Three howlers ran toward home after attacking a lone catling. They ran until they got to the stream then started washing up. "How did it go?" Madam Olexia asked walking out from behind some trees.
"It was awesome Momma" the only female wolf in the group of the three said. She had dark brown fur with a golden brown splash of fur on her face and glowing sky blue eyes. "My lovely Jessica, I'm so proud you of you" Madam Olexia said with pride in her eyes, "why don't you three go wash up in the waterfall and come back to the cave so you can share your story"
The pride sat in the den area of the farm for a while. All of them in their catling form. Abbie rested her big black paws by Collins lifeless body and just sobbed as Nadira tried to comfort her. "Abbie" Lady Ariela called placing her big golden furred paw on Abbie's shoulder, "we should lay him to rest now"
Abbie nodded her head and Lady Ariela signaled for Arlo and a lion named Leo to carry Collin's body to the the empty grave waiting for him across the yard. The two huge cats scooped the body of their friend up and laid him to rest in his grave. Abbie walked over to the grave. "I love you" she whispered as some of her pride brothers started pouring the dirt back into the whole. She watched until she couldn't see the bright golden fur of the one person she loved more then anyone else anymore. After everyone shifted back into human forms. Nadira stayed with Abbie until she cried herself to sleep. "Well I'm gonna go" Nadira told of her pack sisters, "if you guys need me call" As she walked to her car she saw Arlo and Leo were on guard tonight. She reached her dorm and unlocked her door. Beth looked up to see who it was. "Hey you're getting in late" she said in a sleepy voice.
"Yeah something bad happened" Nadira said. This caused beth to sit up. "What?"
"My sister Abbie's fiance died in his sleep" Nadira lied, "she's a bit shaken up"
"Wow, I'm sorry" Beth said, "you ok?"
"Yeah just tired" Nadira answered, "I'm gonna go to bed"
"Ok night" Beth said laying back down.
The next morning Abbie walked into the kitchen to see Lady Ariela getting all her stationary supplies together to make the invites to the ceremony for the new pride members. She could smell the freshly brewed coffee the minute she woke up. "Thank God, hot coffee" she said grabbing a cup from the dish holder in the sink. She poured the solid black liquid into the blue glass cup and sat down at the table across from Lady Ariela. Lady Ariela could tell by the dark circles under Abbie's eyes she didn't sleep well. Lady Ariela knew the pain she was experiencing. She had lost her mate thirty years ago. It's a pain that dulls, but never fully goes away. You just simply learn to deal with it. In catling prides each member gets one mate and once they're gone, they are pretty much single for the rest of their lives. "I know how you feel Honey" Lady Ariela said as she carefully hand wrote the first invite.
"You do?" Abbie asked.
"It was about thirty years ago and the guys in the pride then decided it was time to hunt. My husband King Raymond I guess you could say pride wise was the leader the of small group that went hunting. They came across a huge grizzly bear and it attacked. My husband tried to fight it, but it got the upper hand. It pretty much clawed him to death" Lady Ariela told.
"I'm sorry" Abbie said looking down at her coffee.
"No need to be Honey, death is an unstoppable thing even for creatures like shifters" Lady Ariela said taking a box of stencils out of one of the cabinet under the island that sat in the middle of the kitchen. "Why don't you help by decorating the envelopes" Lady Ariela suggested, "I know you're an amazing drawer"
"OK" Abbie said. She looked through the box of stencils. Each set of stencils were organized by zip lock bags. Each with a piece of tape on the bag with the name of the type of stencils they were. She came across a bag that said ANIMALS in black permanent marker. She took that bag out and unzipped it. She looked through them and found several that were shaped like the heads of several wild cats. She decided to use them. "Do you have any coloring pencils?" Abbie asked.
"Yes, in the play room upstairs is a big box of coloring pencils" Lady Arelia said.
"I'll go get them and be right back" Abbie said. She walked up the stairs and opened a yellow painted door on the right just as she got to the top. Inside were two little girls. Emma a five year old who took after her mother and could shift into a leopard cub was playing with legos. Then there was Ellie who was three and could shift into a little lion cub. She loved playing with the big doll house in the room. The two girls were the only kids in the pride. "Hey girls mind if I barrow these pencils?" she asked walking to the pink book shelf and grabbed the blue box of coloring pencils on the top shelf. "Sure Aunt Abbie" Emma said. She went back down stairs and picked the lion head shaped stencil to use first. She took a black colored pencil and traced the stencil on the bottom left corner of a white envelope. Then she colored the picture in with a golden yellow pencil. She colored the mane of the lion a dark brown. 'Hey that sorta looks like you Leo" Arlo teased.
"Ha ha" Leo sarcastically laughed, "who's taking post now?"
"Hmm. Cale and Mike" Lady Ariela said.
"I'll go tell them" Leo said.
"Arlo don't sleep to long" Lady Ariela said, "I'm gonna have you deliver these invites"
"Ok" Arlo said going upstairs to sleep.
Beth was going over some research for her mythology class. They were suppose research mythical animals. "Hey wanna go to Tilly's?" Nadira asked, "I wanna go anywhere but, home right now"
"Why?" Beth asked.
"Abbie will go into melt down as soon as she sees me" Nadira said.
"Well give her a break Nadira, her fiance just died" Beth said.
"I know, but I've never been good with feelings or emotions" Nadira said. And she hasn't been. She couldn't even remember that last time she cried.
"Well if you like I'll go with you" Beth offered, "I have nothin else to do"
"Let me call and see if it's ok" Nadira said as she walked into the bathroom. She took out her phone and dialed the number to the farm. '"Hello" Lady Ariela answered.
"Hey Mom, I'm gonna come over and my friend Beth wants to come too" Nadira announced.
"Ok" Lady Ariela said.
"Make sure no one who has shifted is in sight" Nadira whispered and hung up. She walked out of the bathroom with her usual smile. "She said you can come. You finally get to see the place I grew up" Nadira told.
"And hopefully see the hot brother of your's" Beth teased putting her hair up and grabbed her bag as Nadira rolled her eyes and grabbed her car keys.