(‘Scent’ Excerpt Chapter 8)
At 9.50 AM, I was led out of the house with the paint barely dry on my face. I was in full traditional dress, with my long black hair plaited, beaded and feathered. Mum, Dad, Great Grandma and Aunt Danika, were dressed in their smart clothes.
“Where are our Australian and English relatives?” I asked as I climbed into Dad’s truck.
I sat in the middle of my parents as I always have done. Aunt Danika climbed inside of Great Grandma’s truck with her to drive in front of us.
“Your Gran instantaneously phased them here an hour ago, to her house. They’ll be down at the Holy Grounds now, along with the rest of the tribe.” Mum answered.
“OK, let’s go.” Dad slowly started the ignition to let Great Grandma reverse out our driveway first.
We drove down the hill and turned left at the intersection instead of right. Rather than driving towards the community centre, Dad drove towards the outskirts of our village. The Holy Grounds where the three Sacred Totems sat were in a picturesque, grassy glade by the side of the river.
Up until this point, I had felt calm and determined to go through with this. But as soon as I saw all of those parked vehicles and the size of the crowd that had gathered? My eyes widened as my heart sped up. I had heard even the general store was closed for the celebrations. I wasn’t afraid of marrying Grant as I was determined to do that. But to marry him with the WHOLE tribe watching? I got stage fright! My breath sucked in sharply as I grimaced at the sight of all of those people.
Dad drove through the large cluster of parked vehicles and into the awaiting car space, reserved for us up the front with Mr. Barley waving us in.
“You’ll be fine.” My parents accidentally said at the same time, as he turned off the engine.
“Just breathe.” Dad instructed, squeezing one hand.
“Just try to focus on the ceremony.” Mum squeezed my other.
“Right.” I tried not to blanch.
“Let’s get this show on the road.” He grinned. “Just remember, you’re a Lokoti Werewolf and there’s very little that scares us.”
“Just don’t instantaneously phase out of here because you’re also a Circulator.” She joked.
“Now THAT would scare us.” He chuckled.
My parents hopped out of the truck as I climbed out after Mum. I stood by her side feeling rather conspicuous, dressed and painted up as such, especially when everybody turned and craned their necks to get a good look. I could hear a drum beat as Dad walked around from the driver’s side of the truck. He took hold of my hand as she held onto my other and together they walked me forwards onto the Holy Grounds.
Gran and Grandfather joined us as did Great Grandma, Aunt Danika and Nana and they were all dressed formally.
“You look beautiful, B.” Grandfather smiled a little tearfully as he kissed the side of my face that wasn’t painted.
“Thank you.” I smiled nervously.
At that moment Grant appeared and he was dressed similar to me, with Uncle Ian walking beside him wearing jeans and a suit jacket and tie.
Grant wore the same coloured suede clothing, with a suede shirt, a suede jacket and suede pants. His long black hair wasn’t in three plaits like mine, but in three loose ponytails which were also tied by leather bands with feathers. He also had the painted claw mark on his face but it was on his left side. My eyes widened as I looked on impressed, as I thought that he looked very handsome and just like a Lokoti Warrior of old.
“Hi B.” He smiled softly.
“Hi Grant.” I smiled back shyly.
“I formally ask your permission Emanuel Riverclaw as the head of the Riverclaw family; for the hand of your beloved granddaughter, Bianca Grace Wisetail.” He spoke in a clear, concise voice to Grandfather.
I noticed the tribe suddenly turned quiet as they stood back to watch and listen. Oh was this apart of the ceremony?
“You have my permission, Grant Elm.” My grandfather stepped aside.
“I formally ask your permission Hunter Wisetail, as the father of Bianca Grace Wisetail, for the hand of your beloved daughter.” He next spoke to Dad.
“You have my permission, Grant Elm.” My father released my hand.
Then Mum let go of my other when he stepped forward and took hold of the hand that Dad let go. Grant turned me around to face Uncle Ian.
“Bianca Grace Wisetail, with the blessing of the Elders today; I formally acknowledge your entry into my family’s house. I call you from this day forth, Bianca Grace Elm.” My ‘uncle’ spoke loudly, so everyone could hear.
I could hear the tribe murmur in excitement and admiration, watching this ‘handing over’ to the beat of the drum.
Then Grant led me by the hand to walk through the crowd. Our tribe parted to allow us passage towards the assembled nine Tribal Elders. They stood also dressed in traditional attire, before the three Sacred Totems. Uncle Ian, Dad, Mum, Gran, Grandfather, Great Grandma and Nana all walked behind Grant and I through the parted crowd towards the Elders. Aunt Danika went to go and stand next to Uncle Jules and their children.
The Council of Elders moved to sit in a half circle before a fire, as Grant led me forwards for us to kneel on the ground before them. Then all of our families and the rest of the tribe also sat down on the ground, with the people up the back remaining on their feet so they could see what would happen.
Then the drum beat stopped, with Mr. Lightfoot and Mr. Shallow Water lowering their instruments.
“You have the Tribal Elders convened here for you today. What do you ask of us?” Aunt Beth began.
“I have come to ask for the blessing of the Tribal Elders as the Guides of the Lokoti Wolf, to take this woman as my mate.” Grant spoke loudly.