“Now? You want us to go over there now? Doesn’t he need to prepare or something? He’s not expecting us, is he?”
“No, he isn’t, but knowing him he will have known for quite some time. He probably knew before we’d even met.”
Kathryn was still not sure. “Poketay won’t mind, will he?”
“Red, he won’t.” Chakotay took her hands, “Unless it’s too soon for you. We can always decide to ask him another time.”
“Sweetheart, of course it’s all too soon, but I don’t care about that anymore.”
She got up and looked outside. “Chakotay, how long have we been here?”
“I don’t know, why?”
“Come here and tell me what you see.”
Chakotay stood behind her and looked outside over her shoulders. A large dark brown cover was partly visible and seemed to continue around the corner of the house. They went outside and saw a cube shaped tent. On closer inspection they found a note attached to it.
Dear Kathryn and Chakotay,
You will still have to look for another way to get this bed inside, but for now this tent will give you at least some privacy for your first night as Equals.
All who had helped move the bed signed it. Kathryn found the entrance and entered. Inside, the tent was beautifully decorated with fresh flowers and candles, waiting to be lit. She was amazed by what she saw. The bed was a clear centerpiece, complete with the quilt they had slept under during their first night together.
“When did they do all this? I never noticed a thing.” Chakotay had joined her in the tent and he was just as surprised. “It’s amazing. I might just have to build the new room around all this.”
“How do they know we will be Equals later today? You didn’t tell them.”
He sat on the bed and pulled Kathryn closer next to him. Tugging her down, they reclined on the bed, her head cushioned on his shoulder.
“Let me tell you a story. Poketay will even tell you it’s an ancient legend among our people.
A long time ago, in fact it was right before the Great Spirits created mankind, a small bear cub was born. He grew up in a loving family. And when the time came for him to look for a mate, he went out into the Great Woods to look for her.
For years he wandered around, occasionally meeting his parents, but he still had not found the bear he was looking for. It didn’t exactly make him unhappy, but he did question himself. Was he too picky or were the she bears he had met really not the right mate for him?
One day as he walked around his favorite part of the forest, a Great Spirit sat on a log, right where the Bear could see him.
“My dear Bear,” he said in a singsong voice, “what is the matter? Why do you look so glum?”
The Bear answered, because that was the polite thing to do when talking to the Great Spirits. “O Great One, I’m not unhappy, not really that is. I have been looking for a mate for long years now, but I haven’t found the one who touches my soul yet.”
The Great Spirit looked at the Bear, “Don’t worry, my friend, you will not remain alone. Soon you will meet she who completes you.”
Momentarily forgetting whom he was speaking to, the Bear jumped up and did a little happy dance. “Really? I will? Thank you, Great Spirit.”
“You are quite welcome. There is one condition however.”
“Anything, I will do anything for her.”
“Good to hear, Bear. When you meet her and she has accepted your proposal to become Equals, you must declare your Bond before the Spirits that same sun-cycle.”
And as fast as he had appeared, the Great Spirit disappeared again. The Bear had never in his life felt this happy and relieved. The next couple of days he walked through the Woods in a daze, not noticing things were about to change.
As the Sun was shining using her Rays to set the flowers in bloom, the Bear went to the other part of the forest. He wandered around, looking at the amazingly beautiful life that surrounded him. Not seeing where he was going, he bumped into something furry and warm. When he jumped back he saw the prettiest and most beautiful bear he had ever seen.
She had been taking a nap, enjoying the warmth the Sun gave her, and she opened her eyes to see who was disturbing her.
The Bear was shocked: this is her!
Slowly the she bear got up, “Hello. I haven’t met you before, have I? But you look so familiar.”
The Bear nodded, “No, we haven’t met. Someone did tell me I would meet you though.”
“Really? That’s funny, because only yesterday I spoke to someone myself, and he said the exact same thing to me.”
“So, what do we do now? After all, we have been introduced to each other already.”
“Would you like to see where I usually spend my time?”
“I would love to.”
Together they walked back to the edge of the Great Woods. When they arrived near the Bear’s favorite log, they saw two funny looking animals.
These animals were standing on two legs, instead of four, and their bodies were not covered in a thick brown fur. As the Bears approached them, the two other animals came running their way. Because all four had such speed, they collided and fell to the ground.
~ * ~ * ~
That same day, right before the Sun would give the Moon the keys to the Eternal Light, they woke up again. Opening their eyes, they saw the two Great Spirits before them.
The oldest one spoke, “Today you have found your Equal. And today you must declare your Bond.”
The other continued, “Please rise and hold hands. From this moment the Spirits and the Children of the Great Spirits will walk in different worlds. You will not be separated for there is an ever-present link between you. But let it be known that anyone, who wants to show the Great Spirits their Equal, will have to contact their Other Self in the Other World, in order for the Great Spirits to bless their Bond.”
The Great Spirits took one last look around and disappeared, taking the two Bears with them.
Kathryn had been mesmerized by Chakotay’s melodious voice as he took her with him into the world of this legend. Slowly she exhaled wiping the lone tear from her cheek.
“That was a beautiful legend.” She turned over, so she could face him. “And I think I understand what you were trying to tell me.” Resting her head on her folded arms on his chest, she continued. “It ties in with something you promised me, doesn’t it?”
Chakotay nodded, “Yes, before we go over to Poketay, we first have to introduce you to your Spirit Guide.”
“I can’t wait to meet him. Or is it her?”
He smiled at her, “You will just have to find out. Let me get my Medicine Bundle. Is it alright with you if we contact them in here?”
“Of course it is. After all this bed seems to be a central point in our relationship.” She waggled her eyebrows and winked at him, “What do you think that means?”
~ * ~ * ~
Contacting her Spirit Guide had been extremely easy. Because Chakotay explained all the steps carefully to her, she felt she already was partly in trance when he took her hand and put it on the akoonah. The first contact with her Spirit Guide was a surprise. He immediately jumped right to most of her doubts and problems, even explaining the role of Justin in her life.
After what seemed quite a long time, her Spirit Guide, a small lizard that made up for his size with his lengthy discussions, looked around. He told her someone wanted to join them.
Kathryn had already noticed a change in scenery.
The green valley with its clear lake and birch trees slowly merged into another landscape. Only this landscape could never exist in real life: two totally different areas of land had joined and each had taken some of the characteristics of the other. A clear border was no longer visible between the two. They had become one.
She sensed Chakotay coming up behind her, but he was not alone. His companion ran up to Kathryn, only to stop right in front of her. She was slightly surprised by the gray wolf’s behavior, but something in the animal’s eyes made her reach out and stroke its fur.