The season of streams arrived early. The storm during Red Son's trial marked the beginning of the season and lasted several days. When the rains had stopped flooding had filled the Gray Valley as it always does. The storm had also done well to wash away much of the snow from the bad season. This was the easiest season for living, and also one of the briefest seasons. The stream season lasted about a third as long as the bad seasons. The season of streams was followed by the still season. It marked the time to prepare for the bad seasons. During this time many beasts began to move to other lands. The people would follow the beasts. Without them there would be no food. During the still seasons the people would follow the beasts which had branches sprouting from their head. The deer moved to an area where the mammoth live as well. It was a dangerous area, but there was food. During this time the people would live in the shadow of Crying Mountain. In this place they would wait out the heavy snow. Once the bad season had ended, the deer would leave and as they did so did the people back to their land by the Gray Valley. Not soon after the people left the crying mountain, the Great Sky would be filled with anger and begin his showers. Once Crying Mountain wept for it's lost children, and its tears filled the valley the season of streams had arrived.
A light drizzle was in the air. It was obvious by the smell. Stone Jaw did not need to leave the tent to know this.
Slowly he pulled the pelts off of him. He turned to see his elder brother by the doorway to the tent. "Were you at council my brother? The day is still early."
Red Son turned to see his brother. He had not meant to wake him. "Curled Beard and Crooked Back say I am free to chose a woman. I have every right of a man now." Red Son gazed lack-lusterly at the fires soft embers and kicked a coal back into the weak flames.
"Have you found a woman yet?" Red Son's expression puzzled his brother. "You want a woman don't you brother?"
"Of course I want a woman Stone Jaw. A man is not a man without his woman!" Red Sons tone was harsh. A low murmur from his sister made him soften his tone. "The way we worry about Running Laughter ... Do you think all brothers worry so for their sister? If a man ever did anything to her, I would hate him. How am I to do that to another man's sister?" Such views were unlike Red Son. Stone Jaw was known to be soft hearted, despite his name. Red Son was a warrior. It was strange to see him in such a mood.
"Perhaps if you were to speak to father? Maybe he could-"
"I have no need for father's advice or yours brother." Such a retort was more typical for the hunter. "I have no need for the words of an old man or foolish boy."
"What about the words of a brother Red Son?"
Red Son walked out of the tent. He had no wishes to listen to his brother today. "I am sorry for your brother Stone Jaw."
The boy turned to see his father raising from under his pelts. The old man's frail body dull next to the beauty of his wife.
"I did not mean to wake you father. I am sorry."
"I am sorry Stone Jaw. Your brother's heart is cold because of me. If I was the man he wanted, he would not need to be so strong. He has been a man far longer that he realizes, he had to be strong, he never thought as a boy does. It is because of my weakness that he can have none."
"Father, that is not true. Red Son had made his own path. You are not responsible for-"
"Red Son is no man." Low Eyes turned to see his wife rising from bed. Her strange youthful beauty lay in stark contrast to her husband's weak withered body. "He fights like a man, he hunts like a man, but Red Son is more boy than you are Stone Jaw."
Red Son sat beneath a tree near his family's tent, the warm rain gently running down his muscular body. "My son seems troubled." Red Son turned to see his mother standing behind him. Her fair skin and hair dark like the night sky marked her for what she once was.
"Mother." A faint smile crept to the worried boys face. "Did Stone Jaw and I wake you? I am sorry."
Storm Hair sat next to her son and looked up at the clouds. "You did. You are worried about selecting a woman."
Red Son looked away foolishly. Men always took their woman without hesitation. Yet Red Son was worried. "Mother, you were once the most beautiful girl in our tribe. You have birthed three children and still your beauty shines through. How did father take a beauty like you? So many others must have tried to claim you, how did father do it?"
Storm Hair let out a soft chuckle. "My brother Icy Mountain is much like your brother Raining Stone." She explained softly. "One day upon returning from camping he found me naked in our tent with a man trying to take me. Icy Mountain dropped his kill and beat the man. He nearly killed him." Storm Hair looked down at her feet. "He would have had me if my brother has not saved me. I was young, I was not yet ready to mother children."
Red Son frowned. "So why was Low Eyes able to take you? A weak man like he could never defeat Icy Mountain."
"He asked your brother for his blessing? Ha! What fool would give his only sister to such a weak man! He would never show such poor judgment! He-"
"Your father did not ask Icy Mountain my son. He asked me."