Hummingbird Flies By Moon
Hummingbird Flies By Moon is the Chief of Wapiti. They are a Two-Spirit person and use they/them/theirs pronouns.
Jeanne-Félix Augustine St Christophe was born outside Québec City in 1875, the second child of Marcel St. Christophe, a horse trainer and ad hoc veterinarian, and Océane Dupont, an acrobat and tightrope walker. The whole family, including older sister Herculine and younger brother Gabriel, were performers in Madam Minerva's Marvelous Traveling Menagerie, a successful circus company that toured all of North America. Marcel was an Ojibwe man of the Loon clan from the remote village of Marten Falls First Nation in Ontario, Canada (though he did not grow up in culture) and joined the circus at twelve years old as an apprentice horse trainer. Océane was a street rat who was adopted by the owner of the circus, Minerva Dupont, at the age of five when Minerva saw how flexible she was. Marcel and Océane fell in love as teenagers and married at eighteen, and remained in a very loving relationship until Marcel's death.
Herculine and Jeanne-Félix were commonly marketed as twins and would often perform in a double-act as acrobats and trick riders until they were teenagers, when Herculine began a solo contortionist act. Jeanne-Félix continued trick riding and they became a headliner at the age of fourteen under the name "Kit" - Minerva believed their name was too long to put on a sign and misheard the sarcastic suggestion of "Kid". Marcel put them to work assisting in animal training, including grooming and mucking out stalls, in an effort to keep them humble.
When Kit was sixteen Marcel was kicked in the head by a Clydesdale horse, dying instantly. This occurred in front of a large audience and spelled the beginning of the end for the circus. Two years later Océane fell from a tightrope during her act during which the safety net failed, breaking her spine and rendering her paralyzed from the waist down. Around this time Minerva's gambling, already a problem, began to morph into an addiction which resulted in her gambling away assets, shares and even staff. By 1897 the circus had gone from two hundred performers and staff to forty, with Kit being one of only seventeen full-time performers left - both Herculine and Gabriel left to attend L'Université de Saint-Boniface, where Herculine became a Marxist-Communist.
In February 1898, after a long night of drinking and playing poker, Minerva fell off her horse, hit her head and never woke up. Immediately debt collection agencies sold off what little assets the business had left, including Whiskey Blues, Kit's performance horse whom they had trained themself. Whiskey Blues came from a prestigious line of Arabians and was sold as breeding stock. With no job and no home to return to, Kit said goodbye to their family and began to search for their horse, eventually tracking her to Saints Crossing in November 1900.
Events in Saint's Crossing
Employment with Saints Daily
Kit was encouraged by Ranger Augustus Basset to become a reporter for Saints Daily. During their tenure Kit made strong connections with many citizens of the Crossing, including civilians, Law and criminals alike. They threw the successful Love Ball event in January 1901, which raised over $7000 for the Saints Crossing Department of Health and enabled them to set up and stock medical tents in Armadillo, though it caused a storm so strong it knocked every citizen of the Crossing temporarily unconscious. They resigned after they became more involved with the tribes and realising that their career would pose a threat to their safety.
Kit was commissioned by Jairo Cook to write a book on the tribes, which included interviews with tribekin and profiles on the history and cultures of the tribes of the Crossing. During this period they were welcomed to live in Wapiti to further immerse themself. Their devotion to the Wapiti tribe led to them being officially integrated in a naming ceremony on February 27 1901, where then-Chief Running Fox gave them the name Tȟanáǧila KiŋyÁŋ Isákhib Haŋhépi Wí, or Hummingbird Flies By Moon. The hummingbird is a symbol of joy and oddness, as it is the only bird which can hover and fly upside-down and backwards. They are also a symbol of loyalty as they mate for life. Haŋhépi Wí is the moon spirit, and one of the most powerful in Lakota spiritualism. The moon changes nightly, just as Kit brought change to Wapiti. After this ceremony Kit is considered dead, and Hummingbird Flies By Moon was born.
Involvement with Evangeline Thorn
A woman named Evelyn Thorne arrived in the Crossing around the same time as Kit did, and Kit was immediately terrified of her. She worked as an enforcer for a man named Mr Fieldings, and in December 1900 she vanished from the Crossing. She returned a week before Kit's naming ceremony having taken the new name Evangeline Thorn, having changed it to honour a girl whom she tried and failed to save from Mr Fieldings after a job gone wrong. Thorn robbed Kit of their weapons at Calumet Ravine, where Kit warned Thorn that Wapiti would come down hard on her. Three days after their naming ceremony Hummingbird was targeted by Thorn again at Mother Tree in Big Valley. She forced them into Hanging Dog Ranch where they were tortured and the back of their head was branded with her symbol, the Norse rune Thurisaz. When they ran away she shot them in the back and dumped them at the Valentine medical office.
Hummingbird was to be the first of Thorn's Branded Flock, alongside then-Medic Darsie Dotson, then-Senior Deputy Porter O'Neill and Saffron Mitchell. Hummingbird became obsessed with vengeance and, alongside Deputy Doreen Pavus, began tracking her through the Crossing. Thorn's spree came to an end in May 1901 after she took Hummingbird hostage for three days and attempted to use them as a bargaining chip during a stand-off between herself and six LEOs in Beaver Hollow. Thorn served a lengthy Sisika sentence. Upon her release, she and Hummingbird came to a deal - Thorn and her people would not target tribekin or come to the sites the tribes held sacred, and in return Hummingbird would not exact traditional tribal justice against her.
Employment with the Saints Crossing Department of Health and involvement with the Wolfkin
After Running Fox left the Crossing and was replaced as Chief by Mato Tahoma, Hummingbird signed up as a medic trainee to help alleviate stress on their Chief. During their traineeship they served 140 days in Sisika for assault with a deadly weapon. After promising Senior Doctor Lily Nelson that they would not break the law again, they were granted their certification and used their experience as medicine man for the Wapiti tribe to become a successful and well-respected medic.
In mid-1901 their assistance and advice was requested by Senior Deputy Sam Winters, and later by Game Warden Mitch Sandh, to advise on a situation in Tall Trees. A group of five people Sandh had dubbed the "Wolfkin" had moved in near Manzanita Post from the deep forest beyond the borders of Saints Crossing. Cloud, Ash, Dusk, Fang and Moon had been children when their village was overrun and their families killed, and after this the surviving children created a new culture modeled on a wolf pack. Over the years, due to ill health, injury and a ritual called the "Blood Moon" in which a being called Father Wolf chose the strongest child to fight the weakest, the group had whittled down from at least twenty members to only five. Hummingbird's assistance was sought as they were a trusted government employee, medically-trained and a member of an indigenous tribal culture, which the Sheriffs Department and Ranger Corps believed could help Hummingbird become a bridge between the two worlds. Hummingbird formed a quick friendship with Fang and was trusted to provide medical treatment for Dusk, whose broken arm was improperly healing. Fang was afraid that Ash, the strongest of the pack, would choose the youngest and most timid member, Moon, as his opponent in the Blood Moon ritual which would surely mean her death.
As the relationships the Wolfkin had created with the Sheriffs Department and the Ranger Corps began to erode, Hummingbird became one of their only allies and advocates. However, Ash, who was hyper-aggressive, abusive and hateful of outsiders, attempted to kill Hummingbird just a week after he murdered Ranger Art Thorne. Fang used this opportunity to kill Ash, who was already weakened by injury and illness, in retribution for the abuse he inflicted on her and the other members of the pack. The killing was reported to Law and Fang became wanted for first-degree murder.
Although Hummingbird had attempted to prevent it, the Blood Moon ritual proceeded days after Ash's death. As the one who had killed him, Fang was chosen as the strongest member of the pack. As had been previously agreed, Fang chose the pack's Alpha, Cloud, to be her opponent. However, Cloud turned on Father Wolf and slayed him, though Father Wolf mortally wounded him in the process. Fang, as requested, gave Cloud a merciful death. This brought Fang a second charge of first-degree murder.
Some time later, in an attempt to get her sisters to safety, Dusk disguised herself as Fang and handed herself in to Law at the Sheriffs Office in Strawberry. Hummingbird was on shift and about to clock off when they saw her surrounded by deputies. She was pacing and becoming agitated and, knowing that she was about to turn violent, Hummingbird called out, "Fang! Don't do this!" They escorted Dusk into the medical office where, upon examination, it was determined that her injured arm had to be amputated due to her attempts to remove the metal plate Hummingbird had originally implanted. Hummingbird and Dusk attempted to keep up the ruse until they were called out by Deputy Claymore. Dusk was taken to a cell in Blackwater and Hummingbird was arrested on charges of aiding and abetting a major criminal and obstruction of justice. This led to them being put on notice, and they were fired from the department two weeks later.
Hummingbird met Ranger Isla Harriet White early on in their medic traineeship. The two began to bond when Isla and Hummingbird would accompany each other on patrols, and when Isla saved their life after Hummingbird was attacked by the Beechers Hope cougar. Their friendship began to turn romantic in mid-July after the murder of their mutual friend Cass Darling. During a long conversation near Cass's grave, Hummingbird promised Isla that they wouldn't hurt Thorn. They spent more time together when Isla was suspended for her involvement with the Wolfkin, in which she was caught lying to Law, and on a trip to Lake Don Julio they shared their first kiss. They returned to that spot two weeks later where they told each other for the first time that they loved each other.
While on the run from Mason James and Austin Grant Isla and Hummingbird began talking about marriage, and decided together that they saw no point in waiting when neither wanted to. From that point they considered themselves married. A wedding ceremony was later held on September 17, 1901.
In July 1901 Mato was removed as Chief of Wapiti. This led to a power vacuum as no remaining member of Wapiti was deemed ready to assume the role at the time. After being nominated for the role by three separate Chiefs - Nokosi of To'Pa Ota, Running Fox of Wapiti and Mato of Wapiti - and with Isla's support they began to make plans to take up the mantle with a plan to be tutored by Nokosi to make up for their shortcomings. It was later agreed in September 1901 that Hummingbird and Itukala Cook would both be Chiefs of Wapiti. Itukala stepped down in April 1902.
Mason James and Austin Grant
In August 1901, Rangers began to be targeted by serial torturer Mason James. His modus operandi was to kidnap his victim, take them to an isolated location, torture them and force them to hold up a lantern which he would shoot, burning his victim alive. The first to be attacked was Game Warden Nathan Thompson, who gave Mason Isla's telegram number under duress. Mason contacted Isla a short while later to set up a meeting, and after she informed Law, Sheriff Rabbit Windward used this opportunity to set up a sting, which failed. Following this, Hummingbird and Isla went on the run together for a week as they knew Isla was next on the list.
Isla and Hummingbird were finally caught and captured at Wapiti Village by Mason and another man, Austin Grant, who shot Isla's beloved Breton mare Monday. They were taken to Window Rock where they were robbed and Isla was forced to cut off Hummingbird's left ring finger. They were both shot and stabbed several times. Isla was then forced to hold up the lantern, which Mason shot. She suffered third-degree burns all over the right side of her body and has no feeling in her right hand following this. During their torture Mason told them the story of his mother, who had been murdered by corrupt government officials, and in whose memory he decided to become what he had feared as a child.
Once Mason and Grant were finished they left Isla one repeater with a full clip and no additional ammunition. She managed to catch a wild horse and rode to Strawberry with Hummingbird, where both finally collapsed outside of the medical office. After ordering the Rangers to get Isla into the stream to treat her burns Hummingbird was treated for gunshot wounds to their thigh and their liver, and had a throwing knife removed from their foot. After they were treated they were taken to the water's edge to be with Isla, where they vowed for the first time that they would kill Mason James.
Grant began to exclusively target the SCSD following that night, but Mason opportunistically tortured both Rangers and LEOs. Mason and Grant remained on good terms with each other, and when Grant was executed following the murder of Sheriff Briar, Mason was furious. His attacks ramped up and seemed to crescendo with an encounter with Sheriff Windward in Ambarino, where both of them were severely wounded. Windward was taken to Strawberry for treatment and Mason was left for dead, but he managed to survive.
During the intervening period Hummingbird began hatching a plan to capture and kill Mason, knowing that his mother was the key to their plot. The day after friend and ex-Ranger Joey Crawford was attacked Hummingbird questioned him on Mason's motives, to which he revealed that Mason had planned to hold him hostage in exchange for a letter his mother had written for him. Hummingbird took this opportunity to offer themself as a hostage in a negotiation for this letter, knowing that it was likelier to work, but Mason responded with threats to burn down Wapiti village if they didn't get this letter back. They changed tactics, attempting to negotiate with Law on their own behalf to get the letter. The Sheriffs refused, but also revealed that the letter was not in their possession. Out of options, Hummingbird lied to Mason and said they had the letter for him and would meet with him to exchange it.
On December 4th, 1901, Mason agreed to the meeting. They met at a burned-out house outside of Rhodes. After his confrontation with Rabbit days before he was severely injured, covered in frostbite and riddled with infection, and it was clear that he would not survive what he sustained on that mountain. Hummingbird revealed that they had lied but promised him a "mercy he did not deserve" - a quick death. After sending a telegram to Law, they took him to the cliff above the Strawberry Sheriffs Office where they, in their capacity as Chief of Wapiti, pronounced his execution. They shot him three times in the chest with a repeating shotgun and let him fall onto the gallows below. He was pronounced dead about ten minutes later in the medical office, where the Rangers had taken him.
Hummingbird immediately turned themself in for the first-degree murder of Mason James. Due to the credible threats he had made against Wapiti village, the torture he had inflicted on Hummingbird and Isla and their peaceful and immediate surrender, they were charged with only first-degree murder and sentenced to 375 days in Sisika. While inside the prison they met Profit Quil, uncle of notorious outlaw Zip Quil, and with whom Hummingbird had a long conversation about the nature of redemption and the consequences of taking a life - a conversation that was the beginning of their healing journey as this chapter of their life came to a blood-soaked conclusion.
Hummingbird is known for their wisdom and empathy, and for being open-minded and forward-thinking. Their innocence and optimism has been tarnished in their time in the Crossing, and has been replaced with cynicism and a little paranoia. They often put others, particularly other tribekin, over themself. Hummingbird believes in the importance of having a wide network of acquaintances from all corners of the Crossing and maintains some loose criminal ties as well as friends in government employment. They highly value honesty, integrity and kindness, but they are not above breaking the law to get what they need. A common criticism of them is their impulsiveness.
Hummingbird stands at six feet tall with medium-tone skin and a slender figure. They have almond-shaped green eyes, freckles and black greying hair that they wear in a long braid, in which they wear their three sacred eagle feathers. They tend to favor garments made in the traditional styles of Wapiti craftsmen. While they own bison and wolf headdresses, which they wear on occasion, they will almost always wear a floppy leather hat with a large turkey feather in the band. As a trained acrobat and dancer they are extremely flexible and graceful in movement.
While mostly in good physical health, Hummingbird does live with some medical conditions. They have a compromised immune system and tend to suffer far stronger symptoms than others around them with the same illness - a flu that spread through Wapiti made many tribe members fall ill, but Hummingbird nearly died. Following their career as an acrobat they have several joint problems, including a bad back and a right shoulder that frequently dislocates. A bullet lodged in their liver inflicted damage severe enough that they cannot drink alcohol, which could possibly lead to adverse reactions in routine medicine, but the full effects are not yet known.
They suffered from grand mal seizures as a child but seemed to grow out of it as they aged, but following a blow to the head inflicted by Austin Grant these seizures began again with alarming frequency. A small tumor was discovered on the nerve connecting their ear to their brain, and when this was removed the seizures came under control though not stopped entirely. The removal caused some hearing loss in that ear which is slowly recovering. They have also had a complete double mastectomy.
Since being tortured by Thorn Hummingbird has had frequent nightmares and episodes of sleep paralysis. Their seizures are strongly linked to emotional distress.
Hummingbird maintains a strict diet and exercise regimen as well as taking ginkgo and cannabis oil as anticonvulsants, and daily rosehip tea to improve their immunity. While no longer in their prime, they have remained very physically flexible. Their traditional practice incorporates spiritual healing just as much as physical treatments, and they spend a lot of time in meditation and prayer as well as learning from their Elders.
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