Danny awoke feeling disoriented. No, that wasn’t the right word for it. He knew where he was which was at home in his den by Sageden. He ran a hand through his dark auburn hair and it came away wet with sweat. His heart was beating so hard he thought it might break out of his chest. What in the world had that dream been about? He took a deep breath and went to the kitchen where he splashed cool water on his face. He leaned against the counter and growled. It wasn’t hard to see what the dream was about. It was everything else in it that didn’t make sense.
He looked out of the window and saw that the sun was starting to rise. If he left now and took his time he would get to Jasper and Hayden’s clearing without having to worry about waking them. If anyone knew anything about dreams, it was Hayden.
Danny made his way back to the bedroom, pulled on pants and an extra thick tunic, strapped on his dagger and looked in the mirror. His light green eyes were squinted with his frown. Make sure you don’t frown when you get there. Hayden will think something is wrong. It’s just a dream.
“I’ll be home in a bit, Gwynn.” He cut up some cheese and placed it in a bowl for the little habir. The small black catlike animal barely opened his red eyes to acknowledge Danny’s comment.
“That’s the appreciation you get for saving a habir,” mumbled Danny as he made his way out the door.
He took his time and walked leisurely in the direction of Jasper and Hayden’s clearing. The air was crisp in the morning light. A light fog covered the area and the trees and shrubs were covered in frost. He smiled. It was so peaceful. His footsteps crunched in the snow, loud against the silence of the morning.
A rabbit darted across his path. Danny shifted and leapt after it, his small fox feet barely making any noise as he ran after his prey. The rabbit darted one way then the other and came to a stop, cornered against the side of a tall bank of frozen earth. It didn’t have time to cry out. Danny stuck it in his bag and carried on with his walk. Along the way he stopped to pick some mashams, a white mushroom that only grew in the snow. Hayden could use them for breakfast along with the rabbit.
He thought back to his dream, a bit surprised that he could remember it so clearly. So much of it made sense. Now that he considered it, only one part of it didn’t make sense. He shook his head. It was because of this one part that none of it made sense. He sighed with relief as the clearing appeared ahead of him through the trees.
He walked up to the cabin quietly, not sure if they were awake or not. The fire was going inside, but with Hayden always being cold, it was never let to burn itself out at all in the winter. He stood, undecided, and was about to shift so he could curl up and wait when the front door opened. Jasper smiled at him.
“Hayden wants to know why you’re just standing outside. Come in, Danny.”
Danny grinned. “I wasn’t sure if you were awake yet.”
Jasper laughed. “Hayden hasn’t been able to eat anything for two days and today she wakes me up to tell me she could eat a horse. I was about to start breakfast. Will you be staying?”
He nodded. “Here, I got these on the way over.” He handed the bag with the rabbit and the mashams to his friend. “It still amazes me she can do that.”
“What’s that?” asked Hayden as they entered the living room.
“How you can tell people are here without them telling you.”
She groaned. “It’s this whole pregnancy thing. I remember my cousin telling me that when she was pregnant all of her senses were hypersensitive. I had no idea it would affect my magic as well.” She smiled. “What brings you here so early in the morning?”
He looked to the front of the fireplace where Kip, their Australian Shepherd, stretched and groaned. Tiny, the little white tairat, squeaked her annoyance as her bed moved. He sat on the floor and petted both of them.
“I was hoping you could help me answer a question.”
“Alright. What’s the question?”
“Well, I had a dream last night. It, well...” He blushed.
Jasper laughed and Hayden shushed him.
“Oh, come now, Shlova. It’s funny the first time anyone tries to explain a fated dream. I never told anyone when I started dreaming of you for the simple fact that all I had to do was think about it and I would turn red.” He leaned down, kissed her softly and stepped behind the counter to start breakfast.
Hayden smiled and turned back to Danny. “So you’re fated?”
He nodded. “That’s not the confusing part. I mean, that part was obvious enough.” He tried to block the images and feel of the dream so he wouldn’t blush again, but the caress of long black hair against his skin, of soft lips against his, pushed their way to the surface and the blood rose to his face. “By the moons, it’s who’s in the dream that’s a bit of a mystery.”
Hayden frowned. “Well, you’re not supposed to know who you’re fated to. That’s why most people go years without finding their mate.”
He shook his head. “No, no. I mean I can’t tell what kind of being she is.”
Hayden’s eyes widened and Jasper stopped cutting the mashams.
The dream made its way up again and Danny had to stifle a groan. He wasn’t a tall man by any means, being a fox had guaranteed him that, but if she made his five and a half feet look tall then she had to be quite short. The feel of her petite body under his hands almost overwhelmed him and he got up to get a glass of water. He took a long swallow.
“At first it seemed as clear cut as could be. Long black hair, clear blue eyes... small.” He shook his head to clear the images forming there. “By the moons, do you have anything stronger than water?”
Jasper smiled, nodded, and poured him a shot of jeckden. He waited until he was done the drink before pouring them both a mug of sloan and Hayden a glass of juice.
“So she’s either human, Maj, or Namael.” Hayden took her juice and took a cautious sip of it.
Danny took a long drink of his sloan. “That’s what I thought.” He closed his eyes and felt the blood moving up his neck. “Then I run my hand through her hair, see? Then it stops making sense. It’s her ears. They’re pointy.”
“A Wedelve?” Jasper shrugged. “You’d be the first shifter and Weldelve fated couple that we know of, but with all of the interbeing fating happening these days, it shouldn’t be too surprising that it’s finally happened.”
“But that’s just it. She doesn’t have the coloring of a Wedelve. Her skin isn’t an earth tone like them. It’s the same color as yours and mine. Oh! And the tattoo! It’s like mine and Hayden’s healers’ tattoos, only under the other eye, and instead of being a green vine it’s of three silver stars.”
He looked from Hayden to Jasper who were both frowning. Jasper’s gaze moved to his mate and his eyes widened.
“What if you’re not the only one, Shlova?”
“What do you mean?”
“What if you’re not the only human and Wedelve cross here?”
Danny frowned. “But Hayden doesn’t have pointy ears.”
“No, but that doesn’t mean another offspring of that breeding might not acquire that genetic trait.”
“You might be right, Hun. The only thing that wouldn’t match with that idea is the tattoo. I’ve never even heard of a tattoo like that around here.”
“See what I mean?” Danny finished off his mug of sloan.
“Will you go looking for her?” Hayden got up and sniffed the fried rabbit and mashams Jasper was putting on a plate for her. When the smell didn’t make her stomach upset she smiled and sat down to take an experimental bite.
“I don’t see the point at this moment. I’d have no idea where to start looking.”
Jasper handed him a plate. “Just wait. The more dreams you have, the more details you’ll notice. Maybe you’ll see something that will give you a clue.” He watched as Hayden put a masham in her mouth and chewed cautiously then smiled when she took another bite.
“Thank the moons, I was starting to think you were going to starve to death before this baby was born.” He kissed her on the forehead.
She smiled. “I think it likes mashams.”
Everyone turned to the hall door. Danny smiled.
The ten year old Maj smiled shyly and gave a small wave before entering the kitchen and making herself a plate.
Jasper kissed her forehead. “Are your brother and sister still sleeping?”
She nodded and went to sit beside Hayden who hugged her close.
The conversation turned the Wittecks and Danny forgot about the mystery of his future mate for a while.
So, there you have it. A little of Danny's predicament in this next novel. :D Stay tuned for more updates on your favorite beings from Quelondain!
Stay safe, Sweetlings!