Created somewhat artificially from the remnants of scattered Wolfrider tribes, gathered from across time and over great distances, Mother Moon Holt is designed for housing and nurturing elves, wolves, and dragons. Yup, dragons. How else would they have found three generations of lost elves, some of whom were in tribes that vanished upwards of three thousand years before now?

Apogee and Squall approved this venture, but it was mainly carried out by others including Apogee's daughters. After all, Starbright existed thanks to exactly the same cleverness, and knew it. She loved hearing the story of her birth, her physical existence came long after her spirit was created.

This group of dragons and their riders sought out clues from each elf they located. Some had been on the verge of death, while others ... prompted this search in the first place. 'Only Wolfriders' spirits could wander their world detatched from the era and connection to the Palace of the High Ones. Apogee herself had a bit of a wistful, sad smile when she agreed to all of it. If only they could have saved her beloved Tallow - but he was a pure-blooded elf, and his essence returned to the Palace as he died. With that Palace gone - and not returning for another ten thousand years - some number of those spirits drifted where things got 'interesting'. While they knew wolves and other creatures had formed bonds with elves, this group here at Bald Mountain had dragons. From other worlds, with amazing powers, long-lived in most cases and with the intent to keep their entire valley and the surrounding terrain safe from any strife.

Not 'without Humans', those Wolfrider spirits noted. Because there were Humans - and even Trolls - among them. With dragons. It all seemed to focus on that aspect so that is how they drifted. Toward first the spirit-casting Banter, whose mental strength was doubled under the moons of Abode. Then Banter introduced them to Whitesnow, whose power to join up teleporting dragons and be absolutely sure of their location temporally would help immensely. They needed more, though, since Banter wasn't exactly great at it, but they would need his size and broad shoulders to carry wayward elves. So they enlisted Hewfith, though small, she ranks among their best Nexus teleporters! She and another from her furry-Pernese line Taleteth work well together already. Quilo Silverbell, the reindeer-antlered dragon, also somehow gifted with that combined space-and-time power, likely due to his origin from Ryslen's Flurry like Whitesnow. It was when they started getting noticed by some of the other elders' dragons - Lorewrath, the large and incredibly striped dragoness in particular, that Bald Mountain's inhabitants knew this would be quite the undertaking.

They would need several things first: a place to bring these elves to; big enough to hold a literal tribe. That wouldn't be all that hard, in fact - there were numerous locations around the edges of Bald Mountain's valley and terrain that would be very well suited, even with the wolves that would require hunting territory. So they suggested to several of the rock and plant shapers - find us a spot that wolves and elves could run free, and big enough for them to eventually be part of the dragon riding community here.

Secondly: preparation and patience. They actually needed a 'list' of these elves. When had they been seen last? Where? In what forest, with what constellations in the night sky in exactly what formation? The spirit-elves minds had to be joined up, listened to carefully, watched with many minds and eyes. Sitting in the Dome of Stars, they could establish those things with shaped crystals in the patterns of those stars. Hefty magic; it was just a shame that one or two of the much-older near-high-ones refused to participate, what with this being to 'collect tainted half-blooded elves' and not (as Yasheel still coldly spat, real elves...). But her own (former? by this point that was clear) lifemate wanted to see what would come of all this. Awlvon's skills in both mentally connecting with others and healing would certainly be required. It was when they spotted a few of those little winged Preservers that some of the Sea elves brought with them that they realized how it could all come together.

They knew how those silken cocoons worked, not just because they'd seen plenty of them in action around the forests, but because several of the Holt's members had been preserved in them! Even Marked Man, 'Brand' as he was called now, seemed to understand that the preserver that rested on his broad brown shoulder would be needed for this venture. Amberbonnet and Hazelnut, Capsit, and some few others paid close attention - as close as Preservers could, anyway - to these ideas. They would have instruction, they would be needed! They ... sang loudly and shrill into the night when they were all brought together.

Those elves that had 'died' and would want to return to this place as a physical being once more, gathered in their ghostly drifting manner, hashed out how to spot which of them would serve best as an anchor point, once they were found still-living in the past. They would likely need to move the bodies of those dead from injuries or sickness directly to Bald Mountain's healing chambers, where the healers could fix those injuries, and the spirits - willing ones anyway - would return to a flesh and blood form. They were the only ones who would really 'remember' being dead, even though at this point in Abode's history, all of their tribemates would certainly have been dead and dust for eights and eights. But the odd thing was, to them at least, their tribemates' spirits weren't drifting around.

Which meant only one thing - their spirits were still alive and breathing in a body, in this era. It all would come together; the dragons would direct themselves at a specific pair who had perished in a troll attack. Snakeskin and Talltree, both gored by the jagged spearpoints of the Trolls, distantly north and far to the west - and over two thousand years in the past. Time meant little to their spirits, and in ways even less to their bodies - Wolfriders were known to live 'in the Now', so their minds were... well, hazy at best about just how long it might have been. But the spirits memories were very clear about the specific moment they were killed. As they stared up into the night sky, clear, without a cloud, but moonless - the ideal moment for the vile northern Trolls to launch an attack on this wandering group.

So it would be to that moonless night, with Hewfith, Quilo, and Whitesnow to fly them back in time and space, a pair of Preservers to bind the injured elves bodies, and the riders - particularly Udli - to guard for further Troll attacks. While Aoku knew of the dangers of the area, he'd seen only the remnants of the Troll wars. But the Go-Back was vital, for Starbright was completely innocent of the ways of the dangerous weaponmakers. Her dragon would be able to slip around to plant bits of her luminescent fur and magic woven narcotics around just in case. Any being, troll or otherwise, that encountered them would hallucinate or simply forget what they were doing and wander away.

They did this after practicing a routine, not traveling through time, but into the snow and pine trees much closer to home. Other elves participated with 'pretending to be injured' or 'lugging the cocoons into the healing chamber'. It was not easy to get everyone to feel the urgency they would surely have on arrival, though. But after a short time, they had the practice, they had the willing participants and the willing spirits. Now they just needed... The bodies to put them in.

There was a long discussion about the hows and what-ifs: would preserving near-dead bodies cancel out the spirit drifting in the current era? Probably not, some of the more technically minded of the group went as far as drawing weird looping charts on the 'chalk boards' in one of the group dens (Ainea had brought bunches of things back from Carramba High over the years, why not this?) to illustrate that these willing spirits already now knew to expect to rest a bit, be removed from time, and come back later. There were a few 'true' elves, pure blooded ones, that resided with the wolf-blooded, what about them? Well, perhaps their spirit never reached the Palace, no one knew, since none in Bald Mountain had cause to have asked. A couple of the Go-Backs had been inside the Palace, felt its power in their spirits, but they knew better than to think that any of their kin would want more of the same bloodletting. Oddly enough it was the Go-Backs among the tribe who felt sure that any spirit that didn't take them up on it would be just as happy outside of time and bodies. They knew shedding the form was a bliss, not a burden.

Perhaps it would be sad for some of their families, for Wolfriders sometimes relied on their spirit-family to guide them along. When all was said and done, though, they wouldn't be needed, for there were living eyes on them all now.

Talltree and his elder Snakeskin - or their spirit minds anyway - could not go with the dragons and elves on this journey. But the rapid pace was the most incredibly important thing here - and that's where the Preservers did their level best. When the group of riders arrived to that night and that location, or near it anyway, they saw and even heard the battle, the screaming, the guttural laughter of the trolls. While the elves and dragons couldn't get too close, it was far too risky, the Preservers sped away and found exactly what they needed - the two elfin bodies, strewn against rock or tree trunk, with enough of their blood outside their bodies to know for sure that they would not survive even the moments that it would take to bring those dragons close. They worked fast, encasing the pair without even being noticed; there was still snow everywhere, even with the cloudless and snowless skies, surely the Trolls that laughingly hefted their spears and ran after the survivors wouldn't notice this white-on-white trick. The Trolls didn't return; though whether they were called back by their hunt chief or got bored of running after swift and agile elves, no one knew.

Those elves of that tribe dared not return either. They continued on their way. They could not know what had happened after they fled - they didn't know until so much later that some had even forgotten about it entirely, lost in the Now. None in the living tribe could have anticipated the swift, confident healing touch of Clearwater and Warmhand's power; the strength of the binding back into a flesh vessel that was Archive and Payi's work. A few along the way would also have Brittlebough to thank for removing a stuck broken spear shaft, or Starcap's bone shaping to bring a leg into its proper form once more, or indeed Nightshade's remedies for venom or poison.

In the past, the tribe mourned after each of these losses and plenty more. But they would notice every once in a while, in the corner of their eye or their mind's fleeting touch, during a howl for a fallen tribe-mate... It wasn't the wolves that were carrying off the bodies, when they even had enough of them to move. As would have been tradition, to allow the pack to carry them away and either feast or give them the gentle forest floor as their final resting place... It was a dragon or two, or three, until one evening it was more. Many more.


From the tribe's perspective, it should have been an evening no more out of the ordinary as the last. There were several young children among them, but also a few uneasy new members that had wandered in from parts unknown and had Recognized one of theirs. That youngest child, still bearing his birth name of Chime, squealed with delight rather than fear, when the shadows of dragon wings blotted out the full Mother Moon.

They had never seen such things, nothing so big, nothing so beautiful, than this disparate group of dragons. Purely because those dragons could send their own thoughts, as well as having elfin riders, they were unafraid as the team landed. Unafraid but not necessarily unguarded, as spears and javelins and even a couple bows were aimed until told to stand down by their chieftess.

Hewfith and Whitesnow had chosen a specific moment, too - because it would have been the tribe's last night alive anyway. They could feel it, Aoku and Meysh, both water-shapers to a degree, claimed that something was disturbing the water table in this area. Though they could tell that whatever occurred to do this was quite far away, anyone who'd lived through a groundquake or mudslide could attest: it didn't have to be nearby. Their thoughts were on the conversation that had been had with the Sea elves - a tsunami could happen underground, as well as along the ocean's coastline, equally deadly.

Many eyes glimmered in the light of the double-full-moons. Feral to a degree, sleek and intelligent, though not hungry or angry. It was no wonder that those spirits who wanted to return were so confident and strong. Their tribe, and others, were among the fittest on Abode. Brilliant leaf-green eyes echoed across several: the chieftess and her family. Deceptively slender and lithe, Greenfire approached, her rank denoted with a tied up knot of her curly hair standing higher than the rest of it. She wore no weapon, but there was still an air of both authority and curiosity about her.

"We have not seen beasts like those," she didn't even need to glance at the varied dragons behind their riders. "And they aren't beasts at all, are they? Like our wolves, perhaps?"

Thinking on several members of Bald Mountain, a couple of those riders gave a smirk, "a bit, but you ... will see."

At that, she seemed to balk just a bit. "Will we? What is this meant to be, why are you here?" Her tone grew colder and sharper. Her chieftainship was clear in that moment. Among the tribe, hands slightly gripped around dagger hilts, body language shifted to more defensive than curious on many.

While it was Rasp who wanted to speak, clearly, Starbright cleared her throat and the hot-headed elf kept her mouth shut.

"I am Starbright, daughter of Apogee, our tribe's leader-"

Someone in the back muttered "if she wants to be called leader," and others chuckled.

"-and we're here ... well, we're here from the future. There will be time to explain when we get where we are going, but it's dangerous here, right now, and we seek to make sure that your tribe doesn't simply perish all at once."

That caused a ripple of confusion, muttering, gazes moving between one and another in pairs or groups. One black-haired elf moved impossibly quietly through the scattered leaves of this glade, and went to Greenfire's side. "They ... they speak truth," he said, somewhat hesitantly. "I know that I am new among this tribe, but hear me chieftess: they have no ill will toward us. They mean what they say."

This, she pondered a moment, still not taking her gaze from the dragon riders. "We must confer first," she said, "since most of us are here right now. I cannot make this decision alone, you understand, yes?"

Though they knew they were pressed for time, Starbright, joined by her sister Soulbind, nodded and seemed to be telepathically chatting to one another as well. Rasp looked even more anxious than ever, but she knew the importance of having a tribal council - this would affect every single one of them, no one should be left out of it. What about the wolves, would they want to do this? How could they be taken too?

So it was that for the next aching hour or so, as the moons reached their highest point (an Apogee if there ever was one) this large and sprawling group of wolf-blooded elves discussed the benefits, the risks, the losses. But they did eventually listen to Rasp, who couldn't remain quiet forever. She didn't blurt it out, but it was her insistant sending of urgency, that they had little time - combined with a very faint rumbling.

All of them could hear it now, or feel it below their feet. Something was coming. Something felt like a stampede of serpent-noses, like an entire mountain was collapsing. (It would be another thousand or more years when that actually happened, wouldn't it? It would still be compared to this!) So they did move into action as rapidly as they could. While most had little more than the weapon at their side and the clothing on their bodies, some of the tribe had items to collect: spearpoints and candle holders, tanning equipment, tools. With extra hands to help them, the loom and a number of heavy dye pots also would be brought forward. Very little evidence that any elf had ever lived in this hill would exist, and not merely because the hill itself ceased to exist moments after they'd all climbed to safety on the dragons backs. The Preservers had been hard at work, taunting and nabbing the wolves that remained nearby, with thick and sturdy wrap-stuff silk in the form of slings and a fair few muzzles. While those wolves were brought up to the bigger dragons for transport, some actually came running when their bond elf called. Not all. Some would perish below.

Perhaps a pottery shard, maybe a compressed reed floor mat. Under all the rubble and mud that swept abruptly through the area, no one would ever find those. The dragons were in the air, reasonably well up, but everyone could still feel the rush of the wall of rock, mud, water, trees... There were doubtless hundreds of animals in addition to the few wolves left caught in it as well, this mass of lumpy terrain could be seen as far as the moons light touched, along the valley and around many of the features that the tribe had never seen from above.

They did mourn this loss - that tree was where a couple Recognized, that outcropping was where their howls were held. But those things would be forever in their hearts and minds, as they moved through the very chill between void, a ragged few heartbeats and near terror as the world ceased and then returned below them. A few of the elves were nearly paralized in fear - they had seen visions, perhaps, they were sensitive to such things. But when they emerged to this new home they would shape, it was in an early evening in the Newgreen season. Similar plant life, they could see the same kinds of tall pines and rugged rocks covered in moss.

A few of them wanted to remain on the dragons' backs just a little longer, just a bit more flying ... that was a good sign, according to the riders who brought them.

For the moment, they were to be deposited as a large group in the 'landing flats' near Bald Mountain itself. Well-trodden dirt below their feet once more, they breathed in the new air, caught the new scents. Their wolf-bonds were at once terrified and cowed into remaining nearby. They were not truly intelligent, but they too were not 'merely' wolves, some still bore a drop of elf blood. Some had relatives residing a good few days flight away...


They would meet their long-dead cousins, mothers and sisters, fathers and nephews. Those who had been gently whisked away after meeting an 'end'. To some it was baffling - how did they still live? A few had been dead and gone for eight-eights-times-eight and then some, what Apogee and her family knew to be 'over five hundred years' even to the living members of the tribe. And there were more tribes, different groups, to do this with. One spirit here, another pair there, they'd learned from this network of wolf-blooded free floating minds that there were places that the Wolfriders and their kin had been tucked away since even the very very earliest times.

Squall had met one, she remembered. Quietly she commented to Apogee that she hadn't felt Tineaus's mind in ages, where was that elf-shaped wolf spirit now? Had she gone willingly to the Palace? They both agreed that she would not likely want to be brought back like this.

"But why would you choose to come back?" It was a question that many asked, and equally there were answers that drew the tribe back together.

"I wasn't done living," Vineclimber said, looking at his arm where the bite marks from the viper that had originally been festered and blackened. There were no marks now, but he still felt like at any moment it might return.

"I was hoping to raise my cub," Silverhair said quietly, but she tilted her head lovingly at the sturdy dark-eyed elf nearby. "I have heard your name is Mooncall now," she smiled. "I wonder why?"

Another elf chuckled, "he likes to lead the evening's howl!"

Bald Mountain would have to get used to some howling, too - with a batch of wolves now mingling and posturing around those desended from the High Cove pack, and their nervous bonds hoping that no fights would really break out. Over the course of the next few nights, these newcomers mingled, learned names and locations. Those who wanted it were given a tour of Bald Mountain, while others enjoyed meeting folks who had similar skills or powers. There were plentiful plant shapers among these Wolfriders, they would be well set in their new home. Even though there were a small number of them that seemed a touch grumpy or pined for their old home, they would get used to this one. New arrivals continued to show up; a branching tree of 'this one elf' and 'that spirit I met' lead to there being nearly the same population as Bald Mountain's itself in need of space and food.

They had plenty of caverns and water, already set up thanks to the work of those local shapers. And the wolf pack would be needing their own supply of prey.

Nearby, as one of the newcomers spoke about this being a danger to any locale's population, didn't notice when Rasp tossed her head toward her dragon. Lorewrath had gone somewhere, come back, and promptly dropped a freshly-caught fish into the clearing. Had they looked more closely, the newcomers would have spotted signs of this being a reasonably regular occurrance here in the landing area - bones, scales, things of that nature.

But this was no local fish. And how Lorewrath had caught it wasn't evident either, though there were claw marks on its silvery-blue sides they weren't all hers. The fish was longer than the dragon, and bulky for most of that length. This would feed them for an eight at least! They would learn over time that because the dragons did indeed require a lot of food - even if not individually ravenous, there were still over one hundred of them - they would go offworld to hunt. Several locations were known to them, like finding a good fishing hole or a deer path, but just. Not on this planet. Some of the Wolfriders weren't really 'up' on there being 'planets'. A few just shrugged it off, but others still were quite curious about this. The dragons flew in the air, but also through time, and now through the stars? Fascinating! And it would certainly help keep their bellies full, if there were distant oceans that they could visit. They even had a planned route to never over-hunt in those areas either. And since elves of any tribe or background tended to 'use everything' from a kill, bones and tendons or fins and fat, everything about this meal would provide the basis for new weapons, clothing and gear, for cooking (hah, the Wolfriders didn't cook their food!) and oil lamps. The dragons and wolves would eat parts that the elves couldn't or would not, meat was meat, right?

"There are so many of them," Yasheel muttered. And this time, it was Apogee herself that came toward her. Though Yasheel was nearly twice the chieftess' height, Apogee could be seen as the sometime-leader she truly was as she did so.

"I know you are the child of First-Comers, Yasheel, but so help me I will send you to them if you raise one more word against these people. Or did you not listen to Timmain's sending? I know it was more than eight eights ago but your memory is better than most." The hint of warning in her tone was very clear. Any of the newcomers didn't really understand why she was raising hackles, but they did know that this near-high-one snubbed every single one of them when they were introduced. "They have more right to live in this world than any pureblood, hasn't your dragon taught you not to hate?"

Yasheel was clearly about to say something snide or arrogant - two words that definitely applied to her overall - but she got a headfull of a sharp, dark sending from someone else. Even though Apogee sensed it, she didn't interrupt nor did she hear what it said. But Yasheel's demeanor fell into a bit of a slump after, she said nothing, and merely lowered her gaze and nodded once. She did at least know better than to turn and leave until Apogee let her. That, at least, was a sign of respect. Or perhaps, of obedience if not. Either way, Apogee gave one more word, "tolerate," and flickered her head in the way that Yasheel knew she'd been dismissed.

Greenfire did notice this interaction, and as the chief of at least most of the group gathered, had business asking Apogee about it. The trio of first-comer children were intriguing, two of them weren't bad, but the female... "Some of our elders would relate stories of our bloodline being fractured," she commented. "Those with no wolf blood trying to cast themselves as more civilized or better than us."

"Squall's companion... Tineaus?" It was hard to remember the name after so long, "I buried a wolf-elf that Squall had traveled with as a youth," she chuckled, "proud of her thumbs, she was..."

"Oh! Yes, we know those tales of early Wolfriders!" Greenfire brightened. "This one must have been old, indeed, to have that impressed upon them."

She would be told of that story, they would all share many campfire songs and hunting tales, journeys that ended in disaster or romance, both tribes had their share. Both tribes would continue living pretty much their own way, but slowly, mainly as the wolves among their pack dwindled, elves of this group would be selected to find dragon bonds instead. Some would become more day-living, many on Bald Mountain were awake at midday or earlier, 'like Humans' (they would often spit, their experiences were not great with humans). And also eventually, their Holt would have a name in addition to a marker on the Bald Mountain map.

Mother Moon Holt, protector of their kind, with generations both past and to come, living free.