From the first he heard her soul-name, he could not take it from his mind. At all nights, in every season, it was the music against which he turned his thoughts and dreamed his dreams. It murmured to him from the river, sang to him in the rain that drummed against the earth. It was with him in the pounding of his heartbeat in the hunt and underscored the rustling of his leathers, the impact of his footsteps. It was in him and of him, and all him, from the day that he ended, and became hers.
He teased her with it from the fading of the sun, slipping its tendrils over her to ease her out of sleep. He probed her in her nightly tasks, a scented caress, a wisp of a reminder when her concentration was at its tighter and most brittle. **Tyrlee.** He breathed into her when they were far apart, tingled along her spine when they were close together, laughing it in silence when within the tribe's sight.
**Tyrlee and Grahn, close together, flesh to flesh and spirits touching through skin.** He slipped behind her and tugged her collar down. He let out a breath on the back of her neck. **Tyrlee and Grahn, flesh like clear water, light inside, and warm.**
She turned like an adder, and he was no longer there, slipped into the green shades of night.
He pulled at her all night, tugging on her edges, dancing the line between her sighs and her strikes. **Silence,** she told him. **Silence,** she ordered. **Enough!** she snapped once, when their hands were only a breath apart.
But under it, he felt clear as moonlight. **Grahn and Tyrlee, deep in each other, river flowing into sea, rain into ground.**
Easysinger could never refuse him; and that was why he was as weak before her as a hairless pup.
He loved the quirk of faint distraction in her eyes, the twitching of the corner of her mouth. He loved the toss of her long braid, the movement of her shoulders. Loved the firmness of her focus, the sureness of her steps, the set of her chieftess' chin. He loved it when she brushed him off.
And he sneaked back in, a faraway scent on the edge of her nostrils. **Tyrlee** And they came closer, and further, and closer again.
But daylight came, and overturned, always, as he sat in the den and he waited for her. Daylight would find her braid loose and streaming, drops of dew in the crown of her hair. With the dawn she would draw off her leathers, the last remnants of moonlight in the skin of her arms, the curve of her breast. And he would lie back and watch, and be stilled in the watching, as she came to him neither chieftess, nor tribemate, nor even Easysinger.
And he would be helpless to reply.