Sunday, February 26, 2012

A few days after the new year Star and Pike make their way through the woods to the Willow tree where Ghaunt use to wait for her. The sight of the large graceful tree for the first time since Ghaunts passing made Star cry. She dropped the burlap bag she was carrying and wiped her eyes.

Turning large gray eyes to Pike she says, “I miss him...”

Pike nods and smiles sadly. Ghaunt had given his life for people he barely knew. He did it for the people Star cared about. Few were so selfless in this world or any other.

“We have to pick a good strong sapling. Inari said the Keepers of the Grove would see to it after we plant it and make sure it grows.” Star ducks under the long whip thin branches, bare of leaves this time of year. She takes a deep breath to steady her emotions and looks around. On the other side of the trunk she sees a sapling that looks right to her. Good and strong but not too big yet. She motions to Pike who brings the shovel and the burlap and he sets to digging. Star listens to his soft chanting, then he thanks the main tree for its young one.

Once the small willow is dug up Star sets to binding the roots in the burlap. As she works she hears a scratching noise and looks around, ever on guard to those evil goblins that knocked her down the day Ruarc was born.

A slight mewing noise has her on her feet and looking amongst the dead fallen leaves and long bare branches hanging on the ground.

Pike hears “Oh! You poor thing..” and smiles. Star was always tending to some animal or another and from the sounds of it had found another that needed her attention.

Star emerges through the branches, something dark grey and silky in her arms and purring loudly. Pikes eyes widen as the kitten turns its red eyes to him. He knows it is a Shadowcat from Underdark, and he also knows there is nothing he can possibly say to make Star leave the kitten behind in the woods.

Returning to the cabin Star sees Erik and Keon waiting for her on the deck. Ru is sitting on a blanket with Mera, both enjoying the unusually mild winter day.

“We have the tree. Inari will be here tomorrow, she can take it to the Grove and then we can get ready to go...”

Keon nods but his attention is transfixed by the creature in Stars arms. Erik starts to argue and stops with a loud sigh at the look on her face. He knows she will go without him if he doesnt agree to go along.

Looking to Pike then back to Star, Keon asks, “Pike, lad, did ya not see that was a Shadowcat? Should the lady be bringin' that home, do ya think?”

Erik noticed the creature in Stars arms for the first time, half hidden in her jacket.

“Shadowcat? As in from Underdark? You brought it home?”

“Of course I brought her home. Ghaunt sent her to me and she's staying.” Stars expression became even more stubborn if that were possible.

Lobo comes bounding from the stables and stops dead at Stars feet, sniffing, trying to figure out what the new animal is. Suddenly the cat gives a small hiss and turns its red eyes on Lobo. The young wolfs howling brings Wolf off the porch to see whats wrong. Ru starts to squeal wanting to see and before Mera can try to pick him up on her own, Erik bends down and takes a child in each arm. “What am I going to do with your mama? We will have a zoo here before much longer...”

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