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I awoke, reaching for his heat, the taste of our blended blood tempting my tongue, my nose filled with the scent that belonged only to our Matehunt, and none other’s….

But he was gone, as though some predator had slipped in and taken him from me while I slept. My breath came in a sharp pant, and a cry.

“Kaivelt!”

~Do not fret, my daughter. He is not gone. Look within yourself, and outward, to his stars. He is within you, and there, in Everdeep.~

My heart slammed the rhythm of my fears…mine, and his. Yes – I touched his essence – not his body, which mine ached for – but he was still here, as though his scent, flavor, and form were hidden by the f distant fog after a heavy rain…

I didn’t want to leave the furs we’d shared, in our dreaming, wanted nothing other to return to his burning embrace, the sharing deeper than any I had ever felt, even in the Huntthread, which had been always a part of me. But Aletris – Aletris chose me to give her voice to! – Aletris spoke truth I could feel within my soul, and the shadows of Kaivelt that I still clung to. I must see the stars of Everdeep, see the skies that held him, somewhere within them.

As though they knew our yearnings, the vines withered, just where there was a gap in my sheltering brush, and now I could see Everdeep from where I lay.

“How?” It was as much Kaivelt’s question as my own , asked often. In this, too, we were kindred.

~Sima garo provides, daughter. I hold you, I treasure you, and will help as I am able.~

There was peace in the thought, and I clung to it, even though Kaivelt, who knew the ways of reason, and did not yet know Aletris, still doubted. I touched the place within me where he had been so alive. It felt empty and tender, like the socket of the tooth I lost last week. “I feel his absence most keenly.”

~ Touch what is within you, daughter, and look to Everdeep…if you wish to be with him, you must touch within, and look without, and be open to what sima garo offers, as offered.~

“I don’t know what that means!” My voice was so sharp that I jumped, ready to defend myself, I wanted to force answers, be with him, this moment –

~ Come within with me, my own. ~ Great but controlled interest in my illogical, emotional response, and that I had not known it would come, or tried to halt it, and felt no shame in expressing it.

He wanted to learn the depths of this difference between us, as I lunged toward the place within where he was; and some part of him caught me, delight in his mind-scent, He held me, our hearts pounding together with the excitement of wrapping around and through one another.

“Where did you go?” No need to tell him how bereft I had been; it echoed through him, too,a known thing.

~Not I. It is you who was gone, when I awoke from….?~

The thought tangled, as our memories blended, and, at once, it didn’t matter, because we were together, now, and all was a jumbling of wanting, wondering. ~What have we wrought? And what have we done?~ No answers but those within us, it seemed. Aletris; his elder – both gone from us, as though they had not been, and we had no need of them, now…

Together, half-sensing, half- dumbed to each other, we began our stumbling Hunt, exploring this new, wondrous place….these places within ourselves that we had never known., because they were of us both…

We were not as we had been, where we had been, separate, distinct.

No.

Dreaming, touching, Matehunt, Souldance – all had woven this new Huntland . Soaring black cliffs, softened by the arytana climbing and winding up sheer broken faces.,,the scent of kalaana and ferndeer blending with biting spiced steam…dartwings and silverbirds singing in harmony, red sun and doubled moons, lifepines and meat-eating groundvines…le-matya and Tacivaarii hunters….

It made no sense, and, as we merged, what had been Kaivelt, recoiled, unable to find reason in it, wanting to control, and to run, and to explore, and to hide….from this madness, and from me and what wove us into one. We were made wary and unnerved by the lack of order…but yet, not…

Yes, there was knowing that we did not have, and there was indeed danger in not knowing. But much of nature was such a seeming chaos of growth and decay, riotous – always, though, or so Huntmother Trinna often said, there was order and sense to them….one needed only to be open to them as to sima garo, and, when it was intended, understanding would come.

Such knowing must be lived. We knew that, to our core, and so we watched, and waited….but there was still the fear, the deep need to understand and find order…we were as the prey poised to flee, to return to the safe and lonely places of self….

We resisted, and then knew what to do, where to fix our attentions.

~Let us instead explore the stars…~

And so we let the riot of our blending go on, and gave ourselves to space, to Everdeep, rich and alive with known mysteries…We were filled by both skies, at once…not the same, but each held patterns, and promise. A part of us knew how to map such things, and that there were ways to find a path, to move between the points of light to the circling worlds, in vessels that protected life as surely as a lair or a bower. These we could learn, and understand. Perhaps, through these, we could find each other, and touch, truly.

~ These, we share.~

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