Casey z.Ellen is 69, Li Yoo is 60, Kim Yoo is 26
Daniel was late.
Li wouldn't have minded as much, but he'd been the one to call this emergency meeting in the first place.
Whatever it was couldn't be that important, she thought. Maybe a cat had eaten one of his numerous spirit amulets. Maybe a seagull had looked at him funny, so they had to go find a bear to sacrifice or the crops would fail. Maybe he couldn't decide what to have for lunch.
"Well, he'd better show up soon," S'Ahmisa said. "I could use some advice from the spirits. Zita will become a woman before you can say spear, and I still don't like thinking about her going out there alone."
Li nodded. The whole tribe knew how worried S'Ahmisa was for her daughter... if that was the right word. It was hard enough for any teenager to find their own identity, she could only imagine what it would be like for a clone.
To be honest, she was worried about her daughter. Li would never in a million years have expected Kim - known in old Kulo Seeri as a nervous and studious young woman who avoided social situations like the plague - to be in the position of not knowing who the father of her baby was. And it might be Daniel. Maybe that was why he'd called the meeting, she thought as the shaman came into view.
"What kept you?" Li asked. Daniel yawned in response, then mumbled something about bad sleep and just having got up.
S'Ahmisa pulled a mock exasperated face. "OK, so can we start the meeting now, Sleeping Beauty?"
"I sent Casey and Kim over to talk to Hestrie about baby stuff," Li added as the council members sat down on the grass. "They're not going to be gone all day!"
"Don't ask me about the baby," Daniel said, "and that's not what I called the meeting about, either. Our ancestors haven't chosen to share the identity of the father with me. In fact..." he stared at the ground like a little boy who'd just been caught eating the last bread roll... "they probably won't be sharing anything else with me any time soon. I can't... I've lost my powers. I'm not the shaman any more."
Li and S'Ahmisa stared at him in surprise. After a few seconds, S'Ahmisa broke the awkward silence. "So what now? You didn't even have an apprentice to take your place. And... what will you do now?"
Daniel shrugged. "We need lorekeepers. You don't need to be able to throw a spear for that. It's just... when I first got my powers, it was like the sun coming up after I'd been blundering round in the dark all the time. Now it's just gone. Twenty-two years, I didn't even bother learning another craft." He stood up and turned away. "I need to go. I'm sorry."
Li and S'Ahmisa headed inside, out of the midday sun.
"I guess now we bang the drums and let everyone know?" Li said. "Even with our small group, someone's got to step forward!"
"We'll have to. Someone needs to take care of..."
Just then, Kim, Casey and a small wooden cradle entered the hut. "Are we interrupting anything important?" Casey asked.
As Li was about to answer,
Kim suddenly yelled with pain, and Casey ran out to find other women to help out, muttering about why she had to wait until after they'd left the herbalist's hut.
Somehow, it didn't seem likely that the tiny baby girl was Daniel's daughter.
Welcome Zakash Yoo - no, I picked the name before I know who the father was. She is Zareb's daughter, and therefore the cousin of Zita and Zade. This post brought to you by the letter Z. :)
Also, I apologise in advance for any major time jumps that take place over the next few updates. I can only blame general forgetfulness and the fact that I'm still getting used to using Fraps instead of the in game camera to take screenshots.