First Fur watched the old albino human leaving as she crested the hill. She was thankful all were looking her way. She would relay a message, but if she had any say in it, she was going to do what she could to prevent its fruition. It was White Tuft’s pride that was the source of this.
“What has occurred?” Spotted Eyes had noticed her body language clearly enough.
“White Tuft has been injured. He wants us to wear the human shapes and prepare for war.”
“War with the human shapes.” There was a hesitation. “War with the humans?”
“With the albino humans.”
Several eyes turned to White Tuft’s nest where it rested proud and low to the ground as if afraid of nothing. First Fur tensed unconsciously as if they would see through the brambles and realize the older albino had left. Striped Paw spoke now.
“What has changed that we are going to war?”
“He got bitten by their magic.”
There was hissing among the others as they drew together. More than herself felt White Tuft was too caught up in his own self-importance, but no one else came as close to challenging his decisions yet as she did.
“So he stirs the ants and then we must face the nest.”
“He is the leader.” First Fur couldn’t help the tone of frustration in her rumbling tones. “We must listen.” Without a word, she went running past the group and down another side of the hill. No one questioned as they were used to her behavior by now. Most were expecting she would return just before they decided to move.
First Fur found the trail of the albino shaman and swiftly followed, blood making it easy to track at full speed. She almost ran into him, barely stopping in time. He was slumped in the brush looking dead. Inspecting his body, she was relieved he was breathing, but it seemed very ragged and he was clearly not well.
He was dying, she suspected, and needed another shaman. Her eyes focused in the direction she knew his people were. Shaman sign or not, they had magic. Would they kill her for returning? Her people might die for White Tuft’s pride. If she could save him,even if it cost her own life, it might be enough to save her people. That was worth it.
Flexing muscles carefully, she slid her bones two or three at a time into a new configuration, rolling the muscles themselves to help cope with this new shape. Once done, she stood upright and lifted the albino human as best she could and began towards the others of his kind. They might not attack her if she looked enough like them at a distance.
As it turned out, they let her get all the way to them without shooting. It seemed from the reaction of two of their number, that this man was important to them. They spoke in their own language to her, but it meant nothing. She wasn’t dead, that was a start. Now if First Fur could stay that way long enough to keep her people and the albino humans alive, it would be a miracle.