Curious? Click here!

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.

Advertisements