Winna was surprised by how much his words touched her. There were so many different emotions she felt all at once, but the number one feeling that came to her was the feeling of being exactly where she needed to be. Kaden twirled her around once more and pulled her close, his strong hand on the delicate curve of her spine. Under the full moon night, his eyes glowed so much that they appeared to be on fire as he stopped dancing and bent down slowly. Winna's eyes widened when she realized his intention and felt a flare of red come to her cheeks as Kaden tilted her chin up and softly pressed his lips to her's.
Suddenly all the music of the ball faded away, the couples, the dancing, everything faded away except the over-whelming sensation of the sacred simplicity of their kiss. It wasn't until she felt a pull on her elbow that Winna awoke from her trance as she heard Mie's voice cry, "Winna! Winna! Don't you see what's happening?!"
Kaden blinked out of his own trance as they became aware of the smell of burning wood and the sound of panic as the villagers all scattered. Winna looked around, confused as Mie pulled her away, "Mie, what happened?!" The bird-like girl yelled over the screams, "One of the children knocked over a lantern when they were playing in the wood line and now the whole forest is going up in flame!" Kaden kept pace with the two Whisperers as they made their way away from the fire. It was then that Winna heard a mournful howl and her blood froze in her veins, "Vikas!"
Twisting her arm out of Mie's death lock, Winna headed straight for the fire, ignoring the protests from all the villagers. "Winna! Wait! Stop! You can't go in there!" Kaden's voice called after her as the stubborn woman made her way around firey branches to the sound that filled her, "Vikas! Vikas, where are you?!" She called out to the wolf king who answered her in his deep, commanding voice, "Winna! We are here!" Winna crawled over a large root, pushing aside the bushes that clung to her dress. When she rounded a tree, she laid eyes on the great wolf king who stood protectively over a den which hosted the figure of a female wolf with deep red fur and four terrified pups.
"Vikas, come this way." Winna called as he nudged his mate. She bent down and retrieved one of her pups in her delicate jaws as Vikas took hold of another. Winna climbed down to the den to pick up the other two trembling pups and make their way to the safety of the village. "Vikas! Head towards the clearing, I'll be right behind you!" The massive wolf nodded his head and leapt gracefully over a fallen log, his beautiful mate following on his heels.
Winna tried to keep up with the two powerful wolves, but the smoke had begun to infect her lungs causing her to choke and wheeze. As she attempted to not loose her footing or her grip on the squirming pups, Winna panicked when her vision began to blur and the world became fuzzy as she dropped to one knee, barely able to inhale, "Kaden......"
Kaden watched as Winna disappeared in a wall of flame. He tried to go after her, but the fire rose and crackled wickedly. Closing his eyes, Kaden focused all his energy into his affinity and breathed evenly. Holding out his scarred hand, Kaden tried to beeseech the angry fire, "Calm, evaporate, return back to your slumber." The wall of flame lowered slightly, but not nearly enough for him to find Winna. Trying his best to keep calm and focused, Kaden parted his his hands in two opposite directions, as if he were opening the curtains of fire.
"Winna!" Mie called, hoping she would reply as Rita made her way to the river and began her water dance. Kaden knew that the stream would help, but there was no way it would get there in time. Putting more and more energy into his affinity, Kaden prayed to the fire as sweat dripped down his forehead. When he successfully parted the flame, he could see two large wolves jump through it, pups in their mouths and behind them, Winna collapsed in a ring of fire.
At this moment, the young fire Whisperer was torn. If he ran to save her, the control he gained would be gone and they would both be engulfed. If he stayed then the smoke would kill her. Kaden glanced over to Mie, but knew that she wouldn't be able to handle the heat. He needed to tame it, he needed more power, he needed....wait.
"Lumin.....Lumin are you there?" Kaden prayed as the clever voice answered calmly, "My, my, this is a surprise. I haven't seen you since last Harvest, my young fire Whisperer."
"I need your help. I need to save Winna." Kaden pleaded as Lumin smiled internally, "Well, let me take a peek through your eyes. My, that is quite an impressive display of power you already have. But you are requesting my help as well? You know what that means, don't you? I will have to use you as a vessle for the duration. Do you understand?"
"Yes, yes, I do! Now hurry! Save Winna!" Kaden yelled as Lumin laughed, "Done!" It was then that Kaden felt a power he hadn't ever comprehended in his life time. The energy tingled in his fingers and made his heart pound with a fury he wasn't familiar with. Such unbelievable power. It felt like no mortal had ever been that strong as he raised his hand once more to the flame and called to it, "Desist." That's all it took and suddenly the flames melted away as if the wind had blown them into nothingness.
There was a cheer from the villagers as they rushed to retrieve the injured woman who still clung to the two pups with the remainder of her life. Kaden stood frozen as the feeling of electricity filled his veins and made him shake with power. It was a high he had never felt before as a small smile came across his face.
"Kaden! Kaden! It's over now, you can stop! Kaden!" Mie's high-pitched voice sliced through him as the suddenly exhausted boy fell to one knee, gasping for air. Lumin's voice wrapped around him, "Well done, young Whisperer. I look forward to our next encounter." With that, he was gone and Kaden's mind was his own again as Mie steadied him, "Are you all right?"
"Yes, I'm fine. How's Winna?" He waved her off as Mie helped him stand, "She should be fine, they are taking care of her now." Kaden's eyes flashed over to the crowd of villagers who circled the woozy healer as Rita trickled water down her lovely face. It felt heavenly on her burning skin and dried out lungs, so Winna asked for more and Rita happily obliged. Once her senses came back to her, Winna smiled at Vikas who licked his pups clean of soot and grime.
"Are you all right, human princess?" He asked, coming her way while the group of villagers backed away from the large wolf. Winna raised her hand and pet the wolf king between his ears as she had so long ago, "Yes, I'm fine. How is your family?" Vikas nuzzled her hand and licked it tenderly, "They are fine. My gratitude for you is endless. My mate wanted me to pass along that message to you as well." Winna smiled to the wolf who's fur was crimson in the moonlight, "She is lovely. Where will you make a new den for your family?"
The wolf sighed, "We will make due. Thankfully your male friend saved most of the forest. We must go now, too many humans here for my liking. Thank you once again, my beautiful human princess." Winna smiled and gave him one last pat as he and his pack disappeared into the darkness. Winna turned her eyes over to her savior who limped her way. Kaden stumbled slightly as several hands caught him. This was a shock as he looked into the eyes of the villagers who had shunned him for so many years.
"You saved the healer!"
"Great job Kaden!"
"That was awesome! You are amazing!"
The praise made him uncomfortable as Kaden continued to make his way towards Winna who smiled at the approval he was recieving. Lena jumped up from her daughter's side and embraced the exhausted boy, "You saved my little girl's life. Thank you Kaden, thank you so much." This was something so new to him, the motherly embrace he had never known from his own. It felt so wonderful, so peaceful and complete that the young fire Whisperer collapsed into the woman with the same kind eyes as Winna.
Lenna caught the boy and held his head on her lap. It was wrong of them to have treated Kaden the way they did. Even if he were an odd one and with the secret they all kept about Kidick, they should have given him the affection that Jessah never did. Instead of turning the blind eye to the abuse she always administered to her young child. Lena brushed back the long black hair and marvled at how much he resembled his father. The contented sigh from the exhausted young man made her heart ache as she looked over to Winna who smiled happily at the scene between them.
"He may be odd, but he saved your life. That earns a great deal of respect in my book." Lena said as Winna nodded and allowed Mie and Rita to fuss over her. Just before Kaden dropped off to sleep, he savored the way Lena's fingers ran through his hair and the gentle humming of the mother he never had. Was this what it felt like to be accepted? Was this how everyone else lived day to day?
"You're welcome." Lumin's voice was smooth as Kaden searched his mind for his spirit guide. The energy of the spirit was so much that he could practically feel it in his bones as Lumin chuckled, "Don't you see the good you can do with my power? How they accept you? This feeling can get so much better. I have a part of you now, young Whisperer. I look forward to seeing you and that pretty little girlfiriend of your's very soon."