Spring brought a new problem. All around me, creatures were seeking out females and coupling, even the great basilisk forgot the hunt in order to find a mate or two.
The snows had barely begun to melt and the winter had been hard on everyone. Those who were strong enough, sought out mates in order to pass their strength on to the next generation.
Everything was mating; everything except me. There was nothing for me. Or was there? The voice that soothed my sleep came from somewhere - I knew it did - but I had never seen her. I had to go see her at least once.
Almost as if a form of radar kicked in, I headed off across the landscape. I became possessed with seeing this woman of my dreams to the point of forgoing the hunt.
As I drew closer to my destination, I slowed my pace. I had to be cautious; other hunters were close and they were after the same thing I was after.
I came upon a valley out in front of a cave. Her scent was strong here. I watched the valley for days always changing my location, always watchful for other hunters. I would eliminate the competition. I would have my mate.
When I finally saw her, she was smaller than I expected, but the tug inside me was undeniable. I was about to show myself to her when another person came out of the cave. He was tall and very regular in his features. He looked vaguely familiar to me, so I hesitated. He spoke to the woman and rested a hand on her shoulder.
My hackles rose as her head dropped. She said something in response and I heard her voice. That was all I needed to be sure she was who I sought. I would have her, and if I had to, I would kill this two-legged hunter to get her.
The man escorted her back into the cave with an arm around her shoulders. He must be holding her prisoner or perhaps he was forcing her to be his mate. She would be mine if I had to go into that cave and get her.
I waited and watched for three more days before I resolved to go after her. I made my move in the darkest part of night. There were six life lights in that cave complex and none of them were close to any other one. That told me that the woman did not share the man's nest. Now if I could just find her without rousing any of the others.
As I ventured into the complex, I passed one, and then two chambers where other people slept before I found hers. I could see her well enough in the dark, but I wanted more. I caused her lantern to light, bathing the chamber in its soft glow. She was cuddled under a soft blanket with her dark hair spread over her pillow like a fan. I reached out to brush a lock from her face and felt its soft silk. Her breath was sweet and she sighed softly. I found myself on my knees and touching her cheek.
She opened her eyes and then sat up abruptly. "Liam? Oh, Lian, where have you been?" She was out of bed and in my arms dressed in something that was smooth and slick under my fingers.
Her words didn't register. Her warm body that was so close kindled a fire in my veins and her voice filled my soul to bursting.