A Huntress is Born, Lives, and Stalks Through My Fantasies…

Monthly Archives: November 2012

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Jeniah had gone into the trees, and remained there, as they skirted the edges of the Poisoned Lands. She was lost in her awarenesses, Aletris and Kaivelt winding together, becoming more and more a part of her being, with first one and then the other dominating.

Vaara wondered if this was a great danger, or a blessing, but she could not know enough of the variables to begin to formulate a useful equation.

Since it was quite likely that she would be seriously mind-injured if Vaara or anyone else interfered before she was done, there was little point in attempting to take her attention.

~Sima garo provides.~

It was a sleepy, half-dreaming thought, and she wasn’t sure Kaivelt meant to send it to her, or even if he knew he had thought it. But there was a certain peace in it, and Vaara knew he would not feel so if there were danger to Jeniah in this sharing with Aletris.

So she settled into wary ease…Jeniah’s presence in her mind was at once highly attuned to her surroundings, and vague with the depth of the new sharing, and the fire-traced edges of Kaivelt’s dreamings.

She could feel that things were being shared, between her sister and the planet herself- for Aletris was indeed self-aware, and, moreover, utterly certain of her ever-shifting places, in Everdeep and in the lives of her diversity of children. But she could not spare all the focus that was needed to be fully aware of these strange Otherworlders, and she couldn’t know them as she did her own children, born of her earth and sustained by her.

As she skirted the edges of the Poisoned Lands, where the snow was still as it had always been, Vaara kept her focus outward, on the details Jeniah might easily miss, during her joining.

They had had no plan – there were too many Tribed, and too maddened by the poison they might have been ingesting for many sunrounds. They could not contain them all, not in the time they had to them.

 

inspiration for Vaara’s journey – photo property of NPS and are in the public domain.

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Jeniah could feel Shinjao and, more dimly, Rachyl. Kaivelt became less distinct; even though she had known that he would, that he must, to commune with the two healers, it left her feeling bereft, somewhat cast aside.

“You cast him away yourself, more than once, sister. There is no reason in now mourning such a small parting.”

“No, it doesn’t make sense.” She shrugged. “But then, neither does anything about what lies between he and I. Why should this be any different?”

~ Sima garo provides, my own. Even when you do not understand. So you have said to me, when I doubted.~

It was a distracted musing, but she took odd comfort in it, and in Vaara’s acceptance of their link.

She let his thought, his mind-voice, his presence, become as a glowing ember within her, to warm her as they Ran, and as he gave Rachyl what he could give her to help those who might be wounded by what his mind referred to as ‘energy weapons’.

To occupy herself, she allowed herself to sink into awareness of the Huntthread, and the deeper, richer, and far more elusive rhythm of Aletris herself. She needed to shift a great deal of her attention to perceive that low thrum – it was a deeper part of her, even older sound than bloodpulse or breath.

Generally, she lived her life, part of that deep rhythm without being truly present in it. Now, though, Kaivelt’s presence suffused her with his calm certainty, she began to feel Aletris, too, rising up through her; she began to vibrate to the pulse of her world.

This had happened before, but never so naturally, or so fully. She was herself,running along the ground, and she was also the earth, embracing the fleet feet of the Huntresses as they Ran, the tiny stumbles of the newly born, the cradle of Watersdeep and rivers and streams, and the sustenance of roots…

And there were the Wounds – the wounds her Trueborn children had inflicted- painful, but a part of the way of things – her children had need for these contests, sometimes, and there were ways of healing…

But the rending…the tearing…the raping! These things – unnatural, wrong! – these creatures from not-here, taking without offering, without balance, without leave. And the taking was infecting the world, and Aletris could not rid herself of them.

Her world needed her. Aletris needed help; Aletris was far from helpless. She would give her energy, her power, her wealth of resources, to aid in the ridding.

She ran, and leapt into trees where they still stood, here before they became barren skeletons that could no longer even harbor life, and flowed from branch to branch, knowing that, joined with her world, she could not fall…

And Kaivelt was a glowing warmth, within, blending with her, joining with Aletris, as he helped Rachyl learn what she would need to learn, becoming somehow a part of this world too, in his willing service to her and this planet she called home…

]

~Sima garo provides, my own. For you, and perhaps also for such as I – ~

She felt his fatigue. He was recovering himself, but it was arduous and slow -like a tenday hunt, thriceten over. And, beyond what they shared, he had had contact with no one. In truth, he had not yet left the Severed Ones. He knew he would go to his old friends as they ventured into Everdeep to search for the entity that still sought him, still sought its purpose.

But he had been so long away, so long from allowing and accepting emotions as part of him, inextricable. This renewed joining, begun involuntarily, almost reflexively, had shaken him, and left him raw.

Her needs, at the same time, strengthened him and made him vulnerable. He was coming to life – but with a woman he could not see, could not touch, could not claim in the way all he was yearned for.

It did not matter to her that she was the stronger in the arts of the mind. But, to him, there was an unspoken threat in it, and a fear, because she had Severed him so easily. So long as he had been unaware of her power, or thought that she was only fantasy it troubled him little, this contact between them.

But now –

~You could Sever me in a heartbeat – or kill me.~

His concern brought a wave of dark amusement. ~ As I have always been, fierce one. And as I will be able to, as easily, if we are truly together.~

He was fatigued from the sharing with Rachyl, which had required much of him. Soon, now, sleep would take him – but he resisted, needing to understand this new threat that she posed. ~It has always been so, my own?~

~Always. I cannot be other than what I am. ~

~No. As indeed I cannot…~ He probed her now, clumsily because he was so near sleep, searching for some comprehension. ~I have wounded thee, as badly, and still can and may?~

~You had no need to ask, Kaivelt. You know already the truth of it. We can and will hurt one another, as all who give of themselves, and open themselves, can and do. ~ She stopped herself so that she would not say the rest, but he stroked the place where she held the thought – a supplication, and an offer.

Jeniah returned his caress. ~ I give you my trust, Kaivelt, my fierce one – even in the face of what you have done, and what you may yet do. I trust that you do as you do with the best intent you are capable of, at all times, and that you will trust in me to the extent that you are willing and capable of trusting. I ask nothing of you that you will not freely offer – now and ever. You are your own, fierce one, and not mine to lead or command.~

~You offer so much…and I have nothing of value to offer you in return – not even myself. ~ After so much damage, so much change, so much exertion, he was feeling particularly bereft of self and anchor, in this moment. He wanted to hold to her, but could not as yet trust, and knew he might yet be swayed in another direction, and away from her.

Jeniah smiled. ~You are more asleep than awake, now, but hold these words in your dreaming, if you will. ~

~I will, my Huntress, my own.~ She knew well enough to smile at his flow of feeling – he held himself always wary of any such displays when well awake – but,as sleep neared, he softened as though he were a milk-drunk babe –

A half-dream, vivid, sensual – he lay with his skin bare against his mother, smelling her, gulping at her warm sweet milk. He watched the play of her face, the way her gaze made him feel as warm and safe as her milk, even though she was cooler than him.

And, somehow, he was also with her, holding her, surrounded by arytana and starlight, and all was feeling as he surrendered to the visions and sensations.

Jeniah could not join him, because Aletris was singing in her soul, too, and she was not now free to go where his dreaming led. Instead, she slipped her thought into his paired dreams and he sank deeply into them. ~You are enough, as you are. What you have to offer, freely, is enough. And those are all I have to offer you.~

He was the babe, his suckling slowing now, sleep coming for him, the milk escaping to drip into his ear, tickling, and he laughed a surprised infant laugh, still staring into the vivid blue of his mother’s eyes, as she laughed along with him…

Inspiration for Jeniah in Lynxform. Public domain image. Click for source.


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The children scampered ahead to the root cellar, along the path they had cleared with their many trips. Cerdin and Oskar had been helping Inura and Andas to learn to make shelters and fires; now, throughout the daylight hours,adults who wanted anything from the cellars had only to ask one of the children of the village; any child able to walk and understand was willing to fetch it.

Today, though, she had been invited to come see their handiwork, and would be permitted within. It was a rare honor.

Winter’s Knell was deep, nearing its midpoint, and the Tribed feasting that accompanied it. The air bit at her; she thought briefly of Kaitiiraan’s Keep, and how, when she lived there, she had seldom had reason or desire to set slippered foot outside.

Here, she wore sturdy boots such as the merchant women wore, and furs given to her as a gift by her sisters. But she did not like to have her face covered, and so the air stabbed into her throat and nose.

As soon as she gained the snug outer shelter, Inura gestured her to a fur draped rock.

“Will you sit for a halfglass, Mother, and take some tea?” She was young, but becoming a fine cook already – as Rachyl had been told Lyrin her mother had been.

“I’ll sit, and drink, and will welcome the warming.”

The other children gathered around her, and regaled her with stories and chatter while she sipped the excellent tea – it even had restorative qualities such as arytana, wakeroot, and amasberry. Rachyl had noted the bank of sensates, and now better understood why Andas had been so interested in the plants lately, and had asked for some seeds. “This is a very comfortable place,” she said. “It’s little wonder that you all so love to be here.”

When she had finished the tea, Oskar took the cup to a sand basin in the corner, washed it, and hung it back on the hook against the wall, where there were several other cups, all hung at child’s height. “Are you ready, Rachyl?”

Of all of them, Cerdin was the most reserved around her; as oldest, he’d had the most time with his own Mother, and she knew that she would never replace the person who had borne and nursed him.

“When you are.”

A babbling of young voices and all but Cerdin clutched at various parts of her, surrounding her like a cloud. She smiled, drawing as much joy from them as they drew comfort from her.

Cerdin lit a small torch for himself, and then led them, somewhat raucously, down into cellar – a hollowed space under a knot of Osiiraan’s massive roots. There was barely room for them all – but the walls were lined with shelves and hooks, and upon them were clay jars, woven baskets and bags, and large gourds and jugs. Mother would have frowned at the materials the storage containers were made of – she preferred fine ceramics and stoneware – but even she would have been able to find no fault in the cleanliness and order of the place.

Cerdin smiled at her exclamation of appreciation, and made a small Tacivaarii bow. Inura took the lead in explaining what the cellar contained – they had done more gathering than the adults had been aware of, and their additions showed a fine understanding of the needs of the village. They all beamed when she selected a few things to have brought to the village-tree, and were busily gathering them up when there was a commotion outside.

“Healer Rachyl! Are you yet within?”

“I am here, ”she answered, embracing the children, who looked up at her with wide eyes – no one had ever breeched this private space before, and they had all suffered the effects of chaos.

“It smells like fear, and maybe fury.” Cerdin scrubbed at his nose as though there was a putrid smell in it, and now he found a fold of her skirts, and half-lost himself within it.

“Shinjao has need of you, at once.”

A jolt of fear went through her. “Is it Salka?”

“No, Healer. The babe is well and bright and thriving. She has had a sending from the Trueborn, and wishes you to come as soon as you are able, to discuss it. There will be need of your services, in a pair of tendays, at most.”

“I will not leave the children.”

“No one would ask that of you, Healer. Only please come quickly.”

There was no need to tell the children that this visit was over. They grasped their prizes and led her back out of the small cellar, and sent her on ahead while they awaited the next need of their services…except for Oskar, who ran ahead and was on his way back before she reached the greatroom. He clutched the patch blanket, and his eyes were wide and serious in his pale face.

“May you find peace, small one,” she said, as he flung himself into her arms and buried his face in folds of the blanket and her shoulder. He murmured something she did not understand, and swarmed down again, and was gone three heartbeats later.

Shinjao, with Salka asleep in her soft hide sling, was waiting for her, to take her wraps and lead her to her withdrawing chamber where Rachyl had never yet been.

There were two of the comfortable wide couches the Tacivaarii preferred, the ones designed as much for their public and unreserved Matehunting, which could happen at any time and with no warning, as they were for sitting upon. There was a small hearth,  acrackle with a bright hot blaze, and a deeply padded chair that had the look of Mother’s Keep about it, and Shinjao gestured to it as she hung Rachyl’s furs on a rack where they could be warmed.

“Will you rest by the fire and talk with me, Rachyl? I have need of a plan, and more healing perhaps than even if all of Osiiraan and the Pridekeep were healers, and free to help.”

“Tell me”, Rachyl said, and noticed that Shinjao kept sensates near her tea preparation table, and that there was another small grouping in a wide wooden bowl set at the base of the table beside her. These were different than the varieties she favored; she decided to speak with Shinjao about them.

Salka whimpered softly, and stretched her tiny body,and then there was the sound of her greedy suckling, and Rachyl felt her womb and breasts clench and ache with wanting a babe of her own. Tears came to her eyes, unbidden, as she listened.

Shinjao half-turned from her herb stores and sensates, and said, softly, “Will you weave some warm clothes for Salka? She will want time on the ground, soon, I think, but she will take a chill while the earth is still cold.”

“I would be delighted,” she breathed, as she tried to make out the scents drifting to her along with stray wisps of smoke from the fire. Shinjao said, “There is a basket near your chair, on a shelf beneath the table. If you would prefer to weave while we speak, perhaps it could provide service to us both.” Rachyl was surprised that she had not yet noticed the basket, but now found in it an answer to the nervous need to be about something that almost had her going to where Shinjao was, even knowing how closely Tacivaarii held their personal spaces.

Public domain image that inspires thoughts of Rachyl weaving. Click for source.

She lifted the basket to her lap, and set to exploring the colors and textures while Shinjao finished with her adding of pinches and sprigs, then set the carved earthernware teakettle upon its swinging hook and turned it to heat over the embers.

She came to sit cross legged on one of the low couches, and met Rachyl’s eyes. “A mixed group of Canivaarii and Tacivaarii – perhaps as many as a thriceten, and likely poisoned since before the time of the Wounding – are moving into the Poisoned Lands, with the intent to kill those they find there.”

“Do they not know that the Trueborn are scouting?”

“They know. They feel that it has been too long – and they yet blame your sisters for the Woundingg – “

“And imitur poisoning does not allow them to trust.”


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They were together, now, but not Solemated. It was a step they would not take, yet, because neither was certain of where their healing lay.

~Sima garo provides.~

It was a thing that they had thought, many times. It seemed there was no rush, as they learned to fully rejoin their lives, as individuals. If it was meant, if there could be enough healing, sima garo would indeed provide the means of it.

Patience was not an easy thing for her, but she was preoccupied with the Otherworlders, and so could wait.

Patience was natural for him, and, when he was not engaged in helping her to understand the workings of the installation, and to plan for the eventual effort to excise them, he learned himself…

Still, though, danger lurked. From the Otherworlders, and from the new closeness between them, linking them more and more closely. Eventually, a Solemating might be inevitable and involuntary, and, for both of them, Solemating would eventually require nothing less than a physical consummation.

And he was readying himself for Everdeep, at last – but to go to the being that compelled him. He no longer longed to join with it, but knew now the dangers of it, because it was destroying and threatening more destruction, as it sought a connection that would fulfill it.

This mission might kill him, and there would be pain in being amongst his friends. He knew now that they might have pain and emotional discord regarding his exit from their lives. That would not be so on his world, but his friends were not of a kind with him, and he was beginning to brace himself from the coming onslaught of their feelings.

Jeniah felt him, attempting to hide within himself, and that was a thing that she knew and understood – from her days alone at Osiraan, or as a child alone in the Huntlands.

~If you must withdraw, Kaivelt, I understand. Sima garo provides.~

~You do not see it as further rejection?~

She pondered this for a moonslength – there was no hurry, just now, and time to learn and grow. He would not wish to rush the answer; he had far more use for truth than comfort.

~It is a rejection, of sorts,Kaivelt. And there is pain in it – but is there not pain in all such partings? ~

~I have found it to be so.~  There was something that spoke of surprise, as though it was a thing he had never before considered.

~I left my children to come to the diggings, and did not bid them farewell. Perhaps we all must, at some breath, make such farewells. So, go, if you must, even if that means no farewell. ~

~But there is a thing you would ask of me.~ He could feel the place in her mind, but she knew he would not enter without her bidding. Smiling, she opened it to him, and invited him to explore what was within.

He came inside hesitantly – for all of their involuntary sharings, they were yet shy in these spaces of self. Bathed in her, he seemed to grow stronger, and wonder filled his next sending.

~You offer me so much – with no assurances -?~

~I need no assurances, fierce one. It is my wish that you be well, and at peace, within yourself and without. If I can aid you as you are aiding Aletris, that seems a thing provided by sima garo.~

~And for yourself? Is there nothing you wish, for yourself?~

~You know there is. Do you wish me to describe a prey you can see so clearly?~

This time, it was he who paused, considering. ~Yes, you know that I do.~

~You must not withdraw fully, if you wish the sharing. Also,if I am to be able to draw on your knowing to rid Aletris of those who would dare to break her skin and suck out her life, leaving poison in her wounds, I must be able to touch you.~

~I will remain, as long as I am able. Will you study the stars, Jeniah?~

~I will. It will be so, whether you think me a dream or believe me real. I will watch the stars, as now, and share them with you.~

~There is more, between us.~

This was a mind-whisper, and hesitant. He trembled, in her mind, and there was a note in it that she knew well, and that he would not recognize – it was always hardest to see the danger one wished would not appear. Likely, the stalking would be near done before he knew the threat of it. She could ease it, and that would grow the link between them, even though he would not know what she did.

~Much, much more, fierce one. Let us be only in this breath, and then the next, and the one that follows. ~

Because he might think to protest, and was likely to put thinking ahead of Matehunt, she slipped into his mind, along the silvery threads that led to his places of pleasuring.

~My own !~ A delighted gasp as a shivering response began to tingle into her mind, hesitant but with a clear knowing of the paths that would most stir her. He had not known his own wanting until she had shown it to him, but hers was as a cherished prey, and he stalked it expertly.

~I am not yet yours, fierce one – and I ever shall be my own. But, perhaps, this is a way to Hunt our healing, for us both.~

But he had no words with which to answer, and would not, now, until the long journey of Souldance had wound down to the languorous and sensual sharing of the time after Sating, after Completion.

Public domain image by Talia Felix. Click for source.

It had ever been so, with him, and would be now, that she did not command their hunting. It was a thing they pursued, together. Sometimes, the Hunt demanded that they flow as one; others, it made of them almost enemies, plunging and grappling their way to the prey –

Always, he was pulled in so fully that no words were left him, only the sounds of a pleasuring animal, virile and fully present in the coupling. This was a thing she loved greatly in him, that his calm certainty held within it this elemental male, whose sole purpose was to live these moments with her.

She held those parts of him tenderly, even when they beat and crashed upon and within one another, and offered them shelter as they Hunted…

“Jeniah!”

Not her lover’s voice. No, he was no longer in her arms, and she was straining in the throes of the passion just before Sating. She groaned in pleasure and disappointment.

“Sister, leave off your pleasurings. Or, if you cannot, I bid you to find Sating quickly.”

Urgency pierced a tiny hole in the ecstasy of promised release; her hips bucked and thrust into her hand. Her fingers were frantic and would not obey her mind; he still sent the pulses of energy into her pleasuring places, and there was no resisting…

“Go ’way!” she hissed, desperately, and then gave herself over to the melting, gasping flow of tingling Sating. Yes, yes, more, more…

He was with her, his strange male Completion the counterpoint to Sating, the other face of her release. He clung to her in that moment of utter vulnerability, owned by what he felt as he seldom was, and his gaze was fixed on hers, searching, offering, pleading – and yet, victorious as all men were in the bloodpulse of release.

Bloodpulse and breath beating together, they quivered upon and within one another. She felt no desire to release him, or to rise, or to release his mind.

~We both have duties to tend to…~ He let the thought trail off and fall into the space between them, softly.

And Vaara seized the moment, thrust herself into it. “I’ve waited as long as I can. Come, sister. You must leave off your pleasuring, and come with me. Some wildlings are coming to kill the Otherworlders, and we may already be too late to save them from coming to death themselves.”

Shock, and a moment of not being able to comprehend what it meant. Then – ~ Stay with me, fierce one -please. Do not go yet. I have need of what is in your mind.~

~You go into danger?~ He asked, but he knew, already. She felt his helplessness, and his feat that after all that they had endured.

~Often – as you do, fierce one. But, if you are with me, perhaps danger can be avoided for all. ~

~I will remain with you so long as I am able. What are the details of the threat?~

Jeniah was beginning to remember how to function with him in her mind. “Vaara, will you share with us, that we may both have what you know?”

Vaara nodded and opened her mind, and the sharing began.


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Jeniah circled the widest perimeter of the diggings, knowing that Vaara was doing the same thing, moving in the opposite direction. They would stop, when they reached the cliffs, and double back, and the link between them was open and allowing them both to experience not only their own scouting, but also one another’s.

 

 

 

She was also aware that she could feel the echoes of Kaivelt more strongly since Vaara’s arrival. There was some meaning to that, but she did not try to divine it.

 

 

 

~~Sima garo provides.~~

 

 

 

The chorus of voices rose in her mind, more often each passing sunlength. The voices were still a blend, and she still made no effort to untangle them. No, it was enough that she could feel them, that she was beginning to be able to believe in it again.

 

 

 

She did not share her impressions of the Otherworlders and their doings with Vaara. Something she had learned while still a kitten was that one’s impressions, shared too soon, would poison their own way for seeing. So they had decided, before they set out, that they would share impressions and thoughts and sensings after they returned to the small cave lair, in time for Vaara’s next dosing.

 

 

 

And so they shared what they saw, without making any conclusions about it. They each stopped when they desired, studied what they chose, and moved on when they chose.

 

 

 

She noticed that the Otherworlders were less active today than they had been at her last visit, and there were fewer of them, and those wearing bulkier clothing. That would be good to share with Vaara, later, but, for now, she merely noted it.

 

 

 

~Perhaps they are adversely affected by cold.~

 

 

 

Just that one simple thought – but it was Kaivelt’s mind, beyond question. She could not mistake him.

 

 

 

~How?~

 

 

 

But, for that, there was no answer given. He was there to share the thought, and then he was gone, again, almost as though he had never been there.

 

 

 

But she was sure it had been him. And that meant that there was still some chance that she would be able to connect with him again, and explain why she had done as she had.

 

 

 

~~You need not explain.~~

 

 

 

Again, he was there, and then not. There was nothing left of him that she could touch, or hold to, or form any type of bond with.

 

 

 

But sima garo provides, and she would be thankful with what was provided, and not seek out more than what was offered.

 

 

 

It was not in her nature to be patient, but, when the hunt demanded it, she would be patient as was needed, to take her prey.

 

 

 

And so she shifted her focus back to the diggings, to the small swarm of Otherworlders who spread out across the gaping wounds they had inflicted upon Aletris.

 

 

 

And so she was watching when the roof of one shelter, a huge building that made Osiiraan seem like a sapling by comparison to its size. She found a tree by which she could see down into the sunken vastness of the chamber.

 

 

 

What she saw was nothing that made sense to her, but there was a certain insistence within her that she look, and notice every possible detail, and then remain to watch.

 

 

 

In a sunlength, she could see Otherworlders moving about the devices kept within, but there was no door through which to move the machines. That was a mystery, too, so she would not leave off watching until the roof closed, she found understanding, or it was time to return to the lair for their dosings.

 

 

 

~Sima garo provides. You need only be open to it.~

 

 

 

So she waited, and, then, two sunlengths beyond, in the rising fog of the evening over the waters, she heard a new sound, one that she had never heard before, but that was somehow akin to thunder, Watersdeep, and the machines that dug into the planet’s skin.

 

 

 

With tremendous noise and a glow that cut through the fog as though it were not there, three of the machines lifted into the air, through the open roof, and then away, very quickly, out of sight in the skies above.

 

 

 

Jeniah could still feel the heat and scent the acrid stench of their leaving – like the digging machines, and yet not.

 

 

 

She watched again as the roof slid closed, hiding whatever was left within.

 

 

 

~ Sima garo provides.~

 

 

 

~It was I who first told you so, Kaivelt my fierce one.~

 

 

 

There was surprise, sharp and clear for a breath, and wonder, and joy. It faded quickly, and she resisted the urge to try to hold it, or him.

 

 

 

She waited until full dark, but, wherever the craft had gone, she did not see any sign that they were returning.

 

 

 

She felt the pull toward Vaara, now, and knew her twin had slipped off for a while, to allow her to be with what she was seeing and feeling. But now, Vaara was with her, urging her to return to the lair, where they could be as they were, together, and share what they had seen.

 

 

 

Vaara was already there, with a groundhen spitted at the fire, and two large fish cut into strips and drying – a welcome addition to their combined larder, because they could not Hunt in the Poisoned Lands. She had brewed tea, and made grain cereal rich in nuts and berries fattening in the bubbling water. There was also stew simmering.

 

 

 

“How long have you been here?” Jeniah asked, a little incredulously.

 

 

 

“Since dusk fell – I wished to leave off my looking before I grew so full of it that I could not hold more, or have space to think on what I have seen.”

 

 

 

“I saw something new, today, as well -”

 

“I know,” Vaara said. “But that is not what you most want to talk about, sister.”

 

 

 

Jeniah smiled. “You’re right. I’d forgotten how you don’t care for chatter. Something you share with my Chosen.”

 

 

 

“You have begun to feel him.”

 

 

 

“Yes. I dreamed of him, before you came. There was a decision he needed to make, and I dreamed it. Since then, I have felt him more and more -” Something in Vaara’s scent spoke to her, and she said, “You are not surprised by this.”

 

 

 

Vaara looked at her and said, “No, I am not. Shinjao and I supported him with the Huntthreads, so that he might resist your efforts to Sever him. When you succeeded, he sheltered the outer link with us. In some sense, he has been with me since.”

 

 

 

Jeniah was not certain, at first, what to think or say about this.

 

 

 

~ Sima garo provides, my own.~

 

 

 

And then he was flowing into her, as though he had never been gone, and Vaara was settling her in bed, bringing her food, and then ducking out of the lair, to begin a circling watch …all of which Jeniah was only vaguely aware of as they began to flow together, in a way that she had thought lost to her forever.

 

 

 

All became bliss and joining and Attunement and what lie beyond…there was no choice in the matter – the joining, after so much struggle, was involuntary…

 

 

 

She could feel that he had suffered trauma, that there had been a danger to his life, during the time that they had been apart, that he had tried to join, instead, with that entity, which had, as she had known it would, turned out to present grave danger to many worlds.

 

 

 

But now he was safe, and whole, and his being pulsed with new life and understanding as he traveled once more with his friends, roaming Everdeep…

 

 

 

And he was open, not caring, now, that she could offer no proof. But still, she knew that it could not last forever, and that she could not expect him to believe what she could not prove.

 

 

 

~Watch the stars, my own. If you, and Vaara, will watch them, and give to me what you see, it will be a path by which I might one day find you…~

 

 

 

Then there was more joining, and, in it, they shared what she had seen, and what it seemed to indicate, and, slowly, plans began to form…

 

 

 

 

 


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The dancers crept along on their bellies, stalking, each of the twelve in Lynxform. Suddenly, in their midst, without any clue in wind or wood, beings were – created. From nothingness, they came, and, before they grew solid, they were pointing arcing flashes of light –

Osiiraan went dark, and everyone filtered outside, to the empty pyres. They would burn symbolically, as the Dancers wove around and through the twelve fires, and the Tacivaarii Final Welcoming was seen to.

She watched the children, brought as close to the pyres as they chose, each given the choice, if they wanted, to set torches to the pyres.

They were all Tacivaarii children, and most could remember the time of the Wonuding. Those who couldn’t had heard the stories, and been taken to places where the scars were still raw, even eight sunrounds later.

All knew death, and had seen it come to Osiiraan.

But that made it no easier to bear the sudden and permanent ending of a life, to know that there would be no more embraces or smiles, or even words of anger, shared.

It minded her of the day that had begun the long trail to the Wounding – the day when she had watched from the woodlands as Jeniah leapt and tore out Kaittiraan’s throat, in less than a bloodpulse robbing Vaara of any chance she might ever have had of answering the questions she would have asked, of understanding why the woman who bore her would have trapped her for so long in a room with only a caretaker, hidden her existence as though she were a shame, then, at last, freed her, never to choose to see her again.

Even all these surrounds later, she did not understand how Kaitiiraan had done what she did. And that had led to the Wounding, as she sought to find succor for her feelings in attacks on Jeniah and her people, and the Untribed of which her dam had been a part.

After the Breaking, there had been no one left for her to speak to regarding her feelings – until, in desperation, she had come here, to Osiiraan, and seen what was being wrought here. Helping her sisters had given her an understanding of their peoples that she had not had, before.

Rachyl approached, with Larys, Oskar, and Cerlin. The small boys each held a torch- stick – the ends wavered as they sobbed.

“They wanted to be here with you, Varaa,” Rachyl said, softly. “They say that, next to Selind’s, yours are the sweetest embraces.”

Vaara felt the tears that had been lodged at the back of her Breathsource break free, as she settled on her haunches and opened her arms to the boys, who seemed to pause a moment, then, together, flung themselves against her, small wet faces pressing into her breasts, sticks jabbing forgotten into her back.

“I am sorry that you didn’t have a chance to say your farewells, and sorry that I can’t return her to you, as she was this dawning.” She whispered, not certain they could fully understand the words, but knowing to her soul that often, it was the tone of the voice and the touch of the soul that truly offered healing.

They sobbed against her until they were spent, their fluids bathing her skin in the heat of the mid summer night.

Then they stood, on either side of her, as their torch-sticks were lit, and they touched them with gentleness to the empty pyre that had been given to their mother, and watched as it took the flame, sending snapping bits of life into the darkened sky…

After, they settled with her onto a low, flat stone, curling against her in the way of their people. A blanket was brought, and they were covered together, as they watched the dancers weave their way through all the pyres, enacting a vision of What Lie Beyond for the Hunters – what game would they find there, what scents, what joys…

“Vaara, will you come within?” That was Shinjao, and Vaara realized that she had dozed off with the children, who were now soundly asleep.

“Will they be well tended-?”

“Rachyl will take them to be with her and Jeniah’s children, and Larys will remain with them at least this night, so they will be secure. I wish to discuss your journey, and your sister.”

Vaara looked into the embers that were all that remained of the pyres, and realized that it had been more than a nap that she had taken. The night was half gone, already. “Why did you allow me to sleep so long? I intended to leave after the pyres were well aflame, and the Dancing done.”

“The sensates spoke truly, sister. They said that you needed rest, before you could safely enter the Huntlands, and that you needed time also for grieving, and finding peace. And, even if you had not, the children had great need of you.”

Her mind was still foggy, and her emotions far closer to her surface than she would have thought they would be. “I do not believe that I have done with sleeping.”

Rachyl chuckled. “No, you haven’t. But there are things you must know, so that you may dream on them.”

“ And, this night, you must have a proper bed, and my companionship in it.” Nisyn rubbed against her in that sensuous Tacivaarii way, and, despite the sleepiness, Vaara felt her center begin to moisten and throb with wanting.

“Will you come within, Vaaraa? We will share tea, and meat, and then you may go to Matehunt and your rest.”

“But Jeniah -”

“Within. Only within, we will speak on it.” Shinjao’s voice was firm and strong, and her scent said that there were things not to be heard by most of the inhabitants of Osiiraan.

“I will come.” She roused herself, and was pulled at once into Nisyn’s welcome embrace, her skin coming newly alive at the scent and feel of her Solemate. “May it not take longer than is needed.”

When they got to the inner chamber from which Shinjao conducted the more private matters any leader must tend to, there was already stew and roast stuffed groundhen waiting. The arytana tea was of a particularly arousing variety; clearly, it was intended that she and Nisyn would thoroughly enjoy one another, and then rest until they were ready to rise.

A plate was brought to them although she, by habit, usually served herself, and a comfortable couch was given them, where they could stretch out together.

Shinjao upon a couch, with Arys, and opposite them said, “Jeniah has taken more than a full dosing of the poison.”

Vaara only stared at her for a moment. “I sense nothing of that in her,” she said, finally.

“No – and you will not, until we sleep. I placed a reflection in your mind, my lovely, to allow you to remain with the boys.”

“When?”

“Two moonslengths after the pyres were set for the Welcoming. She strayed too close to the diggings, and through a patch of strongly affected imitur.”

“Where is she now?” It had been many sunrounds since she had had any need of that question – there was a way of sensing that told each of them where the other was, even when neither of them willed it.

“She has been stopped by her Severed who drove her to Matehunt, and they found Attunement together, and more…but, when she discovered it, she Severed him once more, and now is preparing to attack the Otherworlders.”

“They will kill her!”

“No, they will not, for she prepares in her dreams alone. Her Solemate, though Severed, cares for her deeply and has given her the sense that she prepares. But he is not here in Aletris’ embrace, and so he cannot see her body to safety. She must be moved, before he loses the ability to affect her mind, else she will die.”

“How long can he hold?”

Shinjao shook her head. “Even he cannot say. He si not strong in such arts, as we measure things, and his kind have no true version of the Huntthread. He can sense only a narrow array of what we send…and yet, he is able to use Jeniah’s mind as a locus. I have released as much of the Huntthread as he can manage to him. He is quickly learning to adjust, and to ask for more.”

Vaara could smell that there was more, but that Shinjao found the saying of it a difficult thing. “Please tell me. You will not cause offense if you have my sister’s well-being in your soul – and I know that you do.”

Shinjao took a deep breath, and nodded as Arys stroked her shoulders, and Nisyn hers, both Solemates providing the support of companionship and touch.”Will you join your Huntthread – as much as he can manage,at least, to ours, so that he will have the full richness of what Alretris offers?”

Vaara didn’t need to hesitate. “I will. He may have all he needs, if it will keep our sister safe until I can arrive.”

She started to get up, but her body was suddenly far too heavy, and her limbs and sinews would not obey her. Nisyn was above her, straddling her, bringing wanting back with a pulsing surge. “We will go later, my lovely. Before, we will seek Sating together, you and I, and then sleep until we are rested. And then, we will go to the Huntleader.”

She made the beginnings of a protest, but then Nisyn kissed her, her tongue cool and sweet with pure arytana nectars, and then there was nothing but the melting sensations of Matehunt…

The dancers crept along on their bellies, stalking, each of the twelve in Lynxform. Suddenly, in their midst, without any clue in wind or wood, beings were – created. From nothingness, they came, and, before they grew solid, they were pointing arcing flashes of light –

Osiiraan went dark, and everyone filtered outside, to the empty pyres. They would burn symbolically, as the Dancers wove around and through the twelve fires, and the Tacivaarii Final Welcoming was seen to.

She watched the children, brought as close to the pyres as they chose, each given the choice, if they wanted, to set torches to the pyres.

They were all Tacivaarii children, and most could remember the time of the Wonuding. Those who couldn’t had heard the stories, and been taken to places where the scars were still raw, even eight sunrounds later.

All knew death, and had seen it come to Osiiraan.

But that made it no easier to bear the sudden and permanent ending of a life, to know that there would be no more embraces or smiles, or even words of anger, shared.

It minded her of the day that had begun the long trail to the Wounding – the day when she had watched from the woodlands as Jeniah leapt and tore out Kaittiraan’s throat, in less than a bloodpulse robbing Vaara of any chance she might ever have had of answering the questions she would have asked, of understanding why the woman who bore her would have trapped her for so long in a room with only a caretaker, hidden her existence as though she were a shame, then, at last, freed her, never to choose to see her again.

Even all these surrounds later, she did not understand how Kaitiiraan had done what she did. And that had led to the Wounding, as she sought to find succor for her feelings in attacks on Jeniah and her people, and the Untribed of which her dam had been a part.

After the Breaking, there had been no one left for her to speak to regarding her feelings – until, in desperation, she had come here, to Osiiraan, and seen what was being wrought here. Helping her sisters had given her an understanding of their peoples that she had not had, before.

Rachyl approached, with Larys, Oskar, and Cerlin. The small boys each held a torch- stick – the ends wavered as they sobbed.

“They wanted to be here with you, Varaa,” Rachyl said, softly. “They say that, next to Selind’s, yours are the sweetest embraces.”

Vaara felt the tears that had been lodged at the back of her Breathsource break free, as she settled on her haunches and opened her arms to the boys, who seemed to pause a moment, then, together, flung themselves against her, small wet faces pressing into her breasts, sticks jabbing forgotten into her back.

“I am sorry that you didn’t have a chance to say your farewells, and sorry that I can’t return her to you, as she was this dawning.” She whispered, not certain they could fully understand the words, but knowing to her soul that often, it was the tone of the voice and the touch of the soul that truly offered healing.

They sobbed against her until they were spent, their fluids bathing her skin in the heat of the mid summer night.

Then they stood, on either side of her, as their torch-sticks were lit, and they touched them with gentleness to the empty pyre that had been given to their mother, and watched as it took the flame, sending snapping bits of life into the darkened sky…

After, they settled with her onto a low, flat stone, curling against her in the way of their people. A blanket was brought, and they were covered together, as they watched the dancers weave their way through all the pyres, enacting a vision of What Lie Beyond for the Hunters – what game would they find there, what scents, what joys…

“Vaara, will you come within?” That was Shinjao, and Vaara realized that she had dozed off with the children, who were now soundly asleep.

“Will they be well tended-?”

“Rachyl will take them to be with her and Jeniah’s children, and Larys will remain with them at least this night, so they will be secure. I wish to discuss your journey, and your sister.”

Vaara looked into the embers that were all that remained of the pyres, and realized that it had been more than a nap that she had taken. The night was half gone, already. “Why did you allow me to sleep so long? I intended to leave after the pyres were well aflame, and the Dancing done.”

“The sensates spoke truly, sister. They said that you needed rest, before you could safely enter the Huntlands, and that you needed time also for grieving, and finding peace. And, even if you had not, the children had great need of you.”

Her mind was still foggy, and her emotions far closer to her surface than she would have thought they would be. “I do not believe that I have done with sleeping.”

Rachyl chuckled. “No, you haven’t. But there are things you must know, so that you may dream on them.”

“ And, this night, you must have a proper bed, and my companionship in it.” Nisyn rubbed against her in that sensuous Tacivaarii way, and, despite the sleepiness, Vaara felt her center begin to moisten and throb with wanting.

“Will you come within, Vaaraa? We will share tea, and meat, and then you may go to Matehunt and your rest.”

“But Jeniah -”

“Within. Only within, we will speak on it.” Shinjao’s voice was firm and strong, and her scent said that there were things not to be heard by most of the inhabitants of Osiiraan.

“I will come.” She roused herself, and was pulled at once into Nisyn’s welcome embrace, her skin coming newly alive at the scent and feel of her Solemate. “May it not take longer than is needed.”

When they got to the inner chamber from which Shinjao conducted the more private matters any leader must tend to, there was already stew and roast stuffed groundhen waiting. The arytana tea was of a particularly arousing variety; clearly, it was intended that she and Nisyn would thoroughly enjoy one another, and then rest until they were ready to rise.

A plate was brought to them although she, by habit, usually served herself, and a comfortable couch was given them, where they could stretch out together.

Shinjao upon a couch, with Arys, and opposite them said, “Jeniah has taken more than a full dosing of the poison.”

Vaara only stared at her for a moment. “I sense nothing of that in her,” she said, finally.

“No – and you will not, until we sleep. I placed a reflection in your mind, my lovely, to allow you to remain with the boys.”

“When?”

“Two moonslengths after the pyres were set for the Welcoming. She strayed too close to the diggings, and through a patch of strongly affected imitur.”

“Where is she now?” It had been many sunrounds since she had had any need of that question – there was a way of sensing that told each of them where the other was, even when neither of them willed it.

“She has been stopped by her Severed who drove her to Matehunt, and they found Attunement together, and more…but, when she discovered it, she Severed him once more, and now is preparing to attack the Otherworlders.”

“They will kill her!”

“No, they will not, for she prepares in her dreams alone. Her Solemate, though Severed, cares for her deeply and has given her the sense that she prepares. But he is not here in Aletris’ embrace, and so he cannot see her body to safety. She must be moved, before he loses the ability to affect her mind, else she will die.”

“How long can he hold?”

Shinjao shook her head. “Even he cannot say. He si not strong in such arts, as we measure things, and his kind have no true version of the Huntthread. He can sense only a narrow array of what we send…and yet, he is able to use Jeniah’s mind as a locus. I have released as much of the Huntthread as he can manage to him. He is quickly learning to adjust, and to ask for more.”

Vaara could smell that there was more, but that Shinjao found the saying of it a difficult thing. “Please tell me. You will not cause offense if you have my sister’s well-being in your soul – and I know that you do.”

Shinjao took a deep breath, and nodded as Arys stroked her shoulders, and Nisyn hers, both Solemates providing the support of companionship and touch.”Will you join your Huntthread – as much as he can manage,at least, to ours, so that he will have the full richness of what Alretris offers?”

Vaara didn’t need to hesitate. “I will. He may have all he needs, if it will keep our sister safe until I can arrive.”

She started to get up, but her body was suddenly far too heavy, and her limbs and sinews would not obey her. Nisyn was above her, straddling her, bringing wanting back with a pulsing surge. “We will go later, my lovely. Before, we will seek Sating together, you and I, and then sleep until we are rested. And then, we will go to the Huntleader.”

She made the beginnings of a protest, but then Nisyn kissed her, her tongue cool and sweet with pure arytana nectars, and then there was nothing but the melting sensations of Matehunt…

Public Domain image. Click for source.


Public domain image that evokes the Huntlands surrounding Osiiraan.

It had been a threeday since she had been Solemated to Arys, a threeday since she had begun to draw together the loose threads of the network of Tacivaarii minds. A threeday since she had conceived their child.

She was gravid and filled. Somehow, no matter how much she gave to the Pride, yet more was returned to her.

For the first time in her life, she felt truly that there was nothing more she could want for herself in this moment that what there was. Sima garo had provided richly for her.

She found herself smiling as she moved among her people, as she felt their growing health and vitality, smiling as she ate, smiling at the tenderness and her breasts and her frequent need to relieve herself….smiling, and singing softly to the new life growing within her.

“You are so lovely,” Arys, whispered into her ear, and then nuzzled her neck, and she quivered beneath his touch, feeling desire blooming yet again, rolling through her with a power she had never felt with Tacivaar, because the old Huntleader had never released his obsession with owning his Trueborn, to create his Truestborn, to press her into a service she had never wanted, and compelling her to stay there, with no regard for her freedom…

And he had left her, spurned, carrying a child of his blood that she would have given him in Solemating, had taken her in her furs, then left to scheme for his child’s body and her soul, although he knew that she had already given it to another.

~~There is no need to think on it now, is there, Shinjao? Cannot these musings wait for later?~~

~~They can indeed. Shall we go to my bower, our yours?~~

He looked around the area where they had been eating with several others. It was well covered in furs and cushions, and couplings here were a commonplace thing.

“Because we Solemated as we did, we have not yet had our Witnessing, Shinjao…what say you to here and now?”

She had not thought about it, but it felt as though the Pride had, and she simply unaware of it. She didn’t answer with words, but instead tugged him down into the furs, their plates scattering unheeded. Her hands, suddenly fevered, raked and clutched at his skin, which prickled as he began to add light bites to his nuzzling, and his hands were pressing against her, feeling her muscles, his hands big and warm on her, his soul dancing against her, through her…

Their breathing began to blend, to become one, one breath and one rhythm joining them together, body and mind and soul. Their bodies flowed into the dancing, striving and moving against one another, Matehunt a delightful counterpoint to the blending.

They savored each other, delighted in one another, sought their pleasures together. They soared, in leisurely loops, toward Sating, toward the highest degree of sharing….

They remained wholly open, allowing any and all of the Pride who wished to participate to feel all that they did, to be a part of their union, to judge the quality of this Solemating that would mean they coupled and conceived only with each other.

Sating rose up, swallowed them whole, and they cried out their joy, the bliss of release and joining, their bodies touching, pressing, wanting more and more…

And then they were sagging against one another, sweating and spent, and laughing with the depth of feeling.

They came back to themselves to find the Pride laughing with them, seeming more animated than they had been since Jeniah had abdicated.

“We are still alive, Arys.”

When his laughter had subsided into chuckles, he stretched luxuriantly, getting kalaana fat on his haunch. She twisted to lick it off, and then they were washing one another, which, despite the fatigue of what had gone before, led to Matehunt once more…

And, through it and around them, they were aware that, for the first time since Jeniah had left, the Pride was joining them, in singles and couples and groups throughout Osiiraan , binding the Huntthread more firmly to them all.

 



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