A boy named Kan gains his manhood by joining souls with a forest guardian on his Rite of Passage. A spirit of this magnitude hasn't been seen for 3 generations. He then must save his people, his Love, his Land, and his own soul before eternal nightfall sets in and all is lost.
Deep in the Silent Forest a young man sits alone in meditation. He has fasted now for three days with neither food nor drink. This is his third attempt to gain an animal spirit. Many in the village say he is one that will never gain one, and never be accepted on the elder council when his father steps down. In the back of his mind he knows his time is running out, for each spirit gaining attempt you are allowed only four days to be in meditation. After four days time you become so weak that a demon can then take control of your body and cause your death.
The young man is about to enter his 19th winter. He is a tall strong man, far stronger than most his age. His skin is thick and leathery. He would make a great warrior, but without a spirit to help him in battle, he cannot become a warrior. Nor can he marry; he is not yet considered a man among his people. He is his father’s shame; even his younger brother has gained a wolf spirit, and is training to be a scout. For now he is called Kan, meaning eldest of cougar, because that is what his father is, a cougar spirit. His mother on the other hand, knows he is destined for greatness, she is gentle and loving, she is a white swan.
He knows it is almost time to start for home, but he also knows he must wait just a little longer. Just then he is aware of a presence just on the other side of the clearing, still in the forest. It touches his mind like warm water. Could this be it, could this be what he has been waiting for. Then his head is filled with a powerful roar. Startling enough to make him stand up and stare at the edge of the forest. There it was; a light coming from the edge of the clearing. Coming closer and closer, getting brighter and brighter. All of a sudden he was standing face to face with the largest bear he had ever seen. Its fur was white, just like fresh fallen snow in the middle of winter, but bigger than any dwelling in the village. Standing twice as tall as Kan, on all four feet, and then twice as long from snout to tail.
“So little one, you return yet again. I have watched you come and leave twice now. Yet no one will come to you. I know what is in your future. That is why no one will aid you. None are strong enough to protect you. You are very different from the others who come and seek forest guardians. Why did you return here? Why not go to the Screaming Cliffs or Mirror Lake like your parents did. I watched your brother come here after you, and the Timber Wolves fought for him. But tell me little one, why did you return so many times?”
Shocked Kan replied, “I… I don’t know… This seemed to be the place I would meet my guardian.”
At that moment the Great Bear let off such a powerful roar that it sounded as though lightning was striking him. “YOU WASTE MY TIME! LEAVE THIS PLACE AND TRY SOMEWHERE ELSE.” The bear turned and started to leave the clearing.
Kan yelled back at the bear, “WAIT. Why did you come here? There has to be some
reason you came to me.” The bear continued to lumber toward the tree’s, not knowing what to do, he ran in front of the great bear. “Stop, please. Tell me
what I need to do.”
The bear stopped and looked at him, “Be more confident in your actions. Don’t just
stand there. Do what you know must be done.” Stepping around Kan and continuing toward the forest, Kan stuck out a hand and touched the bear on the side. “NOW
YOU’VE DONE IT!” exploded in his head.
The Great Bear stuck his forehead against Kan’s and then like lightning, Kan’s body was wracked with pain. Falling to his knee’s the voice in his head shouted, “Now our souls are one. Your body is now our body. I will help you with your life from now till the day this shell dies. Then we will return to the Silent Forest together.” Clutching
his head, he could feel his skin tearing and re-growing, hair growing and thickening. Even his bones were changing, lengthening and toughening. His nails became claws. He could feel the muscles in his body stretch, tear, repair, stretch, and tear, and repair again and again.
Kan was in such agony that he thought he was dying and being possessed by a Demon. As he fell to his knees, the pain ceased throughout his body and at once he felt comforted. “My apologies little one,” said a rumbling in his head, “there is so much of me and so little of you, the merging of our souls has transformed you body more violently than I anticipated.”
Kan rose to his feet and swiped a low hanging branch out of his face; the branch tumbled to the forest floor without much of a sound. Kan then realized that the branch was over 15 feet above him, and when he swiped it, the branch was removed from the tree with ease.