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Leanan

i'm not entirely satisfied with these chapters but... here goes:

Chapter Six: The Healing

The people of Sorrow’s End were preparing a celebration to welcome the Wolfriders. ShenShen was practicing a dance with some of her friends. Skywise, when she found her, stood mesmerized, watching the graceful movements and the flowing veils. She had never cared much for making herself pretty, and now for the first time did she suspect she might have missed something. Finlally she remembered what she had come for.
“Healer?”
ShenShen halted, then spoke to her friends:
“Go on without me.”
Then she turned to the silver-haired maiden.
“What is it? Is Redlance all right?”
“Yes, don’t worry, you mended him enough that he can mend himself. I’ve come to ask something for myself. A healing.”
“Yes?”
“Some turns ago, our tribe was attacked by a monster born of foul magic. Madcoil. It slew six, among them Cutter’s parents ”“ and Rain the Healer. But the full count of lives lost was seven. It struck me down, and I lost the life I was bearing. And later I learned I had lost something else ”“ I could not bear a cub anymore. And we had no healer. Can you help me?”
“I’ll try. Come.”
She took her into her hut and instructed her to lie down.

“What’s your name, by the way?”
“Skywise.”
“And who’s your lifemate? The one whose child it would have been?”
She smiled when she answered:
“Cutter. Our chief.”
“Why didn’t he come with you?”
“Because if I can’t be healed, I don’t want another disappointment for him. A pleasant surprise is much better.”

ShenShen touched her, joined minds in a way that resembled, but was not quite, sending. Soon she saw what was wrong. Like many of the worst ills, it was a small thing really, that was out of place and broken. Easy to mend. So she mended it.

When she lifted her hands, Skywise moaned. She realized the Wolfrider had been biting her lip to silence herself.
“Oww ”“ that hurt, you know? Did you”¦?”
“Yes. It is done.”
Skywise got up and took ShenShen’s hand between her own two hands.
“How can I ever thank you enough?”
“No need, I just did my duty.”
“Well, you’ve earned my friendship, ShenShen. Now and for ever.”

But ShenShen didn’t answer. Skywise thought she was tired from the healing. In fact, she was fighting back tears. How easily the wolfblood used words like ”˜for ever’, totally ignorant ”˜for ever’ was something she didn’t have.

Chapter Seven: Challenge

Days passed. Pike tried to court ShenShen with clumsy apologies and gifts. One afternoon he stood against the wall of ShenShen’s hut.
“Would you at least tell me why? You said you can forgive how I treated you ”“ so I don’t understand. Why refuse a truth we both know?”
“I’m sorry, but I owe you no explanation.”
“In my tribe we don’t play games with our hearts. We know ”““

Just then, someone grabbed Pike’s shoulder. Rayek. He threw him to the ground and tossed a sculpted metal stick into the ground beside him. Then he was gone.
“What’s this?” Pike asked, puzzled.
“A challenge wand! Rayek, you zwoothead! Well, go to Savah’s hut, Wolfrider. The rest of us will be there soon.”

ShenShen sat between her parents, Pike and Rayek stood on opposite sides before the Mother of Memory.
“Children of my children’s children”¦ hear now a chant that is older than old, and truer than truth itself”¦ heart to heart are lifemates bound, soul meets soul when eyes meet eyes”¦ maiden, amongst those gathered ”˜round stands your one love recongized? Speak his name and all is done! ”˜twixt these two you must decide! ”˜Nay’ to both or ”˜aye’ to one? Which of them must step aside?”

ShenShen didn’t waste time before answering.
“Nay to both! Rayek, you don’t have the right to make the challenge! Why would anything that has happened change my answer? And why would a contest solve the choice, if a choice there was? You think I care about winning and losing? All a trial would mean to me is needless hurts and bruises to be healed!”
“Very well.” Rayek left the hut. Toorah hugged her daughter. Pike stood silent only a moment. Then he spoke:
“And what about me? What about Recognition?”
“Leave me alone!”
So Pike left, too. ShenShen’s parents, unable to help her, went their way as well, hoping the Mother of Memory would offer some consolation.

“Child, what is it? I sense no disagreement between the two of you. Why fight Recognition?”
So she told her. About the wolfblood. Tears welled in her eyes.
“But daughter, hasn’t it occurred to you that you could change it? You, with your healer’s touch, could remove death from your children’s blood.”
“Could I?”
“I’m quite certain you could. But I advise you to wait until your children are old enough to make the choice for themselves. What is burned away can never be given back. And the wolfblood gives many strengths, not just weakness.”
“Oh, Savah!” ShenShen buried her head in her ancient teacher’s lap.

She found Pike at the zwoots’ drinking through. He was staring at his reflection in the still water glumly, perhaps wondering if it was his looks that repelled ShenShen.
“Pike?” She smiled at him. He couldn’t bear the gentleness in her eyes, and turned away. But ShenShen went to him and placed her hands on his arms from behind.
“Behl?”
He trembled as she embraced him.
“Strange”¦ now that I have said it aloud, I know what a soulname is, and what it means. Pike, Howlkeeper, son of Rain the Healer, all that you are is Behl.”

That night, the Recognition was answered. The following night there was a great celebration, and they were the centre of it. Best of all, perhaps, was Redlance’s gift ”“ the dreamberries. When nightfall had asked for the seeds Pike had supposed she would plant them in the gardens and let them grow slowly, just like the other plants the Sun Villagers used for food. But it turned out Redlance’s treeshaping gift had blossomed at last.

Rayek wasn’t present at the feast. Some days later, after the wolfriders had saved the village from a stampede of zwoots, and ShenShen had saved Dewshine’s life, Savah told them Rayek had left for good. But there were good news too ”“ the day after the stampede Cutter announced there would be a cub, at last, for him and Skywise.

To be continued...


Now before I can continue I need to figure something out. Help would be welcome. I'm not going to remake Ember and Suntop disguised with new names, i'm going to make two new cubs (yes, only two, no twins) with new talents... besides Leetah already got Suntop's magic. So, if when Savah's spirit is captured, it is Leetah who goes to her and gets the warning... then how can I make the wolfriders follow her - and how can I make them to take the children with them? Is there any possibility that Cutter and Skywise's child would have magic? (Pike and ShenShen's certainly will... Pike is the son of Rain the Healer after all...)