Cybella was only 7 when her mother Loueza started teaching her the centering. Centering is the ability to lock out all other stimuli from your senses and tune into the "callings" from humans in need. It took 3 years before Cybella could tell when someone in need was sending out the call. Tiny movements at first and then as the demand became greater and her centering more engaged, the vibrations became like the feeling one gets from being close to a large drum being hammered upon.
The very first time the vibrations became that intense, the young girl covered her ears in fear that the noise was thunder. She had always been afraid of thunderstorms and hid behind the large trunk at the back of the wagon. But as she became older and more accustomed to the "callings" she also was able to put the need into perspective in her own living. She was, as her mother shared with her, gifted. This was a comfort to Loueza, knowing that the art would not die with her but continue on with her lovely daughter. Many of their kind had the gift of healing, many had the gift of future sight, but few had the gift of being called upon.
Cybella had yet another gift, even her mother did not possess. Loueza had only known of one other with this talent. She had "callings"from animals as well as humans. The woman that the mother knew of had lived alone in the forest and only administered to the animals. Many people had brought their animals to the woman to have her heal them or come to their farms to help with birthing or healing cows, dogs, sheep, goats and horses. She was a wonder. And now Loueza's own daughter knew when an animal, wild or domesticated needed her attention or help.
It was on their travels to the north country that Cybella was called by her first animal need. She sensed that the animal was near the first path after the bridge. She and her mother cautiously proceeded down this out of the way path, rutted with cart tracks. The recent rain made the passage tricky at best. Their wagon slid from one set of ruts to the next in the standing water. The further they proceeded into the woods, the darker it became. The trees thickened and the shade loving plants were plentiful. The lack of sun took the dappled light and made it almost eerie.
They heard a whimpering off to the left of the path. Not even a whimper really but a staccato breath. They felt it would be best to take care off the path and Loueza took her walking stick. Cybilla found a large fallen branch and used it to move the vines out of their way.
It wasn't long before they found him lying on his side, flailing, with vines wound all around him and around his legs. He was so skinny. He was hardly breathing except for that staccato exhaling. His fur was matted, he was sopping wet and he looked at them with the most intense, "please help me" look either had every seen.
Loueza went back to the wagon to retreive both her long knife and also some material to bind the wounds on the legs that were evident. While there, she also grabbed her bag with herbs and salves and made her way back to the poor animal. As she approached the scene, she heard her daughter singing a slow, sweet song in a language that she herself had never heard before. The sounds were so soothing and calming that the animal had quit struggling and was breathing easy.
While her Cybilla continued to sing, the two went to work extricating the donkey from his trap. Cutting away the vines and undergrowth. He lay quietly and allowed them to remove the vegetation, treat his wounds and bind them with cloth. When they felt that he could handle it, the two brought him water. Cybilla said that they should clean up the area, make a fire, bring their own blankets to cover the donkey and sleep close to him to warm him and give him strength. And so they did.
As dawn broke, the birds in the forest greeted them with a concert of welcome. The two found their patient more aware and improved. Cybilla made them a gruel for breakfast and shared it with the donkey. He likewise rewarded them by standing. And within a short time he was strong enough to walk. Cybilla fashioned a lead from her petticoat fabric and lead the donkey to the stream where she again cleaned his wounds and started the process of restoring this soul to his strength. She sang as she bathed his wounds. He wasn't very fond of the water but was soothed and entranced by the song. He also was weary of the muddy coat he had come to wear but that could be taken care of with a good rub in a dry spot.
With his wounds again dressed with salves and bright bandages, the three set off to find his owner. It wasn't long before they found what was left of the owner. His body and an empty pouch lay up the path towards the crest of the hill. He looked as though someone had jumped him as he made his way towards the bridge from which Cybilla and Loueza had come. That explains how the donkey had become entangled in the vines as he too ran from the attackers of his master. The thieves must not have been interested in the donkey, but rather only whatever had been in the pouch. The donkey went over to his master and pushed at him with his nose. Knowing that his old friend was dead, the donkey raised his head and brayed goodbye to this man.
The three made their way back down the hill to Loueza's cart and back to the road. Which way would they be called next? Where would their next encounter bring them? They turned east and took it slowly for the sake of the donkey.
They asked him his name but of course he had no answer that they could understand, but Jinx would one day have his name be known by his new family of beautiful females who had rescued him and made him their own. He felt his strength returning as he followed along behind the wagon. One day soon, he would pull the wagon for his rescuers and live a life he had never imagined.