[P] build god, then we'll talk
sleeping with roaches and taking best guesses

Levent had settled down in the southern part of Amherst, finding a cozy one-story house with a two-car (now two-horse) garage and in the vicinity of a placid community park with plenty of grass to graze. It could really be summed up in that one sentence, a list of features for convenience, rather than the hopeless paragraphs upon paragraphs of someone attempting to describe the wonders of their true home. He had almost reached that point with the elaborate, beautiful house where his privileged mother had lived, but even then the road had called to his merchant’s blood, urging him onward.

He didn’t see the Amherst building as home so much as “home base,” and he yearned to set down plans and roam around Nova Scotia less haphazardly than before. His mind, of course, strayed carefully away from Cercatori d’Arte and Halifax, and just about anywhere in the south; the south had given him nothing but pain, had only wrecked his mind. The north, harsh as it was rumored to be to the softer southerners, might be more promising, so long as he was careful about where he looked.

Something of his off-kilter thoughts must have passed into his body language, because the sooty buckskin burred a question in his equine speech, loosely translated into something like “Are you okay?” The inflection was there, at least, in the sound but mostly in the way the ears were turned back toward Levent to hear a sort of acknowledgement. Forcing his body to relax, the Turk smiled and answered in the affirmative.

At some point Levent dropped down from the gelding’s back and began to walk beside him, exploring the city on a more equal level, the clops of the horse’s hooves echoing around the abandoned building. The day before he’d rummaged around in an old schoolhouse-type room in a museum, coming up with patches of leather from very old shoes and a few simply worded books that the barely-literate North American Luperci might appreciate. He was sure that there were some other forgotten charms left over from humanity or even canine squatters, and if he gathered enough goods as such he might be able to make a living trading again—at least until he figured out what his next larger goal was.

Wolf and horse walked quietly alongside each other along the streets, though there was a point beyond which Levent would rather not go. For one thing, Mai and Wilson were back at the house, and the beautiful mare could very well be stolen (not that Lev thought she’d put up with thieves). For another, a pack was in the vicinity, having laid claim to a smaller section of Amherst in the north. He’d traded at the pack before (it was where he’d gotten Mai in the first place, damn her), but he’d rather not risk shaky relations by squatting so close. He was just one loner, but he’d prefer to be cautious.

After a while, Levent guessed it was about time to head back; he’d just wanted to stretch his legs, and there weren’t any buildings in this more residential area that immediately caught his attention as a good place to forage for shinies. He muttered to Umut and gently led him back around, but just as they turned a scent caught his attention. He spun again, blinking and frowning in the direction of a sidewalk until he saw a white Luperci step into view, and furthermore saw the staff balanced carefully in her hand.

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