Isolde shifted uneasily, hunched on a branch on a tree somewhere in the woods to the south and east of Wintergarde. Where he’d…

She shook off the thought. Focus. It was a tad warmer here, but with the rain dripping past her muzzle, the rustle of the leaves as water and wind tossed them, the cold still seeped it’s way inwards. She was hunting, as she had been for several days now, alone and building up caches for the quartermaster to pick up later. Focus, on the giant stag that qas quietly rustling through the undergrowth, unaware of it’s watcher. 

She buried her muzzle a little deeper into the thick scarf at her neck, but in the cold dreariness of a rainy, woodsy day, her thoughts began to meander again. Himself. So…open. So honest. She wasn’t used to those things, never had been, but the drive that had kept her searching for him, following him, and the instinct she often struggled with told her, to the bone, that he spoke truth to her. So bloody open and so bloody…sweet with his words and his passions. That was the word for it. For what he said and what he had in his eyes. 

A word she couldn’t quite muster up, despite herself. She had even tried…

Isolde huffed, the vapour condensing around her snout. A sad sigh. She knew she was a street rat, always had been, always would be. He might’ve been born to humble origins but he was a gent, all the same, well known and well liked and well mannered. And the way he looked at her took her breath away and frightened her and made her thoughts go awry, and she wasn’t sure if she felt the same way, or if she was too scared, or too unworthy… no, she didn’t love him yet. Not like that. She felt she should, or…

Golden yellow eyes blinked and flickered through the mists. She shook her head. Thoughts all a-tumble, the quarry wandering away but she was too lost in herself to follow. Why was this so hard? She knew she *liked* him, she liked him very much, she would follow him to the ends of the bloody earth, and despite her deliberate absence she couldn’t…stop thinking. He’d shown her so much of his past, of his pain, and for some reason it didn’t seem to matter. He spoke Velhari, and his love for the wolf, and the moon light, and things she had once hated, but it didn’t matter. There was a hoarse laugh, bittersweet. Was that what love was?

Claws scraped bark as she pulled her feet closer underneath her, for the warmth. She’d been told in stories that love was something magical, something you just knew, that happened in the blink of an eye. Life on the streets, *reality*, told her that such love was a fairytale. Unreal and unrealistic. There was partnership, sometimes, mutual understanding for survival, but not real love. 

Isolde looked out through the woods she had walked so recently. The stag was gone. She sighed. What should be so easy shouldn’t be so complicated, but it was as himself had said, in a letter she still kept pressed close under her tunic. He had opened up about his darkness, and…another sigh. Fear, she thought. Since when had she ever been so afraid?

Sod it all. She slipped off the branch, and swung into the next tree, headed back to the keep. She should at least be honest with himself, and…there was a blush. She liked him. And she wanted to know him more.

Author Wallaroo
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