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August 23, 2013
"This is unbelievable!" Malina exclaimed. "My father would have told me about this! He knows how much I love this class. Surely he has nothing to do this." Malina was the tribal princess. As one would imagine, she's the prissy, up-tight girly-girl anyone would imagine her to be. However, she will not be the one taking over the throne. Her father arranges a marriage for her and her husband takes the throne. With her whole future planned out, one might wonder why she's taking a healing class. It turns out her father signed her up for this class in order to teach her some responsibility. Her punishment ended a while ago. The only reason she really stays is to socialize with the rest of us.
"You think your father's going to be upset?" Aulanerk said. "Just wait till my father finds out. He's going to freak." Aulanerk's father is the tribe's spiritual leader. He is in charge of the tribe's connection to the Spirit World. Since bending is associated with spirituality, her father is also in charge of teaching waterbending to the military's waterbenders. Since only men can hold the position, Aulanerk is ineligible. In fact, Aulanerk is one of five sisters who cannot hold the position. Her mother is currently pregnant with the sixth child hoping for a son. Since her father is a spiritual leader, Aulanerk's family holds morals to a high regard which has made her very calm and spiritual.
"Who cares what our parents think?" Nujalik said. "We need to figure how this happened and what to do about it!" Nujalik was always the hot-headed rebel of our social group. Her father was one of the many friends of my father. He was pretty much the only person that continued hunting after my father's death. Since it was almost impossible to make a living hunting alone, he just joined the military full-time. Ironically, much of what he did in the military had nothing to do with hunting. He is the lieutenant and in charge of many of the movements of our military.
"I still have money from trading this morning. We can go talk about it over lunch at Kalduk's," I said. They all went home to ask their parents if it was okay and to change in to more comfortable clothes. I went ahead and went to the restaurant to make sure we had a seat.
Like many of the people we know, Kalduk was a friend of my father. Kalduk almost had no interest in hunting. The only reason he really did it was as a social thing. While he was a member of the hunting company, he also had a part-time job as a chef. After he left the hunting company, he opened his own restaurant with money he had saved up. Kalduk's is now one of the most popular restaurants in the entire tribe. The restaurant is two stories with an indoor eating area on the first floor and an outdoor eating area on the second floor. I walk up to the second floor and sat down at the table we usually sit at.
The first one to arrive was Malina. She was wearing a large fur coat made entirely of polar leopard fur. Her long dark brown hair was in the traditional style of the tribal princess. She sat down beside me with a big smile on her face.
"So, is there any particular reason you chose to sit at this particular table?" I could tell what she meant. Kalduk's son Kapik usually waited at this table. My friends have always wanted me to ask him out and to date him but I'm just not the dating type. I'm not really a big fan of our tribe's arranged marriage system.
"Oh please, Malina, you know about my views on marriage. Besides, I think he's more in to you."
Aulanerk walked in next. She wore her brown hair in the traditional hair-loopies style. She wore a long, slender blue coat in which the sleeves draped down from her hands. White fur lined the sleeves, bottom, and hood. She sat down elegantly at the table.
After Aulanerk arrived, Nujalik walked in. She was wearing a large light blue coat that perfectly complimented her body shape. She was wearing her hair in a straight ponytail tied in a blue ribbon with a small flame of light brown hair hanging from the end of it.
"So what's the plan? Are we getting our healing teacher back or not?" she said confidently.
"And what's going on tonight? I keep hearing about some gathering." Aulanerk said.
"I've heard a lot about that, too," I say. "Chuatek told me the tribe was going to war."
"A war?" Malina said. "Surely my father would have told me if the tribe was going to war."
"What all did he tell you?" Nujalik asked. I started off by telling them about Aukaneck not being at breakfast and then about what Chuatek told me.
"Your brother is a part-time soldier, right?" Malina said. "So we know we're not assisting another nation that's for sure." There were various rules about the amount of soldiers we use for war in case there is war. If we were assisting another nation we would only use full-time soldiers and possibly a couple part-time soldiers depending on who we assist. If we were in a feud with another nation they would send full-time and part-time and might do a draft depending on if we were losing or not. If we were being threatened by another nation then they would summon the full army and issue a draft without a doubt.
"Are we having a draft?" Aulanerk asked.
"We don't know," I say. "They would probably ask for recruits at the gathering and if they didn't have enough then they would do a draft." Even though women don't get as education as men do, they usually learn enough to know about many of the laws. In fact, women aren't allowed to leave school until they learn all of the laws. For the rest of lunch we talked about other stuff besides the gathering. When Kapik came to take our order, he informed us that this was his last day and that he would signing up for the military if that was what tonight's gathering was about.
With this being our tribe's first gathering, I wasn't surprised by the tribe's anticipation of what is going to be announced. Everywhere I looked, groups of people were talking about what this gathering could possibly be about.
The gathering spot wasn't much of anything. It was just a circular, open-air spot right in front of the palace. There were three gaping holes on the top of the palace roof which aren't usually there. All of a sudden I realized why they were there. Platforms made of the ice-snow material rose out and replaced the holes and somehow froze them permanently to the roof. On the center platform were Chief Tulugaq and his daughter Malina. On the platform to his left was Nujalik's father Lieutenant Kaskae. On the platform to the right was Aulanerk's father Angakkuq. Two waterbenders were on each platform. There were pots of water in front of each waterbender. The waterbenders bended the water into ice thrones for Tulugaq, Kaskae, and Angakkuq. Then they bended water from pouches they had into a seat for Malina. After that they moved to the edge of the roof, out of the way of sight of the royals with three on each side. The chief began to speak.
"Thank you all for attending our tribe's first ever gathering. You are probably all wondering why I gathered you. As you know, the Earth villages have not been unified. There is a currently a war going on between the many city-states. A long-time friend of our tribe, Omashu, who helped with the founding of our tribe, has called upon our help in the war effort. If anyone would like to volunteer, please speak now." A number of young men rose up. Various soldiers guided them somewhere.
"Remember, women aren't allowed to serve," the Chief snickered. Malina frowned upon her father's remark. That man made me so angry. If only the Tribal Party had won the war. Then we wouldn't have this problem. I had to do something. I couldn't just let women have no rights.
"I volunteer!" I yelled.
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