finally, catharsis.

The lands were dying. She could see it now: soon, the fire that had slowly begun was
quickly overwhelming them. She did not know how long it would take before the lands were reduced to nothing but ash and memories. She turned, looking over her shoulder for a moment, watching as the flames engulfed her beloved pack, her beloved lands. Perhaps they were not all hers, but these lands had healed her so much that they were no longer just forests or rivers. They were a part of her, and she could never deny everything good that had come from living there. With her friends, her new family, and her past enemies that quickly became friends.

She had healed. Now, it was time to move on. It was for her and Fatin to gather their wits and lead their pack members away from harm. She would move, and hopefully, others would move with her. She could not account for the feelings of everyone in the pack: no, it would be their decision to make if they remained or if they followed. But for their sake – and her own – she hoped they would follow. She hoped they would survive.

She had long since shifted into her Secui form after sending forth the howl for all Jaded Shadows members to follow. There was no time to consult Fatin or speak with Lucifer. If Fatin was upset that she was being rash, so be it. They had to live. She had said to the others to meet her by the edge of the mountain range to the southeast. She had also mentioned that she would wait for anyone leaving immediately to find her at the southeastern part of the territory so they could take the shortest, and most certainly the most dangerous route through the fire and away from the pack lands. Some had found her; some had not. Now, as she gazed across the lands from her chosen spot on the side of the mountain, she was filled with a strange sense of tranquility. Her home was gone, the places she had loved so much had disappeared, but it was time to move on. She could not remain in Jaded Shadows forever, she supposed.

The journey to the side of the mountain had taken time. She had been especially concerned about coming too near to the fire, for it seemed as though her phobia still persisted, if feebly. She had managed to avoid much of the fire before it had truly begun to spread, but had part of her tail catch on fire. It was a burnt, broken mess now, but she had survived. That was what mattered.

Everything considered, she felt a sense of relief wash over her. She smiled fondly at no one in particular, lifting her head to the sky and sending forth a howl once more. It was a song of survival and renewal, one she hoped all the wolves (Jaded Shadows members or not) would hear. They would continue around the mountain and hopefully find refuge in a new land.

Half her brood had gone out to try and hunt something small down, as if testing themselves and their ability to work as a team. Fatin admired their bravery, and watched them go with a small flick of her wrist and a smile. They had been gone part of the morning, and Fatin had been out just sitting on a ledge planted in the side of the Mountain when she saw the first speck of the flames. She had no time to think, no time to wonder or worry. With Amaury and Miriad out there, she felt it deep in her guts that her little girls would not come home; she had to go and find them. Save them.

Fatin began running before she hit the ground, leaping off the ledge and taking off at a breakneck speed. Fuck Tayui's call, fuck Jaded Shadows right now. While her obligation to her pack was strong, her obligations to her family were stronger. She heard a sickening yelp and the crackle of flames and she thought she saw a darting of black. She was afraid, and not aware of the heat growing around her. Her own pelt matched the color of some of the embers, rising and twisting, seeking the life beating inside her. "Amaury! Miriad!" She screamed against the roar of the flames but there was no answer she could hear. There was just the crackle and the sick rumble of the fire.

The smell of charred flesh wafted towards her nose, and her stomach's contents poured out of her mouth before she had time to react mentally. A sound drowned out the fire, and she realized it was shrieks. Cries of pain, cries of Misery. And she knew just who they came from. The last thing she saw of her youngest two children was them huddled together, the flames licking the remains of their lives away. Fatin realized it wasn't the fire she heard anymore, it was the roar from her own throat, a primal and raw and horrible sound.

She was sobbing as she darted the flames and the fire, narrowly escaping a death herself. She did not find Jaded Shadow's members as she traveled, they had taken a path she could not follow. If she met them in the future, it would be a different woman who they crossed paths with. At last, she pulled herself over the ridge and away from the fires and collapsed onto the ground. Her body was crossed by burn marks, her tail was slightly charred and the smell of burnt flesh wafted off her being. Exhausted she cried herself to sleep, not knowing if she would ever see anyone from Jaded Shadows or Bleeding Souls again.

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