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Welcome home, Alaya (attn Alaya, duh)


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~ I told you to turn a left back there ~ Nightfall had the faintest aroma of smugness.


Lorelai frowned. ~ This is a shortcut ~


~ Yes. A shortcut to getting lost. You humans. Always trying to find a way to complicate a simple matter.~


Lorelai grumbled. She didn't much enjoy when Nightfall went all philosophical on her. She took that route many times to cut a half a day off the journey back to the Stedding. She got turned around for a moment, but she knew exactly where they were!


Alaya was quiet. She spoke here and there. But nothing more than what she had to, whenever Lorelai directed a question at her. Lorelai sympathized with the girl. She went through the same ordeal herself. And she was far worse than her. At least her attitude seemed more positive than Lorelai's initial approach when she first arrived at the Stedding. That was a good indication.


"Oh! OH! We've arrived!". Lorelai turned to Nightfall and stuck out her tongue. "Come Alaya, follow me. We're home!". Lorelai led Alaya into the Stedding. Nightfall parted ways, as she decided to go hunt. "The first thing on the egenda is to get you to a Sage. Don't worry, it's routine. Just to make sure you're healthy and well. And I'll be right there with you." Locating the infirmary, Lorelai led Alaya in.






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Alaya barely responded to Lorelai's questions, comments or gestures. She spoke when she needed to, no more. All she felt was numb. Through the folds of cotton that she felt her brain was wrapped in she heard Lorelai exclaim that they had arrived and that this was the Stedding.


Alaya looked around briefly, blankly, just letting the sights, sounds and smells wash over her. She hefted her pack onto her shoulder to distribute the weight better and mutely followed where Lorelai led.


A small spark of alarm showed itself through the fog of Alaya's mind when Lorelai mentioned a Sage, whom Alaya presumed to be a Healer of some kind, though the spark was quickly snuffed out. Alaya just couldn't bring herself to care. All she wanted to do was sleep and then go home. Her Mother would make everything right, she was sure of it. In her minds eye she was home already and she was sat on her mothers knee just as she had used to do when she was small, cuddling close, her mother smoothing the hair on her head and chasing all her fears away.


Unnoticed, a silent tear slid down her cheek as she stood awaiting the Sage, uncaring where she was and unheeding of the looks she was receiving. All she could think about was going Home.

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Kneeling in her garden behind the infirmary Miryana hummed softly as she tended the herbs.  Working in the soil brought a great deal of serenity to the Sage and she spent hours here when her duties allowed her.  Standing she brushed the dirt off of her skirt and put her tools away in the nearby shed.  The wolves had sent her a message earlier that Lorelai was bringing a new Wanderer to her this morning.  As much as she enjoyed her time in the garden she needed to be ready when their new addition was brought to her.


Walking into the back door of the building that housed the infirmary and served as her house she washed her hands in the basin by the door.  Reyala one of her apprentices was putting wood on the cooking fire and Miryana instructed her to hang a pot of hot water over it so she could offer tea to the new arrival.  The smell of fresh baked bread filled the kitchen causing her stomach to rumble reminding her that she had neglected to eat breakfast that morning.


Quickly she went to her room and changed into a forest green skirt and white blouse.  Combing out her long red hair she tied it in a pony tail and secured it with a green ribbon.  Satisfied she walked into the infirmary and found Lorelai standing there with a young woman several inches shorter than herself.


Smiling she hurried forward and embraced Lorelai.  “Welcome home we have gone too long without your presence my dear.”


Lorelai smiled and introduced Alaya who stood quietly trying to take everything in.  Miryana reached out and brushed a single tear from the young woman’s cheek.


“Welcome home child.  I know this is difficult for you and it will take time but you are with family now even if at the moment we seem strangers to you.”


Calling for Reyala to bring cups of tea and fresh bread she led Alaya into a small private room off the main infirmary.  Several chairs and a examining table filled the room and she asked Alaya to have a seat so that she could look her over for signs of injury or illness.


“You may ask any questions that are bothering you my dear I don’t bite.”  Winking at Lorelai she waited for Alaya to have a seat.”


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OOC Alaya will have a few cuts and scrapes from her mad dash through the forest earlier..I think Lorelai put some balm on them though.



Alaya allowed herself to be led into the room, despite her apathy the smell of fresh bread was making her stomach rumble. Sitting where the woman indicated, Alaya took the proffered tea gratefully and murmured her thanks. Blowing on the hot liquid surreptitiously, Alaya studied her surroundings letting the woman's chat wash over her, though she found the voice strangely comforting.


Eventually she roused herself to ask a question or two. Some of the things that were worrying her the most anyway. She needed to know, and tried to steel herself for the answers.


"Will I..." she paused and took a sip of the tea trying to wet her throat so that she didn't croak with nerves "Will I turn into a wolf...or go mad?" She looked at the woman in front of her, tears already brimming. There, that was one thing out...now for the other...


"I've been dreaming these strange dreams....so real yet...strange. Nothing like I've ever experienced before. I have gone mad haven't I?"


Now the tears truly started to fall.  There. The questions were out, despite her tears and fears Alaya raised her chin and prepared herself for the answers she expected to hear.


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Miryana listened to the questions the young woman had and she ached for her.  She had heard and seen the pain and fear in many Wanderers but it never stopped breaking her heart.


“There, there child.”  Handing her a handkerchief from her apron pocket she patted Alaya on the knee and offered her a reassuring smile.


“You will not go mad or turn into a wolf.  I know it is hard for you to understand right now but you have been given a gift.”  She could see the doubt in Alaya’s eyes and encouraged her to take another sip of tea.


“Yes a gift Alaya, one that very few people will understand or welcome but a gift none the less.  With time and training you will be taught to understand these gifts and embrace them for what they are.”


Leaning forward she examined the minor scrapes and cuts on the young woman’s arms and face.  Thankfully they were not to serious and it appeared Lorelai had treated them.  Removing a jar of pungent smelling salve from the table she began to gingerly apply them to the wounds.


“Now as far as these dreams you are having.  They too are a gift but one that can be dangerous until you are properly trained.  Your communion with the wolves has allowed you to enter the wolf dream.  While in these dreams you are in a place out of the waking world and subject to the rules within.  You must take care to limit your time in the dream world until you can be trained.  If you are injured or die in the wolf dream your corporeal body shall suffer the same.”


Placing her hands on Alaya’s cheeks the Sage closed her eyes and delved her with her senses looking for injuries unseen by the naked eye.  Declaring her fit in body if not yet in mind she leaned back and smiled her golden eyes sparkling.


“Tell me have you been contacted by a wolf companion and given a name?"

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"Has a wolf spoken to me? Given me a name? No, I don't think so." Alaya spoke incredulously and looked at Lorelai "I think Lorelai's companion...er...Nightfall spoke to me once though, but I'm not sure. Why in the Light would they want to name me? What would they name me?" Alaya asked lost in the wonder of it despite herself. I have a wolf companion? But why? That last question from the Sage had temporarily derailed Alaya's thoughts but, as she was wont to do, she ran back over the other things she had been told in her head whilst waiting for the Sage to reply to her questions.


It took a moment for all of the Sage's words to sink in. When the full meaning became clear Alaya's response was immediate. She shrank back horrified. "I can die in a dream?? But I don't want to go into the Dream, I try not to sleep but I can't help it, I always seem to dream! You have to help me, please!"


Her eyes shot from Lorelai to the Sage in panic...even the pungent smell of the cream that had been applied couldn't distract Alaya from her tumultuous emotions. Her mind raced and the thoughts of being hurt or even dying in this Dream overwhelmed her, in fact the whole situation was overwhelming Alaya and it felt like she was trying to think through thick fog. All she wanted to do was leave and go back home. She wished with all her heart that this was a dream and she could wake up in her room, at home, safe and sound with nothing more to look forward to than the normal mundane routines of the day, something she'd not appreciated before.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Many Wanderers had graced her presence and most had been confused , angry and in some cases despondent.  In Alaya Miryana senses distress and that troubled her deeply. 


“Child I will not let you die in the dream or even be harmed.  I tell you these things to warn you, but I see I have become too lax in my duties and have instead frightened you.”


Placing her hands on top of Alaya’s she smiled and tried to reassure the young woman.


“I have an idea and would like your thoughts.”


Alaya lifter her head and met the Sage’s eyes a hint of curiosity present.


“I would like you to stay with me and become one of my assistants.”


She sensed Alaya relaxing at last and pushed forward.


“You can live here in the infirmary, I have a lovely room that can be yours and I will teach you what I know.  I will guard your dreams until you are ready to understand them and we can get to know one another as you begin to understand your gift.”


Leaning back in her chair she winked at Alaya.


“I think it would do you good but I know how decisions these days seem out of your hands.  This one I leave to you.”


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Alaya was taken aback.


"I can stay here? You'll guard my dreams?" The tears were drying on her cheeks and she had to use the handkerchief that had been offered, to blow her nose. "I...I would like that. Please. I'll try not to be any trouble, I'll stay here until I can go home."


She raised a trembling smile at the Sage "Is there some way I can get word to my parents that I'm safe and well in the mean time? Let them know I'm all right and will be home as soon as I can. They'll be worried sick about me I'm sure." Alaya failed to see the look shared between Miryana and Lorelai, she was still convinced she could go home and that it was only a matter of time, regardless of what she had been told.


She took a deep shaky breath. "I've helped my mother sometimes with herbs but that's about it. I'll do my best to learn and help you. So yes, I would love to stay here, if you don't mind. I'll try not to be a burden. It feels nice and.....safe here."


Alaya looked around her and sighed. The atmosphere here was of comfort and peace, the woman in front of her seemed motherly and kind. Alaya felt tense muscles starting to relax and she yawned widely and blushed.


"I'm so sorry, I don't mean to cause offence, I'm just so very tired." She yawned again and managed to stifle it behind her hand this time. The tea seemed to be helping her too, she looked at it idly as she sipped, wondering what was in it. It seemed to help calm her and yet, at the same time, manage to clear her thoughts somewhat.


"Well, since you're kind enough to be letting me stay here, the least I can do is introduce myself properly. I'm sorry for having not done this before, my mother would be horrified at my lack of manners. It's just that things...well, you know." She shrugged apologetically. "My name is Alaya Maniea and I hail from Buryhill, a town in Andor." She looked into the Sage's eyes and smiled the first genuinely relaxed smile for what seemed to be an Age. "I'm pleased to meet you".



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