It was the sense that there was a subtle imbalance in the world that morning.
THEY ALL AWOKE WITH foreboding. This was a family accustomed to optimism, determination, and resolve—a family that had achieved great things in their lives.
He was born Ugidahli Unega, White Feather, and had earned the name Kalanu Ahkyeliski, Raven Mocker. He was the patriarch of his family, living alone as an outcast because he had chosen the dark path and perhaps had discovered the secret to immortality. For what reason would he awaken with dread?
He was born Ugugu, Snow Owl, and had earned the name Adanvdo Alsgida, Spirit Dancer. He was the good son, the wise father, and grandfather who had risen out of fear and shame to become the village Uku, the high priest. For what reason would he awaken feeling fear and apprehension?
She was born Kalona Ehlawei, Quiet Raven. She was the granddaughter, daughter, and grandmother who had risen above her difficult childhood to become a Beloved Woman and the Peace Chief of her village. For what reason would she awaken with a dire premonition?
She was born Alihelitsidasdi, Happy One, a teenager living a happy, innocent life with a bright future. Her close friends and family just called her Ali. For what reason would she awaken with anxiety?
He was born Atselvdi, Immitator, a teenager already far along the white path to becoming a priest and probable successor of his grandfather’s position as Uku. For what reason would he awaken with ill portents?
It was in the air that was not as crisp as it should be. It was in the colors that were not quite as bright as they should be. It was in sounds that seemed somehow slightly muffled. It was in the odors that seemed subdued. It was in the bed that felt harder and the covers that felt heavier than usual. It was in the sour taste of their morning saliva. It was the sense that there was a subtle imbalance in the world that morning.
Perhaps, they all sensed the omen of evil that was lurking in their future.
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