Read People of the Wolf Online
Authors: Kathleen O'Neal Gear,W. Michael Gear
Tags: #General Fiction
In the Dreaming, he and Wolf walked side by side. Hunger did not stalk his limbs or make his head light. He walked strong, Wolf at his heels.
"There!" Wolf indicated with his nose. "You see? There to the south?" The Big Ice sparkled before them, a forbidding wall of cold and blue ice under mountains of snow. As they neared the wall, a wide, braided river spilled out of a crack in the ice.
"This is the way, man of the People," the beast's voice echoed from the walls. "I will show you the way to salvation ..."
Moved by the promise of this awesome vision, a lone, courageous dreamer led his people on an epic journey to discover a lush, unspoiled continent for themselves and their descendants. This is a true story of those first Americans. This is the monumental saga of the
PEOPLE OF THE WOLF
Driven by the power of a dream, a handful of men and women fought to forge a path to a new land of promise and plenty . . .
Runs In Light—
young hunter who sacrificed love and power to follow a mystical vision, and came to be called the Wolf Dreamer.
—The courageous young woman who endured humiliation at the hands of an aged shaman and an arrogant warrior to follow the Wolf Dreamer and lead her people to an awesome destiny.
twin to the Wolf Dreamer, who defied his vision and led the People on a path of bloodshed and vengeance.
fiercely independent medicine woman who took the Wolf Dreamer as her disciple, and taught him the secrets of her own awesome powers.
Ice Fire—War Chief of the Mammoth Clan, ancient enemy of the People, whose long-buried secret would forever alter the destiny of the Wolf Dreamer and his people.
W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear
People of the
A TOM DOHERTY ASSOCIATES BOOK NEW YORK
This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.
PEOPLE OF THE WOLF
Copyright © 1990 by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form.
A Tor Book
Published by Tom Doherty Associates, Inc.
49 West 24th Street
New York, N.Y. 10010
Cover art by Royo
First edition: July 1990
Printed in the United States of America
TO RICHARD S. WHEELER
WHO HELPED MAKE THE DREAM COME TRUE.
People of the Wolf we
tapped a great number of resources to buttress our own professional understanding of early Paleolndian culture. In addition to journal articles, professional reports, and reference books, we offer special thanks to the following: Stephen D. Chomko, Ph.D., Interagency Archeological Services, National Park Service, for sharing his expertise in recent developments in Paleolndian studies; Ray C. Leicht, Ph.D., Wyoming State Archeologist, and former Alaska State Archeologist, Bureau of Land Management, for his help in reconstruct- " ing Pleistocene climatology and providing resources in arctic archaeology; George Prison, Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of Wyoming, for his observations on mammoth hunting in
The Colby Site;
Gary E. Kessler, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, California State College, Bakersfield, for his invaluable lessons in mysticism and Native American religions; Katherine Cook, for her constant support and willingness to read and reread manuscripts; additionally, our professional colleagues have provided invaluable classroom discussions, conference papers, excavation reports, and, of course, so many stimulating arguments around field-camp fires where dirt archaeology takes place. You know who you are.
Additionally, a special debt of gratitude is owed our editor, Michael Seidman, whose interest in archaeology and Native American mysticism actually generated this series; to Tom Doherty who backed the project; to Tappan King who wrote in big pencil; to Wanda June Alexander for pushing so hard; and to all the talented staff at Tor Books.
The pickup bucked and heaved as it bounced over the scraggy greasewood. Red dust whirled and puffed under the knobby all-terrain tires. In four-wheel drive, it growled and clawed its way up an eroded terrace, lining out to lurch and sway over blue-green sagebrush as it headed for the yellow equipment parked below the bluff on the other side of the flat.
The driver pulled up amidst the sweet smell of crushed sage and the bitter tint of alkali dust. Two cats, a backhoe, and a pipeline trenching machine, along with a handful of pickups, waited, engines stilled. Only the constant whisper of the wind competed with a low chatter of human voices.
The driver popped the wind-sprung door open and jumped out, stiffening his back and stretching after the long drive. Heads appeared from the pipeline trench, yellow hard hats bright against the windrowed dirt.
"You're here!" A foreman pulled himself up and stiff-armed out of the trench. " 'Bout time. You damned archaeologists are costing me money! We got to get this pipe laid by the tenth of December, and this delay's soaking up ten thousand dollars of the company's money a day."
The driver shook hands and nodded. "Yeah, well, let's see what we've got here. Old floodplain terrace like this, you won't find much. Besides, from the geomorphology, this terrace must be about fifteen thousand years old. That's the end of the Pleistocene. What you cut is probably intrusive. Some homesteader buried out here? Who knows?"
The driver reached in the truck, bending around the gearshift levers to pull out an old military ammo box and a scarred briefcase.
Together they threaded their way through the gnarled sagebrush to the trench to stare down at an area where the backhoe had peeled back the overburden. A one-man sifting screen stood propped over a conical pile of dirt.
"Dr. Cogs?" A young sunburned woman looked up.
"Hi, Anne, What'd you find?" The driver jumped down into the trench.
The young woman looked smugly at the catskinners and construction workers as she indicated a black plastic sheet over the square carved out of the backhoe trench.
"Just a solitary burial, Dr. Cogs." She wiped at a dirt-smeared face. "I was monitoring the trench through here. Thought this would be pretty dull. Then the trencher clipped an arm. Saw the distal portion of the radius and ulna in the backdirt. That's when I shut them down."
"Intrusive?" he asked, seeing the foreman cross his arms, face stiff.
"No way. She was here and got covered. Um, there's sorted gravels in the same strata she's in. If I was guessing, I'd say she drowned and got left behind in the flood."
"On a Pleistocene terrace?" he asked, reaching for the plastic.
Anne's serious response warned him. "That's right. Take a look."
Cogs, with Anne's help, lifted the protecting black plastic from the excavation. He paused, taking in the skeleton. From the pelvic bones, he could tell it had been a woman. One arm had flopped out in death. The severed bone glared garishly yellow white where the trencher bucket had taken it off.
He bent down over the skull. "Old. Only a couple of teeth in her head—and they're incisors. Can't hardly see a suture in her skull except for the squamosals. I'd say somewhere in
her late sixties at least. Probably older. Look at the arthritis in her spine! Must have hurt like crazy."
From his ammo box, he pulled a trowel and tested the gravel-laden silts the burial lay in. He chewed his lip and nodded. "All right, I agree." He looked up at the young archaeologist. "Caught in a flood? Sure, why not? Explains the preservation."
"We don't find many Paleolndian burials," Anne reminded.
"None from formations this old. I wonder . . ."He began digging out around the rib cage, the trowel ringing across the gravel.
"I didn't want to take it down any further," Anne was saying. "Considering the age of the deposit, I thought . . . What's that?"
Cogs peeled back hard silt, using the tip of the trowel to expose something red orange. "You get any artifacts out of this?"
"One piece of weathered shell. Looked like it might have been clam. Can't say if it was associated." She bent closer, as he reached for a paintbrush and whisked the loose dirt away, exposing a long, blood-red jasper projectile point.
"Jesus!" he breathed. "Look at that!"
"What is it?" The foreman and his crew jammed in to see.
"Clovis!" Anne breathed. "A genuine Clovis burial." Troweling on her own, she began uncovering yet another point. "Beautiful workmanship. Look at this one, red-banded yellow chert. Exquisite!"
"That's a hallmark of Clovis." He studied the point as her deft hands uncovered it. "Incredible stonework."
She nodded in elation. "That's the most beautiful point I've ever seen."
Cogs frowned. "And an old woman carried them? Says something about the social structure. She must have been a leader of some kind. Of course after the Oregon points—"
"Hey, we gotta get this pipeline in!" the foreman complained. "What's Clovis?"
"The first Americans. Oldest culture in North America," he answered, rubbing his forehead as he stared.
ever found a burial like this before."
"You're costing me ten grand a day for a damned old pile of bones? By God, I'm writing my congressman about this one. What the hell—"
Cogs breathed a disgruntled breath. "You're going to get your pipeline in."
"We are?" The man's voice had softened. He pushed his hat back on his head.
The archaeologist nodded. "We'll do some testing—um, put in some excavation squares to see if anything else is buried—but I don't think there's more here than just this one. You can see the evidence of the flooding in the pit walls." He shook his head. "Look at her right foot. See how the bone's all spurred? She broke her ankle once—years before she died. Must have hurt like sixty to walk on that. It'd never been set."
The foreman looked close. "Yeah, pretty nasty. How long for you to do that damned testing?"
"A couple of days."
"I wonder who she was. ..."
Fire crackled in the sheltered crevice, sparks .whirling upward. Overhead, a matte black of soot had grown velvet, thick, softening the gritty surface of the rock. Along the lower walls, willow and thick dry grass broke the chill seeping from the floor. A double hanging of smoke-darkened caribou hide kept Wind Woman's arctic blasts from penetrating the cracks in the rock. In a ring around the edges, bleached skulls from Grandfather White Bear, Caribou, Wolf, and White Fox, eye sockets empty, stared at the flickering light. The clean white bone displayed odd colorful designs—symbols of shaman Power.
As the woman leaned tiredly forward, long tangles of thick black hair tumbled across her face, reflecting a bluish sheen in the fire's glow. Tenderly, she patted the decaying granite below her feet. In niches and crannies, fetishes lay bundled in drab browns of willow bark aged and tinged with smoke from sacred fires.
"I'm still here . . ." she murmured, "waiting. You didn't think I'd gone, did you?"
When no answer came, Heron settled back against the cold stone wall, grumbling irritably to herself. Once-bright de-