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The Chill of the Forest

By: MoonSinger

Most of what I remember about my journey to the forest is that my parents were very excited. I didn't want to go, but they dragged me along anyway.

Before I was born, my parents were always on the move, and as such, had encountered a wolf-rider pack. My mother, Daystar, often told me of how much fun it was in the forest, because there were things to do and to see that had never known existed. While Bramble, my father, had said he liked the forest, he missed his friends more. Of course I was scared by the thought that the priests of Mesardee could attack at anytime, but it was fun traveling.

The first glimpse of the forest I saw was from a hill, two days ride ahead. The emerald canopy was so inviting and peaceful, that I soon became as excited as Daystar and Bramble! I was also happy that I was told there were other children to play with. Before that point, I thought we were going to live with a bunch of boring adults.

If I was ever wrong, it was then. They were as far from boring as I could imagine. Almost everyday, something interesting happened. Whether we children made it happen, or if it was an adult's idea.

I quickly made friends with the other cubs, and there was one particularly stands out in my mind. His name was Wind Walker. He had shoulder length dark brown hair, and wonderful blue eyes. We teased each other a lot until we were eighteen.

Then he started giving me gifts for no reason at all. The best one had to be Cloudstreak. He lead me to a cave and made me close my eyes. He went away for about five minutes and came back with a small bundle of fur. He said this wolf was mine. He was from Wind Walker's mother's wolf's litter. I loved him from the moment I saw him. (Cloudstreak.)

When I turned twenty, my parents were sure that Wind Walker and I were destined to be Lovemates. Evidently, they brought the idea to him and just the thought of it nearly scared him to death. I didn't see him for three weeks. When I confronted my parents about it, they said to expect a visit from him.

Naturally, I didn't know what to do, so I started to clean my tree home like a mad woman. By the time he arrived, I had been done with my cleaning for two hours. When he shyly came in, I was startled because I had that either he wasn't coming after all, or that my parents had lied to me.

"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.

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