Even deep in the Now as she was — the narrow focus on immediate action and sensation and the way the grass bent beneath her bare feet — Raindrop slowed her steps in growing fascination as the sweetly lilting melody caught her attention. She cocked her head to one side, ears straining to catch the notes. A slow smile curved her lips and, even though it felt strange after so long going without such a thing, the lightening of her spirit sent a wave of gratitude through her. The song continued, the words barely coherent, and Raindrop found herself instinctively swaying a bit to it all.
There. That decided it, she thought. If something so simple could reach within her soul and move her like that and, even for a moment, make her forget the pain… Then she had to go to it. She had to find this promise of relief and peace. She had lost so much over the years — friends, family, her lifemate. The fading of memories, of her good friend Meadowlark's smile most recently, hurt more than she thought it could but the music almost made her remember.
Well aware of the other elf's approach from the other side of the clearing, Songsent nevertheless remained crouched and focused on the flowers she had set out to gather that evening. Her song continued as well, low but carrying, an almost tuneless melody that drew on whatever bits and pieces she heard throughout the course of her other duties. Instinctively, she wove the disparate notes together into a sort of free-flowing song. A song of her Tribe and the Now.
Of course, she suspected the brindle-haired elf lurking just at the edge of the treeline had more than enough of the Now at the moment. The notes faded from her lips and Songsent looked down at the flowers beneath her fingers. Carefully, she traced one delicate petal. It shivered at her touch but held firm. That answered that question, then, she thought.
She cleared her throat a bit. “Raindrop, dear, you can come out and join me, you know. Four hands gather faster than two.” She barely heard the footsteps in response but they came closer and she smiled, unseen. Songsent bent over the flowers again. She buried her hands deep in the grass and stems. “How was the run?” she asked mildly.
“It was…” Raindrop trailed off as she came to a halt beside the younger elf. She seemed to realize that nothing else needed to be said and the two words told more than she ever could have managed otherwise. Her eyes dropped to the flowers. “Why?”
“Lacewing has it in her head to try making a new sort of dye from these flowers and Swan is encouraging her.” Songsent offered a wry smile over her shoulder. “Encouraging? Maybe more like indulging. These are such a strange blue color that someone would have already made them into dye if it was possible.”
“But no one has?”
“Not that I’ve heard.” Songsent shook her head before giving a little shrug and rocking back onto her heels. “I suppose it could have been done and then lost and forgotten but…” She caught herself at the soft intake of breath from the tall elf at her side. Immediately, she flushed pink and pushed herself to stand upright. Many in the tribe knew of Raindrop's weak memory, a result of her strong Wolf-blood, and usually skirted the issue with oblique delicacy. They knew the topic pained the brindle-haired elf. Songsent gave herself a mental shake of remonstrance but still reached out with one soft hand, touching the other elf. “But nothing is ever really forgotten once found,” she whispered.
Raindrop looked at her for a moment and then let her gaze drop to where warm fingers touched the sensitive skin of her wrist. In that span between heartbeat to heartbeat, she felt the small callouses and the slight dampness left by the flower-juices and the inherent gentleness in the gesture. A warmth grew in the pit of her stomach. One side of her mouth lifted in a quirky, uncertain grin. "Do you think so, Songsent?" She twisted her hand slightly and pulled it back but not quite all of the way. The brunette's immediate reaction fanned the new living spark of warmth; she immediately turned her own hand in response and tangled their fingers together. Raindrop returned the squeeze and her smile grew a bit more. "Do you think we can remember things if we forget them?"
"If we can't, then others can help us remember." Songsent's tone left no room for doubt and, when Raindrop nearly laughed at the stubborn set of her jaw, the younger elf maiden beamed. "That is what being a tribe is all about, my dear fuzzy-headed friend. We help each other. In all ways."
Nodding, Raindrop gave the hand gripping hers one more tight squeeze, conveying all of her gratitude and warmth and friendship as best she could. Then she released the small, comfortable hand and moved to crouch among the grass and flowers. She reached for the nearest fresh-blooming bud. "How many flowers do you think Lacewing will need?" she asked.
"Oh, about as many as we can give her, I think." Songsent understood the unspoken words, the thank you that hid behind the ordinary words, but said nothing more about it as she returned to her knees beside Raindrop. She moved the woven reed basket into a better position so both of them could more easily reach it. "If she doesn't want all of them, we can just make the rest into flower wreaths and decorate every tribemate who will stand still for it. Which reminds me of a story I heard once about a New Green Bliss many moons ago. I mean, simply oak-ages ago! You were probably just a cub yourself. Or maybe you were just old enough. Anyway, I heard that..."
Watching keenly out the corner of her eye, Songsent gauged Raindrop's reactions as she began the tale, only slightly exaggerated by time. As the older elf began to relax and giggle in response, Songsent herself felt the tension ease between her shoulders and let the joy of the story flow through the words, the memories, the time unending. Side by side, she and Raindrop worked to gather the tiny blue flowers and, before long, story moved into story and she felt certain that she had never passed a more enjoyable evening. She hoped Lacewing would unravel the dye's secret. If she did, Songsent thought, she would ask Raindrop to come gathering with her again. It would be good for both of them.