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    Grumpy Bear
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Arctic Roots - 17. Reclaiming the Ancients

“So, tell me Alexei,” Matthias said as they sat at a table outside Douglas’s home.  “There must have been more that brought you all the way here than just a Cub wanting to meet his Grand-Papa and based on the life you’ve described living in that werebear hippie commune of yours, I very much doubt that you purchased that Mercedes-Benz 4x4 over there without some additional assistance.”

“First of all,” Axel replied, “I go by ‘Axel’ now and not Alexei.  I gave up my Russian name during a major identity change long ago, and I’ve held onto the new name ever since.  It fits the bear that I’ve become.”

“Fine, fine,” Matthias said, “I’ll call you Axel or I’ll just call you ‘Cub’ from now on.  I think you’ve earned that much at last.”

“To answer your question, there is more about my current life and position within lycan society than just living on a ‘werebear hippie commune’ as you so eloquently put it.  In all your time living here, have you heard of the North American Lycan Council?”

“Can’t say that I have,” Matthias replied, “But then you and your Cub are the only ‘lycans’ I’ve seen in the last thousand years.  North American Lycan Council, you say?  That sounds like some bullshit the werewolves would put together.  They were always trying to come up with new ways of pulling rank on each other.”

“You’re right,” Axel said, “It did start out as wolf bullshit, but it’s grown over time.  The Council oversees the safety and protection of all lycans on this continent, and any shifter in need can reach out to the Council for assistance.”

“So, the bears just let the wolves call all the shots?” Matthias said scornfully.

“They did for a long time,” Axel explained, “Mostly the bears just let the wolves govern themselves and tried to stay out of politics, until recently.

“An event happened about a year ago that was so catastrophic, it thrust the werebear community into the spotlight and resulted in the expansion of the Council to include bear representation.”

Axel paused here, not sure of how to proceed.

“Tell him, Papa,” Adam said, poking Axel in the ribs, “Tell him about your job.”

“Before the Council expanded, there was one Supreme Alpha, a wolf lycan, and eight Councilmembers, also wolves.  After last year’s event, there is still one Supreme Alpha wolf and eight Councilmember wolves, but there are now five Councilmember bears as well.  I… I am one of those bears.”

Matthias pondered this news for a bit.

“So, after all you’ve been through, you became a politician,” he said, “I guess it could be worse… you could have decided to become a lawyer instead!  What was the big catastrophe that brought all this on?”

“We had another dababbi monster problem,” Axel replied sternly, “Even bigger than the one a thousand years ago.”

“Bigger than the great dababbi war?” Matthias said skeptically.  “That seems unlikely.  Over fifty bears died to kill that monster.”

“This time,” Axel explained, “There was not just one dababbi, but eight.”

“Eight…” Matthias repeated, his voice trailing off in thought, “How are any of you still alive?”

“Papa,” Axel explained, “The tale of the great war in which you fought the Viking who was turned into the monster is a legend now.  Everyone knows that it is you who killed the beast.  But it is that very legend that allowed the father of the dababbi army to discover the secret.

“You see, the reason why the Viking survived the first change at all was because he was immensely large and muscular.  The only non-kindred humans who can survive are the ones who have pushed their bodies beyond the normal physical limits.  The problem with the Viking was that he was too wild and untamed.  After his change he went on a rampage, killing everyone in sight.

“Cut to the twentieth century, and an angry werebear named Christopher who sought revenge against his Papa and brothers for cutting him out of a family fortune.  He realized that the only way to control a dababbi was to select a human who was big and overly-muscled, but also docile and submissive.  When those humans went through their first change, they became dababbi monsters capable of extreme death and destruction, but completely loyal and obedient to Christopher.

“Christopher spent many years perfecting this, creating monsters who could survive the change and were completely loyal to him until his eighth dababbi was born, and he unleashed them upon lycan communities in the Appalachians.  An entire village of bears and half of a wolf-pack were wiped out before we learned how to defeat them.  Eventually, there was a final confrontation at the home of Christopher’s Papa, and that old bear killed Christopher in front of all of his monsters.”

“And I suppose you were the one to defeat them all?” Matthias asked.

“Yes, but not in the way you expect,” Axel replied. “Immediately after Christopher’s death the dababbi began a rampage, first killing Christopher’s Papa, and then turning on the assembled army of wolves and bears.  But it turned out that their submissive nature was still intact and all they needed was the command of a new master to tell them to stand down.  I was that bear, and I became the new master of the dababbi.”

“And that’s when you killed them all,” Matthias said, grinning.

“Actually, no.  We did not kill any of the dababbi.  They were innocent humans before being turned by Christopher.  They were just as much his victims as the bears and wolves they killed.”

“Bah!” Matthias huffed, “More touchy-feely bullshit.  I suppose that you’re keeping them in your hippy commune as pets or something now?”

“No again,” Axel replied.  “We discovered that the Native Americans knew of these monsters and knew a way to cure them.  We took all the dababbi to a Shaman and he performed a ritual in which they were sealed inside eight small huts for seven days.  When the week was over, we opened the doors to their huts, and they were human men once again.”

“Interesting,” Matthias said, “What did you do with the humans?”

“That’s where it gets really interesting, Grand-Papa,” Adam replied looking at Axel as he took over the tale.  “The humans were turned into the dababbi over the course of seventy years.  The oldest had been changed back in 1952, but when he was changed back, he still looked only thirty years old.  He had dreamlike memories of the things that happened when he was a monster, but he had no human memories between 1952 and the day he emerged from the Shaman’s hut.  Most importantly, it was discovered that the genes of all eight men had been changed following the ritual, and they were now kindred.”

“Do you mean to tell me that after all that death and war,” Matthias said, “You bred those monsters and turned them into werebears?  They must be walking nightmares.”

“Actually,” Axel replied, “They turned out to be some of the finest Cubs and most noble werebears ever.”

“Grand-Papa,” Adam said, “I am one of those Cubs.”

The bears could see the dark cloud of concern move across the ancient Grand-Papa’s face for a bit, and his forehead wrinkled as he considered this new knowledge, but his expression cleared, and he nodded his head in understanding.

“That explains how Adam looks so much like you, Axel, and why he is also a Kodiak.  He didn’t receive the genes that determine his werebear appearance from his father’s genetic line, he got them from you during the breeding.  I assume that you are keeping this secret from your Council.”

“Yes, Papa,” Axel replied. “You are the only one outside of our ‘hippie commune’ who knows the truth.  Despite his origins, Adam is an exceptional werebear and is my perfect Mate.”

Matthias nodded in agreement and gave Adam a punch to the shoulder in approval.

“So, now that we’ve covered the latest dababbi war,” Matthias continued, “What does this Lycan Council of yours have to do with me?”

“The Council is concerned about lycans like you, who we are calling ‘The Ancients.’  You aren’t the only bear, wolf, boar or panther who has reached an incredibly advanced age and then has suddenly left lycan society, choosing a life of solitude.  Even though the majority of lycans alive today are all less than a thousand years old, we need to understand what is driving The Ancients away from their own kind.”

“I’m not leaving my home here to be a part of your bullshit Council, if that’s what you’re after,” Matthias growled.

“No, no, Grand-Papa,” Adam said, “We just want to be able to stay in touch and talk once in a while.  Your mind holds a wealth of history that is not written down in any book, we need you to guide us just as you’ve been helping the natives in this village!  But, if the two of us are not enough to convince you, I’ve arranged for someone else for you to talk to.”

Adam now opened his laptop that was sitting on the table.  Axel had moved their truck over to Douglas’s home, so they were within the range of the Starlink wi-fi signal.  Adam clicked open an application and in a matter of seconds, Ezekiel’s smiling face filled the screen.

“Hello Matthias,” Ezekiel said, “I thought I’d never see your face again.”

“Ezekiel!” Matthias exclaimed, “How did you get tangled up with this good-for-nothing cub of mine?”

“Axel came to live in my werebear enclave in Canada a couple of years ago.  Since then, he’s become quite an impressive leader of bears!”

“Enclave?” Matthias said, “Oh, you mean that you’re in charge of the hippy commune for bears!  That figures.  You were always such a goody-goody, Ezekiel.”

“Oh Matthias,” Ezekiel said cheerfully, “How I’ve missed your teasing!  I’ve missed many of the old bears for many years now.  It seemed like after you departed us after the war, more and more of the ancient bears chose to disappear and sever all contact with our fellowship.”

“How many of the old ones are left?” Matthias asked.

“For the longest time, it has only been me,” Ezekiel said. “I am known as Grand-Papa to all of the werebears in my enclave, but Adam there desired to find his Papa’s actual Papa, as impossible as it seemed.”

“So, the ones that survived the battle,” Matthias said sadly, “Corbett, Aram, Shadrick, Baltasar…”

“No one knows, Matthias,” Ezekiel replied.  “Like you, they have all disappeared over the last millennia.  All their knowledge and experience, lost to us.  The bears themselves only remain in my memories… and yours as well.”

“I left,” Matthias said, “Because I was grieving the loss of Titus.  Even after the grief had faded, I remained alone because I grieved the loss of our old way of life.  Bears today cannot know what it was like when the world was simpler, the human tribes smaller, and when we were revered as gifts from the gods.  The more advanced humanity became, the less they needed their bear protectors until we were forced to hide in the shadows, living in secret just like the werewolves who were pushed aside when the Romans created their own human armies to conquer the world, and no longer needed their lycan warriors.

“I left… because I couldn’t bear how irrelevant we had become to the humans and to the world.  Here, at the very least, the native peoples still remember when the sacred Bear Spirits looked over their people, and I am welcomed and revered in the old way once again.”

“With your help, Matthias,” Ezekiel said, “The bears can become relevant in the new modern age.  We have secured our place within lycan government and for the first time in our existence, we are the masters of our own destiny.  We have the opportunity to determine our role within the human world and the means to make it happen.  All I ask from you now, is to be a part of it and be the first step that we so desperately need to bring The Ancients back into the fold.”

“I’m not leaving Alaska or my Iñupiat people here in Atqasuk,” Matthias said defiantly, “I will help you any way you wish, but do not ask me to leave my home to do it.”

“It is a brave new world, ancient one,” Ezekiel replied. “A world where anyone can choose to live anywhere they wish, as long as they remain… connected.”

“I hope you’re going to explain that cryptic missive,” Matthias said.

“I cannot,” Ezekiel said, “I barely understand it myself.  But your Grand-Cub is incredibly smart.  His ideas have already changed how the Lycan Council itself operates.  If you agree to be connected to the world outside of the Arctic tundra, Adam will be the one who can do that for you.”

“Will you, Grand-Papa?” Adam asked, “Will you allow me to connect you to the world once again?”

“Well,” Matthias grumbled, “You are my favorite Grand-Cub.  I suppose I can let you ‘connect me’.”

Adam let out a whoop and jumped up from his seat at the table.

“You won’t regret it Grand-Papa.  You’ll be able to talk to any of us just like we’re talking to Ezekiel right now or write us letters that we receive at the other end instantly.  And… since you just love arguing and fighting so much, I’m going to introduce you to the pinnacle of twenty-first century theatrical entertainment.  You’ll absolutely love it.  It’s called ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’ and those human women know how to fight!”

****

The question of how to get Matthias connected to the rest of the world while allowing him to maintain his reclusive nature was one that Adam had already considered, and had planned for before he and his Papa had even left Calgary.  Now, he lifted the camp bed in the back of the truck and pulled out four boxes.  Three cardboard and one metal.

He pointed to the top of their truck that had been modified with an array of solar panels and a Starlink satellite dish.

“See the extra equipment on the top of the truck, Grand-Papa?” Adam said, “That’s what is allowing us to get online right now.  The solar panels generate electricity, which gets stored in the batteries here in the back and provides power for the satellite dish which broadcasts a wi-fi signal that connects to the computer.  Got it?”

“Fuck no,” Matthias replied.

“Good, cause if you had understood any of that I’d be worried,” Adam said. “But I’m going to walk through it, because these boxes contain all the exact same stuff, and by the time I get finished teaching you, you’re going to take these back home with you to wherever that is and set it all up yourself.”

“Box one,” Adam began, “Solar panels.  You need to unfold these and get them mounted onto a wooden frame facing south where they get the most sun.  During the summer, you should be able to get online for as long as you want, but in winter, you’re going to have to monitor the battery levels and conserve power while the sun is gone for a month.”

“Box two,” Adam said next, “Four lithium batteries.  These are a lot lighter and longer lasting than the old lead acid batteries.  Store these indoors out of the damp, and in a location close to wherever you mount Box three.  When you have them in place, you connect all four of them together with this set of cables like this…”

After demonstrating the cable connections and confirming that Matthias understood how and why to do it himself, he moved on.

“Box three,” he said, “Is already set up and ready to go, you just have to find a wall indoors to mount in on.”

Adam opened up the metal box so they could see inside.

“There are three different components in here.  A 20 amp charge controller that connects to those long, long wires coming out of the solar panels with these plugs here.  The second thing is the fuse box, and you connect the red and black wires sticking out of the side to your batteries here.  The third thing is the power inverter, and if you look at the bottom of the metal box on the outside, you can see that the inverter has four electrical plug outlets and four USB outlets here.

“All you have to do is mount it on a wall.  Once you have box three mounted indoors, just connect the solar panels and the batteries like I showed you and you will immediately start generating electricity.  Anything that needs electricity gets plugged into one of the outlets on the inverter”

“Box four,” Adam continued, “Is your Starlink satellite dish.  This is state-of-the-art tech, and isn’t available to most humans yet.  Just attach the dish to the tripod and set it outside, but not too far from wherever you’ve mounted Box three, because you’re going to have to take this cord coming off of it and plug it into the power inverter in this outlet here.

“The Starlink is already pre-programmed to connect with the final piece of equipment.”

Adam handed cloth padded case with a zipper to Matthias and opened it up.

“This is an iPad.  It has its own battery.  You charge the battery when it gets low by plugging this end of the cord into the iPad and this other end into the USB outlet in the power inverter.  You wake it up by touching this button, and for everything else, you tap the screen.  Touch this icon, and you’ll see a list of names.  All of the known bears and many of the friendly wolves are listed here by name.  Just tap their name and it will call them.  As long as they’re near their computer, iPad, or phone, they’ll answer the call, and then you’ll see their face on your screen, and they’ll see yours on theirs.”

“So, Grand-Papa,” Adam concluded, “Does that all make sense? Do you think you can set this up on your own when you get back to your hideout?”

“Fuck no,” Matthias replied.

Adam sighed.

“Okay, I’ll run through it again.  Box one…”

****

After four hours, Axel wandered over to where Adam continued to instruct Matthias on twenty-first century technology.

“I swear, Cub,” Matthias said to Axel, “If this is some kind of punishment to get back at me for being an asshole to you three hundred years ago, I surrender!”

Axel laughed so hard he doubled over, but Adam just rolled his eyes.

“Now, Grand-Papa, it’s not that bad.  Any five-year-old human is able to learn the same shit in half the time.  Show Papa how you’ll call Ezekiel.”

Matthias grumbled, but he turned on his iPad and tapped the icons until Ezekiel’s face appeared on the screen.

“Hello Matthias!” Ezekiel exclaimed, “I see Axel’s Wonder-Cub has gotten you connected!”

“It’s all a massive pain in the ass if you ask me,” Matthias replied, “But if it’s for the betterment of all were-kind that I torture myself with this shit, then I’m willing to make the sacrifice.”

“That’s the spirit!” Ezekiel replied.  “Now that you’ve called me, I have your ID saved in my contacts so I can call you back whenever I want.”

“Just not too often!” Matthias said, “I’m still a hermit after all, you need to leave me time to do my… hermit stuff.”

“Okay, old one,” Ezekiel said, laughing, “I’ll let you get back to that now.  I’ll talk to you later.”

The call ended and Ezekiel’s face disappeared from the screen.

“Good job, Grand-Papa!” Adam said, “You’ll be a pro in no time.”

“Now, if you don’t mind,” Matthias said, “I believe that you promised to show me ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’.  I would very much like to see a group of spoiled white human women screaming at each other so that I can relax for a while.”

Copyright © 2021 Grumpy Bear; All Rights Reserved.
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Loved this chapter; and the idea that the Real Housewives of wherever are battling it out for supremacy is what the bears call entertainment is just too funny.  I can see additional treks to try and find the other Ancients, not just the bears but the other were beings as well.

Just too good.

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Now that 4000 year old horrible hermit is now just an older version of @Grumpy Bear, I'm getting a kick reading about him. He's and Ancient facing his future.  I  hope he stays connect and teleconferences with other werebears in the future.  This is an absolute delight to read.GIF by FirstAndMonday

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