The Gu tribe was preparing for something big. They were going to fight a battle that had been delayed for a thousand years. To protect the weaker members of the tribe, Bo Gu made arrangements immediately after leaving the shaman’s house.
The main area of battle was where the tribe was located itself. They were one of the few tribes that would choose to battle at their home ground and to protect those that aren’t participating in the battle, they had to clear out the whole tribe.
Bo Gu’s plan was to bring those members of the tribe away through the Ya tribe’s cave and then find a place for them to hide. The Ya people were not strong fighters but they were good at hiding.
The person who emerged from the ground at Bo Gu’s house was from the Ya tribe. They wouldn’t fight with them but they would help send the Gu people away.
Hence, on the next two days, the elderly, women and children all carried small sacks and crawled into the cave. From there, the Ya people directed them to where they needed to go.
More beasts showed up too within the two days. The people patrolling at night could clearly hear the sounds of the water splashing about. The beasts were no longer hiding themselves. The guards stopped walking around the river banks as a safety measure.
On the third day, the Gu tribe was very quiet. No one was out and about anymore.
As the sun hung brightly in the sky, the shaman walked out of the house and went towards the fire pond.
The members of the tribe followed suit.
Before the hunt, they had an important ritual to conduct.
For them, this was a tool and their belief.
Although others may not see the usefulness of a net, this was something the Gu tribe did before and after hunting. Just like how the Flaming Horn members would wash their blades, the Gu tribe had a similar ritual.
The more important the ritual, the more complicated it was.
For many tribes, hunts only needed warriors, tools and strength but the Gu tribe believed that there was something else more important -- rituals!
If they didn’t proceed with their ritual, they would feel that no matter how much strength or what tools you had, it wouldn’t be a satisfactory hunt.
The ritual would give power to their hunting nets which would bring them the luck they need. They wouldn't miss their prey and catch an abundance of game.
The shaman was the main character for all rituals, this one included. Without the shaman, the ritual wouldn't be able to happen.
In the eyes of the Gu people, hunting was a shamanic activity. The shaman decides when to hunt, how to hunt and every other aspect. They mainly used nets to hunt and the shaman would tell them how to use it which was why the shaman’s position in this tribe was so important. They could do without a chief but they couldn’t do without a shaman.
When the shaman reached the fire pond, the rest had arrived. Nets filled the whole pond!
The hill of nets had covered up the flame from their sight but it didn’t extinguish it.
If one looked closely, the nets here were different from the ones they usually used. This beast was different from anything they faced before so they had to use the best nets they had. These were made from the best material that they collected throughout the years. A net that was much stronger than the average straw net.
“Are you ready?” The shaman looked at the people around him.
“Ready.” Bo Gu scanned the faces there. A total of a thousand three hundred of their members were here. The junior totemic warriors would be placed in the outskirts of the tribe while the more experienced warriors would stay in the centre.
“If that is the case, let's begin!" the shaman declared solemnly.
The crowd moved into a line, this wasn't their first time doing the ritual so they didn't need instructions.
Bo Gu stepped to the front of the fire pond and stopped. He then extended his palm.
The shaman took out a long and narrow leaf. The dried leaf was thin and looked as if it would crumble as soon as someone touched it.
The shaman held the leaf with three fingers and flicked it like a sword. He then used it to cut Bo Gu's palm.
The blood followed the leaf's path, dripping down in a straight line from Bo Gu's palm into the fire pond. The whole process didn't take longer than a breath.
Bo Gu moved away to let the second person step forward. He did the same movements as Bo Gu.
Every tribesperson that would join the battle sacrificed a drop of blood into the fire pond.
Although there were a thousand people, it didn't take too long. When the last person was down, it had only been half an hour.
The shaman took the leaf from the last person and stuck it into the mountain of nets.
What did the net represent?
Their presence radiated out of the ceremonial area.
The burning passion of the Gu tribe warriors could be felt from even the outskirts of the tribe. The birds and insects that lived here were long gone.
The Gu people didn't want the Flaming Horn tribe people here also because once the nets were activated, the Flaming Horns would not have a chance to act! Plus, they might even interfere with operations.
Beneath the tranquil Flaming River surface, something stirred. Something large was about to break the surface soon.