Talks like Thunder by Marjorie Carter and Randal Nerhus (Red with Native Blood 1)
Talks like Thunder by Marjorie Carter and Randal Nerhus (Red with Native Blood 1)
A Native American seer and shaman pens a powerful YA novel based on a vision of an 1870s Apache battle.
This is the first novella of an inspiring story of resilience, grit, and perseverance of a young female Apache warrior.
An inspiring story of resilience, grit, and perseverance of a young female Apache warrior.
Posthumously published, Red With Native Blood is a three-novella series that begins with Talks Like Thunder.
Talks Like Thunder is seven when her grandfather, Gray Fox, nantan of the Three Hills Chiricahua, learns of her parents’ passing and claims her, and they travel to his tribespeople’s village in the New Mexico territory. Thunder leaves behind her beloved but fairly ruined village that has been ravaged by fever, the white man’s “rotten stomach” illness, and likely starvation.
After at first wanting to escape her new Apache village, feeling like an outsider among the Chiricahuas, she soon falls into a somewhat contented routine, learning to ride a horse, developing hunting skills, and even making a special friendship with a young brave, Golden Eagle. As time goes on her grandfather teaches her many things about nature and its creatures, plants, the stars and universe, and the Apache’s supreme deity, Ussen.
She welcomes this new knowledge and works hard to stake her place. Soon, she is invited into the Warrior Society, a great honor for a girl, now twelve. As she begins her warrior training, she enjoys it not only for the time it affords her to spend with Golden Eagle, also a fellow warrior, but also the privilege of the status it brings her, after being ridiculed for so long by the other girls her age. Thunder proves her warrior mettle during a raid against the white-eyes who had stolen five Apache horses.
As Thunder and Golden Eagle’s friendship deepens, they soon become betrothed. Thunder’s bliss doesn’t last long when, the next day, white soldiers—the Bluecoats—surprise the village the next day, outnumbering the Chiricahua warriors. She does not yet realize that her life will soon be changed forever.
Book excerpt (Chapter 4) from “Talks like Thunder (Red with Native Blood 1)” by Marjorie Carter and Randal Nerhus
New Mexico, July 1877
Through the warm season, Thunder’s lean body rounded into gentle curves that made men and boys stare. Her raven hair hung like silk, and as she walked, its gentle swaying was like the haunting melody of a lover’s flute.
Golden Eagle often stopped to talk with Thunder and Grandfather. She was thrilled with his regular visits to her lodge and enjoyed stealing glances at him when Grandfather wasn’t watching. One evening, while Thunder was cooking outside her lodge, Golden Eagle came by. She smiled as they exchanged greetings and said, “Grandfather will be back soon. I found some ripe corn in the valley, and Grandfather brought back a wild turkey. Supper is almost ready, and there is plenty. Join us.”
“That is good to hear. My father and I have found nothing on the hunt, and I have not eaten all day.” As Golden Eagle sat, his shoulder brushed hers.
A tingle flowed through her, and a thin sheen of perspiration covered her face. “You will draw everyone’s attention, sitting so close to me. Slide over.”
Grinning, he leaned away from her.
Thunder’s warm feeling remained, but she demurred. “What if Grandfather sees us like this?”
Golden Eagle laughed. “You seem anxious tonight. I can tell you a story to distract you while you cook. What do you want to hear?”
“Oh, I do not know. I cannot think of anything now.”
“How about ‘Coyote Almost Swindles a Mare’?”
Thunder laughed. “You have convinced me. Go ahead, then.”
Golden Eagle began the story. “Coyote bet a mare’s owner that she would not buck, and persuaded him to prepare the horse for Coyote to ride…”
Thunder added a couple of logs to the fire, then sat and let the food cook. She soon found herself leaning against him, listening, and savoring the joy of the moment. I will make his medallion in the image of the morning star. The brightest star in the heavens.
The village was in heavy shadow when Golden Eagle ended his story: “…Coyote rode the mare to his village. When he ran off to bring back his friends, the untied horse simply trotted back to her owner.” Golden Eagle raised an eyebrow and said, “I wish our horses had done that.”
Thunder giggled. It seemed as if she could not get enough of the wonderful feeling his closeness brought her. She felt his fingertips slowly slide along her arm to her shoulder. His light, tender touch gave her goosebumps. His fingers glided back down her arm toward her wrist. Suddenly his hand dropped to the ground, and he jumped to his feet, looking embarrassed.
Grandfather! Thunder realized, aghast. Golden Eagle is tongue-tied. Say something. “Supper has been waiting for you, Grandfather, and I invited Golden Eagle to eat with us.”
Surprisingly, Gray Fox seemed to have no reaction to seeing them so close together. As she served them, she worried he might voice his displeasure about their behavior. However, near the end of the meal, he only spoke with gratitude, thanking Golden Eagle again for saving his granddaughter on the failed raid. Thunder knew it meant he approved of their relationship. It warmed her heart so much, she nearly began to cry.
Later, lying awake, Thunder reminisced about the evening. Her warm, carefree interaction with Golden Eagle had awakened a response in her she had never known. I have fantasized of a brave like Golden Eagle ever since I left the White Mountain Apaches, and now my dream has become real. I did not know being with him would bring me such delight. Everything seems more alive and precious, as if I know life as it really is for the first time.
The next afternoon, Thunder started for Young Falcon’s home. Her friend had married shortly after the tribe had moved higher into the mountains, five moons before.
When Thunder arrived, she found the materials for the fine deerskin shirt she was embroidering as a surprise gift for Grandfather. Thunder took up her sewing, and Young Falcon settled in as well, stitching some small pieces of hide.
Thunder pointed to the buckskin. “What can you be making that is so tiny?”
Young Falcon’s eyes glowed. “I am with child.”
“That is wonderful!” Thunder cried, throwing her arms around her friend.
“Both families are thrilled about it.”
“Naturally. I am so happy for you.” Thunder paused for a moment, looking down. “And maybe a little envious. Though I know I should not be impatient.”
Young Falcon grinned. “You and Golden Eagle were as close as ever only a few days ago.”
“Yes, he stops by almost every day.”
“Then everything should not be far off for you.”
“I hope so,” Thunder said, relieved. “I do not want to ever lose the feeling I have. Sometimes I worry about how I would feel if we ever separated, or if Golden Eagle lost interest in me.”
Young Falcon sighed. “Oh, Thunder. That is just part of caring deeply for another person. Do not bother with such worries. Just enjoy being in love.
The “Red with Native Blood” Series
In the second novella, Falling Star, Thunder meets a Cheyenne girl Falling Star and they forge a friendship in their harrowing journey to escape the white-eyes. Falling Star is available for preorder http://amzn.com/B09XLNZ524 and set to be released on Kindle in May, and Audible in June.
Red With Native Blood’s incredible culmination in the third and last novella of the trilogy, Singing Wind, the story of a young Lakota girl named Singing Wind who meets Thunder and Falling Star, all hoping to start a new life. Singing Wind will be released on Kindle in July and Audible in August.
About Randal Nerhus
Randal Nerhus received a BS in Agricultural Studies from Iowa State University in 1982, and an MA in Oriental Philosophy and Religion from Banaras Hindu University, India, in 1988.
Shortly after obtaining his agriculture degree, he volunteered with the Peace Corps in the Philippines. While traveling in the mountains on the island of Palawan, he visited a remote tribal village and encountered a very different way of life—one of community, contentment, happiness, and love.
Fifteen years later, his interest in tribal traditions deepened while taking part in a ManKind Project initiation that used native approaches to bring men into a life of integrity. In 2002, Marjorie Carter took him under her shamanic guidance which complemented and expanded upon his early Christian foundations. From 2013 to 2016, he lived in Colombia’s Amazon jungle, learning under Cocama shaman don Rogelio Cariguasari, and relevant parts of that experience were incorporated into the novel.
About Marjorie Carter
Marjorie Carter was born in Salem, Missouri, on July 17, 1937. Of Cherokee descent, she learned the traditional ways of her relatives from early childhood.
During the eighth grade, she was forced to leave school to work and provide for her younger brothers.
At the age of nineteen, she moved to Texas and began her careers in the restaurant and real estate businesses.
During her life, she was diagnosed with seven different cancers and fought against melanoma for twenty-five years.
A Native American seer and shaman, she had a passion for art, poetry, and stories. She wrote at her ranch near San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, hoping that Red With Native Blood would help reservation students embrace their heritage. Marjorie died of pneumonia on July 12, 2004.