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    Headstall
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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 - 7. Chapter 7 Patterns and Priorities

Mutual Admiration Society...

The Malaise

 

 

Chapter 7

 

 

Tobyn, with ears flicking at buzzing insects, yawned and stretched, luxuriating in the gentle warmth of the sun. He was laying back-to-back with the strangely-colored wolf, and the sublime contentment it provided only added to his lethargy. When he eventually garnered enough energy to force himself to rise from the sun-heated granite, so did Kellar. As nice as their playtime and siesta had been, there was still concern for Adelin, and the hope he’d found a possible answer for Tilly’s sister. Tilly. He’d forgotten her for a short while, and a twinge of guilt accompanied the realization.

He didn’t have to think too long about why. Tobyn understood what the guilt was about. As much as he didn’t want to admit it, he was attracted to this amazing man whose life he’d fallen in to. He enjoyed being close to him, and it was more than companionship his traitorous self was considering. Tobyn wanted to touch him, feel his skin, and that thought both excited and scared him. Waking up in those powerful arms had given him something that showed no signs of leaving. He needed to put such a dangerous desire into a box buried deep, and leave it alone.

There was a desperate, frightened pack to save, and they were his priority. A group of shifters who were counting on him… ones he loved and owed allegiance to. And that included having pups, and doing what he could to replenish the fast-declining numbers. Even if Kellar could help Adelin, he might have no luck with the malaise, in which case, Tobyn’s mission would have to carry on. He had to believe there was another pack out there somewhere with answers. He had to find them before his kind perished… became extinct. Tobyn’s very real shudder translated as a whole body shake in wolf form. He didn’t have a choice, and couldn’t afford to lose sight of the big picture.

By mutual, unspoken agreement the pair began a steady lope back to the cabin, arriving as the sun reached the middle of the sky. Shifting, Tobyn was shocked when he checked his watch and did the math. He’d held his wolf form for more than two hours… no slipping back. Even before his senses had begun to diminish, that length of time was a stretch during the day. It must have something to do with the guy standing beside him. Again, hope flared the healer would find the answer, or maybe even be the answer. He quickly pulled on his Calvin Klein boxers.

“Your wolf is beautiful. He has the same shades in his coat as you do… on your head, I mean.” Kellar’s blush was something new, and it caused Tobyn to smile. The big man quickly changed the subject. “Time for a shower. Do you want to go first?” He stood waiting for an answer with his clothes in hand.

“Thanks... your wolf is magnificent. No, you go. I’ll go after you. When do you want to leave, or do you still?”

“What do you mean? Of course I do. Hey,” Kellar said softly, “let me tell you something about me. I don’t do healing because I can... I do it because it fills a need in me. It’s who I am, okay?”

“Okay.” Tobyn internally squirmed under scrutiny that felt strangely intimate.

“Good. I’m glad we have that settled,” he said with a little grin, finally releasing Tobyn from his searching gaze. “It won’t take me long to pack. I’ll need to gather all my herbs. That will be easy, though, because most of them are in containers. Are we taking both trucks?”

“Ah, no… that doesn’t make sense. We can go together in mine, and I’ll bring you back whenever you want.”

“Are you sure? If I take mine it would save you having to return here.”

For some reason, the idea of going in separate vehicles bothered Tobyn… and while he didn’t understand it, he certainly felt it. He was also disturbed by the thought of not coming back to Kellar’s home. “Yeah, I’m sure. Bringing you back is not a problem. It’ll give me a chance to visit my friend.”

“Your friend? You know someone around here?”

“Duh. That’s you, man. We’re friends now, aren’t we?”

Kellar hit him with another of those brilliant smiles, looking like Tobyn had just handed him something precious. “Yeah, of course we are.” He bounded up the steps with the smile still in place.

Shit; how was he going to put all these stirred-up feelings in a box? He needed to be strong. It couldn’t be about what he might want at this moment in time. Keeping that in mind wouldn’t be an easy thing while he was in the company of such a magnetic man. What the hell was happening to him… seriously? Christ, the last thing he needed was to be gay.

 

Tobyn had trouble wrapping his head around the amount of dried vegetation Kellar had. There must have been over a hundred species in total, and with the care they were being given as he packed them, there was no doubting their importance to the man. A stack of wooden crates in the corner of the kitchen area contained the majority of them. “Do you have every plant in existence?”

“Oh, hell no. These are only the ones that can be dried and still keep their potency. Some even increase their effectiveness with drying, so you need a lot less for treatment, but there are a lot of medicinals that lose their properties soon after they’re picked.”

“How do you know so much about them?”

“I study them. It’s all about the colors.”

“I know you say you can see colors, and it has something to do with your healing abilities, but what exactly does it all mean? You said you would explain later, when you told me about saving the kitten.” He gave Kellar a questioning look. “I’ve never heard of anyone being able to see ‘colors’ in people before.”

“All right… the Cole’s Notes version? Every living thing has a color pattern, or array… or you might say aura. It’s really hard to explain, but some of the patterns are pretty complicated, yet I can read them. Don’t ask me how, or why, because I don’t know. The morning I shifted was the first time I experienced it… colors… when I looked in the mirror. It was a quick glimpse that went away, and a few minutes later I shifted. After that, I could see the colors in everything… trees, plants, insects, animals, fish, and people. And the weirdest thing is, no two patterns are alike, and… um….” Kellar hesitated, and Tobyn noticed a faint blush as he looked away.

“Well? Why did you stop?”

“Um, sorry about that… it’s just… my mind went somewhere. It hits me, how weird I must sound to you. I felt a little stupid for rambling on there.” If anything, he blushed deeper.

“You weren’t rambling. I asked and I want to hear this… and you don’t sound weird at all. What I’m hearing is you have a special gift.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. So keep going.”

“Okay.” He continued as he packed, still looking a little uncertain. “The thing is, I remember every pattern I see. It’s like it gets cataloged in my brain, and anytime I want, I can bring that pattern up. But the biggest deal is, each color, each shade, well, they mean something. No, that’s not right. A person’s aura is their aura, and it’s really their signature, because it never changes. I guess, in a way, it’s another kind of fingerprint. It’s more like… I can tell when colors don’t belong… when there’s something wrong. Sometimes, lately, I can even smell specific sicknesses. I think it has something to do with learning the odors of the herbs over the years. I don't know exactly....

“So anyway, for example, there is a dark shade of blackish purple that always means inflammation, and there are plants which have the same shade in their makeup, and they work on that particular irritation. So if I see that color in someone or something injured or sick, I reach into my ‘brain catalogue’ and I know the plant I need. Did that make sense?”

“Yeah, it did. So, it’s the plants that do the healing?”

Kellar stopped what he was doing and rubbed his face. “See, this is the part I don’t understand. It’s not the plants. They don’t work on their own. It’s me. I’m like a conduit or something, and the plants assist me. They provide the raw materials for whatever it is I do.”

“And you don’t know what it is you do?”

“Yes and no. Sorry, it’s so hard to put into words. I know what I need to do. I focus, and I produce a kind of heat, and I can send that heat where it needs to go, and I can feel it… see it knitting, or dilating, or draining, or even destroying… argh… I can’t really explain it.

“I think the most accurate way to say it, is that I pour in energy and direct it. I can see, by the colors, whether there is a fracture, or swelling, or tumor, or even a mental problem, like depression. The colors always tell me what I need to do, and I guess I visualize my energy doing it. If the offending color starts to fade or dissipate, it tells me it’s working, and when it’s completely gone, I stop. Sometimes I need to use more herbs, if the improvement isn’t steady or it stops. It’s….” Kellar’s eyes were on Tobyn, but his explanation had stalled, and it was clear he was frustrated.

“I get it.”

“You do?”

“Yeah. Remember, I actually felt what you can do. I experienced the warmth inside my head, and I could feel you taking away my pain. You did something else too. I was scared shitless because of how bad the pain was, and I know wolves don’t always heal anymore, and all it took was your hand on my neck, and my fear left. I didn’t even know you, yet I trusted you completely. Your touch prepared me for whatever you were going to do.”

“Yeah, once I start, my touch seems to always calm… frightened animals especially. I’ve never heard a patient’s side of it until now. I’ve heard their thanks and stuff, but no real specifics about what they experienced. Cool. And, I never tried to explain all this before, so it was difficult finding the right words.

“It means a lot you don’t think I’m a freak. Usually when I heal a person, they act different around me afterwards. It’s why I don’t let most people know where I live. I don’t want the townsfolk showing up with pitchforks,” he joked, but there was something sad and serious behind his words. Kellar turned and went back to pulling some dried plants from hooks on a ceiling beam and wrapping them.

Tobyn took in the wide, strong back and fought the urge to wrap his arms around the man. He recalled their morning hug and what his skin had smelled like up close. “There’s nothing freaky about you, Kellar. I think you’re an awesome person, and I’m so glad I cracked my skull open yesterday. It was worth it to find a new friend.”

Kellar turned around in surprise, and Tobyn saw a twinkle of amusement begin to form in eyes that went from intense to soft in a split second. “There are easier ways to meet me, you know.”

“Now you tell me,” Tobyn said with a chuckle.

“And here I thought all wolves were smart.”

“I must have done something right, Mr. Bunyan; I convinced you to come home with me.”

An expression Tobyn couldn’t decipher appeared quickly, and was gone. “No convincing was needed… my friend. Nothing could stop me from going back with you… not now.”

He wasn’t sure, but there seemed to be an underlying message in those words. Was Kellar dealing with the same strong feelings that were assaulting him? He had said he found Tobyn attractive. Determined as he was, Tobyn was a smart enough wolf to know that this could get very complicated, very quickly. Maybe separate trucks would have been a better idea after all.

“So… you think my wolf is magnificent?”

Oh, damn. It was a struggle to keep himself in check. He wanted to tell Kellar his was the most beautiful wolf, the most beautiful animal he’d ever seen. It was on the tip of his tongue, but instead, he just said, “Yes.”

My sincere thanks to my editor, Timothy M., and to all those who support 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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Tobyn needs to stop trying to avoid his feelings and give in to them...he is starting to realize that Kellar might be the key to gaining control over his wolf again. I see Alpha material in Tobyn, the way he completely focused on the health and welfare of his pack, including sacrificing his own happiness to further the pack.

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What an intriguing concept ... the way Kellar sees and heals, an herbalist who visualizes and manipulates with a laying on of hands. Very cool.

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Some great explanation of Kellar'so ability, highlighting his isolation and confusion about who and what he is, beyond just the wolf. And poor Tobyn, he he knows he's staring down De Nile, but you can't block a river that is a force of nature in and of itself. His wolf will be very unhappy if he doesn't follow his heart

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On 05/31/2016 10:35 AM, JayT said:

Tobyn needs to stop trying to avoid his feelings and give in to them...he is starting to realize that Kellar might be the key to gaining control over his wolf again. I see Alpha material in Tobyn, the way he completely focused on the health and welfare of his pack, including sacrificing his own happiness to further the pack.

Hey, jt! Thanks for reviewing. Tobyn is under a lot of pressure, and he's scared of failing his pack. It's interesting how you see Tobyn. I agree. His #1 priority from an early age, has been his fellow shifters. His attraction to the big man doesn't fit... I hope you stick around for the journey... it's really only beginning... thanks again... cheers... Gary...

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On 05/31/2016 10:35 AM, dughlas said:

What an intriguing concept ... the way Kellar sees and heals, an herbalist who visualizes and manipulates with a laying on of hands. Very cool.

Thanks, dugh. Hearing this from you means a lot. I've put a lot of thought into this, so I'm pleased it appears to be working. Thank you, so much, for the great review... cheers, buddy... Gary...

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On 05/31/2016 10:43 AM, Lux Apollo said:

Some great explanation of Kellar'so ability, highlighting his isolation and confusion about who and what he is, beyond just the wolf. And poor Tobyn, he he knows he's staring down De Nile, but you can't block a river that is a force of nature in and of itself. His wolf will be very unhappy if he doesn't follow his heart

LOL... yeah, a lot of us tried to ride that river... but it's a pretty powerful one. Good luck staying on the boat :) . I'm glad you liked the explanation... I'm trying so hard with these first chapters not to overload the reader. I'm glad you got his own confusion about it. He really has no clue why he is the way he is... he needed to hear he wasn't a freak in Tobyn's eyes. It's a start for him, but there's a ways to go yet. Thanks for an awesome review, Lux... cheers... Gary...

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On 05/31/2016 12:41 PM, Buz said:

Love it! Love it! Love it! 'Nuff said...

And I love that you love it, Buz! It is enuf said, but please keep me posted on what you think. I appreciate the validation and support... cheers... Gary...

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On 05/31/2016 12:41 PM, FlowersBite said:

I seriously love this story!

Thank you, FlowersBite. This kind of support is what keeps me going. And thank you again for reading and reviewing "Chrisis Eve" and "Treading Water"... may I just say that you rock :) . Cheers... Gary...

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On 05/31/2016 12:45 PM, Mikiesboy said:

Christ, the last thing he needed was to be gay. - That line made laugh out loud!

 

But Tobyn is in major like with a man ... so what's he gonna do? That can't be an easy thing to think of, talk about upsetting the apple cart!

 

I liked you explanation of Kellar's healing ability. It was well thought out and seems to make sense.

 

Nice chapter, Gary!

 

tim

LOL... glad it made you laugh. This is new territory for Tobyn. He's had this tunnel vision of how his life needs to be, and Kellar has challenged that inadvertently. It really does upset his apple cart. I'm so pleased to hear you liked the explanation. I wanted to show just how vulnerable and confused Kellar was by his abilities, but I also didn't want to overwhelm the readers with a lot of info. Thanks for making me feel I succeeded, tim. And thanks for the wonderful review... cheers... Gary...

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On 05/31/2016 07:27 PM, Bucket1 said:

:) more please...

Yes, my friend. Your wish is my command... to a point :) . There's a lot more to come, B. Thanks for reviewing... cheers... Gary...

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On 05/31/2016 07:30 PM, ColumbusGuy said:

Dang, looks like Tobin is going to deny his feelings for Kellar in favor of an un-stated bond with Tilly. I think that sprang up out of necessity, that there were no other options for them, but it's nice that Tobin wants to try all he can to help his pack, but it's a shame he may have to give up the one who is his intended mate.

I'm beginning to think that Kellar has cured Tobin's malaise, at least I hope so...but will he be strong enough to save Tobin's pack? And are there others left in the world who need the same help?

Eager for the next bit, my dear friend.

Who said anything about mates? Yeah, Tobyn is carrying the weight of the shifter world on his shoulders. Being gay wasn't something he considered. He wants to contribute to the pack by reproducing. He's in a tough spot, but he has been for a while. You raise some good questions, bur you know I'm not going to answer them, my friend :) . Thanks for an awesome review, CG... I'm glad you're 'eager'... cheers... Gary...

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On 05/31/2016 10:43 PM, Wicked Witch said:

Great story. Interesting take on shifters.

Thank you, Wicked Witch! It's a new genre for me, but I'm having fun, and there's lots more to unfold. I hope you stick around. Thank you for reviewing... it's very encouraging... cheers... Gary...

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On 05/31/2016 10:48 PM, Kitt said:

Yay! Thanks, Kitt... I'll take a thumbs up from you any day. This means a lot... cheers, my friend... Gary...

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Hmm... I think they (or just Tobyn?) are resisting the inevitable. Tobyn shouldn't be so scared to be attracted to Kellar. if need be, I'm sure they can sort out the baby making without the need to resort to unnecessary actions such as a loveless marriage. I mean, it's 2016. Having kids with a friend isn't unheard of. Of course, shifters tend to be conservative, but the chance for shifter babies should allow for a bit of rule bending.

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On 06/01/2016 06:10 AM, Timothy M. said:

Mutual Admiration Society :rofl: But joke aside, this covered the attraction and admiration between these two guys perfectly. Tobyn was intrigued by Kellar's explanation of his healing ability (as were we), and his hopes for his pack rose. At the same time his apprehension about his own feelings towards the handsome shifter also increased, yet he was honest about how awesome he thinks Kellar is. We only caught glimpses of Kellar's emotions, but his reaction showed his appreciation of being considered a friend, his commitment to 'going home' with Tobyn (an intense moment even though subtle in the telling), and his delight in being told how Tobyn experienced the healing and that his halting explanations made sense.

Kellar has no problem with his priorities, but Tobyn has a harder time. As several readers have said, Tobyn feels responsible for his pack's well-being, which includes helping to sire off-spring. He forgets there's such a thing as artificial insemination. But we can admire him for putting duty and loyalty ahead of his own wishes, so it's unfair to say he has his priorities wrong. Of course we already see the beginnings of a pattern of love, although that may be wishful thinking. There was a small hint of Kellar seeing a pattern of color in Tobyn which gave him pause, maybe because it was unusual - indications of an Earth mate aura, perhaps?

No matter, the friendship and trust are coming along beautifully, and we will await which other patterns you'll weave into this wonderful shifter tale. :hug:

Thanks, Tim. I love how you see the chapter, and the characters in it. Tobyn is under incredible pressure, and he's been driven toward action for a long time now. His course is set in his mind. Kellar has been a surprise in more ways than one. He's trying to deal. For Kellar's part, he doesn't understand why he has this ability to heal others. It confuses him, and helps to isolate him even further. Tobyn's acceptance of his explanation meant so much to him. He needed it, as he prepares to meet a pack for the first time. I think, for the first time since he left New Brunswick, he doesn't feel alone. As far as artificial insemination, Tobyn never considered it because until he met Kellar, he didn't even consider he could be gay. I think it's understandable when you are as focused and driven as he is. Such a wonderful review... I so appreciate it... it is encouraging.... cheers... Gary

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On 06/01/2016 06:22 AM, Puppilull said:

Hmm... I think they (or just Tobyn?) are resisting the inevitable. Tobyn shouldn't be so scared to be attracted to Kellar. if need be, I'm sure they can sort out the baby making without the need to resort to unnecessary actions such as a loveless marriage. I mean, it's 2016. Having kids with a friend isn't unheard of. Of course, shifters tend to be conservative, but the chance for shifter babies should allow for a bit of rule bending.

Hey, Puppilull. I think Tobyn has had a real jolt with his reaction to Kellar. He has a cause, a mission, and that's taking up most of his focus right now, and he is fighting, but the attraction to Kellar is quite powerful. He's rattled, but I think he's also stubborn in his dedication to the pack, and it may take precedence despite what he's feeling... there is much more to unfold. I think you're right that Kellar has no reservations about following his feelings... we'll see... thanks for sticking with this, and for the great review... cheers... Gary...

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Well well well... We're starting to see what it is that Tobyn is facing and why he might be resisting what appear to be his natural inclinations. Though by all appearances this attraction to Kellar has pretty much blindsided him. This of course makes me curious if Tobyn has had any previous relationships of any kind, or if he's somehow just maintained a solitary existence in that area. Perhaps his mission to save his pack has taken all his attention and he has never stopped to consider what he really wanted.

 

I'm wondering if perhaps this relationship with Tilly has never really been about romance. It's been like "oh hey there's Tilly, I know her, I like her, she's a suitable mate for making little shifters to keep the pack alive." Now he has what appears to be what he really wants and needs and doesn't stop to consider that it's still possible to reproduce for the good of the pack and still have romantic love. I guess shifters might be really traditional?

 

Well these two adorable guys are further forging a bond, and I'm thinking that it's going to be like trying to fight a tidal wave for Tobyn. Also we got more information for how Kellar heals, interesting that he need the plants to act as a catalyst for his healing. Is that essential or just perhaps a crutch Kellar developed?

 

Anyway I'm hoping Kellar will be able to go do some good with Tobyn's pack. Will we be seeing from Kellar's point of view again soon?

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