"It took you long enough. I was beginning to think you weren't coming after all," I said.
"I came to talk to you about, um, being Lovemates," he replied slowly.
I was thinking that he was going to ask me to be his Lovemate, but....
"I'm not ready yet. I just don't think I could be your Lovemate."
Those words struck a pretty strong blow to me. I had to yell at myself silently to keep from crying.
"It's not that I don't like you, but . . ."
"But what?" I interrupted rudely. "You think I going to be happy about this? Well think again!"
I ran to the doorway and quickly climbed out of my tree, leaving Wind Walker to stand there in the doorway, looking at me running away into the rain that had started.
I spent the night in the highest branches of a far away tree, hoping to be never found again. My eyes were itchy and swollen from all of the crying I had done the night before. I heard shouting noises farther away from the camp than I already was. Since I couldn't understand a word of what was being said, I bolted from the tree, running as fast as I could to tell the chief, Sapphire , what I had heard. She quickly assembled a tracking party, and they disapeared into the night.
When Wind Walker came to apologize, I told him to leave me alone. I ran off to find a preserver, and even though I knew it wasn't right, I had it wrap up my precious Cloudstreak. I knew that looking at him would remind me of Wind Walker. He was asleep, and never knew what happened.
Sapphire and her tracking party never came back. Since she had no cubs of her own, the eldest of the pack, Swiftriver became chief. He hadn't put guards on the look out, and so we never knew what was coming.
I was at the stream, washing my hands of the dirt that was on them. When I came back to the holt, I found Humans attacking what was left of the pack with clubs and weapons that looked to be of troll origin. Only three elves were standing, Swiftriver, Dry Leaf, and Wind Walker. My parents were both run through. As I bent down to say a last good bye, I felt an arc of pain go through my shoulder. I stood and whirled around to face my attacker, but he was gone, as were the rest of his filthy clan and my pack. They had even slaughtered the cubs.
I ran to the zwoots that my parents and I had brought from the desert. Only one remained. I packed provisions, and Cloudstreak onto the zwoot. I piled who I could find of the pack together, and howled for them. I left hurriedly after that.
It was very cold to me for a long time after that. Even when it was close to one hundred degrees. That incident was fifty years ago, and I am still not completely over it. I am now seventy five, and Cloudstreak has been out of his cocoon for three years now. He doesn't know how he got from the forest to the desert. I try to explain it to him, but the words stick in my throat. I suppose it's all for the best, but sometimes I still feel the chill of the forest and hope that my loved ones are happy in their new lives at the palace.