There was a faint thump behind her, and Korrne turned to find huge green eyes staring timidly up at her. ''...Please move,'' the child said in barely a whisper. ''I'll go. Don't worry, I won't come back, I promise. Just please let me leave?'' 'He thinks I'm claiming the lair!' she suddenly realized. 'No wonder he's confused.' The Wolf-Queen tilted her head to the side and regarded the boy steadily. Up close he really was in pitiable shape. His leggings had plainly been stolen from something or someone much larger than he, and he'd used bits of twine to tie them into something approximating a fit. They were torn to show skinned knees beneath, doubtlessly remnants of clumsy landings. His bare skin was littered with tiny scratches and bruises and a few smears of dirt. Even his wings looked battered, missing feathers here and there, weighing too heavily on his thin shoulders. The leading wing feathers were tattered and dirty from rubbing the ground. 'Five months on his own, tops.' By then the child would, if he were lucky, be dead. If fortune was really smiling he would die from a stray arrow in a conflict that he had nothing to do with and knew nothing about. If he was not quite that lucky, he would fall to starvation or disease. If he was not lucky, he would be picked up as a slave or by one of the rougher feral groups. On the other hand... She settled down so that she would meet his eyes on the same level. she asked. He blinked at her for a moment before replying. ''Reseiries.'' Well, the name suited him, at least. Korrne wolf-grinned. The timidity began to fade as curiosity came to the fore. ''A cub?'' She was starting to enjoy this little game. ''I haven't seen any cubs,'' he apologized, his wings lifting a little with new energy as he realized she wasn't driving him out. Her grin widened and her tongue lolled out a little, charmingly. The afore-mentioned green eyes nearly doubled in size. ''Ah...'' ...Awwww. Resei makes a cute kid. ^_^ Just imagine what he'll look like when he's all cleaned up and fed properly. :-P Not all demons are evil; as a matter of fact, most follow the philosophy of 'you leave me alone, I leave you alone'. Similarly, Korrne, the leader of a pack of Wolf-Mages (shapeshifting intelligent wolves), while not winning any prizes for sainthood, is a good woman... umm... wolf-woman, that is. ^_^ She and the Pack are essentially Resei's family when he's small. But then they have to change territories, and Resei and Korrne agree that he isn't up to settling new territory, so instead he stays with Lord Tharran. I'm experimenting with a new style of shading - did it work? Comment and critique!