Instincts of Blue Part 7

Forests of Eyulf: Instincts of Blue

by Tammy



See Part 1

Comments are welcome and appreciated. I can be reached at A big thanks to Day for her editing and for her gentle instruction along the way.

"Eyulf Home"

Blue grasses ripple on sunrise's breeze.
Morning's tapestry of orange and yellows,
Soil ‘neath my feet, richest of black:
My god given home I sacredly honor.
Pines stretched high reaching the sky;
Their fragrant perfumes sweeten the air.
Showers of moonbeams, fields of stars:
My god given home I reverently value.
Stench of death, blood stained earth;
Wasteland of ashes, riches laid bare.
My vision reflects to the rippling grass.
My god given home I will reclaim and defend.


Chapter 31

The soft body on top of her shifted her legs, unconsciously pressing a soft knee to Zya's groin.

The leader of the Blacks blinked, the moonlight reflecting in her blue eyes. Her flower instantly swelled, and she arched it to contact her mate’s knee, already feeling her flower pulse with need. Her hips seemed to move of their own volition, her movements teasing her mate's green eyes to open drowsily. "Move with me, my little she-wolf," she whispered aloud, maneuvering the young woman's hips ‘til they too moved in tender lovemaking. Pumping, Zya brushed the rolling sweat off of her face, before flicking a finger across the sleepy blonde’s flower petals. The half-Ulf moved involuntarily closer to the blue-eyed she-wolf, drawn into Zya’s sexual energy.


At the sound of Brielle's love cries, the highly aroused Lupus moved both her hips and fingers

faster. "Shower me with your love juice, sweet Brielle," Zya crooned in a low whisper. "Let

your body join me in ecstasy." Brielle's arms held stiffly to Zya's shoulders, answering her mate's

movements with those of her own. The forest-eyed half-Ulf's small cry resonated in Zya's being.

With a stiffening shudder, Zya came as well, her wolf cry rising above all the sounds of the night.

The leader of the Blacks tenderly stroked her mate’s long blond tresses, lulling her young

lifemate back to sleep. Under Zya's soft touch, Brielle sighed peacefully, her body spent and satiated. Zya smiled as she felt Brielle burrow her cheek into the half-Ulf's favorite spot, Zya's large, toned breasts. The Lupus closed her eyes, serenely at peace. Early morning songbirds testified to dawn's approach.

Zya knew this would be a demanding day. She would need to act upon the escalating violence between the Reds and Blacks. Instinct, also told her that the days of Nadirea's half-hearted defense of their settlements were over and would turn to offense. She tried to relax her mind, but could not help but remember Nadirea's aggression during her mother's reign. It was cruel and aggressive ‘til Nadirea's leader had died in the fighting. Nadirea’s prince, after his father's violent death, had taken a more pacifistic approach to the wolves in the forest. He cared more for the safety within Nadirea, telling his people that his primary responsibility was to protect the wolves from encroachment by Nadireans. To those who sought to settle in the forest, he could only offer so much support. Inwardly, she wondered if the man cared too much for his feasting and personal pleasures.

Zya shifted, rubbing her mate’s buttocks, lovingly trying to coax her body into joining Brielle’s in peaceful

rest. But her skin felt the tingle of the impending perils to come. The same day she had saved Brielle from the jaws of Drad, her spies had told her of the growing undercurrent of discontent in Nadirea. She had realized then that it was merely a matter of time. She watched the sunrise and closed her eyes, shifting her busy mind to concentrate on the commitment she had made to this green-eyed blonde in her arms. Taking on a mate was always a time of adjustment for the couple. Brielle's physical needs, her emotional development and settling her into the Blacks would be very demanding on her time.

Her musing was interrupted by Brielle’s flower nest tickling her stomach. Zya smiled and kissed the top of her love’s blonde head.

Brielle and I will need Mother and Sierra in the days ahead, Zya thought to herself. And Brielle must never know of her past; I won't lose her to them, she continued in her thoughts.

Zya settled her mind, deciding to meditate to start this full day. Her habit was usually to practice her human fighting skills at dawn and then meditate. But this morning, with Brielle's smaller, soft, warm body on top of hers, she decided to mediate here, resting in the comfort of her mate's naked body. Still, she kept her ears open, and kept a listening open to the activity that was rising with the coming of dawn.

"Lieutenant? What is so pressing that you must intrude upon Zya and her new mate so early this dawn?" Reina spoke, sipping on her early morning coffee. She had risen with the sun, knowing full well she and Sierra might need to run interference to ensure that the new mates would have the freedom of waking up leisurely.


"Well there is news from Nadirea, and Zya has always expected my report at dawn, " Kern spoke, handing the scroll to the older Blue. He had intended to hand the parchment to Zya ‘til he noted the older Blue’s

unspoken command with her outstretched hand. He awkwardly focused on a white ferret that sat at Reina's booted feet, watching him intently in return.

Reina's blue eyes moved back and forth across the parchment, reading the scroll. The only overt

expression she allowed herself was a faint nod. "I want this verified, Kern. Have the spies go into Nadirea, immediately," Reina spoke, rolling up the scroll.

"Contact them by message hawk?" the burly man asked, his eyes already directing his second

to attend him.

Reina nodded and answered, "Send Skyracer, he's the fastest flier, and tell them I expect an expedient report.

Thanks, Mom, Zya thought to herself, pulling the fur blanket a little higher up Brielle’s back.

She relaxed. Knowing that her mother was on top of things, Zya felt her body settling more comfortably into the furs


For a time she lay that way, floating between sleep and wakefulness. The sounds of insistent footsteps wakened her senses once more. She kept her eyes closed though because she could distinguish her second mother’s footsteps following the first set.

"I tell you, Sierra, I must know the truth. " Freya, Nali's sister, spoke emotionally. "My sister's name has not been spoken since she left here to take a Nadirean mate. "

Sierra put her arm around the emotional woman and gently steered her away from the mating platform.

"Freya, Brielle does need her family, and will need you in the times ahead." Sierra spoke quietly, steering, Freya towards the Kildyr. Sierra dusted off her buckskin pants and settled on a fallen tree. Not speaking, she unlaced her buckskin vest, letting the morning sun kiss her breasts.

"This was Nali's spot."

"Yes," Sierra spoke simply, taking Freya's hand in a tender gesture. "Freya?" Sierra squeezed

the other woman's hand. "Reina told me last night after the ceremony, that Brielle has no memory of the past. For your niece's sake, no matter how tempting, you must not require answers of her that she herself does not know."

"It is so much of a shock seeing Nali’s face in her," Freya spoke. She pushed her dark blonde hair off her shoulder and watched the waters. "Sierra, thank you, I feel calmer now. I see now that I was thinking of my own grief, ignoring the command of the Order of the Blue to keep silent about Brielle's

mixed parentage. I also did not consider my niece's well being."

"You honor your sister's memory with your concern about her child."

"Sierra, I wish the silence and secrets of my sister's exile could be lifted. Then truly would my spirit find rest."

Sierra nodded without speaking. She, too, questioned Zya’s decision to selectively tell Brielle certain things, while concealing others. Secrets always were revealed in their own time. She only hoped Zya did

not let her mate discover her past by accident

Hearing Sierra’s words, Zya frowned. Maybe after a time, she would tell Brielle of her past. Brielle’s whole life is a secret to her. I must go gently with her, for both our sakes, she thought. Zya heard the wisdom in Freya and Sierra’s words. In this short span of time, this creature in Zya’s arms had come to mean more to her than the clan itself. This feeling had only been solidified more with their union last moonrise. Brielle deserved her past, but Zya was determined that Brielle would have a solid handle on the present first. The leader of the Blacks groaned at hearing the elders and her mother in discussion.



The sun was an orange ball over the horizon. Pushing unwanted thoughts from her mind,

she conjured a warm mental blanket and wrapped it around her mate. She expected that the

elders would show up soon. And she was going to do her best to ensure that the fulfilling of the mating customs would pass quickly and not upset her fragile-hearted mate.


Teldar nodded at his peers on the council of elders, while at the same time making eye contact

with his sister out of the corner of his eye. He knew a talk with Kern, especially one so early,

would be of great importance. At the moment, it was certainly more pressing than the bunch of old men adamant about not merely following the letter of the mating laws, but also their interpretation of the customs. Teldar expected his new niece-by-bonding was undergoing enough change in her life without being awakened by a bunch of staring strangers hovering around her at early dawn. He had also seen his sister's daughter’s strong protectiveness since she had carried Brielle into camp, bleeding in her arms. Zya would be livid, he mused.


"Custom dictates that the cloth of innocence, with its virginal mate's blood, be inspected by the council elders and then declared proof of true possession"

"At first light," another added.

"Then properly displayed for all," chimed in a third.

"I don't think the Lupus and her new Lupi have stirred yet, gentlemen, do you?" Teldar

asked matter-of-factly, noting his sister's approaching figure. His three peers had briefly looked over to the mating platform, then started mumbling about the proper sun height for the celebratory feast for the Lupus and her Lupi.

"Which one of you is going to awaken the Moon Warrior, the dark she-wolf of the Blacks

and her new mate?" Reina suppressed a grin as the three men gaped at her. "Morning, brother." Reina greeted Teldar, touching his upper arm in a friendly gesture. Both brother and sister thought back

on young Zya, kicking and yelling at any who attempted to enter her lair the morning after Reina had given birth to Lai. The young spitfire of just a few seasons had chased off everybody who dared disturb her resting mother and baby brother, except for her grandmother. By the looks on the council members’ faces, they must be remembering that moment, as well.

"I thought that the feast should be around high sun today, and of course I would hope the

council would help me and send the carrier hawks to drop the message scroll of the Lupus

and her new Lupi to our cousin packs." Reina noted the relieved look the men shared because she had abandoned the previous subject.

Hearing footsteps approach, Zya felt her body tense in protectiveness. Brielle shivered in her sleep. Zya somehow sensed that her young mate could feel her tension, and she ran her fingers up and down the half-Ulf’s soft back willing her own body to relax. Brielle settled in her sleep once more, turning her blonde head softly so her cheek was supported on the tip of her familiar's left nipple. The body she was resting upon shifted slightly, and the half-Ulf moaned in protest. But before she could open her green eye to protest, her familiar's voice crooned in her sub-conscious like a lullaby.

Zya shot the council members, Kern, as well as her mother a warning with her noticeably dark blue eyes.

"Do not awaken her," the Lupus projected with emphasis. Zya raised the sleeping fur with the

softest of touches ‘til both of their flower nests were exposed to all of the witnesses’ eyes. Sensing

her mate hovering on the edge of sleep, Zya shifted and wrapped her left arm securely around the middle of her mate's soft back. The leader of the Blacks gently projected relaxing soothers, coaxing

her mate to stay in her relaxed repose.

"The blood on Brielle’s, daughter of Nali, thighs, bears witness to the fact I have newly broken her shield,"

Zya projected to the observers. With a fingertip, she parted Brielle's thighs slightly, then pointed to the dried blood. Two of the elders stepped forward for closer examination. Renus, his eyesight fading with age, reached his hand slowly toward the white thighs, which highlighted golden curls. Restraining the urge to bite the hand encroaching on her territory, Zya instead defended her soul’s domain with a low but fierce growl.

"I see no evidence requiring closer examination," Reina interjected, reaching out her long arm and placing it on her daughter's knee. "Little one," Reina privately projected to her child with tenderness of emotion, meant to calm. "The cloth of innocence validates the mating bond," Reina spoke to all. The older

Blue picked up Brielle's loincloth and opened the cloth to expose the blood stains.

"It shall be so recorded in the sacred scrolls of the Blue bonded that Zya, daughter of Reina, has

bonded and mated with the female, Brielle," Teldar projected as he scribbled on a weathered scroll.

Zya's uncle smiled as he put down his quill, passing it to his niece for her inspection. Zya's blue eyes quickly scanned the document, then she nodded her approval.

"Thank you all, for all each of you have done," Zya projected with sincerity while covering Brielle's flower once more. "I know it was very short notice for planning. Speaking for not only myself, but Brielle as well, we appreciate your special efforts." Zya looked down at her sleeping mate, then back at those before her.

"Kern, I will speak to all the fighters, scouts and trainees after their morning regimen, " Zya

projected, dismissing him with a wave of her hand.

"Respected elders, before the sun feast, could you join me at the main firepit for the presentation

of my new mate?" Zya whispered, her eyes upon the three wise men before her.

"It shall be done," Teldar projected while the two other men nodded. "I shall personally see that

the cloth of innocence now is displayed at your lair," he finished, walking off with the cloth

in his hands.

"May the moon continue to bless your joined paths," Remus projected. Bowing his head in reverence,

he hobbled away with his wooden staff.

"May your union be happy and fruitful." The third man projected his blessing, also taking his leave.

Reina reached out her hand to her approaching mate who walked towards the platform with

Brielle’s aunt beside her. Coming to stand beside the platform, Sierra smiled tenderly at her heart daughter, encouraging Freya to stand beside her. Reina’s eyes met with her mate’s and they shared a wink. Both she-wolves looked with proud eyes at the daughter they had jointly raised.

"Freya, Reina, Zya and I would be very pleased if you and your mate Indin would join us at the family table for the mating feast at high sun," Sierra invited the still emotional sister of Brielle’s mother.

Out of the corner of her eye, Zya’s blue eyes caught the moved, teary-eyed expression.

"Please?" she added.

"I would be honored," Freya projected, wiping away a happy tear. "Zya, she is so beautiful, just

like her mother. "

"Freya, it is I who am grateful," Zya projected, extending out her free hand, "Brielle will need her family as she heals and establishes herself in the pack."

" And I am here," Freya spoke. Nodding at the three women, Freya returned to her den to speak

to her family.

"Honey, I am so proud of you," Sierra whispered, sending the child she and Reina had raised a mental

kiss. "I took the liberty of gathering some scented soaps, linens, pelts and robes for you and Brielle. I placed them at the Azure springs."

"And I have some soft oatmeal for Brielle's breakfast. And yours too, of course," Reina projected,

laughing at the eyebrow Zya raised at her. "And if you’ll excuse us, dear, Sierra and I are going

to the stables to check on Orion. Sierra thinks the colts should come any time now." Hand in hand,

Zya watched her mothers walk to the barn.


Standing in thigh high water, Brielle's soapy hands softly rubbed her mate's back in wide circles.

Rewarded by a relaxed sigh, Brielle lathered more soap on her hands. Tentatively, she fell to her knees and massaged soap onto Zya's firm bronzed buttocks. Muscular legs opened slightly as her mate's projection sounded in her mind. "Would you clean my flower, too?" Her hands rigid and stiff, Brielle tried to do what was asked of her.

"All it takes is an easy touch." Zya spoke softly. She reached between her legs, covering the smaller palm with her larger one. "Like this," Zya's deep voice spoke. She maneuvered the smaller woman in front of her and brushed both hands around the flower gently. Slowly Zya let her large hand coax her mate's palm over her dark bush of curls. Suds lathered and bubbled as hands moved over the black curled folds.

"That feels real nice, little she-wolf." Zya's projection resonated in Brielle's head. Seeing a shy grin appear on her mate's face, Zya winked. Zya had thought that nothing could compare to the pleasure she felt bathing her mate. But with her mate's caring touch, she was deciding this placed a very close second "My front too, please?" Zya asked, enjoying this exercise of helping Brielle get comfortable around her body. Thank goodness her wounds are still healing nicely and she also has no complications from her first time, the blue-eyed warrior thought to herself. She lowered her body to her knees allowing Brielle better access to her upper body.

Brielle nodded at her taller mate's request, rolling the soap cake in her fingers. Deciding

she liked doing this, Brielle cleaned Zya's chest and stomach. The blonde went a second

time around the breasts, letting her hands enjoy the round fullness. Feeling a bit playful,

Brielle blew on the left breast, causing a bubble to land on Zya's nose.

"Tease me, will you," Zya projected lightly. The Lupus lifted Brielle into her long arms,

then walked deeper in the water. "Deep breath," Zya projected, then submerged her body

in the warm spring. She pushed off the bottom with her feet shooting both of them upwards

through the water.





. Chapter 32

"They are beautiful!" the half-Ulf exclaimed, leaning over the stall to more carefully admire

the new mother and her wobbly legged colts. She leaned over the railing and watched

the chestnut mare and her young ones..

Sierra pushed a stray hair from her sweaty forehead and smiled proudly at the three. She anxiously watched Orion, waiting to see if her mare would nurse her colts. " Ok, Orion, I think your young ones are hungry. Both of them, both of them," she encouraged. She reached with her mental abilities and encouraged Orion to pay close attention to both colts’ needs equally. The equally hungry newborns both pressed into their mother to nurse. And her Orion handled it beautifully, Sierra observed. Ulf horses had greater intelligence than Nadirean horses. Due to generations of breeding, Orion’s kind was very keen when it came to mental communication, both with Ulf and Ulf horses.

"Are they talking?" the blonde asked, her green eyes sharp and curious.

"Yes, hon, they are." Sierra smiled at Brielle's natural intuition. "They are sort of like our kind, they can talk to each other telepathically, just like our kind can in our wolf forms."

"So Momma told them to share?"

"Yeah, something like that," Sierra spoke, wrapping a friendly arm around her assistant for the afternoon.

"See the black one there, he is male." Sierra pointed, pulling straw out of the blonde's long hair.

"He almost looks blue when he turns in the light," Brielle noted, picking up Aura who chattered

for her attention too "And the other?" Brielle inquired, looking at the white colt.

"That one is a she, hon," Sierra explained to Brielle. She had really enjoyed her afternoon with

the petite blonde. Brielle seemed to have a natural sensitivity with animals. She approached things

around her shyly, but still with childlike excitement and curiosity

"How do you know?"

"Umm, ask Zya that one," she replied, turning abruptly towards the water barrel to wash her bloody

hands. It had been very hard not to break into laughter. It was so easy to be fond of the girl.

She submerged both hands into the cool water then rubbed her hands vigorously, removing grime and blood. Anticipating her heart child's mate's actions, she spoke without turning around. "Don’t reach your hand in there, Brielle. Give Orion some time to bond with her colts."

Brielle pulled her hand back like she had been stung. How did she know that? Brielle asked


Sierra snickered silently, hearing the girl’s thoughts. She wiped her face and arms with a soft linen.

"Hon, wait ‘til tomorrow, ok? I promise you can pet them both. Ok?" the strong, compact woman asked, grabbing her wineskin and taking a long drink. She watched as Brielle went to Nyka’s stall and gave the horse a hug and a pat on its crescent nose.

Sierra observed the young woman silently. The blonde had a contemplative look in her green eyes.

Do I press it? she asked herself. "Nyka doesn’t let just anyone touch her," Sierra spoke gently,

walking past the new mother and colts to stand beside Zya’s mate. Watching her heart daughter's

mate, Sierra could see that the girl had reached the limit mentally, emotionally and physically of what she could handle in a sun and moon cycle. Maybe I can help a little in helping her work through the day's events, Sierra thought to herself. "It's been quite a day for you, huh?"

Brielle walked to the stable door and peered out into the fading light. "When will Zya get here?"

She spoke under her breath, looking at the pink streaks that now wove into the pale clouds.

"Come here, hon." The older woman spoke softly, taking the blonde's hand. Both women plopped down into the soft straw right outside Orion's stall. Brielle nodded and leaned her tired body against the wooden stall.

"What did you think of Zya's lair? "

"It seems to sit right under a huge blanket of stars." Brielle spoke with her eyes lightening

up some as she thought of the excitements of the day. "You don’t even have to go to

the river to take a bath. And there was a cloth stuffed with goose feathers to sleep on, that

Zya calls a mattress. And Zya showed me a set of stone steps that lead to a wooden door

that opens up to this place where you can see all around everywhere. And Aura even has

her own sleeping basket."

"My, that does sound awfully nice," Sierra replied, putting a comforting hand on the young

woman's knee. "Reina and I have a nice lair, too. We will have to show you tomorrow. "

"Is Zya always this busy?" Brielle asked timidly. " So many people came up to her today.

They ask her questions, give her messages and she tells them what to do. Did you know that

Zya took me to this place called the practice field. I thought the group of people were mad at

each other and hurting one another. Zya said they have to practice those things so they can

be good clan members and keep everybody safe," the blonde finished, turning her eyes to watch Aura who stood outside Nyka’s stall chattering with her.

"I bet that was strange. Hon, a lot of us go and practice fighting during the day. Zya's right, we do it to stay in shape, so we can defend what is ours and fight to keep it if necessary. We do this in both our human form and our wolf one," Sierra explained.


"What, hon?"

"People look at me and stare. Is there something wrong with me?"

Sierra reflected back on the day. Zya had kept her mate close and had been extremely attentive showing her things, introducing her to people. It was only when a messenger hawk came in from the Nadirean border that she had given in grudgingly to Sierra’s offer to keep Brielle company. And that only after Sierra had assured her that she would be fine and in the stable, out of harm’s way. She had only left once,

and that was only to make a quick trip to get herbs. She frowned, looking at the position of the sun. Her time for being able to communicate verbally was waning. She made a quick mental note to talk to Zya later about Brielle’s feelings.

"Hon, you are different. Different from anyone else in this pack. And Zya thought you were different, too. You stood out among all others--enough in her eyes for her to pick you as her mate," Sierra spoke tenderly.

She looked at the fading sunlight and took the young woman's hand. "Hon, in a little while I am going to change into a brown wolf. I don’t want you to be afraid, ok? "

"Like Zya?"

"Yes, sort of, only I can’t change back and forth as easily as Zya and Reina. I change at sunrise

and sunset. Zya and her mom can change form any time because they have blue eyes. "


"Would you stay with me ‘til Zya gets here?" the blonde asked, concerned that she might be left alone here when Reina's mate changed.

"Of course, hon, " Sierra replied. "Tomorrow you’ve got to help me name the colts, ok?"


Sierra stood up and walked to the water barrel. She dipped a cloth in the water and carried it back to the half-Ulf. "Wipe your hands, hon. We can’t let Zya think I let you play in the dirt," she smiled. .She stripped off her clothes and sat beside the girl. Touching the girl's eyelids, she encouraged them to close, then wiped the young woman’s face completely. She also was not sure Brielle was ready to see a whole camp of humans turn into wolves. "Lean back, that’s right, "she encouraged the increasingly tired Lupi.

Sierra’s body shuddered as she changed form. Her piercing wolf eyes softened, noting the soft

deep breathing of the girl beside her. She lay on her stomach beside the girl, resting her chin on

the soft knee.


"Zya, Skyracer has returned with a message from the border." They were bathing when Kern's projection echoed in her head. Zya sighed and rinsed the soap out of her mate's hair. "Honestly, Brielle, you seem

to have worn half of the stable home," she kidded, cleaning Brielle's dainty ear.

"Zya," the voice sounded again.

"Silence, lieutenant, I will be with you shortly," Zya responded, irritation vibrating in her projection.

The Lupus closed her mind and let the warm water soothe her stress-tense muscles. All she

wanted for this moment was some peace and quiet. Being the leader of the Blacks was enough of a

time-consuming task in itself when she was unmated. How did Mother ever do it? Zya

asked herself. And from what Zya saw behind her mate’s expressive eyes, she almost

wished she could pack Nyka up and head back to the Place of the Blue.

Zya closed her eyes. She felt Brielle’s movements causing the water to lap across her sensitive breasts. The younger Blue shivered deliciously with the unexpected but welcome touch of her mate’s soaped palm

rubbing in circles across her breasts and shoulders. "My, you have a nice touch," Zya complimented,

guiding her mate's hand down to her dark curled flower. "Mmmmm," she purred as her new mate

stroked her gently. She slid her wet hands up and down her mate’s slippery back.

"Niece, the Silvers have sent a message of congratulations on your taking of a mate," Teldar’s voice rang in her head.

Zya groaned both in pleasure and frustration, wishing again that she could pack and head back to the quiet and privacy of the Place of the Blue. "Thank you, Uncle, " Zya projected, then regretfully removed her mate's fingers from her groin and brought them to her lips.

Bewildered, Brielle blinked, her watering green eyes radiating her confusion. The half-Ulf lowered her head slowly looking down into the water. She herself did not understand how her mate’s actions had sent her emotions spinning. All the strangeness of this place and how ill at ease she was had been washed away the minute they had entered the bath water together. The caresses and soft touches had produced a sense of security and oneness with her shape-shifting lover. Every person around her was strange, and things she supposedly knew felt awkward.

Zya felt as if she had been slapped when she saw that her mate’s green eyes now held a pained, desolated look. It was then that she realized how deeply her young mate was leaning on their physical connection right now. And the sensitive young woman felt rebuked when Zya had pulled her fingers away.

Zya met her mate’s eyes slowly and she purposefully began kissing each scented finger. "I’m sorry, darling," whispered Zya. Her heart ached at the raw hurt that she saw naked in green eyes.

"Mother, handle it!" she requested tersely and put an impenetrable mental shield around herself and her lover.

Zya stood up and lifted both herself and Brielle out of the spring. She reached a long arm

down and grabbed a warm bear fur trimmed in fox pelt and wrapped it around Brielle’s back. With

Brielle still gathered close, she lowered herself to sit on the mattress and started to rock

her love gently.

Zya 's blues watched Brielle sympathetically. Her new mate was looking downward, staring

intently at her tightly laced hands. If there only was some way to take you from danger, to keep you

apart from pain and confusion. I wish I knew an easier way to let you discover yourself, grow

accustomed to our bond and the ways of our people, the Lupus pondered to herself. How hard it

would be for her, even if I was an ordinary Black . How can she understand the path that I must walk? Zya frowned and took a ragged breath, feeling her body tense up as she fought with herself over what she saw as a conflict of responsibilities.


The night vibrations were different this night. She could feel the tension in the wind. It made her hair stand on end and tuned her keen senses even more highly, to the point that she could smell the blood that was being spilled a good night’s run from here. She absently touched her pierced ear and looked downward at the blonde head settled between her legs. Her gaze turned to the creamy expanse of her neck. She frowned, noting the angry red shoulder where Drad had bitten her.

"I am so sorry, little one," Zya repeated. "I need to hold you, sweet one. Can I?" Zya’s heart warmed as her mate’s tear tracked face looked up at her and nodded. "Can I touch your flower?" the dark headed woman asked further. Without comment, Brielle moved her head to rest upon her mate’s shoulder and opened her thighs slightly. "Thank you, my sweet Brielle," Zya projected, turning her mate in her arms

‘til she lay across her legs. Brielle moved into the crook of her neck, and Zya wrapped a strong arm around her waist. With her large palm, she reached down and cupped her mate’s blonde nested flower. She let her touch not tease, but instead comfort, reinforcing their bond.

The Moon Warrior stroked Brielle's hair, tucking some behind her jeweled ear. " Talking

is just as important as talking with our bodies, little one. And you and I both must work

on that, my mate. I am not used to doing so, and I think you believe being quiet is easier

right now. Easier to hide in the shadows, so to speak, than present yourself in situations

that are definitely uncomfortable for you."

Brielle nodded. " I like being quiet," the blonde mumbled.

"And that’s ok, little one, but in order for both of us to grow together and for you to start feeling at ease here, we both need to try to talk a bit more with our mouths. I want to know what's in your heart and mind. Tell me what you fight against like a rabbit fighting a hunter’s trap"

"I want to go home. Can’t we go home now?" Brielle cried aloud, tears once more starting to collect on blonde eyelashes. She instinctively moved her cheek down on her mate’s chest and sobbed.

Moved by her mate's emotional plea, Zya bit back her own tears and swallowed. "This IS home,

sweetheart." Zya spoke softly, pressing her hand to Brielle's chest while making a sweeping motion with her other one, indicating the forest surrounding them. She brushed her forehead with an empathetic and loving kiss. Any other words she wished to say trickled out of her mind as she felt her young mate’s tears saturate her nipple. "Shhhhhhh, my little she-wolf, everything will be ok, shhhhh," she purred with her mind. Both women continued like this ‘til Brielle’s tears turned to sniffles.

"Little one, do you remember where I said home was?" Zya asked, letting her cool palm rest on her mate’s hot cheek. "Look at me, sweetheart. Do you remember? Tell me?"

"In here," Brielle mumbled quietly, still sniffing. She pressed a finger to her own chest and then

to Zya’s.

"That’s right, little she-wolf, that’s right," Zya whispered with her mind. The Lupus leaned downwards and gently caressed her mate’s moist lips with her own. "I love you," she projected. Her heart skipped a beat at the gentle smile green eyes gave to her. She then made her decision. Scouting and seeing to the safety of the pack were important, but her mate’s first night in her den was equally important. Her mind remembered the look of the half-Ulf’s confusion and tension as she peered out of the stables. Tonight my mate will come first, Zya decided to herself.

"Are you hungry?" she whispered. The growl of Brielle’s stomach seemed to immediately follow, and

both women shared a lighthearted smile. "Ok, let’s eat," Zya spoke. Taking her mate’s hand, she

walked to the table and picked up a warm bowl of oatmeal and a spoon. Possessively, she put an arm around the smaller woman's waist and led her to the fireplace.

"What's that?" Brielle asked curiously, looking at what seemed similar to a large basket with

soft pillows in it. The blonde counted four such things in the whole lair.

"I call it a chair," Zya spoke sitting upon the pillows and opening her legs wide. "Come

sit between my legs, little she-wolf." She rubbed her flower against her mate's naked buttocks

and handed her the bowl. "Eat," she whispered, kissing the top of her mate’s blonde head.

"Are you all right?" Brielle whispered with a concerned softness in hr voice, picking up her wooden


"Better," Zya replied, tenderly tracing her mate’s healing wound.

"Report," Zya finally projected to Kern. Brielle was settling, enjoying her dinner, and her heart

and mind were settling too.

"Verification of civil unrest in Nadirea. Our spies are having trouble validating the rumors spreading among the common folk." Kern's voice droned in her mind. "You want me to accompany you on a run to verify?" After many seasons, Kern knew Zya usually liked to confirm such things with her own blue eyes.

" No. Kern, I am staying here, I am charging you with seeing to the appropriate scouting

tonight. I expect a report at dawn," Zya projected, breaking the connection abruptly and

turning her attention to focus on her mate.

"Hey, that must have been good," Zya commented, rubbing her mate's full tummy while scooting

the empty bowl to the side. The white ferret stalked to it, curiously sniffing the air. "Not yours,

Aura," Zya scolded. "I'm losing it," the Moon Warrior muttered to herself. She threw the ferret

a couple of grapes . "Ok, little one, let's move to our bed, shall we?" Zya spoke. Her mate had that

tired, secure look that came after a good cry. And, even with her red eyes and nose, Zya had never seen

a more beautiful face.

Zya nursed her mate, cradling the smaller naked body into her warmth. The Moon Warrior,

the dark she-wolf of the Blacks, found her needy soul reaching out to her mate in this moment also.

As Brielle nursed herself to sleep, Zya found her heart gaining nourishment from her mate's love, trust and spirit. It was becoming a new staple in her diet that the blue-eyed, black she-wolf knew she would need in the days ahead. Zya closed her eyes, also feeling tired from the events of the past night and day cycle.

Across the way at the main campfire, the older Blue stared up at the moon and exhaled a breath of

relief. She had sat here quietly after talking to Kern, sending mental support to both of her daughters.

Their bond was new and had a unique set of challenges that most mates did not have to face. But now

the older Blue felt a more secure, stronger bonding between the pair. Her keen ears could also detect two

sets of soft snores. Both of her children were resting now in a much needed sleep. She bumped

her muzzle into her mate’s, and both wolves relaxed their posture to curl up together by the fire.

"I love you, my children," Reina of the Blacks projected, sending both of them a mental caress.

Chapter 33



Kern changed form just as the sun peeked over the ground. Standing, he stopped only long enough

to put on his pants and walked briskly to the lair of the Lupus and her Lupi. He knocked with the

wooden knocker nailed to a post right outside the cave entrance, then waited for his leader to respond.

Her senses sharply trained, Zya's blue eyes opened even before the knock sounded outside her cave's entranceway. Aura also awakened in his basket, his nose twitching, trying to decide if the smell outside meant danger or not. The white ferret looked over at the tall blue-eyed woman and noted her relaxed posture. The furry creature relaxed, then re-shut its dark eyes.

With slow careful movements, the warrior leader rolled ever so gently ‘til her sleeping mate rested on

the furs instead of her muscled body. She gently drew her arms away and reached an arm out to grasp

a light blue shift. Hearing the knock, she slipped it over her head and prepared to rise from the mattress

and furs.

"Hmmmmm," Brielle mumbled in her sleep. Sensing her lover's absence, Brielle mewed in her sleep. The young woman turned her body instinctively towards the spot her lover had just taken leave of, then curled herself into a fetal position.

Zya frowned, looking at the unhappy creases on Brielle's forehead. The day was just beginning, and the newly mated Lupus was already challenged anew on how to balance personal and leadership responsibilities. "We will figure it out, little she-wolf," Zya promised softly. She rubbed the furrowed brow of her mate ‘til she drifted into a deep sleep once more. Dropping a soft kiss on her mate's lips, Zya walked purposefully to the lair’s entranceway.

"Good sunrise to you, Kern," the leader of the Blacks greeted her friend.

"Zya," the man responded, trying hard to stifle a tired yawn. "Sorry, it’s been a long night."

"I can imagine." Zya nodded empathetically, gesturing with her hands for him to join

her on the benches beside her lair. He nodded his thanks and sat down on the wooden surface.

"I appreciate you dropping by before you went to your cave to rest."

"How is your Brielle?" the soldier asked, genuinely concerned. The hulk of a wolf-man

stretched his legs out and soaked up the rising sun.

"Still asleep," Zya responded glancing back over her shoulder into the cave. "I think it

will take her a little while to adjust to being here," she finished, her voice sounding like it was somewhere else.

Both of you will, my friend, Kern thought, keeping it to himself. Quiet for a moment, he looked

up to watch a hawk circling in the sky before meeting his leader's blue eyes once more. "She's

a beautiful female, Zya. And such a wealth of blonde hair."

The seated woman let her lieutenant’s compliments soak her into contented warmth.

"Yeah," she finally answered, her voice having a gentle reflectiveness in it.

For a moment she reflected back to the first time Brielle held her with her green eyes.

She watched a flying squirrel float from one pine to another. The crowing of a rooster

drew the blue-eyed woman out of her reverie. "So Kern, tell me what you’ve got, " Zya asked, her voice turning serious. "Has there been a message from the border?" Zya prodded, wanting Kern to not leave out any details.

"Yes, from our spies. The message was short, but clear. There is civil unrest, violence and

what appears to be an uprising of some kind within Nadirea."

"Are our people going to move through the populace today for further information?"

"That's correct, and one of the team will be here after high moon to brief you."

Zya nodded. "And the Reds?"

"Quiet on the hunting grounds last night."

"Hmmm, I don't like it. Send a scout out to investigate."

"How about Eline? He is our best scout in human form. Sometimes even I can’t distinguish him

when he is camouflaged in human form, except by his scent."

"Good, take care of it, would you?" Zya asked, clutching Kern's upper arm in warrior style as

both warriors stood. Zya was beginning to hear a change in Brielle's breathing, signaling

she was waking. Kern 's wife, Cinta, stood several paces away, waiting on her mate. "Dismissed,

my friend. Go rest; I will see you at the high sun meal.


Brielle attempted to open her eyes, shaking her morning stupor. Seeing her surroundings were

hazy, she blinked once more, this time getting her eyes to focus. A wet cold object

wriggled against her nose. Her ears picked up a chatter, and the blonde smiled, pulling herself

into a sitting position. Her green eyes traveled around the cave's interior. Just as she was about

to conclude that she was alone, in walked her mate, Zya. In her hands she carried a tray with a bowl of freshly cut mixed fruit and two smaller bowls. Giving Brielle a smile, Zya climbed the stone steps to the overlook two at a time


Brielle did not consider herself a morning person. Observing her mate's cheerfulness and energy, the half-Ulf groaned, plopping herself back down on the bedding. A tickle on her cheek drew her eyes open once more. Green eyes fluttering open, Brielle was captivated by her mate's enchanting smile

"Good morning, my little she-wolf," she spoke aloud, warm and hearty. "Let's eat!"

Before Brielle had fully gathered her wits, she found herself sitting on the wooden platform

that Zya had shown her the day before. Zya had called it a deck. Aura sat on her haunches, sniffing

the pine scented air. On a blanket of fresh pine needles, sat their simple morning fare. To the blonde, the orange and pink tapestry of sunrise seemed to be only inches above them. Branches of green encircled them, and the morning was devoid of human voices.

Zya dished out some oatmeal and the soft fruit pieces and handed them to her mate to eat. For herself,

she had fruit mixed with the raw fresh meat from last night's kill. The bloody meat was a necessary

part of Ulf diet. It kept their wolf bodies sleek and strong. Remembering her Brielle's state of mind

last night, the dark headed woman kept her breakfast out of the blonde's view.

The two women ate in relaxed silence, Zya watching in awe at her small mate's appetite. The blue

-eyed she-wolf finished her meal and, feeling sufficiently full, tossed small bits to the begging

ferret. The Lupus raised an eyebrow in shock as she watched her mate continue to eat. Clearly her appetite was improving; she had seconds this morning. But the half-Ulf's diet still heavily relied on her breast milk. The Lupus idly wondered how she would handle that if she had to lead their pack into fighting.

"Zya, you said we could go see the colts today. " Brielle spoke to Zya looking at her with eager

green eyes.

"I did?" Zya played with her mate. She put the dishes on the tray and carried them down the stone

steps, laying them on the table. "Yes, you did I remember," a voice drifted down the stairs

to her. The leader of the Blacks crept stealthily up the stairs, planning on tickling her mate. She was

surprised to see Brielle peering over the decking at different landmarks on the ground below.

Zya crossed the wooden decking, letting her blue eyes follow the object of Brielle's keen


"Very good, little she-wolf." Zya praised her mate, stroking her cheek, "That is the stable, and we will

go there after Sierra gets up."

"Up? "

"We usually spend at least part of the night hours in our wolf form, little one. It’s what is natural for us.

But we go to bed before the moon does and rise a little before high sun and share a meal together," Zya explained. "Mother and Sierra had a long night. When they rise, we can go see the colts, ok?"

Feeling ignored, Aura scampered across the decking and jumped skywards. With instinctive instant

reflexes, Zya caught the small agile animal. She rolled her eyes and settled the ferret on her shoulder. I am getting as bad as Brielle, she thought to herself. Amusement flickered in the green eyes that met hers. Pink lips quivered as they tried to stifle a smile.

"Here," Zya said gruffly, heat stealing to her face. "I have grown fond of the little thing," she admitted

in a whisper. She placed the ferret on her mate's shoulder and quickly changed the subject. "Would

you like me to show you what some of the places down there are?" Zya projected in her mate's receptive

mind, wrapping a long bronzed arm around her mate's small waist. Brielle leaned into her taller

mate, tilting her face upwards, and nodded.

"Well, right over to the left there is where Mother and Sierra stay. Beside them is my uncle Teldar. And see, over there at the treeline is where we practice and exercise. The sacred rock is there," Zya pointed, turning her head to gauge Brielle's interest.

"What is that, Zya?" Brielle asked politely, pointing at a large mountain or rock carved into

the shape of a wolf's head. Where the mouth was, there was an opening that appeared to

be a tunnel.

"That, my little she-wolf, is our holy place. Look, beside it is our school for the young. And there

is Mother's healing hut. And those pine branched booths are the market."

"Look, Zya," the young woman blurted, spotting a large pasture, "There are cows and sheep out there."

"Uh, huh." Zya smiled, her sharp eyes inspecting the day watch look-outs posted in the trees of the perimeters. Noticing that some of them were not wearing their leathers, she made a note to

speak to the entire pack of fighters, scouts and defenders today. "And look there, little she-wolf,

there is our garden of vegetables, herbs and fruit trees," Zya spoke, returning her attention

to her mate.

The leader of the Blacks gently turned her mate in her arms, leaned down and gave her a slow

thoughtful kiss. Her mind was reflecting back to her talk with Brielle last night. Zya lifted a tendril

of blonde hair and twirled it on her finger as she considered her next words. "Sweetheart I want you to feel at home in this area all around us." Zya spoke deeply, sweeping her hand in a circle around the decking.


The older woman gently placed a finger to her mate’s lips. "Shh, just listen, ok?"

"Home, little one, started in here," Zya explained, touching her mate's heart with her palm. "From there,

it expanded to here," Zya projected huskily. She wetted her finger, circled her mate's nipple,

gently licking it, teasing it to hardness. Her train of thought was derailed by the heat in her loins.

"Home," she growled in her lover's ear, taking the jeweled ear lobe in her mouth and teasing it with her

tongue. Zya traced the blonde's soft pink lips with her tongue and pushed inside to dance

with her mate's tongue. Brielle's moan made her blood boil with need.

She pushed her body inches away from her intoxicating mate and made love to her with violet eyes.

She wrenched her shift over her head, tossing it to the ground. She flexed her muscles and caressed

her flower with her fingers ‘til dew flowed freely. She dipped out a lubricated finger and painted

her mate's nipples and her mark. As she painted Brielle's stomach with her dew, she felt a sensation

of soft lips on her neck. The velvet lips moved delicately across her neck's terrain as gentle as

a hummingbird's flight to dip into nectar.

"Yessssss," Zya projected, gasping for her breath. Reluctantly she broke away from her mate's

lips, sliding her mouth over the jeweled nipple. She sucked rhythmically, taking the ring in her teeth

and tugging. "Croon for me, little one; let your love cries float on the morning breeze," she projected with seductive words.

Brielle groaned loudly when Zya let go of her wet nipple. "No," she squeaked. Zya lifted her bent

back and flashed an erotic smile. Zya gently assaulted the sex flushed half-Ulf with sexual

vibrations. She had already anticipated her mate’s sensual reaction. The Lupus caught her bonded in her arms, lowering her to the pine branches "Your fluid flows like the Kildyr, little one,"

Zya projected, swirling her tongue in her mate's flower. "Climb with me," she teased. She gently

sucked on her mate's flower petals, digging her tongue in deeply.

Brielle writhed, hopelessly lost in the sensations Zya was evoking. Sweat clung to her sex flushed

body, and she felt herself rise higher and higher. Just when she rose to thrust her flower into Zya's mouth, contact was abruptly withdrawn. Brielle felt herself being turned on her stomach. After what seemed to be an eternity, the blonde felt herself being encouraged to kneel on all fours and a warm slick object slid along her buttocks. "I mark you as mine this day, bathe you with my fluid for all to smell." a voice projected in her ear.

Brielle tingled as she felt Zya once more rub her love fluid from her flower down her back and across her neck. "Mine," she heard projected, as her thighs were nudged apart. Brielle felt her mate's hand caress her flower and a long, stiff object plunge into her deeply. Her mate's organ swelled and hugged her insides.

Though caught up in primal need, Zya’s mind picked Brielle's need for closeness. The Lupus dropped to all fours, surrounding the smaller body with its securing presence. "I love you, little she-wolf. Feel our connection?" Zya murmured softly in the jeweled ear. " This is home, little one," Zya gently added. "We are one flesh," she reminded the young woman. Her long dark hair sensuously curtaining over the blonde's face, Zya started thrusting her jewel into her mate's love tunnel.

"You are so beautiful," Zya projected, watching Brielle's round breasts shake with each thrust.

Removing one hand from the ground, Zya let her hand skim along Brielle's upper thighs.

Teasing the stiff wet flower petals, Zya guided her mate's body to move into tempo with

her own. "Climb with me little one," Zya encouraged, listening to Brielle's love cries

grow louder and longer. "So close," she whispered, her own body hovering on release.

Zya was sure Brielle's scream of pleasure had just awakened the whole camp, and she was proud. And though unplanned, how better to emphasize her bond with Brielle than by being roused by her

mate’s screaming her name in pleasure.


Brielle watched with rapt attention as she watched Zya "practice." The tall woman's hair whipped wildly as she practiced flips, kicks and spins. Today Brielle wore a deerskin one piece; the tan garment had been worn by Zya herself when she was younger. It was made in such a way that it left one shoulder and Brielle's ringed breast bare. It fastened at the opposite shoulder, barely angling just over the blonde's belly button and fastening on above the waist. It fell to mid thigh.

If Mother was here, she would have told me that I was showing off more than I was practicing. Zya admitted she had done some of the more flashy things in her repertoire. And Brielle had just loved the two handed sword drills she had run. "Faster, Faster," the blonde had pleaded. And Zya had done her best to make her weapon work seem magical instead of deadly, her theory being that Brielle seeing training in that light might make her less intimidated by the sparring and training of her people. And Brielle had watched her workout with rapt attention and fascination. Maybe, just maybe, I can work with my mate to the point she can at least defend herself. The leader of the Blacks eyed the simple training staff lying against the tree. Good size for her stature, therapeutic for her healing shoulder.

"What're you going to do with that?" Brielle asked.

Zya smirked, doing one fancy twirl and then a combination of moves in which she added a few kicks

and flips. She then purposely slowed her motions into a simple twirl and defensive blocks.

"Come here, Brielle," she asked, reaching out an arm to grasp her mate's hand and pull her to her feet.

Having Brielle stand in front of her, Zya took hold of the staff once more.

"Put your hands on mine." Zya spoke with quiet emphasis. "Little she-wolf, this will be good to exercise your weak, healing shoulder." Very slowly both women moved the staff up, down, then side to side, before resting a moment and repeating the motions once more "That's enough for today. I know it hurts, sweetheart," the Moon Warrior spoke, letting the staff fall to the soft ground. The warrior had to hand it to her mate, not once had she complained or asked to quit, even though her face now glistened with tears. Some of those under her command could take lessons from Brielle’s example


" I meant to tell you last night after Brielle went to sleep," Sierra spoke, watching the young blonde

with the colts. Already both were coming up to her, neither one seemed shy of the petite blonde. "But with the circumstances of the night and all..."

" I understand," Zya stated, nodding over at a farmer going to milk his cows in the pasture nearby. The dark haired woman winked at her niece who was skipping along past the stable with one of her little friends, then turned her attention back to her heart mother. "Tell me what?"

Reina, who had been sitting on a hay bale, touched her partner's knee, giving it a pat that made Zya

quickly understand that the explanation would come from her mother. In the background

behind them, the family heard their newest addition quietly talking to the horses. " Darling, she

asked Sierra if she was different." Reina spoke in a low composed voice. " Sierra. you weren't there, but when I went to bring Zya and Brielle home from the Place of the Blue, I came upon Brielle trying to change forms."

"Oh my, that must have been cute." Sierra snickered a moment, then quickly her face sobered.

Zya stood up and turned her head towards the forest. Brielle is feeling better, of course she will notice

differences, the younger Blue thought to herself. Turning back to face her two mothers,

Zya spoke quietly." I should have seen this coming when she and I came back."

"Honey, you have had a lot of pressing things on your mind." Reina spoke, standing up and

placing her hand on her daughter's shoulder. "She is different from any person in both

Nadirea and the Forest."

"I have decided I won't keep her past from her," Zya spoke, sitting back down on a bale of hay. The

smells of the soon-to-be-served meal were beginning to waft through the air. "But right now, she has enough adjustment and identity issues."

The petite blonde turned her eyes briefly to the three just outside the barn's shadowy interior.

As if sensing the half-Ulf's eyes upon her, the younger Blue gave her mate a tender wink before

resuming talking with her mother and heart mother. Outside the barn, the place of the Blacks had

awakened from its slumber, and the early morning stillness had been replaced by the sounds

of village life.

Brielle relaxed her back against the wooden stable wall, content, for now, to watch the mother horse

and her new babies. All four of them in a large fenced in corral, the young blonde had contented

herself with petting each baby and talking to it. After having a while to observe, she watched the high spirited black one run and kick up his hoofs in the hay. Sierra had used the word "high spirited" to describe the male. The white female had kept at her brother's heels, but her temperament, according to Sierra, was that of a "lady". Brielle could tell there was a gentleness about her. While her brother had butted Brielle's hand vigorously when she had stroked him, the female had gently nuzzled her palm. Orion is such a good mother, Brielle thought. The half-Ulf's shoulder hurt from the earlier staff work. And now that her playtime with the colts was over, and they nursed from their mother, Brielle could feel the soreness more.

The blonde laid her head against the wood stable wall and closed her eyes. Sweat was quickly

collecting on her upper lip. She restlessly tried to find a comfortable position to relax in, but

was having no success. Her body shivered. "I need, I must need…" she mumbled to herself, feeling

a strange gnawing in her stomach. Then strong arms lifted her, cradling her close.

"I 'm here, little she-wolf. I know what you need." Zya spoke in a voice smooth and knowing. Nodding at her caring mothers, Zya headed towards her lair. Her intent, focused look was discouragement enough for any who might want to stop her. Brielle licked her lips and swallowed; she felt so thirsty. That was the only thing she could hold her concentration on. "Ok, little she-wolf, " Zya projected, sitting down on her bedding and baring her breast. Brielle instinctively lifted her head towards her mate's large breasts and began to nurse.


Brielle yawned, lowering her chin to look down at the broth in the bowl in front of her. Try as she might, she just was not hungry. Her head felt fuzzy, and she only caught snatches of the conversations going on around her. Her eyes felt so heavy. They slid halfway closed, only to pop open as sounds of laughter jarred her. A strong, short arm wrapped around her shoulders, and Sierra whispered into her ear.


"Hon, take another sip," Reina's mate encouraged, whispering in the young woman's ear.

Sierra ran her fingers through Brielle's freshly washed hair, helping it to dry.

Brielle picked up the spoon again and sipped on the warm broth. She lifted her eyes to stare

across the table at her mate's mother who was bent over studying a map with the one

called Kern. Feeling green eyes upon her, Reina winked at Nali's child before giving her

attention back to the soldier. Turning her head, Brielle watched her mate in a discussion

with the man who was the blacksmith. The phrases "weapons inventory" and "production

time" were all the half-Ulf could catch before she felt her eyelids droop once more.

Zya's tall frame seemed such an inviting prop upon which to lay her head. As if hearing her thoughts,

her mate's arms slid around her, pulling the half-Ulf's body close.

"She hardly ate a thing, " Zya projected to her mother who sat at the meal table across

from her. Ignoring the surprised looks of her packmates still eating at the table, the Lupus lifted Brielle easily on her lap and tucked her drowsy mate against her leathered corset and battleskirt. "Thanks," she whispered to her mate's aunt who handed her a homespun blanket that Zya wrapped loosely around her now asleep mate.

Brielle held firmly against her body with her left hand, the younger Blue picked up her fork with

her right hand once more and took another bite of chicken stew. "This is so good today, Ana,"

Zya complimented the meal's cook and her helpers who sat on the other side of the table. Zya

and these women had been the last to start the meal. Ana and her helpers had served the

other pack members first. Zya had been late because she had not only nursed her mate, but both

women had taken a quick bath.

"You know good and well, young lady, that this is your mother's recipe," Ana teased the tall woman. Ana was a few season cycles older than Reina. She had cooked for Zya and her brothers when they were cubs. For generations, Ana's family had been entrusted with the care and upkeep of the ruling Blue's home. Being unmated, Zya had never needed the services of Ana's family. Now, after taking a new mate as well as managing conflicts brewing around them, the younger Blue knew she could need Anna's daughter's Layne’s, help.

"Well, you cook them better than she does," Zya projected, pushing her now emptied plate away from

the table.

"I heard that," Reina spoke aloud. The older Blue's eyes twinkled as she teased her daughter.

Reina grinned at her daughter and motioned one of her fellow healers to sit beside her.

"Ana, with the recent changes in my life, I think I could benefit from having aid with

my mate's and my needs," Zya spoke politely, clearing her throat. Always priding

herself on being self-sufficient, it was hard for the Lupus to ask for aid with anything.

"Layne and I have already spoken about this, Zya. She approached me actually." Ana grinned,

subtly studying her leader and her mate. She had never seen her leader act in such a tender, gentle

manner. This Brielle must be a special one, indeed. " Looking at your mate, I imagine them to be around

the same age. That will be good for the young one."

"Thanks, Ana, I knew I could count on you," Zya spoke, reaching out to let her fingers

brush those of the woman across from her in gratitude. Her face then turned suddenly solemn

and devoid of expression. "I also need a count from Estna, Dera and you of our current

food stocks. We may need to step up our canning, and dry some meat, in the event of hostile forces encroaching on us."

Ana nodded in understanding and wiped her hands off on her apron. "I’d best be going then.

I should have an accurate count for you by moonrise. We then can discuss what to harvest

and how much extra prey to kill. Good Day, my Lupus."

Zya's blue eyes took in her fellow Blacks as they sat around the tables. Most, except the young,

were finished now. Mothers sat coaxing their cubs to finish. Some, such as her mother, were gathered in small groups talking seriously. Some, like her warriors, seemed restless. All seemed to be hanging around close as if expecting words from their leader. Brielle shifted in her sleep, drawing the Lupus's eyes downward. No need to wake her up, she thought to herself, noting the blonde's deep, even breathing.

"Zya," her nephew Nerri, whispered coming up behind her. Leaning closer to her ear, he softly

said, "Father and I set up the hammock behind you between those trees." Zya smiled at

her nephew. She rose to her feet slowly, careful not to jar the beauty in her arms. She

carefully settled her in the hammock and placed a soft kiss on her forehead

The chatting crowd hushed when the Lupus turned around from her sleeping mate. The younger

Blue's relaxed expression had been replaced by a more stern, arresting one. With a quick hop,

she stood, hands on her hips, demanding the crowd's attention.


"When Nadirea turned upon the Adean Plains, they rushed in like a strong wind and tore up

everything in their path. The oldest of the trees were torn from their roots. The soil’s nutrients

were harvested to barrenness. The Adean River's free spirit was broken by a vile dam. Our ancestor’s

blood soaked through the Adean as they defended themselves while running to the forest's

haven. And all remember the Nadirean diseases that flew across the plain to infect our kind."

Zya paused, letting her people murmur amongst themselves, then began again. She hopped to the top of the table, and her voice grew louder as she spoke. "Our kind cried out to the Gods, and they heard us. The forest has flourished, and all creatures lived in nature's intended way. All this time, the Nadireans abused the land taken from our people. In the forest, we bided our time, watched, while we protected our sacred forest. We let our wounds heal. We let our numbers grow, and now we are strong." Zya, a gifted motivator, lifted her fist to the sky and howled her special cry. Her people followed, and the sounds of the Eyulf sang through the trees.

"There is talk that the Nadirean’s poison has finally infected themselves. Tonight, we find out to what

degree. I do not wish to speculate until our spies return this night. All, young and old, are to be

around the sacred rock at high moon. That means hunters need to go out right at dusk and bring

home the kill. For now, we prepare ourselves for the future. We stalk our prey, the Nadireans, determine

their weaknesses and wait to strike. If, and when, Nadirean soldiers enter the forest, we will attack. And hopefully our cousins, the Silvers and Reds, will stand beside us. But the Reds, as of now, fight us like enemies. And if achieving harmony among the Eyulf means to subordinate our cousin Reds, we will fight to subdue them." Zya raised her voice loud enough for it to echo through the camp; it rose an octave and carried a steely edge. "Who stands with me?"

Incensed with pride and their blood lust growing warm, an unbidden, growl was lifted in unison. The younger Blue moved to stand beside her mother and reached for her hand. The mother and daughter shared a knowing look, then raised their clasped hands high. As one, both women turned their faces in the direction of Nadir, bared their teeth and growled.

In between two shade trees, swaying gently in the suspended hammock, Zya’s half-Ulf mate

slept on..... peacefully.


Zya cupped her hand in the Kildyr and took a long drink. Hot from leading the pack army

in a distance run, she splashed the cool water on her face and neck. The Lupus could now

detect the majority of her army approaching the spring and decided to mentally check on

her sleeping mate before her attention got distracted. Amidst the sounds of groans and

panting from exertion, the Blue still detected her mate's slumber. It was a restful, healing

sleep, and connecting with its vibrations made Zya's spirit that much lighter also.

Her sharp blue eyes watched Brielle lie peacefully on a fur beneath a pair of growing

pines, and she smiled.

"I need to sit down." Zya's brother Terrence groaned, thudding to the ground. "That last stretch

was straight up the mountain, little sister," the tall, striking man mumbled.

"Seems to me I remember you used to do that quite a bit when I spied on you and your girlfriends."

Zya spoke dryly, raising an amused eyebrow.

"But in full battle gear?" Kern's adolescent son questioned.

"Get used to it." Kern spoke in a clipped tone. The burly man motioned for the people that were dispersed around the Kildyr to gather round and sit on the soft grass. "From now on, all of you consider yourselves on alert. By day, I expect you all to be in leathers and carrying your weapon wherever you go."

Zya casually leaned up against a tree observing her troop’s facial expressions. She saw a full range of

them--from the wide-eyed excitement of youth, to the furrowed concentration of her prime warriors.

All around the living territory of the Blacks, she observed a flurry of activity. Reina and three other

healers gathered great quantities of plants and herbs. She could hear the blacksmith pounding out

metal for soon-to-be-needed weapons. Some women were tanning leather, and others were drying meat.

The clan worked as a unit in preparation for the conflicts ahead. Just beyond the clearing , oblivious

to any danger, Brielle was waking from her long afternoon nap.


Somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, Zya's mental caress brushed across Brielle's mind.

"My little she-wolf," the voice crooned in Brielle's head. The blonde smiled and let the caress rouse

her to half-consciousness, then rested there.

Zya turned her concentration back to her warriors, listening as Kern asked for volunteers for the honor of being personal bodyguards in direct service to the Lupus and Lupi. "Please see me privately for

more details," Zya interjected. She nodded to Kern to be seated and stepped up on a tree stump to

address her audience.

"As of this moment, the Blacks will have at least half strength fighting or defensive force on alert at all times." Zya spoke in a voice as cool and clear as ice water. "That means we are enacting two watches: from high moon to its descent over the trees, then another from low moon to half rise of the sun. Every full moon you will switch your shift to the other one. Is that clear?" The wind gently blew through her long dark tresses, and she pushed it from her face. "Any questions?"


Brielle felt another of her mate's tingling mental caresses. It tickled her skin and gave her goosebumps.

She opened her green eyes, and an immediate sense of disorientation filled her. But as quickly as it came,

it faded, as her mate's voice echoed through her mind. " ‘Member how you fell asleep at the meal, sweetheart? I brought you here under this tree to rest nearby me while I practiced with my warriors. See? Watch the tree-line. I'm here, sweetheart, just behind the trees in front of you. I'll be there soon."

Hearing an unfamiliar sound above her, the half-Ulf's green eyes blinked open. In the tree above her

sat six tiny yellow birds no bigger than her index finger. To Brielle they looked as bright as the sun

itself. One of them shot up to the top of the tree, his wings beating so fast that the blonde could

not keep up with him. He hovered around a pine cone, then dipped his beak into it for a few moments.

Brielle squinted into the late afternoon sunlight, watching. It almost seemed to her that they

were all staring at her. Suddenly curious, the half-Ulf sat up, pushing the top cover off of her.

The half-Ulf gasped when one of the yellow birds dove downwards, coming straight forward.

She tucked her chin to her chest, wrapping both arms around her head.

"Do not fear, Bearer of the Sign," a high pitched voice rang in her head. "I and my brothers have been

sent here from the gods."


Zya's sharp ears picked up fast chattering getting louder and louder and halted her response to a

question that one of the troops had asked. Her long legs taking quick strides, she moved towards the chirping, knowing it was Aura. She could hear her men behind her and sent them a warning, "This ferret is mine, and it is my mate's pet. It would be advisable for you to remember that."

The white rodent sat on his hind legs and chattered with high squeaks. Though she did not understand a word of it, Zya knew one thing was clear--Brielle needed her. "Follow me," she projected to those behind her as she moved quickly but quietly towards her mate. Hearing her mate's audible gasp, Zya changed

her mind about covertly sneaking around to Brielle and began to sprint.

What Zya saw caused her to freeze in place. She extended a warning hand behind her, and the warriors


"Is that…?" Kern started to ask.

"They are called Phoenix, the messengers of the gods," Zya explained dryly. Though she had never

seen this type of bird, she had heard the stories her entire life. Honestly, she did not know what

to think at the moment: the birds had the god's blessing, it was an honor to see one; but they

were also very powerful, and six of them now rested above her mate's head. Zya knew her own anxiety

would not be eased until she held her young mate in her arms.

Time seemed to stop, and the leader of the Blacks held her breath. She now had decided that

a conversation of sorts was occurring. Her mate's green eyes were focused intently on the yellow

birds, each of which sat perfectly still . Only when the birds rose up into the waning

sunlight did Zya exhale her breath. Her body was instantly in motion in long strides.

"Track them," Zya projected over her shoulder. Her commands were instantly obeyed as two

trackers turned to give chase to the fowl overhead. "Mother," she entreated strongly in her mind,

before concentrating all her mental energy on the blonde in front of her.

The Lupus frowned, studying her mate's faraway expression. "Little she-wolf, Brielle, sweetheart?" Zya

spoke softly, bending down on one knee and stroking her mate's cheek. Taking her mate's chin in her palm, she lifted her mate's eyes to meet hers. "Little she-wolf? Are you all right?" Zya projected, tucking Brielle's blonde hair behind her jeweled ear. Zya reached into her mate's mind and wove her own around it.

Though she could not decipher the conversation itself, she could feel Brielle's troubled and confused


With slow recognition of Zya's presence, the half-Ulf 's eyes lost their remoteness. Instead they

seemed, to the younger Blue, to carry the spark of the bird's yet-to-be-revealed message. Green eyes held

fast to the blue ones, gathering up their love and strength.

Zya was careful not to physically move, and kept balanced on her knee beside the blonde. She could

see the birds’ message balanced unstably on the stream of Brielle's consciousness. The younger Blue

patiently tried to provide support for it with the compelling power of her blue eyes. Zya positioned her large, muscular body in such a way that Brielle would not see those standing around a few paces away.

"The birds spoke to me, Zya," Brielle whispered. Though Brielle had the urge to search the skies

for traces of the tiny birds, Zya’a eyes held her fast, compelling her to cling to them. "They said

they had a message for the Guardians of the forest."

"What did they say?" Zya whispered, placing her hand on her mate's knee.

."Blood flows west flooding the plains, the balance of nature rests in the sign," the half-Ulf spoke,

her voice growing stronger with each word.

"Blood flows west flooding the plains, the balance of nature rests in the sign," Zya repeated,

committing the words to memory. Behind her, she could feel her mother, and knew she was

doing the same. And she would be almost willing to bet that her Uncle Teldar was close by,

writing them down. "Did they say anything else, little she-wolf?" the dark-haired woman asked.

Brielle's brow furrowed, sweat beginning to bead there. As she struggled to verbalize the

birds’ message, she felt another beside her place a hand on her shoulder. Somehow she knew

it was Reina. Brielle felt stronger and spoke once more.


"The signed avenger be justice's champion. The signed innocent holds judgment in her hands."


Sitting cross-legged with Sierra's head on her thigh, Reina picked at her food absently, lost in thought. Around her the pack lay feasting on various stages of their meal. Reina had seen to it that the meat had been slaughtered and dressed away from the view of her new, impressionable, green-eyed heart daughter. Usually the evening feasting was a quiet affair, filled only with the sounds of mouths tearing at the carcass. But this night it appeared to Reina that as the moon rose, so did the pack's mental conversations. Her poor brother had been converged upon by young and old alike. They surmised that because of his knowledge of the ancient ways and texts, he could interpret the Phoenix's message.

Because of her upbringing in the Blue, her knowledge of the ancient texts probably rivaled her brother’s. While she felt at ease to speculate about the meaning of the first part of the message, the latter part still puzzled her. Reina felt confident that when the envoy arrived and the spies gave their report, the first part of the message would be crystal clear.

"Love," Sierra projected softly, rubbing her muzzle along Reina's side. "Feed the fire a little. Here come our daughters." The she-wolf of the Blacks presented an awesome sight as she emerged from the dark shadows. The wind gently tousled her long black hair and blew the blue cape that covered her naked frame. The hand that was gently wrapped around Brielle's waist was in sharp contrast to the Lupus's set face, clamped jaw and fixed eyes. Her stern expression was a clear warning to the yellow-eyed pack gathered around the fire. The younger Blue's body had the tightness of a beast readying to strike its prey. But the Lupus's usually long strides were absent this night as she kept the pace of her smaller young mate. And as the petite one's stride slowed further, so did Zya's.

When Zya slid her arm from around Brielle's waist to encircle her shoulders, the petite blonde placed her head on the taller woman's shoulder. The Blue's eyes were sharp, assessing all activity and mental energy as she came to the community campfire.

"Ahooooooooo," she called, her head raised to the moon and her mouth open wide.

"Eeeuuuuuu," the pack answered back, lowering their ears and tucking their tails in submission.

"The signed avenge," one projected from the crowd.

"Great Moon Warrior, Lupus of the Blue," another added, as excited yips erupted from the crowd.

The fervor of the crowd intoxicated the younger Blue. Her instincts teased her to leap to the sacred rock, rally her brothers and sisters and lead them in a quest for blood. She had the gods’ blessing after all, she told herself. Her body itched to change form when a tug on her cape drew her attention downwards. Her senses heightened, Zya realized she felt hot. Hot? she questioned herself. She raised an eyebrow and did a quick examination of her body. It was her right side that was bothering her.

"Brielle, Brielle, little she-wolf," Zya whispered to her mate as she fell to one knee. She laid her palm on a sweaty forehead and frowned.

"I don't feel so good," the blonde mumbled, licking her parched lips.

Zya redirected her senses and emotions only to her mate. The soft chemise the half-Ulf had worn since the noon meal was soaked with perspiration. The younger Blue stood once more, her blue eyes connecting with her mother who now stood beside her. Reina felt her heart daughter's neck and both Blues shared a knowing nod.

"Mental spasm?" Zya projected, picking her mate up in her arms and carrying her closer to the warm fire. Mental spasms occurred in the young cubs as they matured psychically. It was a big adjustment for their minds, and listlessness often occurred. As their bodies grew more accustomed to mental stimulation, the symptoms usually faded away.

"Yes, daughter," Reina projected in answer to the question. "I believe due to her genetic make-up, it is manifesting itself in the form of the fever humans are prone to." Quickly up on her feet, Reina spoke aloud to the crowd in a loud authoritative voice. "Finish eating, we hear the report from Nadirea soon." Her lair was near and she walked briskly and gathered up a few furs and a large pitcher of healing waters and a rag.

"Zya?" Brielle whispered, her green eyes questioning Zya's blue ones. "I'm cold," she whispered, shivering.

"I gotcha," Zya reassured her. "Your mind is tired from your talk with the birds. You are running a fever. But if you rest now, close your eyes, you should feel better in the morning," Zya finished. Sitting on a long fur pelt especially placed under the sacred rock for the Lupus, Zya untied her cape and wrapped it around her mate. She nodded to her heart mother who approached even as she gathered Brielle closer so she could warm her mate with her own body heat.

Leaving her lair, Reina smiled at the interaction her partner was having with their daughter.

"Yes, I know, Mother, you would be happy to sit with Brielle in my lair during the meeting. But I am not leaving her side."

"But your presence in this meeting tonight is critical."

"And so is my presence beside my mate. I know Brielle will probably wake up fine come morning, but tonight she needs me. I don't see why I can't do both," Zya replied brusquely. The Blue turned her attention to stripping off Brielle's sweat soaked chemise. Her temper back in check, she projected an apology to her heart mother. "I am sorry; forgive me my disrespect when you only meant to help. Brielle and I will be fine."

Sierra nodded and licked her daughter’s arm affectionately. Reina watched the interaction with amusement. There was no doubt in her mind now that her daughter would learn to balance family and work quite well. "It never worked with me, either, did it, sweetheart?" Reina asked aloud, patting her mate on the head before handing her daughter an extra pelt and a pitcher of the healing water of the Kildyr.


Sierra huffed and glared upward at her blue-eyed mate. "Like when Lai broke his hind leg as a young cub, and you insisted on carrying him around on your back, night and day. Like when Terrence got his foot caught in that hunter's trap. You were signing a treaty with the Silvers. And you made the whole delegation follow you so you could nurse your son's wounds yourself... Like when Zya.."

Hearing her mate mumble quietly, Zya tuned out her two mothers’ conversation.

"The blood flows west," the blonde whispered to herself, her body shivering slightly.

"Let go." Zya sent a mental nudge across her mate's mind. She replaced her mate's thoughts with one word, "Rest." She maneuvered her mate so she lay across the fur of the Blue, her head resting on her thigh. Tenderly she sponged healing water across her mate's sweltering face and covered her prone body with her royal cape.

"Ouuuuuuu," Zya bellowed, calling for attention among her subjects. She sent her second lieutenant, Bodi, a piercing glance, beckoning her forward. Bodi was a likable woman; she had twin female cubs that were best friends with her niece, Kerri.


"Where is Kern?" Zya asked, her hands gently bathing her mate's sweaty face and neck with cold water

Bodi hid her surprise at her commander's gentleness and kept her brown eyes locked with Zya's blue ones.

"He went to check the watch, commander," the light brown wolf projected. "He mentioned something about sensing the need to recheck security once more before the report. " Out of the corner of her eye, Bodi watched her commander's hands. She had seen those hands rip a Nadirean's heart from his chest. It was hard to believe the difference.

"Is there something on your mind, Bodi?" Zya asked, slightly irritated at her second lieutenant's attention being elsewhere.

Bodi's posture stiffened and her ears tucked back submissively. "Begging your pardon, my Lupus, but I believe there are several of the pack interested in your mate's well being right now."

Zya raised her eyebrow then nodded. Zya turned her head towards the moon and cleared her head. Turning back to her second lieutenant, she responded, "She will be fine lieutenant, just a strong mental spasm from earlier today. Thank you for your concern. "

"Yes, ma’am." Bodi said, her tense muscles relaxing. "Zya, the envoys from the border has finished feeding."


"Very good, Bodi, please tell them to stand by." Zya projected, nodding to her second lieutenant in dismissal. She scanned the crowd. All were finished feeding now, even the young ones. It was time to proceed. Her chin fell downwards as she bent her head to visually check on her mate. She had turned on her back and appeared to be in a light doze. She is still hot, Zya thought to herself, wiping the blonde's sweaty brow with a damp cloth. Satisfied, she raised her head and stiffened her shoulders. Usually on such an occasion she would climb to the sacred rock. Tonight her people would just have to deal with the break in tradition. Tonight's proceedings she would supervise from this fur pelt, under the rock, with her mate's head lying on her golden thigh.

"Brothers and Sisters, we are ready to receive word from those who serve so bravely at the border. Let us give them our full attention and respect." Zya waved her hand back at the approaching band of spies for them to stand by. She addressed the crowd once more.

"You will pardon the break of tradition this night. I will not stand before you on the sacred rock, but under it. My mate has developed an acute mental spasm. Though I have no doubt of her recovery from her prophetic encounter with the Phoenix, I do wish to be close by her. Any objections?" Only the sound of crickets and the night birds were heard in the air.

"Very well, we proceed. " Zya spoke crisply. "This meeting is not meant for our young cubs. Please see the young ones to bed. The pack will jointly extend our mental powers so each of you can hear the proceedings."

Ignoring the complaining yips of their young, parents prodded their cubs to pass the remainder of the night dreaming. The remaining wolves were of the age of sexual maturity. Old and young gathered in a semi circle around the central fire and their leader and her mate. With a curt nod from their leader, the entourage of three stepped into the center. Roan, the eldest of the trio, stepped further into the light. In a tightly composed projection, he addressed his brothers, sisters and his Lupus.

"The king of Nadirea hangs from a noose, rotting in the square," the male said matter-of-factly.

Ignoring the mass inhalations of air, Zya leaned forward slightly, her mind rapt in concentration as it conjured up the implications of the execution of Nadirea's leader. "Who is in command, Roan?" Zya inquired, thinking she already knew the answer. She vividly remembered a hazel-eyed, brown-haired man named John. She had followed this man's actions since learning at ten summers that he had killed, then skinned, her younger brother, Lai. This cold, cruel man had risen in the ranks of the Nadirean army over the years, giving favors for loyalty as he was promoted. With her own eyes, she had seen him meeting with his advisors, criticizing the king.

"John, head of the Nadirean troops, my Lupus. Those loyal to him quickly subdued those in the military whose loyalty stayed with the king." The speaker finished and stepped back in line with his group.

Mental whispers had spread amongst the crowd. The envoys flooded the minds of those present with the things that they had observed. People huddled, afraid, in their homes while others were dragged into the streets and killed. Already propaganda was being used by the new leadership to blame the beasts of the forest for their lack of prosperity and the lack of safety in the region.

"So thirsty," Brielle mumbled, trying to sit up, only to be stopped by gentle pressure to her good shoulder. Feeling the pressure in her breast, the leader of the Blacks gently eased her mate ‘til the small woman's body spread across her thighs. Zya supported her mate's back to allow the blonde better access to the nutrients the half-Ulf required.

The rest of the world disappeared for Zya when her mate's mouth encircled her milk-filled breast and began to suckle. She loved her mate's sweet smelling hair, and the cute way Brielle held her nipple in her mouth. Most endearing was the soft trusting gaze of green that never left her face ‘til the milk coaxed the blonde to sleep.

"Your milk will fight the fever." Zya heard her mother's voice whisper in her mind.

Zya ignored the curious stares of some of those of her people who hadn’t yet discovered the fact that she had breast milk. Or that her mate fed from the large brown nipples like a hungry cub. Her mother's strong voice to the envoy caught her attention and she turned her blue eyes upwards.

"And the border, how stable is the border to the forest?"

Other Ulf nodded their muzzles and swished their tails, also very interested in the older Blue's question.

"The Reds encamp on the outskirts, my Lupus. Under cover of the thicket," the spokesman for the trio answered, his mental projection deliberately slowed for more emphasis.

"I suspected as much," Zya spoke aloud. "The opportunity for human flesh to fill his stomach guides him to the border. He most likely seeks to take advantage of what he perceives as a time of weakness in the land of Nadir."

"It’s madness."

"His numbers are no match for their forces."

"Blood flows west out from the plain," Zya said aloud. "Warfare is guaranteed, and the prophecy warns that it heads in this direction." Her mate had finished her feeding and now lay asleep against her chest.

Low guttural growls rose up into the trees. Zya could feel her arm hairs stand on end.

A searing pain forced the blue-eyed she-wolf's eyes to lower. Above her breast, her sign blazed red. A quick look at her mate's chest confirmed the same. Her mate's shone blood red.

Chapter 34

Her padded paws pushed off the moist earth as she lengthened her stride. Her black

muzzle fell open as she began to pant from exertion, exertion caused by this long distance run into the heart of her enemy. She slowed her pace as she neared the place in the forest where the trees thinned out, skirting the Adean plains. The she-wolf stayed in the bushes and underbrush, her black coat helping her blend into the darkness. She halted, jumped upwards in the air, changed form, then landed on a tree limb. She turned so the breeze would cool her sweaty, naked body. The she-wolf inhaled long and deeply, turning her head to decipher all the smells the wind carried. Detecting a faint odor of her cousin Reds, she quickly broke some pine branches off and rubbed their sap thoroughly over her human form. Her bronze skin seemed to glow in the moonlight. The she-wolf stood tall and proud, her long black hair gently moving in the wind.

She picked up a scent off to her left. It was faint, but she recognized it easily. Her cousins, the Reds, were in the general area, but still some distance away from her location. With her body covered with pinesap, she felt fairly certain that they would not detect her presence. The she-wolf turned her head slightly to the right and inhaled again. She smelled the distinctive odor of her enemy, but tonight it was mixed with the smells of death and blood. Her mouth watered instinctively, and she felt a pull to pursue her weakened adversary.

She pushed off the tree limb; changing form as she fell from the air, she landed noiselessly on the pine straw and took off in a quick trot towards the heartland of her enemy. Although her cousin's camp was some distance away and she felt the pine masked her scent, she stayed downwind; she was taking no chances on her cousins following or attacking her.

She stayed in the thick bushes when the trees grew even thinner. Noting the growing smell of death, her hackles rose. The silence was brittle and her heart began to pound. Cocking her ears and listening closely, she could not detect even the sound of crickets. Warily, she crept forward. A primitive warning washed over her when she stepped into the clearing. Sensing something amiss, she continued cautiously. The scene before her made her body stiffen and halt. Only her many seasons of serving and leading her people in battle kept her from emptying her stomach. Her blue eyes glowed red. Before her, with a spike pounded through his chest, hung the monarch of Nadirea. He, his family and, what she assumed were his advisors, hung on large pines, each supported by a large metal rod. The she-wolf did not know what upset her most: this people's dishonor to kill their sworn leader in such a cruel fashion, or the blood that dripped and defiled the sacred pines. The prophecy reeled in the she-wolf's head.

The black she-wolf stayed to the tall grasses and bush as she made her way further into her enemy's belly. It took all of her inner discipline not to attack and consume the easy prey of goats and sheep that rambled nervously in the grasses around her. Behind her now, she could hear the pines’ mournful cry as the wind glided through the swooping branches.

The black wolf entered the main dwelling center of her enemies through a secret tunnel constructed under her mother’s direction during her grandmother's rule. It had been a dangerous undertaking, completed in a time when this area had been only an unimportant outlying settlement. Today, such an endeavor would be foolish, since the Nadireans’ numbers had increased dramatically. The wolf crept stealthily through the slumbering town, mindful to keep to the shadows. Only the military patrolled the streets this time of night, and by the luck of the gods, she had come across none.

The blue-eyed wolf followed the sounds of revelry. The noise and activity masked her entry to the palace grounds as individuals engaged in drink, sex and torture of their enemies. She purposefully avoided engaging her enemy. The wolf was here tonight to gather information not indulge her bloodlust in a fray, especially one in which she would be terribly outnumbered.

The she-wolf heard him before she saw him. Her keen ears heard the man drawing his sword from his scabbard and then heavy boots thudding towards her. She slowed her pace to a walk, careful to keep her eyes forward and not give her presence away. His scent was clearly Nadirean. Like a patient hunter, she let the individual get closer and closer. She whirled around at the last moment, paw extended. The claws dug into the man's chest, ripping his shirt and causing a long deep scratch from shoulder to belly. Before the human could cry out in agony, the blue-eyed wolf changed forms.

The man's hazel eyes bulged as strong arms wrapped around his neck, suspending him in the air. Deciding to show mercy through a quick death, she snapped his neck. Her attacker crumpled at her feet, and the naked warrior made her way to the side of the stone castle. Her keen hearing could detect men's voices conversing in a balcony’s room above her, and she decided to move closer.

Placing her foot on an outcropping, she reached an arm up to grasp a higher stone. Her muscles bulged as she quietly and methodically scaled upwards towards the sound of voices. When she reached the balcony, she swung a leg over and slid to the stone floor. The moon had slid behind a cloud, and she thanked the gods for masking her presence.

"Where is this power that is written of in the texts?" the hidden Ulf heard. She listened to the sounds of punches landing on a single individual's body and the man’s responding groans.

"Again holy man, where can I lay hands on this power that the people whisper is the strongest force in nature? If you do not talk, by sunrise I will have all of your number impaled and hanging on the ancient trees next to your ruler."

"Those trees are sacred. And I will tell you nothing," a voice rasped.

The Ulf heard a curdling scream and now detected the fresh smell of Nadirean blood.

"My Lord, if you had given me just a bit more time, I could have acquired the exact location of the power. We only have just learned that the power lies hidden in the forest."

"Do not question me, or you shall join him in the land of the dead. Do the wolves still gather ‘round the forest's edge?"

"Yes, my Lord, the people already complain of their fear for their livestock."

"Good, do not discourage the beasts; let them enter the plains. If we wait, the people will become enraged at the death of their sheep. Maybe we might even lose a shepherd or two. We will stir the people's hearts away from the king and shift their anger to work to my advantage. "

"Shall I round up the others in the order and press them for the rest of the information?"

"No. I have a chance to make a name for myself. I will go into the forest and acquire this power for myself. It will make the greatest of weapons indeed. Also, I can eliminate the beasts of the forest once and for all. I will rule all of the land and expand the Nadirean domain through all the forest."

The wolf stood quietly and listened to the voices fade, then leave the room entirely. Questions filled her mind, but reason told her to exercise caution. Curiosity about the dead holy man motivated her to take the risk of detection. She peered into the room and saw a corpse lying in a pool of blood. Instinct drew the woman into the room. Nude, she walked in into the room, knowing that she must see the face of this Nadirean who called the pine "sacred." She kicked the body over with her foot, turning the corpse onto his back.

Her lips curled and a low growl erupted from her throat. Hastily she ripped at the dead Nadirean’s clothing. It was hard to keep her senses sharp as she stared at the ripped piece of cloth she now held in her hands. Quickly, she backed away from the body and rushed to jump from the balcony. The she-wolf arched her body, extending her limbs as far as she could to run at full speed. The wolf did not slow when she re-entered the thickness of the forest. The piece of bloody green cloth clamped in her mouth, she made her way home.



Chapter 35


Coming to a stop before the pack's central fire, the black she-wolf shook the water from her thick coat. Her blue eyes scanned the perimeters of the encampment as she dropped the cloth she had carried with her from Nadirea. Most of the pack had gone into their dens to sleep. Those that still gathered around the fire were strangely quiet. The she-wolf filed the observation in the back of her mind and nodded politely at some of her warriors, warriors who undoubtedly were on the second watch of the evening. The she-wolf’s eyes searched impatiently for her mother. Not only because she wanted to discuss her curious acquisition, but because she had left her mate of only five moon rises in her mother's care. It had been the first time she had left Brielle in another’s care for the better part of the night's moon cycle. After the things her eyes had witnessed, her body and emotions yearned to have the half-Ulf in her arms.

"Mother!" Zya projected at the tall leather clad woman who walked towards her. Zya changed her shape quickly, grasping the remnant of cloth in her large hand. She shook her wet hair as she stood up, sending water flying in all directions.

"You must see what I brought," Zya projected.

Her communication was quickly deterred when she noted her mother’s demeanor.

"Have the Reds entered our lands again?" Zya questioned, her hands clasped tightly against her side.

Reina gently brushed her daughter's forearm, encouraging her to walk beside her. "Nothing like that," Reina spoke, almost in a whisper. "Though the evening has been interesting, to say the least," she finished, with a long sigh. "Come with me and I will tell you as we walk," Reina said smoothly, no expression on her face. Zya's steps were even with her mother’s as she walked naked beside her.

"Where is Brielle?" Zya asked as their feet crunched in the pine needles. "Can it wait ‘til I see her?" she questioned politely.

"Layne and Mya are with her," Reina drawled. "In fact, we’re going there now." The older Blue held her palm out gesturing for her daughter to speak no further ‘til she explained. "I think the brothers and sisters all had a lesson in sensitivity towards their Lupi's adjustment."

Zya's brow furrowed as she matched her mother’s pace stride for stride.

"You know the adolescents. Those Nerri's age can't seem to get enough to eat. Kern's boy came in with a snack dangling in his mouth that was still alive."

"Let me guess, Brielle saw it." Zya spoke with a grimace.

"She was beside me while I was telling a bedtime story to the smallest of the cubs. I sensed her pulse increase and before I knew it, she was alongside the young male pulling at the rabbit. Kern's boy dropped it but with an irritated growl, which of course scared your mate. She took off at a run which triggered the boy's instinctive chase reaction."

Zya pressed her lips together in anger.

"Teldar called him off, and I sent Layne and Mya to follow her. She climbed part way up the rocky expanse behind the falls, still clutching the bloody rabbit. I could not coax her down."

Having heard enough that she wished to hurry her pace, the blue-eyed she-wolf returned to her wolf form and took off in a hard run towards the falls. Her mother jogged in human form, a short distance behind her. Now that her mind had centered its focus away from her lone scouting foray in Nadirea to her green-eyed mate, she could strongly feel her mate's state of being.

"Sorry cousin, "Mya projected apologetically. "She does not seem to be able to comprehend our projections."

Mya, her brown eyes soft and sympathetic, looked up once more at the shivering half-Ulf hunched upon a tree limb. A few paces away, Layne whimpered up at the mate of Zya.

Zya could stand it no longer. Suppressing her desire to rush, Zya looked up at the moon and called forth the power to change form. In slow movements she reached downwards to her cousin's jaws, placing the Nadirean cloth in her care. "Both of you, back away slowly, out of her line of sight," Zya said, pointing in the direction that Reina would be arriving from shortly. The blue-eyed warrior approached the fall's edge, slowly extending a mental blanket around her mate, hoping to reassure her with her presence.

"My precious little she-wolf," she crooned over and over, her voice reminiscent of one she had used when she had first cared for her newly injured blood mate.

The tall woman began to scale the rocks, following the trail of blood that Zya was sure belonged to the injured animal. Her mate's posture shifted slightly, and she swayed on the limb, almost falling. "Stay still, little she-wolf." Zya projected. The leader of the Blacks was honestly surprised that the blonde had been able to summon enough cooperation from her only partially healed body to make such a climb. But she knew some emotions caused the body to summon strength far greater than what they normally would be able to exhibit. The blue-eyed woman could now see that the creature Brielle held was an adult rabbit, whose only injury seemed to be to its long ears. Its blood trickled down Brielle's blood tracked stomach.


"I am here, little she-wolf. Smell the air, little one. Breathe my scent into your being. There is no threat here, my little she-wolf. I only seek to gather you in my arms and feel your sweet skin against mine." Zya inched across the tree limb, feeling it sag under her added weight. I must be quick about this, she thought, feeling the limb start to crack. With lightning speed she reached for her mate, who struggled only momentarily in her arms. Zya wrapped her larger body around the smaller one and with a quick mental jab, Brielle's body went limp against her. The limb became a springboard for the agile Blue, and she sailed through the air with her mate in her arms. The branch broke as Zya's long legs hit their target--the shore.

Zya tipped her head and looked at the dirty soft cheek that lay on her shoulder. After a tender kiss to her mate's blonde hair, the dark she-wolf of the Blacks exhaled a relieved breath. Brielle seemed so small and delicate in her arms right now. Hard to believe that this was the same woman who stood up to a hungry wolf, the one who saved a small animal and ran, carrying it to safety. Pretty gutsy, little she-wolf, she thought to herself. The Lupus let her eyes travel to the squirming animal Brielle held against her stomach. She reached a hand down to try to dislodge the scared animal. Even in her limp state, Brielle's grasp tightened. Despite the seriousness of the situation, Zya smiled. Brielle seemed to have a feisty, bold, caring and stubborn side that was sure to exasperate her. But if she admitted it to herself, it made her mate even more endearing.

Zya kept a strong but gentle hold on the blonde as she walked towards her mother and the two waiting wolves.

"It’s not her blood," Zya commented, noting the three pairs of eyes that stared at Brielle's bloody attire. The younger Blue put two fingers in her mouth and let out a piercing whistle calling her horse to her. Gently, she placed the young woman on the ground before falling down on her knees beside her. While using her right index finger to remove the touch, Zya stroked her mate's brow and cheeks with her left hand.

"I am here, little she-wolf." Zya projected to her semi alert mate. "Open your eyes," Zya whispered aloud. Gently Zya removed her mate's fingers from around the small creature. Green eyes fluttered open, confusion evident on a furrowed brow. The rabbit slid completely from Brielle's grasp, and the half-Ulf sat up abruptly. Green eyes darted around, seeing first her mate, then her mate's mother and finally, two wolves. Instinctively, Brielle scooted closer to her mate's body. She kept her green eyes trained on the two beasts’ golden eyes.

Zya quickly transferred the bedraggled creature into her mother's hands.

"Shhhhhhhh." Zya projected pulling Brielle's bare back against her warm stomach and wrapping a reassuring arm around her. "You remember Mya, my cousin, and Layne," she reminded her mate, threading her fingers through long blonde tresses. "And Mother is here with us," Zya explained. Reina made it a point to crouch straight across from Nali's child so that Brielle could notice that she was stroking the soft creature.

Brielle's self-aura was so turbulent that Reina, Mya and Layne encircled the pair. The trio together wove a mental web whose sticky snare entrapped all the negative, troubling thoughts. Zya of the Blacks felt it warm her. Her earlier encounter in her foe's belly had left her tired and drained with an abundance of negative emotions radiating from her psyche. As a few moments passed, she felt her wounded psyche stop bleeding angry thoughts.

"Why did you run, little she-wolf?" Zya at last probed in her most soothing of voices. She caught a blonde curl between two of her fingers and rolled it around. "What possessed you to do such a thing?" Zya inquired, genuinely trying to understand.

Brielle dropped her eyes to her hands, not wanting to look up at the four eyes that awaited her answer. Her thoughts were jagged and painful. She shivered with anxiety and coughed a nervous cough. Without bidding, she felt her mate’s hands warm her skin by rubbing her cheek. Zya's secure and loving touch seemed to warm her cool apprehension.

"I don't know," she replied in a broken whisper. She paused, then continued in sinking tones, "She has three young at her den and her mate is dead. I just couldn't let…" Brielle clamped her jaws together to stifle a sob. Her vision clouded with tears, she blinked her eyes rapidly. Her mind could so clearly see the struggling rabbit in the brown wolf's jaws. And before she could think, she had been running with the animal in her arms.

"That was a very brave thing you did, little she-wolf." Zya spoke in her characteristic low velvety voice. She gently turned her mate in her arms to face her and tenderly cupped her chin. "But to take off like a scampering deer, reckless and impulsive, was not a good thing. Especially after I had specifically told you to stay with Mother." Zya spoke with cool authority. Zya pointed matter-of-factly to the still form that Reina cradled in her hands. Though her blue eyes focused straight ahead at the fuzzy creature, out of the corner of her eye she watched sorrow wash across the young face. "If you had expressed your concern to Mother, she could have had the adolescent drop the rabbit with minor injury. The animal could be home with her young right now." Zya gently but firmly chastised her young mate. The leader of the Blacks kept a straight face despite Brielle's stricken eyes. It was the way of her people to discipline disobedience and reckless behavior with physical correction or a challenge at the sacred rock. But Zya instinctively sensed she would need to handle her mate in a less public, more sensitive teaching manner. Her mate was, after all, very sensitive and emotionally fragile.

Zya knew she had a responsibility to correct her young mate for Brielle’s benefit as well as the pack’s. But she also knew she had an equally important obligation to love and nurture her needy life-bonded. Slowly Zya moved her hands downward to cover Brielle's tightly clasped ones. She pried the small hands open finger by finger and slid her palm against the smaller one and covered it. She kissed the top of the blonde head. The jaw that the half-Ulf had so tightly clamped together trembled from the dark she-wolf's caring touches. Trying rigidly to hold her tears of self-rebuke in check, she blinked her green eyes rapidly to clear her quickly clouding vision. Zya's tender thoughtful kiss was the half-Ulf's undoing. Brielle failed miserably at the effort to her stifle her sobs and with a rush, tears trickled down her cheeks.

Zya gently turned the sobbing blonde in her arms and rocked her gently. She gently rubbed her index finger along Brielle's bare spine in slow soothing strokes.

"It’s over now, little she-wolf. You are ok, and so is the creature you rescued," Zya reassured.

"I… I'm so sorry," Brielle mumbled, glancing quickly at the two wolves and the two women of the Blue before hiding her face in her hands.

"Forgiven. " Zya spoke lovingly, kissing the hands that covered the heart-shaped face. Using her tongue, she nudged away the offending fingers then kissed her mate's red nose. Watery green eyes looked up into dark serene blue ones, and her sobs subsided into hiccups. Zya gently wiped away teardrops still hanging on sooty blonde eyelashes, then lowered her cool lips to kiss her mate's hot cheek.

"Forgiven, little one," Reina finally spoke, gently running a finger down her heart daughter’s arm. "Try not to scare your heart mother again, ok?" She spoke her serious message in a light-hearted way. Catching her daughter's blue eyes, Reina winked in approval at how Zya had handled the situation. Reina stroked the blonde hair that haloed Brielle's face, then tapped her uninjured shoulder.

Brielle shifted her body ever so slightly and turned her eyes to meet the older Blue's warm ones.

"Here is the plan, daughters, Mya and Layne." The Mother Blue gestured to all in the circle. "Zya and Brielle can go get Mother Rabbit’s babies ‘cause Momma here will need a few days to feel better. Mya, run back now and let the pack know that Brielle is safe, and the Lupus has returned home successfully from her scout. Layne, please retrieve the cloth that Zya took from Nadirea and accompany me and Mother Rabbit home."

"Wait!" Brielle exclaimed, seeing the tall woman and two wolves turn to go. Tentatively, the blonde stretched out an arm and reached over to pat each wolf’s head. "Sorry, and thank you," she said sincerely. As Nyka charged through the brush, Reina, Mya and Rayne disappeared into the night.

Zya and her galloping mare blended easily into the night's shadows. Her heart hammered in her chest and long black tresses danced in the wind. Wind that wailed through the sacred pines, wind that carried the smells of blood and death from the plains. It seemed to threaten to settle into her spirit like the fog that blanketed the Kildyr. Her sworn enemy lay in wait to sink its teeth into nature's peace, spewing its poisonous venom. This night had left her spirit tired and bruised. Part of her struggled not to lash out like a wounded animal. And in front of her sat an equally worn and fatigued Brielle, as well as three frightened young rabbits.

Zya 's blues watched Brielle sympathetically. Her new mate was looking downward, staring

intently at her tightly laced hands. "If only there was a way to take you from danger, to keep you apart from pain and confusion. I wish I knew an easier way to let you discover yourself, grow accustomed to our bond and the ways our people." The Lupus pondered to herself. " How hard it would be for her, even if I was an ordinary Black. How can she understand the path I must walk?" Zya frowned and took a ragged breath. Tonight I feel your self doubt, and you question your place with me and the pack.

The Moon Warrior pressed her muscular thighs into the spirited mare, leaning her body forward slightly. The closer contact with her mate’s warm body partially eased the savage chill around her heart. Still, musings on this night raced tirelessly in her thoughts as she processed all of this night’s events.

The wind’s biting gusts dissipated at the shaky touch Zya felt on her knee. Blonde eyelashes rose upwards and red streaked green eyes searched her face, concerned yet also needy. With the expression Zya saw in her mate’s face, her own eyes’ lethal calmness lifted. Zya exhaled a long sigh and maneuvered her aura into balance with the half-Ulf's psyche.

As bright and powerful as lightning, the fusion of the soulmates scattered the stalking darkness of violence, shame and fear. Stars now shone forth in the sky, their radiance illuminating the darkness. Brielle caught the Moon Warrior’s eyes, then shyly looked downwards to the bag holding three small baby rabbits. At the moment, there was no necessity for words between Zya and Brielle. The Moon Warrior rested her chin against the soft blonde tresses crowning her mate’s head. She rubbed her chin across them, enjoying how they tickled her skin.

In one forward motion, the tall rider pulled the small rider’s round hips ‘til they were snug against her love nest. Zya's touch was tender, its intent loving and forgiving as well as primal. After the events of this night, her physical need for mating with the half-Ulf was great. She massaged the half-Ulf's cheeks, neck and shoulders before brushing her mate's pink nipples with her callused palms. Equally needy, Brielle mewed, tilting her chin upward to meet Zya's eyes.

The blonde wiped away a lingering tear and smiled shyly. The glow of that smile relaxed Zya immeasurably. She returned it, her lips turning upwards slightly.

The moon seemed to favor Brielle tonight. Zya licked her lips, feeling intoxicated by the sight before her. Brielle's blonde tresses lit up the darkness. The moon seemed to be reflected in the half-Ulf's green eyes. Zya found herself bewitched by her lover's round breasts that shone ivory in the moonlight. Still riding on Nyka, Zya lifted her mate's left wrist and licked it teasingly. Zya bent her head downwards, seductively moving the blonde hair curtained around her mate's neck with her soft chin. She marked the area with her scent before showering it with tiny kisses. She let her tongue roll across Brielle's voice box, pleased when her mate gasped. Brielle's shapely outer thigh rubbed enticingly against her inner one, making her wolf blood warm from her head to her toes.

Zya reached downward and grasped the pendant of blue that hung across her chest. She lifted it to her lips and softly kissed it. Zya smiled watching her mate intently. Brielle shivered then reached a hand up to her cheek. The blue-eyed shape-shifter smirked, then blew softly on the stone. Goosebumps rose on her mate’s delicate skin. Brielle moaned as Zya caressed the stone’s outer edges softly rubbing the bottom of the stone.

"So responsive," Zya projected huskily. The dark she-wolf scooted her toes in between her mate's shins and the horse, spreading the younger woman’s already parted legs even further. Zya let out a soft primal growl and showered love bites along her neck raising red splotches. The blonde mewed as her mate followed her masterful seduction by lavishly licking the puffy areas.

"I smell your desire, little one. It ignites a fire in me that I can barely contain." Zya reached her palm across her mate's flushed stomach and found it trembling. She pressed the heel of her foot against her black mare, and Nyka obediently turned left towards home.

Zya hot breath bathed the younger woman's ear. The Moon Warrior's gaze raked up and down her mate's body, watching appreciatively at the way her mate's breasts jutted up against her top. A growl erupted in her throat and her nostrils flared with irritation at the barrier of Brielle's clothing. With one expert tug, Zya bared her mate's satin breasts. With a sense of urgency, she pulled on her mate's shoulders and bent her head downwards. Zya teased first one exposed nipple then the other ‘til both stood tight and firm, throbbing with need. Seeing involuntary tremors of arousal begin, Zya slowly moved her hand downwards. She bathed her hand in her mate's love juices, moving from thigh to thigh to the blonde's dewy nest.

Zya masterfully moved her fingers across the satiny flower petals around the blonde's love

canal. With her free hand she drew her pendant into her mouth, once more licking it

lavishly with her tongue. As Brielle gasped in sweet agony, Zya now lifted her

pendant over her head and slid the gem to her groin. The blue phallus and sacs emerged

from the stone, growing rapidly. Zya looked downward at the emerging genitals, relishing the sensations.

Seized by passion, Zya's eyes closed to slits. She fondled the rapidly growing gem, coaxing it to stiffness. Fully erect, she maneuvered it across the crack between her mate’s buttocks, then pushed it carefully under her flower. Her rod tightened deliciously between her mate's flower petals as they bounced with Nyka's


Brielle looked up shyly with her green doe eyes then down at the stiff warm object nestled under her blonde curls. Her forehead wrinkled as her green eyes met Zya's in question. Zya guided the half-Ulf's hand just above her nest's hairline. "My body welcomes you to join with it, little one," Zya whispered, opening her mate's legs and rubbing a finger along Brielle's flower petals. "Please take me into your flower's loving haven," the Moon Warrior entreated, loving the half-Ulf with her honeyed words.

Brielle looked down at the stiff blue rod that pressed itself into her left inner thigh. She noted its location, size and how it peeked out of thick black curls. Zya's question floated out of her mind as she tentatively reached her palm to her own curls and patted them, as if looking for something. She gave her pubic region a critical squint then returned her gaze to Zya herself. "How come I don't have one of those?" the blonde asked innocently, the other events of the night momentarily forgotten. She moved a timid hand to touch the pretty blue rod, then changed her mind and snapped it back.

Zya looked up at her bonded in surprise, then quickly remembered that her mate had never actually seen her blue phallus the night before. Zya doubted that Brielle, in her innocence, knew much about her own body. Curiosity was natural, and she was glad the blonde had taken another cub step in sexual discovery. The Moon Warrior reached her long arm out, taking Brielle's hand in her palm. Don't ever change, sweet one,. Zya thought to herself. I never expected to have this kind of chat with the mate I joined to,. Zya thought, bringing her mate's hand to her lips. Brielle's compelling, magnetic eyes made her pause to consider her words so she could explain in terms the half-Ulf would understand.

"When the gods created you, little she-wolf, they gave you warm, forest green eyes." Zya spoke tenderly, brushing a finger across the thick sooty blonde eyelashes.

"They gave you breasts with both the shape and beauty of the dawning sun," Zya continued, gently pulling on the blue-jeweled nipple ring.

"They gave you such a fragrant, beautiful flower nesting in delicate blonde curls." Zya was now whispering and fondling Brielle's unadorned breast.

"And your buttocks, little one, they’re shaped as a pair of half moons," the leader of the Blacks finished, giving her new mate a tender but possessive kiss. "And I, little she-wolf, am the luckiest wolf in all the forest--I and my jewel. She pointed downward at the blue phallus.

"I and my gem have claimed you as MINE!" Zya proclaimed, puffing out her chest proudly, blue eyes blazing.

Your jew…" Brielle tried to ask, but was gently silenced by the faint touch of her older

mate’s finger to her lips.

"Let me continue, little one." Zya spoke gently, pleased when the half-Ulf nodded sitting erect to give her full attention to Zya's words. "The gods have made me just as unique, sweet one. I carry a size and strength greater than most males. I am a large black wolf as well as the muscular, feminine leader of my pack. I have the unique characteristic of blue eyes--that gives me great responsibility, but also special gifts."

Zya spoke tenderly, caressing her young mate's lower back and soft buttocks. Zya pushed her erect phallus slightly into Brielle's dewy petals while tapping the top of Brielle's head to get her to look downward.


"I am not sure I understand." Brielle spoke in a hushed whisper.

"There is only one creature in all the forest that carries this jewel, little one," Zya spoke as she would to a young child, " and I am that creature. Sweet one, your body is perfect in my sight, and our bodies were made to fit together, to join." Brielle swung her legs around Zya, straddling her. The half-Ulf pressed her face affectionately into Zya's bosom while placing a protective hand on Zya's left breast.

"My sweet Brielle," Zya murmured into her young mate's blonde hair.

"Hey," Zya spoke after a time of quiet cuddling, "would you like to touch my jewel?"

Zya's eyes twinkled, watching the different emotions reflected in the green-eyed beauty's

eyes. Her eyes are so expressive, Zya remarked to herself, watching as hesitant embarrassment changed to cautious curiosity. Zya gave her mate an encouraging smile

"It’s warm, and feels soft," Brielle commented, her voice quiet and shaky.

"It’s one of the many ways I can show my love and connection with you. My body shows it to you now. My jewel stands erect in its desire to join with you," Zya purred seductively.

"Your body answers with its welcoming wetness." Zya's voice spoke low and clear. She

let her finger tantalize Brielle's flower, awakening more dew that rushed to Brielle's flower petals. As she aroused her young lover's passion, her own desires grew stronger.

Instinctively Brielle opened wider trying to push her pleasure point onto the thick hard surface. "Please," she whimpered, not even sure what she was asking for.

"I come, little one," Zya crooned, lifting the small blonde up at the waist. After parting back the petals of the fragrant dewy flowers, she slowly entered the blonde love nest. "Do you feel my love for you, little she-wolf?" The blue-eyed she-wolf spoke in a soft, gentle voice as she lowered the small body to her own.

"Yes." Brielle marveled at the feeling of her mate's jewel swelling inside her body. "Zya? Is this what you meant back HOME, when you said we were going to join in a physical way?"


'Home,' Zya mused. Brielle 's concept of home, she noted in her mind. "Yes, little she-wolf," Zya spoke, willing her body to restrain its sexual release for a time. "And this is joining--when I enter through your flower and spill my love seed."

The Moon Warrior stroked Brielle's hair, tucking some behind her jeweled ear. " We need

to talk about another type of home. Not just because of what happened tonight. I want

to know how you feel around your pack. Home with Mother, Sierra, Teldar, Kern

Mya, Layne and your Aunt Freya," Zya whispered into her hair. The Moon Warrior

flexed the muscles in her rod in an unspoken reminder of their intimate connection.

Brielle's inner muscles instinctively clutched hold of the firm object that filled her

body. The half-Ulf pressed her lips together trying to put her feelings into words.

Tenderly, the blue-eyed she-wolf reached out her index finger to the blonde's lips.

Her callused finger brushed across the smaller woman's lips as light as butterfly


"Your mother seems to treat me like her own, and Sierra lets me help with the animals.

She said I could name the two colts. I like your cousin and your brother's two children.

You have a nice family."

"They are your family too, little she-wolf," Zya projected, her long black hair ruffling in the breeze.

"Then why am I so different?" the young woman mumbled, fighting the onset of tears

of pained confusion.

"Why would you ever think that, my little she-wolf?" the Lupus questioned, her blue eyes mirroring her young mate's green ones. "Is this because of what happened tonight?" Zya's voice cracked with emotion as she took the half-Ulf's hand in hers. She pushed her phallus in deeper, shifting her hips and subtly reminding Brielle of their intimate connection. "Talk to me, sweetheart."

Brielle hesitated, closing her eyes against the tears that trembled on her eyelashes. She chewed her lower lip and stole a glance into the blue eyes. She felt her body coaxed to turn slightly, and she found her cheek guided to rest on the older woman's nipple. Feeling primal comfort from the contour and scent of the shape-shifter’s large full breast, green eyes re-opened.

"Now tell me, sweet-heart. You are safe on my breast and I safely rest in your body," Zya

projected, gently massaging Brielle's sore shoulder.

"They said I was different."

Zya frowned, feeling sourness in her stomach. "Who, sweetheart? What happened?" Zya asked. She drew Brielle closer so that their stomachs touched. She pushed the phallus even deeper into her mate. "What happened?" her soothing voice probed.

"A message came on a bird, and Reina said for me to stay with Layne and Mya while she

went to speak to Kern." Brielle spoke softly. "They came over and said they wanted to

see Aura." The half-Ulf paused as if to compose her thoughts. "They asked why I had green eyes and why I did not talk to them with my mind. When I said I didn’t know, they called me different."


" Who said this?" Zya questioned, trying not to show her irritation to her mate. She tucked

the information away, promising herself to take care of this next sunrise. The dark wolf reached into her mate's mind and coaxed the information forth. Not wanting her mate to feel uneasy with the extent of her telepathic abilities, Zya asked a question. "Was it some children?"

"Only the small ones drink from a breast, and you did not see their faces tonight when I

rescued the rabbit."

Zya could not deny her mate's observations, nor would she try to. She stopped her massage and cradled the half-Ulf's soft pale cheeks in her large sun-bronzed hands. "Well, you are not the only one different, little she-wolf. I am too." Seeing her mate's green eyes look into hers in complete surprise, the Lupus continued.

"I carry blue eyes. The only other person in the whole forest who carries this trait is my mother, Reina. I like that you carry the mark of Eyulf. Have you seen anyone else like that?" Zya asked, not really expecting a reply. "There is no one else in the forest who carries the same blue jewel that now contentedly rests in your body, so I guess that makes me different, too," Zya finished, brushing a kiss on her mate's dainty nose.

"I never thought of that," Brielle admitted, looking at her mark and rubbing her moist eyes.

"Try to pull yourself away from my jewel," Zya said matter -of-factly, smiling, watching Brielle grunt as she tried in vain to free herself. "Our bond, our physical connection cannot be severed, and it is our differences that make us special," Zya spoke, her blue eyes intent on the half-Ulf. "Little she-wolf, you are the most special being in my whole life. Our jeweled ears and your nipple ring are a testament of that fact for all to see," Zya explained, stroking Brielle's studded ear. "You laid claim on my heart the moment I saw you. I testified to all of our bond on the sacred rock. I claimed you as mine forever when we mated. My gods blessed jewel broke your love barrier," Zya spoke, her voice deep and serious. "And I never give away what I have claimed as mine. Already your uniqueness has been recognized by the gods. You carried their message to the Ulf. As your mate, I am proud of you. As your leader, I am grateful not only for your abilities, but because you are an asset to the pack."

"There is so much that goes on around me that I don't understand," Brielle admitted. "And why you must fight, plan and be away so much." Seeking solace, she nuzzled her mate's large nipples.

"Shhhhhhh." Zya crooned reaching her hand to her mate's unjeweled breast and cupping it gently and possessively in her palm. "If it were possible, little one, we would always be as we are now, me in your flower," she admitted, reaching a finger down to massage her mate's pleasure point.

"As leader of the Blacks, there will always be things that I must attend to. I am sorry I was away tonight, but there are things happening that require my attention," Zya explained, not wanting to upset her innocent mate with the violent, bloody details of tonight’s scouting mission. "And the message the Phoenix gave you was a great help. It warned us of bad men who threaten you, me and our forest."

Hearing Zya's words, a flicker of apprehension spread through her. "Then let's go HOME. Can’t we go home?" Brielle pleaded. "I don’t want you to get hurt. I love you."

Moved by her mate's emotional words, Zya bit back her own tears and swallowed. "This is HOME, sweetheart." Zya spoke softly, pressing her hand to Brielle's chest while making a sweeping motion with her other one around the forest surrounding them. She brushed her forehead with an empathetic and loving kiss "Sometimes, little one, you have to fight for the greater good. That means you and I have to think of all the people who might die, or get hurt, all the animals who might die, all the trees that might burn because of bad men. I know this is hard for you, but you and I have to weigh the needs of the many against our personal fears and wants. But know this, my little she-wolf, I love you and always want you close by my side. And when we are separated due to some circumstance, I will return as quickly as possible. And above the clan of the Blacks, above my own life, it is my highest priority to see you both happy and safe."

Seeing Nyka had come to the Azure pool, Zya whispered in her mate's ear, " But you heard the message yourself, little she-wolf. Because of who we are and our unique qualities, we will be victorious over all the threats to the Forest of the Eyulf. You, my little she-wolf, are very special. Want me to show you how special you are to me?" her voice enticed. "Turn into me and wrap your arms and legs around me," Zya's low voice urged. With her organ still buried deep in her mate, the blue-eyed shape-shifter dismounted slowly. She strode to a pile of furs placed by the pool’s quiet waters.

Standing under the moon, Zya lovingly traced her mate's soft lips with her tongue. Gently, she lowered their fused bodies to the soft furs, positioning them both so they lay facing on their sides. She gazed up and down her bonded's perfectly contoured body, her own body seduced by the blonde's beauty. "You are so perfect, my little she-wolf.," she projected huskily. The Moon Warrior nuzzled her mate's neck before gently sucking on a tiny earlobe.

"I will take you to pleasure's heights and give to you my love seed, my Brielle." Zya purred seductively, caressing Brielle with her blue-violet eyes.

Brielle groaned as her mate's mouth descended onto her pierced breast. Zya's long tongue

slipped easily between the ring and her mate's nipple tip. She alternated between teasing

the sensitive nub with her tongue and pulling the ring with her teeth. "Croon to me,

little she-wolf, let me hear your love noises," Zya whispered, her mouth now sucking

the pierced nipple’s naked twin. Brielle whimpered with need, clutching her mate's


'So responsive, little one," the sensual warrior projected. She licked the glistening sweat that rested between the valley of the erect breasts. Brielle's body writhed in her arms, caught firmly in her mate's erotic teasing. "I mark you as mine," Zya whispered, lowering her lips to Brielle's arched neck. The warrior's lips artistically marked her mate's neck with her mark of possession. "You are mine," she growled, her blood beginning to boil.

"Yours," The blonde murmured in agreement, grasping their joined shoulders and rolling onto her back,

opening her legs wide.

"And I am yours," the leader of the Blacks rasped, lying fully on her mate, pinned by her mate's now clenched legs. She rained tiny bites methodically along the sex flush on her mate's upper chest, pinching just enough for her mate's body to jump with growing tension. The blue-eyed shape-shifter let her index finger dip across her mate's dewy nest, ruffling the wet curls. Raising the finger to her nose and smelling the rich aroma, she slowly started to gyrate her hips.


"Ohhhhhhh," Brielle whispered brokenly, wrapping her arms around her lover's neck.

The dark wolf woman's black tresses teased her mate's cheek as she began to thrust harder and faster. To Zya's attentive eyes, Brielle's body screamed for release. She purposely angled her body in such a way that her dark-haired flower rubbed sensuously over her mate brushing their dewy nests together.

"Climb with me, little she-wolf," Zya's sensuous voice seduced. She gently aroused her mate into a powerful tempo, spiraling them both higher and higher. "Come for me, sweet flower. Come now, sweet Brielle, for your mate."

At the feel of her young mate's strong contractions, Zya's seed spewed powerfully into her love's womb tearing a cry from her mate's lips that caused ripples in the pool beside them. Zya mentally manipulated the fluid to heighten her mate's fertility. With each mating, Brielle's eggs would absorb her Ulf genetic make-up, so when Zya decided, her sperm could produce her blue-eyed female heir. Come mating season, she wanted her Brielle highly fertile for her special sperm.

Her mate asleep in pleasant exhaustion, Zya remounted her mare and nudged Nyka forward once more.

" Love you," Brielle murmured in her sleep. The Blue felt a sudden warmth soak into her sign and spread outward. "I love you too, little she-wolf."


"I saw a group of people and they lived in a lush valley. The water flowed clear from the forest over a set of plains. Deer grazed and frolicked ‘round small settlements. Phoenix flew overhead, and crops grew abundantly. Children laughed, trying to chase the rabbits that wandered freely. Rabbits who nibbled in the vegetable gardens. And the great wolves watched over all."

"Then I saw the settlements grow to villages. They expanded over what were once lush green grasses and they built huge walls around them. People began to dam the waters, leaving parts of what was a moving stream to dry. Animals either died or had to move to the plains. The number of deer, fox and even the tiny ground squirrel dwindled to just a few. Only the wolves that the villagers had come to fear remained unscathed."

"The people fought amongst themselves as their numbers grew and grew. Talk arose of moving their people towards the great blue-grassed plains, plains where white buffalo roamed freely as gentle giants.

"Then I saw men starting fires in the blue grasses. Burning, smoke, and slaughter of the animals that could not escape to the forest." Brielle's voice broke and silent tears slid down her sweaty face.

"Shhhhh, little she-wolf," Zya crooned, wrapping a leg around her mate's body behind which she lay spooned. She pulled her mate backward ‘til she gently brushed her breasts. "It was only a dream, little she-wolf, only a dream," the Blue soothed, propping her head up on her hand. Zya breathed a deep breath, her psyche in harmony with her mate's fear. She knew this sounded vaguely familiar, but refused to jump to conclusions. With the morning's gentle breeze she smelled her mother's scent nearby and felt Reina's motherly caress.

"That's not all," Brielle murmured, feeling a tear wiped from her face and then fingers threading through her hair.

"Can you tell me the rest, little she-wolf?" Zya whispered. Her blue eyes connected with the other Blue who stood just outside the threshold of the door. At that short distance from her daughter's cave, Reina also waited for Nali's gifted daughter to speak.

Brielle nodded complacently, closing her eye’s and clearing her throat. "A few of the people were upset with their fellow humans. They raised their voices and denounced their leaders publicly, trying to sway the crowds with teachings of nature's harmony. The men reminded them of the ways of their fathers. They cried to the gods for a change in the hearts of man, their voices rising upwards in a yellow mist towards the moon."

"In the forest depths, all the creatures cried out in sorrow. So great was the distress of their animal brethren, that the wolves climbed to the highest of hills and cried in sorrow for the gods’ intervention. And their howls rose upward, toward the moon, mixing with the yellow mist and turning a shade of blue."

"Then, I saw the mist fall and land on the wolves on the hill, and .a bolt of lightning shot upward in the sky in the shape of a wolf’s head, for all to see. It was then that I woke up," Brielle explained, turning over so her face now rested between her mate's bosoms.

"Hmm, that is some dream," Zya whispered in her mate's small ear. She licked the lobe with gentle affection. "It must have been confusing for you to see all of these strange things."

"They cut the buffalo's necks and the blue grass turned red. Why must people be so mean?"

"I have wondered that very thing many times, little she-wolf," Zya whispered once more in her mate’s ear, nuzzling her blonde hair. "Like last night, when I told you bad men were trying to hurt the forest and all the creatures in it."

"And you have to help, like the wolves in my dream," Brielle concluded with a sigh. She looked up at the blue-eyed woman with the long flowing black hair.

"Yes, sweetheart, we need to help so bad things don’t happen like they did in your dream," Zya answered, caressing the small of the half-Ulf's back. She rolled her mate on top of her body and looked deeply into her eyes. "I love you, my little she-wolf, and I will do everything in my ability to keep you safe and make sure the type of things that happened in your dream don't come to pass." Zya reached out her long arms and cupped her mate's buttocks possessively. Zya rolled off of her back onto her side. She turned her mate's body, maneuvering both of them back to their original positions. " Relax now," Zya whispered, propping her head on her hand. "Let go of your dreams and let them float away on this morning breeze," Zya purred, trying to lull her partner back to sleep. Her breasts were firmly pressed against her mate's back, and she began to gently thread her fingers through her mate's hair. Zya smiled when her mate closed her green eyes. "So tired, aren't you, Brielle?" Zya questioned in a soft voice as her mate drifted off.



Reina’s misty blue eyes followed the sunbeam's path to the visage of her daughter. The younger Blue lay on her side, her hand supporting her head and a fur covering her waist. She had been a beautiful child and was a striking adult, her muscular toned stomach her golden skin, long, thick, black hair, her large bronze nipples and sky blue eyes. These all marked her as "Blue." It was a proud mother's opinion, but her daughter seemed even more striking threading her fingertips through the long blonde hair of the slumbering blonde she was curled around. Their signs seemed to flow one upon the other as both rested in relaxed closeness. Others would disagree, but what she saw in her child since she had taken a mate made her prouder than all the victories Zya had ever won in warfare

And what of this petite blonde who had captured her daughter's soul so completely? She was so much like her mother. She could see her friend in the long golden mist of hair. The color of the young one’s hair had never been seen in Nadirea and only rarely in Ulf. Last night had shown Reina that Brielle bravely acted upon her convictions. One could feel the half-Ulf's emotions when they looked into her expressive green eyes. Nali's daughter’s spirit seemed to be tapped to the revelations of the gods. But it was not her gifts, or birthright or even her blonde hair that had ensorcelled her daughter. Instead, it was this child's innocent, brave, loving spirit.

Zya cleared her throat, raising her eyebrows inquiringly. Reina allowed herself a few moments more of motherly pride before sending her daughter a mental caress.

"Come in, Mother." Zya urged softly in her alto voice. She lifted her fingertips from her mate's hair and motioned to the fur laid out beside her sleeping pallet. Crossing the cave's threshold, the older Blue strode softly across the room. She lowered herself onto the soft pelt, exhaling a sigh as she comfortably folded her knees.

"I want Brielle to rest for a bit longer," Zya explained, resuming her gentle sifting through her mate's flaxen hair. "It was nearing dawn when I got Nyka settled into the stables. Brielle was asleep before her head hit the furs, only to toss, and then this dream. If I had not woken her, maybe I would know the end of her story," Zya muttered, her voice laced with a tinge of regret.

"You know at least a portion of it," Reina reminded her firmly. " A slightly different version, but similar just the same. "

"Is this a more complete version? " the younger Blue questioned, old fears resurfacing and mixing with the atrocities of last night. Grotesque images rushed into her outermost streams of thought. Her innocent little brother butchered and skinned. The fear she felt as a young, unweaned cub to see her mother's black fur caked in her enemy’s blood. Now the sacred tree that was so honored and revered had been used as an instrument of death, crimson Nadirean blood etched across its bark, defiling its sanctity. The passive rule of the now dead king had been replaced. Replaced by a man who killed his leader, murdered his holy man and planned to pillage the forest seeking personal power.


"Is there a holy man with whom she might share a kinship of beliefs?" Zya asked herself.

"Undoubtedly there is another part of the story, the side of these honorable men, that we were never privy to," Reina contemplated, looking at the scrap of cloth her daughter had returned home with. "You know, Zya, when you were born, I let my finger travel over and over your chest memorizing this pattern," Reina projected, fingering the cloth. "This is the exact pattern."

Reaching over and grasping the cloth, Zya lowered the fabric so it lay parallel with her mate's chest. "The sign matches Brielle's perfectly," Zya commented with emphasis. "If I had not seen this insignia on the Nadirean's chest with my own eyes, I would have not believed there could be any good men in Nadirea. I don't want to believe it. It's easier not to."

To herself, Zya ruminated on the end of the myth that she had been taught her whole life.

" And a great mist descended from the moon onto the wolves on the hillside. And with the spark of a lightning bolt, wolves became forever changed. ‘We have heard your cries and have answered. With this lightning bolt, you are forever changed. You now embody elements of both man and beast. Your spirit now is a testament of balance between man and beast--in witness to the way we intended. By day you will walk on two legs, by night you walk on four. Man and wolf enmeshed, charged as guardians of the forest and its creatures.’"


"My heart shares your pain and concern," Reina spoke, reaching a hand out to stroke her daughter's shiny dark hair. "You were barely six seasons when they killed your father. I also lost my youngest child to their hatred and aggression." Reina spoke with her jaw set and her eyes staring forward.

Zya sat up slowly, covering Brielle with a fur. Her mother’s grief mingling with her own, Zya lowered her head to rest upon her mother's shoulder.

Lost in her thoughts, Reina sat stiffly without moving. Feeling a warm splash roll down her collarbone, Reina turned her face to watch yet another tear follow. She thought first of that which she did not see. She did not see the snarling Lupus with vengeance flashing in blue eyes. She caught a glimpse of something she had not seen in a very long time. She saw her young daughter who held her in a death grip while she sobbed at the loss of her brother. She watched the tears of that young child fall as Zya nuzzled into her neck. She wrapped her aura around her daughter and the half-Ulf who lay against her daughter's thighs. Reina frowned as she watched her child clamp down a sob, her face flushing red.

"Don't fight it, little one," Reina murmured, tenderly stroking her daughter’s tense neck." Your sorrow has been dammed up for most of your life. Only with its release can the stream run normally once more."

Reina said nothing just stroked her daughter's hair and held Zya's head to her shoulder. Her mother's touch sent the Moon Warrior into heaving sobs. Reina looked over and observed Zya’s runny nose and her bloodshot eyes. She had never seen her daughter so beautiful, strong and brave, and she told her child so with her mind.

"I'm sorry, I have not broken down like this since…" Zya spoke brokenly, sniffing.

"Lai died," Reina finished, helping her daughter sit up and handing her a waterskin." I have

watched you fight and defeat your enemy with skill and prowess, and I have been proud.

But not as proud as I am at this moment," Reina spoke, letting a single tear drop from

her blue eyes.

"I thought I had forgotten how," Zya whispered, taking another swallow of the Kildyr to ease her parched throat.

"My daughter, you have never been as ready to confront our enemy and crush his evil

ways than you are now," Reina finally spoke, cupping her daughter's chin in absolute


"How can you say that?" Zya's mind screamed in exasperation. She stood up looking up at her mother with eyes dark with emotion. "Last night when I returned from that scout and I saw my mate clutching to a rock in fright, the evening's grave discoveries flew away into the night air." Zya's blue eyes met her mother's in tortured disbelief. "All that mattered was my mate, her safety, wanting to calm her fears, help her understand. Today, is the eve of the greatest fight between Ulf and Nadirean. It lies only a breath away. And I lay crying like a babe," Zya chastised herself. "Where is this new skill, my mother? If I cannot properly focus on my responsibilities for my people, much less be a proper mate for my newly bonded."

"Now you listen to me, Zya." Reina spoke with quiet emphasis. "Do you not see what is plainly before you? Just two full moon cycles ago, my daughter prowled nightly, only satisfied with blood and death. Where was your heart last night, my daughter?" Reina questioned, pausing to give her child time to think. "And where is your heart now?" Receiving only silence, Reina added another comment for Zya to consider. "You have mirrored the same vengeance of your enemy almost since your brother died. I ask again, where was your heart last night and this morning?"

"It has come home, little one. It is not roaming any longer like a wounded, dying animal. It

is with your people, your mate and now you have even returned to yourself," Reina explained, smirking at the small nod she received.

"Who is this she-wolf who talks of love, home and dual responsibilities? Who is this she-wolf who evaluates her heart and actions instead of merely opening her jaws to attempt to quench a thirst for revenge? Now, my daughter, you walk the path of an avenger, with justice at your right hand," Reina continued, pointing downwards at the blonde. " A power and strength you carry, my child. A power that this Nadirean dictator seeks for himself but will never find."

"Brielle is not the only one undergoing changes and adjustments. Together you each aid

the other, becoming more skilled and capable as individuals, and stronger and more powerful together."

" Look at her, Mother. So peaceful she seems to be, innocent, full of wonder, purity," Zya murmured, wiping her nose.

"Far from that wild eyed child whom I saw instinctively charge a hungry wolf last night," Reina interjected. "Mind my words, little one, Brielle is a very strong, brave and complex creature. With all the changes she has had to undergo in such a rapid time, she really is doing well," the Lupus stated, looking down at the fair headed woman.

Zya's fingers slowly rubbed the long silky blonde strands, enjoying the feel of the rich mane. Slowly she lowered her lips to brush the soft lips of her mate.

"Thank you," the younger Blue projected to her mother. Zya's heart felt lighter and her mind clearer. I do feel better, Zya thought to herself. "The Blacks alone can not deter a Nadirean advance," Zya commented, picking up the cloth and studying it closely. She laid it down beside her mate's chest and studied it carefully.

"For generations, the Ulf and their different breeds have interacted as independent units. Maybe, my daughter, this circumstance could be an opportunity for the alliance and unity of the Eyulf."

"Teldar would be perfect to draw up the pacts of unity. I shall invite both the Reds and the Silvers to a joint meeting to discuss the growing Nadirean threat. Say in three moonrises?" Zya expressed her thoughts aloud, wanting her mother's input.

"The Reds loyalty is questionable. The Silvers are cousins who keep to themselves, content with a lifestyle of extreme privacy," the older Blue interjected, looking down at the cloth once more. "It’s wrong to assume the entire clan of Red is dishonorable. Brielle certainly has made you rethink your strong opinions on the complete obliteration of all with Nadirean blood," Reina finished, smiling at the small woman her daughter held.

Brielle’s mind stirred first as she hazily evolved into a light doze. Somewhere in her stream of consciousness, the half-Ulf sensed her mate nearby. Her reactions dull, the half-Ulf reached out an arm ‘til she detected her mate's warmth. Gradually she became aware of her mate's voice as well as another. She turned to the sound of the voice and opened sleepy green eyes to watch two sets of blue eyes talking intently. She turned her head in the other direction, watching the lair’s opening as a short muscular woman stuck her head inside.

"Hi, hon," Sierra projected to the blonde half-Ulf. While Brielle's brow furrowed in concentration, Sierra could tell the half-Ulf had no understanding. "Hi, hon," Sierra spoke aloud, walking into the lair with a tray full of food. "Your rabbit is going to be fine. I got her and the young ones settled into their pen ‘til Momma Rabbit is healed." Sierra spoke directly to Brielle. The soft thankful smile Reina's mate received was enough to make her forget her fatigue from playing healer to what usually was a staple in her diet of meat. Meeting the two sets of blue eyes that were now on her, she sent them a private projection. "I requested from Kern the assistance of his son to construct a rabbit pen. It has been an interesting morning, to say the least," she finished "Well you missed the high sun meal," Sierra stated matter-of-factly. "All three of you." Sierra set down the tray of fruits, bread, and fresh, raw deer meat. She sent her daughter a mental caress, then settled beside her mate

"Good morning, little she-wolf." Zya's deep voice purred a projection, sending with it a tender mental caress. The caress instinctively stirred the half-Ulf's aura, and she pulled herself to a sitting position. Seeing Zya open her arms invitingly, the blonde scooted across the furs. She felt herself being enveloped in a tight hug and wrapped her arms around her mate's waist, returning the tender gesture. Brielle felt the pressure of her mate's milk heavy breast at the top of her head, and her mouth began to salivate. Instantly her mate's body shifted in quiet invitation. Green eyes held to blue ones as she took her nourishment. Brielle observed her mate's blue blood-shot eyes with a concerned look. Upon finishing, Brielle lifted her head upward and placed her cool hand over her mate's splotchy feverish cheek. She pursed her lips together and stared intently into her mate’s bleary eyes.

Zya’s mind shivered as she felt a special presence stir across it. She let it wash completely across her mind, opening herself up completely. She let the realization materialize as to what had just occurred. Zya reached out of herself and sent her own presence outwards into her mate’s mind. She had just experienced her mate’s very first mental caress.

 Continued - Part 8


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