“Elisi [Cherokee. Translation: Grandmother], I must go. We cannot survive here. Not in peace. Not like this,” Underfoot explained. His grandmother nodded silently, tears of understanding flowed down her cheeks. “I leave at sunset and return when I find our new home.”
Underfoot packed his things and left the village before anyone was awake. He managed to hike out of the valley by sunset. His stomach began to grumble at the mountain’s peak. It was time for breakfast. Underfoot gathered kindling. He was preparing to make a fire when he heard a horrible screech.
Normally he would have ignored such a noise. He didn’t like to meddle in the affairs of wildlife. This was different though. Underfoot found himself on his feet, as if he was being driven by the Great Spirits. He ran through the trees as another pained squawk pierced the air. A clearing appeared. In the center of it was a small tree with an enormous nest at the top. On the ground next to it was a bald eagle facing off against a rattlesnake.
The bird looked wounded. Its opponent didn’t. The snake began slithering towards the tree. Mama Eagle watched in horror as it approached the trunk. She let out a high screech and took flight. The rattlesnake couldn’t react fast enough and ended up clenched between the eagle’s talons. Mama Eagle struggled to soar higher and higher until the venom finished its job and she spiraled to the ground, taking her foe with her.
Underfoot raced toward the tree. He climbed up the branches and into the nest. In the center was a single egg. Underfoot returned to his campsite with it. He roasted nuts and berries for breakfast while cradling the egg. The smells of breakfast hung in the air as Underfoot felt a trembling in the egg.
His eyes shot to the splitting shell. A small beak poked through. Underfoot helped it move away the pieces of shell. Soon a pink head poked through and tiny eyes stared into his. He smiled at his new friend, “Nice to meet you.”
Underfoot continued his quest, caring for the Tana Kwon’s newest member along the way. After three suns and two moons, he finally found the perfect place. Two rivers merged; each running rampant with fish. Game bounced merrily through the trees in every direction. The place was utopian. It was time for Underfoot to return.
Two moons passed; the tribe gathered what they could and set out for their new home. Underfoot led the way beside Chief Genessee. The chief marveled at how close the young man and eagle were already becoming. They arrived at the location Underfoot spoke of. Its magnificence drove the tribe to their knees.
Chief Genessee turned to Underfoot and placed a hand on his shoulder. “The Great Spirits have blessed you and this eagle. I now declare you Tiosaronda[Iroquois. Translation: A meeting of two waters], after our new home, and ask you to take my place as leader.”
“I accept,” Underfoot smiled.
Chief Tiosaronda led the Tana Kwon to peace and prosperity. Many seasons cycled by as they built their new village. The tribe continued to grow. So did the eagle that never left Tiosaronda’s side.
The eagle went with Tiosaronda and the hunters every day, becoming a crucial part of their team. He could see prey before prey could see him. Some believed the eagle could see prey from a mile away. On land he struck down game before an arrow could. On the water he dove in and snatched fish before lines could be cast. These skills earned him the name, Eagle Quick Eye.
One day Eagle Quick Eye spotted a tribe coming into the Tana Kwon’s territory. Chief Tiosaronda led his men to meet their visitors. It was the Toh Lesi; they were looking to push the Tana Kwon out of their home again. Arrows flew through the air before words had a chance to.
Chief Tiosaronda led his men against the Toh Lesi. The Tana Kwon were a peaceful tribe, but their archery skills were unmatched. Plus they had Eagle Quick Eye on their side; he slammed enemies to the ground before soaring away. The battle didn’t last long. Chief Tiosaronda brought all his men home free of harm.
The Tana Kwon never had any issues with hostiles after that. In fact, other tribes in the area began bringing peace offerings to them instead. Chief Tiosaronda accepted the gifts with open arms and encouraged positive relations between the tribes.
Seasons continued to run their course. All was well in the Tana Kwon’s nook of the Adirondacks. One morning a wrinkled Chief Tiosaronda took a walk in the woods while the tribe prepared breakfast. Eagle Quick Eye floated quietly over the trees above him.
Tiosaronda found a shady tree and sat beneath it. Eagle Quick Eye fluttered down, his graying feathers flapping gently. He laid his head on the chief’s chest. The pair closed their eyes and let the Great Spirits guide them to another realm of peace as the smells of breakfast wafted in the air.
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