Note: thanks to manga at the Scroll of Colors forum for the edits, they are much appreciated.
There was need, there, but something else too. A desperate desire from Skywise's part to prove himself worthy of Kahvi, to show her all he could do. She retaliated by showing him some of the tricks she had learned during her long life. She'd been no stranger to games of pleasure. But it was different this time – it felt as if their souls were joining, along with their bodies. And each soul sought dominance over the other in their stubborn need to be in control. And yet it was sweet, and the way they touched each other could have been mistaken for the most ardent of loves, and indeed there was pleasure there, more than the mind could comprehend… finally they collapsed together, their strength and need spent, and rested, lying on the soft bed in complete exhaustion.
The inhabitants of the Palace watched the red glow of the walls fade, and become replaced by a pure white light. In the Chamber of the Scroll, Timmain sat alone, her hair spread to cover her body. On her lips played a satisfied smile and her eyes were full of mysteries.
Dawn came late in the Frozen Mountains. Kahvi still slept when Skywise awoke. He got up, and looked at her, smiling to himself. So many times he had looked upon her in the Scroll, seen that smile on her face when she slept on her journey… but now, only now, could he feel the full effect of her beauty.
Only with Cutter, and to a lesser extent Leetah, had he ever felt so connected to another. Now he had a Recognized and already he could sense the tiny spark that was their child. It filled him with at least as much trepidation as wonder. He touched her shoulder and then ran his hand down her back. Kahvi turned around in her sleep. And then she wasn't asleep anymore, she was wide awake and angry:
"What were you doing, just now?"
"Sorry… I… " He spread his hands, keeping them well away from her.
Kahvi chuckled darkly. "I suppose you think you're entitled, now. Males are such simple creatures."
**Roya…** his mind sought to remember the moment when their souls had been one, but already it was fading, and he was left with a growing dread.
"Stay out of my head and I'll stay out of yours. We are done." Kahvi's tone was brusque, stating a fact.
"No. You are not going to walk out on me. You carry my child. I have rights, too. Anyone would say I have rights!" Skywise objected.
"You are starting to remind me of Rayek in a most annoying fashion." She started dressing herself.
Skywise found no answer to that.
"You shall take me to my daughter. After that, we shall see. Do not try to pressure me."
Shortly thereafter, the Palace landed in a forest, far from any place with a name. In a hidden clearing shielded by walls of thorns, the Go-Back tribe waited in anticipation. A ragged cheer rose at the sight of the Palace of the High Ones.
The glittering wall opened, and Kahvi stood there, surrounded by brilliant light. The Go-Back's rushed to her, shouting enthusiastic greetings. Kahvi saw a tribe of strangers, not one of them old enough to remember her. She looked over their heads at Venka, who hadn't made a move to approach her.
Kahvi walked to her daughter.
"You have done well, my fawn. You have done well."
Venka's golden eyes filled with tears, and she embraced Kahvi. "Mother… I missed you."
Kahvi returned the embrace a bit stiffly. She stood back and held Venka at an arm's length, taking a good look at her. "You've grown, and you've grown strong. It is good."
"You'll make a good chief." Kahvi announced.
"But mother… now that you're here, surely you'll be chief?" Venka asked, sounding surprised.
"No. I had my time. It is over. It is your turn now."
Around them, a feast was being organized. A feast for ending a quest, a feast for a Recognition. The Sun Villagers brought dishes of fruit and vegetables from the Palace. The Go-Backs contributed game and fish.
"Mother… stay with me a little while. We have so much to say to each other." Venka pleaded.
"Maybe I will. The Palace is giving me a headache. Every time I walk through the halls, the spirits whisper to me." Kahvi admitted.
"But you'll go back there, won't you? I mean, Skywise…"
"Males aren't needed in the rearing of a fawn. He'd just get in the way. Like your father."
"Mother! You're just making excuses. It didn't go well with you and my father. But it might have gone better for the whole tribe if you hadn't lied to him. And this time you can't lie. It's Recognition."
"He has no claim on me, or my freedom."
"The child has a claim on him. Doesn't that count?"
"Not to a Go-Back."
"And to the oldest Wolfrider there is?"
"Have we come this far just to quarrel?" Kahvi was exasperated.
"Remember to whom you are speaking and think on what I have said, Mother. I do not speak just to hear the echo of my voice from the hills."
A group of Sunfolk maidens came to take Kahvi to her seat of honor. They offered her garlands of flowers, but she refused them. She allowed herself to be led to the feast, and asked for wine.
"No wine for you, Kahvi. It is not beneficial for the unborn child." Leetah's voice was gentle, but Kahvi grew irritated. "Is everyone going to tell me how to live my life today?" She complained.
And then she heard Skywise's voice. "Vurdah, you naughty little creature! Come here and let me show you just what I think of maidens who ask questions like that!"
She turned, and saw him chasing a dark-haired maiden, who giggled and ran away. Kahvi sat on the seat that had been prepared for the pair of them, and leaned her head on her arm. It looked like it would be a long, boring evening.
A young Go-Back appeared at her shoulder. "Chieftess Kahvi? I… I can't believe you're really here." He looked flustered, and nervous, and, Kahvi decided, rather cute.
The evening was looking up already.