The Werewolves' Story

Healer and Hunter: Chapter Twenty-Eight


After a very filling meal, the whole pack was lounging around by the little stream they'd found, dozing it off. Even Thonyn and Ronan, the latter of whom who had come back again after four months of absence so he could be there the full moon, were sprawled out on their backs, looking entirely full. Even Shessyi, who seemed happy to have taken the low-spot in the wolfen rank hierarchy, had been left with plenty.

Or course, if he hadn't, Resham probably would have pulled steel on someone. Or bitten them, depending on what form she was wearing when she figured it out. She was a protective woman. 

Really, it had been a great day. Celebrating the departure of Shinan-Al in the full without any ugly heads rearing themselves-- well, no more ugly than usual for Zzandoren's temper around the full phase-- they'd napped off the morning, so that Zzandoren could recover from the long days of resistance, and hunted away the afternoon while he continued to sleep, Ronan loyally keeping watch over him. He commented that he'd done enough hunting for himself the past few months that he didn't mind someone else doing it for him, for once. So they'd come back, three wolves and a dragon, with a pair of fat kills to share and, courtesy of Thonyn's retained sentience during the hunt, a large bag full of autumn fruit and herbs to season the meat with, since she also insisted that they cook it.

None of them really wanted to wait that long, not even Zzandoren-- perhaps especially Zzandoren, who had wisely forgone meat for the entire span of the full, and was both hungry and craving something actually fulfilling. Still, between her, Ronan, and Rythri-- they refused to let Zzandoren help, though the priest offered-- it didn't take long to roast it up. Thonyn'd been smug at his admission that it smelled even better cooked-- another point in her inner tally of civilized versus wild, he guessed-- but Zzandoren in particular was pleased with the flavor, so he didn't take the time to growl at her. It did taste really, really good, after all.

With the coals from the fire dying, Resham and Shessyi a furry, snoring pile together, and Zzandoren looking barely half-awake, with his half-closed eyes glinting only faintly in the moonlight staring up at the sky, sleep seemed the best way to end the day. Rythri was just considering actually shifting, snuggling up to Thonyn's side, and heading there himself when both dragons suddenly sat up abruptly.

"What--?" Rythri asked blankly, startled and honestly a bit sleepy, himself.

"Ronan?" Zzandoren asked, pushing himself up onto his elbows.

"Rrrf?" Resham added, then belatedly shifted back, lifted her now-human head from her companion's back, and blinked blearily over at the dragons.

::It's-- it's time!:: Thonyn said, her voice hushed but so awake it woke Rythri up a little more, just hearing it.

"For what?" Resham asked, confused.

"For her test," Zzandoren answered for her, sitting up and eyes not on Thonyn, but Ronan. "The older dragons from the Abstract Destiny just sent out the invitation to all of those true of Dtande."

Rythri broke into a smile, looking up at his bond. "Congratulations, Thonyn! The waiting's almost over!"

::We've got to go!:: Thonyn exclaimed, looking around almost nervously and clicking her tusks, looking, Rythri noticed with a jolt, like she wanted to jump up right then and there and teleport. ::We've got to--::

::It's not until tomorrow,:: Ronan interrupted her. ::Tomorrow night, by our time. Calm down.:: His voice sounded odd, calm and quiet, but almost suppressed.

"Nothing will be gained by rushing off early," Zzandoren soothed, getting up entirely. "And if it's a battle they're going to be asking, it'll be even worse if you don't get some rest and relax."

::I don't know if I can, now,:: Thonyn said tightly, but she did force herself to unclench her tensed muscles. ::Twenty-four hours, and we'll be back there, and they'll be testing me. I'm going to be worrying until then, I just know it.::

"You'll do great," Rythri promised her, scooting over closer to her and patting her tail. "You've been practicing so hard, how could you not?"

::Against creatures smaller than me,:: Thonyn pointed out nervously. ::Even Ronan's a lot smaller than I am-- what if I'm fighting someone bigger? Like Chetande-- or maybe it's that... that xenodragon queen they have on the ship! She's huge....::

Startled and a little uncomfortable by the uncharacteristic nerves in his normally level-headed bond, Rythri patted her tail again. "You'll do fine. I bet nobody had anybody big to practice with. I mean, really, I think you're plenty big, yourself!"

::I know, but....::

"Hush, Thonyn," Resham put in, sounding both reassuring and annoyed. Rythri wondered if he ought to growl at her for her tone towards his bond. "You've been working hard; I've only known you for five months, and even I know you will be fine, no matter what they're testing you with." Thonyn's muzzle and tusks flushed pink at the praise.

"If you really don't think you can sleep," Zzandoren said firmly, "I can spell you. But you do need to sleep. We'll leave mid-morning tomorrow for the Nexus gate."

"Oh, gods, I hate that place," Rythri groaned.

"It's safer than teleporting that far," Zzandoren reminded him sternly. "I don't like it much, either, but I'm not about to risk winding up somewhere else entirely. If we had more time, I'd see if we couldn't find the couriers to take us, but...."

::We don't have more time,:: Thonyn finished for him, sounding a little panicked. Rythri, concerned, stroked the leathery skin on her tail soothingly.

"Maybe you ought to let Zzandoren spell you," he suggested.

Quelling a brief flash of irritation-- but the mental scent wasn't attached to him, so he didn't take offense-- Thonyn took a deep breath and shook her great head. ::No... I'll be fine. If I can't keep myself from freaking out, I don't deserve to be well-rested for this test. I'll manage.::

"Freaking out?" Resham repeated, looking both puzzled and amused.

::She picked that up from one of her sibs or mine back on the ship,:: Ronan muttered. ::Means panicking.::

"The term suits the meaning," Resham mused. "Now if we're done 'freaking out', I'm going back to sleep."

::We're done freaking out,:: Thonyn said, shutting her eyes and visibly calming herself down.

"Good. Get some sleep, Thonyn." Resham put her head back down on Shessyi's side and promptly shut her eyes. The wolf looked like he had gone back to sleep several minutes ago, not caring about tests or appointments or messages across some broad mind-channel. Rythri though he had the right of it, but he did wonder briefly how they were going to get him through the gate, much less keep him from causing trouble in Star City. Maybe they wouldn't stay long....

Zzandoren gave Thonyn's knee a fond pat. "Get some sleep and we'll get you there in plenty of time," he promised warmly.

::Thank you, Zzan.::

Nodding, the priest moved over to his own bond, who had shifted to sit turned away from Thonyn. She eyed him for a long moment-- Rythri, settling by her hip and resting both arms across her thigh, thought she might have been trying to talk to him-- then sighed heavily and, answering his unspoken question, said just to him, ::He's upset that they won't let him test, too. Thinks it's unfair. I've told him I'm sorry, but all he'll say is he knows, and won't talk about it any more.:: Glancing between Zzandoren, sitting at his bond's side, and Ronan himself, she added hopefully, ::Maybe Zzandoren can talk him around.::

At least he's not mad at you, Rythri commented.

::Thank the gods for small favors,:: Thonyn grumped. ::Now why don't you go to sleep? I think I'll manage better if you're sleeping. All that wolf-dreaming is catching.::

Thought you'd never ask, Rythri thought, and a yawn ruined his grin. He elbowed her hip until she folded her wing and lay down on her side, so when he shifted and flopped down against her stomach, he wasn't laying on anything awkward like membrane or bony wing-finger. Without enough thought in his head to wonder about what the next day would bring, and a full belly and comfortable pack-mate curled around him, he fell asleep quickly-- and hoped vaguely that it helped his pack-mate sleep, too.


Chapter Twenty-Seven - Chapter Twenty-Nine


Back to Zzandoren - Back to Rythri - Back to Ronan - Back to Thonyn

Back to Resham