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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Morningstar: The Malaise - 17. Chapter 17 Road Trip


Morningstar: The Malaise



Chapter 17



This felt to Kellar like a replay of yesterday. Tobyn’s nose was once again buried in his chest hair. He’d slept like a log, and it appeared his bed partner had as well, since he was in the same basic position as when they’d initially fallen asleep. The only difference was Kellar had turned partway toward Tobyn sometime during the night, making their physical connection that much closer.

It was dark outside, but Kellar was tuned in to a rising sun. He resisted the urge to move, feeling contentment in a way he’d never experienced in all his memories. Only Tobyn could give him this. The turmoil of last evening hadn’t separated them. His breathing stopped when he felt lips softly kiss his chest, not once, but twice. It was with some disappointment he acknowledged the gesture was done by a man sleeping quite soundly. It had been ages since he thought life cruel, learning early on self-pity was a fruitless pastime, yet he couldn’t help slipping into that frame of mind for a few seconds.

His unintentional sigh brought stirrings from his companion. After a few unintelligible mutterings, a yawn and a slight stretch followed. But, strangely, the expected pull away didn’t happen. Instead, he resumed his position. Maybe he wasn’t fully awake, but Tobyn had to know where his head was laying.

Kellar continued to remain motionless, trying to suppress a smile at an intimacy that had intensified now it wasn’t being treated as some awkward mistake. He was rewarded with the press of Tobyn’s nose as he turned his head slightly, drawing air through it in a way that said he was smelling Kellar. This time, the lightest of kisses was bestowed by a man aware of what he was doing. Kellar didn’t even mind it was followed by Tobyn slowly moving away and onto his back. He was glad an escaped grin was hidden from the man as he kept his face pointing skyward.

They lay quietly side by side for a few minutes, with only their legs touching. Kellar had his eyes closed. Maybe it hadn’t meant much, but it meant something, and he held onto the thought for as long as the peace of the moment would allow.

“Are you awake?” Tobyn’s sleepy question indicated he already knew the answer.

Kellar finally let his body move and stretch. That voice was the most welcome morning sound in the world after yesterday’s uncertainty. “Yeah, I’m awake.”

“We should get ready, and head to the lodge.” Tobyn showed no sign of getting up, though.

“Yeah, I guess we should. We don’t want to keep Elinor waiting.”

“No, we don’t. How did you sleep?”

“Like a log again. You?”

“The same. You’re like a sleeping pill and a great big teddy bear all rolled up in one.”

Kellar’s heart did a little flip, but he fought to calm its rhythm. “I’m not much bigger than you.”

“Sure as hell seems like it. You make me feel safe, Kellar,” he said with some emotion evident behind the words. “I think I’ve been scared for a long time.”

The honesty stunned Kellar, and he was temporarily mute. As soon as he could trust his own voice, he spoke. “I understand that. I was afraid for pretty much my entire childhood,” he admitted in the shadowy dark.

“Really? It’s hard to believe, coming from the guy I’ve known the last three days. Well, four, counting today.”

“Believe it, Tobyn.” He wasn’t sure how open to be. “You make me feel safe too. That first night, in my bed at the cabin… that was the best night’s sleep I can ever remember having. I thought it was because of the energy it took to heal you… I assumed shifters took more out of me… but now I know it wasn’t that. It was you.” The silence that followed filled the room. Shit. Had he gone too far?

“Good. I’m glad I return the favor.” The rustle of covers as Tobyn slid his feet out of the far side of the bed signified an end to their sharing. “Ready to get this show on the road?”

“Ready when you are.”


They were in the lodge having breakfast while they waited for Elinor to finish up, according to her, a few mundane but pressing details. After separate showers, they’d driven over to find only two pack members still dining. Kellar was introduced to a friendly middle-aged couple who thanked him profusely for saving Adelin. He was slowly getting used to accepting the appreciation and attention without wanting to run.


“I was thinking.”

Tobyn stopped chewing and peered into his face intently. “Did it hurt?”

“Haha. Touché.” Kellar grinned as he stared into those brilliant eyes surrounded by dark gold lashes. His eyes flicked downward. He could still feel those perfect lips touching his chest. Get a grip, man. “Um, yeah, I’m being serious. We’re going to be pretty close to my cabin, so maybe I should pick up my truck after we check out the mechanic?”

Tobyn dropped his fork and it clattered on the near-empty plate. “Why? What do you need your truck for? I thought we were coming back here?” He fixed Kellar with a glare.

Whoa. Kellar hadn’t been expecting any anger. “We are. I just thought it might be a good idea to have my truck. It’s sitting down there unattended, and to be honest, I’m not used to being without my own vehicle.”

“What? You don’t think it’s safe?”

“It probably is, but you just never know. Don’t worry about it. It is out of the way and would add an extra hour to the driving.” He decided then and there having his truck wasn’t that important… not if it upset his friend this much.

“Sorry. I don’t know why I reacted like that. Of course we can go get it. You’re right. It’s more secure here with you. Really, I’m sorry.” He looked confused, and it dawned on Kellar it wasn’t anger he’d expressed. It was frustration Tobyn was revealing, and it was something he understood all too well.

Just how much had their nightlong contact and intimate early-morning sharing meant to the man? He was reluctant to let himself hope Tobyn was coming around. It was enough, for now, to know he made him feel safe. “No problem. Nothing to be sorry for, buddy.”


Elinor was ready, and waved at them with impatience showing. Tobyn smiled and winked at Kellar, reminding his friend this road trip had been his idea. It was just after eight in the morning when they all piled into the front seat and got underway. The woman could be talkative, and this was one of those times. Kellar enjoyed listening to her, though. She was smart and funny, and so obviously adored her son. They had that in common. According to her, the consensus was unanimous Kellar would be a welcome addition to Morningstar. He accepted the information graciously, careful not to look over at Tobyn. As they’d decided, nothing was written in stone anymore, so there was no reason to dispel her confidence in his joining the pack. The closer they got to their destination, the harder it was to rein in his excitement. He felt he had a lot at stake here, and wanted this to work out for everyone. He would have his answer very soon.

The place looked exactly the same, except the bar gate was closed, meaning they couldn’t drive up to the buildings. A large painted sign saying CLOSED FOR GOOD was tacked over the business billboard on one side of the driveway that advertised Car, Truck, Boat Motor, Snow Machine, and Small Engine Repair. Dammit. Were they too late? Had the shifter moved on to another location? Kellar glanced at Elinor and saw she was agitated. It wasn’t looking good.

“Sorry, just let me check. Maybe he’s ill, or on vacation.”

“No, he’s definitely here. I can sense him,” Elinor said.

Tobyn looked at her curiously. “Mom, I can smell the shifter but that doesn’t mean he’s here. The place looks deserted.” And it did. There were no machines or vehicles in front of the shop parking lot, sitting about eighty feet from where they were parked.

“I’ll go check,” Kellar said as he opened the door.

“I’ll go with you. I’m certain the man is here.” Elinor was practically pushing him out the door, but Tobyn grabbed her arm to stop her.

“Please wait, Mom. Not everyone is going to care you’re a pack leader. This shifter chased Kellar off the last time he saw him. If the guy’s still here, he could be dangerous. Let us go, and you wait till we make sure it’s safe.”

“Tobyn, I do not need protection. We came here to find someone who can strengthen our pack, and I’m telling you that man is here. Not all my senses have deserted me.”

All discussion stopped as the distant shop door opened and a burly man exited, walking slowly, but on a direct course toward them. Kellar flickered, and the pattern was just as he remembered, except for more of the dark gray indicating depression. Severe depression in this case. That was of great concern because the tall shifter was carrying a shotgun. It was pointing downward, but Kellar took it as an unfriendly message.

He watched the man’s demeanor suddenly change. The hunched-up shoulders dropped and the chin rose. His posture straightened, and Kellar, still flickered, saw his familiar colors flare for a brief second as the man stood stock-still. Confident now, Kellar moved out from behind his door and walked to the front of the truck. When Tobyn whispered a warning as he joined him, Kellar quietly expressed his surety that this meeting would be fine. “Trust me,” he whispered. Concentrated on the man’s different carriage, he was unaware Elinor had slipped past him until she was standing at the fore.

“Mom, for God’s sake, get back in the truck!”

“I will not. Stop fretting, dear. I know who this is.” She didn’t even glance at her son. Her entire focus was on the man now twenty feet away. “He won’t hurt me… will you, sir?”

Tobyn, with the quickness of a wolf, moved in front of Elinor, effectively blocking her. “We just came to talk, mister. Could you put the gun down please? This is my mother and she is one of the leaders of our pack. If you don’t want to hear what we have to say, just say so, and we’ll be on our way.”

Elinor stepped to his side while Kellar watched with great interest.

“Mother, please!”

“Oh, Tobyn, you worry too much. Do you understand who I am?” she directed at the mechanic.

Kellar watched a little smile appear on the man’s face at the same time he heard a loud sound of exasperation come from Tobyn. This was going better than he could have hoped, despite his friend’s unease. He waited to see what would come next.

“I… I think so… yes, I do. Is it possible?” The man’s soft voice had a strong element of disbelief.

“Apparently so, if we both feel it.”

“Feel what?” Tobyn asked.

“I’m Elinor Berenger, and this is my son Tobyn and his friend, Kellar, from Morningstar Pack.” She held out her hand in greeting.

The rugged man who’d gone from mysterious to almost shy, looked at the outstretched hand, and then at his shotgun. “Oh, sorry. I didn’t realize I had this. Can’t be too careful around here.” He hastily put it down in the grass on the side of the driveway. “I’m a….” The man paused as he took hold of Elinor’s hand. “I’m Denver Baudry, and I don’t have… I no longer belong to a pack.”

“Ah, green valley,” Elinor said softly, with a smile on her face.

“Yes, ma’am.” He smiled back at her. When Kellar flickered he could see less gray than he did scant minutes ago. The speed of the dissipation was incredible.

“Green valley? What the hell are you talking about, Mom? And what exactly are you feeling?”

Elinor giggled. “Watch your language, dear. The name Denver means green valley in the old tongue, and what I’m feeling is gratitude toward the earth mother, for she has seen fit to give me my mate. Am I right, Denver?”

“Yes, you are, Elinor. I feel the same gratitude. After all these years, I can hardly believe I’ve found you.”

“Well, to be accurate, I found you,” she giggled again, sounding very much the young girl. “Should we go for a walk, or maybe a run? My wolf is demanding to be let out.”

“So is mine, and that hasn’t happened in a long, long time. I would be honored.”

“Mother, you can’t be serious? You don’t even know this guy and you’re going to go for a run with him?” Tobyn was fuming, and Kellar stepped to his side, placing a hand on his arm to calm him. The healing trickle he sent didn’t appear to have its usual effect as the man continued to vibrate with negative energy.

“Of course I know him. He’s my mate, as I already told you, and that’s all you need to concern yourself with. I’m not some silly child, Tobyn,” she said quietly, but with an edge, “and you are being rude. Shall we go, Denver?”

“Whatever you wish. It was nice to meet you, Tobyn. Don’t worry about your mom. I’ll take great care of her.”

Elinor stared at her son expectantly. “Well?”

“Nice to meet you too, sir… Denver.” His words were polite, but Kellar saw something akin to anger in his eyes. Denver appeared to be too smitten to notice, or he just didn’t care. Tobyn turned and stalked back to the truck, getting in and closing the door with a force just this side of a slam.

Denver shifted his focus and ran a gaze over Kellar. “I remember you. Thanks for not listening to me when I told you to never come back.”

“You’re welcome.” Kellar smiled at the man, and turned to see he was on the receiving end of a black look through the truck window. He’d thought Tobyn would be pleased for his mother if this panned out the way he had hoped it would. Why was he so angry? Watching the new pair walk away, obviously entranced with one another, he felt satisfied his inklings had been right, and relieved they were shifters who instantly understood they were mates. It would have been much more difficult if it had taken them time to recognize they were fated. An extremely important question had just been answered, and now he could approach the subject with his friend.

The euphoric feeling came to a halt when he went to the truck and peered in at a glowering Tobyn. “What’s wrong? I thought you’d be happy for your mom? She’s found her mate after all these years.”

“She had a mate. My dad. She doesn’t even know this person, and just because her wolf got a little excited, she believes he’s her mate?” He stared straight ahead as Kellar got in beside him.

“They both feel it… not just your mother. Is this about replacing your father?”

Another pissed-off look. “No, of course not. I’m not a kid.”

Kellar was confused, and more than a little disappointed. “Well, like your mom said, neither is she.” He looked away.

The silence stretched. “I’m sorry. I guess I feel blindsided by all this. I’ve told you I don’t put much stock in mates. I thought the whole idea was a relic of the past, and that we’d evolved because it did more damage than good. If it’s true, and they are mates, is my mom going to wolf out if she loses him? Shifters die all the time now. That’s our reality. History tells us mates don’t get over that. Fendral never did.”

“So, this is worry for your mother? Or is it that you don’t like the idea of mates?” Kellar felt some pain as he asked the question, and while he met Tobyn’s gaze, he couldn’t keep it up. He was too afraid of the answer.

“Fuck, man. I don’t know. This is messing me up and my brain can’t handle it. I’m not convinced they’re even mates.”

“Seriously?” Kellar felt a burst of anger himself. “Are you blind? Did you not see what happened between them? Trust me… they are earth mates.”

“And you’re sure of this, why?”

“Because they have the exact same signature pattern. Their colors are a perfect match, that’s why.” Kellar practically snarled the words, annoyed at his friend’s head-in-the-sand denial. He’d had enough of it.

“What? I thought you said no two patterns were the same?” It was said accusingly, and his glower was back.

“That’s what I’d thought, until… that’s obviously not the case. I know now it’s not a fluke.” Kellar was waiting for the next question, but it wasn’t what he expected.

“So you knew, before we even got here? You knew they were mates, and you set this all up?”

“Set it up? That’s not fair, Tobyn. The pack needed a mechanic, so yeah it was a chance to learn a little more. I thought that’s what you wanted me to do. And no, I didn’t know. I only suspected. It wasn’t until I saw them together and witnessed their reaction to each other that I was sure. Unlike you, I believe what’s right in front of me.” He didn’t even try to contain his bitterness.

“So, this was a test? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Tell you what? I already said I didn’t know. And it wasn’t just a test. Again, you’re not being fair. Come on, man. Do I have to point out once more he’s a mechanic the pack is in dire need of?” Kellar was fuming, and he struggled to keep a lid on his anger. “When I first saw your mom, I recognized the pattern, but I wasn’t sure if it had any significance at the time. It was pure speculation at that point, because I didn’t have enough to go on.

“Remember, I haven’t met that many shifters, so it could have been a common occurrence that meant nothing. It might have turned out there were lots of shifters with matching patterns, for all I knew. I admit I thought it might be an indication, but I didn’t want to go spouting off theories that could have been way off base. Christ, man, can you not understand the position I was in?”

Tobyn studied him, and this time Kellar didn’t look away. “I get not telling anybody else, but I don’t understand not telling me what you suspected. I thought we were in this together, and now my mother is off running with some stranger, and….”

“You’re being ridiculous. Elinor is safe with Denver. He’s her mate, gifted to her by the earth mother. Surely you saw what I did?” He continued to stare at the blond man, and saw some uncertainty creep into his expression. Had he been too harsh? Maybe he needed to try harder to understand Tobyn’s reaction.

“You’re a good man, the best man I know, and maybe I’m….” He sighed as he opened the door and stepped out. “I’m sorry… I need to go for a walk. I understand you thought you needed verification first, but you should have told me. She’s my mother… my mom, Kellar, and you’re supposed to be my friend. Look, I’ll be back after….” He didn’t finish… just closed the door quietly and walked behind the truck to the road, leaving Kellar sitting alone.

And that’s how he felt… alone… deserted. For the second day in a row, Tobyn was walking away from him. Yesterday’s need for distance, he understood… today’s, he didn’t get. He’d thought it was going to be this celebratory occasion if his notions proved accurate, but it had all gone to shit. Once again he proved to be out of his element with this stuff.

Was Tobyn right? Should he have confided in him without the actual confirmation? He was correct about one thing. Elinor was his mom and they were close. There was a bond there he had no personal experience with, and Tobyn was seeing this as a betrayal of their friendship. Blindsided, he’d said. Kellar knew what that felt like too.

Crap! How was he ever going to tell the man now?

A big thanks to my editor, Timothy M., and to all those who support me and this story.

Copyright © 2017 Headstall; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

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I'm saying nothing, cuz you'll say, oh Tobyn is unsure, he's confused, been thru a lot in 4 days, etc etc. So I'ma justa gonna shut upa!

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Gary....Tobyn needs a butt-kicking lol...I feel like a broken record...but I love this story,...Keep up the good work

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Oh, what are we gonna do with Tobyn?! Frustrated, angry and conflicted and lashing out at poor Kellar. I think Kellar made a very valid point that maybe part of Tobyn's anger had to do with feeling like Elinor was replacing his father. I think part of it also is the fact that Denver ended up being her mate, then Tobyn looks at himself and Kellar and sees the similarities. I ahree that Tobyn is a very stubborn guy, but I have faith that Kellar will break through that wall and make Tobyn see that they are earth mates! Boy, Kellar has his work cut out for him! Lol!

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Some great writing in this chapter. The unfortunate thing is that between Elsinore controlling the conversation on the way down and now meeting her earth mate, she likely may not have noticed as much of what is passing between Tobyn and Kellar as we may have wished. I knew Elinor was going to do something awesome to get Denver on side. I did not expect you to bring the earth mate thing into play here considering how rare it seems to be and for both Elinor and Tobyn, mother and son, to find theirs just days apart is astounding. I am just glad Tobyn's father has passed so they don't also have experience to deal with the kind of drama that would create. The boys and the pack as a whole have too much on their plate.


This is making me curious about Pendral again.

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So this earth mate thing has Tobyn running scared. Almost literally. I can almost understand. Almost. He is bound on one hand by what he thinks is his duty to the pack, not letting himself see that there may be another way; and scared by what he's seen and knows concerning eat hates and that's his truth. Not to mention the boy is stubborn as hell.
But I think about RL, and how kids as young as Tobyn have to take on heavy responsibility and carry weight for a long time. When something good happens or comes along, they have no idea what to do with it because it seems almost impossible that it could happen to them. For Tobyn I think it's less about denial and more about accepting something that in essence hit him over the head. 4 days is a short time to just give up everything you know.
Luckily for Tobyn he has Kellar who I don't think will just walk away because Tobyn isn't getting it. Especially now that he realises matching auras equal earth mates. Patience, and maybe more of those cuddly nights and soft kisses could do the trick. Tobyn can't deny or resist the pull for much longer. And he needs to stop running off.


So so happy for Elinor though. That was pretty cool how Denver's aura just changed. I know there's a metaphor for something there.. Lol
It was just too bad that there was no real opportunity to talk or for Elinor to notice what was going on with the pups. There's still time for that to happen right?


Nicely done Gary. Still want to shake Tobyn, but I'm resolved in trying to kind of, maybe apply some rationale to his thinking mainly to appease myself. It was my turn to ramble I guess, and I do love when you go on.. :-)

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So earth mates are proven to be real and can't be denied. A sweet and surprising turn of events. The earth mates are immediately happy. Kellar is still the good friend who hopes for the best. He is ready to feel guilty and act on instinct which is very good since is a decent person. Tobyn is once again on uncertain ground and having his bed rock assumptions about life and relationships --especially earth mates-challenged. I bet he feels threatened by his mother's acceptance of another man so easily and might feel this betrays his father and undercuts his legitimacy. I am reminded of what Mark Twain said "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
There is so much more to talk through and to work out and be discovered and you are taking this story development along slowly and very methodically in a more focused and circumscribed way.

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On 08/09/2016 11:00 AM, dughlas said:

Well that's intriguing and I'm guessing Kellar knows he and Tobyn match too. I think part of Tobyn's issue today is that he, albeit mostly subconciously, recognized the same things about Elinor and Denver as he feels towards Kellar and he's still in refusal mode. Can't say he isn't stubborn. Imagine when he finally decides to accept that Kellar is his mate. Then to there is the issue that with a mate his mum isn't likely to need to rely on him as much. Do shifters ability to have children decline on the same timeline as humans or might it be possible for Elinor to have additional children? That would be two strong benefits for the Pack. Younglings and a mechanic. I think Tobyn puts too much weight on Fenral's decline after he lost his mate. He assumes that will happen to any shifter with an earth mate. Might it be possible the inset if the malaise increased his depression?

Good chapter.

Before the malaise, shifter's average life spans were 150 years, and their childbearing years were considerably longer than humans. The malaise has affected so many things... the entire picture has changed, so you make some very good points, dugh. I'm going to be careful of what I say because I don't want to come across as defensive of Tobyn. It's all there in the story so far, and readers have to draw their own conclusions. I will just agree that the young man is stubborn, and he has issues... big ones... thanks for a great review, my friend... I put a lot of work into this one... cheers... Gary...

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On 08/09/2016 11:04 AM, Bucket1 said:

Poor Tobyn, he is a scared little boy. Being with Tilly would have been safe with only a surface of emotions to deal with. Now his mom has found her mate. She will suffer just like the last couple. Tobyn feels much for Kellar and is destined to suffer the loss of his earth mate too. The world is such a terrifying place, filled with heartache, pain and suffering. Tobyn is an idiot, a flawed scared little boy. Maybe just maybe, seeing the joy his mother feels might break him out of this stupid situation.


OK important questions now, can Kellar see his own colours? Do they match Tobyn's? Will Tobyn ever pull his head out of his ass? Will he forgive Kellar for setting his mother up for a life of delusion followed by misery and pain? Will Tobyn see that earth mates are still real? That they bring joy? That this will make his mother very happy? That he could have the same happiness? Will Tobyn stop being a scared little boy?


Bring on the next chapter... :)

Hey, B. Yeah, Kellar can see his own colors... the first time was in the mirror scene just before his first shift. It would appear that they probably do match Tobyn's colors, yes. But we don't really know that yet. :) . I'm not defending Tobyn, but he was dumped yesterday, got past it, and today got another shock. Personally, I think he's a very smart young guy who needs to process things in his own way. You're right that he's a scared boy... he admitted it in very clear words to Kellar that morning when he opened up to him. And now he's been rattled again... "blindsided, he called it" and Tobyn doesn't do well with change. Thanks for the awesome review, buddy... cheers... Gary...

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On 08/09/2016 11:40 AM, Kitt said:

Tobin- :facepalm:

Keller- don't give up

Gary- <3

He he... thank you, Sis! Kellar just got blindsided too... we'll see what happens from here... cheers... Gary...

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On 08/09/2016 11:54 AM, ColumbusGuy said:

Well, Bucket covered the important questions, and dughlas added more observations, so what's to say?

Tobyn"s mind has been poisoned with the Pack life he's led so far--one in decline without hope and few of the good things it could mean...Kellar approaches the idea of a Pack from a blank slate, which gives him a better chance of seeing reality. Tobyn needs to rid himself of his false notions before he can consider Kellar as his mate, and that will be hard.

Yes, Tobyn has his head up his ass, but he's had no one else' to put it in. :) Literally and metaphorically.

Lets hope Tobyn comes around before Kellar gives up thinking he's barking up the wrong tree....

More please, my dear friend. xoxoxo

LOL. You make some very good points, buddy. I think the most important part of this chapter was that new information was learned, and that's a big deal. Kellar, the healer, has been observing. Yup, Tobyn's head is in his posterior... what more can I say... thanks for always supporting me with your wonderful reviews and your 'likes' my friend... it means so much... cheers... Gary....

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On 08/09/2016 12:12 PM, LadyDe said:

Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, is it? :rolleyes: Tobyn!!! (slap to back of head) Open your darn eyes. Like Bucket1 said he's a scared little boy and he's really reacting badly. All of his fear is based on what happened to one couple and he's going to miss his blessing from the earth mother if he keeps walking down this road. But I am really happy for Elinor and Denver. Their meet up scene was soooooo sweet. :wub::wub: Now Tobyn.... :facepalm:

Great chapter! :heart:

Hey, LadyDe! I'm glad you're happy for Elinor and Denver... I am too. You're right about Tobyn. He has some deep-seated issues, and I'm not defending him... I want to smack him too... but his are not just about one couple. There have been NO mates other than Fendral and Esther for a hundred plus years... Sybil found hers but it isn't common knowledge because they never had their chance. He's witnessed the futility... the disappearance of pack members who went looking for mates... it weakened his pack on a steady basis until Fendral put a stop to it... and those that ignored him suffered the same fate... they disappeared too. There's no keeper left to tell the old stories, and their seer has lost her ability to help direct the pack. Tobyn is not alone in how he feels... they've all watched shifters die from all kinds of illnesses, and they've had no medical help... it is dire... and it has affected their outlooks... their hope. Tobyn struggles to keep his hope alive, but it's hard, and he admitted to Kellar this very morning how scared he's been. That said... he's a frustrating character, but I understand him. Maybe, eventually, others will too. Thanks as always for the wonderful review... I so appreciate hearing your thoughts... cheers, my friend... Gary...

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On 08/09/2016 01:14 PM, LitLover said:

Sigh... from the bliss of the morning to Tobyn walking away from Keller again. I understand why K didn't say anything, he really couldn't be positive what having the same colours meant. He didn't have enough information. I can also understand why T was upset... well in part. Elinor is his mother and K is his friend. He feels like K should have shared his suspicions. I get that, but what he's not getting is that his negative opinions of earth mates would make K reluctant to share when there was a decent chance the man would discount the possibility out of hand. I wonder... if K did say something before the trip, would T have tried to keep Elinor from going?

If I were K I'd have a hard time not despairing right now. In the face of proof of earth mates, his own mate is angry instead of happy for his mother. It's going to be a tough battle for K to bring T around. Who knows, maybe seeing his mom happy will put some good thought into his head? Honestly though, I don't think it will be that easy.

I know, right? It was looking like Tobyn was right on the edge of accepting. The way he opened up was a beautiful thing to Kellar... and the softly panted kisses were by a man coming to a threshold. And then... WHAM... his world gets rocked, and poor Kellar is just as shell-shocked.

I don't think anyone likes to lose control, not when it's been so precarious, and I think Tobyn is feeling he's losing all of his. Everything is getting turned upside down, and he's not good at dealing with that. Before Tobyn walked away, I believe he had some clarity... we'll see what happens... the sad thing is Kellar has little faith in his dealings with others... and they have led lives that were the polar opposites of the other's. Thanks for sticking with me, and for the great review, my friend... cheers... Gary....

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On 08/09/2016 01:19 PM, Mikiesboy said:

I'm saying nothing, cuz you'll say, oh Tobyn is unsure, he's confused, been thru a lot in 4 days, etc etc. So I'ma justa gonna shut upa!

Fair enough, tim :) . I'm trying not to stick up for Tobyn but still answers review questions. Apparently, my responses are predictable lol. Thanks for the review, buddy, and for sticking with the story... cheers... Gary...

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On 08/09/2016 01:21 PM, JayT said:

Gary....Tobyn needs a butt-kicking lol...I feel like a broken record...but I love this story,...Keep up the good work

Hey, jt! You're not alone in your frustration. I'm pleased you love the story anyway. This chapter was a pretty big deal in the scheme of things. Thanks for your support, buddy... much appreciated.... cheers... Gary....

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On 08/09/2016 01:29 PM, jaysalmn said:

Oh, what are we gonna do with Tobyn?! Frustrated, angry and conflicted and lashing out at poor Kellar. I think Kellar made a very valid point that maybe part of Tobyn's anger had to do with feeling like Elinor was replacing his father. I think part of it also is the fact that Denver ended up being her mate, then Tobyn looks at himself and Kellar and sees the similarities. I ahree that Tobyn is a very stubborn guy, but I have faith that Kellar will break through that wall and make Tobyn see that they are earth mates! Boy, Kellar has his work cut out for him! Lol!

Hey jaysalm! Good to hear from you. I think most want to hunt Tobyn down and knock some sense into him, but I'm pretty sure that wouldn't work. The man is definitely stubborn. No one knows that better than his mom. My belief is that Tobyn feels he's losing control of everything in his life, and he has these overpowering feelings for Kellar to deal with. He was getting somewhere that morning... at least it seemed like it... but then it all went to hell... Tobyn does not like surprises, and this one rocked his belief foundations. Where does he go from here? Where does Kellar? We're on the ride now, buddy. Thank you for the review and the support... cheers... Gary...

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Deep down I believe Tobyn knows Kellar is his earth mate, but subconsciously is having a hard time pushing aside years of belief and conviction to actually admit it.


The almost blind panic when Kellar just wanted to go get his truck cements that view IMO. Gotta feel sorry for Kellar though, he now knows exactly what's going on, but how long will it take for Tobyn to play catch up I wonder!

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Tobyn :rolleyes:


I want to take him aside and say, "how does it feel to be wrong nearly all the time" :lmao:


I mean really the pack "evolved" past the old ways right into their own extinction? That's just silly. I can understand being protective of his mother especially when the stranger had a shotgun. But when he put the gun down and clearly posed no threat, and mom explained that they're mates, he might have reassessed the situation. But nope, Tobyn is even more stubborn than I thought.


We learn another very important piece of information in this chapter, Kellar can recognize mates based on their colors alone. That would be extremely valuable, and I'm convinced its key to combating the malaise. Also I'm sure he's noticed his own colors matching Tobyn's. We also learned that apparently people who are mates basically recognize it instantly. Or perhaps that comes with a bit more experience?


I also now wonder if there's more than one potential match for everyone, you just have to find those with the right colors. Again so many directions the story can take. I kinda enjoyed Kellar losing his cool with Tobyn a little. I think Kellar will break the stalemate first and set Tobyn straight, but that's for future chapters.

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On 08/09/2016 06:12 PM, Lux Apollo said:

Some great writing in this chapter. The unfortunate thing is that between Elsinore controlling the conversation on the way down and now meeting her earth mate, she likely may not have noticed as much of what is passing between Tobyn and Kellar as we may have wished. I knew Elinor was going to do something awesome to get Denver on side. I did not expect you to bring the earth mate thing into play here considering how rare it seems to be and for both Elinor and Tobyn, mother and son, to find theirs just days apart is astounding. I am just glad Tobyn's father has passed so they don't also have experience to deal with the kind of drama that would create. The boys and the pack as a whole have too much on their plate.


This is making me curious about Pendral again.

Thanks for the kind words about my writing, lux. Elinor knows her son well, so she probably notices something is going on, but remember, mates have been a truly rare thing. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? I'm not sure she sees them as mates, but she does see how close they are. After today, she has her own processing to do... fortunately, they were a pair who recognized it for what it was, and they recognized it right away. Just think... without Kellar's ability to see and remember patterns, they would likely never have met given that pack members don't search out their mates anymore. This might help give the pack some much needed hope. Thanks for the review buddy... I so appreciate your support... cheers... Gary....

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