Gitchi Manitou waited for Marianne inside his Wiigiwaam. He mulled over the best way to let her know what she had to do, and tried to guess if she would have the strength to do it. Doubtful. It would be easier to ask for one great deed, but what someone decides to become almost never come down to one act of bravery. Given enough time, tools wear down with use, canyons are carved from streams, and mountains move. They are shaped by the small, accumulating forces that they don’t notice. She’s finally dreaming.

Marianne walked into the Wiigiwaam, though she did not remember doing so. She felt the fur skins beneath her feet and wondered at how real it felt. Then she noticed the old man crouched by a fire. He had a beaded tunic around his shoulders with moccasins showing underneath. The old man stared intently at the fire while waiting for her to sit down across from him.

“Aaniin Marianne, you can call me Gitchi, but you won’t remember that.”

“Why not?”

“Because unless you make the journey Westward, you are not fully here. Have a seat, smoke with me.”

Gitchi filled his pipe, set it ablaze, and took a practiced puff. Exhaling the smoke, he directed with his hands onto his hair, tunic, and all over his body. Then he handed the pipe to Marianne who attempted to copy him. The pipe was large, however, and she ended up spreading smoke everywhere besides her hair.

The old man smiled for a moment, then took the pipe back from her. After placing the pipe to his side, he looked up into her eyes seriously, “I asked you to come here because you are the only person who can save one of my people. You are makoganzh’s last chance.”

“What do you mean? Who is that?”

“Martin,” Gitchi moved over to Marianne faster than she thought possible for an old man, and gently grabbed both of her shoulders, “Martin is going down the wrong path”

Marianne slowly rose and walked out the doorway of the Wiigiwaam. She was gone. She had smoked with him, but even then, they only remember the things that strike them as important, and that’s only if they put in the effort. He sat and wondered, as he did many times before, if his meddling would change things. Unfortunately, he knew that many forces were accumulated against him.