Old Joseph Cajiais
Wabanaki Trailer Park (190,630)
Ami, Red, Joe and Frank Madahando
Old Joe spends his days at the trailer park watching a finicky TV and the comings and goings of the members of the Wabanaki. He's worried about the future and knows that the tribe has neglected the old ways, which has led to recent problems. He also worries about the burden Ami has to shoulder, but knows that if the tribe can pull together, the solution is there within the traditions and magical strength of the People of the Dawn.
Call me Old Joe. That's what everybody here calls me, on account of young Joe - Ami's brother, did you know? Also, I'm loathe to admit, because I'm a very old man. Nicknames know no mercy. These days, I guess you could call me a storykeeper. I don't tell them anymore. Nobody wants to listen to an old man telling even older stories. The only thing that matters to the young ones is the present - and those who have been here awhile, they prefer to look to the future, not to the past. So I keep the stories, but I don't tell them anymore. Not unless someone comes and asks. Or, if they're outsiders and don't know not to encourage me.
It’s a sad thing when families can't settle their differences. And forty years is a long time. That's how long we've been half a tribe. Even here, we're divided. Those of us who chose to stay in the camp, we've got our schemes and our plans. Frank and Joe with their schemes. A casino. Might as well be wearing headdresses and charging tourists for pictures. And Paul and Annika, bringing big city folk out there into the forest to hunt exotic prey. They all believe the land belongs to us, that she's ours to exploit. Like it's our birthright to take advantage of the land. Like she owes us anything. I'm not saying we're the only ones at fault. Red... Now there's a man some would call pig-headed, and they wouldn't be wrong. So, he's a man of principles, and I can't say I'd have done differently if I were in his shoes, but he played his part in this. He was never one to forgive. But we all had to make tough choices. He made his, and I made mine, and who's to say what was right and wrong back then. At least we know the reason why we didn't talk. We feel it. It's harder for the younger ones, those who weren't here back then, like Ami...and Kyra. They must all think we're old and stubborn. And we're less of a family for it. That saddens me more than anything.
We go a long way back, our tribe and this land. For more than a thousand years, these hills and forests are all we've known. We haven't left the island because we couldn't. If all of us left, there would be no one to guard it. The hills harbor a dark secret, but it was always our secret, and we were sworn to protect it, keep it, and shield the rest of the world from it. But the hills are treacherous. They whisper to the weak, draw them in. And the weak have dug too deep. The secret within is coming out. We are the People of the Dawn, but the sun is setting. I fear for all that is good in this world.
What saved us from the fog - saved our people from being turned into soulless things - was the very thing we've neglected so long. Tradition, rituals. Magic. What saved us was what our forefathers did to protect the whole island. And it took all this to make us see what we'd forgotten. We lost nobody. At least in the tribe. Of course - we lost everyone else, and it's not like we were isolated from the rest of the island. Those people were our friends and neighbors, and many here lost people - good people - they cared about. And loved. I know Ami still hopes that her husband is alive out there - but he's probably dead. Let's hope he's dead. The alternative... It's much worse. I don't know if those things that came back from the sea have memories or feelings. I hope they're just empty shells, used by the grey men to serve their needs, to spread their Filth. If there's any humanity left in them - well, that's a new kind of hell that I don't even want to think about. Why others survived the fog, I couldn't tell you. Could be there's a purpose to it, could be it's just luck. But us? Our tribe? We were protected. And that's not something we can ignore. We have a purpose now. We have a mission.
It's a terrible thing, to have to choose between people you love.
I'm afraid you are going to have to inhale.