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Ringwe, 99 - Sunrise, hr 4    
Brother Derin was special like we were! He couldn't poof, but he did stuff with mud! We first saw it on our journey to Sylvaswan, when he hunted a scorpion. There was a big slide of rocks and the scorpion got crushed. All of us were surprised, especially mama and gramma Daffodil.

I liked Derin. He always seemed unhappy that he wasn't like the rest of us, but I was glad he was special too.
Ringwe, 99 - Midday, hr 7    

     Simeon's eyes were shining rubies among emeralds and saphires. His fur was snow what, rather than a normal shade of brown or black like his kin. On his right hand was a astrange birthmark; a sun. He was different. He was special. "What strange eyes. Much like Myran's," his father whispered to the woman beside him. In his arms, the newborn slept peacefully. "Yes, very. And his fur! I have never seen an Anu with a white pelt before." The child's siblings were running about chasing each other and drawing in the dirt.
     Soon, the boy awoke, still in his father's arms. Curious, he began examining everything around him. He seemed most interested in his father, touching his smooth skin and watching him hunt. Simeon stared at Joshua as he approached a buffalo. He extended his wooden staff, sending a strong gust of wind at the beast. It fell after another gust, the small pup's father butchering the meat. The infant grinned at the man, swinging his hands about. The air moved with his tiny paws, and Joshua grinned with his son.
Ringwe, 99 - Afternoon, hr 8    
He left, just like that. Because of the stoopid dream. I shouldn't have said anything. Maybe he'd still be here...

I have to go after him. I have to make him mine not Lucan's. I'm better than Lucan...right? I'm prettier! I'll be better for him! But...maybe...
Khelek, 100 - Evening, hr 11    
When they arrived at their intended new home, it felt wonderful to be surrounded by a part of her family again that really wanted to have them around. Kenna's and Larkin's children seemed to like her at once and were simply adorable. They revived the almost forgotten warmth deep in her heart, confirmed her in Tasir's and her wish to get children again that had almost gotten buried by all the sadness of the past years.

Nevertheless, Kenna's lack of interest weakened the feeling of comfort and belonging. She had hoped for a warmer welcome by her niece who had almost been like a daughter for her. Kenna seemed so changed and so distant... But her niece had always loved to hunt and Larkin's cordial behavior compensated Kenna's aloofness, so she tried to brush that small spot of darkness in her newfound bliss away, ignoring the nagging feeling that it was too good to be true that she should finally have found happiness and peace after all that had happened.

The disagreements between some of the children, especially between a boy named Citiro and some of his younger sisters, were merely shrugged off by her as some childish defiance, again not taking notice of that inner voice that tried to tell her that something darker was lying beneath the surface of momentary felicity.

Cita had actually managed to soothe her sorrow about Elek and Ennea by promising to visit them together with her sons and to help them with building up their new home. Maybe one of Cita's sons could even satisfy Ennea's wish for a mate so she could eventually get what she had longed for and what she deserved. And to see their daughter content would certainly also add to the well-being of Elek. The mention of her daughter's and her former mate's names let a certain melancholy arise in her, but it was good to know they wouldn't be alone any longer.

Even the blatant hate towards her in the behavior of Tasir's daughter and the collision with her that left her with a bleeding scratch on her cheek from one of the girl's claws seemed only like a short cumbersomeness on her way towards a prosperous future with Tasir. At first, it made her feel terrible, not only to be hated like this, but also to have estranged Tasir from his daughter even further. But he had been so worried about the scratch that his care made her feel good again, let her fall asleep peacefully next to him, even though her awakening wasn't peaceful at all, nightmares still haunting her whenever she closed her eyes. So she was clinging to Tasir's arm when she broke free from her sleep and noticed Velas also was awake now and staring at her with wide eyes.

It had been a huge surprise for her at their arrival to see her sister's face among the others after Kenna had said she wouldn't ever want to see her mother again. But she hadn't dared to ask what had changed Kenna's mind and it was good to have all of them reunited in this new home.

Noticing the disbelief in her sister's eyes while she continued to stare at her as if she had seen a ghost, she murmured helplessly without much thought about her words: "Velas... I... it good to see you, sister." She hoped this would suffice to show Velas that she didn't hate her now, even after what her sister had done in her blind rage back at the mountain, after she had killed Vallo in revenge for her son's death, leaving Quarr without his mate and Larkin and Connor without their mother. It wasn't conscious that she started to chew on her lip, struggling to find her next words. "We have to talk..."

The expression in Velas' eyes still hadn't changed, the bafflement in them obvious, but her sister nodded slowly and finally managed to answer, even though her voice sounded a little hoarse. "Whenever you are ready sister..."

Ready? Of course she was ready for this talk after finally being able to speak to her sister again after such a long time, after having feared never to see her again. But her body wasn't ready to walk anywhere, even though they shouldn't continue their conversation in front of the children, shouldn't scare them with their dark past. So she simply looked down towards the scar on her stomach and towards her outstretched leg and couldn't help but smile bitterly. "I... ready, but I fear I not can go anywhere without help right now."

"Trisa, would ye like my help?" Her own smile was reflected by her sister's lips as she slowly approached her. "I wasn't sure it was ye...I thought it might o' been a trick o' the Moutain Spirit. What happened ta ye?"

Her sister's words dispelled some of the bitterness of her own smile. "Not worry, it really is me... maybe I not quite the same person I once was after all that happened, but trust me, it is me." Cautiously, she reached out towards Velas with one of her arms, then nodded thankfully. "Can you... bring me somewhere where we can talk?" With some efforts, they managed to walk into one of the empty side tunnels of the mine together after she had flashed Tasir a last loving glance before leaving his side.

With cautious movements, Velas helped her to sit down before doing the same, watching her with obvious worry and repeating her earlier question. "What happened ta ye?"

The bitterness returned into her face as she gestured towards the scratch on her cheek. "Well... this was Anisa, I not sure if you saw it, you seemed to be sleeping. And the rest..." Her chest raised and sank in a deep breath and her gaze slowly wandered towards the ground to avoid looking into her sister's eyes while she answered with a quiet and tired voice. "I... tried to get myself killed by a frost wyrm."

Velas' reaction to the scratch on her cheek was merely a frown, but as soon as she had finally admitted her suicide attempt for the first time in her new home, Velas' eyes filled with shock, her response coming quickly. "Why would ye try ta kill yerself?"

She didn't know how to make all of the events clear to her sister, how to find the words to express the misery and complete chaos in her heart. So instead of an answer, a deep sigh escaped her lips and she shook her head, stating quietly: "That... is hard to explain. I just... not knew what else to do."

Mirroring her own gesture, Velas also shook her head, the frown remaining on her sister's face. "I dinnea know that things had gotten bad fer ye. I thought... after I left... perhaps things would have gotten better..."

Her hand was drawn towards Velas' arm to touch it gently, underlining the words she was about to say, her lips gripped by a slight quiver at the remembrance. "How could anything have gotten better? When you ran away, I had not only lost one sister, but two. I was worried about you, I always had to think of you somewhere out there, completely alone, desperate and probably thinking we would all hate you now." Fixing Velas' eyes with her own, she continued to speak with a little more emphasis in her voice. "I... could never hate you, Velas, and I always wished to have the possibility to tell you that. But I not sure how Quarr will react when he sees you here - and I think he and Elisa are on their way here."

Stricken with panic at the mention of Quarr's name, Velas turned pale, shaking her head all over again. "Quarr is coming here? No...I cannea stay..." Her voice got more frantic with every word that she spoke. "I've ruined too much already, I cannea bring this conflict ta my daughter's home!"

With this last sentence, Velas had touched a deep-rooted fear in her own heart, the fear that it still could be her whom the curse was following, that she had brought it over the rest of her family now by coming here. The guilt forced her to cover her face with her hands, her new sigh muffled by them. "I fear I already did that... I not meant to cause any problems for Kenna, I not knew Anisa would be here." Hesitatingly, her eyes searched those of her sister again. "Velas, I... I think I could try to talk to Quarr. As weird as that sounds, I think everything that happened brought us closer to each other and made us understand each other better. If you could just... stay away from him until I come and get you, I think everything could end well and maybe we could still both find a new home here."

Velas still seemed insecure, but then managed a slow nod. "If ye think it will help Trisa, I will do as ye say. But if he wants ta kill me, it is within his right."

She swore to herself that she wouldn't let that happen, now that she was finally given a warning in advance before the next death in her family was about to occur. This time, she would be at the right place at the right time and do anything to prevent any more killing.
Losse, 100 - Evening, hr 11    
Tamir and I have our very own pup named Rah-Rah. We love him very much.

I love Tamir and Rani most of all!
Rosa, 100 - Before dawn, hr 2    
Excerpts From a Silk-Bound Manuscript

Page 9 Rosa, 100

I messed up again. I hate myself. Eli arrived. I can't believe he came back to see me. He came from the canyon. He was worried. We talked. I told him about my attempt to kill myself. How I hated who I was and my life. We hugged. He was so warm and his arms so strong. I never wanted him to let go, but he did and later I pushed him away. I can't believe I yelled at him again. He's never been anything but good to me and I always make big deals out of nothing. What's worse is he blames himself. I can't stand it. I feel so bad. Why did he have to come back? Why couldn't he just forget about me? Stupid itchy chest... Stupid clothing... Stupid crocodiles... Stupid me...
Urnu, 100 - Evening, hr 12    
He left early, complaining about how he moves so much slower than I do. I had to stifle a giggle. I couldn't help it, it was just silly. Of course, I understood why he took so much more time to get places... the armor he wore was much heavier than my own, and I did make him carry my bookshelf before... I still can't help but smile when I hear his voice whining about how he "wasn't a pack animal, Elisa!"
After giving my pup Lamier some food and telling him to practice his gliding, I gripped my staff tightly. I didn't know if I'd be able to catch up to him, he'd gotten such an early start. But, as I started off, my staff keeping me from stumbling, I figured that if he got there first, he could explain to his family what had happened, and they might understand him. And if I got there first, I was sure I would stumble and stutter around words, unsure of what to say, of how to explain that I had unwittingly fallen in love with this silly man, who made me smile, who showed me that the world was still beautiful, who taught me how to swim, who allowed my constant teasing, who teased me right back, and endlessly frustrated me. I didn't know how I would tell them that I would be utterly lost without him. That I would have probably strayed back into the darkness that had enveloped me in a cold embrace when I was younger.
As I walked, my mind continued to wander. I was so easily distracted. Would they accept me? I was so different. I looked almost nothing like them, from my fingertips to my face, everything was different. I certainly wasn't as sturdy as them. Would they look on me with distaste? Would I disgust them with my existence? I hoped not... I shook my head lightly to dispel the despairing thoughts. I would prove to them that I was worthy of him. Worthy of the man who had caught my spirit in the palm of his work roughened hands. Worthy of Quarr.
Naur, 100 - Before dawn, hr 3    
Outside the house now, so many things to see! New family too! Mama had three more little sibs today, I hope they wake from the Dreaming and don't turn out like Gwen did. Dios has been sleeping for a while now, but mama says it will be ok. I hope so, I miss having him to play with.
Naur, 100 - Evening, hr 12    

She was glad to be going back to Heart Haven. The visit to Larkin and Kennas was joyous in some respects. She found all three sons there, happy, healthy and handsome as ever. But most surprising, she was reunited with her daughter Faerlin. Unfortunately she and her daughters relationship still seemed strained. She will never understand what she did to cause the girl to leave in the first place. Her only daughter, and their bond so distant. If she thought too much about it, she is brought to tears and so she puts those thoughts away, away with all the other sad ones she has been collecting over the years. The pile was large, well covered yet neglected. She couldn't go on and survive if she went through and sorted it out. She would become lost in it, never to return.

And so she thought of her Grandaughters, Nina and Luna Rose, the daughters of Faerlin and Larkin. The relationship there was an odd one too. Larkin had asked her to see if one of her sons would take Faerlin as a mate. She could tell her daughter would have none but Larkin, but she asked her sons anyway. This matchmaking scheme didn't work in the long run. She wished her daughter happiness but couldn't imagine it with someone who didn't love her. She couldn't imagine having children with someone that way. Her children were all an extension of a great love. She was so grateful to have had that, but devastated that it ended. There it was  again. One of the thoughts from the pile, falling off and rolling away, working its way to the front. She kicks it back under the covering.

Yes,Nina and Luna Rose, little Moonstones. That's what they were called there. The children of a Stoneshaper and a Moonkin. A pretty name for such beautiful children. This was a thought that made her happy. She had grandchildren, amazing. Of course they lived quite a journey away. Had Faerlin not left, maybe she would have had children with one of her brothers. Then her granddaughters would be with her every day. She could watch them grow. She did it again, let the sad thoughts out.

Packing the thought back, tucking the edges of the covering tightly, she thought of her sons again. They were coming to Heart Haven. Coming to help Elek and Ennea start their lives over and she hoped, maybe they could start fresh there too. They all seemed so displaced. Skyreach was like an empty shell now. No one wanted to live there, the ghosts of the past too overwhelming. She thought of all the work she and Zoan, her boys and the rest of the family had done to make it the beautiful place it was. There she went and did it again, must not have tucked the edge of the cover tightly enough. 

As she walked farther she could hear the distant sound of the river as it wound its way to Heart Haven. She loved the sound of it, the river and the name of this new place. Up here where the river started in the Mountain it was a wild thing, narrow, fast, loud and cold. By the time it made its way to Heart Haven, it slowed, running deep and warm. It's sound as it meandered past the little encampment soothing. Just like the place itself. She had great hope for their life there. The purpose and task she set herself on was working. It distracted her most times from that pile of sad thoughts and gave her a future she thought was gone. And there it was, she could see the little valley where her new home nestled in. She stood there, leaning against a tree with a small smile for a little while, finally, adjusting her pack, she made her way down the mountainside and to her new home.




Gurtha, 100 - Before dawn, hr 2    
Having spent several hours staring at the small figure approaching from the west in anxious expectation, she had finally fallen into an uneasy sleep. When she broke free of her usual nightmares and opened her eyes with a dizzy blink, she noticed that she had missed Quarr's arrival and that he was already sitting in front of her. At first, she wanted to curse herself for having fallen asleep even though she had to take care of something of such outmost importance to stop the cycle of death and sadness in her family.

But then she understood that it wasn't too late yet, that she had woken up at the right time to keep the promise she had given to Velas. She was nervous, her palms moist with sweat as she simply stared at her brother for some time before words slowly started to form in her mind to be pronounced by her still rough and sleepy voice. "Quarr... it... good to see you, brother."

He seemed to be in a lighthearted mood and replied with a smile. "It is good to see you too, Sister, you are looking better. Though, your leg did not heal correctly?"

A slight grimace appeared on her face at the mention of her leg. "I... am not sure about that. We... forgot to put the splint back up after we had taken it off at the lake, so Elisa just made me a new one." Their chatter only postponed the conversation they should really have, but she still didn't know how to start it and felt her hands getting even more clammy. A nervous chuckle escaped her lips. "And actually I thought I would look worse with that new scratch right in the middle of my face."

The next thing she felt was Tasir's hand in hers and she was incredibly thankful to have him near when he sat down next to her. "Hello, love... How are you feeling?" Returning the gentle pressure of his hand, she pulled him closer for a short moment and touched his cheek with her lips. "I missed you." She felt him return her caress, first kissing a spot right below her ear, then spreading more kisses over her neck. "I missed you too. And I'm sorry for all the sleeping, I'm just.. tired from all the traveling."

Her whisper was quiet enough for only Tasir to hear it. "But it is good you are awake now. Please... stay with me, yes?" "I'll always be with you, love." His closeness made her feel stronger and she didn't want to let go of him, but knew she had to for the sake of her whole family. So she reluctantly pulled back a bit from Tasir to look at Quarr, her voice now much more stable than earlier. "Quarr, I... think we have to talk."

Her brother looked at her with mild surprise, obviously sensing her inner tension. "Sure Sis, what do you want to talk about?" "I..." A bit of her earlier nervousness returned and she quickly cleared her throat. "I am not quite sure how to start this." Even though she had thought thoroughly about the words she would choose, everything simply seemed to have been erased from her mind now. But then she remembered the promise she had given her sister, remembered what was at risk and felt a new determination arise within her.

The words almost seemed to flow automatically as she spoke with a quiet and soft, but unhesitant voice, keeping her eyes glued to Quarr. "Our family had to go through a lot, probably nobody knows this better than you. And... well... what all of us need most right now, is just... a new start, leaving the past behind us and start a new, happier life without all of... that violence and sadness. It is our task to make this happen, to stop it now, because... if we not stop it, it would continue on and on forever without any chance of escape for anyone because there would always be somebody seeking revenge. This... would be no solution, it would help nobody, bring nobody back, just bring more sadness over our family."

Her words only seemed to have increased Quarr's confusion. "And this is in relation to what, Trisa? Did we not leave the mountain with our new respective partners?"

Quarr's words made her flash a short glance at Tasir and she couldn't help, but smile a little. "Yes, we did. And this is why I hope that you can... let the past rest and... forget about the anger and simply start anew." Unsure about how Quarr would react, she shifted her position and got ready to stand up despite her injured leg if she should have to. "Please... give all of us a chance to finally find peace and happiness." She barely recognized how her eyes were drawn towards the mine Velas was hiding in and as soon as she noticed it, she quickly forced her gaze onto the ground, not to give away her sister's hiding place.

Inhaling deeply, she looked back into Quarr's eyes and then finally revealed to him what all of this was about, her voice bearing more intensity than before. "Velas is here, Quarr." Waiting for her brother's reaction, she heard her heart beat and then heard him say what she hadn't dared to hope after she had had to witness so much violence in their family. "And?"

For some moments, she was unable to react, then simply felt overwhelming relief and let her body sink back into a more relaxed position, still not able to believe completely that everything should turn out well without any problems. "And she... is afraid of you, she almost paniced when I mentioned your name. I... had a hard time convincing her not to run away again and I... promised her not to let you get near before I have talked to you."

Quarr's frown quickly dispelled some of her relief and replaced it by a feeling of guilt while she listened to her brother's words. "Whatever my feelings towards the woman who murdered my wife, I wise enough to know killing her or attempting to kill her in revenge will not bring any peace to what happened, Trisa." His frown even deepened and the hurt he felt was obvious in his eyes. "It warms me to think my sister though I had to be waylaid at the entrance to my son's home incase I went on a slaughter spree." He threw a short and dark look at Larkin. "A warm welcome you have here, son."

Her face turned pale and she dwindled away on the rock she was sitting on with a quiet sigh. She had never meant to hurt Quarr, never wanted to make anybody of her family unhappy, but yet managed to do it over and over again. If only the remembrance of Quarr lifting his axe over Vinnet's head to blow off the last spark of life in their maddened brother's body hadn't refused to stop haunting her mind, she wouldn't have offended Quarr by her unfounded worries about him harming Velas.

"Quarr, I... simply not was sure how you would react. I had hoped it would be this way, but I not dared to trust my hopes after all that has happened to our family because my hopes have proven wrong so often in the past." Closing her eyes, she shook her head sadly. "Trust me, I not meant to hurt you by... waiting for you here. You are my brother and I love you. There just was too much at risk for simply trusting my inner voice that had been wrong too often." Her voice got weak and quiet and she still avoided to look at Quarr. "I... am sorry, please not be angry at me now."

He didn't bother to look up and instead started to scribble into the book he always carried with him while he replied: "She is the one who ruined lives, not I. I will not be that man."

Why had everything gone so wrong again, why did she always fail when she tried to bring comfort and peace to her family? If Quarr would now hate her, she would have to live with this, but she had to try at least not to let any more harm come to the relationship between Quarr and his son if anything else was lost. "Please, even less be angry at Larkin. None of this was his idea, he was... looking forward to see you and introduce all the little ones to you. Not blame him for this, he had nothing to do with it." Sighing another time, she lowered her voice to a whisper. "I... I know what she did and I will never forget it, believe me. But I also know the pain she felt, even if I would never have reacted in the same way she did."

"Pain is no excuse." Quarr paused only for a little moment. "I am not angry, Trisa... you misjudge me." Obviously, she had managed to say the wrong thing again and it pained her so much that she almost didn't dare to look back up into his eyes, an insecure expression in her own. "Then... help me not to misjudge you any longer. If not angry, then... what are you?"

"Disappointed? Somewhat slighted perhaps? Velas, the murderer, is inside while I out here, just arriving, have been treated like an undesirable."

"What?" All of this was wrong, so wrong! "No, you... you never were undesirable!" In the same moment, Larkin woke up and ran towards Quarr to embrace him stormily, almost causing both of them to fall to the ground and nearly crushing Quarr's book between them. Watching a soft grin appear on Quarr's face at his son's welcome, she whispered: "See? I... was looking forward to meeting you, too. And it not only was Velas I was worried about, it also was you. Please try to understand me... I... never was able to prevent any of the things that happened and I never would have thought of them happening in advance. Even if I not was convinced something would happen now, I could never have forgiven myself if it had, so I... just had to talk to you, do what I never could in the past. Really, I not wanted to hurt or disappoint you." Trying to hide the sadness in her eyes from her brother, she quickly looked back at the grass under her feet, murmuring quietly: "I will... just go inside if you want to be alone with Larkin and his little ones."

Smiling at his grandchildren, Quarr barely took notice of her any longer, but answered: "You have no need to leave, Sis." It was Larkin who finally saved the situation by saying: "Stop with the hurt feelings... she has good reason to think you might react badly.. How many dragons did you kill when Mou-Mou died?" "When Mou-Mou was murdered," Quarr corrected before answering his son's earlier question: "I have three fire breathers and one ice dragon under my belt now."

She opened her mouth, wanted everything to be good again, wanted her brother to look at her with warmth in his eyes again, but didn't know what to say to undo the damage she had inflicted on their relationship. So she simply closed her mouth again without using any more miserable words that would only increase the damage. Despite her injury, her feet carried her towards Quarr shakily and she had to use both of her arms to keep her balance on her way there, but finally reached him. Wrapping her arms around him, she whispered the only words that came to her mind: "I'm sorry."

His face softened at once as he returned her embrace with a gentle movement of his arms, his voice now sounding warm again as he spoke to her. "You should trust in your family more." Thankful to the Spirit that her brother was so forgiving to her, she leaned her head against Quarr's shoulder, still only whispering: "Just... give me some time after all that has happened and I will regain my trust."

A quick movement caught her attention when Larkin waved at his father excitedly. "Come on inside, I'll introduce you to the rest of my family.." Softly squeezing her hand, Quarr smiled at her and she felt a sudden relief of such intensity that a wide smile formed on her own lips when he said: "Excuse me, I have little ones to meet!"

Larkin nodded in her direction with the same smile on his face, then looked at his father. "Give me a hand, we'll carry her in. She's going straght to the feather bed by the oven to rest..." Then she felt how her body was lifted and how her feet left the grassy ground as Quarr took her into his arms. "Lead on Son, I'll take care of Trisa."

Maybe everything could turn out well after all. But why did that nagging feeling that something bad was about to happen still refuse to vanish? It remained with her for the rest of the day and when she was still not able to shake this irrational fear off in the evening, she felt weak, she felt cold, she longed for some warmth and solace, longed for Tasir's closeness and quietly murmured to him: "Please hold me while I sleep."

"I would love to." When he slowly laid down next to her in the soft bed, let his hand run over her arm, his fingers emitting his warmth to her before pulling her close to his body, safely holding her in his arms, it should be the last moment of comfort she would get for a long time. "Sleep well, Trisa."
Gurtha, 100 - Evening, hr 11    

She walked into the camp to see Elek sitting by Ennea, who was fast asleep. Excited to be there, she chattered on about her visit, her daughter, grandchildren and of course her sons. After a moment, as she was catching her breath, she took a good look at him and felt foolish. He was obviously upset and saddened by something. When she asked him what was wrong, he beckoned her into his tent. There he told her of something he did, something terrible that he was ashamed of and horrified by. She sat still and listened, trying not to let her face show how stunned she was by his confession. As he talked on and she thought more about it, she could see how something like that could happen. There was no excuse for it, but she could see how it could happen. She could also see his deep remorse. There was a decision to be made. Could she live here, bring her sons to this place and make a life knowing this man did this thing? This is what he asked of her, could she live here knowing what he did.

An action such as that can never be forgiven, but it was not up to her to give him forgiveness. That was up to someone else. His deed was something he himself would have to deal with for the rest of his life. She had wanted this to work so badly. This place called to her heart. And so she went with her heart and said yes. She would forget what he told her and go on. They would all go on to heal in this Haven of broken hearts.


Lasse, 100 - Before dawn, hr 2    
I've finished the cane for Trisa. I even made the handle so that it would be easier to grip, with grooves for each finger. And, because I was distracted, I accidentally ran my claws down the sides. So I made a pattern from it.

This should help her move around with that broken leg of hers... as long as she doesn't put too much weight on it and doesn't try to take the birch splint and bark wrapping off, it should heal alright. It looked like it would hold, but I've never treated anything like this before. It makes me nervous, so I hope she'll listen to me when I tell her to stay in bed for a while. I know she wasn't listening very well to Larkin, but maybe she'll listen if its both of us telling her.

But I'll keep an eye on her as best I can, anyways, just to make sure. I don't want her to wander off if she doesn't have too, and the cane should really only be used when she absolutely has to move, and she has no choice. And even then, she should ask for some help moving around. I feel so uncertain about my treatment, it makes me nervous and I feel like I'm watching after Anisa and making sure she doesn't do something that will hurt her chances of healing properly...

I hope it heals quickly.
Vasa, 100 - Midnight, hr 1    
Chapter 1: Perhapses

The young boy stood at the center of the sea of grass, his wide eyes roving across the seemingly endless horizon. He could see faint things in the distance, but little he could actually make out.

A call came out from across the grasses and he twisted to see the shouter. It was his mother calling him and his siblings to dinner. Setting off at a dash the boy ran to the awaiting fried fish and wheat pudding. Sliding in to a stop, the boy quickly starts devouring his dinner.

With a glance he see's his siblings sitting down to eat next to him as well, with less gusto of course. There was his younger sister Ilysa who seemed to always be friendly and kind to all, annoying to the boy. Then there Noah who always seemed to have many questions and then his youngest sister Sirana who was very quiet. His strangest brother Simeon was also there, with his strange white fur and red eyes.

As the grease from the fish dribbles down his chin, the boy asks his father "Papa. what out there?" he asks as he sweeps his hand across the horizon, "It goes on sooooo long."

His father smiled and began to tell him about the land that Aten scortched and how beyond it lay his own home of Magrathea. He then told the boy with a nod to his mother "Your mother is from Nefarka to the east". He continued on by telling the boy of the strange lands of Nolja to the west and strange swamps. Such strange words he uses that the boy does not understand, yet he continues to listen curiously.

"Perhaps you will see some of these lands, Kain, when you are older."

Perhaps he may, the boy named Kain thought to himself for only a brief moment before he looks to Ilysa and shouts loudly.

"I bet I can beat you to the river Il-sa!" the boy shouts as he rises and makes a dash for it, his little legs pumping as he runs.

Perhapses are for the future, not today.
Vasa, 100 - Midday, hr 7    
Voices permeated her sleep, something of Helenite traveling east. It made no sense, she was much too young to walk long distances with her short legs, only just having learned to walk. What did you do to Hele! Something was wrong with this, but her sleepy mind didn't manage to break free, only left her with an underlying feeling that something horrible had happened.

The feeling still didn't vanish when she finally woke up to find Tasir gone and her heart felt like being clasped by an icy claw as she looked around through the cavern, the faces of everyone there seemingly darkened by sorrow. She still hadn't gained her full control over her voice back after her sleep, so it sounded hoarse when she quietly asked: "What... is wrong? Where is Tasir?"

It was Quarr who responded, his voice not giving away anything of what had happened. "Outside I think." His answer made soft wrinkles appear on her forehead. Why had Tasir left her alone? He must have sensed how much she needed him right now, why did he make her wake up without him nevertheless, took away the safety the closeness of his body gave her? No less raspy than before, her voice sounded through the cavern, so full of life and yet it was so silent in there. "But... why has he left?" Her gaze met all of the saddened faces around her again. And there was something else, something... darker. "And... still something is wrong, isn't it? I can sense it." Spotting the injuries on her niece's body, she added quietly and with surprise: "Kenna... you are hurt."

Then Quarr finally revealed to her what she hadn't been able to understand earlier. He put the pieces together and suddenly everything made sense. "She..took care of Citiro it seems." It took some seconds until the meaning of his words reached her completely and her whole body trembled in the shock. "T-took care? No... NO! Please tell me he is not dead."

She barely noticed her brother's silent nod, the thoughts racing through her mind at this news. It hadn't been Quarr's and Velas' meeting, it was Citiro's death she should have prevented! He was only a young boy and even if he was doing terrible things to some of his younger siblings, the deep love he always showed towards Helenite was a clear proof that he could not have been a demon. Kenna had killed her son. The darkness had reached this peaceful hill, she had brought it with her, she had doomed her niece's family by coming here.

She had spoken to the boy before, had had the feeling she could reach him, bring the childish, yet cruel arguments between him and his siblings to an end, make him stop the violence against his rivals for his parents' attention. But she had failed, again, had been wavering for too long, had put all of her efforts into the completely wrong thing by thinking Quarr would try to harm Velas. If she had been sent back from the halls to stop this which clearly had to be Eteni's doing, she had forsaken the Great Spirit by failing to accomplish what he had chosen her for.

It felt as if the stone of the mine above her would be crashing down on her, burying her and the rest of her family in darkness never to see the light again. Not even Tasir's return could penetrate this darkness, he was not able to stop everything from falling apart within her and around her. Larkin walked back into the mine with him and seemed to be completely shattered by his son's death.

He looked at her, his eyes reflecting her own sentiments and his voice just as weak as his body looked. "It's happening here... I thought I could keep it from happening here too..." She couldn't suppress new tears any longer as she simply replied with an unstable voice: "I know..."

Seeing the desperation in her nephew's eyes, recognizing the fear in the faces of the remaining children, her body suddenly accessed a strength that wasn't really there, held her up with an artifical reserve far beyond its limits of resilience. Not even Tasir leaving her alone again when she embraced her nephew and her brother to give them the comfort nobody gave her could take it away from her.

She felt numb inside, the next days blurred like a part of a terrible nightmare as she strained her weakened and neglected body further than she had ever done before, in the desperate try to be there for everybody who needed her, not eating, not sleeping, not allowing herself a single moment of rest. The sound of her crutch hitting the ground was her constant companion, Larkin and Elisa now obviously having given up on telling her to stay in the bed.

Tasir wasn't there for her, even when she tried following him to talk to him, he simply ran away again, fled into the darkness of the abandoned tunnels without telling her what had caused this change in his behavior, what made him act as if he had never really loved her and as if everything had only been a lie, an illusion caused by two desperate souls in need of comfort. "Have you... left my side in the bed before or after it happened?" "Before..."

Velas interrupted their conversation, obviously having overslept everything that had happened. So she simply fell back into her automatic reaction of trying to be there for her, talked with her sister all the night, even allowed herself to share some of her own sorrow with her for she seemed to understand her better than anybody else could.

The cryptic sentence with which Tasir had left her shortly after Velas' arrival outside kept spinning around in her head all the time. "There is a cycle going on..." She couldn't find a single second of peace without knowing what he meant by this, even after her family seemed to have calmed down enough for her to finally get some rest.

So she followed him readily into the dark tunnels as soon as he asked: "Trisa.. can we talk alone.. I mean -just- me and you?", even if fear sent chills through her whole body, her mind imagining to hear his voice as he told her he loved her no longer, had never really loved her, didn't want to be with her any longer.

Tasir didn't care to help her through the tunnels, walked through them in a speed she could impossibly keep pace with, being dependent on the crutch Elisa had made her. So her free hand fidgeted through the air wildly in her attempt to keep her balance while following him as quickly as possible, almost not able to distinguish the blackness of his body from the darkness of the tunnel any longer.

He led her into an empty cavern that had a dim source of light for those working inside, some unfinished tunnel constructs visible in the walls. In expectancy of what he would be about to say, she didn't dare to step out of the tunnel's shadow completely, letting light and darkness draw intricate patterns on her pale face. Her hands started to tremble, so she enclosed the crutch's handle tightly with her left one while burrowing her right one into the tunnel wall.

She was completely unprepared for the question he then asked and it hit her in pure surprise. "Trisa... you're not falling for Quarr too, are you?" For some seconds, she was unable to do or say anything. At the same time relieved that he didn't tell her what she thought he would and filled with intense disbelief about how he could ever think something like this, she was no longer able to keep her conflicting emotions under control and a helpless chuckle escaped her lips. "What? By the spirit, so this is what... all of this is about?"

Noticing the moisture and pain in his eyes, her heart ached a little and she stepped out of the shadow of the tunnel as quickly as she was able to, feeling the urge to comfort him, to make him feel better again. The crutch slid out of her fingers and she put her hand on his arm instead. "Tasir, Quarr is my brother and I love him as such, as I love all of my family. Nothing more and nothing less."

Both of her arms wound around his body and she pulled him towards her, held him like she had longed to be held during all the last days. A short memory of the lake arose in her mind, of them giving their bondmate promises to each other. I promise you that I will always stand by your side, Trisa. That I will be there to pick you up while you're down. To heal your wounds... physical or emotional. I will always be there to keep you warm at night, to make you feel secure.

That this was exactly what he hadn't done in the last days didn't make her feel bitter, merely sad. She let her head rest against his shoulder, her next words only a hoarse whisper. "How could you only get such an idea? Do you really think a promise I give would mean so little? Do you really think everything I told you was only a lie?" I promise you to always care for you, Tasir. I want to be with you forever, never leave you, always be there for you and do anything to let you finally get the happiness you deserve.

By looking down, he hid his eyes from her, only showing her the frown on his forehead. He didn't instantly return her embrace, hesitating with a sigh before finally wrapping his arms around her. "It started the same way with Elisa though... and she made a promise to me too, only to throw it away for him..." She felt the welcome weight of his chin on her head and couldn't see how he closed his eyes before continuing to speak. "I don't know... I'm just..." A new sigh from him echoed through the cavern.

Gently pulling him closer to herself and caressing his back with the tips of her fingers, she whispered: "Tasir... please... not believe something like that. It is..." She couldn't suppress another chuckle against his shoulder, still relieved that the only problem between them seemingly was a non-existent one. "Really, it is ridiculous, I never thought about Quarr in that way and certainly never will. I embrace all of my siblings and friends." Trying to show him how absurd it was to have any doubts about her feelings for him, she leaned backwards to look into his eyes and let her fingers glide over his chin and cheeks. "I love you. Truly. Deeply. Forever. Tasir, nothing in the world can make me stop loving you and I will never leave you unless you want me to. Not even Elek could make me leave you any longer. Even if he would suddenly show up here and told me he wanted me back, I would stay with you."

It was the first time she had told him this, had retracted her earlier statement that Elek would have been her first choice if he still would have wanted her. So it hurt her even more that it seemed to mean nothing at all to Tasir as he simply kept muttering on about Quarr with a deep frown: "Well I'm glad my insecurity is your amusement.. I love you too Trisa, I really do. But I don't like your brother, Trisa... I mean that's how it all started with Elisa. She stopped talking with me so much, spent time with every one else, and eventually left me for Quarr... I really don't feel comfortable around the guy."

She felt a sudden anger emerge within her. "That guy is still my brother and I still intend to spend time with my family in the future... or at least with what is left of it." How could he do that to her even though he knew what she had given up, how many persons she had lost? He really couldn't be serious with this. A child had died and he actually was standing here to tell her she shouldn't spend so much time with her family? "I was fearing for both Quarr's and Velas' lives, I was completely shattered after Citiro's death, but I tried to be strong for the others, even though I not knew how to bear it myself." Swallowing heavily, she stared at him with a certain coldness in her eyes."You left me when I would have needed you most and now you really want to blame me for spending time with my family in the desperate try to not let everything fall apart here like it has at the mountain?"

They kept yelling accusations at each other for what felt like an eternity and it hurt her more than the frost wyrm which had almost killed her could have done. She couldn't believe this was happening, couldn't believe that suddenly everything should have changed again, that he wasn't the caring man she had fallen in love with any longer. It was almost tangible to her how their love broke apart more and more with every word they spoke. Her body's reaction to everything in the last time seemed to be crying, and even though she didn't want it, she felt tears of desperation trickle down her face. So this was what she had put Elek and Ennea through so much suffering for? If only she had died.

Her tears still seemed to reach him and he placed a hand under her chin to guide her gaze back to his with a tender movement, showing her the moisture in his own eyes, his voice now quiet again. "Trisa... I'm sorry..." He closed his eyes for a short moment before continuing to speak. "Maybe I should just go visit my family for a bit... I don't want to hurt you."

No matter how much he had hurt her, she still loved him and couldn't bear the thought of seeing him travel away without her. Her anger vanished as quickly as it had appeared and she weakly felt for his hand, her own voice only a cracked whisper. "Do you really want to go?" Not breaking their eye-contact for a second, he shook his head with a quiet sigh. "No, I don't, but it will give things time to cool off?" Now averting his gaze, he added very quietly: "I don't know."

Letting go of his hand, she lifted hers to his chin instead to cautiously bring his gaze back to her in the same manner he had done before, her voice now sounding very soft. "I... not want to keep you from seeing your grandchildren... I will probably not see mine and... it feels terrible to know that. But in the second you leave without me I would feel like dying, Tasir. I... not want things to cool off between us."

In his sorrow, the red of his eyes seemed darker than normally, but still glowed in the dimly lit cavern. "I didn't mean our relationship, I just meant the hurt and anger..." He paused, his eyes gliding over her face before finally stating: "Trisa, I don't think I want to settle here..."

Feeling as if she was frozen, she couldn't move. So he was forcing her to decide between him and the last bit of family she still had? But she had already made that choice a long time ago, had followed this way too far to now retreat, to let go of him. He should know what pain he caused her by forcing her to go through this again, but it didn't keep him from it. How could he do this to her if he really loved her? She barely heard her own reply. "Do you... still want to settle with me?"

The touch of his hand on her cheek suddenly didn't seem to bring any warmth to her any longer. "Of course I do, Trisa. I love you and there's still nothing I would want more than that." She didn't know how to bear the pain, how to bear the guilt of leaving her family again, so her voice was trembling. "Where... do you want to settle?"

He brought his lips to her forehead, but they only left a spot of numbness instead of the prickling feeling they used to evoke in her not so long ago. "I don't know... somewhere nice and calm... relaxing..." Her face stayed completely empty when she asked with a lifeless voice: "Can you stand it long enough here to... let me say goodbye to everyone?" "Of course.. Though I think I'm just going to continue to work on the mines for a little bit."

So he would leave her alone with the sadness again and continue to hide in the tunnels. With the last bit of her strength, she stumbled outside, only to collapse amidst her family and friends, barely feeling Velas' hand around hers as her neglected body eventually took its toll and brought blackness over her for several hours.
Vasa, 100 - Afternoon, hr 8    
Adults get all fun.
"Don't do this, don't do that."
Why meaning is there to live if all there are is to obey rules of others?
Not allowed to make food for self, adults taking away nuts and berries when Astin try to act grown up.
Not allowed to keep knife, adults come treathen Astin.
All I wanted was to make some food for myself and my sister. To make nice things for my sister.
Yet all adults say is, "Folke too little. Folke not do that, Folke not do this."
Bha, Astin not want be Folke if he not can do anything but eat and sleep.
No fun live in place where all others only sleep or tell you that you are not allowed to do things.

I told Astra that I will leave today.
Made her promise not to tell the others.
I know they think me too young to travel, but I feel I am the right age.
My wings carry me now, they have no reason to stop me from leaving.
They have for sure not done anything to make me feel like I belong at this place.
Ringwe, 100 - Afternoon, hr 8    
Kis challenged us, all of her girl things and I was the one triumphant. I built our first shelter, our hide home. It took much time and Kis helped, but I think, I think most of all, she knows I am the most clever of her children.

Ringwe, 100 - Afternoon, hr 9    
Both of his sisters, Bella and Amora, were dead. Like his parents, they had been taken by the Stone God. The Stone God also took most of Bella's children and all of the iron from Malric's mine. Maybe He took Nissa too, if Jeuno didn't. All of this taking must mean that He would give them something, didn't it?
Malric thought so, and tried to make it easy for the Stone God. He mined for two years straight, waiting for the gift. Valoril told him to stop and rest, stop and eat, but he couldn't. He had to keep mining so that he could find what the Stone God would give. Maybe it was illogical, but Malric had never been very bright.
This hadn't stopped him in the past. Malric had been the Delver who discovered the Folke, and brought some of them to live in the mine. It was only because of him that Falthen had met Willow, and been able to start a family. Only because of him that Titus had gotten himself steel armor with which he no doubt impressed the other Folke.
So perhaps Malric had already received his gift from the Stone God. That could be why the Stone God took him too, even after all that mining. Because Malric was now dead as well. He would join the rest of the Belurs, his family, in the vault of the Stone God.
Kuile, 101 - Before dawn, hr 2    
I feel the cold beneath my feet, through my softmoccasins. They feel nice on my feet, but I need to get used to feeling the coldthroughthem. I can feel the wood of the crossbow in my hands, and the smoothbone covering my body and the hardbone covering my head. Mother had to help me put on the hardbone so that it didn't cover my face. I might not be able to see, but I can still feel the windonmyface. I don't like not feeling that. I listenquietly, hearing loudfeet and softfeet running and walking through the crunchycold.
I raise the roughwood of the crossbow and make sure the bolt is where it needs to be, my fingers groping around to make sure.
I listen for a few more seconds, my muscles tightening and bunching up as I prepare to fire, allowing my body to follow the sounds of the softfeet of the longthinsoft weasel.
The recoil of the bow hits my shoulder hard. It hurtsthrobs, and I don't like it. But I have to listen to the whistlingarrow as it sings through the windfriend. It makes a loudthud as it hits something, but it doesn't sound like a longthinsoft weasel like the one I aimed for...
It sounds softbigskin like me... and sure enough, the softfeet I hear are runningfast through the crunchycold again.
I shiverscared and move forward to find what I hit. I reach a spot and hear the fastbreathing of someone I recognize: my brother. I flinch in horror of my actions, sitting down and wrapping my lankyarms around my longlegs before burying my coldface in my hardboneknees.
I shot my brother.
Rosa, 101 - Midnight, hr 1    
Excerpts From A Silk-Bound Manuscript

Page 10 Losse, 101

I went back to the canyon with Eli. It was a stupid idea. There are so many babies here. They are so dirty, and so loud, and so tiny. It's easy not to step on them when you can't move though. Eli has been distant, he doesn't seem to like me. I think he is still angry from before. We were suppose to make a sword, but he doesn't want to anymore.

I don't know what's wrong with me. I hate this place. No one talks to me here. It's funny... I've never seen more Noljeni before in my life, but I still feel alone. How can that be? There must be something wrong with me. I hope someone sees me soon. They all are so far away, and no matter how fast I run I fall farther behind.
Urnu, 101 - Midday, hr 6    
After what seemed like forever it was finished.

A house of their very own.

I was something she'd dreamed about when she was younger, when Narin asked what she thought about bondmates - a nice house, a safe place to raise pups, with plenty of food, love, and warmth.

And with the hands of her bondmates and dearest Illesa, it was finally complete. Solid walls of stone, safe inside the city gates, away from the blazing heat and fearful creatures that lurked inside the mines. Illesa had brought them a table, a rug, and plenty of materials for bedding. It was more than she could ask.

"It's perfect."
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