour of walking and he noticed a stand of trees that had a few saplings the perfect length for his spear... if he could find the right stones maybe he could chip out three or four spear heads. He began to look for good flints and collected a few and cut down a few saplings.
As Mondo set down to began shaping the spear heads he heard a scream, He took his half spear and moved off in the direction of the scream. He was walking in a dry stream bed, as he walked he would pick up rocks to use with his sling if needed. He could tell he was getting close by the grunting just ahead of him. As he rounded a bend he saw something he had only heard about. Before him was what his dad had called lomen their bodies were twisted as was their faces they were eaters of men. The lomen were broad in the body and strong and there were three of them. One of them was eating on the leg bone of a man they had ripped apart. The other two were trying to pull something from under the bramble bushes next to the rocks. From the screams I could tell it was a female and that the thorns was all that was between her and these monsters. I loaded my sling and let fly hitting the eater in the temple...he dropped the leg and fell forward. I reloaded just as one of the other turned toward me I let fly the rock catching him in the fore head. Before I could reload the last one had turned and charged me.
Before he could reach me three tawny dynamos went streaking past one grabbed an ankle, one grabbed the most private parts causing him to raise his head which gave Bruno the chance he needed and latched on to his throat. As the monster went down I planted my half spear in to his chest and pressed it into his heart. I called the Kits off. I had not noticed but they had grown and their Milk teeth had been replaced by the beginning of their tusks, I chuckled that lomen probably was very surprised when those clamped on his privates.
I looked around and saw Runt on his belly crawling under the brambles. I heard another scream and I said don't hurt my kitten he just wants to play and you are safe now the lomen are dead.
“Who are you?”
“I am Mondo a lone hunter lost from my Clan.” “I am going to cut the Brambles back” I took my knife and cleared an opening through the brambles. I was surprised to find there was a cave behind the brambles. The opening was about four foot across and tall but once in side the cave it was at least eight foot tall. As I entered the first thing I saw was an eight year old playing with runt beside her was her mother and three other women and two boys about ten. The man who had been ripped apart was the only adult male with them . They were looking at me with fear, I glanced to either side and realized that Bruno and Sondi were escorting me. I will be right back I will get rid of the bodies and get my gear and then I will return. I drug the bodies a good ways away so predators would not come close to the cave. I checked them for weapons but all they had was clubs, which I had no use for.
I drug my travois inside the cave and made numerous trips back outside to bring in firewood. Then I drug the Brambles back to cover the entrance.
Then I looked at the people still standing in the same place that I had left them.. “ Please at least sit down, I am not here to hurt you if you wish to leave I will not stop you. Do what you wish.”
I decided to leave them alone and light a fire. I unloaded the travois and spread the the furs the kittens crawled right on the furs and Lil the eight year old who had been playing with Runt followed him onto the furs. One by one they began to sit on the furs and the boys asked if it was alright to pet the kittens. Sondi answered by rubbing on their legs, Bruno was not far behind. I continued getting the fire started and started some rabbits to roasting. I am Mondo I will finish telling my story. I noticed that some of the smoke drifted down the roof line of the cave then disappeared. I lit a length of wood and and used it as a torch. I walked farther in to the cave the two boys and Sondi and Bruno followed. About fifty feet inward we found a stream that ran along the right wall. The cats smelled the water and took a drink. I dipped my hand in , the water was cold and sweet. We walked on for about a hundred feet the cave made a turn to the left and opened up to a vast room with a pool almost twenty to thirty feet across. There was some kind of Moss on the cave walls that gave off light . I no longer need the torch so I put it out by covering it with dirt.. I walked across the room and could see an opening ahead of me. When I reached the opening I was shocked to see a beautiful valley. A river flowed from out of the ground at the base of the mountain. Wild game was abundant, berries were evident as well as herbs and spices all were in sight. Mondo turned to the boys, “Bring me the torch and I will relight it then I want you to go bring every one here.” I continued to gaze at the Valley trying to judge its size the best guess was it was at least 10 miles long and 5 wide but would know better when I had a chance to explore.
While the boys were gone I walked out into the Valley and looked around. I felt like I was home, the cave had shelter and fresh water and the Valley had all the food we could eat. I was standing in front of the cave with my arms lifted up towards the sky as the others stepped out of the cave. Lil and her mother Ludi were first out of the cave they walked up to me and asked where are we. Ludi says When we left the other end it was snowing but..but.. here the sun is shining and it is warm. Everyone gathered around all were amazed at what they saw. One of the women, Pori, made the comment we could live here and no one would know.. “ Moli and Star the other two women spoke together “we need to go get our things.” I knew then I had been accepted for, our things they refer too was the items I had unloaded from my travois. But they were right we needed the things moved to this end .We all went back together.
The first night we slept on the furs it was close sleeping, in the middle of the night I awoke with an arm draped across my body stroking my chest and stomach.. I started to turn over when a voice said shhhh. I lay there enjoying the feeling and not knowing who was doing the rubbing. That night I had pleasant dreams. And when I awoke the next morning the ladies were out gathering herbs Ludi was directing them... that's when I found out she was a medicine woman apprentice, And Lil's mother.
The other ladies , Pori seventeen, Moli nineteen and Star twenty five were not related to the boys, Drago and Malo were twins but not identical,.they did not know what had happened to their parents.
The whole group had been tied together after being captured by the lomen. They had been walking for hours when the leader of the lomen called a halt. He pointed to three of his group and speaking in a language they did not understand. Ludi assumed he was assigning the three to watch them. Their guards pushed them down near a large downed tree. The lomen had not noticed that there was a hole under the tree which led to the dry stream bed and eventually to the cave. Lil found the hole. She told her mother and Ludi whispered to the others. Then they waited . Later into the night the lomen began to drowse when she felt it safe she lowered Lil into the hole and one at a time they all slipped away. The man was the last and he slipped and fell making enough noise to awaken the lomen. They ran as fast as they could then Ludi saw the brambles and every one tried to slip under them when the lomen grabbed the man and literally ripped him apart. One of the other lomen was reaching under the brambles and had grabbed on to Star.... That is when Mondo arrived and took out the lomen. Mondo took charge and Ludi was glad to let him besides she was physically attracted to him. Mondo had checked each one of them to make sure no one was injured. And they all stood there in fear not knowing what to do next.
Mondo began working on his spears he stripped the bark from the saplings. And stood the hafts near the fire to begin the drying out and hardening of the shafts. He took the stones and began working on the blades for the spearheads. Drago and Malo sat close watching his every move. Mondo looked around and spotted the kittens following the women and playing. The women seemed to take the presence of the Saber-tooth cats as natural. After making four spear blades and rotating the shafts Mondo decided it was time to look over the Valley. He gather a few rocks and his sling and motioned to the boys, they fell in behind him.
Mondo saw a small herd of bison, many rabbits, a variety of birds and goats and sheep and many other animals. They all seemed to be food animals other than small carnivores there did not seem to be any large predators. There was no evidence of Tigers, bears or wolves. The most dangerous animal he saw was bovine. One breed had horns about six feet in length. The deer population was abundant and they counted the points on a large Stag as three hands plus two fingers. I thought about what I had done … into this peaceful valley I had introduced three top of the line predators. They may be young now but … one day. I guess I would have to train them. And let them hunt in the forest from the bramble bush entrance. I decided my estimate of the size of the Valley was close very close but probably the valley was a bit larger. In the distance Mondo could see a dark area which he felt could be another cave...maybe another exit. One day he vowed to walk all of the valley... Then he would know.
When he and the boys returned the camp seemed to be empty...Mondo was worried, with spear at the ready he entered camp. Then he heard laughter from inside the cave. He and the boys entered the cave and was met with the sight of Star completely nude and the others all waist deep in the pool... also nude. They saw him and the boys and waved to them, come in come in there is a hot springs in the pool. Mondo looked around at the boys but was too late they had already dropped their clothes and were running for the water. Mondo shed his own skins to the oohs and aahs of the adult women. Mondo didn't have to do anything just walk into the pool . The women met him and began to wash him even Lil tried to help but the women said no.
The slings kept us in food and skins for clothes. There was a plant that had blades that looked like swords, the thorn on the end of the sword could be broken off and a thin thread like piece about two feet long could be pulled out of the sword, this made for a perfect needle and thread. The thorn would reform after about two weeks so the needle and thread was constantly replaced as long as the sword was not cut. I taught all how to use the slings and they all seemed to be naturals. It was a pleasant life though I wished for more men to go after bigger game and … I missed my mother.
Mondo's mother, Sharlu, did not know how much more she could take. Since Mondo had been killed Grog seemed to look for things to get angry about... and he beat her. Tondor saw this and tried to ignore it but he to had been casting his eyes at the comeliness of Sharlu. Ever since his wife had died he had thought to claim a new wife, but by the laws of the tribe Grog had acted first and Sharlu was his. If Tondar ever actually saw Grog beating Sharlu.... He would Challenge Grog. But now was not the time. A sickness had swept through the Clan, Tobar the medicine Man worked with them all until he too became sick Before it was over they had lost six children, five men including Tobar and eight women. The Clan was really hurting there was only eleven men, five women and ten children. Of the ten children only three were over twelve and only one was male. Some of the men were still very weak only three hunters were available to feed the Clan. No Tondar thinks, today is not a good day to challenge. Grog is needed.
Grog was never touched by sickness and he took this as a sign that he was destined to be head of the clan. He would watch Tondar and he would plan.
Today Star asked to go on the hunt with Mondo and he agreed. They were about three miles from the Camp when Star dropped to her Knees and put her head to the ground and pulled her clothing to the side baring her delightful butt. As she wiggled her butt she tells Mondo she wants a baby. Having never done this before Mondo squatted behind her and tried to enter her. After the fourth miss Star reached between her legs, took him in hand and guided him into her velvet glove. Mondo had never felt anything like this before and he went wild bouncing Star all over the ground. Then he felt a strange sensation and he grabbed her hips and shoved himself all the way into Star, His release was like an explosion and as the feeling receded. Mondo collapsed at Stars feet, the rest of the morning was spent the same way. They finished their hunt and Star told him the other women were waiting their turn. They had decided that their tribe needed more people. Mondo walked around the rest of the day with a big grin on his face just thinking … he would get to do this to the other women too.
As they arrived back at camp everyone knew that Star had been successful and every time the other women would walk past Mondo they would twitch their tail at him. Even Lil as young as she was got in on the tail twitching. Two months later all the women were pregnant and Lil was asking her Mother why she couldn't be pregnant too.
Mondo was training the Cats and as they became larger he began taking them out into the forest past the Bramble gate. The Cats had made a good kill and I was dragging my travois with the meat and pelt down the gully when Bruno came to a stop and I could here a rumble in Sondi's throat. Runt was crouched in his attack mode. I made a downward push with my hands, I had trained them that this meant to crouch down and wait. I crawled forward and spotted three lomen guarding a line of captives .My Cats hated lomen. I counted the prisoners , two men, six women and five children under twelve, two boys and three girls. We followed knowing they would stop for a rest soon. When they stopped we waited till two of the lomen began to nap. Then I stood up with my sling and bounced a rock off the guards temple killing him instantly. The guards falling awakened the other two lomen they began to rise but stopped when they felt the paws on their chest. Bruno and Sondi made one slash and opened the throats of the two. Runt not to be out done ripped out the throat of the one I had killed.
I released one of the captives and instructed her to release the others while I got rid of the lomen.
I looked around at the captives and told them not to worry about the Cats , they are tame. I told them to follow us to Paradise. I picked up my Travois and led them to the bramble gate. When we stepped out at the other end they were speechless. They blended in with the rest of our fast growing Clan. Even though two of the women were wife's of the two men Mondo was informed it was his job to get them pregnant the first time. Because I was strong and brave and this they wanted their first born to be also. They meant first born of their new Clan because one of the children, a little girl named Rena was the daughter of the wife of one of the men. Rena was less than a year old.
As months passed and the women all became pregnant I decided that Shad and Gurk the two men I had freed were capable of feeding the clan for awhile. I decided to make another search for my Mother and Tondor's Clan. I carried my Travois and 3 spears and Bruno and Sondi. Runt I left with Ludi to help protect the clan. I took no food except for one meal and two water skins. As I departed the bramble gate I covered it with fresh brambles and scouted the area to make sure no lomen had been around.
Game seemed to be plentiful and I decided to just use my sling I felt there was no reason to kill any large game on the way out. No sense of packing pelts both directions. I sent Sondi to scout ahead and Bruno to make sweeps around us. By night fall we had had no problems and I had killed enough small game to feed myself and the Cats. I built up a fire and snuggled between the Cats and drifted off to sleep.
The next morning we continued our trek... the Cats seemed to be uneasy and I noticed the quietness around us... There is something wrong...now I need to find out what.
I tried to get the Cats to scout but all they would do was growl deep in their chest. I got my spears ready and watched my Cats, I knew they would warn me of impending danger.
The Hackles on Bruno's neck were standing straight up and Sondi had moved about six feet from me also facing toward the direction that Bruno was facing. I picked up one of my spears and backed between two boulders that were about eighteen inches apart. I still have no idea what I am about to face. Then Bruno roars and is answered by a roar that chills even the best hunter.... a Cave Bear it roared out of the bushes on all fours. When it saw Bruno it stood on it's hind legs it was at least fifteen foot tall. Then the bear looked me straight in the eye, Bruno attacked... The bear just knocked him aside as if he weren't even there. It dropped back to all fours and charged toward me. I set myself with my spear, just before the bear reached me a tawny missile struck the bear behind it's left front leg. Sondi held on. Then Bruno struck from the rear. The bear reared up again, as its head was raising up I struck with my spear straight for the throat. The first spear did not penetrate very far but it seemed to con fuse the bear. He swung his mighty paw but he hit the boulder instead of me. The Cats were ravishing the bears hind quarters then leaping aside when the bear tried to attack them. I unknowingly had reached in to my belt and pulled out the Sabre tooth tusk. Sondi takes another chunk out of the bears front leg, the bear turns its head to the side, I see my chance and I pounce. With all my might I jam the Sabre tooth in to the ear canal of the bear which penetrates the brain. Not realizing it is dead the bear swings back at me... I back off, the bear roars and falls dead at my feet.
I check my Cats both seem to be limping from the tossing around but no bleeding is evident. I skin the bear. I took the skin and a little of the meat. I really hated to leave all that meat but predators and scavengers would be all over us. We traveled on till we came to a stream and there we camped till I finished with the Bearskin. This took almost a week after that I would work with it after my days travel.
The women at the cave began to give birth Star was first then Pora, Lorn, Ludi and Moli. All boys except Star her daughter was called Little Star. Ludi named her boy Mondu son of Mondo and as she was the Medicine Woman she ruled the roost while Mondo was gone. Ludi was sure that by the time Mondo came home all the babies will be born even little Yo'te the last to get pregnant. The men and boys kept the camp supplied with meat. Every day one of the boys and Runt would go to the bramble gate and watch . The two men pulled their own weight Shad was a spear maker and Grug was a potter he made pots and bowls for everyone..... but they all seemed to miss Mondo his strength and leadership was missed.
Tondar is worried only 3 hunters left, Himself, Grog and Hobar each has been training one of the children. Tondar is training Lateen' s Daughter Sonda who is already good with a sling. Hobar has the other 12 y.o. girl Goba and Grog is training the 13 y.o. boy Socar. It is proving to be very difficult to feed everyone. With as many that are still weak and sick they were unable to move to winter grounds. Luckily they had found a cave that was an air vent of a near dormant Volcano. Heat still permeated the cave area from hot gasses so they only needed fire if they wished to cook. Each hunter pair went out alone only time the whole group would go out on a hunt was if large game was spotted. At that time the women who were strong enough would make Travois to help skinning and hauling of the meat if a kill was made. Sadly this was rare..
Fifteen days later Mondo arrived at the Clans Summer camp he was disheartened to see the barren burned out area. He searched around but could not tell if the Clan had been here when the fire occurred or if the fire was older. He stayed there another 10 days making scouting circles in all directions. All he could really tell was the Cats were uneasy in this burned out area. Two days ago the cats had brought down a deer. Mondo cut it up and fed them big chunks of the meat and worked on the hide. He decided that in the morning he would head back. He had to admit he missed his new clan.
The next morning after a quick look around he began his trek homeward. Bruno began his scout and Sondi took point Mondo could tell they were happy to be leaving this place. Days turned into weeks it had been an easy trip except for twice the Cats had warned him of lomen on the prowl. Mondo took the cats in the bushes and told them to be silent and they watched the lomen searching for new captives. Their smell was overpowering even more so when two of them sat down to rest less than twenty paces away. The Cats didn't like it either but I was able to keep them quiet. Then they decided to take a nap, That was more than I or the Cats could take. I turned them loose, in seconds there was two less lomen in these woods. It was a thing of beauty to watch them work now that they had nearly reached their full growth. Bruno was about five foot at the front shoulder and about four foot at the hind quarters. Sondi was just inches smaller not that it mattered and Runt at the cave was a full foot smaller but I think Runt was faster than his brother and sister.
I could see the dry wash ahead once I entered it I would be close to a mile from Bramble Gate. Now silence was really needed the path above the dry wash was made by the lomen as they carry their captives to their home area... Where ever that is. But today it was clear. We made it to Bramble gate as we neared the brambles began to move and out came Drago and Runt. I motioned them back inside and the Cats and I followed. All I could think about for the past hour was the hot springs., When I reached them I began dropping things, by the time I was at the springs I was nude and walked out into the pool and sank down and closed my eyes. After a few sighs I opened my eyes and was met by ten women all carrying a baby. My mouth dropped open and I asked “Where did all the Babies come from?” The only answer I got was smiles. I was Home.
I stood on the bank of our river I looked across at the stately trees on the other side. It has been 4 years since we had found our valley. We had learned how to smoke our meat, there was an indention in the wall of the cave passage near room sized. It was near the smoke hole, we had left some meat on drying racks in this room and the smoke from our cook fire passed over it. When we tried this meat we were surprised by the taste. We tried raw meat on the racks and the results were great. We were able to make fewer large kills and no meat was wasted. Yes this was truly a wonderful valley.
I walked into the River at this point the water just reached my knees. Along the far bank the women were gathering berries in to pots Gurk had made. I noticed a river otter playing with the children, Malo had found it when it was a pup and raised it. We were as one with the animals. Shad and Gruk and the boys and I did most of our major hunts out the bramble gate. That way we had the help of the Cats, they were still not used in the valley. The only time we hunted inside the valley was when it was winter at the bramble gate. Soon not even then.
Malo and Drago had herded 5 of the bovine creatures into a box canyon and had taken brush and blocked off their escape. Later we had cut poles and using a crisscross method at the corners and ends of the poles we had built a fence with a gate. There were three females and 2 males there was plenty of food for them and a branch off the river made water available. It wasn't till breeding time that we found there was a problem with the mix.
The two males fought for the right to breed . We watched the fight the larger bull had horns 18” long on either side of his head. The smaller only had one horn the other had been broken off some time earlier, he was clearly at a disadvantage. It didn't take long before the smaller bull was too injured to continue the fight. With ropes we had made by weaving strips of skins we managed to get the rope around the bull's neck we managed to get him out of the gate. We sent the boys to get the women and the Travois and killed the bull and began butchering.
Over the years our herd has grown by natural birth and capturing other females and adding them to our herd. Our Clan was also growing the same way. Most of the females seemed to welcome our presence. Which meant we only had to Isolate the bull to be able to work with the cows. Gurk had noticed that after a calf suckled a few drops of milk was on one of her teats. He reached down gently so as not to startle the cow and stroked the teat. To his surprise a stream of milk shot out . He had Malo bring him a pot. He directed the milk into the pot filling it to the top. He lifted the pot to his lips and sipped, his eyes flew open and he took an even bigger drink then handed the pot to Malo who also took a drink. The milk was very rich and creamy and tasted delicious.
Back at the Camp Ludi was working on her own experiment. She had begun to take seed pods from plants they had eaten and herbs for medicine and had put them in the ground and watered them and they began to grow. Mondo had watched the process and liked what he saw. He suggested that she have the children collect the seed pods from the grasses. Ludi questioned this...we do not eat grass. Mondo explained he was afraid that the cows would eat all of the grass in the canyon. This way they could scatter the seeds all over the canyon and maybe it would grow and help feed the cows.
Mondo heard his named being called, he turned, and there was Malo with Gurk holding out a pot saying “drink, drink.” Mondo took the pot and tasted and with a look of surprise handed the pot to Ludi. After one taste Ludi was all questions... What is it, where did you get it, can you get more? Gurk explained what had happened and that the cow seemed to want the milk removed as if it was too full. Malo suggested we try to give some to Lorn's baby since Lorn had dried up and had no milk for her baby. Mondo hollered at Drago to get Lorn and her Baby.
When Lorn arrived with her baby, Ludi stuck her finger in the milk and dribbled some over the baby's mouth. The baby began reaching and its mouth began suckling movement. Lorn immediately stuck her finger and copied Ludi's movement.
Earlier Mondo had thought that this valley had no winter. It Did, but not severe and it only lasted about a month. When it snowed the center of the valley would be deep with the snow maybe a foot deep. The rest of the valley would only get a dusting. Outside the Bramble Gate the snow would be in drifts up to 6 feet deep. The Clan had many discussions about this... They concluded that the valley was formed between Mountains and the mountains had closed in at the top limiting the amount of snow that reached the ground before melting.
When the sickness hit the Clan I was one of the last to catch it I watched as some recovered and some died. When it seemed to have passed there were only 3 men left to hunt and 8 still to weak to do very much we had our minds set on our recovery but the fever kept popping back up and more men and women had died. The Clan was near decimated, 5 men. 4 women and 6 children was all that were left. Tondar was fighting to keep the Clan going but every decision he made Grog questioned which caused unrest in the Tribe. After almost 4 years I finally had my strength back, Jonda, Tondar's brother never recovered his full strength and could not be allowed to go on a hunt alone. By now the younger ones that had been trained by the hunters now ranked as full Hunters. Food was getting short , It was decided after much arguing by Grog that each of us would scout for big game and Jonda would watch the camp.
I headed in a general direction of Southwest we had agreed we would scout for three days and on the fourth we would return and report. On the 3rd day I had reached our old Summer camp, the fire burnt ground had given way to new growth. I searched the area and found old foot prints but nothing new. I decided I had gone far enough and would get a good nights sleep and start back early. I had killed a rabbit with my sling and I cleaned it and put it on a stick over the fire. While it cooked I thought about the problems with the tribe. They did not work as a family unit. Grog seemed to want to take over the leadership not realizing no one would follow him. Tondar realized this but with so few hunters he could not call grog out. What to do? What to do? I guess....what was that noise I began to turn and suddenly every thing went black. …. unhunh where am I what happened? I barely opened my eyes. I was being carried...my hands and feet were tied to a bamboo pole... and I was being carried by.... Oh No! lomen ! The one carrying my feet saw that I was awake. He spoke in guttural sounds and they stopped and lowered me to the ground. With a few swipes with a flint knife my feet were freed then my hands. After the bamboo pole was removed I was moved forward to another bamboo pole that had 3 men and a woman already had their hands and neck tied to that pole. I joined them. For days and weeks we were marched through the forest.
We were given fruit and berries to eat and a water skin twice a day. At night we would talk quietly. I learned that the lomen had raided their village and there were others than the three watching us. Tomorrow they will wait for the other groups to catch up. They are nervous about this area we will be entering, it seems they have lost a few men to the beast who walks with Tigers. What is that I ask. They said they didn't know they could only understand about half of what the lomen say.
The woman was the one who knew the most of their language. She said that many had been killed in this area and their prisoners whisked away. They would find their friends drug way into the forest and their throats would be torn out. Most were not found before the scavengers got to them and then they were a mess. But what of the beast I asked. And she said they don't know no one has ever seen it ...just once a footprint was found and it was huge.
I thought about the beast and all the prisoners that had disappeared. The biggest foot I had ever seen was Mondo's, but he had been dead for over 5 years. But Mondo... that is how he got his name; at birth his feet were bigger than a two year old. Mondo means Huge... naugh it couldn't be. But … what if....
Shad came to Mondo, “We are running short of smoked meat, we need to hunt.” Mondo laughed and the Cats need some exercise too.
Drago and Malo asked to go, I said who is going to help gurk. Malo says Toba and Leos they have already been helping him so they know what to do.
Mondo decided to take all three cats runt needed to sample a kill...it had been awhile. They left early the next morning through the Bramble Gate. They had been following the dry wash for only a mile when Bruno stopped and looked over his shoulder at Mondo and rumbled deep in his throat. Sondi and Runt slipped in amongst the group. I put my hand on them and could feel them trembling. This told me it was not game ahead. I motioned everybody down and waited. Then I heard voices and crashing through the bushes....lomen... they always traveled on the top alongside the wash. I always traveled the bottom of the wash. The top of the wash had bushes that blocked off the view of the actual Wash. We waited and let them pass. I tell my friends I heard human voices as well. We turned and followed them we knew where they would stop...they never learn.
Sure enough they stopped in the same location, a clearing that I had rescued the first of my clan. We waited for them to settle down. I had Drago climb up the hole near the downed tree. As soon as we attacked he would start cutting the people loose. Finally they began to nap with one awake, he hears a noise and turns around and Runt charges and bites down on his privates...I don't know whats with that cat. The Guard screams and Shad drives his spear into the guards throat. The other two lomen scream “The Beast” and instead of turning to fight they turned in fright. If it had not been for Sondi and Bruno we would have not been able to catch them. They ran them down from behind Sondi took a bite out of the upper right thigh which cause the lomen to crash to the ground with Malo right behind , he drove his spear all the way through the back and into his heart . Bruno took down the third one by himself. He leaped high catching the lomen in the center of the back as the lomen hit the ground Bruno drove his tusks into the back of the lomen's neck. The neck snapped instantly all I had to do was smile. As usual we drug the bodies out into the bush away from the trail. When Shad and I got back the prisoners were free, I heard a gasp and a voice saying it is you. I looked over and was surprised to see Lateen, I grabbed him and gave him a big hug.
The woman looked at me then at my feet and said , “ You are the Beast” then she drew back
as the Cats entered and went to my side.
Lateen told me his story from the time the tribe left thinking I was dead, all the way till now. Then the other people told me of their capture and that there twelve more captives on the way.
We walked them to the Bramble Gate and inside. I told them we would rescue the rest of their tribe then they would have a choice. To either go back to their hunting grounds or to join our clan.
The next morning the next group of captives arrived there were 6 of them and 4 guards. Mondo could sense the uneasiness of the lomen. It was obvious they were concerned not to find the first group waiting for them. I sent Bruno off to the right and instructed him to roar. When he did the lomen panicked. This was what Mondo was expecting, as t he lomen tried to runaway Sondi and Runt charge them from behind. Shad and Drago arose in front of them with spears at the ready. They thrust forward with their spears, Drago 's spear striking only the club the lomen was caring. The lomen raised his club preparing to strike at Drago when Mondo and Bruno arrived . Never slowing down Bruno hit the loman in the chest knocking him down and Mondo landed on the loman's midsection as he sliced at the lomans throat with his knife. It was over as fast as it started, they walked back to the captives all free now. Thanks to Malo. Mondo looked over the group 2 women three teenagers, a boy and 2 girls, and one man. Mondo sent the boys and Runt with the freed captives to the bramble gate. He gave them instructions to remain in the wash near the hole under the fallen tree and to hold Runt back till he signaled.
Just before the sun went down the last group arrived, they too seemed concerned that the others were not waiting for them. Mondo and Shad had climbed a tree either side of the trail where it left the clearing. Bruno was in the bushes behind them. Sondi had been following the lomen, the exits to the clearing were blocked off. One of the lomen backed up near the hole where the boys were waiting, he was looking all around the clearing he was uncomfortable. He could smell blood, the other four guards were also uneasy. As the guards heel came down on the edge of the hole … a bird whistled, a lion roared and the guard disappeared down the hole. The boys had each grabbed a leg and yanked the guard into the hole. Before he could recover Runt had removed his throat then leaped into the clearing and was now facing the other four Guards. Mondo and Shad leaped out of their trees driving their spears into the chests of two of the guards. The last two had no chance at all. They turned to run back and came face to face with Sondi and Runt as they stopped Bruno hit them from the rear. Drago and Malo were cutting the captives free. This bunch consisted of 3 females 2males a child about 10 and a baby in the arms of one of the women. All together we had rescued 17, 16 from one village and Lateen from Mondo 's home clan.
After they had all the people in to the cave Mondo and his hunters really needed to hunt and set out at once. Ludi took the newcomers in hand and talked to them. By the time the hunters had returned with their kills it had already been decided. All of the Villagers except for the woman and the baby had decided to go back to their Village. The woman with the baby was just too weak to make the trip and the lomen had killed her husband.
It was decided that Mondo, Lateen, Bruno and Sondi would guide them back then they would continue on to Tondors Tribe.
Mondo 's Clan furnished all the men with spears including the teenage boy this made them a force to be reckoned with. 9 Spear men and 2 Big Cats. I think they would relish meeting up with some lomen . The women were pulling the travois and each travois had at least 4 extra spears on it. Three days into their trek they got their wish. Thanks to the Cats they were ready, the women and children gathered in the center the men squatted around them with their spears angled out to protect the women.
The lomen charged out of the bushes screaming and waving their clubs. Mondo and Lateen stood and began throwing their spears with the women handing them more. The lomen were surprised when the Cats attacked from behind. The cats forced the lomen onto the anchored spears and the Villagers stabbed with malice. They were angry and wanted revenge. By the time it was all over there were 11 dead lomen and four wounded. No one planned to take prisoners, they would be finished off'. The Villagers had 2 men with broken bones and one dead. It was obvious that the women were proud of their men. One of the injured had a broken shoulder. The loman got through and caught him with its club. One of the women picked up a spear and stabbed the loman multiple times. The other women jumped in and it was a Melee after that.
Three weeks later we entered their village. Each travois was loaded with meat and furs, we had hunted on the way. We were met by the village chief and the medicine man. After they conquered their fear of the Cats we were welcomed with open arms. The people we had returned to their village equaled over a third of the Village population and were wife's and daughters and fathers and sons. They were very important to the Village. They threw us a feast that night and we departed early the next morning.
Lateen assured Mondo that they only had two more days till they reached the Cave of Tondars clan. He also told him about the discontent Grog had caused. Lateen said he was sure that Grog had beaten Mondo' s mother but could not prove it.. Mondo informed him he needed no proof ...Grog had tried to kill him and that was enough he was going to call him out..
Lateen informed Mondo the cave was just over the rise. Mondo stepped out a little faster. A big Cat to either side and the Sun behind him Mondo looked like a Golden Giant. The people of the Clan raised their hands to shade their eyes trying to identify the image before them. Lateen picked this time to step into the view. He hollered , “Hello the Camp” …. Tondar yelled it is Lateen. Sonda began to run to meet her Dad but seeing one of the Big Cats step forward caused her to stop. Grog walked out of the cave … Silence fell over the Camp as Mondo's voice bellowed out...”Grog...you tried to Kill Me...For that I Call you OUT !”
Mondo did not hesitate he walked straight to Grog and one huge fist crashed into Grogs face. The blow knocked grog to the ground. Mondo systemically beat Grog senseless. No one tried to stop the carnage, Bruno and Sondi were walking a circle around the combatants. Grog tried to grab a spear to use against Mondo. But an enraged Mondo just brushed it aside and continued to beat his antagonist to a pulp. Mondo slowly began to stop the beating and backed off looking at the fat glob of jelly at his feet. Mondo turned and looked at Tondar By my decree and the laws of the Clan ...I claim all Grogs Possessions an banish him from the Clan. Tondar smiled and asked , “What about your Mother?”
“My Mother is a free Clanswoman.”
Tondar stood and walked to Sharlu, “ I claim you as my mate, do you agree?” since she had been declared a free clanswoman it was her choice. She looked at her son who smiled and nodded and said, “Tondar I claim you.”
Sonda, now a young woman and a clan hunter put her arms around Mondo, “I have waited for you and I claim you as a Hunter's right.” Mondo returned her hug and made a movement with his fingers. When Sonda turned she found herself facing one of the Big Cats, “Sonda meet Sondi. We accept you.”
Lateen began unloading the travois and putting meat on to cook. Every one just walked around Grog until Mondo grabbed his feet and drug him outside the camp and dumped him there. As he walked into camp Lateen was telling everyone of Momd's Clan and that there was no need to move camp twice a year and there was a medicine woman and a good life.
So began the trek to the Bramble Gate.
Tondar spoke with Socar who had been Grog's Hunter trainee. He asked him how he felt about the banishment of Grog... Socar says the only thing he hate about it is he did not get to do the beating himself. When they would go on a hunt , Grog would belittle him and hit him when he did not do as Grog said. Grog was a mean man. I now wish to learn from Mondo.
As time went by on the trail the hunters hunted at their leisure. The nearer they came to their new home the more excited they became. Then the day came, before Mondo could remove the Brambles Gate there was an outpouring of children and Runt. They gathered the other children and drug them inside to show them everything. Mondo began doing the same with the adults. When they reached the other end of the cave they all stood silently staring at the beautiful valley. Our huts were beginning to take the shape of permanent structures. There was no need for temporary shelters anymore.
Tondar wanted to know everything about the cattle, the meat smoking, and especially about the Milk. They sat around a campfire and talked way into the night. One of the topics they discussed was leadership of the Clan . It was very obvious that this was Mondo' s clan but Tondar had always been Mondo' s Chief. They discussed what should they do? Sharlu spoke to Tondar, he nodded his head, “Mondo I am getting old, I have a new wife, it is time for youth to lead the Clan . As long as I am alive I will advise you as needed but You are now Chief.”
Today we celebrate the joning of two Clans into one Tribe the “Clan of the Cats!”
But what of the lomen and what is at the end of the Valley?