Transcribed from dictation, ADAM speaking--
I walked back into the Cascades to escape the open dry flatness of Eastern
Washington. I'd met a lot of nice alternative-thinking Nokhons there and
some of them had given me names of friends they suggested I visit and play
music for. These would be informal visits, hardly concerts, but I could
usually be sure that my music would be received with a positive attitude.
But not always, there are many Nokhontli thoroughly steeped in the strict
tradition of Atli and hatred of everything Nokhso. I came upon one
family--by happenstance, not recommendation--who seemed interested in what
I was carrying on my back, so I started to give them a demonstration. But
the man started screaming "Ø'skogome e'e!" and practically attacked
me. Well, he would have if I hadn't instinctively zapped him with a charge
of my Syssk. Then I felt sorry for the guy, rolling around in the dirt
in front of his woman and kid, so had to talk him down from his anxiety
and get him back to normal. Guess I hadn't known my own strength.
It was pretty embarrassing, I had learned to use the Syssk as defense
against the world's most dangerous super-agent Adversary, but turned it on
some poor untrained and unwitting slob who didn't have a chance. I could
have just wrestled him down. Then again, he might have smashed my
guitar...well, it was effective and he was very respectful after that.
Normally I would approach the bakhl of the recommended persons,
politely announce myself at a distance with the standard bird call, then
start playing guitar until someone checked me out. Then I would tell them
who had suggested I visit them and we would often end up in a group of
their friends playing music and talking. I met a lot of nice people on
that trip, enough to reassess my opinion of the everyday squatch's life
out in the wilderness.
Actually, I had secretly gone around with almost the same perception of a
standard Bigfoot as standard Americans have: more animal than man, a
mindless drudge and drone that just shagged around the woods all day
because he nothing better to do with his life. All right, some of them
are like that, but so are lots of "humans", just replace their devotion to
TV with Atli and you've got a match.
I tried not to offend anyone with my music, but had a mission to awaken
the Nokhontli to the concept of a new Nokhon culture. It was not just to
promote my own rock star ego, I wanted to make THEM dare to be creative
as well, just by showing them that a Nokh could do so. I thought there
should be more to their lives than just Atli and the response I got from
many--especially the young--confirmed my opinion about the validity of that
mission. But every time I sang to a group there was always the chance that
some would like it and some would not.
Not that there were many scenes to play out there in Squatchland. Once I
had gone through my list of names and "addresses" recommended to me by
others, I found it just as hard to find any squatches as it had always been.
They live in hiding, one rarely stumbles upon them. But I knew where I
wanted to go next: to Mastinta's academy for young women.
That would take me past Old Dannat's cave, but if there was anyone who
would take umbrage at my music it was probably that dour old healer, and
probably his equally dour woman Malla. But I knew that Mawa would be
happy to see me, so just for her I went that way, intending to refrain
from playing music while there.
I hid my guitar in some bushes before announcing myself, so as not to
compromise them by bringing skesk into their bakhl. I gave the
bird-call, waited, and in a few seconds heard the response inviting me to
The only one home was old Dannat himself, it was the middle of the day and
the women were out foraging. However, I was surprised at the warm welcome
Dannat offered me; he even smiled and seemed glad to see me. Dagrolyt had
updated him about my stay among the Nokhsoli, so he knew where I had been.
He was even interested and concerned for my safety.
"I must warn you. While at the moment Alutna-Jii Daklakht feels that he
has defeated you and that your potential to become The Negotiator is
nullified, he has ordered his Alutna to watch for any violation of Atli
you may commit, so that he can arrest you. Dagrolyt tells me that you
plan to play skesk-myøsik around the land, which would give
Daklakht an excuse to act."
"I've already been doing that," I admitted, "and I expect Daklakht to act,
that's the whole point."
"You wish to be arrested?"
"No, I wish to establish the principle that myøsik, or ANY cultural
creativity is no violation of Atli."
"But skesk is! The Atli clearly states..." Dannat tried for a
discussion about the nits and bits of Atli, which I could have bluffed my
way through when I had my Orator memory for words, but that was gone. I
could only remember vague generalizations.
The best I could offer was this: "I think there's a verse of Atli-- uh,
somewhere --which allows use of hand-made artifacts for magic, which is
what I'm doing."
"You might need to know EXACTLY WHICH verse to quote when the Alutna come
for you," Dannat recommended.
Dannat's women returned from foraging and were surprised to find me there.
Aunt Mawa's welcome was warmest, of course, but even Malla had finally
mellowed toward me. They too knew what about my quest to take on Daklakht
in my own special way and after the usual greetings and questions it did
not take long for them to ask to see my notorious "hollow log". I looked
to Dannat and he too seemed interested. So I fetched it from the bushes.
They had all heard me sing before, but the experience of those Nokhontli
lyrics and the clang of the guitar had an impact neither they nor I had
been expecting. I started out careful and discreet, still a little leery
of Dannat, but they had me sing all thirteen songs. Encouraged, I
automatically went into performer mode and got them to join in, even Dannat
learned to clap and sing along for "I Like To Run". When I finished we
were all exhausted and better friends than before.
I had expected Mawa to be proud of her nephew, which she was, but it
surprised me to have won Dannat over. He had actually enjoyed the forbidden
I would have stayed the night, Mawa wanted me to, but just before dark
Dannat sniffed the air and said, "Two Alutna, coming here. Perhaps you
should leave, Dadamet, I'll hold them back for a while." Then he smiled
wickedly, "Maybe I'll sing them a myøsik!"
I did some tricks to throw any normal Alutna off my trail, travelled half
the night and finally allowed myself to sleep. I refused to actually run
from the Alutna, although I wasn't sure what to do if they confronted me.
I didn't want to fight them, like anywhere else in the world, fighting the
police would only be asking for more trouble. Besides, they were usually
just guys doing their job. If I could only remember that missing line of
Atli to befuddle them... if there was such a verse. Like Dagrolyt, Dannat
hadn't known of it either.
But they didn't find me that night and I continued on to Mastinta's lair,
arriving in the early afternoon.
Mastinta's lair was invisible, as always, you had to know where it was
because it looked like anywhere else in the forest, Raw Nature. That was
the whole point of her school, she and her girls lived without bakhl,
without shelter, as deep into Nature as they could get. They learned how
to use the magic of Nature by becoming one with it. There was no one to
be seen, obviously nobody home.
I knew there were usually about ten girls studying nature ways with
Mastinta, and even though they were all well-hidden Sasquatchettes as I
stood on the wooded hilltop that served as middle of Mastinta's bakhl, I
could smell them all. It was almost Full Moon again and their shyøma was
starting to become wonderfully ripe.
They knew I was here, I could tell by the smell, which became stronger
because those already horny girls were getting even more excited at seeing
a male squatch just standing there. Almost available for instant use--if
it wasn't for the rule about no sex before the Kha-rat.
They also knew who I was and they weren't coming out, which I assumed to
mean that the Alutna had warned them to stay away from me. I considered
Mastinta a friend, but knew she could be put in a compromised situation if
she welcomed me and I didn't want to do that to her.
So I didn't call out or make a move to find anyone, just stood on that
hilltop, took my guitar out of the bag and began to play and sing. That
was a special performance: I seemed to be alone but could smell the girls
being turned on by the music, which turned me on. I was getting shyøma-
feedback and that's pretty powerful stuff. No one said anything, pretended
they weren't there. I pretended I was alone--well, except for my guitar
and my erection--and the music kept getting hotter. Or maybe it was just
I just got done saying I wasn't doing this because of my rock star ego, but
that performance was nothing but ego. I was a horny guy playing to an
audience of silently screaming chicks, doing anything I could to make them
hot for me. A ruthless bounder. I'm going to use the shyøma as my
excuse, like I always do.
Part of it was that I wished Magga was among them. I knew she was supposed
to be in Aket at the time, but couldn't help fantasizing that she had come
back for a visit just before I arrived and was now out there hearing my
music and realizing that she really did love me after all, with all sorts of
erotic fireworks to follow.
Finally I had played the thirteenth song and the concert was over. My work
there done, I packed the guitar back in the bag and was ready to leave.
The lone wandering minstrel on the road off to the next town and the next
pack of screaming girls. I wished. In a way I was quite satisfied, this
had been more erotic than any real sex could never measure up to.
But just as I was about to go two Alutna stepped out of the forest to talk
to me. I knew them, Dalangath and Darassath, the local constables. They
had obviously heard me play and sing. I figured this is it.
"Kha, Dadamet," Dalangath said, a little shy. Darassath stayed back a
"Kha, Dalangath, Darassath, how's it going?"
"Oh, pretty good, thanks. Uh, say, we have orders from the Alutna-Jii, you
know..." He was clearly embarrassed.
"I know, he wants you guys to get after me."
"Yeah, and we couldn't help hearing you playing on that...uh, skesk-thingy..."
"We couldn't help it," Darassath confirmed, "it's pretty loud," still
"What do you think about it?" I asked them.
"Kha-ra man, it sounds FANTASTIC!" Dalangath exuberated, "And those.. those
myøsik you sang, they were WONDERFUL! I've never heard anything like
"But they DO sound a little bit like...you know, NOKHSO noises," Darassath
quibbled, "I mean, except that they were CLEARLY in Nokhontli.."
"It's just that it might be a slight..uh..violation of..y'know.. Atli."
These guys were in a situation: they had orders to bust me, but had liked
the music too much to put a stop to it. I realized that they were on my
"Don't worry guys," I said, "it's not a violation of Atli at all. There's
a clause in one of the Secret Verses that says it's okay." I had no idea
if I was lying or not, but being de-Oratored at that moment I got away
with saying it anyway.
"Oh good," Dalangath said, seemingly quite relieved. "So could you tell us
which verse that is? You know, so we can honestly report that you are NOT
in violation of Atli next time the Alutna-Jii asks us."
"Well actually, it's from the Secret Verses of Atli and I'm not sure I
may recite it to you guys. But I can tell it to the Alutna-Jii myself.
You guys know that he's my Appointed Adversary, right?" They bobbed heads
in synchronized affirmation, "Okay, so it's better that he and I work these
things out ourselves, don't you think?"
Dalangath agreed, but Darassath was more concerned about obeying the
orders he had. "We can't just let you walk away now that we've finally
"No problem, just inform Daklakht that I'll be attending the Kha-rat
hosted by Sha-haka Dagrolyt in two nights. He can find me there--in fact,
I'll be looking forward to seeing him."
The two Alutna looked at each other, Dalangath said, "Dadamet's an Orator,
so he can only speak the truth." Darassath shrugged, "Ra, okay, we'll
pass the word on: Kha-rat at Dagrolyt's."
"Hey, you guys come too," I insisted, "I'll be doing another myøsik show."
They both smiled happily, "Oh wow, sure, yeah, okay!" Then they shyly
waved goodbye to me as they slipped out of sight between the trees, leaving
me alone again.
But not for long, eleven girls and Mastinta came rushing out of their secret
hiding places to talk to me. The impact of all their shyøma at close
range almost knocked me down. Even though there were two more days of
required celibacy remaining, they were all promising to be at the next
Kha-rat too, even Mastinta, desperate to score their new rock star. Lucky
for me Magga was not among them or I would have been pretty desperate too.
It was hard to leave but I knew I'd go crazy with horniness if I stayed,
so I told them I'd see them all at Dagrolyt's and made my escape.
I was at Dagrolyt's bakhl a day before the Ma-mløt-klys to give
myself some rest before the Kha-rat. Dagrolyt was still away on his
rounds but Mrøla and Misma were there. They were ripe with shyøma too,
but there were only two of them. It helped that they had properly smeared
themselves with piss and shit to cover up the shyøma, at least it
was easier to keep my distance from them. They too were fascinated with
my guitar and wanted to touch the forbidden thing. I played a few songs
for them, but saved the big performance for the Kha-rat night.
I took a day just to do what a struggling Sha-haka initiate was supposed
to do, meditated and reflected on the Atli...or what I could remember of
it. I needed that verse, man I wished I could just do a Google search on
it, but all I had to work with was my poor de-Oratored memories. I ended
up going over memories of the last month since the concert in Seattle
instead, at least I could remember all of that.
I had tried to avoid thinking about Melly since then, the last time I saw
her, afraid and disgusted by me. I knew she'd be back but didn't like
where we were at now. I also knew that I would be unfaithful to her over
and over again when the Kha-rat orgy began, tried not to feel guilty about
it but did anyway. Then I felt sorry that Magga had betrayed me, and
stupid for feeling that way about a squatch chick who couldn't help it
either. Masnia was next on the guilt trip, then Lissandra, Mawa, Elaine,
I was so GUILTY of so MUCH..
It finally hit me: I was being manipulated and I knew by whom. Panic
replaced the guilt. I almost retaliated with a charge of Syssk, but
remembered who I was dealing with and smelled a psychic trap: Daklakht
could turn me inside out if I connected my haka with his, I knew that
instinctively. I had to back down. I tried to sing "The Sound of Music"
but there was no energy there.
I felt blindly for my guitar, whisked it out of the bag and began to play
something, anything, didn't know what. That helped, I let it flow and in
a few minutes I felt the panic dissipate. I finally recognized the song
as one of my own, realized that I had 13 mantras now. Well, good, I
Eventually I had to stop playing and waited to see if Daklakht's attack
would continue, but it seemed to be over for the moment. And why not? he
could resume his attack at much closer range tomorrow night, face to face
at the Kha-rat.
I knew that this was what I had planned, but I really had no plan. I had
come on this quest only because it was what my Vision had said I must do,
all the useful words of instruction and explanation had been forgotten.
I felt another twinge of panic, but realized that it was not a Syssk
attack, this was justifiable fear. It was time for one of those miracles
that were supposed to happen during Heroic Quests.
Coming right up.
I had gone off by myself to meditate and when I returned to Dagrolyt's
bakhl I was surprised to see that another guest had come early for the
Kha-rat: the biggest, fattest, most irritating Orator I'd ever known.
"At last, you wretched little skyøma," he greeted me, "I've been waiting
for you to finally show up. Fortunately, I have had the company of these
two charming ladies to entertain me."
"Oh, it is YOU who have entertained US, Great Dambaraggan!" Misma gushed,
The girls seemed so enchanted by his voice and words that I felt a
familiar twinge of jealousy about how he spoke so much better than me now
that I was an ex-orator. Then I realized that I was reacting the same
old way one orator usually does with another, and that it was totally
inappropriate. Dambaraggan had proved himself to be a good friend in Aket
and now that big fat old squatch had exerted himself enough to cross a
wild mountain range on foot to arrive exactly when I desperately happened
to need advice from an expert in Oratorical discipline.
"Good to see you, Dwayarat," I said sincerely, "I am humbled that you
have finally un-wallowed your ponderous bulk and staggered all the long
way from Aket on your blubbery legs just to visit me." I owed him the
repartee he enjoyed so much.
"Oh, I simply FLEW, born upon the wind, my boy, because I hear that you
are going to put on a show that I would not dream of missing."
"Yes, well, we'll see how that goes. There may be a problem."
The girls took that as commencement of some serious man-talk and excused
themselves to go about whatever it was they had to do somewhere else.
"Oh, I know, you're simply SO helpless. That's really why I am here, of
course. You DO need the help of someone wiser and more mature than your
"Indeed I do. You've heard about my problem?"
"Sha-haka Dagrolyt has briefed me, yes. And now I can clearly hear that
you no longer have the voice of an orator."
"I broke a promise," I said, with shame.
"Yes well, you always have been such a faithless little skyøma, but let
us fix that anyway."
"Fix it? Is that possible?"
"Oh yes, of course. Few Orators are so flawless as to never experience a
broken promise or two. I certainly have."
"Really? Daklakht gave me the impression that it was permanent."
"Well, he'd LIKE you to think that, wouldn't he? Now, come here."
We squatted facing one another, Dambaraggan asked me quite formally: "What
was the promise and how thoroughly did you break it?" He wanted to know
every detail, which I told him, from Doug to Daklakht.
"As I understand it, you were coerced to promise never to yøramma with your
beloved Nokhso mate. Finally you could no longer resist--perhaps because
Daklakht had secretly given you a psychic push--but when you tried to enter
her your dakh failed. Although you had attempted to, you were still
physically unable to break that promise--and thus have not."
"But I DID yøramma her, later under Daklakht's spell."
"That was when you were possessed by his will and not your own, the Alutna-
Jii is a Master of enslaving skills far beyond your level and you are
therefore innocent of whatever he forced you to do."
"It felt like me when I finished inside her. I even enjoyed it."
"And for that you feel guilty. Very well, the power of an Orator is in the
brain, not in the mouth, and since you BELIEVE that promise was compromised,
you must offer Atonement."
"Atonement? How do I do that?"
"HOW does not matter as long as YOU believe it to be sufficient. It is
only symbolic anyway."
"Sufficient? I don't know what..."
"I know the ritual, let me take you through it."
"Yes, please do."
He became formal again, speaking sternly: "Foolish Young Dadamet, you have
failed to honor your sacred promise as Orator and must Atone for that.
Do you accept the punishment you deserve?"
"Ra," I said, wondering how bad it would be.
Dambaraggan slapped my face, a pat on the cheek, really.
"That's it?" I asked.
"Not sufficient?" Dambaraggan asked.
"Maybe just a little TOO symbolic..."
He slapped me again, but this time he really let me have it. I weigh over
500 pounds but big fat Dambaraggan had to be twice that. I went flying,
saw stars, almost blacked out and found myself lying sprawled out on the
ground. I shook my head to clear my vision and crawled to my feet again.
My face hurt like a giant bee sting.
"Is THAT sufficient?" he asked with concern in his eyes.
"Oh shit yes! Any harder would break my neck."
"Well, that might be too extreme an Atonement for a promise that was never
properly broken anyway. Now, face me and heed my words: Young Dadamet,
you are hereby reinstated as an Orator of honor and your special abilities
It was true: I could feel memories flooding my brain, once again capable
of remembering every word I had ever heard in my life. The volume of
information staggered me for a moment, then I was fine.
"Thank you, Dwayarat!" I had never before spoken to my Teacher with such
"Ra, ra, my boy, now don't go and get all humble on me. You are the best
foil I have ever known."
We both laughed, for the first time together.