Wolfriders don't tell time. Not like humans do. They are of nature, following a natural association. Day, night, sun, moons, phases, and seasons: Patterns that will never be the same each time; never be precise in their arrival or departure; yet they have always been and therefore are considered reliable.
Wolfriders don't keep up with time. Not like humans, who have a number of days to learn and then they are no more. Humans have a few days to grow, a few days to mate, a few days to be old, and then become dust. Each day must be seized like a fruit; like a bear; like nature itself -- the best there is of it to be wrestled free, so the human can then capture it again. Each morning the beginning of a new battle. Each evening a celebration of survival. Wolfriders struggle, they celebrate, they grow, and learn, rejoice and grieve. They may have months, decades, centuries of one, or another, or of none. Time is immaterial. Only the events in time become significant; the experiences evocative.
And so it was, that Chicory had no idea what time of year it was. She knew in a heart-way, but she did not dwell on it in a head-way. Not like she would a tadpole bearing an extra leg, or a poison dart that did not do its job. It simply was time and she went north. Of course she knew the season, knew that the moons were in their cup and bowl phase, that the stars would set by the time she arrived, that she required furred boots and a layered cloak. But if someone asked her, "Why now?" she would've had to answer, "Because it's time," and have no other explanation.
But no one ever asked.
And she never thought to, either. Never considered that her father took his lone hunts now. That Windburn withdrew to a niche only he frequented. She went north.
North to a cleft of rock and frozen dirt, off of Elder Peak . Where brush and trees strained to live in constant, cold wind. Where predators were lean during whitecold, and prey was more fur than flesh, dug into holes to sleep through the immersed winter. Stark, bitter, barren, harsh. And utterly beautiful.
In the blazing morning when the daystar's rays stung like ice, she could gaze south, west, and down, down, down. Her home was there. Her heart. Except this one time of year. When her heart was elsewhere.
She wiped the tears from her reddened cheeks before they froze there and smiled.
**Mother. I am Vru.**
The view never changed, never seemed to, but time lacked meaning. Perhaps it did and who would notice it. The wind blew her cowl off. She pulled it back around her ears and over her head with gloved fingers.
What all there was. What all to say. With no way to do so and all the time on top of the world in which to do it.
**Mother. I am Vru.**
Stupid mistakes, brilliant heartbeats, victorious moments, questions, questions, questions, and no answers.
**I love you, Mother.**
Everything gathered, saved, stored and hidden from this season until this season again.
She sat there, hugging herself, huddled in a brown, wooly ball. It didn't matter how long. Whether the sun set and the moons rose, whether it snowed or misted or the sun glinted off icicles from every outcropping. This was her time and though its passage held no meaning, the very event did. Each one. Each time. Each since the first one. Only a human could realize it came at the same time, on the same day, nearly the same hour, each year. Wolfriders don't track time. Not like that.
They can at times, though, pursue it.
Like ... footprints.
... Footprints without a moon to shed light on them on a night when the snow begins to fall.