ALL THE DOUBT YOU'RE STANDING IN BETWEEN
On the opposite side of Loess’ hills was Sylva, and nestled like a dry riverbed between the two was a path that lead any traveler from the doorstep of Taiga directly south to the Pampas. This was where Wolfbane convinced Lilliana to follow him, under the very thin disguise of a diplomatic visit to meet Noah. He led her away from the haze and dim of the redwoods, two travelers pushing off from an island where Celina and Lepis lived, out to where the desert and prairie blended together alongside a sentry forest. And just like the sea their journey went along peacefully in the beginning; they rarely met another horse along the way, everything in autumn appeared pleasantly silent. Wolfbane relaxed and enjoyed the easy company of a mare who’d been on his mind far too often lately.
“Are you enjoying Taiga so far?” He asked her. They were nearing the very edge of where all three lands bordered one another, and his shoulders began to ache from the added weight of his wings. Considering her quietly, he listened while musing over how she’d react to seeing them shrink away. If he hesitated to shift any part of himself in front of her, it was only because the proud side of Bane didn’t want to see a flash of anxiety in Lilliana’s eyes at the grotesque transformation.
There was something so innately pure about her that he admired. When the showy chestnut mare looked at him, Wolfbane could see a similar admiration reflecting back. That sort of gaze felt phenomenal, thrilling as well. He’d be pissed at himself if he went and screwed it all up over a fragile little thing like sore shoulders. Then he remembered exactly what he was capable of, and as the two came to a crossroads in their journey he paused and flexed his withers.
Heavy wings needed stronger, defined muscles to support them. Wolfbane simply adjusted the width and girth of his fore-end, solving the problem as quickly as he could smile.
“I’m glad I convinced you to come along on this extremely uneventful, excessively long walk.” The Commandant of Taiga teased his blue-eyed companion, “You’ll like the Pampas - and Noah.” He added, “Actually I’m worried you might not come back to Taiga at all, that’s how convinced I am you’ll love it.”
Wolfbane laughed in a warm tone, picturing Lilli there already. The scene in his mind was vivid and lovely: Lilliana stationed at the center in a meadow of endless flowers, bathing in their complicated perfumes... I was wrong to do this, he knows, but his heart’s already slamming against his thick-er chest. They’re here, anyways.
Pointless to turn around and go back.
WITH WOUNDS THAT NO ONE ELSE HAS SEEN