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.