Reflection-of-Ice is a vranyxi with a problem: she’s old enough to take a mate, but she doesn’t like any of the bachelor vranyxia she’s met. So, she runs away before the Gathering begins. Hiding out on the Okyran plateau, she meets a stallion like none she’s seen before.
Reflection-of-Ice had drifted south, seeking that which she sought and had yet to find, and convinced that she did not want it at all. Now that she was in season, she craved the company of her own kind. Stubborn pride was all that kept her from returning to the Gathering. At this point, the battles for the right to mate had ended and the winning males were partnering with the females they’d fought for. Desire stirred in her loins at the thought of what she was missing. She shook her smoke mane and snorted. She wouldn’t go back.
She distracted herself by observing the motion of the ripples across the surface of the pond. The water on the plateau was sweet and plentiful, and there was an abundance of game in the area. She had decided to rest and hunt here until the Gathering ended before traveling home.
The Okyran plateau was devoid of wild vranyxia. Her ears flicked toward the distant walled city, out of sight but never out of mind, not here on the plateau created to sustain it. The only vranyxia within her sensing range were there, with the priests. She snorted in disdain. The vranyxia who lived with and fought for the priests weren’t precisely traitors, but they were looked down upon for casting their lots in with the humans. She would no more consider allowing one of those to mate with her than she would consider one of those dim-witted bastardizations called avtappi.