Anna flopped down on the tree limb she’d climbed up to. Too long, far too long, she’d been without a pard or place to call her own. The mountains of this place called Talbot’s Peak spoke to her heart. Even the distance call to her soul from her place of origin could not stop the longing and need she had to be one with those who accepted her and what she offered.
“What do you offer?” Her conscience asked the question repeatedly over the last few days. Even in her sleep, she quizzed herself. Until one answer came to mind, she brought peace, tranquility, and love.
“How do you do this?” Sighing, Anna rested her head on her paws. She could hear Serge her old mentor and teacher chiding her to look beyond the obvious and understand that life pulsed in spurts bringing with it joy and pain that often brought the recognition with that what one had was there for a reason.
Anna twitched her tail. How she missed her conversations with Serge. Many long nights and days spent hunting and prowling the highlands back in Siberia left them gorged or frustrated. The love she brought could be measured in friendship, and the familial feeling she gave others who meant a lot to her, and the ones in her pard who looked after her. Too bad the encroachment of the humans sent the pard scattering. Many had left the country and others took to the mountains traveling to other sections and areas knowing that eventually they would need to move again.
Anna refused to look back. Serge had scolded her on staying focused in one direction too much. “Looking forward makes you vulnerable and leaves your back open to attack. In the rear is what is done. Losing the lessons shows you’ve learned nothing. Instead, look, listen, and remember. Nothing happens without reason or cause.” His words echoed in her heart and mind. Her journey to this point hadn’t been easy and the people and shifters who helped her along the way were forever a part of her.
Sniffing the wind, Anna raised her head. Her hackles rose. The scent was too familiar. Strong scents of male tiger spoor filled her nostrils and vanished as fast as it tickled her nose. Was it him?