“Come closer, Gimli warriors”
The following short story describes a sequence of events that might follow when two panther tribes are forced to (briefly) co-operate to destroy a common enemy. Panthers were used extensively by warriors to undertake subversive activities and this story fits right into that.
Long ago, fierce warrior men from Gimli came to the Whispering Moons continent sowing death and destruction.
The male invaders attacked the villages, stormed the palisades, set fire to the long-houses, laid waste to the land, destroyed the corn fields, killed men and boys, and abducted the women and girls. There was no resisting the men of Gimli, because their numbers were like grains of sand, like the pebbles on a lake shore.
The villages of the Whispering Moons lay deserted, their fields untended, the ruins of their homes blackened. The fabled panther girls of Ja Lina and Forest Moon had retreated into the deep forests of the continent.
Thus the panthers were safe in their inaccessible retreats, but they were also starving. Whatever food they had been able to hunt was soon eaten up as each band lived in such close proximity.
They could either stay in their camps and starve, or leave them in search of food and be discovered by their male enemies.
The situation was so dire, the chieftess and high council girls of each tribe met on neutral ground but could find no other way out of this predicament.
Then a young panther girl stepped forward in the council and said that the Priest Kings had sent her a dream showing her how to save both tribes. Her name was Little Trouble and she was not afraid to give her life for both tribes.
Little Trouble told the assembled council: “Ja lina….We are hiding on top of a high, sheer cliffs. Above us the mountain is covered with boulders and heavy sharp rocks. You sisters wait and watch here. I will go to the men of Gimli and lead them to the spot at the foot of the cliff where they all can be crushed and destroyed.”
The chieftess , high council girls and panthers listened to the young panther girl with wonder. The oldest of the high girls honored her, putting around her neck a necklace made of Larl teeth “The Priest Kings have blessed you, Little Trouble with courage and wisdom,” she said. “We, your sisters, will always remember you.”
During the night the panther girl went down from the heights into the forest below by way of a secret path. In the morning, Gimli warriors found her wandering through the woods as if lost. They took her to a burned and abandoned village , for this was now their camp. They brought her before their Captain. “Show us the way to the place where the panther tribes are hiding,” he commanded. “If you do this, we shall spare your life and you will be our property. If you refuse, you will be tortured at the stake.”
“I will not show you the way,” answered Little Trouble. The men tied her to a blackened tree stump and tortured her with fire, as was their cruel custom. The men were astonished at the courage with which the young girl endured it.
At last Little Trouble pretended to weaken under the pain. “Don’t hurt me anymore,” she cried, “I’ll show you the way!”
As night came again, the men bound Little Trouble’s hands behind her back and pushed her ahead of them. Don’t try to betray us, they warned. “At any sign of it, we will kill you.” Flanked by two warriors with weapons poised, Little Trouble led the way. Soundlessly the mass of Gimli warriors crept behind her through thickets and rough places, over winding paths and tabuk trails, until at last they arrived beneath the towering cliff of sheer granite.
“Come closer, Gimli warriors,” she said in a low voice, gather around me. The Ja Lina above are sleeping, thinking themselves safe. I’ll show you the secret passage that leads upwards.
The men crowded together in a dense mass with the panther girl in the center. Then Little Trouble uttered a piercing cry: “Ja Lina ! The enemies are here! Destroy them!”
The men scarcely had time to strike her down before huge boulders and rocks rained upon them. There was no escape; it seemed as if the angry mountain itself were falling on them, crushing them, burying them.
The story of the girl’s courage and self-sacrifice was told and retold wherever the Ja Lina and Forest Moon sat around their campfires, and will be handed down from sister to sister as long as there are Ja Lina and Forest Moon on the continent.