The last two books are my favorite, but I absolutely love wolves (wow, big surprise, right?) and I wanted to reintroduce the pack. This story is basically addressing more of Daine's past, as well as her relationship with the pack and Numair.
There are no lemons in this story, but a bit of limeade.
This story is dedicated to Jack the Toy Poodle, who got frisky with my shin in order to protect his 'pack'. Dogs act silly in boarding kennels.
- Lupin's Magelet
"Numair, can you stop fidgeting?"
"I'm sorry, but it is a tad…uncomfortable to sit like this for a prolonged period of time. We aren't all as young as you are, you know."
"Don't go pulling out the 'old man' card now," she chided.
"But I am an old man," he pouted.
"No you aren't. You're just older than me. Besides, you are confusing 'I'm an old man' with 'I'm a man'. If you don't want to damage yourself I suggest you learn how to ride properly."
Numair squirmed uncomfortably in the saddle while Daine fruitlessly wished for the trip to be over already. She and Numair were checking in on the less-than majestic Apple Tree of Dunlath for Jonathon, who may have inquired as to whether or not the tree had been chopped down…yet. Numair had decided that they should visit the Long Lake pack while they were in the area, because it had been so long since Daine last saw them. She, on the other hand, was not looking forward to the reunion. She'd protested, but Numair would not listen. While Daine loved the wolves like family, it would be awkward returning to them after the change in her and Numair's relationship. Especially at this time of the year. How to explain this to a man who could only approach things in the most subjective manner…I mean, maybe if we'd spent more alone time together. No, she thought. Numair wants to protect my virtue, or some other foolish notion of his.
Numair's voice stirred her from her thoughts. "Daine, didn't you say that one of the wolves would meet us at the fork in the path?" His arm wrapped around her waist and pulled her closer to him as he pretended to lose his balance in the saddle. Daine grinned, enjoying this part of the excursion. Knowing that Daine would most likely spend the majority of her time in animal form the two had left Spots to rest at the keep and taken only Cloud. The wild mage was more comfortable with this arrangement for both herself and for Spots.
Not to mention the added bonus of being cradled in a saddle with Numair. They were so close she was practically sitting in his lap.
'Tell the storkman to keep his hands to himself while he's on my back, or I shall bite him and ruin his pretty hair.'
Daine giggled as she relayed the message to Numair. He frowned and solemnly swore that there would be no shenanigans in the saddle…so long as said saddle was attached to Cloud. "Fleetfoot said he would be here at noon. Here, let me down."
He lowered her down to the ground before falling out of the saddle as Cloud bucked him off. The horse sighed as the weight on her back was removed. "Ouch!" he yelped. The mage stood, rubbing his sore backside and glaring at his mount. Without turning his eyes from Cloud, he asked, "Aren't we a little early to meet him, then?"
"Yes, but I thought we could grab some lunch." As an afterthought Daine added, "And we have something to discuss before we meet up with the pack."
Curious, Numair removed the pack with the cooking supplies from Cloud and began preparing a temporary campsite. By the time he had a decent fire going, Daine returned with a large hare. Numair looked at her, surprised that she had hunted for them. "You heard my Da – I can't have him scolding me for not hunting." He wasn't convinced. "Besides, these little ones reproduce quickly."
"Whatever you say, magelet. Would you like me to clean it?"
"Yes, please. I didn't even think about having to do that."
"You don't have to hunt if you don't want to¸ you know."
"I know, but…let's just say a lot of things have happened to make me reconsider."
"If you're sure." They sat in companionable silence, alternating between checking the meat and watching Cloud graze nearby. Daine scooted closer to Numair and rested her head on his shoulder, trying to devise a plan of attack for the upcoming conversation. Numair complied and raised his arm to wrap around her shoulders as she snuggled into his side.
All too soon he broke the silence. "What did you want to talk to me about?"
Daine shook herself from her drifting state. "Huh?"
"Earlier you said there was something you wanted to talk about. Care to give me a hint?"
"Oh, right." She really was dreading this talk, but only because she had no way of knowing how he would react. Every little thing he did around her was done in a manner that suggested Numair was frightened he would make some mistake and scare her away. Daine had no idea whether or not Numair was as flighty as he believed Daine to be. "Well, I suppose I just wanted to warn you before we met up with the pack."
"Warn me about what? Daine, you're flushed – what's the matter?" Numair was worried, and Daine finally mastered her emotions.
Daine cleared her throat. "Uh, Numair, how much do you know about pack life…or wolves, for that matter?"
He brightened up a measure, but was still concerned about whatever had Daine so worked up. "I did some additional research on wolves after our return from Dunlath…the first time. I wanted to know how – and why – they had allowed you to join the family. They treated you as a foundling pup, a subordinate because you were no physical threat to the others. Right?" Daine nodded. "I'm sorry for rambling, what exactly did you want to warn me about?"
Daine blanched. She moved further away from Numair as he inched closer to her to comfort her. "No, please – I just need to get this out. I mean, it's not such a huge deal for me, but…"
"But I should be worried, you mean."
"No! I mean, well, not worried, per say, but I'm not sure how you will react when I tell you, so be prepared." Daine was wringing her hands.
'Daine, just tell him already. You are overreacting.'
Taking a deep breath in and out to calm herself, Daine locked eyes with Numair and began to speak. "You're right about my being accepted into the pack as an immature subordinate. When we last visited, I left the pack as a mature subordinate, because mentally speaking I was weaker than the rest. Now, though…"
"Are you saying that they will perceive you as a threat? I can't believe that they would harm you."
"No! Not a threat, exactly, but they see me as Pack," She tried to explain as he began clearing up the site. "They know that I'm not a wolf, but they see me as a member of the pack and they will treat me as Pack. When they see you, well they already know that you are with me, and at this time of year we – " a howl broke her stumbling. I guess he'll just have to find out for himself, then. "He's here. We should go."
Numair shook his head. "Are you going to explain what you were trying to tell me?"
"No. I'm sure you'll find out soon enough." That's it Daine, just chicken out. No wonder he's barely touched you yet – you can't even talk about this. "I'm going to travel in wolf form now, if that's alright."
"Whatever you want, Magelet." She shifted before his eyes and he quickly gathered up her discarded clothing. Numair, deciding that Cloud deserved a break from carrying his graceless form through the forest, grabbed the horse's reigns and followed Daine and Fleetfoot. He was startled to discover how Daine's tail swayed in the same manner that her human hips did. This discovery left him feeling mildly agitated and uncomfortable, as he was sure that Cloud would relieve him of his manhood should she know the lurid thoughts forming in his mind. Those hips…and if she shifted now, she wouldn't be wearing anything and…No! Think of something else. According to Hami of Brer, the 6 Principles of Magic are focus, source, Gift,…
Twenty minutes later Numair was able to make out the muffled yips and snarls of tussling wolves nearby. Daine's ears perked up and she raced out of sight with the other wolf. Cloud froze where she was, refusing to take another step no matter how much Numair tugged on her lead. He gave a final sigh of frustration and hauled the pack from the saddle before heading off in the direction Daine had disappeared to. The snarling and yipping had turned to a low growling and whining, and from what Numair could tell it was the banter of fewer wolves than he heard before. He rushed on, only to stop in his tracks as he broke into the clearing before the den.
Holy Mother of Mithros… Numair dropped the pack to the ground as his jaw dropped.
Butt-sniffing and face-licking he was used to – had expected, really. They were things canines did to greet one another. He was familiar with the different ways the wolves cocked their ears and could differentiate between a frightened look and an aggressive stance. He knew the order of the pack ranking system and he knew how often wolves had to hunt in order to stay healthy. He even knew the typical gestation period of a she-wolf and the optimum size of a pack's hunting grounds.
This one thing, though, Numair was blissfully unaware of…until now.
There, in the midst of all of the other wolves, were two females. One, the disagreeable female who disliked Daine, was mounting a slightly smaller wolf. Numair's discomfort heightened as he realized that the smaller wolf was in fact Daine. He shifted, trying to ignore what this sight was doing to him. What in the Realm of the Gods is going on? His mouth opened to speak, but his voice caught in his throat.
Wolf-Daine's head turned at that moment and saw him standing there. Her ears were drawn back and her lips were clenched in a thin line, exposing her teeth in a low snarl. The look she saw on Numair's face gave her the motivation she needed to drop down and roll onto her back, causing Frostfur to lose her balance and fall to the ground beside Daine. The wildmage leapt upon the bigger wolf and clasped her scruff in her jaws as she in turn mounted her opponent.
Whatever discomfort Numair had experienced before was long forgotten as he watched his magelet nearly pound this angry wolf into the ground. He was transfixed by the sight, as odd as it was, because he had never before seen such…well, there was no better term for it than animal behavior, in his younger companion. Had his mind been able to process this encounter he may have wondered what she was doing, or if she had ever done that to a human, or if she had ever thought of doing that to a human…but as it was he was numbed both inside and outside by the emotions wreaking havoc with his body. His mind barely registered the reaction of the part of his body that Daine had been teasing him about earlier. All he could do was stand there and watch with the rest of the pack.
He remained still even when that big male…what was his name? Brokefang?...decided that Daine was fair game for treating his mate that way. Daine put up a pretty good fight, but the male was larger and stronger than she was and she really had no urge to harm him. In the end she ended up on bottom again, although this time Frostfur stood by and watched with a smug look on her face as Daine was humiliated in front of the others. The wolf-girl winced as she caught sight of Numair out of the corner of her eye, knowing that she owed him a very good explanation as to why she was being subjected to this sort of treatment by her adoptive family. On one hand she was sorry that he was here to witness it, but on the other hand it really wasn't something she wanted to discuss when he may not believe her. Either way, serves him right for dragging me up here in the first place.
Of course Numair's brain began to sizzle and his blood boiled as he watched this large wolf doubled up and growling as it wrapped around his love's rear end to point that the tail he'd been admiring minutes before was hidden from sight. This reaction may seem like complete and utter nonsense to some but made perfect sense to him. Why shouldn't he get upset that some other male had done that to Daine before he did. Moreover, why am I allowing some other male to do that to her while I watch? And why haven't I done that to her yet? His thoughts made absolutely no sense. "Daine?" The wolf-girl snarled and twisted around to bite her supposed wolf 'friend'. At that point Brokefang was eying his mate with a look of pure and desperate need. She in turn lowered her ears and reprimanded him for not giving his full attention to the wolf he was supposed to be putting in her place.
Daine, taking advantage of Brokefang's divided attention, was able to squirm away from her friend. He made to follow after her but she gave another menacing snarl before dashing headlong towards Numair, who was just starting to regain control of his limbs. Daine, still in wolf form, leapt up and locked her slender front legs around Numair's waist and began rapidly rocking against his upper leg. He froze and looked down at her furry head with wide eyes, startled to see how she met his gaze. The sensation was bizarre because while he knew that Daine was doing this as a wolf, he couldn't help but think about what was going through her mind at that moment, or if it would feel the same when she was human.
He absentmindedly raised a hand to stroke her head but she snapped at him and he stopped. Just as suddenly as she had taken possession of Numair's leg she released him and was back on all fours, growling and snarling at the other wolves. The tall man nearly collapsed at her side, but she turned and growled in an attempt to herd him from the clearing. He obeyed her and staggered to pick up the pack and made his way back to where Cloud remained. The sounds she was making were as close to laughter as a horse could come, and Numair did not appreciate her humor.
"You knew, didn't you," he hissed at the horse. Daine, embarrassed, impatient and hating being ignored, tugged the pack from Numair's hand, spilling the contents across the ground. She picked her clothes out of the heap and ran off to change behind a bush. She was dreading facing Numair again and could only pray that he would understand. Maybe this will get him to…open up a bit… When she was again human and clothed she slowly made her way back to Cloud and found Numair already mounted and waiting, their belongings re-packed. Without a word he pulled her into his lap and directed the amused horse back out of the forest. Daine wrapped one arm around Numair's shoulder to keep her balance as the two bounced awkwardly in the saddle. Daine wasn't sure which issue was more pressing – the speed at which Numair was urging Cloud or the…thing pressing into her hip. One glance at Numair's set face gave her the answer.
I didn't expect this sort of reaction out of him…hmmm, maybe our talk will be more productive than I thought…
Cloud stopped abruptly at the site they'd stopped at for lunch and all but bucked the two foolish humans from her back. Once Daine had removed her saddle and reins and told her not to wander too far, Cloud disappeared from sight. The sun was beginning to set and Daine suggested that they rest there for the night. Numair merely nodded and began to make camp, still refusing to speak. Daine pulled some salted pork from the pack and set about heating it over the fire. Numair set the protective spells for the night and, having nothing else to distract his mind with, plopped down beside his companion.
The two watched the pork sizzle in the fire before Numair blurted, "Was that what you were trying to warn me about?" Daine blushed, nodded, and rotated the spears the held the meat. "Do you want to explain what all of that was, then?"
She was too embarrassed to meet his gaze. "You told me you'd read all about wolves." Her tone wasn't accusatory, just evasive.
"Yes, well, even I don't know everything. Besides, I'm not quite sure that reading about…well, about that is quite the same as actually seeing it." He ran his hand through his hair anxiously, shifting in his seat as he did so.
"I told you that we shouldn't have come," she grumbled.
"But you never told me that that was going to happen. I wouldn't have even suggested we come if I'd known!"
Daine finally, face radiating defiance, turned to meet his eyes. "Do you even know what that was? Why that happened?"
Numair thought for a moment before frowning and shaking his head. "I can tell you what it looked like, but I take it there is some actual basis for that behavior, right?"
She nodded, turning the meat again. Her voice went from nervous to bitter as she spoke. "Yes. Um, that is how wolves demonstrate dominance over other members of their pack. If I were an outsider Frostfur would have outright challenged me, but no, she wanted to prove to everyone that she lead the pack – not me. She still hasn't forgiven me for the last time we came here and disrupted the order of everything. The fact that we came at this time of year just made everything worse."
"What do you mean? It's nearly fall – what has that to do with anything?"
"It has everything to do with everything, Numair! Or do you learn all you can about something and conveniently leave out the bonding and mating part?" She was on her feet and fuming, although Numair was completely confused if not utterly embarrassed.
"I don't understand. I mean, they know you are human…" he trailed off as Daine shot him a look that told him he was nowhere near as smart as most people thought he was.
She sat back down and rubber her temples soothingly. "I am going to go through this once, Master Salmalin, so you better be paying attention. Frostfur and one of the other females were in heat, meaning that the rest of the pack was already on edge because it is that special time of the year when Brokefang has to make sure that he is the only one doing any mating. As the lead wolves, only Frostfur and Brokefang are allowed to mate, and Frostfur was taunting the others with that fact when I got to them. You know she doesn't like me, and she was just waiting for an opportunity to put me in my place. Besting me in a fight would show she was the superior fighter, but dominating me would show that I accepted her superiority and humiliate me at the same time. Naturally, I could not stand aside while she insulted me, so…"
"So you allowed her to… dominate you? I'm afraid I'm not following." Numair was doing his best to keep from raising his voice, but Daine was too distracted and upset to notice.
"I didn't allow her to do anything to me! The rest of them ganged up on me because that is what happens when a subordinate challenges the mating pair. They all knew that I wasn't fighting for rights or anything like that, but then you were there and they could smell you all over me so they just assumed that we…and really all she needed was any small excuse and – "
"I'm sorry… 'they could smell me all over you'?" She laughed at his raised eyebrow, finally allowing the tension in her shoulders to melt.
She took a deep breath and scooted closer to Numair, who was pulling the cooked meat from the fire. He handed her one spear and began blowing on the other to cool it. "Well, we were sitting rather close on the ride here…"
"Alright, but then what was that bit at the end?"
"I can understand the part about Frostfur, but then you broke away and –"
A cough interrupted her cooling the spear. "Yes, I, well, at first I was trying to explain to her that we were only visiting for a short while, and then she said some rather insulting things about me and about…well, I had to show her that I could beat her at her own game, so I did. But then Brokefang got all possessive and decided to help her out." She saw Numair's jaw tighten and she shook her head. "He didn't want to, really, but Frostfur was, well, threatening him…"
"Let me guess – he was going to be sleeping in a different den tonight?"
They both chuckled. "Yes, I suppose you could call it that." She tested a chunk of pork and, satisfied that it was cool enough, tucked in. Numair followed suit, silently working through his question in his mind. Daine had cleared up most of the incident, but there was still one part that he did not understand. "Numair, what is it? You've been looking at me like that all through dinner."
"Looking at you? How so?"
"With your eyes obviously. And they've been squinting so long I do think I can see a few wrinkles sprouting out – oh, right there!"
"You shouldn't lie."
"No, but you are avoiding the question."
"Well you still haven't answered my question. Why did you do it?"
"Numair, I just told you. I –"
He shook his head and pieces of hair started coming loose to rest across his forehead. "Not about them. About me."
"I thought you would have figured that part out." She blushed and turned away. Numair's hand found her chin and turned her so that she met his eyes. She glanced away and then back. "When we were here last, I still didn't know who my da was. Frostfur…she basically implied that I was a fatherless whelp who was no better than a runt and would never find a mate because I would be just like my mother…a toy for the males when they got bored." Her voice was a mixture of pain and anger.
"And you had to prove her wrong."
"I had to prove them all wrong." She was staring off into the distance, and Numair wasn't quite sure that Daine was talking about the pack anymore. He urged her to go on. "Back in Snowsdale that was what they said about me. They told me that no bastard child with a mother like mine would ever amount to anything. That was why Ma was so desperate for me to have the Gift. She wanted to make sure that I was not taken as some older man's wife…or worse."
Numair, secretly hurt by her words, tried to lighten the mood. "Hmp. I thought you said she liked me."
"Oh, Numair, that isn't what I meant. Back home I would have been married off to an old bald widower with a huge belly. Trust me when I say that you don't fit that epithet at all."
"Is that really what would have happened?" He would never admit it, but Numair often found himself wondering what would have happened if Daine's family had not been murdered, if she had been allowed the "normal" life that most young girls take for granted. He hadn't really considered the delicate position that her birth put her in. Yes, she'd always referred to herself as a bastard, but Numair'd always found ways to overlook the fact.
"Either that or I would take over as the village…well, take over for my Ma. More than likely I'd have been traded."
"Traded!? You must be joking."
"Sure. Not everything is as simple as you may think, master mage. Smaller villages need a way to get supplies, and trading orphaned or unwanted children is best for everyone. The village gets supplies and one less mouth to feed while the orphan gets a home of sorts. If the village hadn't taken to my ma so well, I'd have been traded for sure."
"You can't mean that your mother would have given you up…"
"No, but the village would have traded me nonetheless. Anyways, I've been able to put most of that behind me. There are times, though, when I get rubbed the wrong way and I can't help but wonder about what could have been. What if my da was just a regular vagabond and my mother a common whore? I wouldn't be able to talk to animals. The men I tracked down would have killed me because I was alone. That would have been my tragically short life, killed by bandits."
"Daine, you mustn't dwell on such things." He reached to pull her closer but she pulled away slightly, just enough so she could maintain eye contact.
"I know, and Cloud is generally very good at knocking some sense into me. It's just that I feel I've lived so many lives, sometimes I need to remind myself of what's real and where I'm supposed to be. I – I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable earlier."
He shook his head and muttered, "Uncomfortable is not quite the way I would describe it." Her head cocked to the side in question. His smoldering eyes gave her the answer. Unable to hold his gaze, Daine began to gather the eating utensils together to clean. Instead of helping her, Numair enjoyed the sight her movements afforded. "I know you may find this odd, but you didn't look too bad with a tail."
She dropped the dishes and turned around to find him sprawled against a log, the very picture of contentment. "I'm sorry?" Tail? Was he staring at me? Am I so atrociously hideous that I should cover my rear with a tail? Why am I asking myself these questions and not him?
"What I meant to say was that I've noticed a lot of similarities between your human and animal forms," he stumbled. He hadn't intended to reveal his discoveries to her, but then again the image of her tail just wouldn't leave his mind.
Still listening, she continued picking up dishes. "Really? Like what?" She knew that it wouldn't be like Numair's bird form, where his feathers were the exact dark shade of his hair – she always looked like the animal she shifted to.
Numair was still uncomfortable, but he soldiered on as he watched her zip around the campsite. "It's just that…well, the way your tail swung when you were walking…it sort of reminded me of – "
"Master Numair, you wouldn't by any chance be suggesting that you frequently take to watching my backside when I'm not paying attention, would you?"
"Wha? No, I – "
"Not that I'm complaining, because Mithros knows you stick your hind-quarters in my face so much it's difficult not to notice yours. I mean honestly, it's almost as though you were flaunting it like a peacock or something." By this point Daine had succeeded in clearing away the dishes and further flustering her companion. His mouth was moving, but no words came out. Daine took pity on him and moved to his side, lifting his arms so she could perch on his lap. "You're just so tall, Numair," she explained. "Any time you stand up while I'm sitting, you're just there, in my face. Still, I'm not complaining. All of this adventuring we've done over the past few years has certainly helped you to fill your breeches."
Numair shook himself and decided to return the favor of Daine's teasing. "You wouldn't by any chance be implying that my breeches were ever anything but filled out, would you? And since when have you taken such a keen interest in my 'hind-quarters'?"
"Long before you took an interest in mine, that's for sure," she mumbled. Numair chuckled, bouncing them both in the process. Daine sighed wistfully. "But then, you're no Brokefang…"
Daine giggled as Numair's brow furrowed. He let out a great huff of air before sending the young woman to the ground in a most un-gentleman like manner. She shouted in protest, but he silenced her cry with his lips. Surprised, Daine took a few moments to respond to his searing kiss. When she finally began to kiss him back Numair slid to the ground overtop of her, covering her body with his. While he kept most of his weight off of her, he still had her pinned to the ground in a very intimate way.
Daine was elated. She'd expected more trouble from Numair when it came to intimacy. She knew that he'd been with other women and therefore wanted to refrain from 'taking advantage' of Daine with any extreme physical relations. He wanted her to know she was different. He would kiss her, but nothing like this. She gasped when she felt just how much Numair had been holding back. Her hips moved of their own accord, frantically trying to make friends with Numair's pelvis. His hands stroked her sides in a way that made it impossible not to arch up to press her chest against his. One hand moved to bury itself in her thick hair and Daine's hand felt obliged to act in turn. Numair hated his hair to be messed with, but her fingers on his scalp felt too good to complain.
They were both breathing heavily when he suddenly pulled his head back. Daine looked up into fiery black eyes. He whispered something to her, but she didn't catch it. "Magelet, take it back," he repeated. Her eyebrows joined in question, and in response Numair pressed against her in a slow, deliberate grinding motion. She squirmed to allow him more room, but he ground down even harder. "Take it back."
Her chest rose as she inhaled deeply. "You know I was only joking," she breathed.
"Say it." He was growling by this point and had stopped moving against her. Daine tried to make up for his sudden stillness by squirming against him, but he had her pressed down to the point where she could barely move.
She huffed, causing her chest to brush against his. Numair's eyes darkened for a moment but he held her gaze. "I'm sorry for implying that you were…inadequate." His eyes continued boring into hers, demanding more. "And it was an understatement on my part when I said that your breeches were only 'quite full'," she whispered. "Brokefang hasn't got anything on you, either." She moved to kiss him again and continue what it was they'd been doing earlier, but by the time she managed to raise her head to close the distance, Numair was back on his feet and brushing the dirt off of his knees. Dumbfounded, Daine watched from the ground as Numair set out their sacks for the night. Instead of separating the two as usual he laid one over the other to create a cushion against the hard ground. Numair climbed into the sack and turned his back to the fire. Daine sat up, wondering what had changed his mood and where she was supposed to sleep. It was cold and she very well wanted her sleeping sack, no matter Numair's mood. Just as her anger began to flair she remembered a past conversation between the tall mage and herself.
She coughed to get his attention. "Haven't you forgotten something?" He rolled to find her glaring at him, causing him to smile. "You haven't left me with any bedding." Cloud, I need you to come here for a moment, please. The pony snorted some distance off and grudgingly made her way to the wild mage's position.
Numair raised a corner of his sack before saying, "I was going to invite you in here since it is so chilly tonight, but then it appears I've taken up most of the room." He was smiling in delight, having turned her words against her.
"Perhaps, but it would be very, very bad of you to make me sleep out here in the cold," she smiled back sweetly, making her way to kneel beside his head. No, not yet.
Missing her meaning, Numair propped himself up on his elbows, bringing his face closer to her's. "So what if I'm very, very bad?" That was when it clicked for him. He knew what she was talking about, and he couldn't believe it. "Am I dreaming, or are you using marriage to bribe me into letting you sleep with me?"
She ran a tantalizing finger from his hairline down to his chin as her grin grew wider. "I never said anything about that. I just wanted my sleeping sack, which you've taken from me. You're the one who suggested I sleep with you."
Just as Numair unconsciously began leaning closer to Daine, Cloud raced from some unknown area in the trees. Her heavy hoof beats were headed straight for Numair, and he scrambled out from his travel bedding to avoid being trampled to death. Cloud stopped just short of actually running him down and shook her mane in agitation before fading back into the shadows. Numair's hand measured the racing of his heart, which slowed considerably when he finally looked to Daine for an answer and instead found her laying out her bedroll on the opposite side of the fire. Once she'd settled into a comfortable position she graced Numair with an angelic smile. "That is what happens when you are very, very bad. G'night, 'Mair."
R&R, please! I'm thinking about doing a few more one-shots depicting Daine's interactions with other animals, and how that affects Numair. Let me know what you think, or if you have any animal suggestions…