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Disclaimer – This post contains mild sexual content, and is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

The dancing was nature – weaving, endless, lovely, all belonging and knowing. The feast of Souldance and the gorging glut of Matehunt…

The feast, the gorging…., then, sleep, and dreams….

Dreams flowing, out to the comfort of nearkin, in this place of wildness and freedom. They slept, wound together in their own weaving, and dreams of tending to us, to themselves…of sheltering, and feeding, and sustaining peace, that there would be no need or tension from without the dancing to pull us from it…

They sighed, and turned into one another, and safety and affection grew, embracing, surrounding….

Then the others…no – we did not want to go there, but the dream rolled on, carrying us, and they were there, a sharpness of scent that pooled within nostrils, whispering unknown danger, here….

Danger to the dancing and the weaving of souls and lives. Danger we must attend to…

They attracted and they repulsed, at once. Desire stabbed through them both like a thorn neither would admit caused hurt.

“You will return her to me, and to the Keep, at once.” Voice-lash, as though it were the leather cord, another weapon to wield.

“No.” Flat, back turned, but ahnstav threatened, with thoughts of sinking within, of vanquishing, of feeling the woman struggle beneath…

Grappling, the others, gone, for a time, Souldance surging, selves twisting, twining, in a dancing surely more ecstatic even than Matehunt, while clumsy too-young bodies struggled to echo, to attain what was yearned for, straining, hungry…

Welts on her hands were infected. She will stay at the Pridekeep.”

Now he turned, yellow eyes narrowed, unblinking, and the woman stepped back, shrinking and trying to not seem to. She did not know that her scent was a clutching, sour-sweat shiver.

“That is not the whole of the story, although I warrant I will never hear it all.” Fear made her reckless when she ought to be silent and learn. Her words bounded out, sharp, percussive – the lash again, and again – “The chit was back here a full twoday before expected, and clumsy as she never is. The kitchen mistress reports that she was running when she entered, and that her eyes did not seem to see the maid she knocked asunder. She has never before returned a grain afore the time she was required, and, often as not, comes dragging her slippers in the dirt of the Merchant’s Road. There is something to this that you are not saying, and it happened in your accursed Wildlands.”

“My ‘accursed Wildlands’ keep you and yours well fed. What passes within the Huntlands is no concern of yours. The child was not ill or injured, when she left them.”

“You accuse me of – !”

They faced one another, the man calm, the woman enraged. We watched, distant, unseen, as any hunter must be to learn the truth of the prey, gathering information as one must to test a hypothesis.

“I have worn the marks of your leather. I know their look, and the pain they bring. The child is Trueborn, the purest the Pride has had in several generations, and is not a resource to be wasted.”

~ Resource – ?~

“She is my Kaiess – also ‘not a resource to be wasted’.” Her scent was secrets hidden deep, dank and fetid, poisoning her…

“She is the child of my blood. She belongs to me, whatever the law. In her soul, she is mine.”

~No! We are- ours, and no others’!~

He knew it was not true; but would not accept. Only Niaan, daughter of his blood, his Trueborn, could beget him, with his blood, the Truestborn he longed for…and so he would command her, when she was of an age to bear…

Revulsion, in layers and levels. Wonder, that there should be revulsion.

Sudden shattering of unity, spiraling into a reality we could not share.

Alone….

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