Esper

A Stroll in the Gardens

Stands with Claws, having quietly slipped away from the sleeping party, strolled among the fragrant gardens, Hunts Under Red Moon by her side. Her mind was confused, identities of what she was blurring with the new pack she had chosen. She knew they were not Dire Wolves, it was not a big secret, but having bathed earlier with Sparrow, she realized that she was more like her, than her brother. She had been bared to all, and as Sparrow had been, she saw the curves and limbs that she saw on herself and not on her brother. In her mind, there had always been a mental block that separated her from the two legged ones. She knew she was different, but had always believed that she was a true Dire Wolf, but now, staring at her brother, who she still loved, she saw the differences. She saw his paws and thick grey fur, his strong proud long muzzle, his pointed fur tipped ears. And she looked down at her, in the strange clothing, her smooth and tan body showing through the fabric. A low and murmured sigh escaped her lips as she let herself fall to the stone walkway in the gardens.

Her brother slowed, nudging her with his muzzle, licking her face, obviously concerned. She looked upon him, seeing for the first time that this was not her blood brother, and her heart broke. Tears spread down her face, her mind spinning, memories of her life replaying over and over. Memories of her mother, but not her mother, protecting her, caring for her, and teaching her to hunt. Memories of her siblings, but not siblings, rolling and playing and chasing each other through the woods. Her memories rolled back and back, upon themselves through her mind. The visual experience stunning her mind, as she tucked her knees against her chest and rolled back and forth gently. Hunts Under Red Moon, whined, his concern palpable to her ears, but she was lost in visions, lost in her life lived.

The living visual dreams kept rolling backwards, finally stopping as if a wall barred their way, and though she was in pain, though she was hurt, she pushed, she forced her mind back, pushing through the barrier, pushing her memories on.

In front of her lay a two legged human, a woman, her face similar but slightly different than the one Stands with Claws often saw reflected back in lake waters. The woman, was laying on her stomach, her head turned towards her, blood spreading out under her like a pool of crimson loss. The woman’s eyes focused on her, her mouth moving, blood dripping from its corner onto the ground. She spoke. “My little water Lily, my flower, I love you. But you must run, you must hide. Go Lily, run. Live.” The life faded from her eyes as the girl watched on. The 4 year old halfling, legs against her chest, rocked back in forth, tears flowing from her eyes, screaming the word “Mama” over and over again.

Thus, Stands With Claws, mimicking her living memory, her most secluded nightmare of her past, in the gardens at night, rocked back in forth on the ground, the words “Mama!” tearing from her mouth, screamed loud into the night air. Hunts Under Red Moon, unable to help, turned his head towards the sky, and issued a low and mournful howl.

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