Chapter Twenty-Nine

Now, after the people were rested, and what supplies could be gathered were brought in, they journeyed on again. But as they did so, the people noticed that they were no longer climbing, but descending. They were coming down out of the mountains.
2 Their food and water was almost gone again, when at the head of the column one morning The Old Fox noticed the passage was widening, and grass was beginning to appear.
3 They came to a small rise, and from it, a breath-taking sight appeared before them! Just below was a small forest, thin, where they were, but thickening out in both directions, on either side. Beyond the forest were lush, grassy hills, and they could hear the soft music of streams fed by springs. And they looked out over the land.
4 "Let the people come up," commanded The Old Fox. "Let them see! We are there!" And cheering broke out as the word spread along the caravan. The Old Fox turned to Gray Dove.
5 "Have the cattle brought up by the caravan," he ordered, "and driven out onto the grass. Hunters can go into the forest. There is plenty of game, nuts to be found in the forest, and perhaps wild grain, in the wilderness.
6 Put men to work, salso, clearing a road and building bridges, so we can get the ox carts through. For now people will have to carry their tents through to the clear ground. We will make camp just beyond the trees. We cannot journey much longer. Look at the sky. The rains will be on us any day. We must gather what provisions we can, and wait out the bad weather. When the rains have stopped, we can journey on."
7 So it was, the people of Spirit made camp. The woods were full of game, and the fields were full of rabbits; so many of them that the children caught them by chasing them into nets!
8 There would be plenty of food to see the people through this harvestless winter, until they could plant crops the next fall. For there was no time now, to break ground.
9 Now the people spread out in several camps on both sides of the river they had found, just below the hills, and The Old Fox's words proved true. Barely had they settled in, when the rains came, and the rains here were different than they were in their land. For there was not the steady, endless showers for days, but there were sudden storms of great fury with much quick fire and thunder, that the people became frightened. But The Old Fox assured them there was nothing to fear.
10 Finally, the rains passed, and the people settled down, content with their new surroundings. Scouting parties returned with word of a large lake to the east, and they had already found several more rivers.
11 "There are many good places for cities," they said,"but there is no sign of people! The land is barren of any signs of inhabitation."
12 "It is good land," said The Old Fox. "Why is it not inhabited? Surely there are people here!"
13 But for many days there was no sign of anyone. Then one day Bold Fox was on patrol checking the shepherds far out from the encampment, when a man ran over the top of a hill before him. "Run!" the man shouted, "Run! Giants! Monsters! They're coming behind me!"
14 Bold Fox and his men hurried to the top of the hill, and sure enough, Giants approached making their way through the sheep the men had abandoned. Though not the Giants of legend, they were definitely large!
15 Bold Fox was a big man, but these men stood half-again his height! And he could see why the shepherd had been frightened! Their helmets were decorated with the horns of many different animals, and they wore body armour made of many interlocking plates of tortoise shells. They carried large shields and great clubs!
16 Using hand signals, Bold Fox placed his men. There were only twelve of the Giants, so his patrol outnumbered them, two to one. But he did not want to do battle if he could avoid it.
17 When they were half way towards them, the Giants saw them, and stopped. They gathered together and looked at Bold Fox and his men for several minutes. Then, one of them took a white cloth from beneath his armour, attached it to his spear, and waved it back and forth, and the spear bearer and another man came forward.
18 "What do you suppose that means?" asked one of Bold Fox's men.
19 "I'm not sure," answered Bold Fox, "perhaps it is their way of asking for a truce talk. Come on! Let's go down and see! The rest of you stay here." Bold Fox came down the hill about half the distance between the two forces and waited. The two Giants approached, and as they did so, a strange vision came over Bold Fox. He was laying on a battlefield, holding the Giant who was approaching him, in his arms. But the vision quickly faded, and Bold Fox gathered his wits.
20 When the Giants were three paces away, they stopped, put down their shields and clubs, came before them, and sat on the ground. Bold Fox and his companions did likewise.
21 "How will we speak with them?" asked Bod Fox's companion.
22 "Hopefully," said Bold Fox, "they know sign or we can make out their meaning."
23 "Or better yet," said the larger of the Giants, "we can speak your language!"
24 Bold Fox and his companion looked at him in total wonderment.
25 "Before you ask, Children of The Lords," the Giant told him, "several years ago some of your people made it through the mountains. When we found them, they were virtually starved, but we nursed them back to health, and took them into our cities, where they have proved their worth. They told us of a new religioin being born in their land, of The Children of The Lords.

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