Spring arrives at last on the Isle. The migratory birds have returned to nest, noisily chattering and honking near the shorelines, the hares and foxes and ptarmigans are molting out of their white plumages. In the warming spring air the snow and ice have melted back to only the northern-most places that never fully thaw, and the few trees and scant grasses, fast-growing, fast-blooming, trying their best against the harsh world they have sprung up into, cast shadow enough to aid her hunting - and the hunting has improved of late, though it still leaves a dark place in her chest that grows darker every time their eyes dull. The blood stains eventually fade from her skin, but she feel as if they still linger on her soul. Beryl was not born to be a predator, but she is
a survivor, and this shifting has saved her life.
She calls out softly to her Shadows - she cannot forget that they, too, saved her, from aliens, from drowning, they even brought Leilan to her - and they come willingly, coating her yellow pelt in variegated darkness, matching the rustling pattern of the small, twisted dwarf birches she creeps between. She will not be easy to find if one has normal eyes, but she knows that Leilan, her adopted father, is not so simple a creature. Thermals,
he had said, he could see temperature, when the mood struck. So, today, she has been experimenting. Her Shadows are always cool on her skin and she layers them over herself as she hides from him, laying them atop one another unevenly until even if he seeks her heat signature, he will not see a familiar crouched lion-shape pressing low against the golden-grassed ground. She thinks that perhaps he will smell her, he may even hear her, though she pads after him on careful paws, but there is little to be done about those things. A lion can only play so many tricks on a dragon.
The scaled stallion looks in her direction, but his eyes slide over her and she grins in a particularly feline way, baring large canine teeth. He knows I'm here,
she thinks, wondering if her game has worked or, as he turns to look away, if he is trying to draw her out by seeming to be unwary. As if the young shifter has not spent a whole year learning who he is and would believe it. She stills herself, but lets a soft rumble of a growl curl its way from her throat, thrumming and almost musical.
Litotes x Mehendi