Date: June 6, 2010
Wallace and the hunters bring Cody and Mark to the sacred place… Cody gets a rare look at a special member of the tribe.
Brazilian Rain Forest
The days have stretched on, hot and humid, each breath feeling like a person is breathing water. At the moment the rain falls in sheets, loud as it hits the greenery all around them. Even the animals seem silent, the birds songs are absent as if they know something it going on below them. A few of the livelier plumed birds, tilt their heads to watch the quiet progression below, before flying off in a rainbow of color.
The group has made slow progress mainly thanks to the tall man that is being carried along on a litter. Mark Scotts lays prone on the stretcher made of woven plants and long sapling limbs. His head bobs slightly with the movements of the small figures carrying him. His face is covered in a heavy scruff from spending so much time in the Amazon, but it doesn't hide the flush of his skin from the fever that set in the day before.
He hasn't truly woken up again since the night he and Cody talked, when he does what he says makes no real sense.
Walking not far from the litter, Norman Wallace hasn't really said much to the strangers, only to the hunters that surround them. Glancing over his shoulder, the old man's gaze falls on Mark, brows furrowing. He slows now letting the litter. and the woman with it, to catch up.
"'ow is he?" His accent giving away his British heritage, even though he asks in hushed tones. "I have to admit, I am pretty bloody surprised he's lasted this long. Bein' a city boy an all. Though I think I remember him as a boy getting' into all sortsa trouble." Wallace's mouth tugs up at the corner. "Raymond always talked about him, but then I think he lived through Lane's family."
A hand lifts to twirl his fingers around near his head. "Ray has always been a bit of a nutter, but a good man deep down."
The rifle is firmly butted against Cody's good shoulder and she's been carrying it angled to the ground the entire time they've been walking. Her footsteps are as silent as the tiny hunters, every time someone snaps a twig, they get a glare shot in their direction. For the most part, the bald woman's been silent.
"He's not awake, which … like you said.. is a small blessing for him." She looks down at him, the worry and pain in her face making her seem older, more tired. "He'll make it, he'll pull through. He has to. If he doesn't, well then his father's going to get a visit from me." She's not worried that Wallace will try to warn the senior Lane of her plans, she doesn't care.
Thin white brows lift at what the bald woman says, "Your a feisty little thing." Norman's eyes drop to the unconscious man. "If what he said was true, then he'll need people such as yourself behind him." Hands slips into the pockets of tan pants that have seen much better days. "His father… he's a tricky one, but I imagine you know that. If I heard right and that he's helpin' to the government to capture our types?"
There is a soft sigh from Wallace, his eyes going to the train in front of them, just in time to see a figure hurrying towards them, a messenger. With a short command the group stops as the small hunter approaches Wallace. A nervous glances goes to Cody, before he starts speaking.
"We're there." Wallace says softly, there is something in his tone… reverence. His eyes move past the hunter, to a figure standing in the distance. "This… this is different." He murmurs, moving forward. The group moving with him there are whispers passing back and forth… some alarm.
Something is up.
As they get closer, the figure becomes clearer. A little old woman stand there, as if waiting. Wrapped in a red skirt, lengths of beads covering her upper body enough that she doesn't seem indecent… not that this tribe thinks it taboo. Her red skin is creased with age, her black hair cut really short. Her ears are adorned in bright yellow plumage.
"I've got his back, always will," Cody utters as she glances from the ground at her feet toward the man on the stretcher. Her lips purse into a slim frown and she looks up at Wallace, trying to force one corner of her lips into a wry half smile. "Tricky maybe, but he can't hide forever… and he's got enough enemies."
As the group stops, Cody eyes the whispering hunters, then Wallace and tenses. "What's different?" Her finger slips to the trigger of the rifle, the muscles in her arms tensing up. She moves a little closer to Mark, a gesture that can't be mistaken for anything other than a possessive and protective one. "What's different?" she whispers quickly to Wallace. Her naked brow creases in the middle as her eyes dart around the thick foliage, looking for danger.
The tiny woman, shuffles forward a showing of her age, he eyes on Wallace. The plant talker in turn inclines his head low, she actually gives him a smile, but then her attention turns to Cody and the other strangers. It is a brief searching look, she says something in an age roughened voice.
Wallace answers her briefly before saying outloud. "She welcomes the blessed and is overjoyed to see there are more." The old woman gives Cody on last look over before turning to Mark. Moving to his side, she passes hands above his body, pausing above the gunshot wound. She says something rather sharply and turns to walk back the way she came, the litter bearers move to follow her while the others stay firm.
"Seems luck is on Lane's side, he has been granted entrance into the sacred place." Wallace doesn't move to follow either, keeping where he is. "Now… it's all on him. The spirits must find him worthy of the healing."
His head turns to Cody slightly, "Not all are."
Cody's head bows a little as the aged woman's eyes pass over her the first time. For the second, her head is held firm and her eyes are on Mark. The old woman's pass of the hand has the soldier tensing again, holding herself back from reaching out to stop her from touching him. Her hand grips the barrel of the rifle tightly, her knuckles going white.
When Wallace translates for her, Cody's eyes drift toward him and hold. "I want to go with him," she starts but she doesn't move, not yet. "Will I be allowed to go with him?" She takes a deep breath and cranes her neck to keep the litter in her sights. "Otherwise I'm staying here until he walks back… I just…" Then her voice drops and she remains silent before tossing the scientist/plant man a pleading look. "He's worthy, they have to see it."
"No… this trip he has to take on his own." A hand, as gnarled as the trees Wallace manipulates, moves to rest on her shoulder. A gesture meant for comfort, giving it a squeeze. "But… take comfort in the fact that The Mother of All came out to grant him access to their most sacred of places."
The rest of the hunters glances back at Wallace before some melt into the forests going where they need too, leaving only a handful of the small men and the strangers. "Should he survive the test he will be put through, he will come out whole." Wallace angles a smile at her. "I should know.
"But stayin' here will not help him. I need your help." Wallace falls into a more serious and business like manner. "Some of the hunters have found your friends, but they are fearful to approach them. They walked on air and that spooked the hunters." His hand slides off her shoulder and he gives her a pleading look, " I need one of you to come with me to show them we mean no harm."
Cody doesn't answer Wallace right away, she watches the litter until it is completely out of sight and then for a few minutes more, perhaps to make sure it isn't coming back. The hand on her shoulder does nothing but add to the feeling of the weight of the world. They sink a little and then she simply nods toward him and slings the rifle over her shoulder. "The Mother of All, huh? That does make me feel a little better but… the sniper, he won't find him… will he?" Her voice cracks at the last bit, then she looks up at plant manipulator, her worry etched deep into her features.
"I really don't want to leave, not until I know that he's going to be fine." She turns though, throwing one last look over her shoulder down the path. "I need something to eat, and then after we get the rest of them, I'm coming back to wait for Mark."
"They haven't found this place yet… or the village." Wallace points out mildly, watching down the path as well. "And you have to remember…." His head turns back to her, eyes intense through glasses. "They are strangers in our land. These people…" A hand sweeps across the remaining hunters. "…know these lands like the back of their hands."
A glance towards where Mark was taken, brows furrowing slightly in thought, he turns to move through the jungle again, this time angling into another direction. "There is food and a place to rest at the village. I'll take you there now."
Nodding, Cody follows along behind the man. "They must have been following us since the lab, or the crash… Hopefully they won't follow us here or to the village." Her concern for their well being has extended now. Since joining with Wallace, the thought had occured that it would give Mark's father a chance to kill two birds with one stone. "We haven't exactly been stealthy, not until we hit the bridge and got separated. Apparently we were pretty easy to follow then too."
"Walking on air, huh?" Cody's mind is wracking with the possibilities as to which among them is able to fly. Not Dee, she hasn't personally witnessed Laurel doing anything, Poco… well, and Jo would have said something. "Good to know that the hunters found them instead of the sniper."
"The hunters have been following you all since the Lab." Wallace says with a small nod, hands moving to pull branch out of the way. "When you all were split up, they moved to follow your friends."
The plant manipulator continues on for several minutes in silence. Sounds up ahead become clearer, the murmurs of voices, the shouts of kids. More light can be seen ahead of them. "Not too many people have been at this village. There are many Yanomami villages spread out through the region, but this one is different."
The plants part into the village. Built in a circle, with a large open area in the middle. Two large huts sit at each end of the clearing While two long lean-to structures arch between them on either side. A large group of children run up as they arrive, their high pitch voices excited.
Wallace smiles brightly as he wades into them, so that he can move on, talking brightly to the kids. Stopping, kids milling about him, Norman turns and spreads his arms.