The Conduit - A Legend of the Tribe, Pt 3 (A Serial for Newsletter Subscribers ONLY)

Miathe had no idea what he'd seen trying to break through the surface of the river, but the moment the churn of the water subsided he was winging skyward. Moroc had tasked him with reporting on the Misignwa... Misignwas now, though Matchetehew was even less inclined to take up the mantle of guardian than his brother had been. If the Great Wolf wanted them watched, then they were Miathe's best hope for allies in whatever strange game the gods were playing with creation.
That was enough to strengthen his resolve.  Raptorous wings flapped against the wind, the air damp with the coming spring rains and the cool current brought him to focus, following downdrafts and microbursts that sang through his feathers as he circled downward, following the pull of magic through the treetops and to a cabin below. Miathe lighted on the splintered pole of a clothes line and screeched, confused. The power he'd followed down was not a Misignwa, though the energy ruffling his feathers was familiar somehow. It felt warm.. beckoning him to the rooftop of an isolated cabin hidden at a river bend of the Nocturne. The land wasn't unknown to him and he chirped his confusion, citrine eyes suspiciously feeling out the source of magic, his wings flapping his agitation as he studied the scene below. The cabin may have changed but the land had not and Miathe got his bearings, recognizing the land he now surveyed with a curious caution. This had once been the home of the pauwau, the border that marked the land of the Great Spirit's witch. Annie's house was long gone, torn apart by years of storms and decay, taken back by the land from which it had grown and a new house stood in it's place, a marker covering magic buried by nearly two centuries of progress.
The chimney was hot.
There was a creak of springs as the porch door swung open and he hopped to the edge of the roof to peer over, seeing a mane of golden hair billowing out from a petite woman, acompanied by.. her sneezing. She was sneezing incessantly, swearing after every one and calling in a scratchy voice to something he couldn't see until he focused for a moment on the brush beyond the cabin, seeing the green glint of feline eyes and the shadowy dart of back fur. A cat. The woman was hunting a cat and none too amused by the way it eluded her, one hand ona tissue and fury in her eyes as she glanced around the woods for an animal that clearly didn't want to be found. The cat's eyes were strange, tugging at something in his heart but he pushed it aside to study the way that the tendriling magic coiling the land moved, pushing out from the cabin.
Miathe blinked one eye and then the other, the current of power in the air shifting, drawing his attention away from the woman and the feline to the forest beyond. There was someone there. Not the thing he'd seen in the river, but another well taught on how to move almost invisibly through the trees, the only tell the soft crag of a twig or the rustle of a leaf where their path took them along the property line that once enclosed generations of power. His claws cut into the wood shingles as his head pivoted to follow their sentry, eyes narrowing to pinpoint the source. His senses hummed and he had the keenest sense of malice from whoever it was, a hatred that burned him like a ceremonial fire and when another twig bent to the softest creak, Miathe and the woman below him both looked toward the sound.
"Hello?" Her voice trembled, soft and melodic and not bent with the accent of the mountain people. She was not of this place and having an outsider so close to so much power could mean nothing good.
Miathe shrieked in answer and the woman and the form in the woods startled, the cat answering back from the brush in a quiet growl of warning.
She spun toward him, a hand full of gravel gathered from the edge of the porch stairs flung at him in a rain of pinching stone. The form in the woods scattered at her shout and the cat chased after it, the circuit of magic tightening back to surround the cabin once more in a protective barrier protecting whatever source was still hidden by the land. Maybe this was what Moroc had sent him to find, and if Moroc wanted to find it, then Miathe could never tell him.
"Jesus Christ, bird! You scared the shit out of me!"
Miathe screamed at her, a piercing call of annoyance as he took to the air once more, circling twice before following the river's trail toward Matchetehew's den, leaving the blonde to her sneezing and swearing as she stormed through the brush after the cat.
The younger twin may not wish to be Misignwa as his brother was, but something dark was stalking sacred land, and the holler might yet need a guardian. Whether Matchetehew liked it or not.
In the shadow of the forest, the form paused and looked skyward, watching the owl grow smaller with the distance. Full lips curled into a wicked smile, delicate fingers brushing the still pink and healing scars across the skin of it's chest.
"Our time is coming, eninubaki. And this time, you will not return. None of you will."

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