This is my first attempt at fan fiction. If anyone likes it or doesn't please let me know.
Disclamer – I don't own any of the characters of Jean Auel's series. I just will be taking them out to play a bit and then putting them back nicely.
Part 1 - Trenova's Journey
"Push Aale, push", cried Creza. "One more push"
"I can't". Thought SarAaleyana. "I'm too old, too tired. I can't do this, I'm going to die". Her body knew what to do though, what it had to do. So slowly and painfully it continued.
Already a night and a day had passed since labor began. Women had come to offer support and during the breaks between labor, they had talked softly together. It was rare for the Sar to be among other women, just talking and laughing about the promise of new life, so even with the pain she relished it.
Her daughter had come as well, she remembered. Her eyes wide with fright at what was going on with her mother. At nearly ten years, the girl was fast approaching womanhood and like most looked forward and with dread, Idasa's most sacred gift She could give to women. The labor had become harder soon afterwards, with Saraaleyana rocking back and forth and large moaning screams pouring from her mouth. Young Trenova had been sent out from the cave then and had not been back since.
Thinking about Trenova, caused the Sar to push harder. She could not die, who would be the Sar after her? Not Trenova! She could not Call, she could not heal, she could not even Search. No, she had to live, just to find another Sar to replace her.
With that thought, she began to push.
"I see the head, another push, good, here it comes," called Creza. With another push, the infant was expelled from its mother and held securely by the old woman. Wiping mucus from the child, she tapped the child with a practice from years of experience, a large howl issued from the baby. Taking care of the afterbirth and cleaning the child she noted the sex and handed it to its mother.
"SarAaleyana, you have delivered a healthy baby girl, may Idasa smile on her and you both" chanted the experienced midwife.
"It's over", thought Aaleyana, looking at her daughter as she nuzzedled the woman's breast searching for the nipple, one thought crossed her mind. "Is she the one?". She would find out soon enough, but first, closing her eyes and feeling the soft pull of her nipple, she fell fast asleep.
The next few days were pleasant for the Sar and her eldest daughter. Staying at Creza's hearth allowed her to rest from the difficult birth and reflect on her newest daughter. The women and girls of the people continued to flock around the hearth, cooing over the newborn, as they talked about the ordinary things of the community.
Saraaleyana welcomed this as she knew that soon she would return to her small cave to the east of the valley, where she would make the charms, fetishes and the appropriate chants to the spirits to continue blessing the people. She would never need to labor like an ordinary woman but neither would she be welcomed to the gossip and communal lives of her people. A part and yet apart from her community, it was the fate of all Sar's, or High Holy Women. The role was handed down generation-to-generation, usually mother to daughter, but sometimes not. It was an ancient role that was told in the Elder Legends how Sarswati – spirit of wisdom, gave the first Sar to the people and how from that day to this they have thrived. She knew that of course. Every child learned the stories and knew the power each Sar possessed, but until now she had felt that after her, there would be none to carry on.
Saraaleyana glanced up at her eldest daughter, Trenova, who was trying to learn how to sew clothes by watching a group of women. A good enough task for an ordinary girl to learn, but one that the future Sar should not waste her time on. "No," she sighed, looking at the unnamed infant. "It's a good thing you're here little one, perhaps you're the one I seek."
As the baby girl began to nurse, she thought back to when she began to think that Trenova would never replace her, when she was only five.
It was spring, she and Trenova were gathering plants to make healing medicine with, or rather she was, while her daughter skipped ahead laughing and pointing to all the new sights around her, after the sameness of winter. Deciding that it was time to rest Aaleyana set down her basket and called her daughter to her. After she and her daughter got comfortable on some furs, she decided that Trenova should know more about her birthright, the Spirit World.
"Listen carefully, I want you to sit up and close your eyes, like momma does when she's thinking about the spirits and you have to be quiet."
Closing her eyes the young girl did as she was asked. "Good, now I want you to think about one thing. Think about a rabbit. Think about its fur, how it hops and how it looks, now tell me where is the nearest rabbit, Trenova, tell me where it is".
The child squirmed and bit her lip. She could see a rabbit, but she didn't know where one was. Fearing her mother would get angry; the little girl lifted her arm and pointed hesitantly to the left.
"Very good precious one, now lets get up and go home, Nitta brought some sweet cakes this morning, and they sound very good right now," remarked Aaleyana. Even though she knew the closest rabbits were to the right, in a glade barely a few moments walk. Thinking that perhaps she was still too young, she decided to try again later, at the same time trying not to remember her mother telling her that she could do the same activity, before she was weaned.
"But, it never did get better", mumbled the new mother. Looking up she saw that Trenova had come to see her new sister and was softly rubbing the newborn's cheek.
"Mother, she is so small and pretty. Look how little her hands are. Mother have you thought up a name yet, what is it?", babbled the young girl.
"Trenova, you know it's forbidden to speak a child's name before it is presented to Suryan, the Sun, on its fifth day of life. You should know this, how many times have I told you it", snapped Aaleyana.
Rebuked, Trenova hung her head, stood up and walked away, hoping that the women would let her watch them making their families outfits.
Shaking her head, Aaleyana once again looked at her infant and whispered softly "It is good you came, you are my last hope."
Trenova glanced up at her mother as she lay sleeping with the unnamed infant. Around her the sleeping cave sounded muffled and quiet as she lay there trying desperately to remain awake. She knew that soon, the cave would be active and awake, before the Sun rose. It would be the dawn of the infants fifth day, naming day.
Just the thought of it caused Trenova to have an involuntary shake. For the past few days, except for watching her mother give birth, had been one of the greatest times of her life. For the first time she was a normal girl. She was part of the cave, one of its members, not just an observer who watched and interacted only during a ceremony or when there was an emergency. For the first time she had made a friend. Thinking about it made the girl, grin with pleasure.
At first it was like always, the girls had just stared at her and spoke quietly when she was around, polite to a near extreme, but not friendly or warm. But as she stood by, the girls warmed up and she slowly began to talk to them. One girl, Dani, even let her try on the bone bracelet that Trenova admired. Later, all of the girls practiced the Woman's Dance, although all of them were several years from being allowed to participate, it was still fun to twist their bodies, stomp their feet and imagine what would happen after the dance.
But, in the morning all that would end, after the ceremony, she her mother and the infant would walk to the cave and begin again the life of near seclusion. It was almost too much for the girl to think about. It was one thing to never have experienced the joy of the community, but to have lived it and be forced away so soon caused her such a feeling of desolation that she nearly cried out loud.
At that moment the baby stirred in her sleep. Nuzzling closer to her mother the infant returned to slumber, but the movement gave Trenova an idea. An idea that could change her life forever, with a prayer to every Spirit known to the people that it would work, she closed her eyes and drifted off to troubled sleep.
Snapping her eyes open, she looked up at the ceiling of the cave. Some instinct told her it was time to begin. Turning to her daughter she whispered to Trenova, "you must get up, it's time to prepare." Handing the infant to her eldest daughter, she gathered her materials and headed to the back of the cave.
Because of the noise of the two females, the rest of the hearth began to awaken. The children were sent to awaken the other hearths, and then some of the children ran to the other caves and woke those camps. A few even ran down to the tents and awakened those lodges. Soon people were beginning to ready their role in the ceremony. Some finished preparing the food, others practiced their instruments and others did still more last minute activities. Most namings were private, but the naming of a Sar's daughter was a rare and spiritual event that included the entire community. It was why there was such a large group so early in the season.
While this was occurring, Aalyeana was in the back of the cave preparing for the naming, while Trenova held the baby and watched her mother. Normally before a ceremony she would bathe in the river, but because of her restriction she had to make do with water from a water skin. Next, she braided her hair in two braids, intermixing feathers to represent Idasa's bird messengers. Next, she put on a robe made of every furred animal the people ate. After that she placed the necklaces made up of every meat eating creature, to show the people's respect even though they did not eat them. Lastly, were the wooden bracelets she wore on her arms to show the importance of vegetable life to the Saryanson people.
After completing her outfit she turned to the fire before her. Breathing in the smoke, she spoke to the spirits on behalf of the infant, asking them to bestow upon the girl a worthy and strong spirit, able to handle all of life's situations.
Finally, she turned to the infant. Taking the girl from Trenova's arms, she placed the baby on a fur before her and taking off her outfit, began to chant. Reaching for a wooden bowl, whose contents of fat, grease and red ochre had been made the day before, she slowly began to place the mixture on the newborn. For to Saryan people this was the child's birth day. Only until a child reached its fifth day would a child be considered alive and filled with a spirit, and until it was, it was very vulnerable to all malevolent beings that wished it to be harmed.
As she worked, she sang and chanted the names of the spirits, whose jobs it was to guide and inform all of the world's people. This chant represented the first time that a child heard about the spirit world, and although the infant only knew that the grease was warm and soothing and the sounds were comforting, it was still important that she heard about her birthright from the beginning.
When the Sar was done, the baby was completely covered in red, the only exceptions, being its eyes, nose and mouth area. Glancing behind her, she saw that the night was beginning to recede and that soon the Sun would rise. Taking her youngest daughter in her arms, she turned to Trenova and said "Hurry, me must begin the ceremony, the Sun will begin rising in a few moments." Wrapping the child in a fur made of Bison hide, she and her daughters left the cave.