by Timothy Georgi
With contributions and kibbitzing by Karen Bledsoe
It's not like it REALLY happened, right? - Kyleen
Darkness engulfed him as he stepped out of the candlelight of his lone den.
Full-throated howls echoed and re-echoed off the cliffs, their eerie tones rising above the roar of the falls. The pack had gathered at the foot of the falls, the mist swirling around them. Skyfall's gaze turned from the restless wolves back to the blazing stars above.
"If I count any higher, I'll lose track," he mused, and simply stared skyward from the large, twisted branch just outside of his den. He stood up just in time to see the crest of the smaller moon begin its majestic rise above the falls.
"Hello, my small friend!" he exclaimed skyward, and let out a resounding howl, adding to the powerful song of the wolves.
It was a perfect night. The sky was clearstone-studded black crystal shimmering in the night. The mist from the falls around Skyfall's den was thin and wispy. Faintly, he could hear the bustling sounds from the Grandfather Tree far down the path. Shycloud was laughing and there was a lot of playful yelling.
Directly below his den, Skyfall saw Blackbird and Windsong playing with Shadowjumper and Swiftsight. Windsong was humming a tune while Blackbird tried to hold on to Swiftsight, but to no avail.
Skyfall jumped down from the tree and landed two feet shy of an extremely active Shadowjumper.
**Whoa, Shadowjumper! Settle down.**
"What all the noise?" Skyfall asked, staring at Shadowjumper then looking toward Windsong.
"I'm not sure. We just came from 'looking' at the falls." Windsong smiled.
"Swiftsight stopped to play with Shadow. What are you doing?" Blackbird added.
"Nothing really," Skyfall replied. "I'm going to see what's going on. Have fun!" Skyfall said as he ran silently toward the Grandfather Tree.
As he approached the clearing, Skyfall slowed his pace and proceeded with utmost caution. He could hear someone coming, but he couldn't make out the direction. Sky started whispering to himself just as he turned around to check behind him.
"I wouldn't want to get a pile of dreamberries in my faaaaaAAAHHHHH!" All he saw was a flash of what looked like Shycloud and then . . . . . SPLAT! Skyfall fell backward, covered in dreamberry juice, and landed hard on a rock.
"OWW!" he yelled. As he stood up, Skyfall rubbed his backside. "Why did you do that?" he asked jokingly, wiping the dreamberries out of his eyes.
"Well . . ." Shycloud thought for a moment, trying to suppress a laugh. "You're the only clean one around!" she said. They heard yelling, and from the sound, it seemed to be getting closer. From around a clump of trees came Birch, Duskwind and Shadowfall running toward Shycloud, each with a handful of dreamberries.
*PUCKERNUTS!* Shycloud sent as she ran away from the group.
Not wanting to get messier than he already was, Skyfall jumped up to a branch above the pursuers, avoiding their attack. He watched as the group disappeared, their yelling getting softer and softer until everything was nearly silent.
Skyfall walked back to his den to clean his dreamberry covered self. Windsong and Blackbird had left and Shadowjumper was no where in sight.
"I wonder where Shadow went. Oh well, probably went with Swiftsight," he said, jumping up to his branch and then stepping inside.
* * *
After lacing up his boots, Skyfall went back out to look at the stars again. The larger moon was now just above the falls, illuminating the mist, creating a multi-colored aura.
Skyfall sat down and starred straight up, hands upon hands of bright, little fires staring right back.
S N A P !
What was that? There was a noise to Skyfall's left.
*Who's there?* he sent.
Nothing. Just silence. He looked around, but saw no one. Holding his breath, he cocked his head and listened closer. There. Again to the left. Faintly, he heard someone running away from him. The sound stopped.
"Is someone out there?" Skyfall was getting impatient. "All right. Fine, I'll come out and check myself," he said quietly.
Skyfall leaped down from his den and bounded silently in the direction of the noise. He noticed that the mist was getting thicker and the trees were blocking out most of the moonlight. As he ran past one of the bigger trees, he thought he heard someone say something, but he couldn't make it out.
Huh? What was THAT? he thought, jumping to a branch on the big tree so he could get a better look.
My soul name he thought, gasping. *Who's there?*
Skyfall could hear a flock of bats coming his way, but paid them no mind. He was too preoccupied with the sending.
**It's me, Tanirm!**
Tanirm? I thought he was killed by those humans. He can't be alive.
Behind Skyfall, the flock of bats broke through the wall of mist and caught him off guard. He lost his balance and pitched backward off the branch.
It had happened too quickly. As he fell from the high branch, Skyfall forgot the mysterious voice as he desperately twisted to reach a branch . He sent the most powerful sending he had ever done, *HELP!*...
...But it was too late. Skyfall slammed into the forest floor head first. On the ground next to the base of the big tree, Skyfall collapsed into a pile of rocks and was out cold.
* * *
"Ohh, my head."
Opening his eyes, Skyfall found himself inside a den, covered with furs. There was someone standing on the other side of the room, but he couldn't make out who it was. His mind was too hazy and the room was mostly dark.
"Sky, you're up. Are you all right?" the person said. "You've had quite a day."
"Who...where am I?"
As he tried to sit up, Skyfall knocked half of the furs onto the floor.
"Ow!" he said, flopping back.
"What happened? Where am I?"
"You'll be all right, lovemate. You just got a nice bump on the head."
Bump on the hea...wait. Lovemate? Skyfall rubbed his eyes.
Standing on the other side of the room, with her back toward Skyfall, was Timberflyte.
"Timber? Is that really you?"
"Yes, it's really me. Who else would it be?" she asked with a laugh, as she turned around.
But you're supposed to be dead, he thought. Something's not right here. Looking at Timberflyte, "What's happened?"
"Nothing. You're all right. You just fell out of the tree again. Flash will be here in a bit and then we're all going swimming, remember?"
Swimming? No, I must be dreaming. I saw Timberflyte die. She can't be alive.
There was a familiar noise outside.
"Ayooooooooah! Timber...Sky, you ready?" Flashpoint said as he popped his head through the animal skins covering the den door. "Oh, what happened?"
Flashpoint? What's going on here?
"He just fell out of the tree again. We'll be out in a minute," she said, grabbing Skyfall by the arm.
"Come on, go outside and find your wolf."
Giving in, his head still throbbing, Skyfall stepped outside to find his wolf. Skyfall could never say no to her.
He looked around. Flashpoint was hanging from a tree branch, his back toward him.
"SHADOWJUMPER!" he yelled.
Flashpoint turned around and shot a confused look toward Skyfall.
"Shadowjumper? Who's Shadowjumper?" Flashpoint asked with a quizzical look on his face.
"What do you mean, who's Shadowjumper? Shadow's my..." He stopped his sentence short. From a group of bushes came a big grey wolf, running toward Skyfall.
**Starfire? Is that you?**
The wolf bowled him over and started licking his face.
**Starfire, it is you!**
Skyfall looked around.
Everything was exactly as it was seven turns ago when Timberflyte, Starfire and Flashpoint were alive, the trees, the stars...everything.
It's got to be a dream.
"Hey, Starfire...cut it out! What ya tryin' to do, drown me?" he said with a laugh.
"Are you all right?" Flashpoint asked, dropping down from the tree.
"Yeah, I think so. My head's still a little cloudy."
"Well you've got to pay attention when you're climbing around up there," Flashpoint said, pointing up and giving a little smile.
"I suppose," Skyfall said, not really paying much attention.
**Kylun, are you up in the stars again?**
**Hmmm? What...what was that?**
**Oh, never mind. You're hopeless, brother.** Flashpoint sent with a huge smile.
There was a yell from the den. "Hey! I'm ready. Come on, let's go." Timberflyte stepped out from behind the skins covering the door. Skyfall had forgotten how beautiful she was. He stared at her for a full minute, taking in the blond hair covering her shoulders and her bright green eyes. Starfire was still on top of him, licking his face.
Snapping out of his daze, Skyfall pushed Starfire off of him and then stood up, jumping on top of him.
"Where are we going to go?" Skyfall asked.
"It was your turn to decide, Sky," Timberflyte said as she hopped onto her wolf-friend.
"Well, let's seeeeeeyaaaaaaa!" Starfire took off.
**HURRY! FOLLOW HIM!** Flashpoint sent.
* * *
Skyfall was holding on for his life. After nearly falling off Starfire as he darted away, Skyfall finally regained his balance. Totally disoriented, he looked around to see where he was. All he could see were trees and bushes flashing past him as Starfire kept running at full speed.
**Sky, slow down!** came a weak sending from Flashpoint. Skyfall was almost out of Flash's sending distance.
**I can't! Starfire won't stop,** Skyfall sent back as he tried to slow Starfire down.
**Starfire, what's wrong? You've got to slow down long enough for Flash and Timber to catch up. Don't wear yourself out.**
**Vastdeep...get to Vastdeep...** Starfire was still running full speed as he sent.
**Vastdeep? What's wrong at the Vastdeep?**
Skyfall didn't receive an answer.
**Never mind. Just slow down. We'll get to the Vastdeep soon enough.**
**All right, slow down,** Starfire sent as he slowed to a lope. A few moments later, Flashpoint and Timberflyte caught up with them.
"Sky, what was that all about?" Timberflyte asked as her wolf came to a stop, panting.
"I don't know. I'm not sure why he wants to go out there, but Starfire was saying something about the Vastdeep," Skyfall said as he looked toward Flashpoint with a blank stare. Something got him thinking.
"Should we check it out?" Flashpoint said as he looked back at Skyfall.
"I don't know. I don't really..." Skyfall said, failing to finish his sentence. Both Timberflyte and Flashpoint were now looking at Skyfall.
Skyfall stared off into space.
**Kylun, what's the matter?** Flashpoint sent.
Vastdeep... That was the first time I actually said it outloud. Why does that seem so familiar? What's wrong with this situation? I know I've done this before, but what in the name of the High Ones happened the first time? I can't remember it all...
"Huh, what? Oh, nothing...I think." Skyfall said as Starfire started walking.
"Are you sure we should go on? You don't seem well." Timberflyte said with concern.
"No, I'm fine. Besides, I want to see what Starfire is so flustered about."
* * *
It didn't take long to travel the rest of the way to the Vastdeep. Starfire had run most of the way.
As they got to the edge of the forest, they could see the Vastdeep's water stretch out to the sheer cliffs on the opposite side. The sun had just disappeared under the top of the cliffs, illuminating the silhouettes of the tall, mist-covered trees on the edge.
All three elves got off their wolves and walked to the edge of the water.
As soon as Skyfall's back was turned, Starfire ran off.
**Hey, where are you going?** Skyfall sent as the elves and wolves ran after him.
Starfire ran down the shoreline, then turned toward the forest. Soon he was out of view. Skyfall had to run by foot as Flashpoint and Timberflyte rushed past him on their wolves. Water was hitting him in the face as his feet broke the water's surface. He was running as fast as he could, but he couldn't quite keep up with the wolves.
*Sky, hurry! You've got to see this!* Timberflyte sent with great anticipation. Sky nearly slipped when her joyous sending hit his mind. Sky followed the wolf tracks on the ground to a small clump of trees. Sky had never seen trees like them. They were short, about twice as tall as himself, with long white branches that were all intertwined. They were covered in fat pale green leaves, some of which had started to fall to the ground. Sky walked up to one and put his hand on the trunk. He found that they were smooth, almost slippery, when he touched it. With closer examination, he noticed that there was no way to pass through the little grove. The branches were connected somehow, as if...
"Sky, over here!" came a yell from the other side. Skyfall ran around the trees to the other side where Flashpoint and Timberflyte were crouched on the ground.
"Hey, these trees look like they've been shap... What is it?" Sky asked, noticing the space in the branches as he bent down next to Flash.
"Look inside the opening," Flash said with a large smile. Flash and Timber stood as Sky got on his knees and poked his head inside. It took a second for his eyes to adjust to the dark. He heard soft noises as he was finally able to see. Starfire was inside.
**Starfire, what are you doing in here?** Sky lock sent as the wolf moved out of the way. Sky stared in amazement at what he saw.
* * *
"<Come on! We have got to find some food.>"
A band of human warriors was standing on the bank of the Vastdeep, several spear-throws away from the elves' happy gathering.
"<Where should we look, E'dok? We have searched the entire area. Twice!>"
"<Head back up the shore. Something is there, Daoru. I can =feel= it.>"
The group headed up the shore, in the direction the elves. A slight breeze picked up as the humans got closer.
"<Look, E'dok! Spirits!>"
* * *
"Praise the High Ones! You've been busy, haven't you?" Skyfall asked as he rubbed Starfire's head. Sky sat back and gave a little laugh. Then he heard Timberflyte's mental scream.
The scream was so loud and so powerful, Skyfall put his hands to his head in pain. As the pain subsided, Sky made for the den's opening. He popped his head out to find that Flash and Timber were gone and a trail of blood going up the shoreline.
High Ones... Please, no. he thought. I do remember... THIS! He swallowed hard. Those humans...
Sky leaped from his bond-beast's den and ran up the shore. He turned sharply when he heard the howling behind him.
"Noooooo!" he screamed as one of the human warriors pulled the spear out of his bond-beast's side. He was so worried about his elfin friends that he forgot about his wolf.
No... Starfire! he thought. In a rage, Sky pulled his Starsword out of its sheath and rushed the human. The warrior swung his spear wildly at Skyfall, but he wasn't quick enough to do any harm. After several unsuccessful attempts, the human finally heaved the spear at Sky's head, just missing by an arm length. Sky had circled around the human and when he found an opening, he lunged at the him, driving his sword into the warrior's back. Sky staggered back as he pulled the weapon out of his prey, falling to one knee. The human fell hard to the ground. Sky stood back up and wiped the blood covering his sword onto his leggings. He then turned to the lifeless corpse of his bond-beast.
"Starfire... Friend... I'm sorry. I should have..." He was interrupted by another scream, but this time it wasn't a sending. Sky ran up the shore, following the trail of blood. As he ran, he noticed Timberflyte's wolf lying on the shore, half in the water. The blood had stained the water a bright red. Sky forced himself to turn away and continue running. He made a mad dash toward the forest as he heard Flash howl and then scream in pain.
**Brother? Tanirm!** he sent, but received no reply. He painfully put the thought out of his mind and continued toward Timberflyte. He made it to the edge of the trees when he came into sight of a group of the warriors. Two of the humans had Timberflyte by the arms and the tallest member had his sword in his hand.
**Sky!** she sent in desperation.
**Lovemate... No!** Sky sent as the human's sword flew in a wide arch toward Timberflyte's head. Sky stood and watched in silent horror as the two humans dropped her to the ground.
* * *
"NOOOOOooooo!" Skyfall screamed, panting like a wolf that had been running non-stop for an eight of days. "Wha...where...am I? Ouch, my head kills..." A noise not too distant startled him. As he turned, he put his hand on the growing lump on his head.
*Skyfall...is that you? What happened?* came a sending from the direction of the noise.
*Flash?* he sent back, his head still reeling. As he drew his hand away from his head, he saw it was stained a bright crimson.
*Flash? Your sending is like a dreamberry haze. It's me, Stone. Are you hurt?* The healer came trotting into view from behind the big tree. "High Ones... What happened?"
"I...I'm not too...sure, Flash..." Skyfall answered, still dazed and panting. He looked at the blood on his hand. "Where did...the humans go?"
*Humans? Where?* Stone sent, sniffing the air.
"They were...right..here," Sky said, scanning the area. "And where did Timberflyte go?"
"I know of no Timberflyte. And I don't scent any humans." Stone said, kneeling by the fallen Wolfrider. "What's this?"
Stone reached a hand out toward the blood that trailed down the rock Skyfall had landed on. "Your head...here, let me see." Gently, the healer turned Skyfall's head. He drew his breath in a hissing sound.
"No wonder you're talking nonsense. Your fall has addled your brains. Too much blood lost to move you." The healer sniffed the air again to be certain no humans were around, then sent to the holt for aid.
Stone knelt by the stricken Wolfrider and spread his hands as he fell into a healing trance. Skyfall sighed as his pain was gently lifted away. The bleeding slowed, the swelling ceased, the torn flesh began to mend...
**Skyfall!** Stone's furious send hit him with the force of Grey Falls itself.
"What?" Skyfall gasped. What had he done to anger the healer?
Stone seized Skyfall by the front of his shirt. "Why have you lied to us, pureblood?" he demanded. "Who are you? Where do you come from?"
"What...what do you mean?" Skyfall tried to scramble away, but the pain in his head and Stone's iron grip held him in place. "I'm no pureblood. I'm only Skyfall. A Wolfrider. Like yourself."
"Don't lie to me," Stone growled, **Send, pureblood. You can't send a lie.**
**I don't know what you mean,** Skyfall protested. **I'm only Skyfall, a...a Wolfrider? I think...?**
**My father was a pureblood, and from him my powers flow great enough to tell the difference between the flesh of a pureblood and the flesh of a Wolfrider. Not a drop of Anlari's gift flows in your veins. Send me the truth. Who are you? What are you?**
Skyfall shuddered. His head still ached, and Stone's anger only increased his pain. **I'm Skyfall. That I know. I am...I thought I was...a Wolfrider. I don't know. I just don't remember. If I'm not a Wolfrider, what am I?**
Stone loosed his grip on Skyfall's shirt. His grey eyes narrowed to slits as he eyed the elf with deepest suspicion. "I don't know," he said at last, "but I mean to find out. In the meantime you have a head to be mended. Perhaps, if I can stretch my powers that far, I shall probe deeper and see what lurks in that darkened mind of yours."
* * *
High Ones! What is happening? Skyfall wondered, now alarmed. Stone was in a rage, dragging Sky by the collar. Sky could see the fire in his eyes. As they approached the Grandfather Tree, they both could see that a crowd had assembled. Stone stormed past the tribe and flung Skyfall against the base of the tree. The gathered elves looked on with expressions of confusion, sending privately to each other.
"Here Pureblood, explain yourself to the rest of the Holt!" Stone said loud enough for everyone to hear. Heads started popping out of the dens in the tree, looking down in curiosity. Skyfall cast around trying to get his bearings. It seemed like the whole tribe was watching him, which only further strained his nerves. He wasn't used to this much attention.
"I...I can't explain..." Skyfall said shaking his head, trying to ease the pain. His head felt like hot brightmetal being pounded by a busy troll.
"I think you'll want to hear this, my Chief," Stone said looking to Wolfrunner for some sort of reply. Wolfrunner was sitting on the ground, leaning against the tree. The chief didn't show a sign of curiosity. He had an arrow in his hand and he was concentrating intensely on the dirty tip, scraping it with his knife. Slightly annoyed at Wolfrunner's lack of interest, Stone continued.
"He claims he thought he was a wolfrider."
Wolfrunner still remained silent.
"From the beginning, Skyfall. Where do you come from?" Stone asked fixing his gaze on Sky.
"I...I don't know," Sky said, "I was told by my... Flash, where did you go?"
"All right." Stone was visibly annoyed now. Wolfrunner seemed to be ignoring the situation. "Where do you think you came from? And who is Flash?"
"I... was found out... oh, my head..." He paused. Everything went dark for a moment then the light rushed back to his now blurry eyes.
"Outside Dark Tree... Holt," Skyfall said, hoping the others sensed that he was in pain. "Flash... Flashpoint is my soulbrother." Someone stepped toward him and held a waterskin up to his mouth. He couldn't tell who it was until she spoke.
"Here, drink," came the calming voice. It was Kestrel. Grateful for some help, Sky sent her a small thank you. The holt was silent while Sky was drinking. Finally the silence was broken.
*Are you paying attention to this, Chief?* came a question. It was from Ashes. Wolfrunner disregarded the question for a moment. He looked up, glancing at Ashes quickly, then turned to Stone.
"What's this all about, Stone?" Wolfrunner asked, putting the arrow in his lap.
**So... You finally decided to listen?** Stone sent, locking his eyes on the Chief. Wolfrunner didn't make any sign of acknowledgment.
"All I know about it, my chief, is that I found him on the ground, hurt from a fall. When..."
"Fall?" Wolfrunner interrupted, scraping at his arrow with his thumb. Stone just continued.
"When I went to heal him, I found he was a Pureblood. Not a drop of wolfblood in him."
"Oh," Wolfrunner said, apparently understanding the situation. He sheathed his knife and looked around the holt. "Well, let's see. Are there any soulsearchers in the Holt?" he asked.
"Tilvah? Yharren?" Stone asked. Yharren looked over to Stone with a bored expression.
"Soulsinger is always good with that type of healing," Wolfrunner said. Soulsinger looked up at the mention of her name.
"I'll do it! I'll do it!" she said with a big grin.
*If you are willing to let a child play around as if this is a game,* Yharren sent. Yharren had made his point which silenced Wolfrunner. This wasn't a game. The security of the holt was at stake.
*Yharren, if you are willing, do you think you could search his soul and find the truth? I admit I cannot,* Stone sent.
*I could try, but I suspect it will be very distasteful,* came Yharren's reply.
Stone stepped aside as Yharren approached and knelt by Skyfall. Yharren turned the stricken elf's head so they would face each other. Skyfall was now shaking, pondering the prospect of having his soul searched.
What if they find my soulname? The alarming thought echoed loudly in his mind..
As Yharren prepared for the healing, there was a buzz that passed through the tribe. The whisperings only annoyed Stone. He scowled ferociously to keep the onlookers quiet. Yharren slipped into a healer's trance, gently probing Sky's mind, sending, waiting for an answer. He wondered if Skyfall was even aware of him.
All the wolfriders they know are descended from Arran and Nimor and Yharren knew and hated them both. He would know if their blood was there.
**Helllpp meee!** came a weak lock send from Skyfall to Yharren. **Look out...** Yharren could tell he need to go further back.
**Tell me... tell me all you recall,** he sent trying to get images instead of this silly babble.
Yharren started to see images of things from Sky's past, people and places. He first saw a young elf running madly through the forest. Then the image faded and changed. He then saw the Vastdeep and the horrible suffering that had happened there, the capture of a wolfrider by a group of humans and the death of Skyfall's lovemate and their wolf-friends. Going further, Yharren saw the Dark Tree holt and all the peace and contention of the years Skyfall had been there. So far, there was no indication of pureblood ancestry, only life with the wolfriders. Then he saw the after effects of the encounter Skyfall had had with the trees outside Dark Tree. Yharren laughed to himself.
**There's more here than you know,** Yharren sent as he came to the mental wall where Skyfall's conscious memories ended. Yharren continued, trying to pull Sky through the wall, past his memories of Dark Tree, back to an even earlier time, a peaceful time, a place to start from. Finally he found what he was looking for, and to his surprise it didn't take long. He saw a tribe of pureblooded elves that lived in the trees. They were beautifully tall Redwood trees and the tribe seemed to live in the tree tops.
**I... I'm from a place called... Windy... Windy Tree,** Skyfall sent, finally able to remember the name.
**Where is Windy Tree?** Yharren asked as he tried to find out where this unknown village was in reference from Dark Tree. The directions were hazy at best. Yharren felt that he had come to the end of his search. There wasn't anything left. Satisfied with what he had found, Yharren broke the trance. Everyone looked on as he sent his findings.
*He claims to be from a place of Purebloods only... Degraded Purebloods, but still," he sent, turning to Stone. *He is a Pureblood, but not much of one. He was in a battle, he is here now. What more is there to tell?*
*Why has he come here?* Stone replied, *And will his people be looking for him?* But before Yharren could answer, Wolfrunner pushed his way through to Skyfall and knelt down.
*Let me try to get some information out of him,* he sent. Yharren scowled at Wolfrunner, then threw an arm between the fallen elf and the chief.
*Do not interfere!* Yharren sent, anger flowing with the sending. He glared at the wolf chief, then continued. *He and his "brother"...* Yharren cringed slightly at the thought of a Wolfrider and Pureblood being soulbrothers. *They were injured. He came here because we were the first elves he found.* He paused giving Wolfrunner a cold look, then he turned back to Stone. *Humans attacked them. There are no surprises here,* he concluded.
Wolfrunner sat on the ground as Yharren finished relaying his findings. Stone watched as the chief's expression changed from indifference to one of anger... or jealousy. Stone couldn't tell which.
*L...Ly....Lykos!* came an open sending from Skyfall which caught the others off guard. What was it? A soul name?
*My... name is... Lykos!* Sky sent panting and sweating, causing the holt to go silent. No one said a thing for quite some time. Finally, Yharren broke the silence.
*Now that everyone knows his name, and the fact that he, as we all have, was attacked by humans...*
Before Yharren could finish his sentence, Wolfrunner stood up and put his hand on his throwing knife. He pulled it from its sheath and cut through Yharren's sleeve, slashing his arm. The gathered tribe gasped in shock and horror at what the chief had done. Yharren turned, eyes ablaze, sending intense anger to Wolfrunner as he placed his hand on the cut in an attempt to stop the bleeding.
**What was THAT for, Wolfrunner?** Stone sent, hoping the power of the sending would cause a response, but the wolf-chief had his eyes trained on Yharren.
*Come on!* Wolfrunner sent back as Stone stepped between his chief and the Pureblood. Yharren let Skyfall lie down.
*Perhaps someone would like to restrain our wolf-chief.*
"I've never challenged you, my chief. Don't make me. We must let this proceed." Stone turned back to Yharren. *Can you get any more, or is he spent already?*
*What he needs now is restore healing if you care to give it to him. What more need we know?*
*Is his memory restored?*
*He seems to know his name now,* Yharren sent as he stood, glaring down at Wolfrunner. Blaze and Soulsinger came over and tried to escort Wolfrunner back to his den, but he refused. He sat back down next to the tree, snarling to himself.
*I will take him and see what I can do,* Stone sent as he bent down to help Skyfall up.
**It's cold,** Sky lock sent as the two slowly started walking away. They could hear Yharren and Wolfrunner going at each other again. Then Sky heard a strange, high-pitched noise. If it was real or imagined, he couldn't tell, but it seemed familiar somehow. Disregarding the pain in his head, Skyfall pushed away from Stone and started running back toward the Grandfather Tree. Stone snatched at him in vain.
"Skyfall, what...? Wait!"
Skyfall was charging directly at Wolfrunner and Yharren, running at full speed. Pureblood and wolf chief stopped arguing long enough to see Skyfall bearing down on them. But before the two could respond, Skyfall leaped up over them and glided in an easy arc to a branch on the far side of the holt. The tribe stood frozen in place, silent. Heads turned and wide eyes stared up at Skyfall, who was now shivering on the branch.
"A glider?" Stone said rolling his eyes, "Just what we need."
*How.... how did I... What's going on?* Sky sent, now confused.
"Ask Kaylamale!" Stone said with a laugh. **Come down, Glider. Let's see what more can be done for you.**
Skyfall slowly climbed down the tree. As he reached the ground, he felt the pain in his head once again.
**Ouch, my head.**
**Don't worry, I will take care of that soon enough,** Stone sent as he helped the Glider to the ground. **At least we know you were honest. Now we'll return the favor and find your past.**
Stone walked with Sky right between Yharren and Wolfrunner, who were at their argument again. Stone didn't look up at either of them. He didn't want to be involved any more. The healer and glider turned toward Stone's den, leaving the stricken Pureblood with a nagging, unanswered question...
...What am I?
Copyright © 1995 Timothy Georgi.