Aryeh wondered what she was dreaming of now. It was such a long time to him, when he was younger he had all the patience in the world it seemed. When this happened every day he felt it slip out of him. All he could think about at first is I have to help her. He recalled that day. He had not loved her then. That had taken time watching her grow in her dream state. He felt very protective towards her, like, an investment. She already was given to him when she was born. He recalled in his youth how his parents and hers, had him hold her hands as an infant, and they spoke the words. Literally they had been married on that day, but later they would have a different ceremony. He was curious a little about that, but it was such a long ways off. She was so young, still just a little girl. Then she did something he would not have guessed. When that day happened, he felt that presence too, not as fast as she did, it bothered him how much power she had. He wished he did, at least, to be on more equal standing.
She ran and didn't hesitate to do what needed to be done. At the risk of her own life, she tried to protect, her parents, Antaquay, her brother and him. She often acted he thought impulsively. Yet now he saw, she at least acted. He on the other hand, reflected. They started running after her not knowing why. Suddenly as the bolts came down on her parents she took her arms and flung them to the side. As she did a wind took Quay and tossed her into the river which saved her life. A shaft of magic struck the ground where Quay had been before she was flung aside. Then Lumi looked back at them, terror in her eyes and flung her arms up in a defensive posture. He felt himself and Tym pulled in closer with her, the air turned green and blue and it shimmered as he saw three more shafts headed towards them. They struck the shield and for a moment it seemed to hold. Then with horror, he watched as it collapsed and seemed to pull into Lumi. As it did, she whispered one word as she fell. “Aryeh...” she whispered his name and said nothing more.
He reached out now, and touched her hair reveling in the fact that she was his wife. He could not imagine he would feel even more protective of her, but he did. She was more precious to him. That day when the Stag first walked up, and she stood and seemed to look at him. Then she looked at him differently and called him Growlers. He had felt like growling then. Lumi turned and followed the Stag into the forest. He hurried and yelled for Tym and Quay, they were in the cabin. Together they followed them into the village and to O'Beth. Tym was able to track them although, for once, Lumi left almost nothing behind to show her passing. When they got to O'Beth, it was the druid that explained it to them. The Stag had cast a spell of his vision on her. During the day, she would be able to function appearing normal. To everyone else it would seem as if she was awake. However, it was a waking dream. Each night she would return to that same darkness. She would see things differently. She saw herself as a small child and so she talked and acted like one. She saw him as a lion. So they decided, to cast the spell on him. With such a binding he had to agree to it. She had acted to save his life, and he was the last thought on her mind when she fell. How could he do anything less than to act for her benefit?
He could transfer into the form whenever he wanted. However, he would do it during the day. He mostly thought and slept then. At night after he had changed back into his real form, he would go up to her room, watch over her while she slept. Not as she did now. Now she breathed more free, he could not sense the darkness of her thoughts. She felt warm and inviting. They were on the river he had to keep reminding himself. Patience, patience, really he had almost none at this point. The hardest thing for him though, was they changed the color of her eyes. They had been this blue, a pretty sky blue on the clearest warmest day. They changed it to that dark brown, with the amber. They had to do this, because it was easier on her mind for them all to appear more like the men and the women of the village. For her to think that this is where she was from.
She had to grow up again, like from a child of seven or eight until she was an adult, until it was almost that same time as when she was when she fell. They had tried so many things over the years. They fed her things, had her drink potions and tried casting spells on her. Then they would have to cast another one to make her forget why they did that. Pretty soon they just learned to mask these things disguise them as her meal or drink. Sing spells always, instead of just say or chant them. They tried doing it on her birthday and she did seem to fare better then, because she would not go into the sleep at night, she would be in that dream walking state, so they had her partially awake for longer. Which he really liked, she didn't remember him much Rory had thought him one of the villagers then. That is when he had the most time to interact with her and talk to her.
Then on her “fifteenth” anniversary, he had given her the locket. It had images of her parents Aryeh sketched and colored into it. So she could look at them. He had thought maybe it would awaken her. Instead, it had awoken something else. She had looked more closely at him and blushed. Like she use to when she was a young girl. Suddenly he realized she was a woman now. He wanted her, not because he felt a strong duty to his people, but he felt desire slamming into him. He left early that night. It was the next day the Druid had walked up onto the ledge to talk to him. He was in his cat form and lying in the meadow sleeping.
O’Beth approached him wanting to know one thing. “Have you, or did you ever kiss her? She could hear his thoughts like as if he was speaking. “No, we never did.” He shook his head, resting it on his paws. “I want you to ponder the possibility, that if she loves you, of performing the marriage rite and kissing her then. This may break the spell there are powerful forces at work, when love comes into play. This may be what we need. It is a very powerful old magic.” He had gotten up then into a sitting position and looked at her. “I don't know if she does, we, we were friends then only friends. I was more like her older brother then. She was still a girl. She doesn't see me, as myself, hardly at all now. I do not know if she cares.” He then turned and going back to a small cave he sometimes slept in, laid down. O'Beth did not follow him.
He did think about it though. There was not much sleep for him since then. He dreamed about her all the time. All he could seem to think about was holding her in his arms kissing her. For weeks he was like that, and one night, as she lay sleeping, he bent down and stayed, hovering with his mouth over hers. She had seemed to moan in her sleep and she never did that. It was like having cold water splashed on him. He pulled back immediately. The next morning he went and saw the druid, he told her that he didn't think it would work, that she didn't love him. Rory started walking up the path he could see her with her light step. She had stopped when she saw he was near, the old druid. He had turned and ran off. He could not bear to see the look in her eyes when all she could see was his cat form.
Later the next day is when Rory came to visit him. Rikos took his place the night before and watched over her. He had said he needed a break from it. He went out and prowled around, running and racing in his cat form. That was one thing he really enjoyed. Sometimes he would run with other cats. They knew he was different. Sometimes he would see the Stag watching him. Everyone else rarely saw the Stag, but the Stag was always watching him. Almost every day he would come out. On that night, he had stopped him. “Lion, do you love the Dawn. Is she not beautiful and fair, a joy to behold? Do you love the Dawn?” Then the Stag faded back into the forest.
Rory was, for over the years she had grown more and more beautiful. She had lost her rangy thin form. She was trim and fit yet she had filled out into a womanly shape. Her face had changed also from the softness of youth had been replaced with a firmness along the jaw, her cheekbones were more defined. Her lips, they were like dark roses. The shape of her eyes though, they were so beautiful. He would sometimes trace their shape with his fingers. Gently he would run the tips of his fingers over her eyes then down her cheeks and stopping to hover over her lips. Yes, it had taken time, thinking about her, seeing the woman she was becoming. He was in love with her.
The next day he was a little shocked. He was really tired from not having slept at all. So he was caught unawares. Normally he could smell her quite a ways off. She smelled of lavender and other flowers all the time and metals. It was because she worked with them all day long with O'Beth. He was so tired though, that he was dreaming of being with her, when her scent suddenly hit his senses. He sat up and she was close. She was within a few feet of him. Her eyes... they were blue on that day. The blue he recalled from when they were young. She was trying, trying to break free of it. She was blushing too, she wasn't scared. He tipped his head to the side, how he wished he could read her thoughts. Would that he had dared to ask her “Do you love me? Do you love me Luminare de Aurora, Queen of the Elves? My sweet Rory, do you love me?” She looked like she was going to reach out and touch him. Like she wanted to, why, why had she come up to find him? She never came to the ledge, she always stayed down below the waterfall. She had never climbed it. Yet she did, she had to have been looking for him. For once, in all the years they had waited, he hoped. He hoped, as he never had before, he ached with it.
He went into town that evening while Tym stayed up later with her and spoke with O'Beth and they planned. They decided to continue to watch over her. He tried coming out as it turned dusk in his Elf form and started offering to walk home with her. She saw him more and more and by the 16th anniversary, they put everything in motion and planned for an entire year. At the 16th birthday party for Rory, she had almost kissed him. That was enough for O'Beth, Quay and Tym. It was time, they would try, a kiss. He wanted it done right though. He wanted to be married to her. So they planned his wedding. His and Rory's wedding that took place today.
They were nearing a good place to camp for today, they all needed some rest and well, he just refused to wait any longer to be with his wife. He ran his hand over her face over her lips, down to her shoulder and shook her gently. She opened her eyes and again he was surprised how her eyes now swirled with colors, danced, they moved like the northern lights. Blues and greens, she stretched out and he watched her as he guided their small craft into shore. The other boats followed him. There was a place, he had picked out, without telling anyone else.
Aryeh was looking at her very intensely now. Like he wanted to ask her a question, he had done that the same day she had climbed up the waterfall to see him. She wondered what the question was. Her abdomen kept tightening and she would feel a rush of warmth looking into his eyes, even with a small glance. They didn't speak much as they helped the others setup for the evening. Once they had their camp set up, he came over and grabbed her hand. “Come away with me my Queen” She got very quiet then and blushed, feeling suddenly shy. She knew absolutely very little about what would happen next. Yet she felt a growing excitement a yearning to be alone with him.
He suddenly picked her up in his arms and began racing down a path, laughing. She had to wrap her arms around him and bury her head in close against his neck. Rory smelt so good, she started nuzzling his neck and he growled deep in his throat and then cleared it. “Here we are.” He put her down and took her hand, and walked up to the Cabin. It was a one room cabin, very small. It had a fireplace and a large open room. There was no bed, but they each had blankets and their cloaks.
Aryeh had a fire going very quickly for them. He stretched out blankets and rolled their cloaks into pillows for their heads. He then went and grabbed out from his pack some blueberries and some nuts, plus some cherry ale. Quay had provided him with a couple of Canteens of it, as a gift, it had become Rory’s favorite drink. She liked the pale red color, sharp and tangy taste. He then began to pull, the ribbons and flowers from her hair. Aryeh began undoing the braids while kissing her neck and running his fingers up and down her shoulders and her arms. He could feel her start to tremble. “Rory, I have a question, perhaps it may seem, frivolous to you, or unnecessary given the circumstances. Do you love me? Do you really love me, I need to know.” Rory inhaled sharply and she turned around. She gazed deep into his eyes, grasping his face between her hands. “How could you not know? I have loved you since we were children, always. Every day it grew more and more and on that day, that terrible day, all I could think of was to save you. Aryeh, you are my sweet wonderful lion.” He growled and his face scowled.
She knelt in front of him now, pulling him down with her onto the blankets, her hands on his chest. She began to untie his shirt as she watched his face. “I have always loved you until it was an ache I could not bear anymore.” She then looked up at him, looking into his eyes, cradling again his face in her hands. It lasted for only a moment then he kissed her so passionately that the world was lost in that moment and there was only Rory.