Of the early days of the world, when the earth was fresh and man young, very little is remembered. No, the intrusion of the Europeans (and ultimately the world) has left little room to remember those foggy days of old. It is in these murky depths of history that this tale begins, millennia before the tribes of America we know today existed.
It was in a large depression, west of the Appalachian Mountains in what is now known as the state of Tennessee that the tribe of Sikdawk resided. The Sikdawk were not a nomadic people, but rather they were agricultural in their way of life. Once a great nation, the Sikdawk’s great expanse of influence had long since been shattered. The people of the tribe were mere ghosts of their former selves. For generations, they had been restricted and oppressed by larger, more powerful tribes that surrounded them. Often, they were forced by threat of annihilation to make voluminous payments to the greater tribes with food and resources that the Sikdawk could not make without great personal expense. These downtrodden people were in dire need of a savior, and such a savior one day came.
Rabid Wolf was known far and wide as an exceptional warrior of the Sikdawk tribe. Tremble would the foe facing Rabid Wolf’s club (for he always preferred war clubs to spears), and flee would those in his presence. It was no secret that his heart held no warmth, that his eyes sought only lust, and that his fist thirsted only blood. It is said of Rabid Wolf that when worked into a frenzy, none could touch him, but only be killed by his hand.
Despite his dull appearance and rough demeanor, Rabid Wolf possessed in himself a keen intelligence accompanied by an indomitable ambition of conquest and greed. In the years that passed, he learned to lead greatly and become sharp of tongue, eventually becoming the chieftain of the Sikdawk.
Once appointed of this positions, Rabid Wolf quickly expanded the Sikdawk’s influence through war and battle. In spite of the tribe’s original lack of size and strength, Rabid Wolf’s advancements were unstoppable. Village after village burned in his wake, warrior after warrior killed, and tribe after tribe taken forcibly into the Sikdawk Empire. It is said to have stretched from the Appalachians in the east to the Rocky mountains in the West, with nothing in between free of the Sikdawk rule. Rabid Wolf’s influence and power without having many bitter enemies, and many bitter enemies he had. From the far north, on the coast of what we now know as the Hudson Bay, there was a large tribe, the Chisk that had recently advanced upon by the Sikdawk (such was the expanse of their newly found empire). The Chisk, though a small-statured people, were some of the best fighters to exist. So thus, despite their best efforts, the Sikdawk could not take over the Chisk. Infuriated by Rabid Wolf’s invasions and tales of the crimes he had committed, the chief of the Chisk sent a band of his best and most stealthy warriors to assassinate the horrid Rabid Wolf.
He was said to be camped somewhere along the eastern edge of now Lake Winnipeg, and so he was. In the darkness of the night, the assassins came to Rabid Wolf in his sleep and slit his throat twice while silencing his screams with a smothering blanket. To bring as a trophy to their chieftain, the Chisk assassins cut away a large slice of Rabid Wolf’s scalp.
The Chief was pleased, and so were the oppressed peoples of the Sikdawk Empire. As it turned out, Rabid Wolf was the only thing holding his empire together, and so soon after his death, the annexed tribes soon split off from the Sikdawk, and easily remained independent.
Rabid Wolf was duly brought back to his birthplace in the South-East to be buried. To prevent decay, the body was preserved (though poorly, at that) and wrapped in a deerskin. When his body was finally returned home, a medicine man, who was a devout follower of Rabid Wolf, observed that a strip of flesh was missing from the partially decayed head. Knowing that the scalp was likely in the possession of Chisk, he thus performed a complex spell so that as long as any piece of Rabid Wolf’s body remained in existence, so too would his spirit live through that flesh. According to the legend, soon afterwards the people's belongings to the Chisk tribe were all killed by a sudden disease that caused bleeding of the lung and inflammation of the throat. In his pride, the Chisk Chieftain could not bear the thought of his greatest treasure ever being lost, so, before he bled, he had the scalp extremely well-preserved, and sealed it in in the hole of a great conifer, so that it may never perish. Never did he know of the spell placed upon it.
There the scalp remained for many centuries, until all the tribes of Rabid Wolf’s day existed no more, and the story of his expansive empire survived only in the obscurest of firelight myths. It was on a breezy summer day that a small boy of the Reschinzg tribe came across the tree that contained the scalp. The once-magnificent tree was now dead and decrepit. It was the sealant that caught the boy’s attention, for a portion of it had chipped away, leaving a small opening into the trunk’s hollow. After picking away at the hole absent-mindedly, he suddenly saw the old preserved scalp. Immediately intrigued, he took it out of the hole to look at it in further depth. Immediately he felt that it held a great power, and felt that power flow from where he held it in his hands throughout his body. When he took it back home to his grandmother, she had an uneasy feeling about it and threw it away. The next day she was found dead where she had slipped and hit her head on a boulder.
The boy, whose name was Soaring Oak, retrieved the scalp and locked it away in a chest. Over the next few weeks, it was observed of Soaring Oak that he was gradually becoming more aggressive and irritable. Everybody attributed this change of character with the sudden death of his grandmother, but such was not the case. Thought the body of Rabid Wolf had long since gone away (due to the shabbiness of its preservation), his spirit still lived through the mummified scalp. When Soaring Oak had taken into his possession the scalp, he had awakened a sleeping beast, for now Rabid Wolf’s spirit was slowly taking residence in Soaring Oak’s body so that it may live through his flesh as well as through the scalp and his buried bones. So that it may gain strength, Rabid Wolf’s spirit slowly devoured the spirit of Soaring Oak, until Soaring Oak would eventually be no more, but only a reincarnation of Rabid Wolf.
Over the years, Soaring Oak grew into a warrior, the greatest of his people. All the surrounding tribes grew to fear the Reschinzg because of him. Though he was young in age, his leadership was exceptional, for as he approached manhood, very little of his soul remained, so that in character he was nearly identical to Rabid Wolf.
There came a day, when Soaring Oak was a man, that he came into conflict with the chief. After several heated words, they drew arms for a fight to the death. The custom of the Reschinzg was that whoever killed the chief or war chief, then that person would become the successor. As it was, Soaring Oak killed the war chief and so took up the position himself. After this, Soaring Oak story becomes much the same as Rabid Wolf’s centuries before. He killed, raped, and reclaimed every last inch of the old Sikdawk Empire, plus the Arctic territories that Rabid Wolf had sought prior to his death.
It was when Soaring Oak was conquering on the Colorado Plateau that he became deathly ill. Despite being the recipient of the best treatment there was to offer, he eventually died and was buried along with the scalp that he always wore on his waist. Unlike the Sikdawk Empire before, the Reschinzg Empire did not collapse after Soaring Oak’s death. In the years afterwards, none of the territories were lost, but no new territories were gained, either. The Reschinzg Empire simply remained in a pool of expansive stagnant water.
About eighty years after Soaring Oak’s death, the chief of the Empire, Falling Stone, wished to expand his nation further south. Though all knew of Soaring Oak’s phenomenal leadership, few knew of the reason why, but as with most things, rumor, though somewhat distorted, of the truth circulated in rare discussion. Falling Stone had grown up hearing the tale of Rabid Wolf’s scalp, but he had never taken it seriously. Yet as his hunger for further conquest grew, so did his conviction that it would be worthwhile to dig up Soaring Oak’s bones to find out the truth himself. After all, he had everything to gain and nothing to lose, right? So one night, under the gaze of the moon, Falling Stone found the place of Soaring Oak’s burial and dug up his dirty, old bones. Only, hoe found not only bones, but the ancient scalp! Delighted with greedy glee, Falling Stone took the scalp and went back to his hut. He shared his secret with no soul other than that of Rabid Wolf.
As with Soaring Oak, the spirit of Rabid Wolf tried to slowly take over Falling Stone, but failed. Soaring Oak’s spirit had been young and fresh when it had encountered Rabid Wolf’s malevolent hunger, making it easy prey. However, Falling Stone was old and war-hardened, and so was his spirit. Due to this, the two great spirits were constantly battling for supremacy. Such was Falling Stone’s state and so his fitness as a leader declined. The old chieftain was finding it increasingly difficult to push South by the day. Eventually the Reschinzg push found that it itself was being pushed back. Around the time they had retreated to their original starting point, news reached the chief of rebellions taking place all over the empire. Though he tried- and yes, he tried- Falling Stone could not hold that which had once been in his grizzled clutch, for that battle still raged within him, though he did not know it. Then there came a day when Falling Stone had at last lost all of his Empire. He became ill and died soon afterward.
Here the legend becomes unclear, because some say that the scalp was handed down through the ages but no matter the ending, each version of the story is very constant in one regard: that the scalp of Rabid Wolf still exists in the world to this very day.
Written by Banned In CP