I am Kewarratiwa. I was born to Bine!twara of the Ulenga-makira Clan of the Wa!ilerrima. The ulenga-makira is an animal that does not live in this land, but in the land of the Sun, where my peple lived in my grandmother's grandmother's time.
This is how it happened that I came to be lost to my own folk and found a new way to be happy.
It was a night of late summer. We slept in our tents, with a guard watching. But either he was not attentive or the raiders were more skilled than we thought. Topadowaga was killed before he could rouse us and we were awakened by the screaming of those who were speared through their tents.
There was no order or meaning to what anyone did. I came out of my family's tent with the deerskin from my bed in one hand and a digging stick in the other. Everyone slept like that, the men with a spear or club in hand, trying to be ready. There was light aplenty, the raiders had put fast-burning fuel into the coals of our cooking fire. I saw men die. One of the raiders grabbed me by an arm. My mother hit him with something and he let go. I hit him in the face with my digging stick.
"Run! Run!" my mother yelled at me. I ran.
I did not run far at first. I had to stop to let my eyes wake to the darkness. Away from the firelight, the raiders could not see me if I lay flat in the grass. I could hear the screaming. I know that my mother died that night. Maybe everyone. When I could see well enough by the light of stars, I went farther. I could not fight with any hope of living, and I wanted to live.
Dawn came and I stopped to rest a short time. Then I walked on in another direction, to the side of the way I had taken in the night. All was quiet, there was no smoke anywhere. I rested again and ate some berries. There was no water in the small streambeds I crossed. That night I slept a little, wrapped in the hide I had grabbed half-asleep, with a big rock at my back.
When the next day came, I tried to circle back toward our camp. It was the plan if we were separated to find one another by staying as near as possible without being found by the raiders, if they were still about. The sun was hot and I was very thirsty. I found more berries, but they were not enough. My grandmother had told me of ways to find water that her grandmother had learned as a child. In this Land of Walking Stones, her lore is of no use. Only by watching the animals or following the watercourses can one hope to find water in the late summer.