On The Road Again 5:
Dreams of Lovers

by Fur and Fantasy
R for M/F
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

"Are'th?" said quietly, nuzzling the mouse affectionately. Her scent was tinged by something Are'th hadn't smelled there before; worry.

"Yes," he nuzzled her back and snuggled close. "Something has you disturbed."

"Yes." She said quietly. "SunWind is coming to get Vinnie, and Dread and the others will go as well I'm sure." She said softly. "Are you going with them?" She asked very softly.

The long furred mouse stopped to really think about it for a long time. "I think I would, if he needed me. I'm not inclined to though."

"I understand." She said quietly. "I won't stop you if you need to go. But I would miss you." She admitted softly, an admission that was clearly difficult for her.

"I'd come back, Dalia." He nuzzled her gently. "I doubt he'll need me. It certainly hasn't been mentioned yet, unlike the others."

"He has so many." She said quietly. "I'm going to be selfish and hope he doesn't, because I do."

"I don't really want to go either," he kissed her gently.

"Well, maybe we'll both get what we want." She kissed him back. "Feel up to a little traveling today?" She asked quietly.

"Sure," he smiled and stretched lazily. "What did you have in mind?"

"The Ice-Dancers of Moradin IX." She smiled. "One of my favorite places, and as close to leaving this system as I can get. The Ice-Dancers are such a lovely, artistic race."

"Sounds interesting," he traced his tail up her body. "How do we get there?"

"I think I can manage transportation." She smirked playfully. "Ever gone solar sailing?" She asked playfully.

"Haven't heard of it, but it sounds nice."

"It's calm and peaceful." She said quietly. "It'll take maybe a week to get where we're going, but I don't think either of us has any pressing engagements." She smiled and then considered something. "Have you ever traveled in space before?"

"Not the way you're talking of, I think." He sighed softly into her fur. "Just by light bridge."

"Nope, this is the actual traveling in the deeps between planets." She smiled. "Quite beautiful really."

"I'm game to give it a tray." Are'th smiled.

"Good." She smiled and gave him an affectionate kiss. "Shower and breakfast before we go?"

"Works for me," he smiled and kissed her softly.

Dalia pulled Are'th close as they watch the mice perform what seemed to be a cross between dance and an athletic event. Across the ice, Are'th could see blue-white razorwolves watching the event as well. "One of my favorite ways to relax." She smiled. "Almost feels like Mother isn't holding me anymore."

"That's a good thing to have," he smiled softly and relaxed in her arms.

She nuzzled his neck affectionately. "Sometimes, I just wonder what ever happened to father. Part of me says he's still out there, but it's been so very long."

"Like you, he may not have a choice." He murmured. "It wouldn't be the first domestic dispute that turned ugly."

"Sometimes I think it strange, that for all mother claimed we were better than mortals, that we're still so very much like mortals." She smiled nuzzling him quietly. "But given a choice, I prefer mortal company."

"It suits your personality better." Are'th smiled and nuzzled her. "Mortals are much more likely to enjoy life. We know it's limited, and it's going to end badly. Taking when enjoyment we can while we can is something of a requirement for survival."

"And mortals understand love better." She said quietly. "So many of the Powers are too detached."

"Not all of us, daughter." A powerful male voice said from behind them.

"Are'th, please look and tell me what you see." The shekat asked nervously, afraid to look.

One glance up sent the Garou into an instant submissive cower. His voice was very respectful when he did speak, careful not to meet the powerfully built Martian mouse's gaze. "A strong Alpha," he said softly. "Black with a white star over his right eye."

Dalia turned, and blinked twice before rushing to embrace the mouse as tears of joy streamed down her face. "Daddy. I've missed you so." She said through the tears.

"And I you daughter." He said stroking her hair comfortingly. "But I see you have overcome your mother's vindictive trap."

"How do you figure, father?" She said quietly.

"You've remembered how to love." He said looking at Are'th. "Would you introduce me to your Chosen?"

"Father, this is Are'th." She smiled, and then extended a hand to guide the long furred mouse forward. "Are'th, this is my father, Talon."

"A pleasure to meet the one who has redeemed my daughter's heart." The powerful Alpha smiled, extending a strong hand to Are'th.

"Yes sir," he smiled back and accepted the handshake, everything about him pointedly submissive.

"Father, what brings you back now?" Dalia asked quietly, more submissive than Are'th had ever seen her.

"I needed you to remember yourself." He smiled. "That was the weakness in your mother's prison, once she lost interest in this universe. I wasn't sure you could, after what you'd suffered. But Are'th was able to reach you."

"But now what, the Star Bridges are still going to destroy worlds."

"I think I can handle my younger brother's creation." He smiled. "They're damaged, but its repairable. And there's something better for the two of you to do."

"The two of us, father?"

"Yes, one of the Powers is in the process of restoring a planet called Mars." He explained. "But Mars has lost all three important sentient races it had, and the Return will only restore one. Assuming the Power isn't opposed Sandia and I have a plan to restore the other two." He said simply, sitting down and gesturing for the other two to do the same. "If the Power is opposed, we'll resettle them elsewhere. They're too interesting not too."

"I don't understand how we fit into this," Are'th said very quietly. "I'm Garou."

"The Garou looked after the Mice and the Razorwolves for millennia." Talon said easily. "And my intention is to see that the racial hatred that got bred into the mouse population, is not in the new population. They will need to know Garou for that to happen. To see that Garou are mortals like them, not monsters. And I need someone who understands organization to coordinate retrieving the Mice and Razorwolves to the planet where they'll be until Mars is ready for them." He smiled at Are'th. "And my daughter will provide the power to protect them, and deflect outside interference. But you are the better organizer."

"No kidding, Father." Dalia chuckled. "I'm a spirit of love and life, not transportation and organization."

"But I'm good enough I handled the colonial preparations." Are'th nuzzled her. "This can't be much worse."

"It shouldn't be." Talon nodded. "I know that many of both the Mice and Wolves will be young, teenagers as it were. The two of you may have to take a more active guidance role for a while. Kyros will be assisting you. He can find the ones you need, and he knows where the world Sandia and I have chosen is. You should begin work soon, though you need not do so immediately."

"What about Mystelin?" She asked quietly. "What we had to do to stabilize the Star Bridges has made enemies."

"I believe Corina can handle protection, with the help of StarMist." He smiled. "It will be about a year before the Bridges are truly stable, at which time I'll start returning those home, who want to go."

"How soon till Kyros arrives?" She asked with a fond smile.

"A few days, maybe a week." The mouse said easily. "He's missed you."

"And I him. How long will you be staying, father?"

"Not long for the moment. I have to talk with a few other Powers, but don't worry, I'll be back. And I think you and your Chosen need to talk." He smiled, and stood. "Until we meet again." He smiled at the two, as he vanished in a swirl of silver sparkles.

Dalia smiled and looked extremely happy, just before she spontaneously hugged Are'th close. Happiness radiated from her, radiating in waves that permeated the environment as well as her scent.

"The part of that I understood sounds live extremely good news," he said softly and nuzzled her back, pleased at her happiness, even if he only sort of understood why.

"Feel free to ask about anything that didn't make sense." She smiled encouraging. "Father tends to assume everyone understands him. Which isn't always true, even with other Powers."

"Who and what is Kyros?" He started easily.

"He's my brother." She smiled fondly. "Not that you'd think we're related. He actually looks more like he's related to you." She chuckled.

"Like your father," he said quietly.

"Yes, I look like mother." She shrugged. "Father had great interest in Mars, back before he disappeared."

"That's why he looks like one?" Are'th asked quietly. "Or is that his natural form?"

"I believe it's his natural form, or at least I've rarely seen him in anything other than one of the Garou forms. He prefers the Mouse form though." She smiled. "My brother spends as much time in Lupo as in Mouse."

"Very strange," Are'th shook his head. "A Garou Power."

"I would've figured there were others. Isn't the one in charge of Mars, Garou?"

"No one's been 'in charge' around Mars for generations." He shook his head. "A few Celestian Avatars will still answer, but even those haven't showed themselves for nearly a millennia. It's been a lot longer in the mortal realm since there's been anything resembling order."

"Then I wonder who father was talking about." She said quietly. "Perhaps one of the Celestians. Is there one that's more active than others?"

"Maybe Phoenix, or Dragon." He shrugged. "They're the only ones that seem to have any interest in us."

"Perhaps they're the ones he meant." She said quietly. "He tries to respect others domains. But he means it when he said the Razorwolves and Mice are too interesting to lose."

"Whatever he actually means by interesting," Are'th said quietly, an instinctive distrust of Powers surfacing in the wake of having no better explanations.

"I'm not exactly sure, though I could feel his pain." She said quietly. "He's been gone a long time, and Mars has changed much, and not for the better. I know you don't trust Powers, but he really does care."

"If he's been gone long enough, the last he might of seen was before the mice were intelligent enough to object to being sheparded."

"No, he remembers them being intelligent. That he told me about before." She smiled.

"Then I don't know," he shrugged. "That was the last time there was any real order on Mars."

"It is easier to keep sheep in order." She said quietly. "But sheep are boring. I think that's part of what Father meant. Intelligence means the potential for connection, conversation and the ability to do the unexpected."

"Mostly the ability to plan war on a large scale," Are'th shrugged. "I can't say I miss having them around, from all the memories passed down from Mars. For all I understand why they hate us, I don't like them much better for how they took it out."

"That's what father expects us to change." She simply. "Hate is not instinct, it is taught. And what can be learned, can be unlearned." She said softly. "But how else would one expect a people to react to being 'culled' as though they were food animals?" She shook her head.

"Poorly," Are'th said simply. "I understand their reasons, just not who they chose to cull in return. More peacemakers lost their lives that avid cullers."

"I doubt it was that well thought out." She said quietly. "Many probably didn't even realize there were peacemakers, just figured that all were hunters." She shook her head. "Our job is to teach the next generation differently. And hope they do not know about the culling."

"It will be much more difficult to teach the Garou a new purpose, with their flocks still around." He sighed with a shake of his head. "Keeping those two races in check and growing is what we have always existed for. To deny the culling is to deny a core tenant of the Garou place in the system."

"A system which has been broken for generations." She said quietly. "That tenet was abandoned when the Garou left Mars to the Plutarkians. They knew they were condemning the Mice to extinction. Where is the growing in that action?"

"The system was lost when we permitted the mice to exterminate the Razorwolves," he looked down, clearly ashamed to his very soul. "That was a thousand years or more before Phoenix delivered his prophecy orders. We may have failed, but if Phoenix though we were worth saving, we weren't about to argue with him. So we did what he told us, and left a handful of packs there, knowing they'd die with the mice. It wasn't an easy thing to do, to abandon our land and our people, but Phoenix told us, and we had already failed completely."

The shame seriously softened Dalia. "You didn't fail as bad as you thought." She said quietly. "Some of you managed to try hard enough with the Razorwolves, that Kyros noticed what was going on. He managed to get some of them off-world. Like the ones you see over there." She gestured to the far side of the Arena. "Maybe it's time for a new system." She suggested gently. "All three races are sentient now, and you do have a world to rebuild."

Are'th glanced across the ice lake. "I thought they were just in lupo." He said quietly.

"No, those are Martian Razorwolves." She smiled. "With a little thicker coat for the winter here, closer to the arctic variety I think."

"Oh," he said softly, part of him too shocked at the idea to accept it, part too trusting of Dalia not to believe those were the long extinct Razorwolves.

"They're not certain what they're seeing either." She chuckled softly, though it was in gentle good humor.

"That I'm mouse or Garou?"

"Yes. Instinct tells them Garou, but they know there aren't any here." She smiled gently.

Are'th nodded and shifted to lounge next to her in Crinos, looking at the razorwolves quietly.

The wolves looked at him for a while, before the biggest one, a snowy white male came over. ("Welcome to Icehome, Lady Dalia.") He said in canine. ("Is your Chosen of Mars?") He asked with polite curiosity.

("Thank you, SnowRunner.") The shekat smiled. ("His name is Are'th, and you can ask him directly.")

("Thank you.") He nodded before turning to Are'th. ("Are you of Mars?") He asked politely.

("My family was,") Are'th nodded, slightly weirded out to be addressed as a ranking Alpha, even by a Razorwolf. ("I was born in the colonies.")

("Colonies?") The Razorwolf looked at him curiously. ("Then the story of the Garou leaving Mars is true?")

("Yes,") he nodded, not knowing what else to say about it.

("Do you know if it is time to reclaim Mars yet?") He asked curiously.

("Very soon,") Are'th nodded again. ("Within the decade at least.")

("That's good.") SnowRunner nodded. ("Mars needs all three races to heal.") He said simply. ("Just as the Lady needed a mate.") He smiled at the two of them before leaving to explain things to his waiting pack.

"Has he forgiven, or just ignorant?" Are'th asked softly when the canine was out of range.

"The culling, you mean?" She said quietly. "His people have lived here since they went extinct on Mars. It's been a long time since there was any culling. Maybe they don't remember, but more likely they assume the Garou have grown up, much as they have." She said gently.

"Grown up?" He glanced at her, then shrugged. "Not in the least. If anything, there's more hate in most of us than on Mars."

Dalia sighed. "This is going to be more difficult than Father thought." She said quietly. "Even if we can get the Razorwolves and Mice to play nice, we've still got to convince the Garou."

"That is as simple and complex as giving us a new job we're suitable for."

Dalia chuckled. "Very true. It's not easy finding something both interesting and challenging for us. But between the two of us, we should be able to handle it." She said, very serious about the 'us' in the statement.

"A job for the Garou," he said softly. "We were shepards and hunters, defenders of our land." Are'th sighed. "We failed to protect the Razorwolves. We failed in what we were supposed to do with the mice. We failed to protect our world. But a Garou without a purpose is little better off than one without a pack, except for the level of violence involved against others."

"The question will be, can the Garou adapt to a different relationship with the Mice and Razorwolves?" She said quietly.

"If we have a place in the scheme of things, I think so." He nodded. "We've done it on other worlds with intelligent races."

"That's what we need to work on." She said thoughtfully. "A scheme for Mars that involves all three races. However, we will have to look out for extremists. Mice who think all Garou are monsters, or Garou who think Mice are food. Neither extreme helps matters."

"No, though you'll find few, if any, of those Garou around anymore. That view them as a racial enemy is much more common."

"That we hopefully can work on." She said quietly. "Are there many who don't?"

"Mmm, that are vocal about it, only about ten percent I've had any contact with. It's been a long time since there has been any contact with mice. But going face to face with them again could be a very different story."

"Well, it will be a different sort of mice." She said quietly. "Hostility usually draws hostility, and hopefully an absence of it will produce a positive response."

"And if there is any beast that is true of, it is Garou." He nodded. "We are predatory-defenders by our nature and nurture. Even the most timid keeper will fight viciously to defend pack and home."

"Much like the Razorwolves." She nodded. "But I think the Razorwolves and the Garou will get along just fine." She said looking to Are'th for confirmation.

"I expect so," he nodded. "We still feel very guilty for what happened to them. If anything, they'll be indulged as long lost pups. Very little culling ever happened among their packs, though they were held to the same standards as all races."

"And oddly enough, at least this group of Mice and Razorwolves is getting along fine." She nodded. "Of course, between both species there's only about a thousand individuals on this world."

"There haven't been any Razorwolves on Mars in over two millennia," Are'th sighed softly. "Not many mice know they ever existed."

"Oh." She said curiously. "Well, my Martian history is pretty weak." She grinned a bit sheepishly. "Guess that does explain it."

"It's not something any of us advertise." He said softly. "Only we really knew, since our lupo looks like them, the mice probably never knew they obliterated an innocent species trying to destroy us."

"Probably not." She said quietly. "But war inevitably generates unplanned casualties, that's its nature."

"Including more mice than us." He closed his eyes. "From records, almost half of all their kills were mice, not Garou, or even our kinfolk. The signs they liked to point to are far from universal in us, or restricted to us."

"Hatred is not a rational beast, especially racial hatred." She said quietly and sighed. "I guess the Martian Garou are just lucky they aren't like the Terran Garou, needing both wolves and humans to continue the species."

Are'th couldn't help bristling. "We don't get along with them at all. And Garou are Garou. We can't cross-breed."

"Like I said, lucky you." She smiled gently. "But hopefully we can kind of hose off these fires of irrational hatred."

"Earth is more territorial challenges," he said quietly. "They couldn't manage their races at all, and now they are looking to expand, have been for a while. And we've been in conflict over policies for ages."

"That's okay. Father's talking with a Third Race contact of his on Earth. With luck, the Earth Garou won't be playing with the Bridges anymore."

"Which will help until they get space technology," he sighed. "The winds say it won't be long now."

"Space technology, and the ability to get as far as Mars aren't the same." She smiled. "'Sides, I think Father will probably discourage the Earth Garou from making moves against Mars. Even if he has to be a little blunt with them."

"Sorry," Are'th sank back to his mouse form. "The past isn't something I like to remember. It hurts too much."

"It's okay." She nuzzled him fondly. "Aside from the last few months, which have been very special, the past is all I have."

That earned her a funny look. "What do you mean?"

"What that the last few months have been special? They have been, it's been a long time since I've felt close to anyone like I do to you. You make me feel more alive than I have in a long time."

"I meant the past is all you have part," he said softly. "I > understand the last few months being special very well."

"I guess it's the break between the recent past and the distant past." She said quietly. "Excluding the last few months, my recent past has been a nightmare. I hope the future will be better."

"The future is all I like to think about," Are'th said quietly. "The distant past is painful, most of my life was very nice, but it's lost. Recent past has been nice, for all it's cost. Future might actually be nice."

"Well, maybe we should just stick to the present and the future." She suggested gently. "A future we can make a difference in."

"I like that thought," he pulled her close and nuzzled her affectionately. "At least as much as we can. Garou are very much creatures attached to our heritage, and it must be addressed when we figure out how to make that work."

"Father would insist anyway." She chuckled. "Heritage is important to him too. Of course, maybe that's where the Garou got it from." She smiled, half-serious.

"Be very, very careful who's around when you go there," Are'th said softly but seriously. "There is a lot of anger directed at the Powers we used to serve, and any who claim to like us now. Many feel abandoned, true or not, deserved or not. We haven't liked Powers in a very long time."

"He's not claiming anyone." She smiled. "And don't worry, I've got a very good idea what your people think about Powers. Which makes it weird that you do what Phoenix says."

"Phoenix isn't a Power," he tried to explain a difference so fundamental it was just there. "Shi is a fundamental Force, internally balanced."

Dalia shrugged. "Same thing. It's all a matter of what they call themselves. Power is simply an immortal with more raw force than any mortal. Most of the naming schemes are just ways immortals came up with to try and rank relatives power levels. Father's considered a Force on more than a few worlds, usually the counterpart to the female creative."

"A Force is something intrinsically balanced between male and female, chaos and order, creation and destruction, life and death." Are'th shook his head. "A Power is just a person with an incredible amount of power. A Force is beyond that limitation."

"Perhaps." She said quietly, not really interested in debating the matter, something her lover picked up on easily and fell silent.

"How likely are the Garou to pick up on my being a Power?" She asked quietly. "I mean, if I don't say anything. I really don't want to rub anyone's nose in it. I just want to help." She said sincerely.

"Without a Seer or Spellweaver around, maybe a few minutes. With one, they'd probably know before we arrived. It's really pretty obvious."

"This is going to be difficult, isn't it." She sighed. "Is there any serious chance that my presence would do anything but hurt?" She asked very softly.

"My presence will do more harm than yours," Are'th closed his eyes and settled in his pain. "I'm a traitor. You're just a species we've had a long history of being used, abused and abandoned by."

"Makes me wonder why Father thinks we're actually suited for this job." She shook her head. "The Garou aren't going to pay any attention to either of us, not in a positive way."

"Maybe because he's in worse shape," Are'th said quietly. "He's a Power and interested in Mars, the reaction is likely to be very violent when that's found out. If it's figured out he's involved in rescuing Razorwolves, it's going to get a lot worse in some of the camps. Top predators rarely take being bullied around for generations very well, and even when it's not true, Powers have picked up the blame for a lot, because of the times we know they did."

"At least the Mice and Razorwolves here, like me." She said quietly. "Funny, Garou react to the Powers, the same way the Mice react to the Garou." She said quietly. "I'm going to have to talk with Father. I'm not sure this can work, or even that it's a good idea. The Garou aren't going to appreciate the effort, and it really won't benefit the others any."

"And the reaction is for largely the same reason." Are'th said softly. "The hatred was well earned in both cases, even if it's usually the innocent who suffer the most.

"Though the Powers never made an organized effort. Mostly cause they never do." She chuckled. "Coordinated effort is pretty contrary to the nature of the Powers." She sighed. "Father's obsession with balanced systems can be very frustrating."

"Very Garou though," Are'th said softly. "It's what we're for."

"He's just convinced something will go wrong, if the Garou are the only species on Mars." She shook her head. "And since Kyros happened to save a few Razorwolves here and there, it makes perfect sense to have me reintroduce them. After all, I spent millennia with one job I hated, why not one where I can be hated for even trying?" She grumped in serious frustration. "Why can't he let Phoenix balance its own damn planet?"

"Because Phoenix isn't about Mars," Are'th said softly. "We're just a tool in his plans."

"Sounds like you're getting used again." She said quietly. "Only you're okay with it this time."

"He had the decency to be up front about it, and offered something in exchange for our cooperation. That's not something Powers ever do."

"The few you actually know anything about." She growled. "There's a reason that Powers are revered and loved on millions of worlds. Sure, there's a few bad ones, any population of sentients generates bad eggs. But most aren't, most care a great deal for those they get involved with." She said in complete frustration.

"I guess we've just had very bad luck then," he said, softly submissive.

"Sounds like it." She said backing off, looking very tired. "And for that I'm sorry. And I'm sorry for venting my frustration at you, you don't deserve it."

"Sometimes that's what a packmate is for. A safe person to vent to."

Dalia smiled and kissed the mouse affectionately. "While I'm sorry you got taken away from your life, I'm still grateful you came into mine." She said very sincerely.

He could only nod, too conflicted by the resent discussion to really say anything.

"Want to go inside?" She offered gently. "I have a home here."

"I think so, yes," he nodded and stood, trying to sort himself out again and shove away the reminders of what he had lost, and given up, to be here.

She guided him gently across the snow into a large house constructed of dark purple wood. Inside there was a large roaring fire, a large thick rug in front of the fireplace. Smells of a meal cooking wafted pleasantly from the kitchen as a medium height gray and white Martian mouse wearing pants and a sweater came out carrying a tray with two steaming mugs. "Welcome home, Lady Dalia." He said respectfully. "I thought the two of you might appreciate some hot chocolate. It's chilly today." He smiled, as he held out the tray to them.

"Thank you, Rellos." She smiled and took a mug. "It's very thoughtful of you."

"Yes, thank you," Are'th said softly as he found his way to the fireplace and let his mind drift, working itself out as he watching the flames dance. Despite the heat, he knew it could never do anything for the cold pain than had formed that first day in his soul.

Dalia sat back watching, not sure what to do with the hopeless mess her Father had handed her. Or what to do to ease her love's pain. She hated feeling powerless, because it was so contradictory. Power she had, but it couldn't do anything that really mattered to her.

"I think that's why so many of you abuse your power," Are'th said quietly out of nowhere.

"Huh?" She said in confusion. "I'm not sure I follow."

"Your frustration, I can feel it even over here you're radiating it so strongly." He said quietly. "Mortals have always understood there just simply are thing we can't control or do, Powers involved or not. No matter what we do, we die. We get hungry, hot or cold, sick, there are things that no matter how hard we try, just can't be done or controlled.

"I couldn't hear your thoughts, but I bet I can guess them. That with all your power to save worlds and destroy them, to give pleasure and joy, none of your power can give you what you really want." He finally looked up and back towards her. "Close?"

"Not exactly." She said quietly. "More that I can't see a way to do what Father asks of me." She sighed. "And I can't see a way to heal the injury I gave you, by loving you."

"Are not those things you really want?" He asked softly. "That your power is of little use accomplishing?"

"Not that I want for my self." She said quietly. "But I see your point. But it hardly inspires abuse of power."

"Frustration and anger frequently do," he said quietly. "Perhaps not in you, but in most who are not so focused on pleasure and sex it's a prime cause."

She smiled. "Pleasure and sex are only sort of my focus. It was love and life, before mother's snit." She said quietly.

"Yeah, your recent take on that hasn't made you any friends," he murmured. "You didn't hurt me by loving me. You hurt me by being exactly what I always understood Powers to be like, before you decided I was special."

"Even Powers can go insane." She said quietly. "You were the first I actually saw through the pain."

"And your insane is what everyone I've heard of's normal." He sighed. "Maybe there are reasonable Powers out there that haven't have it taken out of them, but I've never even heard of them. I hope you're right though, and it's just a few bad ones."

"There are." She said quietly. "But they don't go where they aren't wanted. A place that becomes hostile to Powers, only sees the bad ones. Because they don't care if they aren't wanted."

"Makes sense," he nodded. "Cede contested territory instead of trying to reclaim it."

"The ones who care, figure they'll only hurt people by trying to reclaim it." She smiled weakly. "The Powers who still care are sensitive to what those they care about think of them."

"All that means is that they can be driven off by any act that puts the Powers in a bad light." He pointed out with a sad sigh. "Which just reinforces it, when they abandon those who may still believe, or are at least undecided. Polities and war is not for the meek."

"It takes more than a single act." She said quietly. "It's when the bulk of a population turns against them. Though established ones are more likely to stay longer. But new ones have no reason to take on the hatred, since no one believes in them."

"Then I don't know what happened on Mars," he said softly, shaking his head.

"I wasn't there, Are'th." She said gently, sitting down next to him. "Tell me what you know of what happened." She asked softly.

"One day, everyone but Dragon just left, and he started showing up less and less often." He said. "Even many of our totem spirits abandoned us when we lost the Razorwolves. No one answered our calls, our Seers could not find anything. Even the spirit specialists could barely find a Jaggling to talk to. Despite that, we still perform the rites, still honor their names, because it is what we have always done. But after over a thousand generations, even we know it is cultural and not spiritual anymore."

"That sounds like something more serious." She said quietly. "Almost like a spirit rift, a void that mortals don't notice, but that most Powers can't cross. Odd ones like Phoenix can, if they really want to." She said quietly. "It's possible that the Razorwolves were the spiritual anchor of Mars. When they were lost, Mars became disconnected from most of the spirit realm." She said quietly. "Just a theory, but I've seen something like it happen before."

"I don't know," he shook his head. "It barely matters. Whatever happened drove the ones we followed away, and left many of those we fought. Doesn't explain why they don't answer us on all the other worlds we're on now."

"I don't know." She said quietly. "I'll ask Father. He should be able to find one of the others and ask them. There must be a reason. Powers don't give up those they choose to care about easily."

"Is that why most worlds we've talked to considers Powers to be fickle, at best?" He asked softly, not actually challenging her assertion despite the words.

"I don't know, most of the worlds I know think otherwise." She said. "Or at least they acknowledge that mortals are just as fickle."

"Turn that statement around and it's how I usually hear it." He shrugged. "Powers are just as fickle as mortals. That's not a statement that inspires anything but wariness and fear in most. You can never rely on fickle people. But maybe I've never heard of the good Powers, that are sable. I haven't seen everything by a long shot."

"Hopefully, I'll get a chance to show you a few worlds where things are better." She said gently. "Mystelin and Mars are not good examples of how Powers behave."

"That would be nice to see," he smiled weakly.

"For both of us, Are'th." She smiled gently, kissing him on the cheek tenderly.

On The Road Again 5: Dreams of Lovers

R for M/F
Het Level is High
Slash Level is
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

35 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Closed-Unfinished
Written November 17, 2002 by Rauhnee Ranshanka, Todd McCall

Setting: Haloeth, Mystera

Primary Races: God, Loup Maru

Contents: Furry. Het (M/F). Fantasy, Romance

Pairings: Dalia/Are'th

Blurb: A little interlude with the Goddess and her lover that brings surprises for her and too many reminders of what he's lost to him.

Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.

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