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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. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Morningstar: The Malaise - 44. Chapter 44 A Time of Rebirth


Morningstar: The Malaise



Chapter 44



The sun was shining, and it was a perfect day for a run. The forest was majestic in parts, but much of it resembled a tree farm, with its orderly lines of matching heights… still beautiful, but quite different from what they were used to. Kellar and Tobyn, while enjoying this respite immensely, were still methodical in their search for hunter sign. Vega pack needed help in verifying their immediate safety.

They were shown the basic Vega boundaries, but didn’t allow those to define their exploration. Hunters could be anywhere, and that included the adjacent crown land. They’d covered a lot of ground when they finally took a break on higher elevation. Situated on a hill providing good views to the west, they shifted and sat on a temporarily sunlit patch of mossy ground. Their optimum senses were employed before they relaxed, but they continued to come up empty.

“It’s nice land, but it’s not Morningstar,” Tobyn said as he laid back.

“A Vega member would probably say the same if they were at Morningstar.”


“I agree with you, though. There’s more variation at home than we’ve seen here so far. Our cliffs, the river, and the lake… there’s more of a wildness to Morningstar, and the trails are winding. Not to mention, I don’t see any ancient trees here. This land is tamer, and there’s very little undergrowth.”

“Yeah, but it has to be that way. They’re doing what’s best for their business. It is kind of a shame, though. They’d probably do much the same with our forests if they end up moving to Morningstar.”

“A small price to pay, don’t you think?”

“I do. It’s a very small price, and besides, they can’t alter the views or the topography. Change is hard to contemplate, no matter what it is, but fear of it could mean our end. I feel bad for the position Vega is in. I would hate the thought of giving up our home… either one of them.”

Kellar smiled as he laid back and stared up at the sky. Tobyn’s mention of their cabin was the main reason. “I get no pleasure from saying it, but Vega is way worse off than we are. They’re on their last legs. Staying here and regrouping would be awfully hard, if not impossible.”

“I think that’s pretty much what Clarence’s opinion is, doc. I really like that man.”

“So do I. He’d be well received at Morningstar, and I know he claimed it’s not important to him, but it would be a waste not to have him on the council. Whether it consists of three or four shouldn’t matter, because they’re all reasonable people.”

“Let’s hope we get to that point. Clarence’s uncertainty, earlier, was pretty clear.”

“I think we will… I hope we will. Clarence is worried, but he’s a very smart man, and he sees what needs to be done. It’s probably good that he’s not overly confident.”

“You’re right, as usual.” Tobyn’s expression lightened. “It’s amazing what a run with my mate can accomplish. I’m getting my hopes back up again. If Clarence can get them to overcome those fears he mentioned, it would essentially mean we’ve saved two packs. I know our mission is far from over, but combining packs would allow us to relax for a while.”

A sudden and welcome breeze whispered away the building heat and Kellar closed his eyes. If he wasn’t careful, he could give in to the call of sleep. He’d just begun to doze when Tobyn picked up their conversation again.

“I think about when I first set out… my drive down the highway, having no real idea of what to do or where to go, and look at us now. I was pretty naïve, wasn’t I? Those hunters, the Reznicks… they would have reduced me to ashes in no time.”

Kellar sat up on one arm and used a gentle touch to turn Tobyn’s face toward him. “Jeez, babe. Don’t say stuff like that. You weren’t naïve. It requires guts to take the initiative and do something, and who knows… maybe the earth mother gave you the little push that brought you to me. You took the only option there was; you had courage and hope, and look where it’s led us. If you hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t be here now, and shifters would be that much closer to extinction. And I would still be alone, not knowing how much happiness was meant to be mine.”

“Meant to be ours,” Tobyn corrected him. “I know you’re right. I didn’t mean it in a bad way. I’m just reflecting on how scared I was when I set out, and how meeting you made me feel safe. I have a question for you,” Tobyn said as he took the hand that cupped his cheek and kissed it.

“Ask me anything.”

“How many hunters do you think there are out there?”

Kellar took in the serious countenance, wondering at the reason. “I have no idea. Why?”

“I know it’s not a fair question, but I just wanted to see if you had an opinion, because I do.”

“Let’s hear it.” Kellar laid his head back down, but kept it turned to his mate.

“I’m starting to think there’s not that many… at least, not as many as I first thought.”

“Why would you think that?”

Tobyn was silent for a minute, in typical Tobyn fashion, gathering his thoughts. Kellar waited patiently.

“The stories we heard from Delia got me thinking. If hunters are from a faction of the ‘Lords’ who enslaved us, my guess is they were family units who hated us, and didn’t agree with using us for hunting or anything else. Whether they were other lords, or even underlings, doesn’t matter. The way the Reznicks talked was fanatical… crazy. I can see descendants carrying on, but I don’t think outside recruitment would be likely.” He opened his mouth and then closed it.

“Go on. I agree with that.”

“You do?”

“Yeah. There was a religious aspect to how they phrased stuff. Demons, hell spawn, devil dogs, were-scum, filth. I mean, come on… anyone who wasn’t brought up on this stuff would think it delusional shit, and they’d likely stay clear if someone approached them. A person would have to see shifters in the act of shifting in order to believe it, and the one thing we are is careful, especially about letting humans know we exist. Even to see us with their own eyes doesn’t mean they’d want to wipe us out, so yeah, I agree.”

“What you just said is exactly what I was thinking. I think we’re dealing with descendants, and that means their numbers are contained somewhat to male children who want to live that kind of life… continue this warped fucking crusade that makes no sense. We don’t hurt anyone; we’re just different.”

“Good point about them probably being descendants, but don’t ever say it would only be male children to Tilly or Adelin,” Kellar cautioned, trying to alleviate some of the anger that had crept into his mate’s voice.

It worked, and Tobyn grinned. “I might do dumb shit, but I’m not that stupid. Old Reznick mentioned his brother and his kills, and said his son was carrying on for him. He didn’t say sons. And young Reznick was working with his uncle, so would it be a stretch to think old Reznick didn’t have sons of his own?”

“No, it’s not. That’s an even better point, babe. Maybe they were the last of the Reznick line. That could be why they worked together, because they were both experienced enough to be on their own, covering more territory. It’s possible the family tie kept them in the same area.”

“I’m glad you’re seeing what I mean. If this Vega hunter proves out to have been the only one operating here, it makes my theory a little more sound, I think.”

“Okay, so we know about eighty years ago shifters got five of them, according to Miss Sybil, and we know three Reznicks have been dispatched since. The old one was only in his sixties when we, ah… crossed his path, so his brother would almost certainly have been too young to have been one of the five. Besides, it would have taken a lot of years to amass the number of kills old Reznick attributed to his brother, and to accomplish that, the guy must have lived a long life. That’s eight dead hunters, and now one more on these lands makes nine. I’d say that’s a lot, if they’re only coming from a pool of male descendants. And there’s probably more we don’t know about.”

“True, and if we take into account those murders old Reznick bragged about, they've killed close to a thousand shifters between them. Our numbers have dwindled, but a lot of that has been from the malaise. So, it could be we’ve been giving them too much credit, thinking there were more of them than there actually are. Maybe Ontario hunters are pretty much cleaned out now. Think about it, doc. They have to know where a lot of the pack grounds are, yet they never come after us all at once. They always pick us off one by one. From what we know, the last time there was a group of them was during the last conclave, when we took out those five. Doesn’t it make sense they don’t have the numbers anymore, so they pick one or two off and move on until things die down? Sort of hit and run for their own safety? Remember… they can’t sense how many of us are in their vicinity.”

Kellar was ruminating. “You make a lot of sense, but Canada’s a big country. There could still be hunters in every province.”

“And I expect there will be. I’m not being naïve here. I would never underestimate them. All I’m saying is that with their advantage taken away, maybe the tide has turned, and it’s their days that are numbered. The challenge doesn’t seem as insurmountable as it once did. Could be it’s no longer a reason to stop shifters from traveling once we get these packs back on track.”

“I like how you think. We just have to locate any other packs are out there and….”

“Establish a network.”

It hadn’t been what Kellar was going to say, but clarity hit him. It was what had been missing all along. Packs needed to stay in touch. Gatherings were no longer the way to do that, because they had the internet now. “You are brilliant.”

“You think so? I was just thinking out loud.”

“And it was brilliant.” Kellar smiled.

“You must be rubbing off on me.”

“That comes later, babe.”


They finished their run, and their investigation, and found nothing to set off alarm bells. There were no humans whatsoever in the vicinity of pack lands. The hunter who was now just scattered ashes had been working alone. It would be welcome news for Vega.

Lunch was over when they returned, and funnily enough, they were informed by a departing Dougal that Clarence was on the phone with Elinor. That, in itself, was encouraging. They made sure to let Dougal know the results of their search so he could pass the news along. After checking on a sleeping Logan, they found Delia waiting for them in the dining room, along with steaming bowls of stew and chunks of grainy bread. “You guys must be hungry.”

“We are,” Kellar responded with a happy grin. “I thought we missed lunch. We covered a lot of ground today, and my stomach is rumbling.”

“When isn’t it?” Tobyn teased as he sat down beside Kellar in front of one of the bowls. “This smells awesome.”

“Charlene’s a great cook, and there’s always something available no matter what the time of day for anyone who misses a meal. So, did you find anything out of the ordinary on your outing?”

Kellar tore off a chunk of bread and dipped it into the stew. “Nope,” he said just before it disappeared into his mouth.

Tobyn laughed. “My mountain man is really hungry. We’ll just let him stuff his face for a few minutes.”

Kellar’s only response was a grunt as he continued to chew.

“The hunter Ian and Percy found? Yeah, he was on his own. There was no sign of another human anywhere. I think Vega pack can relax somewhat, but that doesn’t mean not wearing their copper. We already told Dougal. So, we’ve been out of the loop; was any identification found for that guy?”

Delia looked from one to the other, and her smile showed her relief at the news. “Yes, they found a license, ownership, and an insurance slip under a rock near the hunter’s pickup. It’s all in the quarry now. His name was Bogdan Kladivo.”

“Eastern European again?”

“Yes. It basically translates to God’s hammer. Did you know Reznick means butcher?”

Tobyn looked at Kellar. “No, we didn’t. Do you happen to know what Mstislav means?”

Delia smirked. “I’m a keeper. Perfect memory, so yes, I do. It means glory through vengeance.”

“How about Milovaj? That was the younger Reznick’s first name.”

“Another easy one. It means soldier. It appears there’s a trend here,” she said with raised eyebrows.

“Whoa.” Tobyn muttered softly. “So these names tie in with being hunters. Obviously, they are born into this life. Their destiny begins at birth.”

“I would say so, yes. In the histories, it was certain groups of Slavics who hated us most. We suffered under the lords of the Scottish highlands as well as the other British Isles, but it wasn’t them who tried to wipe us out after we rebelled. That’s not to say some of them didn’t want revenge, as I told you yesterday. Mainly, though, they tried to put us back under their thumb, and they hunted us for that purpose. No, it was factions from Europe… specifically Eastern Europe… who wanted our extinction. There were deep-seated religious beliefs belonging to certain sects which considered any race not human to be evil… aberrations created by Satan.”

Kellar stopped eating. “That falls right in line with what both Reznicks spouted.”

“And now we have another arrow in our quiver.”

“Our quiver. What are we? Robin Hoods?” Kellar chuckled as he pulled Tobyn’s hand up for a quick kiss. “What arrow do you mean?”

“Well, now we know hunters have Eastern European sounding names, because it’s obvious they take stupid enough pride in what they do not to use fake ones. When we do get a shifter network up and running, that kind of information could come in handy.”

“How so, babe? I mean I understand the importance of the network, but the names?”

“Sorry, Delia. Just to bring you up to date, Kellar and I were talking earlier about setting up a network once we locate more packs. Using the internet to keep in touch, cautiously of course… trading information and helping each other.”

“That’s a great idea, especially now that we have all this new information. It’s really a shame we didn’t know each other’s pack existed, so I understand the need for a way to communicate. We’ve paid a big price for keeping to ourselves.”

“Yes, we have… a huge price. So anyway, doc, if someone comes through one of our businesses, and a name fits the profile, we can pass the information along. Those businesses should make more of an effort to record any names that come through. We can get license plate numbers and be more vigilant… you know… keep eyes on them.”

“It sounds a little militant, if you’re talking about following them, and going on the offensive.”

“Yeah, I guess, but I don’t think we should sit back any longer and wait for stuff to happen. We have a chance to turn the tables because of the copper. A shifter can be standing right next to a hunter and they would have no idea. How long before they clue in that something’s changed? If we come across one, we have to do something… follow them… track them, and….” Tobyn stumbled over his final thought.

Kellar reassured him immediately. “I agree. You’re right about how we need to be more aggressive. Whatever it takes to protect ourselves.” Kellar meant what he said, even though it was difficult to contemplate. He knew it was the same for his mate. It was one thing to take a life in the moment, out of necessity—it was quite different to pursue someone with that intent in mind. Having done it with the younger Reznick hadn’t made the thought any easier to digest or express.

“You guys are amazing,” Delia gushed, and it resulted in pulling Kellar’s mind away from those darker thoughts. “Your dedication to something this serious is astonishing for ones so young. I don’t mean that in a bad way because I hear the wisdom and maturity in everything you say. There’s something about the two of you that is so compelling. I noticed it the first day, and I know the rest of Vega does as well. Even Logan has fallen under your spell. Kellar, it’s clear you don’t like the limelight, but I have to say there is this powerful aura about you, and it’s not just knowing the size of your wolf or the resemblance to the painting. You guys make one heck of a team.”

Silence followed her statement, and Kellar felt awkward. He really didn’t know what to say. “Um, thanks.”

Tobyn chuckled. “So eloquent. I don’t know, doc. I think Delia is buttering us up to get more information about Hutch?”

It was Delia’s turn to laugh. “I think I can wait until I meet the man.”

“Oh, so you’re not interested in knowing his eyes are bright green?”

“Bright green? I do love green eyes. What color is his wolf?”

“Now, Delia,” Tobyn teased. “I think we should leave some mystery, don’t you?”

“Touchè,” she said with a giggle. “I’ve been caught out, it seems.”

Kellar felt relief the conversation had turned. “So, forget about the handsome Hutch for a second… when would be a good time to work on Bill’s scar tissue?”

“Oh, I forgot. He’s at his house now. His day was cut short because he fell again. He didn’t hurt himself, but his balance is still causing him trouble.”

“Does he live alone?”

“Believe it or not, yes. In the past, we’ve moved him in with others, including myself, and he’s been quite cooperative, but the next day he moves right back to his own place again. We’ve given up, and satisfy ourselves with keeping a close eye on him.”

“So, he can look after his own needs?”

“Other than cooking, and his laundry, yes. He follows his routine every day. He showers, shaves, and brushes his teeth, and he gets himself dressed. He can’t communicate verbally, but there is a good mind in there. I’ve seen for myself how he pays attention to what’s going on, even though it doesn’t seem like he is most times.”

“Will he be receptive to my working on him?”

“Absolutely. He’s always been a complacent man, and while I’ve seen him agitated, I’ve never seen him fearful or uncooperative. Just show him what you want him to do and he’ll do it. I’ll go with you and stay for the healing if you’d like? He trusts me.”

“That would be great.”

“Look at the man, Delia,” Tobyn said with eyes twinkling. “That’s what a happy mate looks like.”

She smiled wistfully as she regarded them both. “Good to know.”

Kellar reckoned the only thing keeping her from making the drive to Morningstar by herself was her dedication to her pack in a difficult time. He totally understood how tough those urges were to keep in check.


Bill’s house was much smaller than the ones they’d passed to get there. Approaching it, Kellar wondered if it had been built specifically for him. While those others sat high, this one didn’t, and there was no need for a front step. There was, however, a wide ramp to an almost as wide doorway spanning easily three feet or more. There was no need to knock, for the elderly man was sitting in a wheelchair with closed eyes facing the warm rays of the sun. He hated to disturb Bill’s peace, but a strong desire to ease his ailments overrode everything else.

Delia was in the lead, and at a gentle sound from her, Bill’s eyes opened. Kellar saw once again there was plenty of life in there, and the recognition was clear on his face. The change to his countenance was hard to read, but his eyes were definitely smiling. He responded with his usual “Bill,” and backed out of the way in welcome. Delia entered first, followed by Tobyn, carrying the potent tea designed to assist in what could turn out to be a complicated healing. Kellar entered last, taking note of the very open interior. The kitchen was spare, with a sink and a fridge, but no stove. Kellar didn’t ask; he assumed it was a safety precaution, because there was a spot for one. A toaster and microwave were present on the counter, though.

Despite the fact there wasn’t any back and forth conversation, Delia had no trouble communicating, and getting Bill to retire to his bed. Watching them, there was no doubt he understood her simple words and the reason they were there. He drank the prepared liquid willingly, and did as asked with the substantial clump. Delia held this trusting man’s hand, and he was calm when Kellar sent him to sleep. Using what appeared to be an old, padded piano bench that was just the right height, he straddled it, and proceeded to tackle the bad knee first. Even though he concentrated on that particular joint, flickering showed his healing was simultaneously extending to his patient’s ankle and hip joints without his conscious direction. It’s acting on its own now.

He couldn’t help but marvel at the fact the old shifter was mobile at all, considering the extensive damage. The knee had to have slammed into something with great force… a dashboard maybe? As he worked, he uncovered needle-like pieces of bone within the ropy tissue. They were likely a constant irritant, and it was satisfying to melt them away.

“Want my help, doc?”

“Not for this. Make yourself comfortable.” He gave his mate a warm smile before focusing more of his concentration. Tobyn slid in behind him on the roomy bench, leaning his chin lightly on Kellar’s shoulder.


Kellar wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but the afternoon sun had cleared the front windows when Tobyn spoke softly. “How’s it going, doc?”

Kellar drifted up from where he was, delicious smells invading his senses and indicating supper was underway at the main hall. “Piece of cake. Hell of a mess, though.”

“You’re itching to get as his brain, aren’t you?”

“I’d like to dissolve those skull fragments and see what happens. He has way less electrical flashes than Logan had. I’m not sure why, or what it means, but I do have my suspicions.”

Delia had been remaining quiet as she sat in the only chair. Kellar took notice of an open book laying in her lap. Her words were soft, almost reverent. “Sometimes, it seems like all of him is in there. Other times he seems a shell. With what you did for Logan, I have faith you can help him. If you can make it possible for him to shift, even once, it would be enough.”

“I’m going to try, Delia. I understand why you want that… believe me… I want it too. I’m almost done with the knee and ankle, and the arthritis in his hips is already gone. It’s no longer a challenge to work on different areas at once… in fact it’s become easy. That said, you should both go for supper. It’s going to be another long one for us,” he pronounced as he stroked the hand resting on the top of his thigh.

“I’m okay, doc.”

“Tobyn, please. Go with Delia and grab something to eat. I’ll need your strength later.”

Tobyn sighed. “Okay, but I hate eating without you.”

“I know, but you have to eat for both of us.”

“I also hate it when you’re right,” he said after kissing the back of Kellar’s neck and rising from the bench. “You’re always right, mountain man.”

“I know that too.”

A giggle bubbled up and burst out of Delia. “You guys are such a joy. I could listen to you all night, but we do have to go, Tobyn. The pack has the meeting after the dining room is cleared, and Clarence expects every member there. I have a big stake in this one… we all do. You need refueling so you can help Bill for us, and I need to help our pack help themselves.” The significance of her words was not lost on Kellar. Another one who is leaning our way?

“Can you bring more tea back with you, Tobyn, just in case? There’s a lot of damage to undo.”

“Yes, dear.”

There was one more giggle from Delia before the door closed.


Kellar had moved on to Bill’s head injury by the time Tobyn returned. He was aware his mate wrapped strong arms around him from behind, but he didn’t surface from his healing trance. It was a fascinating mess, and yet he didn’t need to think about where to begin… he just knew. Reducing the brain matter that had been converted to scar tissue was the first priority. The bone splinters slowly revealed themselves and Kellar was able to determine they had sliced two clean furrows upon entry. Could he bring the slices back together?

He mused as he worked. The original impact must have been horrendous, and it was astonishing that it didn’t kill him to sustain such an intrusion. It had dented the man’s head for God’s sake. Back when this happened, he must have been in possession of the self-healing capabilities shifters used to possess. But even they could only do so much.

As the smaller splinter began to disintegrate, Kellar witnessed an increase in those same electrical impulses he’d seen in Logan’s brain, and he intuitively sent them support. He could picture the younger man’s pattern clearly, and it made clear the weaknesses in Bill’s, with possibly the biggest being the pale white color of the feeble ‘lightning.’ Hours later, he’d accomplished getting rid of those offending pieces of bone. The pattern of white signals had begun to take on a bluish hue, and as Kellar poured on the energy he was fast siphoning from Tobyn, the pathways of electricity began to change. Were they going back to where they were supposed to?

Changes began to occur in the man’s colors. Their previously haphazard movements were showing new purpose, and he held his breath as the two open ends of the thin strand of burnt umber moved closer together. It was as if they were waving at each other but for some reason, couldn’t connect. Kellar stared hard at the strands, which closely resembled filaments of stretched copper wire, and sensed they weren’t strong enough to rejoin. Dammit. Was he too late to restore shifter capabilities to this well-loved old guy? He didn’t like not having an answer.

What would strengthen that filament… thicken it? No plant in his memory banks had the corresponding shade. He had to figure it out so that, if given a chance, he could do the reverse for Fendral, another loved old man. He cleared his mind of frustration… it wasn’t going to do any good. What were his instincts telling him? Stretched copper wire… copper… what properties allowed copper to prevent the pulsing of silver? Copper interfered with the burnt umber… hid it… could it also…? Kellar surfaced. “Completed circuit. We’re tied to the earth… we’re tied to metals.”

“Huh? Are you okay, Doc?” Tobyn asked from behind him, still holding him close. “I’ve been talking to you but you didn’t seem to hear me.”

“Sorry. Yeah, I’m fine. Can I borrow your necklace?”

“Ah, sure. Why?”

“I have a theory that might be a wild goose chase, but it’s all I got. I’ll explain later. Can you put your chain and mine around Bill’s neck? I don’t want to stop trickling. Three might be overkill but I want to make sure I have enough before I start to… well, we’ll see.”

Kellar felt the loss of his mate’s contact as he moved off their shared seat on the piano bench. Tobyn did as asked, and stood staring at Kellar, his expression questioning.

“What now? Do you want me to give him the tea I brought?”

“No, no, it’s not necessary. I need less every time. The scar tissue is gone and the bone fragments have been dissolved. What I’d like is you back behind me. All I need is your contact to draw energy. You don’t have to put your hands over mine anymore.”

“I know. I could feel my energy flowing into you. It’s kind of hot,” Tobyn said with a grin.

Kellar laughed as he stretched a little. “I’d take you home and show you how much I agree with you, but it’s not the time. Later, okay?”

“Later, you’ll be too tired,” he teased, “but as long as you’re up for being my pillow, I’m good.”

“That’s a given. For the rest of my life, babe.”

A smiling Tobyn disappeared from view, sliding in behind him, and that was Kellar’s cue to re-immerse himself fully.


His theory proved correct, and as soon as he attempted to draw from the copper chains around Bill’s neck, like he did with plants, the thread of burnt umber began to thicken. It was minute, but it was happening. Kellar couldn’t wait to tell his mate. He wanted to shout it out, because this was likely the key to Fendral shifting again. If he could take properties from the metal, he should be able to do the reverse… hopefully.

It was an excruciatingly slow process, and hours later, just when he wondered whether the now more substantial strand ends would ever reattach, they lessened their movement, and closed the gap. It was like a tentative kiss at first, and for a millisecond they pulled away again. But then, as if magnetized, they joined in a seamless circuit. Kellar could no longer tell where the break had been. Getting this far had exhausted him, but he had no time to catch his breath and celebrate the occurrence before a domino effect took place. He watched in wonder as strands began to realign and search for their mates. What was happening? The pattern of electrical signals had begun to more closely resemble Logan’s! It was an astonishing display, and Kellar poured every bit of energy he had, from him and Tobyn, to assist in the process. More and more of the hundreds of colors found what they were looking for and the rate of speed picked up with each joining. Kellar could barely keep up with the visual changes, and he felt a weariness that threatened to swamp him and pull him under.

As Bill’s original pattern re-emerged, and the final piece snapped into place, Kellar physically and mentally reeled from the shock of it.

“Doc? Doc, what’s going on? Doc?” There was fear in Tobyn’s voice, and that finally got through to Kellar.

“I’m good. Everything is good.” Kellar realized the only thing keeping him from falling off the bench was Tobyn’s strength. Digging deep, he regrouped from the effort the healing had taken, and managed to sit upright under his own volition. He flickered and found his patient was sleeping peacefully, with all his colors remaining intact. He hadn’t imagined it. All those times people had referred to his healing as miraculous, this was the first time Kellar felt it truly was.

“Doc?” Tobyn’s arms still held him tight.

“No worries. I was feeling a little faint, but I’m good now… how about you? I was taking a lot from you.”

“I know… that was the fastest drain I’ve ever experienced, but I’m okay. How’s Bill doing? I take it your theory worked?”

“It did, and he’s fine. Better than fine, because he has his entire pattern back. He’s resting. His name’s not Bill though… it’s Arthur.”

“Arthur? I’m confused. Are you sure you’re all right?”

Kellar gathered the strength to turn around and face his mate. “Yes, dear, I’m perfectly fine. All these years that man has been saying Bill? I think he’s been trying to say something else. That gasp sound he makes before he says Bill? It’s supposed to be Syb. Syb…Bill. Tobyn, he’s Miss Sybil’s mate.”

“You’re kidding me!”


“Holy shit. Wait till Miss Sybil finds out she has a mate. Hold on… I’m missing something… how could you possibly know his name is Arthur?”

“Because Miss Sybil told me about him. She thinks he died seventy-eight years ago.”

A big thank you to my Editor, Timothy M., and to all those who lift me up each week :worship: .

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. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

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Super Gary! Well not that you're super, well you are but i meant the chapter is super, Gary. :) That's going to be something to tell Miss Sybil, wow... but wouldn't she have felt he was alive? Or was Arthur too damaged.. Anyway.. whatever it was great... Super!!

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On 02/14/2017 07:58 AM, Mikiesboy said:

Super Gary! Well not that you're super, well you are but i meant the chapter is super, Gary. :) That's going to be something to tell Miss Sybil, wow... but wouldn't she have felt he was alive? Or was Arthur too damaged.. Anyway.. whatever it was great... Super!!

Thanks, tim. Ive been excited about this chapter for months and months. When Arthur's pattern was disrupted... destroyed, Miss Sybil felt it as his death. Without his pattern, he was no longer himself... he essentially disappeared. Thanks for thinking it/me super hehe. Cheers, my friend... Gary.... xoxoxo

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Great chapter! Just what I needed after a tiring and frustrating day. So intense and so much looking up! Potent medicine!
But, please, why does evil always seem to come from the east? Have you read too much Tolkien?

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Great chapter, and such a great connection to earlier at the end. The moment you said Arthur my brain had this moment of trying to remember something feom earlier and now I see why. :) I love it, and you are just making the packs another strength to draw upon. Can't wait to see how this news affects Vega.

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Wow, Gary! What a great chapter! Loved the talk with Delia and healing Arthur. I especially liked the line about Kellar being a good pillow. As they were talking about networking and the hunters' names, I thought maybe they should do a genealogy search on the hunters. Thanks for more good story. Delia is right. These guys are amazing! And so is your story!

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Oh. My. God. Gary, I did not see that coming at all. That's another match at Vega. Of course Kellar wouldn't have seen at first because his colors were wrong from the accident. Not only did I absolutely love this for the exciting events of the chapter, and seeing Kellar expand on his skills yet again. But also, the ramifications for the story and what will happen next. I'm thinking that if Arthur and Sybill get together, they'll still have a future together despite their advanced years, because they'll share energy and shifters used to live longer anyway. Might them raising a family still be in the cards? Also Arthur can lead them to yet another pack, wherever he's from originally, and and they'll be able to expand their network even further.


Anyway, this was awesome. I love this story, and thank you as always for sharing it.

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Awesome chapter - I love how this story is unfolding.
Looking forward to the next chapter.
Much love from a Toronto, Ontario fan.

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:great: :read: :worship: :wizard:
I just don't have the words....
The idea of a network is amazing--but why wait to find more packs? They could start now--and I think a more pro-active search into Hunter genealogy could yield a lot of good. In this age of information, you can find a lot of stuff online--but I wonder if the Hunters, with their mania akin to religious fervor would think to do the same into Packs, or even think of seeing who looks into their own history?
Even with renewed vigor and longer life-spans, I think it might be difficult for Arthur and Sybil to become parents...but hey, this is fiction, so you never know! Or rather, we don't know--I'm sure a certain denizen of the Great White North could tell us. :)

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OMG OMG OMG!! I was right about Bill/Arthur! I was so anxious for Kellar to heal him. I had a funny feeling about him and how long ago he'd been hurt. I'm doing the dance of joy right now for Sybil :D


I am feeling hope for the wolves as a species. Tobyn has a plan for communication between packs and they have clues of how to figure out who they are. With Kellar's increased abilities, I think they finally have a reason for hope.

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Omg, what an amazing chapter! I never put it together that Bill could have been Sybil's long lost mate! I am SOOOOO excited for them to be reunited! This story keeps getting better and better!

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Hot damn and huzzah for Miss Sybil and Arthur. It may be longererer but it read in short order.
Nicely done.

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Amazing tale. Pat you self on the friggin back man! >:(


DO IT! >:o

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Arthur, Sybil ... Bill ... Did the promise / memory of an earth-mate / a love keep Arthur alive and hoping all through these years ? It is so uplifting and yet heart wrenching at the same time. There was nothing the earth mother could have done to stop the cruelty of the hunters (I strongly suspect that Authur just barely survived an attack) but she gave hope to him in the bond that he had started with Sybil. To live in such a state for so long and always yearning for his true love is both wonderful and terrible at the same time.


Gary, you do know how to drop a bomb on us (quoting Kitt), all unaware, not a gram of suspicion ...

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Well I never... lol never would have guessed it.
Was he hit with a copper axe? Why did his pattern breakup? Just how powerful is Kellar? Does he have limits? Does he need to be careful about drawing power from Tobyn? What will Miss Sybil say when she finds out? What will Arthur say when he knows where Sybil is? What will the Vega pack decide? Ahhhhhhhh my head is going to explode...


Next chapter please :)

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What a miraculous conclusion of a chapter to read on Valentine's Day! True love does win. Thanks, Gary, for sharing on this week that celebrates love -- of all types! :heart:

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What a zinger at the end! Sybil has a mate! It seems that the truest thing is that the shifters have some of their confidence back, and can begin to look with hope to the future. But now I worry at the price Kellar seems to pay for all the healing he has been doing. Is it possible for him to be hurt in healing? Is there a chance that Kellar might a healing and not ever come back? If Tobyn gets that idea, there could be a real, fierce, snarling argument; a true, um, dogfight. Great chapter... wanting more!

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Great chapter and an unexpected twist. I am curious, how Miss Sybil will react.
And I still think, that the two will become leader of the pack. ;)
hugs Lyssa

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On 02/14/2017 08:14 AM, mayday said:

Great chapter! Just what I needed after a tiring and frustrating day. So intense and so much looking up! Potent medicine!

But, please, why does evil always seem to come from the east? Have you read too much Tolkien?

LOL. Evil from the east... maybe I have read too much Tolkien. I'm so glad this gave you just what you needed, mayday... that's really nice to hear. Thanks so much for reviewing and your kind words... cheers... Gary....

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On 02/14/2017 08:36 AM, Lux Apollo said:

Great chapter, and such a great connection to earlier at the end. The moment you said Arthur my brain had this moment of trying to remember something feom earlier and now I see why. :) I love it, and you are just making the packs another strength to draw upon. Can't wait to see how this news affects Vega.

Thanks, Lux! I'm pleased you liked it. I only mentioned Arthur once before in the whole book, and that was on purpose... so happy I was able to keep this under wraps... cheers, buddy... Gary....

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On 02/14/2017 09:39 AM, JeffreyL said:

Wow, Gary! What a great chapter! Loved the talk with Delia and healing Arthur. I especially liked the line about Kellar being a good pillow. As they were talking about networking and the hunters' names, I thought maybe they should do a genealogy search on the hunters. Thanks for more good story. Delia is right. These guys are amazing! And so is your story!

Thanks, Jsff! Yeah, a genealogy search could work as they catalogue more names. Thanks for all the awesome support... so pleased you liked this, and the story... cheers, my friend... Gary....

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