O'olish Amaneh also known as Two Bears, is a servant of the Word, though his exact status and position are never made clear. One of his main roles appears to be bequeathing Knights of the Word with their black runed staff of magic. He serves as a guiding force to Nest Freemark in the Word/Void series, and a voice for The Lady in Armageddon's Children. He clearly possesses great power, though he rarely uses it, and does not seem to combat the demons in the world directly as do Knights of the Word.
|O'olish Amaneh, Two Bears|
|Race:||Man (Native American)|
|Loyalty:||Word, Nest Freemark|
|First appearance:||Running with the Demon|
|Birth:||1944 or 1945|
The description offered about O'olish Amaneh is as follows and similar in all the novels he appears in:
|“||He'd been a big man when Logan first met him, and he hadn't lost any of his size. His strong face and rugged features showed no signs of age, and the spiderweb of lines at the corners of his eyes and mouth had not deepened. His copper skin glistened in the firelight, smooth and unblemished where it stretched across his wide forehead and prominent checkbones. No hint of gray marred the deep black sheen of his hair, which he still wore in a single braid down his broad back. Even his clothes were familiar - the worn military fatigues and boots from some long-ago war, the bandanna tied loosely about his neck, and the battered knapsack that rested on the ground nearby.||„|
-- Armageddon's Children (2006), pp. 47
Further details are provided in Running with the Demon:
|“||He wore what appeared to be an army field jacket with the sleeves torn out, pants that were baggy and frayed, boots so scuffed they lacked any semblance of a shine, and a red bandanna tied loosely about his neck... A heavy knapsack and a bedroll were settled on the bench beside him, and he had the look of a man who had been out in the weather a lot... his heavy prominent features - dark brows, flat nose, and wide cheekbones. He moved with the grace and ease of a younger man, but the lines at the corners of his eyes and mouth suggested he was much older.||„|
-- Running with the Demon (1997), pp. 89-91
Just what role Two Bears plays is never made clear in the novels. It would appear that he is not a Knight of the Word as he never seems to function as one, nor does he carry one of the black runed staffs that all the other Knights of the Word carry. Additionally, he seems to be at the command of powerful magic without the use of the runed staff.
It would appear that he is in the service of The Lady from his comments and the duties that he carries out. First of all, he is the one that appears to deliver the runed staff to all Knights of the Word. It is revealed that he delivered them to John Ross, Angel Perez, Logan Tom, and Krilka Koos. Additionally, he makes comments like "Its purpose is known. The Lady has divined it," which implies communication and knowledge of and from The Lady as at no point in any of the novels does she appear to any that are not directly in her service. The most direct example is the story of himself told to Nest in A Knight of the Word, "A long time ago, a servant of a very powerful lady carried a talisman to a man who had agreed to become her champion" The servant was obviously himself, the man John Ross, the talisman the runed staff, and the powerful lady was The Lady.
Another service he was assigned by the lady to do was to probably kill John Ross if he did not re-embrace his cause as a Knight of the Word.
|“||She cannot allow her champion to serve another cause, one that would be harmful to her own. She cannot allow her talisman to fall into the hands of her enemies... If I were the lady in the story, in the event all else failed, I would send someone to take back the talisman from my fallen champion, someone strong enough to do so, someone who knew much about death and did not fear it, because he had embraced it many times before. Someone like me.||„|
-- A Knight of the Word (1998), pp. 159-161
So the above would imply that in addition to giving the talismans to a new Knight of the Word, Two Bears is also tasked with taking them back from fallen Knights of the Word.
Origin and HistoryEdit
O'olish Amaneh reveals much about his past and origins to Nest in the book Running with the Demon. At that time the year is 1997, and he tells Nest that he is fifty-two years of age. Which would put his birth at the last half of 1944 or the first half of 1945. He gives his place of birth as Springfield, Illinois.
He declares freely that he is Sinnissippi Indian, and the very last one left in all the world. His family was the last left. His grandparents died in his teens. His father died of drink. His mother died of grief. His brother died from a fall off of a building in New York he was helping build. His sister died of drugs and alcohol in the streets of Chicago. He relates strongly with his people as the Sinnissippi telling stories of his people and his connection to them many times throughout encounters with Nest.
He reveals that he served six years in the Vietnam War as part of a LuRP. He says that he died many times there, that he walked and slept with death. He left a young man and came back an old man. That when he came back, though he was walking around he was dead.
O'olish Amaneh became a servant to The Lady after he returned from Vietnam. "I chose my ground a long time ago when I returned from the Nam... I was made strong by the fire that tested me, and I was given purpose." Given this and the statements above it would appear that for a time after Nam Two Bears walked with purpose as a dead man, and then found purpose most likely through contact with The Lady becoming a servant of hers.
Powers and MagicEdit
Through the course of the novels it can be pieced together that Two Bears is in possession of a great many powers, which appear quite strong.
In A Knight of the Word, O'olish Amaneh suggests to Nest that both he and The Lady believe himself to be stronger than John Ross. As he says that he was sent as someone strong enough and without fear of death, to take back the talisman from John should he fall to the Void.
In Armageddon's Children numerous powers come to light. The first is that he seems to be able to create a light with a common fire that creates a protective field or shield. Logan is unable to see outside the glow of the fire to the night beyond. The Indian says that the light hides them from their enemies. While the two are away on a walk to the grave yard, the fire does not diminish in size at all even though there is no one tending the fire. So when Logan returns it is still the same.
Next when Logan looks down at the picnic table, plates that were empty moments ago where suddenly filled with steak and potatoes, while his cup was full with drink.
Thirdly Two Bears talks about when the gypsy morph disappeared from the world near the beginnings of the Great Wars. He says that he began to search for it, but could not find it. He follows this by saying that "Very few can hide from me, but this one did." Which would suggest confidence in ability to find and detect magic with great skill, as well as other abilities in locating people if he is also talking about those who are not magic as well.
Finally at Nest Freemark's grave, the name read for someone else. But with a wave of his hand over the tombstone, the writing changed to reveal that of Nest Freemark. Next he sat down near the grave. He began chant softly in a language that Logan guessed to be Sinnissippi. During the chanting tiny lights rose out of the grave and began dancing in the air. With the dance getting faster, with more intricate patterns. The lights finally reached a frenzy and flared into a bright white light. Afterwards they dropped to the ground like stones and Two Bears stopped chanting. The lights had left the bones of Nest's right hand. he also states "she has given us what we need" which implies a communication with the dead, similar in ways perhaps to his first meeting with Nest those many years ago in 1997.
Lastly is O'olish Amaneh's great age. If he tells Nest the truth in 1997 that he is fifty-two years of age. That would place his age at 147 or 148 at the time of this final meeting with Logan Tom. There is never any indication as to how he might accomplish this.
Word & Void SeriesEdit
Two Bears appears as a force of guidance and mentor to Nest Freemark in all three novels of the Word & Void series.
Running with the DemonEdit
In Running with the Demon O'olish Amaneh appears on three different occasions. They will be listed chronologically here, though they do not appear that way in the book.
John Ross waiting for several weeks after his visit with The Lady and his acceptance of service as her champion, with nothing happening. Then one day while lying on the bed at his parents home, O'olish Amaneh opened the door to his place and stood there. He was very focused in the encountered, and of very few words. He came with a long black staff, with rune marks cut into its shiny surface. He asked him his name, and then held out the staff telling him that it was his to take. He advised that his faith must be strong and that he swore to serve and that recanting was forbidden.
O'olish has to repeat for John to take the staff a few times. Once he finally did, John was wracked with pain. After it passed O'olsih let go of the staff as well leaving it for John. The Indian tells him that he is bound to the staff. That he cannot give it up until he is released from his service. That he should not ever try and put it away or cast it away from himself. After that, he was gone.
A Knight of the WordEdit
Two Bears appearance in Knight of the Word is brief. Midway through the story, Ariel guides Nest to a park to meet someone. There she finds Two Bears. Two Bears talks with Nest providing her with guidance to keep her on her path of trying to save John Ross. He does this by telling her through stories: stories of his people, and a story of The Lady, John Ross, Nest and himself, as though he is talking about other people. He speaks to her letting her know that he has been charged with killing John and recovering the talisman from him should he fall to the demons; and his prior story he tells of the need for them to use their magic and bring about a change in the world, as the darkness is approaching. After this, he disappears.
Angel Fire EastEdit
Genesis of Shannara SeriesEdit
Two Bears appears directly only in Armageddon's Children though he is mentioned in various capacities in almost all three novels.
Two Bears appears early in the novel to Logan Tom at Sinnissippi Park in what was once Hopewell, Illinois. He was waiting for Logan Tom next to a fire in the night. He called Logan to him and his fire. At first they exchange greetings, and then share a meal.
As he tells Logan things about his past, it is revealed to him that Two Bears appeared to him first several weeks after his dream of The Lady and acceptance of his charge as a Knight of the Word. Like with John Ross, Two Bears delivered a black staff carved from end to end with runes to Logan as his shield, weapon and symbol of his status. They talk by the fire after dinner about that first meeting and Logan's eagerness to take the staff. Two Bears comments on how people talk about Logan like he is a legend.
At one point Two Bears says that America will one day be beautiful again. That the world will one day be new again. Logan aches to feel the hope and conviction that he hears in Two Bears' voice. Then he asks Logan to walk with him.
Two Bears tells Logan that no matter how hard the battle is fought the demons will prevail. Humans cannot win the war against the demons and once-men. He makes it clear that what is needed is time and a rebirth to happen to the world. He then tells him of Nest Freemark and her history of magic and history with Sinnissippi Park. Followed by the creation, capture and birth of the gypsy morph. Two Bears tells Logan that it is time for the gypsy morph to reappear in the word, and that he will need to be its protector in the world. When asked what makes the morph so important, he replies that it will save humankind.
Thereafter he tells of...
|“||A fire is coming, huge, and engulfing. When it ignites, most of what is left of humanity will vanish. it will happen suddenly and quite soon...What the demons either do not appreciate or do not care about is that it will prove indiscriminate in its destructiveness. Bad and good alike will be consumed. Most of the demons will perish, too.||„|
-- Armageddon's Children (2006), pp. 55
Then letting Logan know that the morph will not stop it but will survive it and allow the world's inhabitants the means to survive it and start anew.
When questioned about how to find the gypsy morph, the Indian says that he will have the help of its mother, and takes him to the grave of Nest. There Two Bears began a soft chant in a foreign tongue. Tiny lights appeared and danced, to a bright crescendo. When done Two Bears gathered up the bones of Nest's right hand. Returning to the fire, Two Bears showed that when cast on a smooth cloth the bones formed up into a hand pointing in the direction, the direction where the gypsy morph was to be found. After he found the boy, he was to give the boy the bones and then protect him with his life.
In the final moments of their visit, Two Bears told Logan that should he persevere in this quest, he will find and face the demon that murdered his family.
At the end of his meeting with Logan Tom in Sinnissippi Park, Two Bears relates two things. One is how tired and soft he is inside, how he does not have the heart to fight anymore. The second is that he clearly tells Logan that they will not be meeting again in this life. He says that his time is almost over and he will pass with the old world into memory, that there are others who need him. With that Logan walks away, and when he turns back the words written are "The last of the Sinnissippi had vanished, disappeared as if he had never been."
Whether those others are in this life or another is not made clear. The language used when Logan looks back, suggests that Two Bears had left this world, while his own words to the Knight suggest that he might have a few more people to see before he leaves the world. So it is not clear whether Two Bears has left the world at that time, in another place of his own choosing, or in the final nuclear holocaust that happens a few months down the road.