A sudden warm snap had reduced some portion of the accumulated snow to slush, but the rise in temperatures hadn’t lasted long enough for a significant melt. It had, however, made a mess of any trails laid down on the floor of the Pass. Much to Lysander’s chagrin.
Trying to track Titania and Maaike was difficult enough as it was, given the rugged, winding terrain and the girls’ general penchant for roaming. They hadn’t sought him out following their initial reunion either, which Lysander supposed shouldn’t have come as a surprise. They had only agreed to let him stay with them there in the mountains, after all; they didn’t have to make it easy for him. And if he was being honest with himself, they probably wanted to leave him in the dust. The two of them were stuck on this notion of being independent, eager to blaze their own trail without anyone else’s help.
Except for Miss Abrielle and Mister Silvano, of course.
Lysander’s nose wrinkled as his muzzle swept over the scents of the two wolves. Then he paused and lifted his head to stare flatly up at the surrounding peaks.
They were probably with the girls now, he imagined, watching over them and teaching them as parents would. The fact that he’d had his paternal role yanked beyond his reach once again didn’t sit well with Lysander in the least, but yet again, he knew that to offer resistance would all but seal his fate where Titania was concerned. If he tried to separate the girls from their newfound friends, he would be the bad guy. His only hope was to wait them out — wait for them to tire of their mountaineering jaunt or simply get routed out by the brunt of winter.
But the longer he stayed up there, following the two children like a lost pup, the more Lysander began to wonder if it was just wishful thinking. There was a chance they might tough it out. They were practically adults at this point. They could take up permanent residence there, if it struck their fancy. Meanwhile Demetrius and Oberon were back at home in the Alliance territory without a clue where he was. Growing up without him once again.
Not to mention he still didn’t know Rhydian’s whereabouts — which, to Lysander’s surprise, did actually concern him. He and Bianca had traveled into the Pass following the Warden’s trail, but they’d never found the wolf himself. Had he gone back home to his remaining family? Or was he still up there, like him, wandering in search of children who didn’t really want to be found?
He lingered there for a while, idly noting the familiarity of the area. He was near the springs: a place he’d never counted on getting near ever again.
But memories of a queen and her empire and a fallen friend came to him only distantly now. His head was too abuzz with other thoughts. Loud and persistent.
How was he meant to choose between his children? As much as staying in the mountains felt like an uphill battle that could end in nothing but failure, turning his back on his little girl and leaving here there made him feel sick to his stomach. Yet at the same time, prolonging his stay meant that he was neglecting his boys: two pups who actually… sort of… seemed to like him. While they’d yet to know him as anything more than their uncle, Lysander had forged at least something of a bond with Demetrius and Oberon. He felt that Titania might take to him more if they ever got a chance, but…
As if on cue, his daughter’s voice rang out through the chill evening air, the sound of it bouncing of the walls of rock and reaching him even from a distance.
Lysander felt his heart flutter uncomfortably in his chest. She was probably calling for Maaike, he told himself. Or perhaps for her new guardians. Surely not for him.
He stood there for a long moment in the wake of the howl, frozen, uncertain.
Then he threw caution to the wind, tilted his head back, and sent up a long, wavering note in reply.
When it was done, he merely lapsed into silence. And waited.
Jul 18, 2017 01:53 PM — Post #1
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