Cetan and Tama gathered leaves into the sunset, only stopping from making their runs back and forth to the fire in order to eat what fish the women had cooked. There were no meal times. They ate when they had food until they were full and then saved what they could to eat again as soon as they grew hungry. The only rule was that they only ate when they were all together. The boy noted, as he’d watched the women work on preparing food over the past few days, that they were very quick and accurate with their hands, without seeming to pay any attention of training. Convincing the women to help with the making of the amount of rope that would be called for turned out to be the least of their problems. The women went at the braiding enthusiastically to the point that the warrior and the boy had to work full time simply to supply them with the stalks and leaves necessary for the construction.

When they were ready, with a reasonable approximation of how much of the braided line would be needed, Cetan and the boy hauled coil after coil down to the lower river bed closer to the rocks dotting along the river just above the waterfalls.

Laying the braided vines and leaves across the water proved to be more complex and difficult than either of them had considered. Although the ‘rope’ they had fashioned floated, there was still enough resistance to the moving water of the river that over the complete span of the river’s width considerable force was required to keep the whole mass from floating downstream and then over the waterfalls. Since the warrior had taken an oath never to cross the river using the rocks along the precarious edge of the waterfalls, the boy had to drag the rope over, segment by segment, and then tie the segments together and then hike upstream to the grotto where the special obsidian lay hidden. Only then could he return across the river and, with both of them pulling and tugging, take up the slack and stretch the rope to the point where it led in one angled direction. If the rope had too much slack then it was impossible to figure out just how far the raft would move downriver before it was pulled in on Cetan’s side. If the rope stretched too much or the angle of calculation was wrong, then the raft would plunge over the falls and they would be back to square one.