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Scared and Running (attn Nyn)


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Alaya paused mid flight, listening anxiously for the pursuit then sagged in relief when she could hear nothing more. The people on the small farm she'd gone to, in the hope of bartering for more food, hadn't reacted well to her yellow eyes and they'd set the dogs on her before she could even speak. She'd had to run fast and far before they'd given up the chase. Looking around she spied a sturdy looking large tree in the distance and headed towards it determinedly. On gaining the comfort of its protective presence Alaya almost collapsed, but forced herself to climb it, she wanted to be safe, out of the way of prying eyes.


After a short climb she found a niche where three broad branches met and she eased herself into it. After looking around she determined that she was sufficiently hidden and so allowed herself to relax a little. Leaning back against the trunk she closed her eyes and listened for anything else that may alarm her. Not immediately hearing anything she relaxed a little more and took stock of her situation.


After seeing her reflection in that mirror, she had fled, pausing only to grab the few possessions she'd got and some food from the larder. She'd not wanted to stay around for the Wisdom to poke and prod her, and she just knew that she'd become an object of fear or even hate if she had stayed. So here she was, alone, bone weary, bruised and sore, hungry, dirty and very very frightened. She was scared of going to sleep in case those dreams came back. The very first night of her flight she'd had one, it brought her awake quickly. It had smelled, tasted, even felt real! After that night, every night since, she refused to sleep, fighting it until she could no longer resist, then waking with a start at the first sign of a dream.


Alaya rummaged in her pack and ate the last heel of bread she had left while wondering where she was meant to go from here. Being alone didn't bother her, she was used to spending large periods of the day alone and in fact welcomed the solitude. What she minded though was how tired and hungry she was. That was something she had never appreciated before, having somewhere to go back to, somewhere warm to eat and rest. A tear slid down her cheek at the thought of never having anything like that again. All of a sudden her predicament caught up with her and Alaya threw her arms around her knees, drew herself up tight and sobbed her heart out. Once she'd started she couldn't seem to stop.

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~ Slow down ~ Her wolf companion transmitted.


Lorelai smiled. She was galloping hard with her mare, trying to reach her destination swiftly. She was riding for days, stopping every time dark fell and setting out the second the sun came into view. She didn't want to risk her mare breaking a leg or over tiring her. Eventually, she'd have to make her way back to the stedding and Lorelai guessed it wouldn't be a pleasant trip on foot.


~ Why? Finding it hard to keep up, Nightfall? ~


Lorelai thinned her lips to hold in the laughter. But Nightfall could sense her amusement all too well. She's been her companion for years. Always there when she needed her. Always unconditional. The relationship they had was deeper than any Lorelai could ever have with a human being. And Lorelai knew that all too well, cherishing every moment she had with her best friend.


~ Shall I remind you who has the sharpest teeth, black cub? ~


Lorelai suppressed a grin.


~ We can compare later. Right now I have to find the girl ~


They rode for a while more. From the pictures she received through her mind, courtesy of a pack in the area, she was getting close. At a certain point, she dismounted and hid her horse in a safe place, carrying on, on foot. Riding in on a horse might startle the girl and it wasn't really a favorable outcome. Better to even the ground.


It didn't take too long to find her. But even then, Lorelai remained concealed. She wanted some time to observe her. That way she could probably predict some of her reactions to what Lorelai had to tell and show her. Following her, Lorelai registered her every move. Especially when she was being chased by locals. Lorelai chose not to intervene. The girl had to prove to herself that she was brave. That she could fend for herself. And that if she couldn't trust anyone, she could always trust herself. Nightfall seemed to be observing the occurrences with much interest as well. She was always nosey, after all.


The girl climbed up a tree and started to weep. No point in letting her wallow, thinking she was alone in the world. It was time to make her presence known. Lowering her eyes to Nightfall, Lorelai smiled.


Nightfall seemed annoyed. ~ I guess I'll get going then ~


Lorelai laughed softly. ~ Well, it is your turn, Nightfall. Fair is fair ~


Nightfall growled and walked out of where they were concealed. Oh, but she was a magnificent performer. Even better than Lorelai at some occasions. Nightfall's walk suddenly turned into limping. She started howling in pain, loud enough to be certain that it would be heard by the girl. She was the audience after all. She kept on walking in a shakey manner until she finally collapsed just next to the tree where the girl was hiding, and started breathing heavily. It took a bit longer then what Lorelai anticipated, but the girl eventually climbed down to take a closer look at the poor injured animal sprawled on the ground.


That was Lorelai's cue to enter the stage. "Nightfall!" The girl jumped, her eyes grew as wide as tea cups, but she seemed didn't move. Ignoring her completely, Lorelai rushed to Nightfall and wrapped her arms around her."aww, Nightfall. I've been looking everywhere for you!".


~ You're cutting off my circulation ~


~ Sssh, don't interrupt me, I'm on a roll~


Squeezing Nightfall a bit tighter, Lorelai smiled as her companion yelped. "Oh you're in pain! My poor poor girl." Lorelai had to make an effort not to laugh. When she was sure that she managed to curb the impulse, she turned to the girl who was still gawking at her. "Oh, thank you for looking out for my dog. She's practically my world." It was best to let the girl get the wrong idea. If the wanderer knew straight off that Nightfall was a wolf and that Lorelai was specifically looking for her, she could panic and try to run away. She would be caught, eventually, but there was a better way to do things.


The girl spoke incredulously. "That's a dog?!?!" Lorelai smiled sheepishly. "Well, her momma was a dog. But no one knows who the daddy is. Right Nightfall?". Lorelai whispered to the girl. "Lets just say her mother got around." Lorelai winked as she started to bandage one of Nightfall's legs. Lorelai hoped the girl hasn't been paying much attention to Nightfall's limping, since Lorelai had just randomly picked which leg to bandage.


~ Wait till we get back to the stedding, black cub ~


~ Hush, Nightfall ~


"You know, she got injured from protecting me against some crazy mob in the area." The girl tensed. "Oh, don't worry, they're long gone. They probably realized that they wouldn't be able to see anything in the dark. I didn't credit them with an over abundance of brains, but there you have it." Patting Nightfall and ignoring her indignant stares, Lorelai looked up at the girl. "Say, what are you doing here in the middle of no and where?".






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Alaya's tears were drying up but inside she felt raw and numb. She couldn't help but wonder what she was to do now. Maybe she should have stayed with her parents, maybe her Yellow eyes could be fixed by the Wisdom, using some herb or other...or maybe she'd be hounded out of her home and village, ridiculed and feared. Yes! She told herself firmly, I was right to leave but what am I to do now?


She was so caught up in her own little world that she failed to notice the dog-like animal limping and whimpering towards her hiding place until it was almost there. She watched as it neared the tree she was hiding in and collapsed at the base. Alaya sat frozen in indecision, should she go down and see if it was all right or stay where she was and hope it moved on? It didn't look like one of the dogs that had chased her earlier but then she had been so occupied with running in fear that she'd not stopped to check that closely. She waited a while longer until she was certain it was on its own and then she climbed carefully down the tree, bringing her bag with her just in case she had to flee again.


Once on the ground she approached it warily, not sure what to do. It didn't look injured and she couldn't see any blood, though she supposed the animal could have easily broken something for all she knew. Alaya was just about to cautiously approach the animal, which was still whining pitifully, when she heard a cry of "Nightfall!" making her jump out of her skin. Before Alaya had a chance to react in any kind of sensible manner, a woman dashed in front of her and knelt next to the suffering animal. Alaya was so tired and hungry it was hard to think straight any more so she just stood and watched as the woman hugged the animal and talked to it. As Alaya watched she thought the animal looked far too much like a wolf for her comfort and was just wondering how easily she could back off and make her escape when the woman suddenly turned and spoke.


"Oh, thank you for looking out for my dog. She's practically my world."


Alaya couldn't help but reply incredulously, though with a hint of relief. "That's a dog?!?!"


She listened as the woman talked about her dog whilst bandaging its leg, though she tensed and looked around anxiously when the woman mentioned a crazy mob.


"Oh, don't worry, they're long gone. They probably realized that they wouldn't be able to see anything in the dark. I didn't credit them with an over abundance of brains, but there you have it." Patting the dog and looking at Alaya the woman asked. "Say, what are you doing here in the middle of no and where?"


"I...er.....I decided to go and see the world. I got fed up sewing for my parents day in and day out so I thought I'd get out and see what is out there before they married me off."


Alaya replied wincing inwardly at the lies she told, she'd always been a truthful person but she couldn't risk letting anyone know what she was afraid she was turning into. Besides, she was enjoying having someone around for a bit, for all she liked being on her own.  She kept her eyes down though especially when the woman looked up at her, she didn't want to frighten her with her yellow eyes, the woman might decide to set her dog on her too.


"My name is Alaya, I'm pleased to meet you and your dog. What about you?" Alaya asked enquiringly "Is your home anywhere near here?" She smiled shyly, trying to keep her eyes downcast.



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"Oh, silly me. I forgot to introduce myself. I'm Lorelai, pleased to meet you." Lorelai stretched out her hand. Alaya hesitated a moment before accepting the gesture and shaking her hand. Lorelai froze mid hand shake, staring into Alaya's eyes. "You eyes...". Alaya's hand felt sweaty all of a sudden. She seemed petrified. "They're beautiful! ANYHOW, I'm traveling alone, looking for my home." Nightfall snorted.


~ Be quiet and play dead, Nightfall ~


~ Fine. But when we get back to the stedding we're switching roles. And I'll make sure you won't have to

play ~


Lorelai smiled widely and pinched Nightfall's side. "Isn't she just a darling? She seems like she's feeling a bit better, though. Splendid." Nightfall stared at Lorelai for a very long moment. heh. "Are you lost, then?", Alaya asked. Lorelai smiled. She took the bait. Now it's time to wheel her in.


"Oh, heavens no. I'm searching for a little secluded village I've heard about. There are many tales about it. No one can find it, but the ones who are truly in need of it. It's a community of special people like you. And me." Lorelai looked at the girl levelly, revealing her own eye color quite visibly. "It's a sanctuary of a sort. People signal us out because we're different. And that scares them. Makes them do the most foolish things...". Lorelai repressed old memories that she didn't want surfacing. It was in the past. Buried and done with.


"I'm fairly certain I'm getting close. My wo....erm, dog has been leading me." Brightening up, Lorelai smiled at the girl. "Oh, want to come?".


Nightfall rolled her eyes.  ~ Suddenly death seems to have its prospects ~


Lorelai kicked Nightfall's injured paw as she waited for the girl to reply.





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Alaya was petrified when Lorelai suddenly froze mid-handshake and stared at her eyes saying "Your eyes..." She realised she had tensed herself ready to run, her heart felt like it was about to beat out of her chest and she felt her palms grow sweaty with tension and fear. Then as Lorelai went on to say "They're beautiful! ANYHOW, I'm travelling alone, looking for my home." she couldn't help but feel weak with relief.


In a daze she listened to Lorelai's explanation of where she was going and why. Her confusion and curiosity grew as Lorelai's explanation filtered through coupled with surprise as Lorelai looked at her with golden eyes like Alaya's own. How did I not notice that before? Does that mean there are others out there like me? They have a village? That must be what Lorelai is hinting at. Alaya blinked as Lorelai invited her to come with her. Why should I go with her? What else will I do though, where else can I go? Alaya stood staring into space as the debate raged within her.


Eventually curiosity combined with hunger and tiredness overruled her fear and caution, so she shrugged her shoulders and looked at Lorelai, frowning slightly as Lorelai appeared to step on her dogs paw.


"Why not!" She raised a smile "I'm not doing anything else right now. I could do with a safe place to sleep and eat." Her stomach gave a betraying rumble as she spoke. "That is, of course until I move on, I don't want to out stay my welcome."

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Lorelai shook her head. "That's the thing. According to the tales I've heard, if you ever find this place, if your need is dire enough and the village reveals itself to you... you find your place in the world."


~ Where do you get these nonsense from? ~


~ I'm winging it, Nightfall. It's called creativity ~


~ You've been practicing this, haven't you, black cub? ~


~ Maybe ~


~ You need a new hobby ~


"Don't I know it...".  Alaya raised an eyebrow. Lorelai smiled sweetly. "Oh, i'm sorry Alaya. Just thinking out loud. I'm really pleased that you've decided to join me. Though it's a bit late right now. We should stay put and head out first thing in the morning. Oh, I know! Lets have some tea! I'll go fetch some twigs."


Lorelai was back in a flash. She started up a fire, fetched a pot and some herbs from her pouch and started brewing the tea. She even had the first sip so Alaya would see the herbs were harmless. Lorelai wanted to lower Alaya's suspicion to a minimum. It was very hard to be in the situation she was without being highly paranoid.


*A few moments and three tea cups later*


"You didn't!". Lorelai smiled. "Oh, I did." She shrugged innocently. "He smacked my behind and asked if he aroused my apatite. I said yes and bit him. It was the polite thing to do. Not my best idea yet, though. He tasted foul." Lorelai twisted her mouth in remembrance. "And then I flashed my eyes and he ran away screaming like a girl. Oh, it was such a lovely day." Lorelai laughed heartily. It's been a while since she had a good laugh.


"What about you? got any good stories?".





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Alaya couldn't help but stare in wide-eyed wonder listening to Lorelai's tales. She took another sip of the hot tea and sighed in pleasure as the warmth swept through her. It'd had been days since she'd had something so nice to drink and she could feel the strength slowly seeping back into her limbs.


"What about you? got any good stories?"


"Ah, no. Not really. I spent my days sewing or daydreaming." Alaya gave a slightly bitter laugh "I used to spend hours day dreaming about going on adventures. Look at me now! I'm in one, or so it appears. My mother always told be to be careful of what I wished for." Alaya hugged her knees to herself and sipped her tea again. "This is a lovely cup of tea you've made. I've practically been dreaming about one, it's been so long since I've had a decent brew." She paused and stared into the fire for a while, listening to the sounds around her. She could hear the wood popping as the fire burnt, the insects buzz, she could even hear Lorelai's dog breathe.


"Can I ask you a question?" Alaya looked at Lorelai intently. "You do not have to answer if you wish, it's just that...well, I would like to know...." Alaya hesitated again, unsure of asking and unsure as to whether she wanted to hear the reply, before taking a deep breath and plunging on with the question. Her words stumbled over one another in a rush. "When did you realise you were.....well.... er.... different. Like me?"


Alaya put her cup down and studied Lorelai's face, noticing how her eyes seemed to glow in the firelight.

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Lorelai hesitated for a moment. That wasn't the script! She was to fill the young woman's head with wonders about the stedding, drop her there and be on her merry way. There was no mention of Lorelai sharing an emotional moment with the wanderer. She must have missed the small print. Lorelai sighed. She was never the touchy feely sort.


~ Turn that frown upside down, black cub ~


~ Fine. But you don't have to be that smug about it ~


Nightfall felt amused.  ~ You're right. I don't have to ~


Lorelai grumbled for a moment before addressing Alaya. "I was grieving for my little sister at the time. When my senses started to sharpen I honestly just thought I was going mad on account of losing her. We were... close." Lorelai blocked the memories that started to surface unasked.


"It was a gradual change. My eyes looked different but it took a while until the yellow shade took hold. My parents chose fear over understanding. I was left with no choice but to leave. Though, chances are I would have left regardless. All the understanding in the world won't stop certain people from mistaking us for something we're not. And the last thing I wanted was to be a burden to my family." Lorelai wondered if her parents even remembered her.


"After I left home I decided to roam on my own. Even after I discovered that there is a safe place I could go to. This well hidden community. I didn't feel I deserved the safety and comfort such a place would offer. Not when I was alive and my sister died at such a tender age. It wasn't fair."


Lorelai frowned. There was still the faintest aroma of guilt whenever she thought about her sister. "At a certain point I met someone special. Someone who taught me so much. Someone who let me see the world through his eyes. And I finally realized that I didn't want to be alone. That I do want to be part of something that is bigger than me."


Kare'el was a wonderful man. There were so many memories. So much time has passed. But her heart was still his. She wondered if he took it with him when he disappeared again. "I'll tell you what he told me, though. You've been given a gift, Alaya. Don't ever let anyone say otherwise. Anything different is perceived as wrong. Abnormal. A disruption that shouldn't be allowed. But we didn't choose this. We were chosen for one reason or another. Remember that."





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When Lorelai hesitated for so long, Alaya thought she had offended her or had possibly had broken some unspoken rule about not asking about the change in others. She was just about to open her mouth to apologise and wave the question away, when Lorelai grumbled a little and spoke up.


Alaya listened to Lorelai's tale with her head on one side, arms drawing her knees up, hugging herself against the cold. She heard the sadness in her voice as Lorelai spoke of her sister, followed by a matter of fact account of the tale of how the change came about and what had happened to her since. Then Lorelai paused then offered Alaya a piece of advice.


"I'll tell you what he told me, though. You've been given a gift, Alaya. Don't ever let anyone say otherwise. Anything different is perceived as wrong. Abnormal. A disruption that shouldn't be allowed. But we didn't choose this. We were chosen for one reason or another. Remember that."


Alaya tried to let that sink in for a while before replying.


"I don't....I can't see how this is a gift. But I suppose I shall have to learn to live with it and hope that it doesn't get any worse." Alaya sighed deeply "I hope that this place you speak of is as friendly as you make out. I am honestly tired of running, of feeling so scared. I'm tired of wondering what kind of reaction I'm going to receive at every farmstead. Most of all I'm petrified of going to sleep, of dreaming....." She paused wondering whether to ask about the dreams she had, but shrugged the question away before continuing. "So if you like, I'll keep watch tonight, I'm not tired in any case." She lied.


She struggled to stifle a yawn as she spoke, pressing the back of her wrist to her mouth and hoping that Lorelai wouldn't notice. Light she was so tired, but she refused to sleep lest those dreams came to haunt her sleep again.

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"So if you like, I'll keep watch tonight, I'm not tired in any case." Lorelai laughed. "A rag doll looks more alert than you, Alaya. Don't worry about it, though. Nightfall senses the presence of anyone from miles away. She's just...erm...got a really developed smell sense. Yes, that's it. So, if anyone ventures in the surroundings, she'll let us know." Lorelai sat down next to a tree and propped herself against it. "Go to sleep. We'll be moving first thing in the morning and you'll need the rest. It's a long journey..." back home.


Just as sleep started to divide and conquer, Lorelai was interrupted.


~ You're not going to sleep ~


Lorelai opened one eye. ~ I'm not? ~


~ Absolutely not ~


Lorelai opened the other eye. ~ Why? Is something wrong? ~


~ Something is very wrong ~


Lorelai spread out her senses. As far as she could tell, there was no on in the area aside from a few owls.  ~ Do you sense anything? ~


~ I sense a very self observed black cub ~


Lorelai laughed and moved to Nightfall's side. Alaya was already fast asleep. But she was mumbling in her sleep. No doubt nightmares. Everyone had them at first when they had no control over the dream. It wasn't a pleasant journey, but it's one all of them had to endure at one point. The sooner she dealt with it, the sooner she will have some peace. Of course, she had to be taught. But she'd first need to reach the stedding. There was no helping her if she didn't want to help herself.


Lorelai stroked Nightfall's fur. ~ You want me to keep watch while you sleep, don't you? ~


~ Correct ~


Lorelai laughed. ~ Fine, you lazy wolf. Go to sleep. I'll keep watch ~


Lorelai sat by the fire, throwing some twigs in to make it a bit bigger. She gazed at the flames, trying to curb the impulse of waking up Alaya. She was tossing and turning quite a bit. Lorelai felt for her. The howling was never easy to anyone. Mixed feelings. Fear. Frustration. Confusion. All bundled up together. It was a deep abyss to fall into.


Luckily, Nightfall woke up at some point and took over watch so Lorelai could get a few hours of sleep before they started the journey back. They had a long journey ahead of them.




OOC: Ok, hon. We're starting our way back now. Feel free to describe whichever scenery you want, though wooded areas would be the safest bet. Lorelai will be retrieving her horse in the morning, in case you want to include that in and both of you will be riding it. So I'm guessing one or two more posts from our part and I'll start a thread for you on the Stedding board :)







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"A rag doll looks more alert than you, Alaya. Don't worry about it, though. Nightfall senses the presence of anyone from miles away. She's just...erm...got a really developed smell sense. Yes, that's it. So, if anyone ventures in the surroundings, she'll let us know." Lorelai sat down next to a tree and propped herself against it. "Go to sleep. We'll be moving first thing in the morning and you'll need the rest. It's a long journey..."


Something was telling Alaya that there was something wrong about Lorelai's dog, but she was too tired to pay it any mind or to argue with Lorelai's assertion that she should go to sleep. In fact the mere mention of sleep had caused her to yawn repeatedly. So after casting around for a relatively comfortable spot, Alaya lay down promising herself she'd only rest her eyes for a while. It was a promise she immediately broke as she was asleep before she realised it.


~ running through the woods, the scent of rabbit in the air, tracking it, chasing it, hunting it down, the pleasure of the chase....~ Alaya stirred in her sleep, tossing fitfully... ~ hunting with the pack, scenting the air for danger, feeling free like the wind...~ The dream felt so real, Alaya frowned and whimpered as she fought to wake but her body was too exhausted and she remained stuck fast in the dream.


It was a very groggy Alaya that woke up the next morning as the dawn light washed over the landscape. The fire had burned down to embers and Lorelai was just beginning to stir, but the way Lorelai's dog, Nightfall, was looking at her made Alaya uncomfortable and it was with that in mind that she volunteered to go and get some water to wash and make tea with before they set off on their journey.


Once away from the camp site Alaya started to relax and pondered why she felt uncomfortable when Nightfall watched her, but she could not fathom it and went back to the camp with a pot of water none the wiser.


Once they'd washed, drank tea and woken up properly, Alaya tidied up their belongings and buried the fire whilst Lorelai went to untie the horse and re-saddle it. After a short argument (during which Alaya could have sworn that Nightfall had sighed), about who was to ride the horse first, they settled it and set off on their way. They made for a nearby line of trees and found a small path through the woodland. Alaya and Lorelai took it in turns riding and they made a good distance before calling a brief halt for lunch. Sometimes Nightfall would disappear for hours on end, though occasionally Alaya would smell her in the distance. 


Eventually Lorelai called a halt for the evening, once they'd reached a small clearing, and they settled down for the night.


OOC: I wasn't sure how far to take it, I hope that a days travel is ok..if not i'll mod it :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Lorelai twisted Alaya's wrist forcibly, tripped her with her foot and sat on her back still holding her wrist back. "See, it's  an easy maneuver. If you're ever in a tight spot, use it. It doesn't require any training or skill. Just wit." Lorleai always had fun when she taught wanderers a trick or two.


~ When you were asked to bring wanderers to the stedding, I don't think they meant dead or alive, black cub ~


"Oh my gosh!" Lorelai Quickly released Alaya's wrist, got off of her and helped her to sit up. "Are you alright, Alaya?". Alayan nodded slowly, still a bit dazed. Lorelai grinned fondly. "Yep, no more maneuvers for you. Oh, I know! lets work a bit on harnessing your senses. Close your eyes." Alaya seemed puzzled. "Go on, I promise I won't color your face green." Alaya smiled and complied. Lorelai sat across her and waited for a few moments until she was sure Alaya relaxed.


"I want you to concentrate and tell me what you sense. Use your scent." Alaya was quiet for a long moment before answering. "An oak tree." Lorelai laughed. "I should hope so, seeing as we're sitting under one." Lorelai didn't have to look at Alaya to know she was blushing. "Go further. Expand your senses. Picture them as your hands and stretch them out as far as you can. What do you feel?".





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Sitting up, Alaya rubbed her shoulder in a daze. When Lorelai had offered to show her some defensive manoeuvres being thrown to the floor and sat on wasn't what Alaya had envisioned, so she was extremely relieved when Lorelai suggested a break though her nervousness shot up when Lorelai suggested she rest and test her senses instead and she debated with herself briefly on whether to ask to continue the defensive manoeuvres, but rubbing her sore shoulder she decided it was better to rest for a while. Alaya did as Lorelai instructed, smiling at the quip she made, although it increased her nervousness tenfold....Colour my face GREEN?? Taking a deep breath and pushing her feelings to one side, she started to breath deeply and steadily and felt her muscles start to relax, with her eyes closed she could almost forget where she was and why she was there.


"I want you to concentrate and tell me what you sense. Use your scent."


Obediently Alaya concentrated on the scents and aromas around her, not entirely certain what Lorelai was after and eventually replied that she could smell an oak tree. Her face flamed red when Lorelai laughed and told her she was sitting under one.


"Go further. Expand your senses. Picture them as your hands and stretch them out as far as you can. What do you feel?".


Frowning in concentration Alaya tried to do as she was asked, unsure how or why, but trying her best to comply. Closing her eyes again helped a little and she waited a while drawing in deep breaths and testing the air.


"I smell the horse, the camp-fire remains, ash and smoke. I can smell so many sweet flowery scents they are impossible to distinguish between..." Keeping her eyes closed she continued drawing deep breaths through her nose. "I smell animals...something smells like a wet cat or a damp dog!" She giggled at the ridiculous image that flashed into her mind of a half drowned looking moggy "ummm...I can smell the leather of the tack almost as if my nose is pressed against it....I smell.." she paused as a breeze gusted from a different direction bringing with it the smell of cooking food. "I smell...cake, someone's baking a cake..it smells just like..".


All of a sudden Alaya was hit with an overwhelming bout of homesickness. The baking smell reminded her of home, and her parents. They must be so distraught by now. I shouldn't have left them! I shouldn't have run away! Disregarding Lorelai or her dog, Alaya scrambled to her feet and grabbed her bag. Setting off at a run toward the smell of baking, ignoring the sounds of annoyance from behind her.

I must get home, mother will need me! Her legs were running as fast as she could make them, dodging over roots and ducking branches. Twigs that caught her face and clutched at her clothes went unheeded. Her only thought was to get to habitation, to find out where she was so she could go home again.





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Before Lorelai managed to even grasp what just happened, Nightfall rushed ahead after Alaya. Lorelai followed right after, still a bit confused as to what set off the girl. It could have been anything, really. She was not stable. No one was through the howling, really. So her sudden bolting wasn't such a shock.


~Nightfall, you know what to do~


~Are you sure it is wise right now, black cub?~


~I think that's the only thing that's going to make her stop. Make it happen~


Lorelai took a deep breath. The step she was taking was risky. It could result in the girl running even faster as opposed to stopping. But life was full of risks and decisions still had to be made. 


~Stop~, Nightfall transmitted to Alaya. The girl was not skilled yet. That came with teachings and practice. So she didn't have the ability to interpret the image to speech quite yet. However, the sudden image unfolding in her mind was probably enough to make her halt. What then? Lorelai did not know. She didn't fancy dragging the girl to the stedding. She didn't think it was a policy the stedding embraced. Plus, she'd have to tie her up and gag her and she wasn't sure if she had rope.


Luckily, Alaya froze in her place. Lorelai caught up in no time and planted herself in front of Alaya. "You're going in the wrong direction honey. You're going in the direction of people who've rejected you. People who cannot be trusted anymore. They might have been family before but they consider you a stranger now. You're not your parents little girl anymore. You might not have changed, but they view you differently now. I can't force you to come with me." Lorelai stood aside. "You're free to do as you please. But bear in mind this. Choosing this direction will most likely get you killed."





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All Alaya could think of was to go Home, her mind was so set on that raw longing that she didn't even notice the wolf tracking her until it appeared ahead of her. Suddenly an image flashed into her head, she'd never experienced anything like it before and certainly couldn't begin to put it into words. Shocked to the core, she stumbled to a halt and stared warily at the animal in front of her, slowly it dawned on her that Lorelai's 'dog' was in fact a wolf. It wasn't long before Lorelai appeared and set herself in front of Alaya.


Alaya sagged, defeated and exhausted, as Lorelai laid out what Alaya had feared but that her flight and longing had suppressed. Deep down she knew Lorelai was right, that, as much as she hoped and wished for it, she could never go home now. Eventually, quiet tears streaking down her face, Alaya consented to follow Lorelai back to this Village of hers.


Silently, apart from the occasional stifled sob, Alaya followed Lorelai back to their camp. She helped clear the things away and tidy the site up in an almost hypnotised state, she felt so drained that she just reacted on auto-pilot to the requests and commands Lorelai gave. She was heedless of the scratches and cuts she'd obtained on her mad dash, all she felt was numb. Numb, mind, body and soul. Like everything was removed from her, happening to someone else almost. There was nothing left for her now. She'd go to this village of Lorelai's and then.... well then she'd see.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Lorelai felt for Alaya. She hoped she wasn't too rough on her. But if nothing else, it was a preparation for what she would have to endure once again in time. While most preferred to ignore the existence of the world outside of the Stedding, it didn't change the fact that it was out there. And that at times it was required of them to leave the safety of their haven and face the dangers that came with it.


Lorelai took out an ointment from her bag and started spreading it gently over the cuts that decorated Alaya's arms. It was nothing serious, but Lorelai didn't want to risk an infection. Alaya didn't flinch at all by Lorelai's touch. She seemed so lost. For a moment there, Lorelai saw Gabriel in her. The same expression her little sister had when Lorelai lost her to the deep blue.


"Don't worry, honey. We'll be home soon. And things will look up. I promise." Lorelai hugged Alaya. It probably came more of a shock for herself than Alaya. She wasn't keen on showing affection even with people she was close to. But seeing as communication with Alaya was nearly impossible at that point, Lorelai had to show her that she did care for her. And wanted the best for her. She hoped Alaya perceived that.





I'll put up the arrival post at the stedding tomorrow. If you want to post here again, feel free. But as far as I'm concerned we've covered our bases ;)


*hugs*  I had fun! :D






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