Akela knelt on a stony outcropping only a little larger than herself, a solitary fang jutting from an ocean painted crimson and mango by the setting sun.
In her lap, a worn travelsack gaped open to spill a riot of delicate blossoms against the rough wool of her trousers. Reverently, she lifted her favorite wreath from her lap — rare yellow orchids with speckled pink hearts against a background of deep magenta freesia. She and Dancer had spent all week gathering the blooms, and the previous day had been lost to weaving unruly stems together.
It was a fitting gift.
She lifted the wreath over the jagged tip of the outcropping’s highest point, looming just above her head while she knelt. As the flowers drifted down to encircle the stone, the wind picked up the clean scent of the blossoms and swirled it around her.
Quietly, Akela began to sing.(more…)