Sliding Time 9.99:

by Fur and Fantasy
NC-17 for M/M and M/F sex
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

"Welcome to Sea Hold's territory, Endless Storm." A fairly young bitch, likely not even SunWind's age yet, with a soft, creamy white pelt marked with light blue swirls greeted them formally in Luprani as they stepped out of the bridge to the scent of salt water and a cool breeze.

"Thank you for inviting us, Alpha Sea-Breeze." Shadow-in-the-Dawn inclined her head deeply to the younger bitch.

"We have never had such heartening news as a reason." Sea-Breeze smiled and the formalities of the event faded away. "It is truly extraordinary news. Is this Lyass, who saw our new charge?" He looked at the blue-skinned Twi'lek.

"Yes," Shadow-in-the-Dawn nodded. "Her alpha is Obi-Wan." She motioned to the human. "My oldest pup, SunWind and his mate Wolf. I believe you already know Future-Sight and Sea-Foam."

"Of course," she smiled warmly at the three, but especially at Sea-Foam. "You have grown up well, sister."

"I still miss the sea." Sea-Foam admitted and moved up to hug her litter-sister tightly. "It is good to be back, even for a short time."

Obi-Wan and Lyass hung back, watching the greetings and reacquaintances that were being made. The trip had been fairly long, but they were finally here, and willing to wait until the Loup Maru had made themselves comfortable. He had been told that news traveled fast, but just how familiar these strangers were with his group and its happenings was still a bit surprising on a world that didn't even have stone tools yet.

Sea-Foam slowly worked her way out of the greetings and moved to where SunWind and Wolf were standing, both a bit uncomfortable with being here.

"I can show you around." She offered with an easy smile for them. "This is where I was born."

"Thanks," Wolf said with a bit of a smile, glad to get out of the limelight for a little bit, even if they had been towards the edge of it.

"Do you want to see the beach?" She asked, not completely sure how interested either one was into water.

"Around here, sure," Wolf said, twitching his ears and giving SunWind a light tug to follow. He remembered Sea-Foam from his talk with Shadow-Flash while his mate had been recuperating; being friendly certainly couldn't hurt.

Besides, seeing an ocean on this world was definitely noteworthy.

"This way," she grinned and brushed her tail along SunWind's as they began to walk into the strong, salty breeze. It earned her a slightly startled look from the fully healed male, but he didn't reject the subtle advance.

"Don't worry," Wolf whispered softly to SunWind, squeezing his hand a bit. "She's been interested in you for a while."

"In how much?" He asked in return, giving Sea-Breeze another looking over.

"Not sure," Wolf admitted with a slight shrug. "Shadow-Flash approved of her though. She had a mate, but he died about nine, ten years ago."

"You do not have to whisper," Sea-Foam ducked her head a bit with a blush that turned her much more green than usual. "I can hear you."

"I am so sorry," Wolf murmured with a deep blush of his own. "I can't mind-speak, so...."

"Umm, to answer the question ... I am not sure," she mumbled, only just audible. "I still miss Moonsong, but I would like to have a mate again, or at least a male to sleep with. I like how SunWind smells."

"I understand... Hell, we probably both do," Wolf said with the certainty of somebody who'd lost two mates already in his life. "I wasn't trying to say anything against you, or anything, and I wasn't trying to gossip either...."

"It's okay, Wolf." SunWind nuzzled him, trying to relieve a little of the blatant embarrassment his mate was stumbling through.

"Yes. Like I said, I heard what you said." She almost managed to sound normal. "I was not trying to get you alone. Not really. The beach is lovely, and the sea wonderful to swim in."

"I'm sure it is, to both," Wolf smiled, relaxing a bit and forcing himself to stop being as incredibly embarrassed as he was. "Not far?"

"Since it's out in the open now, maybe we'll talk while we walk." SunWind slid an arm around Wolf and the three began to walk again. "Mother has been hinting that I should find a suitable female before I settle down much more."

"Two males are a bit much, even with pups on the way," she smiled faintly.

"At least without a proper bitch. She's not fond of Alyaa and Lyass isn't staying." SunWind nodded.

"To be fair, last time I checked, none of us are that fond of Alyaa," Wolf pointed out. "And even if she was, Lyass and Long-Spear seem to be pretty close these days."

"They are, but she still intends to leave." SunWind told him. "She is very dedicated to her duty."

"I know," Wolf nodded. "I just meant that even if she was staying, she probably wouldn't help your mother be that much more comfortable," he chuckled.

"She'd be with Long-Spear, not me." SunWind nodded.

"You're pleased with that?" Sea-Foam looked at him in confusion.

"She's happy with him," he shrugged a bit. "We were together more from hormones and lack of control than any real attachment," he explained, trying to conceal the sting that he still felt on that subject.

"And it's pretty much the same with Alyaa, though she had control at least. Lyass... she had no real clue how to handle the attraction," Wolf said easily. Appearances aside, I think SunWind prefers Loup Maru, honestly."

"I don't know what I prefer," SunWind admitted quietly. "Still getting used to the idea that it matters."

"You were lonely even when you had a pack?" She looked at him, confused by the bits she was picking up from his mind.

"I haven't had a Loup Maru in my pack since I was nineteen." He tried to explain. "There were Mice, a female human, and this group. Until Dust-Runner, I hadn't actually been with one of us."

"How did you ever last so long without other Loup Maru around?" Sea-Foam murmured, asking the question so many others had wondered about.

"I couldn't stop." He said quietly, the tone of an admission he wasn't all that sure he liked about himself. "You have to accept death to die."

"Yes," she nodded easily. "But you grew up with us."

"I know," he looked away from her bright blue eyes. "I ... just can't."

"You were not going to stop until you had avenged everything you had lost," she guessed, reaching over and squeezing his hand lightly, Wolf doing the same to his other hand.

"Is it... a problem that he didn't?" Wolf asked cautiously.

"Not that I can think of," she shook her head a bit. "He has simply done something no one thought was possible."

"Okay," Wolf said, relaxing some.

"It wasn't easy," SunWind murmured.

"Nobody thinks it was," Wolf pointed out, squeezing his hand again and hot a nuzzle for it and a tail around his waist.

"You are very good for him, Wolf." Sea-Foam said quietly as the sandy dust shifted more towards sand, though it was still quite red.

"We both needed somebody, and we seem to be a good match," Wolf smiled with a bit of a blush and breathed in the sea smells of salt water only a few dozen yards away.

"It's like Earth," SunWind murmured in honest surprise as he took in the calm blue water that stretched out past the horizon.

"Really?" Sea-Foam cocked her head and looked at the water before she sat down on the damp red sand.

"Like a lot of worlds," Wolf said, guiding SunWind to sit down between him and Sea-Foam. "But... I'm guessing not too much like Mars, the last time you saw it," he murmured.

"I never saw the sea there," he admitted and lay down in the sand to close his eyes and simply take in the surroundings by his other senses. "It was drained by the time I started to travel."

"Drained?" Sea-Foam asked, sounding very sick.

"That's what Plutarkians do," he said matter-of-factly. "They find a world and strip all its resources. Water is only one. They'll eventually dismantle the planet itself, right down to the core."

"That ... is not possible," Sea-Foam murmured, the distressed tone in her voice becoming clearer and clearer. "Not even a Celestine could do that...."

"Technology can make it possible," he said without looking at her, but he opened his mind a bit to give her the least traumatic look at the truth he had witness as he could manage.

"But you used it," she looked at him with a mixture of confusion and horror.

"Technology is not different than energy," he sighed for a conversation he had already had too many times for his taste. "It is the use, not the existence, that makes it a blessing or bane. The blaster I used to defend myself and my pack is the same weapon that was used to kill them. It was just who was pulling the trigger."

"Tech can put a world back together too," Wolf pointed out. "In my system, a lot of planets were practically destroyed during a major war. It's slow going, but even worlds that were so badly ruined that you couldn't touch the water are getting better, the poisons being pulled out of them and the ecosystems being restored."

"That we know how to do," Sea-Foam nodded with much easier understanding. "We have never had something so extreme to deal with, but what we know should be able to fix even that." She flicked a look at SunWind. "But to strip a world to the core?"

"Destruction has never been our way, Sea-Foam. It is not our nature to think of doing such things. It can be done. I have witnessed it more times than I care to think about." SunWind told her quietly. "It is simply the opposite nature to ours."

"True enough," she murmured and rolled to her side to look at the two males that were so different yet had so much more in common than SunWind did with most of his own kind. She could feel how much it distressed SunWind to be caught between what he thought he should want, what he had been raised to be, and what he had become.

"We are what we are," she reached out to rub his chest. "You are a warrior like no other among us, and we will need you."

"I know," SunWind sighed deeply. "I'm so tired of it, but I look at Enderonth, I look at what's coming, and I can't turn away. I just can't, and I want to."

"You know what's coming, but it's not here today," Wolf pointed out, squeezing his mate's hand.

"Have you ever not fought ... something?" SunWind looked over at him, almost begging for a way to be something other than a warrior, to be content with something else.

"Well, unlike you, there was a time I was too young for it," Wolf murmured. "The trick isn't to stop being a warrior, love... it's to know that a warrior doesn't have to fight all the time. It's not how fighting works."

SunWind was still for a long time, thinking back despite the pain of loss that remembering those he no longer had with him brought. The movie nights, the laughing, the games, the time over the bikes, the nights with Modo or Charlie, the flirting he didn't recognize at the time, before his pack was slaughtered. There were many moments, here and there, that didn't have anything to do with the war on the surface, but under the laughing and joking and rabblerousing, it was all about being there for his pack, his Bros. He couldn't remember a time when 'fun' was really for him ... it was always about supplying some need for someone.

"You have seen too much to be a simple hunter," Sea-Foam told him. "Like Walks-to-Other-Worlds and Far-Walker you have seen too much to be content with what most of us are."

"There's nothing wrong with being a warrior, SunWind," Wolf said seriously. "In this universe of ours, where would people be without us? Just remember... right now, at least, there's no war here. There's time to live, for you as well as for others."

"And right now, with no war to fight, I'm restless and uneasy," SunWind closed his eyes tightly, fighting back the tears at the contradiction between what he had always thought, always dreamed he wanted, and the reality of 'peace' ... he just went looking for a new war while pretending to be the good son and Loup Maru. "I'm so tired of fighting, but I can't stop looking for another fight."

"Don't worry about it now, love," Wolf murmured, hugging him. "For now, there's no need to fight, and the next fight is far from now. Relax... I know it's hard, but you've got to at least try, okay?"

SunWind nodded mutely and shifted to draw Wolf close against him, their nearly nude bodies a familiar comfort when it was badly needed.

"~Be with him,~" Sea-Foam told Wolf as she stood silently in Luprani and padded off. "~He needs just you right now.~"

Wolf nodded slightly, leaning up to kiss SunWind, pressing him back into the sand. He was grateful that Sea-Foam understood... she would be a good choice for a first female mate, if she was interested yet.

Wolf nuzzled SunWind early the next morning. They'd spent the night out on the seashore together, Sea-Foam back with the rest of the pack. Wolf was honestly grateful for the time.

It let him try to think about what was going on with his mate's life. Everybody... even SunWind... had thought that if he could find a peaceful Haloeth, or even create something close in the Republic, he'd be able to settle down and retire happily. He wondered which of them had the luck that kept it from being that simple.

Lyass' visions were certainly a part. He couldn't really blame SunWind for not wanting to settle down for real with that looming in the next year or two. On the other hand, he really wished he knew how to make his mate understand and accept what he was; a warrior. He wasn't meant to be happy when everything was calm except for the antics of pups.

It also meant that at least one of them was likely to die young.

If SunWind reached the point where he was looking for fights, instead of just looking for where the wars were going to be .... Wolf sighed, shaking his head. That point hadn't come yet, thankfully. Maybe by then, he could convince him that it was okay. He wasn't a traitor to his kind, or to their dream. He was what they needed, for that dream to be real. He just had to accept that his place was as a leader of his people, and he wouldn't be persecuted for preferring males.

Even Shadows-in-the-Dawn had said so quite firmly. SunWind had produced several pups reasonably young already. If they were all born healthy, and they likely would be, his duty to the future of his kind was satisfied and then some. That he was open to siring more was all these Loup Maru would see when they looked at his lineage.

"Some days," Wolf sighed deeply and tried to stop thinking about it. It wouldn't do to still be fixated on their problems when SunWind finally woke. Instead Wolf shifted to look out over the calm blue water tinted red by the sand and earth under it. This was a lovely place with much greenery and water everywhere, even if most of it was salty.

After a moment's consideration, he decided to go clean up. He wouldn't go out for a swim until SunWind was awake; there was too great a risk that he couldn't swim and would still try to come after him. A quick bath, even if it was in saltwater, would be a welcome morning event and easily seen from shore.

Wolf waded out into the tropical water in a spot where SunWind would see him quickly once he roused and sank down to kneel in the sandy soil and wetted his fur.

He started washing himself off some, trying to think about other things. Sea-Foam, the reason they were out here... anything but ways to help SunWind. He'd already learned the hard way that some things had to be worked out by yourself, and SunWind's issues with his dreams were one of those things.

He wondered what his mate thought of the other Loup Maru... and if she was even still interested, after the last night. It could easily go either way. He couldn't pick up any hint of displeasure when she'd left, but he wasn't focused on her either. Displeasure wasn't what he was worried about either, so much as that she might not want a warrior as much as a hunter. So many questions he couldn't answer, but easily answered when various folks woke up again.

He hoped that wouldn't be too long.

He dunked himself under the water again, then waded out a bit further until he could lay back and float on the small ripples of water to wait for SunWind to wake up. It was an enjoyable feeling; being in water again after so long with only the nearby oasis as a reliable source.

"~Wolf?~" SunWind's half asleep mind reached out for him as soon as he realized his mate wasn't snuggled up with him anymore.

"~In the water,~" Wolf thought back, raising his hand and waving it so that SunWind could see him. "~Come join me?~"

There was a moment of hesitation, but he soon stood and waded out into the warm salt water. "Enjoying the water?"

"Yeah," Wolf chuckled, drifting back in and standing up, his fur dripping as he went to meet SunWind. "It's no pool, but it's nice to be able to just relax and drift for a while. How you feeling?"

"Rested," he smiled a bit and drew Wolf close for a kiss. "You're up early."

"Eh, you know me," Wolf chuckled, kissing SunWind again. "Think too much sometimes, and I needed to think about something else."

"Anything about me?" He winked playfully and ran his hands down the smaller male's hard body.

"Mmm ... a little... but I can think of better ways to think about you," Wolf rumbled, nuzzling SunWind's chest and leading him out a bit deeper into the water, licking his furless nipples lightly.

"And use me?" He chuckled softly, then moaned as Wolf slid a hand down his chest to cup his balls. "Sweet Haloeth, you know how to touch me." He shivered and closed his eyes to relax into his mate's touch.

"I ought to," Wolf rumbled. "Mmm... now I know you liked playing in the shower, and that spring on Corneria, you mind doing it out here?"

"Don't know how to swim," he murmured, even as he shivered in excitement at the sheer indulgence of standing hip-deep in warm water. "Should be different."

"Don't have to go that far out," Wolf chuckled. "Here's good... you can still reach the bottom, so swimming's not an issue. Want me facing you, or my back against you?"

The look that crossed SunWind's face made it clear that agreement had come much more quickly than a real idea of how it would work. A bit of a shy smile crossed his face after a moment as he leaned down to kiss Wolf soundly and pressed their bodies together.

"Face me, but lean back to float?" SunWind suggested softly.

"Sounds good," Wolf rumbled, kissing SunWind again before laying back and relaxing in the warm water. He smiled up when he felt SunWind's tail snake under him to provide a bit of support, especially under his head. He reached down to rub his mate's arms lightly and wrapped his legs around SunWind's waist to pull close.

"You sure about this?" SunWind asked as he played his fingers along Wolf's quickly filling sheath, then down to the furless pucker of his ass. "No lube and salt water?"

"I'm gonna have to get used to not having any lube sooner or later," Wolf pointed out with a reassuring smile. "Just go slow."

SunWind nodded and gently circled Wolf's anus with one finger before pressing inside slowly. As hard as he was, nearly aching as the water lapped against his cock, he couldn't not take the time to see to his mate's comfort.

Wolf moaned slightly, biting his lip at the pain as he was stretched out. It wasn't too bad though; he'd been getting used to it, and by now, he didn't take too long to adjust. Even the added sting of the salt was easy to tune out. The slow care he was stretched out with half surprised at, then chided himself for doubting SunWind's care for him.

He shuddered as the fingers slid from him and the thick, tapered tip of a cock pressed up against his anus and he was slowly drawn towards his mate to be impaled and stroked at the same time.

"Oh yeah," Wolf moaned deeply, gripping SunWind's arms, tightening around his mate's shaft. He worked to make sure his mind was open and available, knowing that that sort of openness was half the pleasure for the Loup Maru pressing into his ass. The return on it wasn't half bad either, especially when they got close to the edge and slipped over it.

"Yes," SunWind growled as he sank all the way to the sheath inside his mate. He snaked his tail up a bit to tease Wolf's mouth as he slowly pulled out.

Wolf opened his mouth, leaning up to catch SunWind's tail-tip in it, suckling it suggestively, his eyes dancing between the times he closed them in pleasure, his mate's shaft pressing against his prostate and sending pleasure shooting through his body, his cock twitching just above the surface of the ocean.

Without a thought SunWind wrapped his mind around Wolf's and reached down to squeeze his mate's swelling knot as they both took in the intensity of fucking and being fucked in the same moment.

Wolf howled, his cum spurting up out of the water as his ass clenched down around SunWind's shaft, milking it hungrily until his mate roared and flooded his body with his seed. Each powerful thrust pumped another burst of hot semen into his bowls and brought another grunt from SunWind and another cry of ecstasy from Wolf.

After a few moments, they finally relaxed, Wolf panting as he leaned up to kiss SunWind.

"Good?" He asked as they gradually slid apart while they kissed and Wolf stood up.

"Very," he smiled and slid his hands along Wolf's sides. "I could get used to this very easily."

"Mmm ... damn shame we don't have an ocean handy closer to the main den, then," Wolf chuckled, and then groaned as the warm water caressed his stretched ass.

"In a few years, when we have a territory of our own, maybe we will." SunWind nuzzled him affectionately, then yipped in surprise as his legs were swept out from under him and he was suddenly under the water and tumbling with no clue what way was up or where Wolf was.

Wolf swore, diving into the water to follow SunWind out without thinking. Stupid or not, he knew SunWind couldn't swim, and he at least had a chance to help. As he could, he lifted his head up in a howl of alarm and heard it answered from nearby.

"~Wolf, swim back to shore. Dart will get him.~" Summer-Breeze's mind echoed in his with an order that was backed up by Shadows-in-the-Dawn.

Reluctantly, Wolf turned, sure that one of the Loup Maru from here would be better equipped to get SunWind in safely. He started swimming back, fighting the whole way against the part of his mind that was screaming at him that he could only be sure if he did it himself.

"~I am a much better swimmer,~" a female mind touched his with a self-identification of being Dart. "~At least this form is,~" she added with the mental image of what she looked like now; a powerful, long-necked serpentine creature with four large paddle-like flippers.

He looked over, seeing Dart as her form worked out, then turned his attention back to getting to shore, climbing out and turning around to watch nervously, not concerned in the least with the fact that he was naked and surrounded by much of the local pack and his own group.

"She will fetch him," Shadows-in-the-Dawn put a hand on Wolf's shoulder. "Dart is very good in the water."

"Doesn't stop me from worrying," Wolf chuckled weakly as they saw the long neck of Dart's body rise out of the water with a limp tan form in her mouth. "Hell, he was only out there because of me in the first place."

"It will not be as bad as after the grazen," she assured him. "He is much too stubborn to die of water."

"I don't think he'd ever settle for that," Wolf nodded a bit, thinking back to the injuries that he had personally seen SunWind pull through. "I'll still feel a lot better when I can see he's on land and breathing."

"I am sure he will as well." She nodded and watched SunWind be carried to them in the jaws of a creature that could easily eat him, but was really their kin. He was conscious, she could feel as much, but he was limp in the toothy maw like a good rescue victim.

"You okay?" Wolf asked SunWind after he'd been set down on the sand and had stopped coughing up water.

"Yeah," he coughed and hacked a couple more times before standing a bit shakily. He turned to face Dart as she came out of the water. "Thank you."

"You are kin," she smiled at him and walked close. "~If you wish to learn to swim, I will show you,~" she offered privately.

"~Maybe somewhere with fewer waves,~" he suggested with a weak smile of thanks.

"~I know places,~" she nodded. "~In the afternoon, when the hunt for the fish has ended.~"

"~Sounds good,~" SunWind nodded. "How is the hunt going?" He asked, once he was done coughing and Wolf had a moment to finish checking him over.

"We have not found one yet, but it is known here." Shadows-in-the-Dawn told him.

"Who would have thought the erriqua would be our next charge," Dart smiled at him. "They are rare and hard to catch, but we know of them here."

"Erriqua?" SunWind asked, cocking his head.

"What's an erriqua?" Wolf asked, having the sneaking suspicion he'd just asked the local equivalent of 'what's a carp?'

SunWind glanced at Dart, giving her the opening to answer him.

"It is a near shore fish about the size of my finger," she held up her first finger and marked it off at the joint to her hand. "Unremarkable in any way you care to think of. It is too small to be a good meal, too fast to be easily caught and too few and plain to be noted by much of anyone. About the only reason anyone thinks of them is that many of us used them and a dozen similar species as young pups to get a feel for hunting fish."

"So... the next species the Loup Maru will be helping become sentient is basically the local equivalent of a minnow?" Wolf asked with a slightly disbelieving blink.

"The Maru and Luprani were little more advanced when we started," SunWind told him with an understanding look.

"I can see why that would take a few million years," Wolf mused, still not quite able to grasp the idea.

"It has been our purpose since Lumari was given his pack," SunWind brushed Wolf's cheek. "We guard and nurture our charges to what they are destined to be."

"You've got a chance to get back to that, now," Wolf pointed out with a bit of a smile even as he realized he was standing naked in the middle of a sizeable group that were all paying attention to him. "Maybe find something you prefer to what you've been doing up to now."

"Maybe," he nodded and used his tail to pick up Wolf's pants and hand them to him after shaking the sand off.

"Would you like us along to help with the hunt?" Wolf asked as he got dressed.

"If you would not rather spend some time alone together," Summer-Breeze nodded. "You would be welcome."

"We can spend time together on the hunt," SunWind made the choice for them.

"Good," she nodded. "Then go with Obi-Wan and the Endless Storm. We are trying to catch a sample for the Healers to work with."

"What should we put it in?" Wolf asked, assuming they wanted it alive.

"One of these," Shadows-in-the-Dawn held up a basket woven of long, thick leaves.

"That should do the trick," Wolf nodded, looking it over. "Any idea what these little guys usually eat? Might make it easier to find 'em."

"Smaller fish, sea plants, sea soup," Shadows-in-the-Dawn told him.

"Plankton," Obi-Wan translated the last item before Wolf could ask.

"Anything too small to eat them," SunWind chuckled and secured the simple leather drape he now used to cover his nudity.

"Well, ask a silly question," Wolf admitted with a sheepish chuckle as they started off towards the proper part of the seashore, keeping an eye out for anything that looked like a suitable patch where they might be eating near the shallows. To his inexperienced eye, it all looked good, or not good, depending on the moment. He could tell by the way the others moved and looked that they were seeing, or feeling, things he couldn't.

Both Jedi had that out-of-focus expression he had learned was them 'looking' in the Force. Lyass was particularly fixated on that method. Shadows-in-the-Dawn, Future-Sight, Sea-Foam and SunWind were using all their senses, but were taking particular cues from Sea-Foam for her knowledge of the area.

"Something's not quite right," Lyass murmured, closing her eyes. "How far out do they usually swim?"

"I am not sure, we have never studied them carefully," Sea-Foam admitted. "I would be surprised to find out in more than two head of water."

"One we want to find might be," Lyass murmured. "I have a sense he's somewhere he shouldn't be, somewhere darker. Pushing his limits, and luck."

"How far out?" Sea-Foam asked even as she began to gather power around her. "Can you guide me?"

"Can you handle a rider?" Lyass asked, frowning after a moment as she realized she really couldn't give any directions.

"As long as you can hold your breath," she nodded easily. "Water Breathing is not a Gift I can use on another."

"That I can do," Lyass nodded easily, stripping off her outer robe. "Ready when you are... that way, for now," she said, indicating a direction off into the deeper part of the shallows.

Sea-Foam nodded and shifted into Lumari before kneeling so Lyass could climb onto her back. When she was settled, the giant stood and stepped into the water, quickly making distance into deeper water where she soon had to swim, her feet just above the sea floor.

"~Careful,~" Lyass said mentally. "~He's on the bottom somewhere... won't feel anything until the last second, but don't want to scare him... or hurt him. Left some, keep going out. Close though.~"

"~I'm going to swim down there,~" Sea-Foam warned her before sinking down and gradually shifted to swim parallel to the bottom and only a few inches above it.

Lyass closed her eyes before they went under, taking a deep breath she could hold for ages if necessary. She stretched out through the Force with her senses, feeling her surroundings, seeing them through the Force... and seeing the bright spot created by the fish they were looking for.

"~He is there,~" she said, giving Sea-Foam the mental image she had.

"~I see it,~" she sent back. "~Can you capture it in a Force-bubble?~"

"~Yes,~" Lyass agreed, stretching out further, gently squeezing the water around it into a cohesive, separate portion of the ocean.

"~You hold onto it, I will get us all to dry land.~" Sea-Foam instructed and slowly moved towards the surface so Lyass would no longer have to hold her breath while she swam the many lengths back to the gathering searchers on shore.

The excitement was palpable, even to Lyass at this distance. The joy, hope, relief at what was happening made her tremble. It was as powerfully a positive moment as the fall of the Temple on Coruscant was a negative one.

She focused on keeping the erriqua in its protective bubble, not letting the feelings of the others distract them until it, and a good amount of seawater, were in one of the small bowls.

"There are others nearby, but that one... he is necessary," she said after making sure her catch was swimming happily in it's new place.

"Out of order, but yes," Storm-Healer nodded after she had ghosted a hand and her power over the small creature. "This is good breeding stock."

"We captured two others," Sea-Breeze nodded as Sea-Healer and Walks-on-Water came up to examine the new one.

"At least one will be suited for study in death," Sea-Healer commented as she studied the newest catch, crooning all the while. "Agreed. This one is fine breeding stock. A very good catch."

"Have we worked out how to keep them safe until they grow up enough to spread and protect themselves?" One of the local pack asked.

"Not a clue," Shadows-in-the-Dark admitted.

"In the short term, I might have a suggestion," Wolf offered. "Something we ran into with the reclamation teams. How fine a weave can you manage on fibers?" He asked them.

"You're considering sea-fence?" Obi-Wan asked, earning both of them a series of confused looks.

"It'd do the trick," Wolf said with a bit of a shrug. "Looking at these guys, we'd need to manage about a quarter-inch weave or so, maybe a half. Let the things in and out that they eat and that they need to clear out, but not let predators in. Weather'd be an issue, but it always will be. Just couldn't use it long-term, or the prey might learn better than to come inside the fence."

"I can do that," a piebald female just barely in her teens spoke up. "It is little different from a very large bag that is not water tight."

The Force literally crackled with a level of communication that began with the dozen Loup Maru present, extended to their packmates still hunting erriqua and then spread well beyond the borders of the Sea Hold pack to include the entire race in a conversation about options that lasted several very long minutes for those not involved.

Walks-on-Water nodded as it began to wind down.

"Until a Stone-Shaper can mold a sanctuary out of their territory, the net is the best idea." He said to general acceptance.

"You'll just have to be careful to keep it up for the time being," Wolf nodded slightly. "It'll work for a while... and I kinda doubt you guys really have something that'd let them be kept completely outside of the ocean."

"In the meantime, we can catch as many as we can and keep them safe in the higher tide pools," Sea-Foam suggested. "Dig them out and build up the barrier to let water in but not much else."

"Lyass and I can herd a number of them into a more confined area," Obi-Wan offered with a glance at the young Knight to confirm that she was up to it. "Save time catching them."

"How?" Shadows-in-the-Dawn asked, both curious and interested in the offer as more Loup Maru gathered to check out the special catch.

"The same way I caught the first one," Lyass explained. "Easier, actually, now that we've found him. Obi-Wan would create a 'barrier' around them, which I would help him with, after attracting a number of them into a smaller area."

"How many of us should be ready to fish them out?" Shadows-in-the-Dawn asked.

"That depends on how many of them there are in the area," Lyass admitted with a chuckle. "I'd guess two or three at this point, if we can afford to fill the bowl, more or less. They shouldn't gather that quickly."

"Sea-Foam, SunWind, Wolf and I will help you fish. Everyone else can help Weaver with the net," Shadows-in-the-Dawn said and received agreement from those around her.

Lyass nodded slightly, reaching down into the water and focusing on the Force, letting her fingers dangle just beneath the surface as she started attracting the tiny fish. Before long, she, Obi-Wan, and the others had set up a sort of 'assembly line,' attracting them, putting a telekinetic barrier around them, and then collecting them so that Lyass could start again.

"I am not that innocent," SunWind objected as he walked at Sea-Foam's side in the warmth of the coastal afternoon and it's cooling breezes. "I do have two litters on the way."

"I do not think innocent is a word that has ever been applicable to you," she consented without trouble. "That is not what I asked," she stepped and turned to face him, forcing him to stop as well as she reached up to cup his face with one hand. "Have you ever been with a female when it was not for relief or because you wanted something from her?"

This time he stilled the first answer, the incorrect answer, and focused on what she was really looking for.

Carbine ... no. They had been lovers, he realized now that they had a real chance of having children, but there was always the edge there. The secrets they both kept and the trust it had cost the other for it. He had needed to prove he preferred females and she needed ... he couldn't recall what she needed anymore, if he ever knew. He had cared for her dearly, her betrayal had ripped his heart apart, but it was never what he felt for any of his male partners.

Charlie ... so much had passed between them and around them, but their time was truly what Sea-Foam was referring too. Sex was to ease tension and give them both a moment of pleasure amongst the daily pain of a war they both knew was hopeless. He cared for her dearly, he may well have loved her, but it was all bound into duty and desperation. Perhaps here ... if she was similar enough ... something more could happen, but it had not when he'd had the chance.

The Dalmatian bitch on Corneria, what was her name? Perry something. It was casual, meaningless, but had been to prove he could as much as to make Wolf comfortable with another male in his bed.

Lyass ... he shuddered with desire he still could barely control. He still didn't understand what the Twi'leks did to him; why he reacted the way he did. He actually liked Lyass, unlike Alyaa. If the young Jedi hadn't had such important work to do, he was seriously tempted to try and have her stay. Not that he had a chance of having her as a mate with Long-Spear around, but he did like her company. Like with Charlie, different circumstances may have created something different, something they both wanted instead of something they both resisted as best they could. He still regretted their first time, what little he could remember of it.

Alyaa ... there was nothing but out of control lust there. On a very real level, he hated her for the control she had over him. It felt so much like being an experiment again. Turned loose to run, but never free.

Dust-Runner ... what could he say about her? He didn't even know how she got her name. She was the mother of his pups and nothing more.

Without trying, his mind drifted to the unasked part of her question; if he had ever had a real lover. The kind that can spend tender mornings together that lead to nothing. Someone he could sleep with and not feel a need to perform or protect.

Stag may have been that, but like Charlie, they had never had the time. He was so ill-at-ease with his nature back then it had been impossible to willingly with another male, no matter how much he desired it.

Vinnie ... he may have bedded his white bro a few times, but the white Mouse never could deal with male attention no matter how much he had wished otherwise at times.

Modo ... social issues held them apart, but he was beginning to think that Wolf was right and they did love each other. At the very least they had found a way to have the comfort of a male lover in a way that their society could accept.

"So many tries, so many you were close to," Sea-Foam interrupted him softly and lifted to her toes to lick his muzzle and mouth in a puppy-like gesture meant to defuse any ill will. "I am sorry I asked."

"It's all right," he murmured and stepped back a bit. "It is something I should think about sometimes, rather than forget. They were all important in my life."

"I can feel that," she smiled slightly and stepped to the side to begin walking again. "Tell me how you came to be SunWind?"

That night, the temporary shelter mostly completed, the fence being woven, Wolf and SunWind had some time to themselves. Time that, with an offer from Wolf when he had heard about Dart's plans, was being spent teaching his mate how to swim.

About a half-hour into the lesson, Wolf could tell that SunWind had very thoroughly crossed the boredom line, and was ready to move on from the most basic parts. If they didn't, the flirting would get a lot more serious and Sea-Foam would have more than an occasional tease to snicker at as she watched and paddled nearby in the warm salt water of an enclosed shallows she had show them.

"So, ready to actually swim, instead of mostly floating?" He offered.

"Very," he nodded.

"Okay; we're still starting out simple, from your back. Easiest to see everything and keep your head out of water that way. Just stretch your arms out to your side and pull them back, flat against you. Use your legs a bit to kick gently, but for the most part, your arms are going to be propelling you." It wasn't easy, remembering back to his own swimming lessons decades ago, but Wolf did his best. It didn't hurt his efforts that his student was bright, willing and telepathic.

SunWind was soon on his back and slowly moving across the shallows while Sea-Foam swam alongside or under him. She was here for fun and moral support, but unlike Wolf, she had little inclination for ignoring the physical urges that SunWind's obvious arousal presented.

It wasn't really something that Wolf was ignoring either, per se... he was just keeping it from distracting him from the job. He swam out alongside SunWind, keeping an eye on him as his mate began to relax in the movement.

"When you're comfortable doing that, stop, float, and roll over; we'll swim on your front on the way in," Wolf told him. He held back a scowl when Sea-Foam slid above the surface to brush her hand along SunWind's chest. Wolf had to give his mate credit, it didn't completely fluster him, but the low sound that came out of his throat before she dove under the water again meant it wouldn't last.

Fortunately, he'd been planning on a break just as soon as they made it back to shore anyways... oh well. He'd been the one playing matchmaker when they got here, after all. Who was he to complain?

Besides the guy trying to keep SunWind from accidentally half-drowning himself again because their potential girlfriend liked to be playful when she wasn't being shy. It seemed that a bit of privacy helped her nearly as much as it did him.

He watched carefully as SunWind rolled over and did his best to match his own experienced strokes towards the shore.

Wolf slowed down a bit when SunWind fell behind, but was quickly satisfied he was just getting a little tired at the unusual exertion.

"We'll rest a bit once we're back in!" He called to SunWind.

"~I don't think rest is on his mind right now,~" Sea-Foam giggled in Wolf's mind as they kept close to SunWind without getting in his way.

"~You're not helping,~" Wolf teased back lightly, though he didn't want to say anything more until they'd gotten to shore, and he could stop worrying about SunWind.

"~He will not be hurt,~" she said with a certainty born of living a fundamental truth.

"~I know; you're here to help him if necessary,~" he said, his gratitude for that fact clear in his mental voice as they stood up in the knee deep water a bit ahead of SunWind.

"So, how're you feeling?" He asked SunWind once he was on his own feet.

"Wet," SunWind chuckled and caught Wolf with his tail to pull him close. "I might learn to swim, but it puts such different things to mind," he rumbled and pulled his mate close against him.

"Mmm... and I'm just no fun when I'm on the job, am I?" Wolf chuckled, wrapping his arms around his mate. "Not that a certain Loup Maru helped your focus any," he teased, sticking his tongue out at Sea-Foam playfully.

"No you are not," SunWind claimed a heated kiss and rubbed his very aroused body against his mate's equally muscular one. "Not on the job now, are you?"

"Nope," Wolf grinned, kissing him heatedly. "Mmm ... let's stay out of the riptides this time though," he winked.

"There are no such currents here," Sea-Foam told them both rather seriously, then grinned. "Nothing here to interrupt your fun."

"So, do you plan to watch?" Wolf asked with a rumble, glancing back at her briefly before reaching down to fondle SunWind's crotch. "Maybe join in later, if everybody's agreeable?"

"Perhaps," she blushed a rich green but didn't take her eyes off the two male lovers as Wolf expertly drew moans and whimpers from SunWind. It was only a few touches before SunWind shuddered and wrapped his tail tightly around Wolf's waist, nearly on the edge of orgasm already.

Wolf wrapped his hand around SunWind's cock entirely, drawing him down into a kiss, stroking him and pressing close, rubbing the tip in his coarse fur. He felt SunWind's breath catch in the same moment as the hard flesh in his hand twitched and SunWind's hips thrust forward instinctively into the pleasure of the moment and gave in without a thought.

Wolf rubbed the back of his neck, kissing him as his fur and fingers were streaked with his lover's seed. On a whim, once SunWind's orgasm was finished, he pressed his white-stained fingers to the Loup Maru's lips, not really expecting any serious reaction to the gesture.

He nearly moaned when his fingers were drawn into his mate's mouth and gently licked clean with the attention usually reserved for his cock. Each finger was carefully suckled and licked until every drop of seed was gone and Wolf was the one trembling with need.

"Want to clean up the rest of it?" He whispered, carefully sending SunWind the image that was in his mind, of the larger Loup Maru cleaning his fur, then giving him what they both wanted.

SunWind shivered in anticipation and knelt to lick his way down Wolf's muscular, compact body. Despite his goal, he paused to suckle on each bare nipple until it was a hard pebble between his teeth and Wolf's breath came quicker. More to the periphery he was keenly aware that Sea-Foam was watching their lovemaking with arousal nearly as great as Wolf's.

He moaned into Wolf's pelt and continued his way down until he reached where his seed was sticking in gleaming white strands in the dark gray fur he was licking clean.

Wolf's scent was a powerful, intoxicating one as he rubbed SunWind's antennae, his cock twitching in anticipation as he watched his mate, normally so dominant unless they were having sex, clean him so carefully, lovingly. He nearly gasped a howl as he watched his full, red cock disappear into SunWind's mouth and down his throat where it was milked and massaged by his strong throat.

He thrust instinctively, fighting to make this last as long as he could as he stroked SunWind's antennae, suckled first one tip, then the other lovingly, his balls churning on the edge of orgasm. He grunted and thrust forward hard when SunWind's hand closed around his knot and tugged forward gently.

Without a thought Wolf threw his head back and howled his pleasure while his mate sucked him dry. His balls twitched hard, pulsing as they emptied themselves. Finally, he knelt, panting as he kissed SunWind deeply, tasting both their seed on his breath.

"~Love you,~" SunWind murmured to his mind as they knelt and held each other through the lingering kiss.

"~Love you too,~" Wolf said back, every ounce of his meaning clear in his mind. "~Mmm... want to help Sea-Foam out? She's wound up bad.~"

He looked over at light blue-green female and stood, Wolf still in his arms. "Do you want ...." his voice trailed off, uncertain just how to make the offer, or even if he really wanted to.

Wolf reached around, rubbing his back, offering support either way, making it clear that he was okay with SunWind's choice.

Sea-Foam wasn't as passive. She approached him, eyes lowered, and caressed his muzzle lightly, tilting hers up to lick it submissively, making the offer, and leaving it to him to accept or refuse.

It was a move that startled SunWind into absolute stillness as he worked to grasp the concept of submission in a ranking female of his own kind.

"We are not all fierce and dominant," Sea-Foam smiled gently at him and licked his muzzle again, mimicking the licking kisses she had just witnessed between the males. "Some of us..."

"Are soft," SunWind murmured as his hands moved down the curves of her body. He claimed an awkward kiss when she moaned deeply and relaxed into his tail's embrace as his fingers slid down the front of her sex, then back to caress the set, swollen flesh between her legs.

"Please," she whimpered and shivered at his touch. "It has been so long."

SunWind nipped at her collarbone, then glanced at Wolf before he moved to the very edge of the water and pulled her to the ground.

Wolf moved to join them, kneeling beside the two of them and kissing SunWind lightly, letting him take the lead even as he caught a few image-thoughts of Sea-Foam between them and the feel of rubbing against each other inside her sex.

"So naughty," she trembled, both excited and nervous as SunWind settled on his back and pulled her on top of him.

"Think you're going to find that we're both that way, when we put our minds to it," Wolf rumbled, climbing on top of the two of them, nuzzling Sea-Foam's neck and rubbing SunWind's side as she got used to the sensation of being between two aroused males that weren't trying to fight over her.

"I do prefer males," SunWind murmured and shifted a bit to rub against the slick lips of her entrance, causing them both to moaned and shudder in pleasure.

Sea-Foam tried not to pant as she slid her tail between their bodies and guided his full erection into her body; the first time she had felt it in years.

"He'll get better about it with time, probably, at least for a few fems," Wolf murmured, kissing the back of Sea-Foam's neck before he shifted himself, pressing up into her along with SunWind once he thought she was ready, careful for any sign of real pain.

He felt her body tighten around them, almost impossibly tight, but her moans and SunWind's thrust up were enough reassurance for Wolf that it wasn't anything she minded.

"Sweet Haloeth," she whimpered as much at the physical pleasure as at having two males prefer to share than fight.

"So good," Wolf groaned, nuzzling her neck as he and SunWind started to thrust slowly, quickly finding a rhythm that the two of them could keep up while the female between them trembled and whimpered, nearly overwhelmed by the sensations of what was happening.

"Yes," SunWind rumbled and worked his hands inward to squeeze Sea-Foam's breasts and play his nails around her bare nipples.

Wolf leaned forward a bit, nuzzling and licking at the base of Sea-Foam's antennae, his hot breath washing over them as his knot started to swell. He was careful about how deep he pressed, not wanting to do too much or risk hurting either of his lovers.

Besides, having his knot up against SunWind's cock and inside of her was a bit too much for him, just yet. Just the thought of it was enough to make his cock jerk in excitement.

"~Maybe,~" SunWind said softly, not as completely distracted as Wolf had expected.

"~Worry about it later,~" Wolf chuckled back mentally, groaning as his balls pulled close to his body, his shaft throbbing inside Sea-Foam's body along SunWind's. It was enough to send the other male over the edge, and along with him, Sea-Foam.

Wolf wasn't far behind, groaning deeply as he spilled his seed into Sea-Foam's body along with SunWind's, their essence pooling deep in her sex. All three twitched and whimpered as they wound down, each breath causing them to rub against each other's sensitive flesh.

"That was fun," Sea-Foam murmured and nuzzled SunWind.

"And you still prefer just one," SunWind smiled up at her and ran his hands down her sides.

"Want me to give you two some space?" Wolf murmured, nuzzling Sea-Foam's neck lightly. He could feel the gratitude as she turned her head to nuzzle him back.

"If you do not mind," she nodded.

"No problem," he smiled, pulling out of her with a deep groan. "Mmm... mind if I stay where I can watch?"

She hesitated, her preference to be alone with SunWind weighed against a simple request by his first mate and the one who would likely decide whether she would actually be SunWind's mate in time. A first mate that was not jealous or possessive, even when faced with competition from a female who could give SunWind pups.

"I do not mind," she finally decided.

"Thank you," Wolf said sincerely, moving off to give them some space. "If you do want some privacy, I understand," he added easily.

She nodded and turned her attention to SunWind, nuzzling him as they both settled down completely and relaxed in the lapping salt water.

"So... what did you like to do with your last mate?" SunWind asked after a few moments to relax, snuggling close to her, keeping half a mental "ear" on whether or not Wolf was bothered by being left out, even by as little as he was.

She seemed a bit surprised by the question, but thought back to try and answer it.

"Moonsong was a very dull person compared to you and Wolf," she began slowly, though neither her tone nor mind gave any hint she was anything but content with it that way. "We hunted, sang, sunbathed, taught pups ..." she paused as she caught the actual focus of his question and blushed lightly, an effect that simply made her blue-green fur look more green. "We never really experimented," she admitted with her head ducked against his broad chest.

"It's okay," he smiled, stroking the back of her neck lightly. "It's good to know about the rest of that too... never really had the chance to do any of it, myself," he admitted. "So you had pups?"

"No," she murmured, the longing and regret of it clear even to Wolf. "The two cycles I was with Moonsong I did not conceive."

"And you haven't found another mate or sire to try with?" SunWind asked gently. "I can tell you want them, badly."

"Who does not?" She looked up at him seriously. "I am still young. I did not want a sire, I want a mate."

"I can't be entirely sure if they'll let me have a litter with you, even as your mate," SunWind pointed out gently. "With two litters already on the way, at this point. They probably would, but it would depend on how things work out."

"Your mother will," she smiled softly and nuzzled him. "Especially if I do a good job of nursing the one that Alyaa is carrying."

"I'm sure you will, especially compared to Alyaa," SunWind murmured, nuzzling her lightly. "Who do you think is likely to claim how many of the pups?"

"With at least three from the other litters going to your mother, I should be keeping them all." She smiled and relaxed into his embrace. "She might nose around a particularly powerful one, but no one else is going to have claim."

"True," SunWind nodded slightly. "Been a while since I've had to consider any of this seriously," he admitted with a light nuzzle. "A long while."

"You will have plenty of time to think about pups now," she nuzzled him.

"Yeah," he admitted with a slight chuckle, lying back next to her and thinking about it... realizing that she was right. "Yeah... I will."

"I'm beginning to realize just how big a thing for them this really is," Obi-Wan murmured as he and Lyass observed the arrivals for the upcoming meeting of the Loup Maru Healers. Many of them were coming by the paths and gates that they had used after their own arrival, others were running in from their home territories ... over a dozen Healers, each of them aged and well-learned, the greatest the Loup Maru had to offer. "How many more are expected to arrive?"

"Twenty-six Healers in person, likely another hundred in mind. At least that many Lorekeepers as well," she told him as Sea-Healer and Storm-Healer lay down near them in Luprani.

"~All of the Rallic are going to be present and many pack alphas,~" Storm-Healer added.

"And, to judge by the feel of things in the Force, every Loup Maru on Haloeth sensing what they can," Obi-Wan murmured, shaking his head.

"~Quite a few of the Luprani as well,~" Sea-Healer grinned up at him.

"I wonder how SunWind is taking the gathering," the Jedi mused.

Storm-Healer barked a chuckle and sought his mind out.

"~Still trying to grasp how many of us there are,~" she reported. "~Wolf and Sea-Foam are keeping him from thinking about it too much.~"

"Something they're very good at," Obi-Wan chuckled back. "I hope it isn't too much for him?"

"~Not so far,~" Storm-Healer said as the Force ripped with the arrival of a creature of pure energy greater than anything either Jedi had encountered, but was clearly something the locals were familiar and comfortable with.

"What is that?" Obi-Wan asked Lyass quietly, not sure if they'd have told her yet or not. She did seem to be more on the inside of this particular gathering, being a Healer and the one who had the vision.

"A spirit," she answered quietly, nearly as shocked as he was. "A very strong one."

"~He is Ravizza, the Incarna for the spirits we usually summon for news,~" Future-Sight told them from a few places away where she was lounging in Maru.

"It's a good thing the Jedi don't have rules about affecting the cultures we encounter," Obi-Wan mused. Anything that would attract that sort of attention had to count. "What is the main discussion going to be about?"

Lyass relaxed mentally at a question she actually knew the answer to. "As I understand it, there will be three phases. The first is to determine the final form and abilities they will aim for. The second is the politics of how they will accomplish it; how the territorial boundaries will be altered, if there will be any new packs and how they will alter themselves to best accomplish their goal. When all that is done, Haloeth will be asked to accept the project. If that goes well, the first phase of altering their new charge will be done right here."

"At least with the Loup Maru, the politics involved shouldn't be too much like the Senate back home," Obi-Wan mused. "I rather doubt it could be."

"A project like this back home could never have gotten going," Lyass shook her head slightly. She flicked her gaze to one corner as another Incarna arrived. This one chose to materialize and soon displayed the slender form of an avian and the fiery flowing feathers that marked her as a Phoenix.

"Very impressive," Obi-Wan murmured.

"There are three levels of power above that, from what I have been told," Lyass said. "Incarna are just the most powerful spirits that interact with the physical world regularly."

"Do you have any idea what Haloeth's avatar will be like?" He asked her quietly.

"A very large red Lumari, from what I have gathered. She comes each year to meet the new Loup Maru pups in person."

"Now there's a relationship the Council would spend a few decades figuring out," Obi-Wan chuckled.

"No doubt," she smiled at him in shared amusement. "I am sure they would find this entire system baffling."

"Most likely," Obi-Wan nodded settled back in silence to watch and listen to a most unique event. Even with no real ties to the world or outcome, it was fascinating to be here and the sheer amount of power on display in a cooperative manner was breathtaking. Even as he wished his universe could be so stable and cooperative, he remembered the price he was informed of for this tranquility. It was not a choice he ever wished to make.

There was excitement, nearly giddy in places, but there was also a seriousness. No one was less than dedicated to this cause and making it work this time.

If they stayed with an aquatic end result... maybe amphibious, but preferring the water... they probably could manage it. It would take time, but as he'd been told many times, they didn't care about that. Just having a purpose again would be worthwhile.

"~What was that?~" Sea-Healer asked, looking directly at Obi-Wan with a bright curiosity in his eyes.

"~It occurred to me that an aquatic species, or one that preferred the water, would be less likely to run into the issues that the Mice had,~" he explained.

"~They would not?~" He was focused completely on Obi-Wan now, with the idea passed around to all concerned.

"~The Mice, as I understand, were developing to rely too much on technology, cities, and similar things... things of the Weaver, yes?~"

"~Yes, that is a reasonable summary,~" he nodded.

"~Technology like that is harder to develop underwater,~" Obi-Wan explained. "~There are species in my experience that have, but they tend to develop on land first, then move into the water. An aquatic species wouldn't be able to smelt metals easily, for example, or develop many synthetic materials. Any technology they would develop would be more likely to develop in a way that helps them live in harmony with their surroundings.~"

He felt the interest in that idea as it was transmitted and cross-referenced across the entire race and their spirit allies. There was some doubt about the truth of it. Not a doubt in his experience, but a doubt that it would hold true.

He felt the Force begin to settle as they came to an agreement on it, though he could not tell what that agreement was.

He was sure he would find out soon enough. For now, he settled to wait for the gathering, fairly sure that it would be one of many ideas he heard tonight.

"Days," Lyass told him very quietly. "This meeting could last weeks with days between real breaks."

"I'm not surprised by this in the least," Obi-Wan nodded slightly, settling in for the long haul.

A new ripple in the Force caught both Jedi by surprise over a month later. Nearly all of it had been spent talking, or rather listening, as the future of a world and race for the next several million years was set into place. What still struck Obi-Wan was how often the opinion of those who did not live there was solicited. Not just he and Lyass, but also Wolf and SunWind, and those thoughts were inspected with as much respect as any local specialist with unique knowledge.

With the new presence, a stronger one than any of the others from before, approaching, his attention shifted to it, right along with the attention of everybody else who was there and not practically blind to the Force. Wolf caught on quickly enough however, now well used to taking clues from those that were when something was up.

Being on the perimeter they did not need to move far, but the center of the gathering, the most important Alphas and powerful Healers, were quickly vacating an area hundreds of paces wide where the energy was focusing and coalescing under the ground.

"This is going to be big," Obi-Wan murmured as he and Lyass took a few extra steps back despite not truly needing to.

"~Haloeth is coming,~" Storm-Healer told them with absolute awe in her mind despite the level of familiarity that was just as clear. This was the mother of them all, the first in the line, the one that gave them life and purpose. Not even meeting her every year dulled their respect for their creator as she formed of the soil and rock of her namesake to stand as a great red Lumari among her many children.

She was greeted with something that most of the universe rarely saw; two thoroughly awestruck Jedi who where were looking at her both physically and through the Force, where she glowed almost blindingly bright with the power of an entire world alive and strong.

"~I knew I had chosen well in you,~" her low, maternal voice caressed their minds. Despite the pleasure and warmth there, touching her mind left no ability to doubt that she could earn the name that the natives of Enderonth had chosen to call her and her world. Mars, God of War, was a title she could bear with ease.

"~We are glad to have satisfied you, Haloeth~" Obi-Wan responded, hoping it was politely.

Of all the things the Jedi had taught him, proper protocol for addressing a true deity was not among them. It was a rare Jedi that would admit such a thing even existed, but for Obi-Wan and Lyass, those days of doubt were now long gone with a single breath. Whatever you wanted to classified Haloeth as, She was a god by every definition they knew.

"~Greetings, Haloeth,~" the Loup Maru greeted her warmly; all but one. That one was too shocked to even think.

"~She was gone by your birth,~" the giant Lumari focused on her newest son in the distance.

"Y-yes," SunWind managed to stammer as he gathered his wits enough to speak.

"~You will become used to this existence,~" she smiled at him, the warmth and welcome glowing in the physical world nearly as much as in the Force before turning her attention to the leaders who were preparing to tell her of their choices.

"~Haloeth, we have selected the erriqua as the foundation of our new charge based on the vision of our Seers and knowledge of the Sea Hold Pack,~" Rallic Alpha Visited-At-Birth began respectfully. While her voice carried well, her mind reached all the way around the world. "We have agreed upon a final form with two legs, two arms with hands and a swimming tail. It will have gills and lungs; an amphibian that prefers the sea."

Haloeth nodded for her to continue after considering the mental image for a time.

"~We will create three new packs and alter our protectorates so that nineteen packs will share the shores where we will help the erriqua spread. The three new packs, and some of those on the shore, will become amphibious themselves to better care for the erriqua. We have the Gifts and skills to do so.~"

Despite the simplicity and shortness of the speech, all on Haloeth but Wolf and Alyaa heard the full technical details, complete with the mental images, that passed with them.

It was an extremely complicated plan, one that was communicated mentally with an ease that was shocking to Obi-Wan and Lyass both. Somewhere between the familiarity of having so many minds adding bits and pieces that they were responsible for and the ease with which Haloeth accepted and understood it was beyond even most Jedi. It was just as well, really, that Wolf didn't need to understand it just yet; it would take ages to get it all across to him.

"~I wish you well in restoring the triad to this world,~" Haloeth said in acceptance of the plan. Without a sound passing through anyone she knelt and melded back into the earth from which she had stood.

"Certainly knows how to make an entrance," Lyass murmured quietly, relaxing a bit. "Now comes the very interesting part, I believe."

Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow, then remembered what she had said came last. "Oh. Yes, that will be interesting. I do not think it will be as natural an evolution as I first expected."

"A blend of the two, from what I've been able to gather. This will not be the sort of disaster the Arkanians created." Lyass assured him.

"~It will still take millions of years before they are people,~" Storm-Healer commented as he stood and trotted towards the center of the gathering where the Healers were collecting so they could work the first bits of power into the small fish that would one day rule the world with them.

"I hope so," Obi-Wan nodded and settled down again to watch in the Force what was happening.

That it was beyond anything he could conceive of he was ready for. A hundred Healers, some of the most powerful individuals of the Living Force he had ever encountered, focused their energy and lifetime training into making the same minor genetic alterations to the hundred-odd fish they had gathered for the core of their project. All this he was expecting, even if he did not understand the how of it.

What came as a shock was at the end; as each fish was finished with a slender strand of Force tethered it to the world itself, much like he could see among the Loup Maru and Luprani he had met in their months here.

"That is what marks one of us from an animal," Sea-Foam told them in a low voice.

"A direct bond to Haloeth herself," Lyass murmured. "And an incredible investment of power."

"That bond is passed on to their young. As they grow stronger, their bond will, and so will we all as their strength joins what we are all part of," she tried to explain something she only somewhat understood beyond the instinctive level. "In time, we may be whole again." She added with incredible longing in her voice. It was enough to get SunWind to draw her into his arms and nuzzle her.

"I hope that you will be," Lyass said sincerely. "The good news is, I doubt they have a very long cycle before the next generation will be around."

"Likely the next full moons," she smiled. "Erriqua breed on each one."

"We hope all goes well then," Lyass smiled back as the group started breaking up, celebrations starting throughout Haloeth as the gathering's focus shifted.

A few days later the Endless Storm's representatives were on their way back to their territory, the seemingly endless stream of celebrations in the Sea Hold's territory finally more or less broken up into a smaller string of them in the groups that were returning. It gave Wolf a chance to catch up with Lyass and Obi-Wan, about the only people besides him who weren't too buzzed to really think, and ask about what had happened a few days before.

"So, I've got the feeling that I saw maybe a quarter of what happened over the last month. You guys get more out of it?" He asked them, hoping to fill in enough of the blanks that he knew what was going on when the others talked about it.

He was sure that Sea-Foam and SunWind would, at the very least.

"I expect so," Lyass nodded. "The giant Lumari was Haloeth. She really is a deity," she began with the most obvious thing Wolf hadn't seemed to grasp.

"Wouldn't surprise me at all if she was," Wolf said easily. "I'm not entirely unfamiliar with things that people would call deities rising up like that, and while I don't know that much about gods, I figure anything with the power to do what Haloeth seems to be able to do counts. And it's pretty damned clear that things went well, thank goodness."

"Yes, it did," she nodded in agreement. "Did you have something you want to know, or just an overview of what happened?"

"Mostly an overview just now... what sort of things I should be expecting to come out of this, so I'm not completely in the dark about what the others are talking about. So far, talking hasn't really been going on too much," he chuckled slightly.

"You probably have a good grasp on the overview," Lyass told him. "Haloeth accepted their plans for the erriqua and how to handle it's evolution. It will be a water-based amphibian biped with hands and a swimming tail. They are rearranging the political borders so that nineteen packs share the shoreline instead of just the one and three new packs will be created that are aquatic."

"Okay... and what did they do to the little critters? You two sure seemed impressed, but I couldn't see a thing."

"In addition to altering the genetic structure of each one in the same way, they also created a link in the Force between each fish and the energy of Haloeth that will be passed on to their offspring." Lyass tried to explain it to someone she knew did not have the proper background to fully understand the impact of it.

"Well, it makes more sense than when Sea-Foam tried to explain it," Wolf mused. "So, does this mean you two are heading out when the next portal shows up?"

"Perhaps," Obi-Wan said. "There is still the Plutarkian vision to consider. It was to happen this year."

"I'll be honest, I hope it's before you two go," Wolf said quietly. "I do not want to be one of only two people on this world who knows what an honest-to-goodness war involves if one starts. So, the new packs that'll be forming? Any idea where they'll be coming from?" He asked, changing the topic quickly.

"From what I have gathered, they will draw members from many packs. Some names were presented, but not all. SunWind was not among those named," Lyass smiled at him slightly.

"Either way, I'm going with him," Wolf chuckled slightly. "It'd be a Hell of a shortcut, from the sound of it, but probably just as well if he manages to stay with the Endless Storm for now. He only just got back a few months ago, after all."

"True," Lyass nodded in agreement. "I also calculated a rough population estimate for this world. There are around a hundred thousand Loup Maru spread between fifteen hundred or so packs. The Luprani population is in the millions."

"Wouldn't guess it to look around," Wolf mused. "Y'know... I don't think we've run into a Luprani pack yet, not that we've really been trying."

"We have, but it is very difficult to recognize it if you can't see in the Force. They look like the Loup Maru's form, but their energy signature is quite different." Lyass said.

"And given how many Loup Maru spend their days in Luprani most of the time, I just haven't noticed? Makes sense," he admitted. "Are they going to 'raise' other groups of the erriqua eventually?"

"I believe so," she nodded. "It probably depends on how well this group reproduces."

"Good," Wolf nodded. "I'm no specialist, but a hundred isn't usually enough of a gene-pool for the long-run."

"It generally isn't, but they are not generally the result of genetic manipulation either. They could well have engendered in enough variance for it to be stable." Lyass mused. "Either way, it is not likely to happen in your lifetime."

"Yeah," Wolf agreed. "That's not a conversation I'm looking forward to having with SunWind," he admitted.

"I'm fairly sure he already knows, at least in the back of his mind," Obi-Wan told him quietly. "He's smart and used to the differences in years between worlds. It wouldn't take much to take the average lifespan of a male Cornerian Wolf and the difference in a year. He did it for himself early on; his age was listed by local years, not Haloeth ones."

"Yeah, just not sure if he knows the lifespan. Not something I'm looking forward to thinking about too much... though I probably should convert my age to local years some time soon. Probably around twenty or so."

"How old are you by the Lylat calendar?" Obi-Wan asked.

"About 40," Wolf said after a moment to figure it out, adjusting for what he guessed of the time since they'd left. "Give or take a bit for being on a half-dozen different planets and not knowing how long we were on each back home."

Obi-Won paused to run his own calculation. "You would have just turned eighteen then, and should expect to start to really slow down in your late twenties, possibly as old as thirty. A year here is worth roughly 2.21 on Cornerian."

"Oh joy, I'm barely legal," Wolf chuckled. "Guess I've actually got a good reason to dread turning thirty this time around."

"At least they don't have a drinking age, or anything else that is marked by age," Lyass tried to make it sting a little less.

"It would be equivalent of sixty-six," Obi-Wan nodded. "I believe that is when your breed begins to face old age in earnest."

"Roughly... especially with the conditions around here," Wolf acknowledged. "Probably about forty, locally, before it's over, and that's if it's old age."

"Between SunWind and Storm-Healer, I would not be surprised if it was," Lyass reminded him that magic made up for what technology lacked here.

"I know that magic can do a lot around here," he nodded. "I'm just sayin'. It's not like it was ever a guarantee back home either. Hell, it was probably less likely back home, given my career."

"~Wolf?~" SunWind's mind reached back to him, concerned by the emotions the conversation had brought up.

"~It's okay,~" Wolf thought back. "~Just feeling remarkably old, for how young I am locally,~" he half-joked. "~Nothin' wrong. How are you and Sea-Foam?~"

"~She's more buzzed than I am,~" he grinned and looked over his shoulder to spot his mate with the two Jedi. "~Almost home. Shadow-Flash and Long-Spear will be very eager to see us.~"

"~Should I warn Lyass?~" Wolf asked with a mental grin, knowing what 'eager to meet' meant sometimes with SunWind, at least.

"~If you want to,~" SunWind chuckled before the contact was broken by him stepping into the physical world.

"Looks like Long-Spear's waiting for us," Wolf smiled, not bothering to give her any more warning what she might expect as they all approached the end of the bridge of light.

"I expect so," she smiled faintly. "I doubt he wants to talk either."

"Only one way to find out," Wolf chuckled, stepping off the bridge and leaving Obi-Wan and Lyass to bring up the rear. He grinned in amusement as Long-Spear's Maru form almost knocked Lyass back into the Umbra tackling her with a greeting hug and kiss. A glance around revealed SunWind and Shadow-Flash only a bit further along, though it was still mostly groping while they stood in Lumari and pressed close together. On the edge of his perception he could feel an eerie similarity to the first time they mated.

He decided to leave them be, heading off to find Sea-Foam and see how she was doing after she'd had some time to wind down a bit.

Alyaa mumbled a low moan of pleasure as she gradually woke up. She could feel a large hand caressing her swollen belly, barely over half its full size, and a soft furred muzzle between her legs, licking at her sex. She reached down, almost reflexively finding the antennae of the male Loup Maru who was pleasuring her, half-wondering who it was for a few moments before she opened her eyes and looked down to see SunWind's tawny fur over the swell of her belly.

"Mmmm," she continued to caress his antennae until he shuddered and moved away a bit. She didn't need to be touched or told to shift to her hands and knees to present her sex to him in a way that also let him hold her belly and his baby inside. Even those who weren't the sire liked it this way.

She couldn't understand why her full belly was of such interest to the males, why with it they were actually more interested in her than when her pheromones were at full strength, but she wasn't about to complain about the promotion in status, no matter how odd or temporary.

Not, of course, that she particularly wanted to enjoy it again. It was a good benefit though, to help offset the downsides to all of it.

Her thoughts were interrupted and she moaned softly as SunWind slid into her, hot, wet sex; accepting him Maru form with ease. She moaned even more deeply as his mind reached out for hers to share the physical pleasure he got from her and the less understandable pleasure of holding her full belly as he mated her in a much more gentle way than had produced the child inside her.

Alyaa always had the feeling she was missing something these days, some part of the equation that made the numerous males she spent time with want her so much. SunWind was only one of a number of them, though they were together most often these days. Almost as much as SunWind was with his male lovers, or the other female he'd started sleeping with since his long absence to the coast.

She pushed the thoughts aside, rippling the walls of her sex around his shaft. Time to think about that later. For now, she would enjoy, and be enjoyed, to the best of her ability and be content that it would continue.

He grunted above her, his hands shifting towards her hips where he could hold her tightly without risk to his child as he began to thrust hard and fast. The pleasure he shared with her reached a crescendo quickly after that and he shot a hot load after load of seed into her body.

She moaned, her body rippling beneath him, trembling as she came, her pendulous belly swaying beneath her as he kept thrusting. She tipped her head forward, licking his antennae lightly when they dangled conveniently.

She wasn't sure how long they mated, but eventually SunWind tired and settled on his side in the sleeping den carved from the earth and stone of the main den area and fell asleep, still holding her.

She snuggled back against him, considering what else she had to do tonight. Not much, really; being pregnant, all she seemed to be expected to do was relax, sleep when she wanted, eat when she wanted... she was still on the bottom rung, socially, but she was used to that, and being pregnant she was close to the top of the pile, as far as people of her rank went.

She was still getting used to that sort of thing. She knew what it was like to be the favored slave, but even when she hadn't been pregnant she'd been given a level of status and freedom she was just not used to. On a level she understood it was because her owner did not grasp slavery and did not really consider her what she was.

Now she was about to be sent to a place where she could be herself and be valued for it for a long time. She would have the ability to be more than a slave ... more than the bottom of the social scale ... and not have to change.

That was... quite a thought, really. She'd always known it was possible, if she'd managed to be freed and work her way up through the ranks at a brothel, earn enough to start one of her own. But, similar as it generally sounded, it still wasn't quite the same. If for no other reason than she wasn't going to have to fight anybody about it.

And, fortunately, she wouldn't have to raise her child either. She wrapped a hand around SunWind's on her belly. There was a part of her that did want to be involved in raising their child, but she had no difficulties at all silencing it. She'd spent most of her life knowing that, if she ever did have a child, it would in all likelihood be raised by other slavers. As it was, he'd end up raised by SunWind and his mother... not a bad step up, really.

Besides, she was not ready to be a mother, and she knew it. Maybe in another twenty years or so, but not now, not when she had other things to be doing.

Things like making and holding a place for herself on this wild world with so much magic. On the surface it looked like a horrible spot. No technology, they didn't even have the wheel or domestic animals, but they had the one thing she needed; they were impossibly vulnerable to her charms and most of them liked it that way. It was better than anything she'd dreamed of.

She wondered what life would be like with the Acoten; if she'd have to hunt, that would be something she'd have to learn fast. If not... she could definitely live with that. They didn't have technology, but life was fairly comfortable, as long as you weren't the one doing everything. From what she understood, she was already good at the one thing she knew she'd have to do, and had no trouble with a life spent mostly on her knees or back.

She snuggled back against SunWind with a bit of a smile. Maybe even, with her pheromones, she'd be able to move up the ranks a bit faster. She wasn't eager to be in charge of anybody else, but at the same time, she would enjoy having at least some people look up to her. It seemed fairly likely to happen too, as long as she didn't aim for the Alpha position. No one else seemed to really be in charge, though she could see the quiet pecking order. It had even been used to determine who got to have her first a few times. The Betas got respect and privileges, but didn't seem to have any extra duties. It could be a very nice life to be one of them.

That only left Lyass and Storm-Healer as her major irritants, and really, they weren't too bad, especially when they wouldn't care about her once she dropped this 'pup' she was carrying. It sucked seriously that she was in for a double-length pregnancy according to the Jedi, but it would still be over with and she'd never have to deal with it again. Especially if what she'd heard a few females talking about once was true and the Alpha female of a pack could suppress the fertility of the females around her. If it wasn't a big deal, she could pick ... now that was a weird concept ... an Acoten who's Alpha was willing to do that to her.

Of course... she'd have to ask Lyass or Storm-Healer how that worked, some time. Get some use out of being poked and prodded until she felt like she should be black and blue. If it was something smell-based, it might not work on her as well.

Not for the first time, she was intensely grateful that magic and herbs would help for the times when she was pregnant. Morning sickness was not something she wanted to live with any longer than necessary. The five days it had taken them to get the herbal mix right was bad enough, even if they had both tempered it with their various magical skills. Lyass had an easier time, but that wasn't much surprise, given she was a Twi'lek too. Familiarity usually helped.

Familiarity had its nice points here too. SunWind knew just how to hold her, and she knew how to snuggle against him so they both slept easily and well. Of course, she counted the silky furs and soft plant material brought in as gifts for the use of her body as much more useful. Their animal forms might find sleeping on dirt fine, but she did not.

For now, she was content to use the skins she'd been given for their intended purpose; she snuggled back against SunWind, and dozed off, content to rest for a while.

"Alyaa," a now-familiar female voice called out to her from just outside the sleeping den. It was a respect for privacy that was out of place for a pleasure slave and even more out of place here. Yet it was very much in character for the young Twi'lek that did it. "It is time to get up."

"Mmm ... gimme a minute," Alyaa murmured, carefully extracting herself from SunWind's grip with a surprising amount of skill at the task. She started out to meet Lyass, not bothering with what little clothes she sometimes wore; she wasn't likely to need them. Not on a day where she was going to take a look at a brothel she was to consider looking at.

"Do you want to wash up before we go?" Lyass asked politely.

"That would probably be a good idea," Alyaa agreed easily. "How far is it going to be again?" She asked as she headed for the oasis to start washing.

"Less than a half a kilometer," she said and walked next to her kinfolk that she had almost nothing in common with. They were both Twi'leks, of course, but from entirely different worlds. Even though they'd both been sold to the slavers, Alyaa had ended up embracing the lifestyle, and Lyass hadn't. The hard part was trying to figure out which of them had been affected by their different lives the most... Lyass wasn't sure if she was unnaturally prudish, or if Alyaa was abnormally sexual.

Probably a bit of both, to be fair. Neither Jedi nor pleasure slaves were considered normal by most folks, after all. It would be interesting to see what Obi-Wan's Jedi were like, given they were a version of the Order that permitted not only sexual relationships, but ones between a Master and Padawan. At least it still required Council approval.

As Alyaa washed up, Lyass couldn't help but notice that even the simple act of bathing was something the former pleasure slave made into a sensual display. Just as well she was taking Alyaa alone, not with SunWind or some of the others. They'd probably never make it. It was just as well that Storm-Healer was female, unlike Sea-Healer. The check-ups would likely take forever.

"You are distracted this morning," Alyaa smiled sweetly at her as she got out of the water and stood with her body spread so the warm wind would dry her brightly colored skin quickly.

"A little," Lyass admitted. "But really, I can afford to be a little distracted from this task, at least here. Nothing comes anywhere near the den that's a threat."

"Nothing but the sandstorms," she chuckled and rubbed her skin to help it dry, but also to tease Lyass and the two young males who had followed them to watch.

"And, frankly, you don't need to be entirely focused to see those coming," Lyass smirked slightly. "So, ready to go?"

"Not with the way Loup Maru howl about it," she twitched her lekku in mocking amusement. "Yes."

"Let's go then," Lyass said easily. "And you two can go back to the den," she added, turning towards the two young Loup Maru. "I doubt they'd approve of you paying a visit to the Acoten just yet," she chuckled.

"We are not good enough hunters yet," one of them sort of pouted before the pair dropped to all four into Luprani and trotted off.

"I don't think I'll ever get used to that part," Lyass murmured to herself. It was hard to remind herself that they were past puberty and locally that meant they were expected to be interested in sex on some level.

"You won't have to," Alyaa pointed out as they approached the center of the den's gathering space where Shadows-in-the-Dawn was waiting for them, Umbral bridge open and waiting. "They're a little young for my taste, at any rate."

"I'm glad for that," Lyass murmured before she bowed to Shadows-in-the-Dawn and stepped into the bridge.

Alyaa hesitated briefly, then headed in as well, still a little nervous about the Umbra and all it entailed. Past the ring of bright blue light was a world of shadows, just like when she had traveled with the entire group to the Endless Storm's territory. She accepted it without question when Lyass took her hand to lead her to their destination without falling off the trail of light.

Honestly, she was grateful for the help. It wasn't necessarily bad here, but she just wasn't really comfortable with it, especially without having more people there to help her feel less isolated from the real world.

At least it was a very short walk to the far side, where they emerged into clearing in a rusty red forest thick with trees and shrubs.

Standing there to greet them was a slender black female and a chocolate brown male with black swirling stripes, both in Maru form.

"Welcome to Red Gorge Lyass, Alyaa," Alpha Daughter-of-Passion inclined her head to them slightly in greeting.

"Thank you, Alpha," Alyaa replied demurely, inclining her own head more deeply.

"Thank you for seeing us," Lyass bowed to the ranking pair.

"Anyone who wishes to join an Acoten pack is welcome among us," the male, Night's-Dreamer, told them. "We do not often get pups from outside our own."

"I doubt you often find people like me," Alyaa smiled slightly. "I was raised for something much like this, in a life of servitude."

"Have you been told of how life generally happens here?" Daughter-of-Passion asked politely and motioned the pair to follow them to a den that while constructed of earth and stone in a very natural manner, was half above ground.

"The basics," Alyaa said politely, taking her seat in one of the side-rooms near the entrance. Both Twi'lek thought it was likely used as a bedchamber fairly often, but for now the soft furs and stuffed leather pillows made a good place to lounge. "The basic structure of the Acoten, what it is. From the sound of it, it is reasonably close to what I am familiar with already."

"Good," Daughter-of-Passion nodded and relaxed along the back wall while her mate settled closer to Alyaa. "Like with any pack, each member is expected to do their share of the work that keeps us fed, our territory safe and our charges flourishing. Unlike most packs, few of us hunt or patrol often, though all know how. We gain what we need in trade for our skills and willingness to bed anyone who can provide enough to be worth our time and effort."

"I would need to learn to hunt or fight, if it is necessary," Alyaa admitted. "What little I know about fighting is unlikely to be useful here, and I've never had to hunt before."

"You are also quite ill-suited for fighting anything that would endanger us," Daughter-of-Passion said in simple acknowledgment of the truth. "I believe that you would be better suited to hunt small game with a weapon. Perhaps Long-Spear can teach you how to use something. We do not have anyone here that could help you much."

"I know a few weapons that would be easy for her to use and make," Lyass offered. "A sling is a strip of leather that hurls a rock with considerable force. I can teach her the basics of snares and traps as well."

"That would be good," Daughter-of-Passion welcomed the suggestion before focusing back on Alyaa. "How much you will need to use these skills will depend on how well you can bring in meat and other services from those who mate you. I understand the pup you carry was sired by a Loup Maru?"

"Yes, he was," Alyaa nodded. "He will be going to his father's mother once he is born."

"Then you will have the option to carry the pups for a male whose mother or sister will claim them. A well-negotiated arrangement can bring in enough meat for five years, sometimes longer depending on his situation." Daughter-of-Passion said. "We do not give away our pups easily."

It would be worth it, for that sort of compensation, Alyaa decided after a moment.

"We can't be sure how easily she can become pregnant by a Loup Maru," Lyass pointed out. "This may have been more of a fluke than anything else."

"The health of the pup and how easily she conceives will factor into what she can ask in exchange," Daughter-of-Passion acknowledged the possibility. "We have skills to determine if a pairing can produce healthy pups and how easily. Most used it to determine how appropriate a pairing is for their charges, but it does work on any two creatures."

"If I would normally prefer not to carry pups, is this going to be a problem?" Alyaa asked quietly, clearly not entirely comfortable with asking questions of a superior yet.

"No," she shook her head. "Most Loup Maru never have young. That you are not even Loup Maru means that you have no actual expectation to breed here. Most who come here come for pleasure, not pups. They simply do not have to give as much for pleasure."

"I wasn't sure if you would prefer somebody who wanted to contribute pups to the Acoten," Alyaa said easily, clearly somewhat relieved. "Honestly, it's not something I've really planned to do before. I have no problems with sex at all, and if what I've already seen is any indicator I'll be good at that, but carrying pups is something I wasn't expecting to have happen with Master SunWind."

"Your ability to bring in meat and favors are of much more interest to me," Daughter-of-Passion said. "Do you have any questions for us before I ask to see your skills?"

"Not that I can think of," Alyaa said easily. "Not for the moment, at least."

Daughter-of-Passion nodded to Night's-Dreamer, who relaxed on his side on the soft, padded flooring. "Show me what you can offer our visitors."

Alyaa stood, taking a moment to relax her entire body. She started to dance, her arms, lekku, body, and legs moving in a sinuous, seductive display that clearly wasn't made for a pregnant woman, or danced by someone who was used to that condition, but she did her best, unconsciously adjusting the dance slightly to give her audience the sort of display they wanted, emphasizing the gyrations and parts of her body they were most interested in. It wasn't hard to pick up Night's-Dreamer interest in her belly or lekku, harder was Daughter-of-Passion's interest in her overall display.

This was always easier with a larger audience, one that was honestly interested in getting a sensual display from her for themselves, rather than for one that was judging her performance, but she knew how to dance well enough.

And they weren't likely to be near as picky as the cantina owner in Mos Eisley had been, or the consequences as painful if they didn't like it.

She was sure the real test was once she was on her knees, how well she pleasured this male so used to skilled lovers, but showing off the skills they were not used to seeing would certainly add to her value to them. Anytime you had a relatively unique skill it was an asset.

She approached him through the last part of the dance, gradually working down to her knees, reaching out with her long, slender lekku, rubbing them along his antennae as she knelt and started caressing his body, searching for the pleasure points she'd learned most Loup Maru shared, keeping a careful eye out for any that were unique to him.

She smiled privately at one spot just above his hip made him tremble. It made no sense to her, but the way he moaned and his body arched as a lekku brushed over the spot was all the clue she needed to work her hand down to that spot and continue to stimulate it while her lekku curled lightly over his smooth cock and downy-soft balls.

She nuzzled and licked at his throat and chin gently, pressing her swollen belly against him. Her eyes turned up towards Night's-Dreamer's mate, silently asking just how far the demonstration was supposed to go.

"Until one of you is too tired to continue," she chuckled softly, quite enjoying the display herself.

"I'd say even odds, but only because Alyaa is pregnant," Lyass chuckled slightly.

Alyaa curled one of her lekku into what only Lyass would recognize as a teasingly rude gesture, and kept going. She kissed the nape of the male's neck, tracing his stripes with her fingers, working him up as much as she could. Her efforts were rewarded by his visible arousal, but also by the way his posture relaxed and how intimate his tail got as she explored his body.

She smiled privately, spreading her legs invitingly as she continued to search out ways to please him, tracing her fingers up his tail, light as feathers, until she pressed against the sensitive skin around the base of it.

"Mmmm," he licked his muzzle and relaxed back, inviting her to do anything she pleased as he lightly rubbed his tail against her clit while the tip circled her round belly.

She moaned softly, shifting to straddle his hips, rubbing her sex against his shaft. She slipped forward, pressing his length against her swelling pussy, then pressed back, taking him into her body with practiced ease. It was very different from how most Loup Maru had wanted her, and the variety was a pleasant thing.

His hands closed around her hips as be began to thrust up into her slick body with a rumble of pleasure and hunger in his eyes for the swell of her belly that his tail continued to play over.

Alyaa began to flex her body around him with every ounce of her skill, getting into the part of the 'test' that she was most comfortable with. There was an easy confidence to her attitude; she had almost literally been born to do this, and she knew she was very good at it.

"Don't worry, it's almost done," Lyass reassured Alyaa, sweat pouring down the younger Twi'lek's brightly colored skin as she gave birth to what seemed, to this point, to be a perfectly healthy two pound male Loup Maru pup in Luprani. All things considered, despite the risks Lyass had been worried about, everything that could have gone wrong, it was going remarkably easily.

Not that Alyaa would have agreed, of course. She was not one of those people blessed with an above-average pain threshold, and even the relatively easy birthing pains she was dealing with brought on groans and screams that had Shadows-in-the-Dawn and her eldest daughter looking very concerned as they periodically poked their heads into the birthing den they had dug and helped line with soft plants.

Alyaa wasn't in any real danger, of course, but being less than a quarter the size of a Loup Maru mother in Lumari and giving birth to a baby not too much larger, Lyass could only imagine that this sounded far more painful than they were used to dealing with.

She was fully aware that there was a very powerful spirit watching them from the Umbra, the area nearly glowed to her Force-aware senses, but whoever it was was not her concern right now. They weren't trying to interact, so figuring it out could come later.

With one last groan, this one relieved, Alyaa's last contraction hit, and her newborn pup slid out into Lyass' hands. The Twi'lek cleared off his face, quickly making sure that he really was as healthy as he looked, and was grateful when he took his first few breaths to let out a low whine.

"It's finished," she called to Shadows-in-the-Dawn, knowing it would be important for the two of them to bond fairly soon, if she was going to be his mother.

"~Excellent,~" the Alpha trotted into the small space in Luprani and took the weak, squirming newborn into her jaws gently. She quickly settled in a corner and began to lick him clean and nose him towards her lightly swollen tits.

Lyass could hear a great deal of telepathic communication between the two, something she realized was probably as important as scent to this race. It was all going extremely well.

"It's over," she told Alyaa, taking a few moments through the Force to make sure she was okay, stop any excess bleeding, and help her get to sleep. That done, she turned towards the spirit she could sense.

"Are you ready to let everybody know you're there, and who you are?" She asked.

"~I am Haloeth,~" the spirit chuckled slightly as she materialized from the wall of the den in Luprani form. "~Alyaa is the only one who can not feel my presence.~"

"I wasn't sure," Lyass said respectfully. "I couldn't recognize you; I wasn't expecting your presence."

"~I do not usually attend births,~" Haloeth acknowledged and approached Shadows-in-the-Dawn to nose the squirming newborn.

"Is there something special about this pup?" Lyass asked curiously. "Besides the obvious," she added with a slight chuckle.

"~The obvious is quite enough,~" Haloeth told her with a bit of amusement. "~He is going to be very important when he grows up.~"

"~How important, Haloeth?~" Shadows-in-the-Dawn asked, looking up at the earthen Luprani.

"~That will be clear in time,~" she sounded almost reluctant to withhold the information. "~Like his father, he will be central to a force of great change here. I can not tell you more.~"

"~It is enough, Haloeth,~" she nuzzled the suckling pup. "~Thank you.~"

"Haloeth?" Lyass asked before the great spirit could leave. "Before you go, if I could ask a question... I had a vision, related to the erriqua, but I also had another one, related to the people who destroyed SunWind's world. Is it true, that they are coming here, and intend the same sort of destruction to this Ramilz?"

"~I do not know if it is the same race. Destroyers are coming. Soon.~" She looked at Shadows-in-the-Dawn and the newborn with something akin to fear for them. "~We have been forbidden to interfere directly.~"

"If they arrive while we are still here, it may not reach a point where anybody has to," Lyass said quietly. "We've helped with forces like theirs before, and SunWind will not allow them to destroy another home without great cost."

"~I know,~" Haloeth said with a grim determination before stepping into the earth again. "~It was not easy to divert your bridge here. I would not have done so if it was not needed.~"

"I am glad we were able to be in the right place," Lyass said simply, bowing her head in respect to the ancient spirit.

"What should we expect?" Wolf asked Sea-Foam with nervous excitement now that SunWind's first pup, a healthy son that didn't look at all like he was a half-breed, was less than a mile away. Lyass had told them that much when she had come back with Alyaa. She had returned to the nursing den when the other Twi'lek headed to her new Acoten pack.

It had made for a very long two months, between Long-Spear being lonely for Lyass, SunWind eager to meet his son and everyone getting used to his way of leadership after so long under his mother.

"Not much. Everyone will get a chance to sniff him, touch his mind, to know he is one of us," Sea-Foam explained easily. "Anything interesting that happened will be told around the feast tonight. Since he is Shadows-in-the-Dawn's pup, we will not have much more to do with him than any other packmate."

"Okay," Wolf nodded slightly. "Same with SunWind?"

"Generally," she nodded. "Knowing Shadows-in-the-Dawn he will have more to do with him than most older brothers, but that is the difference between law and practice."

"There's always a difference," Wolf chuckled. "Not sure how he's going to feel about it all, but at least he knows what's coming... better than I do, it seems."

"He was raised as one of us, and he can access our memories. It is not the same as experience, but it is the basics." Shadow-Flash said.

"Point," Wolf acknowledged. "Is there any sort of a pecking order about who meets him first, besides the usual one?"

"SunWind, Shadows-in-the-Dawn's other pups, us, the rest of the pack." Shadow-Flash laid it out. "Father, siblings, parent's mates, everyone else by rank."

"Hell, it's a good thing that Shadows-in-the-Dawn is claiming the pup then, or we'd be months sorting out who got mates' privilege with meeting him," Wolf chuckled.

"No kidding," Sea-Foam rolled her eyes.

"Probably just SunWind, given he's the only one who ever sort of claimed her," Shadow-Flash shrugged, not quite catching the joke.

"Come on," Sea-Foam, urged Wolf to move into the gathering that had formed quickly around Shadows-in-the-Dawn and the very small, whining rich red fluffball in her arms.

Wolf didn't take much coaxing, though SunWind was ahead of them, along with several others. The glimpses he caught said that the pup was definitely going to be a cute one... though he'd probably really want to rest after this.

By the time his mother had shooed SunWind off so the rest of the pack could meet him, the pup was nursing again. Now up close, Wolf saw much of his mate in the two-month-old. Though his fur was a darker golden red, much of his face and especially his large brown eyes were all from his father. So was his scent. Not exactly like SunWind's, but decidedly similar and very pleasant.

A bit of thought and Wolf placed it; he'd gotten Alyaa's pheromones. He gave him a light nuzzle and moved back by SunWind.

"He's going to be very popular as he gets older," he smiled.

"I expect so," he drew Wolf close while they watched the others greet the little pup. "He's already quite handsome."

"Takes after his father," Wolf chuckled. "With your Mom adopting him, should I be careful about saying things like that?" He asked after a moment to think about it.

"Around here, not too much, but calling me his sire will be understood everywhere," SunWind kissed the side of his head. "It is what I am, after all."

"True," Wolf nodded. "Still don't think like that right off the bat," he admitted.

"You will get used to it," Sea-Foam promised from one side. "You have time."

"Yeah," Wolf nodded slightly. "He is definitely cute," he added with a smile.

"Most pups are," she grinned and nudged them forward as the pack dissipated back to other activities.

Sliding Time 9.99: Ramilz

NC-17 for M/M and M/F sex
Het Level is MediumHet Smut Level is Medium
Slash Level is Slash Smut Level is Medium
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

108 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Finished
Written November 12, 2006 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann

Setting: Biker Mice from Mars, Star Fox, Star Wars Episode 1, Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, World of Darkness (generic)

Primary Races: Human, Loup Maru, Plutarkian, Rat, Twi'lek, Wolf

Contents: Furry. Het (M/F). Slash (M/M). Alternate Universe, Violence

Pairings: Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon (in abstansia), SunWind/Wolf O'Donnell, SunWind/Shadow-Flash, SunWind/Lyass Vida, SunWind/Alyaa'rann, SunWind/Sea-Foam

Notes: Many thanks to Annie Booker for going over this monster for spelling and such. She was a great help and any issues that remain are my fault.

Setting: Haloeth

Main Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Lyass Vida, Alyaa'rann (Star Wars), Throttle/SunWind (BMFM), Wolf O'Donnell (Star Fox)

Blurb: Haloeth looks to the future with a fervor that only a living God can inspire.

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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