Phew… finally. Finishing a book is always a journey!
You can find it on Amazon, smashwords, and allromanceebooks.
I realize it’s been way to long since I’ve posted, however there is a very good explanation for that. Shortly after my last entry, I was injured at work. I hurt my back pretty bad and was out of it for several months. Even though I was at home, the pain was so severe, I couldn’t write. I’m doing way better now, almost as good as new, and…
Yes, I’ve finished the next book in my shape-shifter series. It should be out next week, the manuscript is currently in the hands of some very lovely beta readers. It turned out way longer than I had initially planed at 124k words, but sometimes these things just have a life of their own!
Here is the cover:
So, the other day I was on the job and driving. I was sitting in a double turn lane. There was a guy in front of me, and a cop to my right. Well, the guy to the front and right (in front of the cop) thought it was a good idea to dump all hi fast food trash out the window. Yeah… Needless to say the cop flashed his lights and I’m sure he got a ticket.
I had a good laugh at that.
It pretty late, or early, depending on how you look at at, but we are leaving soon to go to Indiana Beach! I’m looking forward to it and plan to cozy up to nature and get some writing done! I really can’t wait to visit the wolf park!
Yay, so I’m finally all moved in! Now begins the fun! Unpacking. Oh, joy! Still, the worse it behind.
I’ve also been pulling sixty-hour work weeks, but through all the hassle, work on my next book is progressing smoothly. My boys have been helpful, giving me time to really analise everything. There is one thing that I’ve decided on, though. It seems a lot of readers don’t like flashbacks (I actually enjoy them myself), but as I’ve been writing, I’ve come to see that they will be essential. The past plays just too much of an important role in shaping the character’s life to not include them. They will be minimal, though, but hopefully it works out.
Not much else to say for now.
I pwomise to update more!
I know it’s been over two months since I posted but a lot of stuff has happened. Currently, I’m in the process of moving, so that’s hassle number one. Second, I was injured at work! Nothing serious, just bruised my back. Third… my mom was involved in an hit and run, but they caught the guy. She’s fine, but her car isn’t :( Fourth (Yeah, I know), I have two court dates this month.
So, with all that I haven’t gotten much done!
However, the third installment of my Children of Shairobi series is in the works. ^-^ I don’t have a release date for it, but I’m aiming for late summer / early fall. Looks like it might be a full fledged novel, 75k ++ which isn’t a bad thing, however I find myself having a hard time writing it due to the touchy nature that hits close to home. My boys are being patient with me, though.
The story will center around Kawiinok and Butch and the whole thing is backwards, really. It’s quite dark, actually, but I’m enjoying the journey none the less.
Also, we will meet Storm’s love interest!
That’s it for now. I promise to try and update my blog more, hopefully life will be nice :)
Deep in the heart of Redwood National Park, enshrouded by magic, live the Rune Fang, legendary shifters on the brink of extinction.
Following the demon attack that stole Cherchi’s magic and left him unable to shift, he has spiraled into depression. Even the Life-Binder cannot heal his wounded soul. The only thing keeping him alive is a simple promise to attend his clan leader’s mating ceremony.
But when the mysterious ocelots show up at the village seeking the help of the Life-Binder, Cherchi finds comfort in Luka, a curious male with extraordinary gifts. He seems the only thing that can soothe Cherchi’s tormented heart. But as the war with the Kaga escalates, Luka maybe forced to choose between family or love.
Cherchi sat up from his bed. His back was stiff and sweaty from laying so long, but he had little energy to do anything else. He felt the cool breeze of the changing season sweep through the window and into his cabin. One of his brothers must have opened it. It ran over his skin and glided through his hair. There was a time when he craved the feel of the wind stroking his locks, but that seemed like so long ago that he could hardly remember it.
He ran his hands through his short golden hair. He had cut it recently and what had once been waist long flowing ribbons of sunshine was nothing more than a jumbled haystack. He couldn’t deal with another reminder of who he’d been. He use to love racing the wind, feeling the breeze whip his hair around as he pumped his legs so hard, he’d thought he would take to the sky.
No more. That’s not me and it will never be again.
Sighing, he touched his bare feet to the floor and stretched his body. He was a little achy, but not too bad. His wounds had healed- mostly; he still had some nasty scars, but Storm had assured him they’d fade in time. Not that it mattered, anyway. Compared to the spiritual damage, a few scars couldn’t compare.
Slowly, he got up on his feet and took a moment to fight off the shakiness. His strength was ebbing, whether from lazing in bed all day or because of his injuries, he wasn’t sure. Maybe he just lacked the will power to get better. He made his way over to his mirror and blinked at himself. At least, he thought that was his reflection. It didn’t completely seem like him, yet a familiar but weary face looked back at him. He’d lost some weight and his scars seemed garish, the teeth and claw marks jumping out. He ran his hands over his mid section, wishing they weren’t there. They were just another reminder of what was taken from him.
He blew out a big breath as he looked out the opened window. Birds chirped and the happy shouts of his brothers wrung out. He’d bet if he walked outside, he’d be met with a vast blue sky where puffy white clouds drifted aimlessly and the sun lit up the meadow where his clan, the Rune Fangs made their home. He felt a deep rooted desire to go and be with his people, an ancient need to be touched and accepted, but then he’d have to deal with all the coddling and looks of pity. He should probably go outside and greet them, though before someone came looking for him. He hadn’t made an appearance for morning meal like he usually did. He just wanted to be alone in his miseries, but no one seemed to understand that.
They’re just trying to help.
He knew that, but there was nothing they could do and they needed to come to terms with that truth. Cole had sat with him often, touched him, tried to heal him with his new found power, but nothing could replace the emptiness that now resided inside him. If that male couldn’t fix him, then Cherchi doubted there was any that could.
He pushed his legs into a pair of blue jeans and made an effort to comb his hair so that he looked half way alive. I’m not fooling anybody…
A knock at his door caught his attention. He guessed it was someone coming to check up on him.
Nexhan, his clan leader peeked in, his smile warm.
“Come in.” Cherchi said weakly and looked for a shirt to cover his scars. He didn’t like people seeing them, heck he hated seeing them himself.
The male entered and gingerly closed the door behind him. He took a seat on a small chair made from woven vines and said, “How are you feeling?”
Cherchi humored him. “Not to bad. Better today.” I’ll never be okay.
The male nodded. “Hihano wants to have a cook out tonight. With all our guests here and more arriving every day, I think it’s a good idea. Are you up for it?”
No, he wasn’t. Besides, he knew the real reason for the cook out was to get him up and out of bed. He shrugged, “Sure.”
The man nodded to himself then offered Cherchi a smile. Cherchi sensed his Mi’wisa wanted to tug him close and hold him, but he hesitated. Cherchi wasn’t sure if he wanted the male to or not. A part of him did- that lost part that refused to completely die, but the rest balked at any physical contact. The memory of sickly limbs holding him down was too fresh in his mind…
“It’s a lovely day today. Everyone is asking about you.” Nexhan remarked.
“Of course they are.” Cherchi mumbled to himself then gave his clan leader and rueful smile. He quickly changed the subject, “I heard the Earth-Touched have predicted a harsh winter. Have you decided to move up the Harvest yet?”
Nexhan nodded. “Three weeks depending on the weather.”
Cherchi nodded in acceptance. “If you would allow, I’d like to contribute.”
“Of course.” The male said, enthused. Cherchi supposed Nexhan was glad that he was taking interest in something. “We will have a meeting later this week to see what needs to be done and to hand out tasks.”
Cherchi nodded. He usually helped in the field, pulled massive carts containing their year’s bounty, but in his weakened state, he’d likely be unable to fulfill his duties.
Not completely sure what else to say, Nexhan remarked, “Cole has finally decided on daisies.”
“It’s the wrong time of the year for them.” Cherchi commented and mentally bonked himself in the head for saying such a thing- it wasn’t is intention to damper the male’s jovial mood.
“Indeed.” The male said solemnly, scratching his chin. “I’m sure I’ll figure something out. Oh, and…”
Cherchi listened to his clan leader talk animatedly about his up coming mating ceremony. Cherchi was happy for him, but was unable to share in it. After they’d announced their plans for a ceremony, Cherchi had made a silent promise to attend. Now he was bound to his word and he knew that was the only reason he was still breathing. He nodded as the male went on and on…
“Well, should we expect to see you tonight?” Nexhan asked. Cherchi didn’t miss the hidden command there.
He nodded and tried to smile, but he failed. “I’ll be there.”
Nexhan stood up to his full seven foot height and hesitated for a moment. All shifters craved touch and it was often freely given and accepted, but Cherchi brushed him off simply by pretending to look for something. Seeing that, Nexhan bid him farewell then left.
Cherchi did want to feel the skin of his clan leader against his body, scent his wild hair, but he had a hard time controlling his despair. The man was likely to pick up on it instantly and unintentionally stir up memories. He’d given up on ever rejoining his clan- though it pained him to admit, he was no longer shifter. His magic had been stolen from him and now he was just an empty shell.
Am I human now? No longer a magical creature?
Cherchi sighed and shrugged into a tee shirt that Cole had given him. It had the words ‘Korn’ printed across it with a group of puppets. He felt the pull of the open world outside. Just because he wasn’t something magical anymore didn’t mean that he didn’t yearn for it. In fact, he wanted it desperately.
Sulking here all day won’t help you. If you want something you have to reach for it.
Maybe so. He bit his lip and felt his legs moving. He knew that it was futile to try, but dreams died hard.
He touched the cool knob and pulled.
A blast of mild autumn air hit him and for a moment he felt better. The scent of grasses and animals was carried on the breeze along with the varying spices of his clan. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, savoring the moment. When he was ready, he gingerly took a step outside and looked around. His clan was huddled around the big sequoia known in the old tongue as Weynka Le Gai, the First Daughter; they were laughing and enjoying some tea while the human Caroline lounged on her mate’s lap. Her son, Adam was being passed between the males, cooing with delight as they coddled the little boy.
Steeling himself, he padded over to them, reluctant to dig up impossible desires, but unable to resist the need to feel one with his family.
Everyone was quiet as they smiled at him and Cole scooted over for him to come sit on one of Weynka Le Gai’s massive roots. Cherchi felt like running back to the safety of his cabin, instead accepted the cougar’s offer. He felt Nashuk’s curious eyes on him, but Cherchi didn’t regard his friend. He knew the male blamed himself for what had happened, but Nashuk’s turmoil was unfounded.
When he sat, the conversation started up again.
“I heard more bears are coming in before the winter. Do you think they’ll bring more shiny things?” Deneb asked, his hazel eyes sparkling with interest. “Unusual gadgets, perhaps?”
Nexhan shrugged, “I wouldn’t doubt it. I’ve heard that Butch has started a clean energy campaign and now controls several human companies that specialize in the production of electronics.”
This seemed to interest many, but Cherchi didn’t pay attention to the conversion much. It quickly turned serious from light chatter to pressing concerns.
“Has anyone received any reports of unusual behavior?” Nakoda asked a hawk, who was smoking tobacco with Nashuk and his father, Broan.
The hawk shrugged, “No news yet, though I’d suspect if anything bad goes down, the nest will be the first to hear about it. We have ears every were now. Talon has dubbed it, airmail. Apt, if you ask me.”
Every nodded to that and Cherchi couldn’t help but to look away. He knew Nakoda had really wanted to ask, ‘Have there been any more Kaga attacks?’ But the male was too polite and sensitive to Cherchi’s condition to upset him with the mention of his thief’s name. Not that he could forget them, anyhow.
The conversation ceased quickly and everyone followed Nexhan’s line of sight. He narrowed his eyes as he peered across the meadow and into the thick trees of the redwood forest. Cherchi felt it too, the looming sense of being watched. It was nice to know he still possessed that instinct. Everyone stiffened when Nexhan got to his feet.
Mewah rose and corralled his mate and her cub to the safety of their cabin. The clan gathered behind Nexhan as he stalked to the edge of the village, his shoulders bunched, his fangs extruded. Everyone went into full defense mode. After the Kaga attack, things had become tense, the slightest hint of danger fully investigated.
“You feel them?” Nexhan growled softly to everyone.
Everyone muttered a yes.
Fear gripped Cherchi. What if the Kaga had returned? What if they came back to finish the job? A reassuring squeeze to his shoulder strangely relaxed him. Cherchi had learned quickly that Cole emitted a strange sense of positive energy that had to be part of his Life-Binder abilities. Perhaps that was why beasts were so attracted to him and why Caroline’s babe quieted whenever he was near.
“I could circle over head and see what I might find.” The hawk suggested.
“They do not mean harm.” Donoma, leader of the hawks said stepping into view. His silky hair blew softly in the breeze, his sharp eyes trained on the forest. He patted his hawk on the shoulder. “I can feel their despair and desperation, but there is also hope. My instinct tells me that they have come in seek of aid.”
Nexhan regarded the elder hawk for a moment then shouted to the forest. “Come out where we can see you and let us speak.”
For a long moment nothing but the trees swayed, softly blowing in the wind. But then there was the shifting of a shrub and the sound of leaf litter being stepped upon. From the bushes, six males and two females cautiously emerged. They were slight of form, maybe six feet, but well built and dressed in a mixture of modern day clothing and leather. They had dark complexions and soft features, but worry was etched upon their faces.
One male with long black hair tied back into a pony tail, held out his hands in a gesture of good intent. He was dressed in dark jeans, but his chest was covered in a carved leather tunic. He spoke with a thick accent. “Greetings, Gatekeeper. I am Cato and this is my mate, Minari. We are of the Guraunado Ocelot clan.”
Brows popped at that declaration. The Fair Ones, the essence of the Mother Goddess’s beauty were a rare sight this far north. They tended to make their homes in the dense rainforests in the south and remain elusive.
Cherchi watched Nexhan closely as he spoke, “Well met, Fair One. Forgive us, but times are troubling. We mean no offense.”
“None taken, Gatekeeper. We too have experienced the harshness of this world.” He said, then gestured to one of the others.
The man came close and opened a large satchel to Nexhan in offering. “Cocoa beans. We grow it ourselves, you’ll not find any other as fine and rich as this.”
Nexhan nodded to Nakoda who accepted the gift, thanking the ocelots for their generosity. It was customary to bring gifts when seeking the shelter of another clan.
Cato nodded then turned to a male that was rocking back and forth on his feet, his face etched with confusion and desperation, his skin clammy with a thin layer of sweat. He stepped forward hastily. “This is Donato, my daughter’s mate. We’ve come seeking the aid of the Life-Binder.”
Cherchi felt his brothers’ gasps and Nexhan regarded his mate concerned, placing his body in front of Cole protectively. How had the discovery of Cole’s unique gifts gotten around so quickly? Nexhan had declared that his abilities be kept quiet until the cougar mastered his skills.
Cole stepped forward, touching his mate in reassurance on the shoulder. “I can try. Is someone injured?”
Donato made a pained sound and Cato touched him gently, whispering words of reassurance in a language Cherchi was not familiar with. The ocelot turned towards the tree line then waved his hand in the air.
Another male cleared the trees, his arms heavy with the form of a female. She was limp in his embrace and appeared sickly, but what caught Cherchi’s attention, and that of his brothers, was her rounded belly. But as the male carried her gingerly to his clan, Cherchi’s focus turned to him. He had cropped hair that fell over his forehead haphazardly and striking amber eyes that reminded Cherchi of warm honey. He shared his clans soft features; perfect nose, sensual lips that seemed gently curved into a smile and creamy mocha skin.
Donato rushed to him, or rather to the female and ran his fingers through her tangled black locks and murmured words of love and devotion.
“This is my son, Luka and my daughter, Anurta.” Cato said. “She was bitten by a vampire not five days ago. Our shamans have been unable to help her, so under the advice of our elder Earth-Touched, she bid us seek the aid of the Ahnkharu, but when we heard whispers that a Life-Binder had been found, we altered our course.”
Whispers filtered through the crowd and Cherchi realized just how dire their situation was. A vampire bite to a full grown shifter wasn’t anything major, it might weaken them for a short while- the shifter’s superior immune system would destroy the venom… but an unborn cub? It was very likely the child wouldn’t survive. Then there was the possibility of deformity or complications. It may already be too late.
Nexhan seemed to understand what was going on and barked, “Prepare some rooms for our guests and find Storm.” Then he turned to Cole and asked, “Will you help them?”
“I’ll try.” He conceded then smiled uncertainly at the ocelots.
A great weight seemed to be lifted from the ocelots’ shoulders and the one called Luka stepped forward, Donato glued to his mate’s side. Cole blinked at the female then stuttered, “We, um… should get her in bed and comfortable…”
“If you’ll follow me, I will show you to a room.” Nakoda spoke.
Luka nodded and followed Nakoda.
Cato stepped forward to press his palms on the stricken male’s shoulders. “Be strong, my brother.”
Donato didn’t hear him and stumbled behind Luka as he tried to keep up with his mate. When he tripped, Cherchi felt himself set into motion, catching the ocelot before he could fall. He supported the man and helped him walk- the touch was a bit unpleasant, but he dealt with it. He sensed the complete hopelessness in Donato and he understood it all to well. Donato might very well loose his child tonight and possibly his mate. Not only that, but the ocelot clan faced the loss of several of their kin, for bonded mates followed each other in death.
Nakoda led them to a large cabin and as Cherchi helped Donato into it, shifters were clearing the room and preparing a bed for the female. Luka gently placed her on the mattress while Cherchi deposited her mate next to the bed. He immediately scrambled to Anurta’s side and grasped her hand. Cherchi made a move to retreat, but Luka’s arm shot out, gripping him gently on the hand. A sense of warmth hit Cherchi, like he was bathing in a sun heated stream and he felt… buoyant. Free of his bonds.
The male quickly retracted his touch as if it pained him, but whispered, “Stay.”
Luka ignored the electrical charge that fluttered on his palm. He hadn’t meant to touch the Rune Fang; he tried to touch people as little as possible. He had found that the emotions weren’t as strong if he kept his distance. He sensed the immense sadness inside the male and his instinct was to try and soothe, but he was occupied with keeping Donato calm and his sister as comfortable as possible. Besides, the Rune Fang’s emotion hadn’t unsettled him like most negative emotions did, which was so unusual, it had startled him.
Maybe, I’m just tired.
To his satisfaction, the male obeyed, scooting down next to him. Luka returned his attentions to his sister and clan brother, but was completely aware of the man next to him. He had a nice scent, like sun warmed earth, a little floral.
Luka stroked Donato’s back gently and watched as the Rune Fangs bustled about, preparing the room. His father loomed in the corner watching concerned, but determined to not get in the way. The Rune Fang leader came in with the Life-Binder, whom he’d called Cole and crouched down next to the bed.
Cole bit his lip and looked at Anurta. Gingerly, he placed a hand on hers and she stirred. Her eyes flipped open and the barest hint of a smile played on her lips. “You’re so young.”
“Thanks… I think? I’m Cole.” The cougar said.
Anurta’s smile grew. “Such a beautiful name.”
Cole smiled shyly and ran his hand up and down Anurta’s arm. Luka felt her relax slightly, the Life-Binder’s touch already healing her. He could feel Cole’s purity along with the uncertainty of his gifts, but the cougar was determined in his task. Luka watched as he moved to the bandage on her shoulder where she’d been bitten and carefully removed it. It was healing, but slowly, the teeth marks looking vicious and inflamed.
The male next to Luka quickly looked away as if it pained him.
Cole turned to his mate, “I think we should clean the wound.”
The male nodded then got to his feet just as another Rune Fang entered. He was tall, his silver hair tied back loosely in a pony tail. He had striking eyes of silver-gray that seemed back lit by an electrical force and he had a harsh face that commanded respect. His leathers creaked as he walked and he was dressed strangely for one of his ilk.
The Rune Fang leader introduced him as Storm, their shaman.
He took a moment to survey the situation then regarded his clan leader. “Can you retrieve a heating lamp and some spring water, Mi’wisa?”
Nexhan nodded and then spoke to his brothers, telling them to clear out and give their guests some room. When they left, the silver haired male sat down next to Cole and asked, “How did this happen?”
Cato spoke up from his corner, his voice grim. “It was Chupacabra. We have coexisted for many years in relative peace, but the vampire had created another. His spawn did this.” He made a disgusted face and growled low. “We dismembered the foul thing, beheaded it and removed the heart then sent the pieces back to its master.”
The Rune Fang nodded, examining the wound. He ran his hands over Anurta gently, but didn’t quite touch her skin as if he were trying her energy. He came to her swollen belly and Luka noted the way his eyes narrowed and dimmed.
The man took a hold of Cole’s hand and placed it against her hump and said, “I will tend to the bite. Your job is to see to the cub.”
Cole opened his mouth as if he wanted to protest, but another shifter entered the cabin. He had long black hair streaked with brown and a gentle expression; Luka recognized him as a shifter of the air- some sort of avian- likely a hawk. His bright orange eyes settled on Luka instantly and they narrowed in suspicion. Luka felt the man searching him.
Apparently coming to a conclusion, he said, “I’ll help you.”
Luka nodded his head, understanding him. The man was like him, possessed the same gifts that Cato had told him were unique to him only. He had recognized the male’s energy- it was so like his own, but there was one difference that he recognized- the shifter was skilled with singular emotional manipulation where as Luka had an easier time controlling an area than any one single person.
Luka glanced at his father, but the male’s gaze was fixed on Anurta. Instantly, Luka felt the strain of soothing the room lessen. The hawk was focusing his gifts on Anurta, but as Donato was linked to her, he too was affected. It was a huge relief. Luka was exhausted from days of traveling and trying to keep Donato calm. He was both physically drained from effort and spiritually pained from reliving his sister’s encounter with the vampire over and over. Not to mention her fear for her unborn cub. Though he loved his clan, he wanted nothing more than to run as far as possible in search of relief.
Cole leaned into Storm and whispered, “I don’t know what to do.”
The male sighed softly as if aggravated by Cole’s ineptness then said, “Try to draw the venom out.”
Cole blinked at him for a moment then swallowed hard and began running his palms over Anurta’s belly. The Rune Fang leader returned with a bucket of water and a heating stand.
Storm said, “Heat the water for me, Mi’wisa.” Then he stood up and set a satchel down on a desk. He rolled out a piece of rice paper and began portioning dried herbs. He spoke so that Anurta could hear him. “I’m going to brew a tea for you that will help to neutralize the venom and also ease your pain.”
“What of the cub?” Cato asked softly.
The shaman worked easily and said, “The child should absorb some of the herbs, but other than that, there is nothing else I can do, but the Life-Binder will do what he can.”
The cougar glared at Storm as if he didn’t like that title.
Luka swallowed hard and for the first time in four days, his own fear hit him. He might very well lose his sister tonight- and a clan brother. He wasn’t sure what would be worse- having the cub die, or be born with vampire venom in its blood. When a vampire bites a human, if they aren’t fed vampire blood to complete the transformation, they become zombies, mindless slaves to their host’s will. Though the cub was shifter, his immune system wouldn’t be able to fight off the infection. Silently, that was everyone’s fear.
Calming himself quickly, he whispered words of reassurance to her and Donato.
He watched as the cougar worked, skimming his palms gently over her midsection and at some point he closed his eyes in concentration.
Storm returned to the bed, a steaming wooden bowl in his palms. He knelt down and placed the bowl to her lips while Donato held her head. Luka watched as she slowly drank the contents, the room filling with a pleasant herbal scent. Cole was occupied, his expression twisted into concentration.
Storm sat back down next to him and said softly, “Can you see or feel the venom?”
“I… think so. It feels… bad. Kinda’ like a fog.. it’s there but not completely tangible.” He stuttered. “But I can’t get a grip on it because I don’t know what I’m actually looking for.”
“Assign it your own image.” The male said.
Cole looked at him for a moment then went back to concentrating on his task.
Luka could feel his sister relaxing, the tea spreading through her system. Hopefully, the cub would absorb the brew as well. A long while passed as everyone watched silently as the Life-Bender worked. The sun had begun to dip behind the tall trees to the west and the light was slowly fading. Nexhan lit a candle lightly scented with camomile.
Eventually, the cougar retracted his hands and huffed, “I can’t… reach it. I can see the little dust bunnies running amok, but I can’t touch them.”
“Dust bunnies?” Donato croaked.
“Yeah, it’s what I imagine the venom as… you know like ugly little creatures chomping away and making a mess?” Cole said, his cheeks pinkening.
Luka felt a twinge of amusement circle the room but it was quickly blown away by the grief.
“Anyway.” He said solemnly. “I can’t seem to get to them. They’re inside, you know… usually I can heal something no problem if I touch it, but…”
This was not good news. Luka felt Donato’s despair and Cato’s worry. He took a deep breath and loosened his grip on his powers, flushing the room with calmness. The hawk shifter was right with him and together their powers kept everyone stable.
“Thank you, Life-Binder.” Cato said in a resigned tone.
“I’m not giving up,” The cougar grounded out.
“No, you’re not. But, you need to rest for a while before giving it another try. I can feel your weariness.” Nexhan said to his mate.
“The tea will relax both mother and child for a while.” Storm informed then turned to Cole. “I will watch over them while you recover.”
Cole grudgingly obliged and his mate wrapped an arm around his shoulders as they left, whispering words of encouragement. The sunshine haired Rune Fang that had been next to him all the while got up and followed his clan brothers. Luka felt the urge to follow, though he wasn’t sure why. Must be the exhaustion and need to get away from the crowd.
The hawk regarded Luka, “Perhaps you too, should rest.”
Luka sighed then nodded. His father passed him a speculative look, but didn’t say anything. Luka kissed his sister on the forehead, who was asleep then patted Donato on the shoulder and took his leave. As soon as he left the cabin and stopped to stand in the meadow, he took a deep breath of fresh air, and the pressure on him lifted. He found a quiet spot and closed his eyes, letting the breeze sweep away his trouble. It seemed to flow through him, picking up the residue of hopelessness and despair and taking it away.
He liked helping people, but his abilities had a habit of dampening his mood and jumbling everything inside of him. Sometimes he wondered if he even knew what his own emotions felt like. Was this worry he was feeling for his sister really his? Or was it an after effect of Donato’s? Sometimes he didn’t know where others ended and he began- which was why he loved the dense jungles of the south Americas. So few people. Less emotional baggage to absorb… This place, Weywoni Le Gai, felt similar to his home, but it was now crowded with dozens of individual energies that had been tainted by fear.
I wish I was never gifted. He knew that was a bad thing to think, to curse the Mother Goddess’s gift, but he couldn’t help it. He hated that he knew what it felt like to know your cub was dying within your belly and there was naught anyone could do… he shook his head, determined not to think about it. He needed to calm himself, filter out the emotions and relax so that he could be Donato’s and his sister’s support.
A faint, sweet scent caught his nose and his belly rumbled. He’d not eaten much these past few days and now that he had put some distance between the source of his discomfort, his body demanded nourishment. He followed his nose to the big lodge that was built next to the giant sequoia. He stopped and took a moment to look upon the tree. He’d heard his father speak of it, telling his sister what she might see when they arrived at the Rune Fang’s village in order to soothe her and keep her mind on other things. But, now that he looked upon it… no words could describe what he was seeing.
Luka felt the magic pulsing inside the great tree, and it gently called to him like a wisp of smoke uncurling, reaching for him. As a cub, he’d heard stories of the great trees- once there had been many, now there was only one. He wasn’t sure what had happened to the others; Some said humanity had cut them down for lumber, others said they’d simply died, but as he looked up into the impossibly tall boughs of the sequoia, he felt… hope. For his people, his species, himself.
As he got closer, he noticed that the barked was carved with hundreds of names… it reminded him of the stone that was in the center of his village, its surface chiseled with the names of those that had passed. So many…
His hunger leading him, he gingerly stepped through the door of the lodge, trying not to draw attention to himself. Several males were lounging around a long table, chatting softly and munching on morsels of food. A female was bouncing a cub on her knee and several were making faces at the child. It was a nice scene, one that was not so unlike his home and he couldn’t help but to smile softly.
When the clan leader noticed his presence, his shot up and came to greet Luka. He introduced the shifters around the table including the female who to Luka’s surprise was human, but when Nexhan went touch Luka in a friendly gesture, he flinched away.
He apologized profusely. It hadn’t been his intent to offend the man- the Rune Fangs had been so kind to his clan thus far, but the male’s unfamiliar touch startled him. “Forgive me, Gatekeeper. My talents are… stronger when I touch.”
Nexhan pursed his lips as if he didn’t completely understand and asked, “No worries. Has anything changed?”
“No, I’ve just come for… something to eat, if you could spare.” He said softly. He didn’t want to intrude upon the Rune Fangs, but he was famished.
“Of course!” Nexhan smiled and gestured to a table weighted down with fruits and pastries as well as choice grasses and leaves. “We had planned to have a cook out tonight, but, ah, well… please take what you’d like.”
Luka thanked the male and took a plate, placing chunks of fruit on it as well as several handfuls of nuts, sprigs of grasses and bulbs of flowers. He found a quiet corner and sat down to eat his meal. The taste of pineapple exploded on his tongue and he sighed audibly. After neglecting his appetite for days, food seemed to taste better than he remembered. He ate in silence, watching the room bustle with activity. Of course, everyone was concerned for Anurta, but the room glowed with positive energy. He watched the males laugh at the female’s cub and when the child beat his fist at the clan leader, Nexhan tickled the boy on the tummy. The child’s laughter was like a warm balm to Luka’s soul. He liked being around children- they had some good, clean energy.
Something drew Luka’s eyes to a dark corner. The yellowed haired male Luka had met earlier was siting in a chair watching his brothers with a longing, but somewhat disgusted expression. He looked as if he were ready to jump from his perch to join them, but something held him back. Why wasn’t he with them? He looks so alone…
Biting his lip, Luka reached out and touched the male with his aura and instantly felt the hopelessness dwelling within. What could cause such a profound sense of sorrow in a young, healthy male like him? Had he lost someone close to him? Luka closed his eyes and absorbed the emotion, lessening it for the male. Though he was tired, he felt compelled to help the Rune Fang in some small way. He pulled the negativity, lightening it and replaced the chaos with a warm peace. When he flipped his lids open, the male had his eyes closed as if he were savoring a beautiful piece of music.
A smile twitched at Luka’s lips. This was one of the better parts of his gifts; to see the relief and peace cross their faces gave Luka the desire to practice his powers even if it cost him his own emotions. He watched the male closely, studied his face; he had a strong cut jaw but full, supple lips and Luka was willing to bet the man had a beautiful smile- if he smiled at all lately. His trimmed hair was a peculiarity amongst his kind, but it seemed to enhance his fine facial features. He seemed smaller of frame as well, but that could be because he was still young, though he probably still had a few pounds over Luka. Even the brawniest ocelot couldn’t compete against the lightest of the Rune Fangs- it was like comparing a pebble to a mountain.
Suddenly, the male flipped his lids open and settled those buttery orbs on Luka. Luka quickly pulled back, feeling as if he were somehow invading the male. As his aura receded, the Rune Fang shivered. He rose from his chair and cast his brothers one last, lingering look then fled out the door.
…if life don’t get in the way! Two birthdays in May, lots of things goin’ on, but everything is looking good.Things are going smooth and some surprising stuff has happened! Though I’m the one telling their story, I always seem to be the last to know what’s actually going on. Sneaky shifters! WTF?