Friday, July 20, 2012

The Mystical World of the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers - Where The Rain Is Made


* 35+ Five-Star Reviews
* Reviewer's Top Pick
* Recommended Read
* Book of the Month
* Nominated for Bookie Award
* Nominated for Best Romance of the Year 

Set Up:
1860's, Francesca DuVall and her brother Marsh have been kidnapped by the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers. Both have been through several brutal rituals but survived. Here, they're discussing the mystical aspects of this new world. Ermine Boy, one of the Dog Soldiers was killed in a fight with the soldiers. Cesca and Marsh talk about his passing and the Cheyenne's beliefs in the after world. 

“If I explain the reasoning behind my defense of Meko, you’ll think I’ve gone off the deep end after everything that’s happened, but—”

“But what?”

“He brought the birds.” Marsh closed his eyes. “Meko saved you.”

She turned her back to him, couldn’t handle her raging emotions. “What are you talking about?”

“I saw things, things you’d never understand.”

“Try me, Marsh. I saw things under the sun too, hallucinated from Thunder Speaks’ herbs.” A finger went into her mouth. “At least I think they were hallucinations.”

“The peyote juice he forced down your throat.”

With an unrestrained shake she turned to him. “I remember the bitter taste. 

What is peyote?”
“A cactus, looks like the top of a mushroom. They pound up the roots and make it into tea. From what I hear, peyote induces a deep, spiritual journey.”

“I saw strange things, but I can’t recall now if the demonic visions came when I was under the sun or when Thunder Speaks forced the bitter tea down my throat.”

“You asked me what I saw.” Marsh drew a gulp of air. “I swear I wasn’t drinking peyote.”

Her eyes widened. “Tell me.”

“I turned Starlight around and headed back, couldn’t leave you no matter what happened. Five miles from the village, Meko stood on a tall bluff. Blood dripped from deep gashes in his arms.”

“What? Who cut up his arms?” she asked.

“He did. A red man slices his body up when mourning. Women too.”
“Good God,” Cesca said with a wheeze. What else did you see that day, Marsh?”
He hesitated as if thinking about his words. “Believe me, Meko called forth the birds, his brothers, to save you.”
“His-his brothers?”
Memories flooded her. Lying in a pool of her own urine, clinging to life by a thread, the wind kissed her face, whispered in her ear, I Am The Wind . . . I Am The Wind. Ermine Boy, his face as clear as the fingers on her hand, hovered above her, and birds circled overhead, called forth by a nebulous spirit.
“Cesca?” Marsh touched her arm. “Did I lose you?”
“No, I heard you.” She changed the subject. “Did you ever meet Ermine Boy before he died?”
Marsh nodded. “Once.”
“What did he look like?”
“Boyishly handsome by a woman’s standards, I imagine. The day I saw him, ermine furs hung from his braids.” A long pause. “The People bring him food, leave it outside his lodge.”

“He came for me, touched my cheek. I think the spirits sent him to guide me on my final journey.”

Marsh trembled, so slight only Cesca would notice. “We’re Christian, why would Cheyenne spirits . . . unless—”

“I’m frightened. What kind of a world have we entered?”
“A mystical, spiritual world of some sort.”
“Finish what you started. You said, ‘unless,’”
“I don’t know much about Cheyenne customs, but you’re married to Meko now. 

Maybe the spirits consider you one of their own.”
The cold air crept in, like it had the day Cesca passed the burial ground. She waited until the clouds stopped smothering the moon. “Why do you suppose they bring Ermine Boy food?”
“I asked Thunder Speaks while you were recuperating.”
“The People believe if one dies young, they’re not ready to leave the earth. 

They linger, hang around for a year embracing their old life. They feed Ermine Boy so he doesn’t go hungry while he delays his final journey.”

“He wasn’t fighting his departure. In fact, his face mirrored acceptance and harmony.” The thought the People might one day leave food outside Meko’s lodge threw her into a panic.”
Marsh looked into her eyes. “He killed Choking Wolf, went against his own kind. He came, Cesca.”
She clasped a hand over her mouth. “God, help me.” She clutched his arm to keep from toppling over. “He’s on a death journey? He means to let them kill him?”

Review Snippet from Amazon Reader - M. Zander -

"Wow, wow, and WOW..this book was great!! The story is a historical, which I would normally shy away from because I don't typically care for the language and descriptions that are usually involved in a historical, however, that wasn't the case with this book, which I think was the beauty of Keta Diablo's storytelling. Keta has you so swept up in all the drama, romance, action and suspense you forget you aren't reading a book set in present day. AMAZING!"


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