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Chapter 17
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Chapter 17

She woke to something that she couldn’t explain. She felt exactly like she had before she had made the trip to Buenasha. She stretched her body and didn’t feel any of the residual weakness that had plagued her for so long. She sat up, and tested everything again. She still felt fine, and that almost scared her. Hawk wasn’t in the room, but he had been there not too long ago, because his warmth was still on the bed beside her. She touched the spot, and then hopped out of bed. It was the first time in almost too long to remember that she had been able to do that. Dressing quickly, she hurried out the door, only to run into Jaki on her way in.

“Oh! Taru, you’re up. Well obviously you’re up. I guess you are feeling better then.” Jaki pushed her back into the room, and directed her to sit on the bed.

I feel fine Jaki, actually better then fine. I feel like I did before I was poisoned. When I woke up this morning, well a few minutes ago, I felt normal again. Jaki looked at her with surprise and proceeded to test Taru. She suffered through all the tests that Jaki came up with, and was pleased by her confused smile that she got when she was done.

“You’re right, you’re perfectly fine now. I can’t explain it, but I can’t argue with the facts.” She allowed Taru to stand then, and she grinned at Jaki, before taking off towards the training ring and the stables. She missed Free and Loyalty so much. Not to mention that Hawk would be there now.

She couldn’t even describe how good it felt to stretch muscles again. They should be tired, and weak with disuse, but they were strong and powerful, and she raced as fast as she could to the stables. The freedom was going to her head so quickly that she almost burst out into laughter. She slowed when she got to the door of the stable, running and spooking the horses would not be a good thing. She noticed that the stables had been rearranged, but then it became clear, that most of the horses that she had known were no longer in the stalls. She realized that they would have been in many battles during the time that she was ill. She sighed sadly at the loss, and headed towards the end of the line where Free and Loyalty would be.

She stopped by to rub Victory as she passed, and the mare nickered softly under the caress. She would have stayed longer, but she was itching to see her boys. She continued down the row, and was glad to see that most of the horses at this end were still the ones that she had known. She was very surprised to see that Free’s stall was empty. She looked around at the ones close by, but she didn’t see her bay stallion. Loyalty was standing at the end of the row, waiting for her to pay attention to him.

Hey boy, where’s Free? Does Hawk have him out working with the students? She knew she was kidding herself thinking that he was ok. She knew he was gone, and didn’t want to admit it. She would mourn the horse later, but for now she let the joy of seeing Loyalty cover the intense sadness. She gathered his tack from the room on the other side of the hallway, and tacked him up quickly. He seemed eager to go, and even nipped at her when she was fixing the saddle to make sure it was placed perfectly. She smiled at him, and rubbed his nose. It was obvious that he had been exercised but she doubted anyone had been able to ride him. Loyalty was a one-person horse.

She led Loyalty out into the ring, and saw that it was currently deserted. She trotted him a little to warm up, and then began cantering quickly, and moving over the low oxers that were set up around the ring. Loyalty cleared them all with ease, and Taru looked for something a little more challenging. She guided the horse out of the ring, and went over to the cross-country course that had been set up to help train horses to be able to evade in the heavily wooded areas that surrounded the camp. The freedom of flying over jumps was intoxicating. Loyalty had a wonderful ability with jumping, and she let her mind focus only on the moment. They took the course twice, and then Taru felt Loyalty slowing under her, and she didn’t want to push the horse too hard. She slowed him to a trot and then a slow walk, to let him cool down. She saw Hawk sitting next to the fence, and steered Loyalty over to him.

“Loyalty seems very glad to have you back to full health.” He stood and his tails twitched in happiness. She dismounted, and gave him a quick hug.

“Ew, Taru you’re all sweaty.” Giving an over exaggerated shudder he grinned at her. She punched him lightly in the shoulder, and led Loyalty back to the barn. Hawk chatted to her while she rubbed the horse down, and put him back in his stall. The black stallion seemed much more at peace after the workout, and Taru was glad that she was able to work with him again. Hawk didn’t bring up Free, and for that Taru was glad. He walked with her to the main building for an early lunch, and Taru was amazed at how much time had passed while she had been working with Loyalty.

“Jaki came and talked to me after you started working with Loyalty. She said you are fully healed, but she doesn’t know why. I have to say I’m not going to look this gift horse in the mouth.” His tails wagged, and Taru grinned at him. They ate in relative silence, and Taru realized that was one of the reasons she liked being with Hawk. He didn’t feel the need to talk often, and they just enjoyed each other’s presence instead of filling ever second with conversation. Taru loved Jaki like a sister, but she had to admit that the other girl’s need to talk all the time could get on her nerves. Quiet was just as important to a conversation as talking was. Hawk also never pushed her about things. That was another nice thing. She knew he must be going crazy wanting to ask her about what had happened the night before, but he let her gather her thoughts and didn’t push.

I think I’ve made you wait long enough. She told him with a smile. I don’t know what happened to make me well. I think it had something to do with where I went yesterday. I found a place within me that I didn’t know was there before. It was a wonderful place that held all my elemental ability now. It was peaceful, and I wanted to stay there, but I guess I must have felt you and it pulled me back. I haven’t tried to find it again, because I’m slightly worried that if I find it I won’t want to come back.

Hawk nodded his understanding. “I was very worried about you last night, but you slept well, and so this morning I had no qualms about leaving you. I guess I somehow knew that you were ok.” He gave her a small lick and then hopped off the bench. Alye saw them and waved as she came over. Hawk had to return to the training center for afternoon lessons, but Alye was free, and wanted to talk to Taru.

Let’s get some fruit and go back to your room. I have something I think we need to talk about. Alye said with a smile. Taru shrugged, and they headed back to her room. Taru had no idea what Alye wanted to talk to her about, but she guessed that it had something to do with her miraculous recovery. She would soon find out just how wrong that assumption was. They settled into the small room, and Taru had to admit how comfortable this place now made her. It was her haven now, and she hoped that she would be able to keep this room for as long as possible.

I see you and Hawk getting very close. Taru was a little confused by Alye’s statement, but nodded. I wanted to talk to you about that, because I didn’t know how much you knew about relationships between humans and Cheveyos. There is a long history between us. For as long as Cheveyos have been around they have found humans that they bond with. Sometimes that bond is deeper then others. Like Fire Wind and me.

I know; you are unit mates. That’s a very close bond, or it should be. I know not all the pairings are like that.

That’s not what I’m talking about Taru. Fire Wind and I are much more then Unit mates. He is my mate. In every way.

But how? He’s a Cheveyo. To say she was shocked would be a lie. She had seen them together, and she knew their actions were those of lovers not simply bonded partners. She didn’t realize however that a human and a Cheveyo could have a physical relationship that way.

Well it does take some creativity Alye replied with a smile. But I’m sure you know the mechanics. There have been pairs like ours since the beginning of the Compound. It’s obviously completely forbidden there, but it does happen more then they would like to admit. There is something about the way that Cheveyos are that cause such a deep connection with us. Cheveyos mate for life, and the way that they find their mates is a deeply spiritual thing. They believe that there is only one being on the earth that can connect soul to soul with them. They call the humans that are connected with them spilt souled. They believe that we are born human in body, but Cheveyo in spirit.

So if I wanted to have that with Hawk, what should I do? She didn’t know if she was ready for a physical relationship yet, but she knew that if it were to happen, having it with Hawk would be the only way. There was a peace that she felt with him that she had never had before.

Well first you have to talk to him. He is far too much of a gentleman to bring it up. I know that he has been sleeping here, and that is a good thing for both of you, but if you want to have more, you need to let him know that you’re ok with it. Some humans would be scared off by the idea of having a physical relationship with a Cheveyo. Even though they have intelligence on the same level as us, they are very different in many ways.

Taru nodded, she told Alye that she needed to think about things and the woman smiled at her as she left the room. She knew that she wanted what Alye talked about, but she wasn’t sure that she was ok enough with herself to have it happen. She sat on the bed, and allowed herself to drift into a light meditation. Shet had taught her the technique early in her training and she found it a good way to clear her mind enough to think about deep things. She let the pros and cons be weighed in her mind, and in the end she couldn’t find a good reason to not at least try. She would talk to Hawk tonight.

Now that her mind was made up, it was as if a weight had been lifted off of her chest, and she decided that the best thing to do would be to see how much of her skills with fighting had been lost during her long illness. Her body was not fit, but that didn’t mean that a lot of knowledge hadn’t been lost. She hadn’t had any problems with riding, but that was something that had always come naturally to her, and so she wasn’t worried about that. Fighting was something she had had to work very hard at to become as proficient as she was. She jogged back to the training area, and told herself that this wasn’t just an excuse to see Hawk.

Onto Chapter 18

 Malaquent is completely fictional, any relationship to real people, places, or events is purely coincidental, and is in no way ment to offend. All pictures of the Cheveyos are Emy Rothenberger. Any use of names, places, or images from these pages is strictly prohibited. Other images may be other artists, and all rights belong to those artists. Use without permission is prohibited.