The morning sun grew higher and hotter as the shaman sang. Nervous glances and murmurs were exchanged among the members of the clan; summoning a beast-god was a dangerous business. There was a story that the god of the Bataranisho tribe, a huge female ground-dragon, had once burnt twelve shamans to cinders for summoning her merely to see the size of her eggs. Haveshi wasn’t sure she believed that story — to see the size of a ground-dragon’s eggs, all one had to do was find her nest and look, and the god’s eggs would simply be twice that size — but she still held her breath with everyone else, waiting for Keeaura to arrive.
Finally, a great red-gold mountain lion appeared in the gap at the north point of the circle. Haveshi gasped in awe and admiration, as did the rest of the clan members. Keeaura was twice as large as any other mountain lion, and the reddish cast to his pelt glowed like flames in the sun. As the beast-god entered the circle, the shaman continued singing, imploring him to grant wisdom as to the source of the trouble and what was to be done about it.
The mountain lion padded on huge paws around the circle several times, first one way and then the other. When he walked past Haveshi and her family, she could see the ripple of powerful muscles beneath his skin and the shimmer of sunlight on his red-gold fur. It made her proud that her tribe had such a magnificent beast as their god, and she was glad that she had made sure that she and her children looked their best for him.
As the god continued pacing, admiration slowly turned to nervous tension as the clan members waited to see what he would do. Even ordinary mountain lions were dangerous beasts, and this mountain lion was a god, capable of maiming or killing a full-grown man with a single swipe of his enormous paw and claws as long and sharp as knives.
Keeaura padded past Haveshi again, then stopped and turned. Then he stopped again, in front of Haveshi.
And growled long and low at her, baring giant, sharp teeth.