The Reunion Pact
Ava, now seventeen,
twirled in front of her bedroom mirror. She was a beauty for all to behold with
hair that shone like the amber fields in sunlight and eyes that captured all of
the colors of the sky. King Jonah told her that she was the mirror image of her
mother; a Queen so beautiful that her presence stunned the faction to silence
when she entered the great hall.
She was readying
herself for breakfast when she heard the cries coming from below her window.
She ran to the stairs and out the front door sliding to a halt just short of
the Kings’ backside.
“What happened?” the
King cried, and Ava squeezed past the royal guard to see what he was referring
She gasped at the sight
that lay before her. The Queen was lying in a heap on the ground outside the
“I don’t know, my King.
She went to the river to retrieve water lily flowers for the breakfast table.
She was out of my sight for just a moment when I heard her scream! I ran to the
river and found her like this. She was alone,” Colm told him.
“Bring her upstairs to
our bed and find the medicine woman!” the King commanded.
Colm lifted the limp
woman in to his arms and climbed the steps to the palace trailed by the King.
“I’ll find Calla,
Father!” Ava cried.
Calla was child care
giver and medicine woman for the Faction of Dove. Ava ran to her home and
banged on the door. The old woman answered, clutched Avas’ hand and said,
“What’s wrong my child? Have you seen a ghost?”
“It’s the Queen!
Something is wrong with the Queen!” the girl cried.
The old woman turned
and grabbed her bag, then followed the girl back to the palace.
Ava paced a path in the
hall waiting for the elders to let her in to the Queens’ chamber. She wasn’t
happy to have the door slammed in her face. She wasn’t a child anymore, after
Finally, the King
opened the door for her. “Noisy steps for such a little bird!” he said, “Your
mother is awake now.”
Ave followed him in to
the room and looked down at the Queen who was lying on her bed. A tear escaped
the girls eye. She couldn’t bear anymore loss in her short life.
She listened as the
Queen described her ordeal.
“I was collecting the
lilies when my head began to spin. I fell to my knees and looked up at the
Great Mother. She placed her hand on my head and smiled the most loving smile.
It was a smile so pure I thought my beating heart would leap right from my
chest just for the chance to have her smile upon it. She opened her mouth and
her voice boomed in my ears. She chanted in a tongue that I could not decipher
and the swirling words made me dizzy again. I tried to keep my bearings but the
world went dark and I woke up here,” she told them.
Calla clapped her hands
and said, “The Great Mother has given us the most incredible gift!”
“What does she mean,
Father?’ Ava asked, ‘What kind of gift?”
The King turned to the
girl with a strange mix of joy and sorrow in his eyes. His look confused her
and she tried to search his face for an explanation. She wouldn’t understand
yet why the King was so confounded. He placed his hands on the girls shoulder
and said, “The Queen is with child.”
“A new baby dove!
That’s wonderful, Father!” Ava said, wrapping her arms around him.
By the following
season, the Queen of Doves would welcome her son. Culver was a perfect dove
child with hair the color of pure white down.
It was later the same
year when an unlikely visitor showed up at the Palace of Doves. He was a thin
and wiry man with hair the color of the earth. Ava was seated on the palace
stairs when he made his way up to her.
“Good morning, dove.
Are you the one they call Ava?” he said.
“I am. And you are?”
Ava asked, peering in the mans’ puppy dog eyes.
“My name is Yutu. I was
sent here by my lord and master; the King of Coyote to meet with your father,”
he told her.
“Shall I call him for
you?” she asked.
“If it pleases you. If
not, I shall simply knock on the door,” the coyote boy told her.
Ava lifted herself from
her perch and said, “Follow me, Yutu,” leading him up the stairs. He hesitated
to cross the threshold and she turned to him, confused.
“We do not tread where
we aren’t invited. It’s the law of the Great Mother,” he told her.
“You are welcome in my
palace, coyote. Please come in,” Ava smiled, “Wait in the grand hall. I’ll
fetch the King.”
She found the King
bouncing young Culver on his knee. She hesitated to interrupt such a lovely
moment but the Queen say her lurking and asked, “What is it, girl?”
“Father, there’s a
coyote boy here to see you. I’ve put him in the grand hall,” she advised.
“Ava! You don’t bring
strangers in to the palace!” the King scolded as he handed the baby off to his
“He’s harmless, I’m
sure and very polite,” Ava argued.
“We thought our own
people were harmless once and what did we get? We lost a royal family save for
you!” the King reminded her.
“I’m sorry, father but
he’s waiting,” she replied, dropping her head.
Ava resumed her perch
on the palace stairs and waited for Yutu to deliver his message. She rarely saw
anyone outside the Faction of Dove and wished to look at him again. He was so
different from her people with their light hair and multicolored eyes. They
were tall and graceful and he was slight and wild. She imagined that he was
fast on his feet. Clearly he was built to remain low to the ground and fleet of
flight. His exotic looks both pleased and intrigued her.
It wasn’t long before
the King and the coyote exited the palace and Ava stood up and straightened her
dress as they passed her by. She watched as the King shook the boys hand and
offered him a bag of food for his journey home.
She thought the boy would
leave without giving her a chance to gaze at his face again but he pivoted in
her direction and tipped his head to her.
“It was a great
pleasure to meet you, young dove,” he said, ‘I hope to have the pleasure
The King ascended the
stairs but stopped beside the girl placing his hand in her shoulder. He dropped
his head and she saw that familiar sorrow in his eyes.
“What’s wrong father?
What did the coyote say?” she asked.
The King smiled at her
and said, “You’re a lady now, Ava. You’re not my little dove anymore.”
Her cheeks flushed at
the notion that her Father had sensed her attraction to Yutu but that wasn’t
why he was saddened. He’d been propositioned by the King of Coyote. A pact in
exchange for his beautiful, young dove.
The King assembled the
council in the grand hall. Sephora handed the baby off to Calla and took her
seat beside her husbands’ throne.
“I’ve called this
assembly to discuss a proposition that I’ve received from the King of Coyote.
He’s calling it a reunion pact.” The king said.
“Reunion? We were never
united. How could we reunite?” Colm asked.
“The King of Coyote
sent his only son Yutu to discuss this pact. As you know, the people of the
Coyote are limited in their resources and constantly thwarting off the advances
of the Crow who carries away their food stores at every turn. To increase their
bounty, they’d like to reach out to the land factions across the sea to form a
bond in trade but the Faction of Shark prevents them from crossing the waters.
They’ve asked that we fly our spirit animals above the ocean to deliver their
proposal to the Faction of Wolf,” the King told them.
“And what do we get in
return? Besides the scorn of the Great Mother who divided us for good reason?”
“We get protection from
the Coyote so that we may venture in to the forest to forage and a sealed pact
in the event that a war with the Crow becomes imminent. You and I both know
that the Crow has been encroaching on our lands and it won’t be long before
they make a move on our food stores as well,” the King replied.
“But what of the Great
Mother? Do we defy our Goddess to please the Coyote and stave off the Crow?”
“The Great Mother
divided us to prevent war. I should think that she would be pleased to learn
that we were once again the messengers of peace!” the King replied.
“It sounds as if you’ve
already made up your mind, my lord. So, tell us, how do we seal this reunion
pact?” Colm asked.
“The King sent his boy
as the messenger so that he could gaze upon my daughter. We seal the deal by
offering Avas’ hand to the Prince of Coyote thereby connecting our factions through
the blood of their heir,” he replied, feeling the Queens’ stare burn in to the
nape of his neck.
When the council
dispersed, the King turned to the Queen. “Speak before you burst, woman,” he
“Ava? You’d send the
child off to live with a pack of wild animals?” she said.
“They’re not animals
and she’s not a child. You should have seen the way she looked at the coyote
boy! It reminded me of your wanting eyes the first time we met!” he smiled.
“But, Jonah! She’s not
just our child! She was the child of Callum and Dernin. Do you think they’d be
willing to marry her off to the Coyote?” Sephora asked.
“I believe they’d want their child to have an opportunity to rule. She lost that when the Great Mother fixed your womb and gave us our son! What happens to her if she stays with us? We die, Culver becomes King and Callum and Dernins’ bloodline is no longer regal. We need this pact and we need to let her go. It’s for her own good,” the King replied.