Part 2 - Chapter 1: New life, new plots afoot

Jaden paced nervously outside the warren. Dreamer was inside; about to give birth again, and, as if that wasn't enough, Windfire had gone missing again. He heard large footfalls trudging through the bushes. Jaden turned to see Quicksilver, the large brown horse that had helped them in their journey here. "Is something wrong, Jaden" Quicksilver asked. "Yes, Quicksilver." Jaden sighed, as if it wasn't plain enough. "Dreamer's about to give birth again and Windfire's gone. You haven't seen her, have you?" Quicksilver pondered for a while, then shook his head.

Jaden dropped his head. "Some father I'm turning out to be" "Don't get down, Jaden. Remember what Rowan said" Jaden slightly twinged at the name. Dreamer had never really gotten over Rowan leaving. "Yes, you're right, Quicksilver"

Suddenly, a rustle from the top bushes was heard, and a small red cub leapt out onto Jaden. "Oh, there she is" Quicksilver said. Jaden quickly recovered and gently shook the cub off. "Windfire, please don't scare me like that, young lady" He said sternly. The embarrassed smile Windfire gave him lightened his heart slightly. "You are getting better, I'll admit. But here's a hint: I usually go for the limbs" Jaden told Windfire, holding out his paw for emphasis. Windfire shook her head and yipped. She wasn't able to talk properly yet, but it was clear she understood.

Then, from the cave there came a long groan, which suddenly stopped. Jaden led Windfire into the warren while Quicksilver tried to poke his head in. Dreamer was panting, exhausted from the strain. Near her was a small cub, showing signs of life. Jaden sniffed and observed. "It's a girl" He concluded. Dreamer smiled and licked her mate. Since she had become a mother she had had little time for exploration, not that that stopped Windfire. "This time, I get to choose the name" She replied. "Okay" Said Jaden "What do you suggest?"

Dreamer stopped. She hadn't really given it much thought. Then the cub started to open her lids, revealing innocent turquoise eyes. Dreamer was astonished "She's got my eyes" She then mentally compared them to the lake's calm appearance in the autumn. "I think I'll call her Serena" Jaden nodded in understanding. "It definitely suits her now, but what about when she grows up?" "Jaden, dear, you should try and relax for just once" "Yes, dear"

Dreamer then turned her attention to Windfire "Windfire, come and meet your new baby sister, Serena" Windfire, with a push from Jaden sniffed at Serena, and took an instant liking to her. Serena seemed to be nervous, as she cuddled up to her mother. Windfire came forward and nuzzled her sister, who nuzzled back, fully trusting her. "I wish you could see this, Rowan" Dreamer thought.

Meanwhile, in America

Over the skies of Oregon in the USA a CH-53E Super Stallion was hovering silently, searching for something. Inside the cockpit a metal voice rumbled with a tinge of desperation or madness. "50 cycles of searching" It muttered. "But the artifact is out there. I can feel it! And once I find it, we shall be one step closer to our goals"

Then a screen in the cockpit began to blip "And energy signal?" The screen showed up a detailed map of Great Britain, converging closer on where the signal was coming from "Mmm, an awfully remote sector" The voice observed "Still, it looks promising. Extremely promising" The helicopter then turned and headed in a westerly direction towards Europe.