(Ed. Note: This story refers to events that occurred in "Remembering".)
RTH 2396.05.01 Dreamflight loved to go into Whispersilk’s den or the Craft Trees. She regarded the older elf as a mentor, friend, and truth be told, the chieftess of her heart. Whispersilk welcomed the young elf because she did most of the talking without expecting her to converse in kind, leaving her hands and mind free to flit from one project to another. Dreamflight herself would go from crafting, to weaving, and then back to a dye-making project every hour.
A constant stargazer as well, Dreamflight was prone to think about spiritual things and philosophical questions. Whispersilk didn’t have the answers for her (nor did she pretend to) but was amused as well as honored that she looked to her as a sounding board, considering how close the younger elf was to her parents.
“Do you think the High Ones made the stars?” Dreamflight had asked once, gazing up at the sky from the entrance.
“Perhaps the stars made the High Ones,” Whispersilk replied in her own quiet way.
Dreamflight gasped, happy that she had something new to ponder.
The concept of Recognition was up for grabs too. Not in terms of cub-making, but on how it “works” on an unseen level. Dreamflight would wonder on separate crafting occasions:
How big is a soul? Where is the soul, is it in your head, heart, or whole being?
During Recognition, do two separate souls merge in the space of one soul so a third has to “pop out” to fill the missing place?
Or do two separate souls merely join to create a third much like mating wolves?
Or even, though two elves have unique soul names, what if they actually also have the same soul? Do they simply bumble around the Holt for hundreds of years, not knowing there’s another “ME” inside a different body?
“So when you and Chief Windburn Recognized, was it like seeing yourself, or was it like you two became One for that moment in time?”
Whispersilk pondered that.
“Maybe a little of both, I’m not sure.”
She spied a rogue piece of cloth she needed and her eyes lit up. Dreamflight knew she wasn’t avoiding the question, she knew Whispersilk really was more interested in stray crafting ingredients than she was in thinking about the subtleties of Recognition. Yet Dreamflight still wasn’t satisfied with the answer.
“Yes, but when you Recognized, did you already kind of know it would be him? Were you surprised?”
At this Whispersilk gave a guttural, wolf-like laugh.
“Again, I’m not sure. After all, what female elf hasn’t thought about what it would be like to be Recognized to certain fellows in the Holt?” she whispered. She smiled at Dreamflight and gave a conspiratorial, sisterly wink. For an awkward moment the younger elf stared at her blankly. Whispersilk blushed and turned her face away.
“You’ll understand one day,” she said, resuming a matronly tone.
Whether Whispersilk meant Recognition or male elves in general, Dreamflight couldn’t say.
Dreamflight looked towards where the Craft Trees were, remembering earlier times and sighed. She missed her great old friend.
“Good evening, daughter!” Honey happily gave her salutations.
Dreamflight wondered if her mother’s good mood was the result of her being proved right concerning the cure when she had recently experienced brain fog. Her mother had sent and sent to her until she remembered who she was.
Starskimmer joined them, shaking her head.
“Sometimes my Recognized drives me crazy!” she complained.
“Which one?” Honey asked sweetly.
Starskimmer stopped, pretending she was contemplating that question seriously. Her eyes met Honey’s, there was a moment’s silence, and then both the older elves suddenly barked out laughter.
“There’s my all grown-up adult daughter!” Greenweave hailed as he passed by after Starskimmer left.
Honey rolled her eyes and shook her head. And smiled, Dreamflight noticed.
“What?” Greenweave held his palms up and shrugged. “I enjoyed having my cub back for a little while!”
“Excuse me!” Dreamflight said, and ran off. Running off as a first reaction had become a reflex, she noticed.
For several seasons her dearest wish was for the three of them to be alone, a family unit of some sort, even for a moment. But the reality of it was still too uncomfortable for her, with all the history. Dreamflight wanted things the way they were. She couldn’t understand the peace her mother had made with her father. She used to feel like a traitor for not fighting hard enough for her family. Now she felt like a traitor for being the last one standing in a fight the other elves had left long ago.
Also, Dreamflight felt hot shame that her father seemed to finally, and only, love her when she was a “cub”. But what would their relationship be now that she was an “adult” again? Could they truly start over, or would they just continue to exchange polite pleasantries and nothing deeper?
Later that night, Beetle happened upon Dreamflight having a good cry.
“High Ones, again?” She could tell Dreamflight had been crying for most of the night. Beetle gently lifted her friend’s chin. “What happened to Living in the Now of Wolfthought?”
Beetle chuckled. Ironically, that was a very Living in the Now of Wolfthought thing to say.
“Dreamflight, lock-send with me.”
When she did, Beetle led her into the Now via an old elf crafter’s song. All of Dreamflight’s woes vanished. All that existed was the Now, was the song.
When you go hunting what will I do then?
How many days till we greet again?
How many baskets will I weave until
I see your face once more?
The chiseled image of a certain elf rose unbidden in Dreamflight’s mind, surprising her. She quickly shrouded the thought-vision lest it seep into Beetle’s mind as well.
How many days must we work towards the winter?
I can’t stand to sit and craft anymore!
I must go on the trail with my bow and arrow
For the small chance to run into you once more.
Dreamflight’s whole visage and energy changed so much so that if Beetle had to pick a color for her friend just then it would have been pink. The song went on for several stanzas of an elf girl’s anticipation of running into her hoped-for future lovemate even though they lived in the same Holt. She could tell Dreamflight loved it.
Beetle said, “I actually have something for you.” She drew out a crystal. It looked like a miniature flat log that was dark brown all over with a black cross down the middle. “This was an old childhood treasure of mine I found in the caves once. But you can have it,” she said, pressing it into Dreamflight’s palm.
“I know what the problem is. You’re more elf than wolf, aren’t you? You’re thinking, always thinking! So you just have to think about going into the Now of Wolfthought on purpose! Every evening when you break your fast, use this crystal as a touchstone. When you touch it, see how long you can be in the Now. Do this every dusk. Promise?”
Dreamflight nodded. “Maybe by next moon I can do it up to three times a night! Or maybe be in the Now once for all night!”
Beetle sighed. “There you go thinking again.”
Both elves laughed.
Beetle had a dream that day:
Beetle entered one of the Craft Trees. Before she could ask herself what she was doing there, she saw Whispersilk surrounded by her eight-eights of projects, as in days of old. Dreamflight burst through the entrance.
“Beetle!” she called loudly. “You’re my best friend!”
Beetle turned to Whispersilk, suddenly embarrassed.
“But I’m not…” she tried to explain to the irreplaceable elf.
Whispersilk bade her to be silent with her great eyes, smiled, and slowly nodded her head.
Beetle opened her eyes to waking life. For a moment she wondered why the Craft Tree’s entrance looked an awful lot like her den’s window hole. As soon as she processed that she had just visited it in a dream, Dreamflight’s head popped up looking into the den from the outside. Beetle couldn’t help but give a startled yelp. But that gave into silent wonderment as Dreamflight’s excited expression was the spitting image of the one she had just sported in the dream. Her friend held up the crystal triumphantly and lifted her chin proudly, but with gratitude shining in her eyes.
And then suddenly Dreamflight was gone. Beetle rushed to the window hole and peered out. Dreamflight had already hopped and climbed down to the Child Tree’s floor.
“Hello, Greenweave-Father!” Beetle heard her sing as she skipped past the amazed fisher.
A bewildered Greenweave still had his hand held halfway up in greeting long after his daughter had disappeared.
But the two elves could hear in the distance Dreamflight singing the elf crafter’s song from the other night.
… Until I see your face once more…
Beetle remembered the chiseled features of a certain elf from the previous night’s lock-send. But the fleeting image caught from Dreamflight’s mind had been vague and cloaked in shadows as if seen during the new moon in a fog. Beetle knew that the true identity of who her friend had imagined would drive her crazy.
“So Dreamflight admires somebody! I wonder who the lucky elf could be?”