Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Search for Sunlei - Second Great Novel in The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby! Wow!

What troubles you brother?" he asked.
Without averting his eyes from the western horizon, Tyoga said, "Nearly five years ago I trekked with Chief Blue Coat of the Mattaponi to Middletown--Williamsburg, they call it now--to meet with Lord Governor Nott of Virginia. Nott told us that the British wanted to take the village of Mattaponi to create a new port for the crown. He told the chief and me that if the Mattaponi would not sell the land, then the British army would take the village by force. Chief Blue Coat refused to sign the land over to the British and vowed to fight to the last man to preserve the land of his ancestors."
"Chief Blue Coat answered wisely, Ty," Tes Qua chimed in, "It is the duty of the chief to protect the land that sustains his people. There was nothing else he could have done."
"I know, Tes. He did the right thing," Tyoga refocused his gaze to the pack at his knees. "But there is more. I shared a plan with Governor Nott that I knew he could not refuse to consider. But I never imagined that my plan would one day make its way before the kind and be approved by the British Parliament."
Tyoga shook his head in disbelief as the words brought into stark relief the implausible reality that had come to pass. "I preyed upon the weakness of a little man hiding under a powdered wig and created the mess that brings us together this day."
"You had no way of knowing the future, my brother," Tes Qua offered. "Your plan saved the Mattaponi. And it was the Mattaponi who saved your life. Besides," he continued, "it is a good plan. It will put an end to the merciless rule of Chief Quisquis and rid the Ohio Valley of the French. That Sunlei has been caught up in the affair is a cruel twist that no one could have foreseen."

The Search for Sunlei:
The Legend of Tyoga Weathersby
By H. L. Grandin

When Sunlei and Tyoga had their last time together, there was talk about Sunlei being able to meet a young brave. Neither knew at that time that Sunlei was already to have a child--Tyoga's... Indeed it was Wahaya-Wacon who had played with him and guided and protected him while he explored the forests. He was with him more than Sunlei and early on Sunlei knew that he, too, had the Knowing, just as his father, Tyoga.

MattaponiTyoga knew nothing of his son, however. He had two children with Trinity Jane and had become a wealthy man. But it was the type of small village, on land that had been given to him by the chief after the negotiations were over, that he established which had everybody full of respect for him. Many black men became freemen who were quick to build their own businesses, including a blacksmith. His manager over all that he had, was the first man he had "purchased" and freed at the same time and was there by his side from then on.

When Tyoga heard the howl, he immediately thought of his close friend... soon he was  running up to greet him while Tes Qua Ta Wa came behind. He had come for a reason; one that began to haunt him as soon as he heard Tes Qua' story. He confessed to Tes Qua that when he had first reached Mattaponi, the tribe there welcomed him immediately, saying that it was to save them that he had come. Everyone rejoiced that Tyoga was there, He had no idea what the issue was, but quickly promised to help if he could... And so it was that Tyoga did indeed save the lands that belonged to the Tribe. But in his enthusiasm and vast knowledge of the politics even then early in America, he had made a suggestion that would not only save the land, but could potentially rid the country of a hated enemy. He didn't think it could hurt, but he never thought that it would one day cause great danger to Sunlei!

When Sunlei had been prepared to wed, she had shown not only the beauty that had drawn many men to want her, but she had the love of all of her people for the type of woman she had become. Even after she had been relocated, she had been cherished by those who came to know her. But there was always someone who was prepared to fight for her. She had been taken! Now she was in the hands of the very chief, who Tyoga had once plotted the English against!

There really was no choice in Tyoga's mind. He would join Tes Qua and go to free her. Even though Trinity Jane tried to dissuade him, declaring "Your home is here..."                                 

Tyoga knew that he would be away from Trinity Jane and his children for longer than he wished to admit. With winter setting in, he had spent the previous two days making sure that his family would be well provided for in his absence. All of his Cherokee brothers and sisters who had accompanied Tes Qua across the mountains agreed to stay with Trinity Jane and his children while he was away. Coyote, Pains His Shirt Red, Dancing Mouse, and Morning Sky were anxious to stay in the relative warmth of tidewater Virginia to avoid the frigid cold of the Appalachian winter. That they were able to help to put Tyoga's mind at ease while he was away searching for Sunlei was an added charge that they were more than willing to accommodate. Even absent their generosity, Tyoga would have had little to worry about.
Twin Oaks had grown into the largest and most prosperous plantation in colonial America. Tyoga and Trinity had become so valuable to both the tribes of Tidewater Virginia and the representatives of the British Crown that their family was protected from harm by both factions with equal devotion. Tyoga had grown up as a living bridge linking the white settlers of Appalachia with the tribes of the Native American woodland cultures. Because of the Weathersby's  long-standing relationship with the Ani-Unwiya, Tyoga was fluent in Tsalagie, the language of the Cherokee...

They were soon on their way. Brister was supposed to only go so far, to help take supplies back to the Tribe, but, somehow, somewhere, he kept springing up to help. Of course, Wahaya was there, sometimes hiding, sometimes right with them. It didn't take long for them to find a problem to help solve. The first was at Chiswell's Pass... They heard many muskets firing and started running...

It was there that Tes Qua watched Tyoga first change..

"What if the whites are French...? Brister asked.

Tyoga did not reply. Tes Qua could see that the hazel hue was draining from his friend's eyes. The amber glow that made his pupils sizzle with a feral sting presaged the unbridled impulse to respond without restraint. The spirit of Wahaya-Wacon was filling Tyoga's soul. Soon there would be very little of Tyoga left. The cry came from the top of the ridge. The howl was urgent and demanding. It filled the valley below and careened off of the granite peaks of the Warrior Ridge. Before Tes Qua could say another word, Tyoga took off down the slope at full speed.

By the time it was over, friends were dead and Tyoga held Standing Bird in his arms. She was in great pain, but managed to tell him to warn the British that they were marching into a trap and if they weren't warned, they would be walking into a trap. Indeed, this news was all over the territory, except perhaps for the knowledge of the British. They decided to split up with Tes Qua going to tell the British and Brister supposedly on his way home...

As the two brothers left, they exchanged tokens of their friendship in case they didn't meet again...

As Tyoga moved on he was to make a major enemy when he discovered that the French, Iroquois and a merchant had tied up all of the trade and was paying very low prices for furs and other items... Tyoga told him he'd be back to ensure it stopped. That was a mistake... But for whom?

Just as the move by the British was known, so, too, did everybody know about Tyoga's trip to save Sunlei... They were waiting for him... and even though Wahaya invariably was able to pull together a pack of wolves and a few men joined with Tyoga, it became more and more difficult to get Sunlei.. Calls to the ancestors were made... 

But for Tyoga, if he was to get Sunlei and also another from their tribe, he would continue to change...

Change until nobody could have recognized him.

But would he be able to come back???

Throughout this story, Tyoga is a very introspective man, trying to understand where he fit? Who he was to be? While traveling on to Sunlei, he had stopped at his parents home and had been chastised by his mother as only a mother can. But she did not really know her son any more and had not been privy to his confusion and search.  He had once thought he loved Sunlei above all others, but had never told her he loved her. Nor did he tell the other woman who had come to him one night seeking their connection... Nor did he tell Trinity Jane as she told him she loved him, as he walked out the door, saying nothing in response.

Was he even capable of love or was his life to be that of an animal, living on instinct alone?
Then, amazingly, the sudden, unimaginable happens and Tyoga loses what semblance of self he had. Should he leave everybody and turn to Wyhaya for his sole companionship???