A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-Three)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-Three)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

Once the throats of the kept fish are slit in kindness with a thank you for giving themselves up for sustenance Amelie takes her time in the hold to rest.  She knows the corpses of the fish will be thrown into barrels to be rolled into the gallery where ‘Unibrow’ Nippie and Janice will skin them and hang them and coat them with brine to dry out for storage.  That means the crew will be eating fried fish skin with seaweed soup for the next while.

Amelie closes her eyes with a sigh.  All of ‘Dizzying Blade’s’ weapons are now stored in the Captain’s and ‘Wheel Turner’s’ rooms.  Such an interesting assortment of fighting utensils, and of course, Arsema is away.  She already misses sparring with Arsema under ‘Dizzying Blades’ caustic tutelage.  As she falls asleep she envisions her and Arsema practicing deeks and ducks, spins, switching weapons from one hand to the other, and fighting with a weapon in each hand.  As they practice she hears girls screaming.

She opens her eyes and listens.  Starlight filters through the partially open windows that were once for the now never used cannons.  She realizes the screams are not coming from her dream, but are real, and happening. 

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (Kitchener-Waterloo)

With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne or Joannegosling22@gmail.com

Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor;

Andraya Watt as Assistant-Master-at-Arms, Amelie

With Thanks To:

Fire & Steel for the Medieval Rapier:  http://fireandsteel.ca/

Alex Watt for background pictures

Daiana Duca for background pictures

Krissy Karmaschek for background pictures

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Six: Blog Thirty-Nine)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

“What was the plan,” ‘Wheel Turner’ asks passing over a biscuit and a wooden cup full of diluted rum.

Master Jo Anne watches in utter surprise as Melinda’s expression blossoms into hate and rage as she replies, “To feast on Barthadrow and his crew.”

Everyone, including Melinda spits.

“Worthy task,” she hears ‘Wheel Turner’ say with a nod.  “Well our Captain is impatient so the ‘Ship Builder’ and I will just lug this casket of liquid gold to the talk.” 

Master Jo Anne sees the ‘Ship Builder’ glance her way with concern.

‘I’ll be fine,’ she mouths back to him.

“I think the Navigator will agree with me when I say we are a Sisterhood,” Zala says.

“Aye,” she replies turning away from the ‘Ship Builder’.

“What sort of religion do you follow?” Zala asks the Cannibal.

“I follow the most righteous religion,” Melinda replies.  “Drebee is my goddess.  All other religions are backwards and despicable.”  Leaning forward the Cannibal adds conspiratorially, “They eat their own children.”

“But you said your world is overpopulated,” Zala says. 

Master Jo Anne smiles.  A real thinker is Zala.

Melinda’s mouth opens and she stares off with a confused expression on her face.  “Well, that’s what our priests tale us,” she starts to explain but then hesitates again.  Then she perks up and says enthusiastically, “They don’t take care of themselves and die of disease.  And the couples hate each other.”

“Should you be eating them then?” Zala asks.

“Let us talk about something else,” Melinda says and her smile is charming and persuasive although her mauve irises grow darker and the red specks increase in size.

“Yes,” she hears Zala agree.  She sees Zala move slightly farther away from Melinda.

“The one with the lost gaze and strangely misplaced missing finger seems handsome in a pitiful kind of way,” Melinda says with a smile that causes her canine shaped fangs to glint in the light of the two moons.  “Is he spoken for?”

“Yes,” Master Jo Anne replies curtly and before Zala can say anything.

“Here?” Melinda asks looking back at the Nagua.

Master Jo Anne slides her hand over the pommel of her rapier and partially withdraws it.  “It’s not to be discussed,” she warns through gritted teeth. 

“Well, no matter,” Melinda replies.  The look in Melinda’s eyes cause Master Jo Anne to think of a painting of the Greek or is it Roman deity, Apollo.  She shakes her head to clear her thoughts.

“So,” Melinda continues without any show of fear.  “Have you ever been in a place where one day it stops raining and the surrounding villages won’t let you in?”

“No,” Master Jo Anne hears Zala reply in a very inquisitive like tone.

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (Kitchener-Waterloo)

With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne or Joannegosling22@gmail.com

Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor;

Fire & Steel for the Medieval Rapier:  http://fireandsteel.ca/

Alex Watt for background pictures

Daiana Duca for background pictures

Krissy Karmaschek for background pictures

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Six: Blog Thirty-Nine)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

“What was the plan,” ‘Wheel Turner’ asks passing over a biscuit and a wooden cup full of diluted rum.

Master Jo Anne watches in utter surprise as Melinda’s expression blossoms into hate and rage as she replies, “To feast on Barthadrow and his crew.”

Everyone, including Melinda spits.

“Worthy task,” she hears ‘Wheel Turner’ say with a nod.  “Well our Captain is impatient so the ‘Ship Builder’ and I will just lug this casket of liquid gold to the talk.” 

Master Jo Anne sees the ‘Ship Builder’ glance her way with concern.

‘I’ll be fine,’ she mouths back to him.

“I think the Navigator will agree with me when I say we are a Sisterhood,” Zala says.

“Aye,” she replies turning away from the ‘Ship Builder’.

“What sort of religion do you follow?” Zala asks the Cannibal.

“I follow the most righteous religion,” Melinda replies.  “Drebee is my goddess.  All other religions are backwards and despicable.”  Leaning forward the Cannibal adds conspiratorially, “They eat their own children.”

“But you said your world is overpopulated,” Zala says. 

Master Jo Anne smiles.  A real thinker is Zala.

Melinda’s mouth opens and she stares off with a confused expression on her face.  “Well, that’s what our priests tale us,” she starts to explain but then hesitates again.  Then she perks up and says enthusiastically, “They don’t take care of themselves and die of disease.  And the couples hate each other.”

“Should you be eating them then?” Zala asks.

“Let us talk about something else,” Melinda says and her smile is charming and persuasive although her mauve irises grow darker and the red specks increase in size.

“Yes,” she hears Zala agree.  She sees Zala move slightly farther away from Melinda.

“The one with the lost gaze and strangely misplaced missing finger seems handsome in a pitiful kind of way,” Melinda says with a smile that causes her canine shaped fangs to glint in the light of the two moons.  “Is he spoken for?”

“Yes,” Master Jo Anne replies curtly and before Zala can say anything.

“Here?” Melinda asks looking back at the Nagua.

Master Jo Anne slides her hand over the pommel of her rapier and partially withdraws it.  “It’s not to be discussed,” she warns through gritted teeth. 

“Well, no matter,” Melinda replies.  The look in Melinda’s eyes cause Master Jo Anne to think of a painting of the Greek or is it Roman deity, Apollo.  She shakes her head to clear her thoughts.

“So,” Melinda continues without any show of fear.  “Have you ever been in a place where one day it stops raining and the surrounding villages won’t let you in?”

“No,” Master Jo Anne hears Zala reply in a very inquisitive like tone.

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (Kitchener-Waterloo)

With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne or Joannegosling22@gmail.com

Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor;

Fire & Steel for the Medieval Rapier:  http://fireandsteel.ca/

Alex Watt for background pictures

Daiana Duca for background pictures

Krissy Karmaschek for background pictures

Recommendation to read Shayleene MacReynolds: Wildheartoflife.blog

The body will say what it feels; the mind will conceive of a plan based on what it sees and wants; but the soul speaks what is real.  The soul’s language is not conceived but dwells in the depths.  And it is a language so hard to let out.   I have read the word images of Shayleene MacReynolds’ over the last while and have come to realize she is speaking from the soul.

The work…

What Becomes

Rita Walker (Blog Twenty-nine):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Twenty-nine):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

The Haida Gwaii has carvings of three men with hats on the top of their totem poles.  These watchmen tell the carver of the totem pole if enemies are coming or if there is any other important information they should know.  (all references are at the bottom of the blog).

It’s unusually warm for autumn and Zsofia had asked Rita to bring her class to Victoria Park in Kitchener.

From the driver’s seat Rita glances in the rear-view mirror of the college’s Ev Star Min-eBus.  All the elementals are here now.  Marlo is sitting right behind her with his arm across two coolers full of sandwiches and thermos with water.  Behind Marlo is Aella and Ember.   The other students fill the rest of the double chairs behind her and the single seats.  Kanayago sits on a single seat at the very back by herself.

After the police came to talk to them about the attack the man named Norm made on the woman called Wendy, Rita asked Aella her background.  Once Aella found out who Rita is and that she teaches the Environmental Technology class at Six Nations Polytechnic Brantford Campus she became more talkative.  Aella explained that she was supposed to be in Rita’s class but couldn’t.  She was volunteering in the Haida Gwaii as a Red Cross Emergency Response Worker until just a few days ago.

No one is talking so she turns on the radio.  The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby” comes on and when the song gets to the verse “All the lonely people” she glances in the rear-view mirror at Kanayago.  The girl is looking out the window with a conflicted look on her face.

After she parks she and her students walk towards the lake that runs through the park.   Rita sees a weeping willow.  Not knowing why she touches its bark.

 

Shrouded in mist she stands on the eastern shore of Haida Gwaii.  She knows its Tlell because of the totem pole with the three watchmen carved into its top.  The mist disperses for a moment and she can see Rae standing on a wooden outlook with cedar rails.  Rae is staring across the Hecate Strait.  This time Rita can tell Rae knows she’s there.

Nicki Henry by Darren Henry

Rae modeled by Nicki Henry, picture taken by Darren Henry of Nixxx Design Custom Printing   nixxxdesigns@gmail.com

“You have all the pieces,” a soft soprano voice says.  “They must come to Haida Gwaii before the eclipse.  I have already told this to Ember.”  Mist covers Rae and Rita awakens from the vision with a feeling of displacement.

 

“Are you okay?”  Marlo asks.

“Yes, but I need to get everyone to Haida Gwaii.”

“I don’t think that will be so hard.  Rán has already told me we must go and the new girl, Aella told me of a vision she had from Onya also saying we must go to Haida Gwaii.”

“I wonder if Kanayago has received a message from Kaneki?” Rita asks.  She sees Kanayago walking separate from the others.

As they reach the shore of the lake Rita sees Zsofia standing in a sleeveless t-shirt and shorts reading over a sheet of paper.

DSC_1036 (2)

Zsofia modelled by Dr. Arla Kasaj picture by Dan Watt:  akwellness@gmail.com

Zsofia looks up and says, “You’re all here!”

Rita doesn’t miss the remark: all here.  Zsofia is the only person who is not an elemental that knows almost all her secrets.

“Have a seat but watch out for the Canadian Geese droppings,” Zsofia tells them.  “What happens with our medical supplies once they’re used is quite interesting.  In the past many of the sharps such as needles and syringes were put into containers and autoclaved.   Hydroclaving was found to be more efficient so that’s how all needles and syringes are sterilized now.  All other medical items such as bandages, gloves, and so on have to be sterilized and buried in a separate landfill or incinerated.  Incinerating is becoming safer for the environment as stricter rules are enforced and as better technology developed.”

“Our health is hurting our environment?”  Marlo asks.

“Not as much as it used to,” Zsofia answers.  “Infectious disease such as AIDS, Hepatitis, and super bugs such as SARS will increase if we don’t keep everything sanitized.  But to clean items like bed sheets or to sterilze needles means putting CO2 or other pollutants into the air.”

“A catch 22,” Aella says with a shake of her head.

“Less so as we use better technology and learn to waste less.  Any other questions or comments?”  Zsofia asks.

No one else asks anything so Rita stands up.  “Thank you Zsofia.  Well let’s eat,” she continues nodding towards the coolers they brought from the mini-bus.

As the others eat Rita walks with Zsofia along the lake’s shore.

“What happens now that you have them all gathered together?”  Zsofia asks when they are out of earshot of the others.

“We go to Haida Gwaii,” Rita answers with simple solemnity.

“You want me to go?”

“Yes,” Rita replies.  Zsofia may be part of the solution no one considered.

 

https://www.greenpowerbus.com/

https://www.redcross.ca/volunteer/apply-now/emergency-response-team-ert-supervisor-17

https://www.readersdigest.ca/travel/canada/haida-gwaii-watchmen/

https://www.whetung.com/products/haida-raven-iii

https://www.cmaj.ca/content/183/18/E1307

https://www.hydroclave.com/technology/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK233627/

With thanks to Nicki Henry of:

You can contact Nixxx Designs Custom Printing at: nixxxdesigns@gmail.com

Nixxx Designs Custom Printing

And Dr. Arla Kasaj:  akwellness@gmail.com

 

Rita Walker (Blog Twenty-eight):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Twenty-eight):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Aesop’s Fables are full of animal characters meant to teach morals.  In Rita Walker the elementals and mythological characters are meant to represent the connection between the Earth and its atmosphere and all of life.  Enjoy the fictional representation but don’t forget the real policies and technologies out there that are beneficial.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee_sting

http://www.honeybeecentre.com/learn-about-honeybees#.XkfL-2hKiUk

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/self-defence-what-s-acceptable-under-canadian-law-1.1229180

https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/other-autre/rsddp-rlddp/p5.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aesop’s_Fables

“Get away from me!” Rita hears the man named Norm cry out.  She also hears a very faint buzzing sound.

There’s the sound of scuffling and something falling over.

“Get back here!” she hears Norm shout with a voice full of violence.  “I’ll kill you bee!” he says with a hiss.

A door slams as the honeybee flies with a wounded wing onto her back.  Rita hops down the duct work to where it curves up towards the second storey ceiling.

Back outside she feels a gust of wind pressing her down.  As the wind dies down the honey bee becomes a crow.  The crow rolls its left shoulder and Rita can see it has some damaged feathers.  The crow flaps its wings, grabs her in its claws and flies clumsily down to the tree where Rita had changed.

Rita climbs atop the soil that consists of the rest of her body and changes back into her human form.  The crow hops onto her left forearm.  Rita dashes to the front of the building where she can feel another swirl of air.  The crow hops off her arm and in a moment turns back into the young women.

“I couldn’t sting him as a honeybee or I would be dead,” the young woman says in a frustrated voice.  “So I buzzed him in the ear until the woman could get away.  But he hurt my left shoulder.”

In the parking lot by an old red hybrid Echo, Rita sees a woman in her mid-thirties fighting off a much taller man.   Rita watches in surprise as the young woman runs behind the man and simultaneously grabs the back of his collar while punching him in the centre of his back with her other hand.  The man crumbles to the ground with a gasp.  Before Rita can reach her the young woman strikes the man in the temple with her elbow.  By the time she gets there the man is lying motionless on the ground.  Rita looks for some kind of movement around his chest.  She kneels beside the man and places her hand by his mouth.  He’s breathing.

“Are you okay?” the young women asks the woman called Wendy.

“Yes,” Wendy replies with a shaky voice.  She whips out her cell phone and Rita sees her dial 9-1-1.

“I have to go,” the young woman says.

“We can’t,” Rita tells her.  “We have to be witnesses or nothing will happen and he might attack her or someone else.”

Rita hears the man grumble and start to sit up.  She gasps as the young women kicks him in the head sending him back to the ground unconscious.  “I hate bullies,” the young woman says.

“Who are you?” Rita asks.

“Aella.”

Rita Walker (Blog Twenty-six):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Twenty-five):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

If you work at or hang around a place that people from around the world go to such as fitness centres, pubs, or any business near the sea, and you listen and wait, you might just notice more similarities than differences.

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/features/iron-supplements#1

https://www.who.int/ipcs/assessment/public_health/cadmium/en/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/25/indigenous-australians-and-canadians-destroyed-by-same-colonialism

https://www.irishcentral.com/culture/great-similarities-between-experiences-of-the-irish-and-native-americans

She sits on her couch listening to Mazzy Star’s “Into Dust” while facing the door windows that look over the Grand River.  On the other side of the river she can see maple trees whose leaves are turning from green to yellow and red.  In her lap is Kanayago’s paper on workplaces she has or is working at.  Rita skims through the hemp sheets, vaguely noting and marking any grammatical corrections.  Initially Kanayago worked for mining companies as an apprentice to a metallurgist.  On the last page she sees the heading: Kanetic Reusable Batteries.

I am a lab technician for Kanetic Reusable Batteries.  My job is to discover how much of a heavy metal, such as cadmium, mercury, and lead is needed to give the batteries the longest life time.  The batteries I work on specifically are for mining machinery.  Unfortunately I need a lot of iron to do this.

Kanayago’s last statement about needing iron confuses Rita.  She doesn’t understand why Kanayago would need so much iron.  There is no mention about the heavy metals being dumped into the Grand River.  More worrisome is that the Grand River Conservation Authority either doesn’t know about the pollution or is ignoring it.  With each new government comes the addition or subtraction of conservation laws.

She gets up and touches the trunk of the weeping willow focusing on Rae.  But all she sees is Rae sitting on a log with her back to Rita.  Rae’s raven hair whips around in the wind while her body stays still and silent.  It can be so hard being the bridge between peoples while belonging to both.  Yet there are so many similarities when you look at the world before colonialism.  It’s those similarities Rita wants to bring to light once and if she can bring all the elementals together to stop Kaneki from destroying everything.  “Saying nothing is not a solution,” she whispers to Rae.  But Rae doesn’t reply.

Rita closes her eyes.  Tomorrow is Saturday.  She will have to park her car near the Brantford branch of the Conservation Authority and polymorph into something else to get inside undetected.  She wishes Oya’s apprentice would show up at her class.  A bird or fly could get inside much easier than a mouse or cat.

Rita Walker (Blog Twenty-three):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Twenty-three):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

The federal government of Canada does offer incentives for people to buy electric or hybrid vehicles.  Currently only British Columbia and Quebec offer provincial incentives.  Because WordPress is seen around the World you could check to see if your government offers incentives to buying electric or hybrid vehicles.

https://www.caa.ca/electric-vehicles/government-incentives/

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-694/usnea

https://carbonengineering.com/

https://www.therecord.com/news-story/9792576-new-industry-develops-around-sucking-carbon-dioxide-out-of-atmosphere/

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/6/14/17445622/direct-air-capture-air-to-fuels-carbon-dioxide-engineering

After her last lecture Rita tried to research Kanetic Reusable Batteries and whether it has a parent company but to no avail.  She also called Marlo each day to see how he was feeling.  He told her the new girl, Ember, had told him about a dream she had.

In the dream Ember said she saw Rae in the distance sitting by the shore on a washed up log.  As Ember walked closer she noticed Rae was holding an argillite carving of a man with hands and feet that looked unfinished.  Without looking at her Rae pointed towards a tree.  On the tree grew usnea lichen.

From her purse Ember then pulled out a paper bag and offered it to Marlo.  When he opened it he saw the pale greyish-green strands of a plant.  “Rae wants you to eat this.”

He did and has felt much better since.

Before her class begins Rita pulls Kanayago aside.  “It was strange dirt you collected but I can’t return it to you.”  Rita doesn’t explain that she reabsorbed the dirt.

Kanayago’s brow furrows but she doesn’t seem to be overly surprised by what Rita tells her.  “Oh well, thanks for looking into it,” is all she says.

As Rita stands in front of her class she takes in a deep breath.  This lecture is extremely important but could easily be misinterpreted.  “We’re going to discuss Direct Air Capture,” she says.  Trees, as you know, absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.  Vehicles and factories burn gas or coal and give off carbon dioxide.  Too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the Earth will heat up.  Ocean flooding, forest fires, and the melting of glaciers increases.

“Direct Air Capture attempts to pull carbon dioxide out of the air and sell it to greenhouses, turn it into fuel, or bury it as basalt rock.  In the past there were only two companies performing Direct Air Capture:  Carbon Engineering out of Canada, Climeworks out of Switzerland and Iceland.  Carbon Engineering turns the carbon dioxide into fuels by adding it to hydrogen through electrolysis.  Climeworks sells carbon dioxide to greenhouses in Switzerland and creates basalt rock in Iceland.

“These companies are not a solution though.  We still need to decrease the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  Next week we’ll talk about water usage in the house.  I do have an assignment for you.  Write a five hundred to a thousand word essay on the jobs you are currently doing or have done and what the company you are or did work for is doing to help the environment.”  Rita hopes Kanayago will give her better insight into Kanetic Reusable Batteries.

Rita Walker (Blog Fifteen):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Fifteen):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

In the past vehicle batteries were often just thrown in bodies of water like lakes or rivers.  Batteries can be completely recycled now.  The importance is getting the batteries to the recycling plant.

https://www.batterysolutions.com/recycling-information/how-are-batteries-recycled/

https://www.livescience.com/40459-what-do-cats-see.html

On the Grand River, just on the border with the Oakhill Cemetery, a new factory was built just the year before.  Rita had driven by the factory and saw a sign in bold blue letters with the words Kanetic Reusable Batteries.  Under the name were the words:  Clean Energy.   On her excursion the other night her feline nose suggested otherwise.

She wants to get inside Kanetic Reusable Batteries and see what’s going on but not in her human form.  Part of the factory extends into the Grand and she noticed the river’s water flows in and out of a grate.  But the grate opening is small and even as a rodent she doesn’t think she could swim through the river’s current to get inside.  Perhaps Marlo could help her with that.  Rán had told her she could find him at Mohawk Lake.  First she wants to observe him unnoticed.  Invisibility is sometimes just becoming something else.

It’s Saturday and the night before she had asked Zsofia to pick her up from a grove but not as her normal self.   She sees Zsofia’s BMW i3 pull into the parking lot.  As Zsofia gets out of her car and looks around, Rita leaves the grove where a pile of dirt sits beside the tree trunk of a black birch.   Zsofia looks down and waves at her as she opens the front passenger door.  Rita leaps inside.  It took a long time to get used to a cat’s poor daytime vision.  The reason she prefers to investigate at night.

As Zsofia drives towards Mohawk Lake she puts on the radio.  There isn’t much sense in talking since it would be one sided.  So Rita stands on her hind legs and stares out the window.

I’ll Melt With You by Modern English starts playing.  It’s like listening with two separate pairs of ears.  Her feline ears hear mumbo- jumbo but her human memory can still discern the words.

Once they reach the lake Zsofia lets Rita out.  She carries Rita towards the shore where Marlo is gazing over the lake.

Kyle Montyro as Marlo 1
Kyle Montyro as Marlo

“I’ll read my book for half an hour than honk,” Zsofia tells her as she sets Rita down.

Rita looks side-to-side as she steps ever closer to Marlo.  She sits on her haunches and stares up at him.

 

He crouches down and places the fingers of his right hand into the lake’s water.  Without looking at her he says, “I will get you inside the factory.”

Kyle Montyro as Marlo 2
Kyle Montyro as Marlo 2

Rita Walker (Blog Fourteen):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Fourteen):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

In 1974 Spanish pilot and marine officer Juan Pérez was the first European to discover the Haida Gwaii but bad weather stopped him from landing and claiming it for Spain.   James Cook, Captain of the Royal navy was the first European known to visit the Haida Nation.  Archaeology digs have determined the Haida have been living on the Haida Gwaii islands from 6000 to 8000 years ago.

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/haida-gwaii

https://www.raconteur.net/business-innovation/cobalt-mining-human-rights

https://norse-mythology.org/gods-and-creatures/giants/aegir-and-ran/

https://www.historymuseum.ca/cmc/exhibitions/aborig/haida/havwa01e.html

As she drives home from the college the sky is dark and clear.  A song she hasn’t heard in a long time comes on.  Chalk Circle’s “This Mourning” gets her tapping her hands against the steering wheel.  It reminds her why Kaneki needs to go back to Centre Earth.

The weeping willow string she planted is growing little nubs that she hopes will grow into tiny branches.  It was wonderful that Kaylee asked her to teach a Haida language course three times a week along with her once a week Environmental Technology class.  She knows she’ll be financially stable for the next three years.  Her real focus though is on what she does at night.  So with a cup of licorice tea she sits in front of her window in her kitchenette and concentrates on the tiny willow sapling.  A quarter moon shines through her window awakening the elemental inside her.  She could control its pull for her to change but tonight she wants to transform.  Her eyes remain open but become unfocused.

She finds herself at Soper Park.  Before her Oya is dressed ready for action.

“What do you want child?” Oya asks in an exasperated voice.

“To visit Rán.”

“This is a bad time for me child of Ailbe Rose.  I must deal with Kaneki’s influence on mining for cobalt in the Congo.   Think of Island and go!”

To Icelanders their home is known as Island.  It’s where her grandfather wanted to return to.

When Rita was five her father took the family to Kiusta at the northern tip of Haida Gwaii.  Taking her hand he led her to the shore where the ruins of a long boat rested near a group of ancient totem poles.  “My father, your grandfather arrived on this boat.  He was nearly dead when they brought him to a sweat lodge and your grandmother nursed him to health.  He came from far far away.  You and I have his eyes whereas your brother has pure Haida eyes like your mother.  I would find him staring at this ruin as we worked on his new boat.  I think he would have stayed if your grandmother had not died during the Tsimshian raid.”

Rita only remembers her father’s father vaguely.  Tall and strong, with long brown hair and a red beard that flowed to his chest.  His voice was loud sometimes but more often hushed as though his soul were broken.  By the fire pit he would stare at her but with his chin turned slightly away.  It made her feel as if he was watching her wearily.  His Haida Gwaii words were clipped and often he added words she had never heard before.  He always kept his distance from her.  “There is something else in this child,” she would hear him say to both her mother and father at different times.  He would shake his shaggy head afterwards and stare at her out of the corner of his eyes.

When she was four her father’s father had taken dry fish and fresh water onto his new boat with its many ribs.  “Someday others like me will come,” he warned before he paddled north towards the Bering Sea.  In the distance Rita remembered seeing him unfurl the strange red and white curving sail his mother had helped him sew.  He was right others like him would arrive at Haida Gwaii but Rita wouldn’t learn about that until later.

Her vision becomes cloudy.  As the cloud dissipates she can see Rán walking in modern clothes by a river.    Rán stops and turns to her with a beaming smile.  Rita realizes Kaneki has not made his presence known as much on Iceland—yet.

Gunnhildur as Rán for Rita Walker November 9 2019 by Freyr Holldorsson
Gunnhildur as Rán for Rita Walker November 9 2019 by Freyr Holldorsson

“What can I do for you Rita?” Rán asks in her boisterous voice.

Gunnhildur as Rán for Rita Walker November 9 2019 3 by Freyr Holldorsson
Gunnhildur as Rán for Rita Walker November 9 2019 3 by Freyr Holldorsson

“Do you have student named Marlo?”

“I do.  When you change you can watch him by the lake near where you live.  He is with you Rita that I can assure you.”

“Thank you, Rán,” Rita says as Rán fades away and she feels herself changing.

Rita Walker (Blog Twelve):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Twelve):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

The Haida like so many other indigenous people had their children removed to learn European ways.  Midnight Oil made it clear that Australia’s treatment of indigenous people was a disgrace during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia by wearing black coveralls with the word Sorry.  Nature has a way of diffusing the thought that any people are better than others when people of different races and backgrounds fall in love and have children.   People have different hair colour, skin colour, eye colour, physiques and yet are all the same.

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/haida-native-group

https://www.songfacts.com/facts/midnight-oil/beds-are-burning

https://petergarrett.com.au/biography/

https://www.mohawkcollege.ca/about/campuses/six-nations-polytechnic-brantford-sb

Rita places the potted weeping willow branch into the back of her car.  With loving care she hopes it will grow.  Either in the fall or in the spring she will plant it on the schools lawn.

Midnight Oil’s “Beds Are Burning” is playing on the radio as Rita drives to the Six Nations’ Polytechnic College to organize her classroom.   She taps her fingers on the steering wheel as she sings “The time has come, a fact’s a fact/ It belongs to them, let’s give it back” along with the band’s lead singer Peter Garrett.   She read an article that at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney the band members performed with the word SORRY written across the chest of their black coveralls.  It was a blatant rebuttal of the Prime Minister at the time, John Howard, for his refusal to apologize for the former policy of removing aboriginal children from their families.  After reading the article Rita realized this destruction of aboriginal families happened all around the world, not just in Canada.  The song reminds her of how hard it is for her to keep positive.  But the world already knows about all the atrocities.  Now it’s time for everyone to focus on working together.  It’s time to show that those who were bullied are wiser and will not become the bullies.

She doesn’t think there are any songs that represent her, a half breed or multi-raced person.  Then she recalls hearing Cher singing “Half Breed” written by Mary Dean and composed by Al Capps.  She wonders, if like so many other songs and writings, did the lyricist really understand what it’s like to be a “half breed”?  Do they know what it’s like to find out one half of your ancestry was warring or abusing the other half?  She shakes her head to clear the negative thoughts away.

Sometimes life is strange.  As she pulls into the college Depeche Mode’s “People are People” comes on.  She pulls over and sings along with the band:  “It’s obvious you hate me/Though I’ve done nothing wrong/I never even met you/So what could I have done”.  Well, next week she’s about to meet four individuals who represent a hidden race of humans.  And she needs to figure out how to get them to work together.  One will be the hardest to change.  And one probably won’t want to collaborate with the others.

Inside the classroom she feels small standing at the bottom of the sloping floor gazing up at the desks that will allow the students to look down on her.  She set the potted willow on the ledge of the windows at the opposite side to the door.  Next she takes out her papers.  The first of the lessons will focus on the different soils found in different areas of Ontario and what’s being done to keep them healthy.