August 15, 1999
Nothing had changed. After three summers away with her stepfather, she was still the freak half-breed of the village. She sat on the roof of the tribal council hall and relaxed in the shadow of the bank next door. Legs loosely crossed and eyes closed, she watched the coming and goings below her. She could sense her father directly beneath her, his lycan energy so very different from the tribal elders.
She tensed as a flare of anger escaped from his very tightly controlled energy pattern. Centuries of life had taught Conner to control everything about him. An uncontrolled man lead to a rogue wolf and this always brought death and destruction. Sliding down to lay prone on the roof she listened through the vent to the discussion below.
“It is hers by right and heritage. You can not deny her this.” Her father said almost to quietly to hear. Quite was bad, very bad. That meant he was working very hard to control his feelings. He was normally a soft-spoken man, but this sort of quiet made the hairs on your neck stand up.
“The necklace is a tribal heirloom, passed down from Chief’s daughter to daughter. She has lived outside of the tribe for three years now.” Elder Kukhhittan snapped. “She would take our treasure and sell it to a white man’s museum. She has no concept of it’s importance and she does not value our ways.”
“You rejected her. You allowed your children to call her half breed and freak. She is Chief Yanyedi’s grand daughter damn it!.”
“She is the bastard of a white drifter. Her mother’s death was a great loss to us all. Her mother was….” The elder didn’t finish because Conner had stepped so close to him his exhales made the elders gray hair move.
“My wife….” Conner took a deep steadying breathe and then said, ” I know what you thought she was. Dream walker, something amazing. But damn it, she was my wife. She was Sam’s mother and we all lost her. Now you would deny Sam her birthright, because you disagree with MoonSingers choice in lovers. I loved her enough to adopt her baby as my own. If you loved MoonSinger as much as you claim, you would not deny her daughter what is her’s.” Sam could sense Conner was at the breaking point.
The energy lashing about caused Sam to scramble down from the roof. Pushing through the front doors she walked past the tribal secretary, whose face had grown warm from being caught with her ear to the door. Sam opened the door as the woman squeaked “You can’t go in there!”
“Papa, let it go. I don’t care about the necklace enough to upset you.” Sam tried to pull him away from the Elder. She could tell her father was on the edge of putting his hands on the man.
“Sam, its all we have left of your mother. They shouldn’t keep it from us… from you.” He stepped away and looked into his daughter’s forest green eyes, the mark of the drifter who had left his friend MoonSinger with child. Marrying MoonSinger had been the best thing he had ever done. It had given the old wolf a reason to live again. And in her death she left him with an even stronger purpose, her daughter.
“You told me papa that who my birth father was didn’t matter, because mama and you loved me. You told me that her death, in giving me life, was her greatest gift to the world. You told me when I would cry at night that mama would live on in me. That necklace isn’t mama. Mama lives in us, in our love and in our family. Isn’t that what you always said? I want nothing to do with a tribe that judges me on who my father is or was. I don’t need them papa, all I need is you.”
Turning her back on the elders, she squared her shoulders and prepared to walk out. Her midnight dark hair swung freely to her waist and she walked out without a backward glance.
As Conner turned to follow his daughter out of the room he heard Chief Yanyedi speak. “If you ever needed proof that my daughter lives in that one, you finally have it. You are fools…all of you. The council has out voted me, but I will remember this slight to my family. I will remember it for as long as my spirit walks the earth.” Conner stopped and looking to Yanyedi, saw sadness etched across his face. In the distance Conner heard the howl of a wolf pack as the sun sank to earth the moon rose. He had a sudden thought that Yanyedi’s spirit would soon run with the wolves again.
The Tlingits of Teslin, Yukon include people of five clans, Wolf, Frog, Beaver, Crow and Eagle. In Tlingit, the clan names are: