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Character Notes for "A Healing Force" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Character Notes for "A Healing Force"
Here are the character notes for "A Healing Force."


Kenzie Nolan -- He has pale skin with freckles, hazel eyes, and long straight red hair. He is a descendant of Gráinne Nuala. He is two-spirit and many-shaped. He uses masculine pronouns for convenience, and gets uneasy about being mistaken for a girl. He is more beautiful than handsome, and his looks attract attention -- sometimes from the wrong parties, making him a preferred target for trouble of all kinds. He has been beaten up more times than he can count. Kenzie is currently 17, but lies that he is 19. Having drifted away from a family where he never fit well, he has been couchsurfing with friends and posing as a college student by sneaking into large classes to study arts and crafts.
The Iron Horses find him tangled in a barbed wire fence. He is first called Two Foxes, and later Many Beasts. The Cree call him He Has All the Right Spots (shortened to All the Right Spots, or All Spots) for his horse form.
Origin: Always a bit different, Kenzie found his superpowers beginning to emerge at puberty. They have been growing slowly ever since.
Uniform: As widely variable as the rest of him. Often he just wears a t-shirt and jeans, but he also likes bohemian outfits. He can dress up in a sharp suit. After the Iron Horses find him, Kenzie also tries on motorcycle leathers and tribal wear.
Qualities: Good (+2) Artisan, Good (+2) Beautiful, Good (+2) Bohemian, Good (+2) Existential Intelligence, Good (+2) Versatile
Poor (-2) Preferred Target
Powers: Expert (+2) Shapeshifter
His forms include fox, goat, red deer stag, paint horse in chestnut-and-white, and cardinal. Even in human form, he can use most of his animal abilities at Good (+2) level.
Motivation: Self-discovery.

In Terramagne, Gráinne Nuala retired but did not die. She is immortal, and sometimes still goes to sea as a pirate or privateer.

Kenzie is developing a taste for tribal entertainment including novels and Kagagi: The Raven, a Native American comic and animated show. You can watch Season 1 Episode 1 online.


Joseph Elkdog -- He has long straight black hair, black eyes, and light copper skin. He stands 6' tall, with a sturdy frame and a long oblong face. He belongs to the Blackfeet tribe, and is the older half-brother of She Walks in Mist. Because Joseph was born when their mother was fairly young, she sent him to live with his father, and he grew up mostly in urban areas. He has learned more about Blackfeet culture over time. She Walks in Mist, born later, was raised on the reservation by their mother. That makes their relationship a little challenging, but they love each other dearly.
Joseph is the leader of a mostly Native American motorcycle gang, the Iron Horses. That is, all of them were born somewhere in North America, and a majority are wholly or partly tribal in heritage. This cultural medley means that the Iron Horses never fit in perfectly in the native or the mainstream society. They are quasi-outlaw heroes, some rougher than others; they do things like hosting giveaways and protecting abuse survivors (sometimes fatally for the abuser). Joseph leads his people into battle when necessary, and is a powerful fighter.
Origin: The longstanding dispute between tribal and biker cultures over Bear Butte and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally reached an odd crossroads when a young "city Indian" rode his bike up the mountain ... and then safely back down again, bike perfectly intact, in possession of a vision and rather more sense than he went up with. He began studying his Blackfeet heritage and gathering members to form a motorcycle gang.
Uniform: Brown leathers with the gang patch. The center of the patch shows a motorcycle/horse hybrid. The top rocker says Iron Horses. The bottom rocker names the home reservation for that band of the gang, although most bands have a mix of members from different places, not all of them from any reservation. The patches are made with traditional Blackfeet quillwork, which along with the leathers often requires teamwork from several members; other decorations on the leathers may reflect the wearer's own tribe if not Blackfeet. Weather permitting, men who have done the Sun Dance go shirtless under their vests to display their scars. Members typically wear their hair loose or in long braids. Each bike has a medicine bag attached between the handlebars so the spirits can recognize it.
Qualities: Master (+6) Biker, Expert (+4) Leader, Good (+2) Blackfeet Culture, Good (+2) Humility, Good (+2) Mechanic
Poor (-2) Torn Between Two Worlds
Powers: Expert (+4) Horse Totem, Average (0) Nature-sense
Good (+2) Motorcycle: Expert (+4) Magical Protection, Good (+2) Elusive, Good (+2) Fast
Average (0) Minions: The Iron Horses have 7 named lieutenants and dozens of additional members. Lieutenants have qualities of Expert (+4) Biker and another Good; plus powers of a Good (+2) Totem and another Average (0) superpower. Each Iron Horse has an Average (0) Motorcycle with Good (+2) Magical protection and two other Good qualities. They all share the same weakness of Poor (-2) Torn Between Two Worlds.
Motivation: Protect Turtle Island and promote unity among her people.

Joseph Elkdog (in choker) and the Iron Horses
Joseph Elkdog (Horse) 6 ft, Ben Big Rock (Bear) 6'7", Kyle High Wolf (Wolf) 6'2", Ron Farlow (Bison) (5'10"), Mick Yellowtail (Coyote) 5'11"

Joseph Elkdog's motorcycle has horses painted on it.

His favorite comics include Native American ones such as:

NAPI is a comic about a trickster from Blackfoot culture.

Kagagi: The Raven is a Native American comic and animated show from Algonquin culture. You can watch Season 1 Episode 1 online.


Elki (Ben Big Rock) -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and long shaggy hair of dark brown. Because his eyes are light-sensitive, he usually wears sunglasses. He has a thick beard and moustache, along with copious body hair. He is big and muscular, standing 6'7" tall. He has a long dimpled scar across his butt from a prenatal injury. His heritage includes Miwok, Spanish, and Norse. He speaks English, Miwok, and some Spanish. He enjoys gathering and cooking traditional foods.
Ben belongs to a mostly Native American motorcycle gang, the Iron Horses. That is, all of them were born somewhere in North America, and a majority are wholly or partly tribal in heritage. This cultural medley means that the Iron Horses never fit in perfectly in the native or the mainstream society. They are quasi-outlaw heroes, some rougher than others; they do things like hosting giveaways and protecting abuse survivors (sometimes fatally for the abuser). Ben is their road medic and a heavy hitter.
Origin: Ben's mother had a bad boyfriend. They went camping while she was pregnant with Ben. Because the boyfriend was careless with food storage -- despite repeated warnings from his girlfriend -- a bear came into their camp. Ben's mother was clawed across the belly, and her boyfriend was torn to pieces and scattered all over everywhere. A shaman predicted that the baby would have bear medicine, but Ben's actual superpowers have been patchy in development.
Uniform: When not riding, Ben often lounges around in jeans and a t-shirt. When riding, he wears brown leathers with the gang patch. The center of the patch shows a motorcycle/horse hybrid. The top rocker says Iron Horses. The bottom rocker names the home reservation for that band of the gang, although most bands have a mix of members from different places, not all of them from any reservation. The patches are made with traditional Blackfeet quillwork, which along with the leathers often requires teamwork from several members; other decorations on the leathers may reflect the wearer's own tribe if not Blackfeet. Weather permitting, men who have done the Sun Dance go shirtless under their vests to display their scars. Members typically wear their hair loose or in long braids. Each bike has a medicine bag attached between the handlebars so the spirits can recognize it.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Big and Tall, Expert (+4) Biker, Good (+2) Kinesthetic Intelligence, Good (+2) Road Medic, Good (+2) Traditional Foods
Poor (-2) Torn Between Two Worlds
Powers: Good (+2) Bear Totem, Average (0) Healing Sense
Average (0) Motorcycle with Good (+2) Cargo Capacity, Good (+2) Handling, and Good (+2) Magical Protection
Motivation: To follow Joseph Elkdog.

Elki. L. (m.) Bear hanging intestines of people on top of rocks or bushes.
Elkini, to hang on top of or over.
Also The New Age Baby Name Book p. 216.

Ben Big Rock (in sunglasses) and the Iron Horses

Ben's motorcycle has heavy cargo capacity.

He is a fan of Kagagi: The Raven, a Native American comic and animated show. You can watch Season 1 Episode 1 online.


Ron Farlow -- He has light copper skin, brown eyes, and long straight black hair. His face is rounded, his form sturdy under a layer of padding. He has a tattoo of several feathers on his left arm. He stands 5'10" tall. His heritage includes Cherokee and Lakota. He speaks English and Lakota. Ron is a descendant of Sitting Bull. His family raises beef cattle and horses, and they also look after a herd of bison. Ron is a promising drummer, although too young to be allowed to perform at powwows yet. He has a good memory and a solid presence.
Ron belongs to a mostly Native American motorcycle gang, the Iron Horses. That is, all of them were born somewhere in North America, and a majority are wholly or partly tribal in heritage. This cultural medley means that the Iron Horses never fit in perfectly in the native or the mainstream society. They are quasi-outlaw heroes, some rougher than others; they do things like hosting giveaways and protecting abuse survivors (sometimes fatally for the abuser). Ron keeps the gang grounded and interprets dreams. He prefers not to fight, but is formidable when he does.
Origin: Ron performed the Sun Dance using buffalo skulls, and gained superpowers.
Uniform: When not riding, Ron tends to wear overalls with a t-shirt or flannel shirt. When riding, he wears brown leathers with the gang patch. The center of the patch shows a motorcycle/horse hybrid. The top rocker says Iron Horses. The bottom rocker names the home reservation for that band of the gang, although most bands have a mix of members from different places, not all of them from any reservation. The patches are made with traditional Blackfeet quillwork, which along with the leathers often requires teamwork from several members; other decorations on the leathers may reflect the wearer's own tribe if not Blackfeet. Weather permitting, men who have done the Sun Dance go shirtless under their vests to display their scars. Members typically wear their hair loose or in long braids. Each bike has a medicine bag attached between the handlebars so the spirits can recognize it.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Biker, Good (+2) Constitution, Good (+2) Drummer, Good (+2) Memory, Good (+2) Solidarity
Poor (-2) Torn Between Two Worlds
Powers: Good (+2) Buffalo Totem, Average (0) Grounding
Average (0) Motorcycle with Good (+2) Cargo Capacity, Good (+2) Gas Mileage, and Good (+2) Magical Protection
Motivation: To make things holy.

Ron Farlow (with tattoo) and the Iron Horses

Ron's motorcycle is turquoise and cream.

He likes tribal comics including Kagagi: The Raven, a Native American comic and animated show. You can watch Season 1 Episode 1 online.


Mick Yellowtail -- He has tinted skin, light brown eyes, and short curly hair of dark brown. He is lean and quick. He stands 5'11" tall. His heritage includes Crow and British. Having grown up with almost nothing, Mick frequently stole to survive, and has learned how to stretch resources as far as possible. He learned flint knapping so that he could make his own tools and weapons at need. Cunning and quick, he's a valuable member of the Iron Horses. He gets in and out of trouble all the time, does things backwards -- but won't commit to formal training with the sacred clowns -- and generally drives Joseph Elkdog crazy. Tricksters are like that. Joseph considers Mick an asset anyhow.
Mick belongs to a mostly Native American motorcycle gang, the Iron Horses. That is, all of them were born somewhere in North America, and a majority are wholly or partly tribal in heritage. This cultural medley means that the Iron Horses never fit in perfectly in the native or the mainstream society. They are quasi-outlaw heroes, some rougher than others; they do things like hosting giveaways and protecting abuse survivors (sometimes fatally for the abuser). Mick is a scout and a trickster. He tends to hang around the edges of a fight, assisting his gangmates or harrying the enemy. He's deft with a knife.
Origin: As a wild teenager, Mick attempted to rob a shaman's camper. He wound up with a handful of holy things that he didn't know how to use, but they sure knew how to use him. Mick was left holding the bag while Coyote laughed his ass off. Things haven't gotten much saner since.
Uniform: When not riding, Mick likes jeans and a buttoned shirt, often white. When riding, he wears black leathers with the gang patch. The center of the patch shows a motorcycle/horse hybrid. The top rocker says Iron Horses. The bottom rocker names the home reservation for that band of the gang, although most bands have a mix of members from different places, not all of them from any reservation. The patches are made with traditional Blackfeet quillwork, which along with the leathers often requires teamwork from several members; other decorations on the leathers may reflect the wearer's own tribe if not Blackfeet. Weather permitting, men who have done the Sun Dance go shirtless under their vests to display their scars. Members typically wear their hair loose or in long braids. Each bike has a medicine bag attached between the handlebars so the spirits can recognize it.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Biker, Good (+2) Fast, Good (+2) Frugal, Good (+2) Knapper, Good (+2) Thief
Poor (-2) Torn Between Two Worlds
Powers: Good (+2) Coyote Totem, Good (+2) Reality Alteration
Average (0) Motorcycle with Good (+2) Handling, Good (+2) Magical Protection, and Good (+2) Speed
Mick uses a smaller style of saddlebag than most of the other Iron Horses.
Motivation: Whatever pops into his head at the moment.

Mick Yellowtail (in leather jacket) and the Iron Horses

Mick's motorcycle is black and gold. Normally one would not put Harley Davidson saddlebags on any other type of bike. But the Iron Horses mix things up, they count coup and take trophies, and Mick is a coyote. So this is what he packs on his bike.

He likes tribal comics including Kagagi: The Raven, a Native American comic and animated show. You can watch Season 1 Episode 1 online.


Blair Her Road Goes Both Ways -- She has light copper skin, almond-shaped black eyes, and long straight black hair. She has a soft, round face with a few chin hairs that she cherishes. Her body is strong and slender with wide shoulders and small breasts. She has little waist definition and fairly narrow hips. She stands 5'9" tall. She is the daughter of Ida and Tomson Starblanket. Blair is a brave-woman who takes the social role of a man, but hasn't changed her body with surgery. She just naturally has higher testosterone and lower estrogen, hence the androgynous appearance. She uses feminine pronouns for convenience, although she doesn't mind being referred to in the masculine -- her gangmates routinely call her "one of the guys." Her heritage includes Cree, Ojibwa, and French. She speaks English, Canadian French, and Nēhiyawēwin ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ or Plains Cree -- which is not the same dialect as her parents, she learned it as an adult. The name "Her Road Goes Both Ways" actually came from running back and forth along the road as a toddler.
Blair belongs to a mostly Native American motorcycle gang, the Iron Horses. That is, all of them were born somewhere in North America, and a majority are wholly or partly tribal in heritage. This cultural medley means that the Iron Horses never fit in perfectly in the native or the mainstream society. They are quasi-outlaw heroes, some rougher than others; they do things like hosting giveaways and protecting abuse survivors (sometimes fatally for the abuser). Blair is adept at both knife fighting and hand-to-hand combat. She keeps the gang balanced. Her mystical abilities including finding lost spirits, and reassembling them if the pieces are broken.
Origin: Blair went on a vision quest and came back with superpowers.
Uniform: When not riding, Blair likes jeans and a masculine shirt, often checked or plaid. When riding, she wears black leathers with the gang patch. The center of the patch shows a motorcycle/horse hybrid. The top rocker says Iron Horses. The bottom rocker names the home reservation for that band of the gang, although most bands have a mix of members from different places, not all of them from any reservation. The patches are made with traditional Blackfeet quillwork, which along with the leathers often requires teamwork from several members; other decorations on the leathers may reflect the wearer's own tribe if not Blackfeet. Members typically wear their hair loose or in long braids. Each bike has a medicine bag attached between the handlebars so the spirits can recognize it.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Biker, Good (+2) Brave-Woman, Good (+2) Endurance, Good (+2) Intrapersonal Intelligence
Poor (-2) Torn Between Two Worlds
Powers: Good (+2) Caribou Totem, Average (0) Spirit Finder
Average (0) Motorcycle with Good (+2) Cargo Capacity, Good (+2) Handling, and Good (+2) Magical Protection
Motivation: To bring balance between the genders.

There are many different names for alternative sex/gender roles in Native American tribes, now collectively called two-spirits. Brave-woman is one term for a female-bodied person who takes a man's role in society.

Blair's motorcycle is black and red.

Her favorite comics include Kagagi: The Raven, a Native American comic and animated show. You can watch Season 1 Episode 1 online.


Henry Holds His Horses -- He has light copper skin, black eyes, and long black hair with just a little wave. His heritage includes Cheyenne and Oglala. His family raises horses, and Henry helps take care of them. He also goes to shows and manages the extra horses while someone is presenting theirs. At powwows, he enjoys hoop dancing.
Henry belongs to a mostly Native American motorcycle gang, the Iron Horses. That is, all of them were born somewhere in North America, and a majority are wholly or partly tribal in heritage. This cultural medley means that the Iron Horses never fit in perfectly in the native or the mainstream society. They are quasi-outlaw heroes, some rougher than others; they do things like hosting giveaways and protecting abuse survivors (sometimes fatally for the abuser). Henry is a relatively new member, who makes himself useful by carrying extra baggage for other bikers, especially the scouts. Skilled in cargo balancing, he often helps people pack or unpack their bikes. He also runs errands to get more supplies.
Origin: When Henry was little, he got trampled by a herd of horses. The doctors said he would not survive. His mother convinced a shaman to pray for him, and talked a bunch of relatives into making prayer ties. Henry lived and developed superpowers.
Uniform: When not riding, Henry likes jeans and a t-shirt, often black. When riding, he wears black leathers with the gang patch. The center of the patch shows a motorcycle/horse hybrid. The top rocker says Iron Horses. The bottom rocker names the home reservation for that band of the gang, although most bands have a mix of members from different places, not all of them from any reservation. The patches are made with traditional Blackfeet quillwork, which along with the leathers often requires teamwork from several members; other decorations on the leathers may reflect the wearer's own tribe if not Blackfeet. Weather permitting, men who have done the Sun Dance go shirtless under their vests to display their scars. Members typically wear their hair loose or in long braids. Each bike has a medicine bag attached between the handlebars so the spirits can recognize it.
Qualities: Good (+2) Biker, Good (+2) Helpful, Good (+2) Hoop Dancer, Good (+2) Patient, Good (+2) Spatial Intelligence
Poor (-2) Low Self-Esteem
Powers: Average (0) Horse Totem
Average (0) Motorcycle with Good (+2) Magical Protection, and either Good (+2) Cargo Capacity or Good (+2) Speed depending how it's packed. It can be loaded up quite heavily, or stripped down for better speed.
Motivation: To be useful to his people.

He is a fan of Kagagi: The Raven, a Native American comic and animated show. You can watch Season 1 Episode 1 online.


Ida Starblanket -- She has tinted skin, almond-shaped brown eyes, and long straight black hair. She is short and plump, with a round face. She wears glasses. Her heritage is primarily Cree and American. Ida is the wife of Tomson Starblanket and mother of Blair Her Road Goes Both Ways. She works as a wilderness guide with her husband Tomson. They are both proud of their two-spirit child. They live on the Rocky Boy's Reservation in Montana. Kind and thoughtful, Ida enjoys passing down her Cree culture to younger people.
Qualities: Master (+6) Kindness, Expert (+4) Cree Culture, Expert (+4) Wilderness Guide, Good (+2) Healthy as a Horse, Good (+2) QUILTBAG Ally,
Poor (-2) Nearsighted


Many Tongues (Theoren "Theo" Greyeyes) -- He has fair skin, gray eyes, and dark hair trimmed into a short mohawk. His heritage includes Cree, Chippewa, and British. He wears glasses. Many Tongues is a disabled Army veteran, paralyzed from the waist down, who uses a wheelchair. Because of this, he needs help with some everyday tasks.
Many Tongues works at the Rocky Boy's Early Headstart language immersion program. He speaks A'ananin (Gros Ventre), Dakota (Sioux), English, French, Lipan Apache, Nakoda (Assiniboine), Nēhiyawēwin ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ or Plains Cree, Ojibwemowin (Chippewa or Ojibwa), Oji-Cree (another dialect of Ojibwa), Plains Indian Sign, Salish, and Siksika (Blackfeet). He is currently struggling to learn Diné (Navajo). He has chosen a mix of widely-spoken tribal languages and very rare ones.
Qualities: Master (+6) Tribal Languages, Expert (+4) Âniskô-kiskinwahamâkêwin, Good (+2) Army Veteran, Good (+2) Dark Humor, Good (+2) Endurance
Poor (-2) Activities of Daily Living

Âniskô-kiskinwahamâkêwin means passing on teachings.


Dr. Bena Pretty Ears -- She has copper skin, brown eyes, and long wavy brown hair streaked with chestnut and dark blonde. Her heritage includes Cree and Pawnee. She is the wife of Chayton Pretty Ears. They have three daughters and three sons, along with four grandchildren. They live in Azure, Montana on the Rocky Boy's Reservation. Bena earned the name Pretty Ears as a young girl by being a good listener, and went on to become a psychiatrist. She takes a more analytical approach to healing the psyche than her husband's casual and naturalistic methods. She enjoys traditional embroidery methods with thread, porcupine quills, and beads.
Qualities: Master (+6) Kistêyihtamowin, Expert (+4) Psychiatrist, Expert (+4) Intelligence, Good (+2) Classy, Good (+2) Graceful, Good (+2) Traditional Embroidery
Poor (-2) Alcohol Tolerance.

1. Respectkistêyihtamowin – ᑭᐢᑌᔨᐦᑕᒧᐃᐧᐣ


Chayton Pretty Ears -- He has copper skin, brown eyes, and long straight black hair with a short beard. His heritage includes Chippewa, Yakama, and Yankton Dakota Sioux. He speaks Dakota, English, Ojibwemowin (Chippewa or Ojibwe), and Sahaptin (Yakama). Chayton is the husband of Dr. Bena Pretty Ears. They have three daughters and three sons, along with four grandchildren. They live in Azure, Montana on the Rocky Boy's Reservation. Chayton is a skilled peer counselor, who provides private and group counseling as well as leading a number of support groups. He takes a more casual and naturalistic approach than his wife's analytical delving into the psyche. He has good wilderness skills and is an accomplished drummer. Unfortunately he also attracts swarms of mosquitoes.
Qualities: Master (+6) Gwekwaadziwin, Expert (+4) Peer Counseling, Expert (+4) Wisdom, Good (+2) Drummer, Good (+2) Wilderness Skills
Poor (-2) Mosquito Magnet

The Seven Teachings of the Ojibwe
HONESTY (Gwekwaadziwin):
To be HONEST to themselves. To live in the spirit of how they were created. Never to lie or gossip about one another.


Sounding Shell (Georgianna Baie) -- She has light copper skin, brown eyes, and straight gray hair past her shoulders. The shaman of Rocky Boy's Reservation, an old woman. She is Cree from Ontario and married a Cree man from Rocky Boy's Reservation. It annoys her when people ignore her visions, and she has a habit of saying, "I told you so," when those come true anyway.
Origin: When Georgianna was twelve, she got her first period. She stayed in a special tent for four days and four nights, secluded with the older women of her family. She prayed for a way to help her people move into the future. She developed superpowers, and when she emerged, there was a great feast at which a shaman gave her the name Sounding Shell.
Uniform: Most of the time, she wears comfortable, outdoorsy women's clothes. She favors dark colors, although for ceremonial use she often chooses brighter ones.
Qualities: Master (+6) Shaman, Master (+6) Wisdom, Expert (+4) Birchbark Crafts, Expert (+4) Grandmother, Good (+2) Horsewoman, Good (+2) Stamina, Good (+2) Wildcrafting
Poor (-2) I Told You So
Powers: Good (+2) Foresight
Sometimes the spirits give her visions of the future. These are rarely large or complete scenes. Instead she gets practical tidbits. People don't always want to listen, because the ideas are seemingly unconnected to anything else at that point in time, but she is consistently right.
Motivation: To help her people move into the future.

Many tribes have a womanhood ceremony, although the details vary. Here are some examples from Cree and Yankton Sioux cultures.

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