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Running restless
[Image: 49679186_402932550451133_3860079414955089442_n.jpg]

Some hours into their slumber, Tristan woke in the runner’s dream. He stood upon the edge of a high cliff overlooking a landscape hewn from the core of the world itself. The fjords stretched like a maiden’s hair floating inward from the ocean. The air itself whispered across the bare shoulder of his typical appearance in the dream. War paint drew black patterns around the muscles of his beastly frame. At his waist stretched leathers sewn up the side with strong cords. His hair was neatly braided in the dream when it was more frayed and frazzled in the Other world. His eyes gleamed gilded as the sun itself, and with a step, he knew he could jump the fjord in a single, monstrously legged-bound. This was his world, where he could run from horizon to horizon. The arc of the planet was his to run, leap and explore. The wolves were quiet, but their howls hummed echoes in his mind even as he inwardly stretched to speak to them all at once.
"Don’t waste your time looking back, you’re not going that way."
Rognar Lothbrok
There had been no sleep for Sierra once her eyes had closed. She had pushed into the dream and found herself outside the bunker doors. There was nothing unchanged. Things flickered from the real world. The time was different but she didn't find her mother or father's flickering forms in the bunker itself. She came often to see them. But she was afraid she'd never see them again, here or in the real world. In the dream she could have called to the wolves, asked for confirmation but she was afraid. Too afraid to really know.

They hadn't agreed where to meet, but Tristan was sleeping next to her, his body was warm against hers and the skins she wore were too much between them. The thought made her blush. Her clothes flickered but Sierra scolded herself. Stray thoughts were bad in the dream. It could do unthinkable things. And wonderous ones, but now as not that time.

Sierra flicked over to Moscow. There were flickering people all over as they dreamed, but she only came to check on those she cared about. But none of them slept. She missed them, but she was here - was with a pack doing what she loved.

The next step took her closer to Tristan she could feel it. But she couldn't see him - he was close. Sierra looked over at the volcanic landscape and wondered where she was. Another step and she found the feeling she was looking for. Tristan looked mostly like he did in the real world but different. It was always different here. Sierra looked much the same as usual covered in the deer skin pelts she'd made herself. The wolves appreciated her fondness for being less human. She put her small hand at the small of his back and smiled. "Where are we?" She asked softly so as not to disturb the stillness of the land. She looked to gaze upon his golden eyes ablaze. They really were beautiful eyes if they could just not hide them the would could share in them too.
Her scent was the warning of arrival. A smile plucked at the corners of his mouth moments before the pressure of her hand touched his back. Pride swelled deep as he answered her question, “This is Iceland. I am sorry if I was hard to find. I usually awaken here. It’s hard to leave.”

He turned from the cliff, a human barrier between an endless drop and sure footing. “Let me show you,” he said with a wolfish smile, then gripped her hand in his as the running began.

A streak of fire sparked like lightning. Green grasses turned to black sands beneath their feet. He showed Sierra the crackling glaciers and the rugged mountains. Waterfalls taller than skyscrapers sprayed mist upon their bare skin. Finally, at the northern-most point of the world, he stopped. Rock slicker than marble and twisted as dancing flame jut upward from crashing waves. At their back was an enormous wall of round columns, impossibly precise as though carved by the hands of the gods themselves. Black sand squished beneath their feet. Tristan paused, pointing out into the sea where the twisted one was frozen forever.

"See it?" he asked, waiting. The column was ancient and the one within slumbered many generations before Tristan was born. Yet wrongness tensed the air if he focused on it.
"Don’t waste your time looking back, you’re not going that way."
Rognar Lothbrok
They ran. It was good to run. The dream made it effortless but still when they stopped Sierra was panting. It was a strange location. the wall was high and unique and Sierra didn't know where to look until Tristan pointed it out.

The single spire out in the water was strange. But why was Tristan showing her this. He spoke of trolls and fairies and this looked like neither, but she wanted to trust him. "I see it. What is it?" She was assuming it was more than a spire in the water.
Sierra's scent maintained steady curiosity. It wasn't the spike of intrigue he was expecting when one first looked upon a trollstone. His gaze shifted, eyes narrowed. Perhaps the troll within was too long frozen, too ancient. He himself knew what to inspect and yet only barely saw the hint of a soul within. The scent of wrongness was stronger than what the eye could see. Long Eye, he smiled, curling a finger around her face until it trailed away with tempting follow. 

He ran again, Sierra at his side. Or so he thought she was. The pursuit burned his legs to fires sure to streak in his wake. The world blurred to shades of gray and white, and it seemed in three giant steps they arrived at his destination. It was a quaint hillside, tame compared to the jugged peaks along the horizon. The sea was quiet at the foot of the hill. A small house was abandoned. Between them twisted the writhing rock of another jagged column. 

It seemed to writhe within like smoke swirling behind glass upon his arrival. Úlfar was in a foul mood, so the scents told Tristan as he approached. Hands on his hips, a wry smile touching his lips: "Be good, grandfather. I bring someone to meet you," he told the stone. Its focus honed upon the figure behind him, but yet somehow, never moved at all.
"Don’t waste your time looking back, you’re not going that way."
Rognar Lothbrok
They ran again. It wasn't so much as the passage of distance, it was disorienting the first time Sierra had done it. But it was normal now, she enjoyed the comforting and protective presense of Tristan. Though he spoke strangely and whispered to the wolves in far away lands. She trusted him. And there were very few people in the world Sierra trusted. Tristan was a wolf like her. He understood. That was the key - he understood and she happily followed him to the small house at the foot of a hill overlooking the sea with another twisted rock.

This one was different. Maybe it was because they were closer. It looked strange, almost swirled. Sierra didn't know what it was but she felt but things were different here. And Tristan's words drew her eyes towards him. "Grandfather?" Her words were tinged with fear. "What happened here, Tristan?" She wasn't afraid of Tristan, it was this place, this pillar - his grandfather? Uncertainty.

But the twisted rock made her look again. He'd called it grandfather. He'd said he was raised by a troll. Faries and trolls and powers that were unknown and unheard of. Giant creatures in the woods that the wolves were eager to know more about - something excited them and Sierra didn't know what it was. Tristan in the woods. So many strange things.

Sierra took several steps toward the twisted rock with her outstretched hand. "Is he hurting inside?" She didn't know what it meant, or what was going on, but something had happened - it could be truly beauiful or a compelete horror story but she trusted Tristan.
Thorn Paw would be angry that he brought a new sister to this place, but as Tristan watched her sniff and explore the basalt column, his arms crossed content to wait for the hulking wolf’s condemnation to come. Meanwhile, he quietly witnessed Sierra’s exploration with great deal of amusement.

Arms crossed lightly, a sly smirk danced his lips upon her question. Something inside made him hope that his grandfather was tortured within his eternal prison, but he wasn’t sadistic. Prisons are a form of justice. Ulfar deserved his fate.

“Yes, grandfather, or so I thought. It seems he is my uncle instead.” He finally strolled forward, patting the smooth stone like a clap on the shoulder, though instead may have been his uncle’s belly. If it was, Úlfar wasn’t amused. The stone column twisted like it was trying to wiggle from his fingers. Of course the stone didn’t actually move. “In the Otherworld, he had a ferocious anger. We fought and he tried to choke me to death,” he turned toward Sierra seemingly unconcerned by the implication of attempted-murder by enraged family member. “Siggi, the dog, chased him out into the sunlight. He never went outside during the day.” His golden gaze swept the horizon. “Iceland is littered with basalt columns, the tombs of fossilized Trolls going back to the beginning. The oldest ones are long asleep, but we can smell their aroma. Úlfar here is quite feisty though.”  
"Don’t waste your time looking back, you’re not going that way."
Rognar Lothbrok
Grandfather, Uncle? Sierra wasn't sure of how there could be such strangeness in one mans life. He'd turned to stone? Sierra's hands ran over the rough stone trying to feel a life within. She wasn't sure what was going on. More confused than anything. But if this was a man, he'd tried to hurt Tristan and her throat rumbled without much regard for what it might sound like coming from a human throat. She wasn't a wolf, but Tristan was pack. Her pack.

She shook her head shaking out the cobwebs. Did these fairy tales matter? No. Sierra remembered the waking world, his arms around her. And he'd protect her from his monsters. And the real ones. She put her hand on his arm gently and smiled. "Thank you. I don't under stand how trolls are real, or how a man can turn to stone. Or how a grandfather could be an uncle. And you are not of this Troll..." Sierra didn't want to think about it, Tristan's eyes were beautiful glinting off the sun light. But they were wolf eyes, just like hers. "Morning will come and we need sleep. I have pictures to take and the wolves have things to show us.
She looked up with a smile. "Unless there was more?"
The Trollstone was undisturbed by Sierra’s touch. Maybe Úlfar saw a woman first and the wolf within second. He was a real troll when it came to the weaker sex. Tristan was embarrassed enough by the hulking man’s behavior to vow he’d be better, but that vow of respect seemed only to make him irresistible. It was a perk of the deal, but one he didn’t deny himself. Sierra had the same look in her eye as dozens before her, barring the glow of a wild interior wrestling to be freed. She imposed her own bars, he recognized. He could help her, should help her if duty spoke true. His smile was invigorating, “I am of the blood, perhaps you can smell it in me,” he said. When he stood, it was an uncurling like the clouds rolling from the horizon. His eyes gleamed like sunset upon hers. Something about this world, something about this place, stirred the feral within. Úlfar would be proud, if he didn’t loathe the wolf.

He stood before her now, hand trailing her shoulder until coming to rest lightly upon the collarbone. “If you want to go, all you have to do is wake up.”
"Don’t waste your time looking back, you’re not going that way."
Rognar Lothbrok
Sierra leaned in and sniffed at Tristan. It was a wolf thing to do but he smelled only of Tristan. She couldn't smell anything that might indicate he was a Troll. But then she didn't know really what one would smell like. But where his hands trailed along her shoulder she felt more. Waking up sounded like a bad idea in that moment.

Sierra gazed up at Tristan, he was a wolf - unlike any other. Calvin had been too human. Elyse and marta too. They had lived among the humans their whole lives. Sierra hadn't and she found that kinship in Tristan. Their lives obviously different but still so much the same.

"And if I don't want to go?" Sierra asked raising her hand to his face and touching gently, letting her fingers caress the soft skin and feel the rough beard the man wore. She couldn't take her eyes of his golden orbs. It was like home. She smiled up at him. She wanted to be bold, but something held her back. But Sierra fought that feeling, the tightness in her chest, and the butterflies in her stomach. She stepped to her tip toes and pressed a tentative kiss to his lips. Fear of rejection coursed through her veins, and she was certain Tristan would smell it but she did it anyway. Kissed him... she could be his. His pack. His. Right then that was all she wanted.

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