How the Name of Serenity Valley Came to Be

The crackling fire snapped. The lights were turned low so that only the fire's orange-yellow light made the shadows dance like maybe they did once on Earth-That-Was.   The old woman in her shawl started to speak. She spoke in words like cracked earth, older than the planet they were huddled upon. She gestured at Tom and nodded, pointing at his guest. Tom nodded back and whispered her words in the Anglo language. She began her tale.  
Grandmother says that once, long ago, when all the worlds of the sky were young and there was more space than there were human beings, our band came and spoke to the land. When the wasi'chu People made an official scientific survey, they took one look at the land, and they said, ‘too rough to grow crops’ and none of them would settle there.   But we brought our wise women and our old men. We brought the bundle of Earth-That-Was and the sacred fire. And we spoke at length with the land. This land. The one that is here. The one that spoke back to our People. And the Land accepted us. Here at the mouth of the valley, it took us in, just like it was centuries ago when the moniyaw drew a line on our Mother and said we had to choose which place to live. The land that was not ours back then took us in. And so it was that this land that was not ours took us in as orphans. This place had a name. It was called by our People “kāmwātan tawatināw” — the Quiet Valley.   So the great-grandparents of Grandmother asked for the land, and because they were respected for bringing with them many species of animal embryos that the wasi'chu moniyaw people had forgotten to bring from Earth-That-Was, they gave them a small ranch near the valley’s mouth. And the wasi'chu translated our words as “Serenity Valley.” But that was before nōtinikēwin—the Great Noise—came. She says that the sohkēhtākwan nōtinikēwin—the Great Noise—the War came and came from above. And it spread throughout the whole of the valley. And after the noise from above stopped, it continued below in the voices of those left behind. Great crying and wailing. Great dying. And she says that the noise continues. She says she still hears it in the wind that blows. The spirits of all the people who died in this valley continue to make noise. And this is why it is now called wītaskīwin tawatināw.
  Tom paused, leaving his grandmother's last words untranslated. His face looked a bit pained. He turned to his grandmother, and she looked back at him with expectancy.   "… grandmother, I don’t know how to translate wānaskēwin tawatināw. It sounds just like it could be translated into “Serenity Valley” in Anglo as if there were no word change from kāmwātan tawatināw, wītaskīwin tawatināw, and wānaskēwin tawatināw.   She smiled. Her face matched her words which matched the ground. Cracked earth. Good, dusty, cracked earth.  
"When our clan came, we called it kāmwātan tawatināw," she said.
"Serenity Valley," Tom nodded. "Tranquil or peaceful quiet."  
"When that awful War, the Great Noise, ended, but the soldiers were still waiting... dying... the valley became called wītaskīwin tawatināw."
  "Serenity Valley," Tom nodded again. "The valley where there was a truce. An alliance. She calls the War sohkēhtākwan nōtinikēwin—a story that is blown out of proportion. It has a loud noise of fighting, war, and assault."  
"And now, the valley is called wānaskēwin tawatināw," she nodded definitively.
  Tom frowned. He was quiet for a while and looked at the floor. "A valley where one must come to be at peace with oneself."   Grandmother patted Tom. She allowed him to be quiet for a long time. As long as he needed.

Summary

Until the closing chapter in the Unification War, most people in the 'Verse had never heard of Serenity Valley. But here are its origins, and, more importantly, its evolving meanings as told by Grandmother Beartooth, who lives on the Two Hawks Ranch at one of the mouths of the valley.

Spread

mostly a local story

Cultural Reception

The original settlers of Hera just called it Serenity Valley and left it at that. Little do they know that it has more to it than that. Maybe they don't care.   For the original indigenous clan (mostly Cree, but others as well) it has a deeper meaning, history, and lesson.

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Comments

Author's Notes

At this point, this story isn't connected with the main stories of Eavesdown Docks and Tom Beartooth. It may in the future, and came to be here mostly for World Ember 2018.


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