Bittersweet: Merry and Bright


“What are you going to name him?”

Eruviel looked down at the puppy with an oddly fond smile. It had been… goodness, over fifteen hundred years since she had had a pet dog. “I am not sure yet.” The puppy wiggled a little in her arms before licking the Elf’s hand. He was an adorable little pup, and big brown eyes gazed happily up at her. She always had been a sucker for dogs, and the way this one looked at her made her miss the wolf pup, Háno. This is, quite possibly, the cutest puppy ever.

Pheadra laughed softly. “He is very sweet, though I think he will be quite big.” She gently took hold of a paw. “Look how big!”

Excited by the room full of people and smell of good food, the puppy nipped playfully at the woman’s hand.

Pheadra moved her hand around for him to chase, first to scratch behind its ear, then under its chin. “Do you have any other pets?”

She heard Abiorn departing, but it was the sudden absence of the elder brother’s presence that made Eruviel blink and look up. “Just one…” Still smiling, her bright, keen eyes quickly darted over the room before resting on the door. “A swan, actually.”

Pheadra pulled her hand back and smiled. “That should be amusing with a puppy.” She laughed and glanced in the same direction as the Elf. “Do you live nearby?”

Her gaze lingering on the exit for a moment, she tore it away to look back at Pheadra. “I do. Just a short ways down on Chestnut.”

“I won’t keep you if you need to get going,” said Pheadra with a nod. She gave the puppy’s head another scratch.

Eruviel offered her an apologetic smile. “I do, but we should go shooting together soon.”

“I would like that very much.”

“Good!” she responded with a pleased nod. “I look forward to it. It was good to see you again. A good night to you, Pheadra.”

Pheadra bowed her head and smiled, “You as well. Good night, Eruviel.”

Eruviel inclined her head to the young woman. Taking up the box with her free hand, she bore her happy little gift with her out the door. In the entry she remembered her cloak, and draped it around the pup before stepping out into the cold.

A million thoughts swarming through her head, she left the box by the wood pile, and turned her slippered feet towards home. Unlike the short trip to Ravenhold, she felt no care as the wind whipped her hair and silken, midnight blue skirts about her. She had looked forward to finally getting to wear the dress, and to enjoying the cheerful evening with friends. Now she almost wished she had stayed away and gone on her short birthday outing. But she had come back.

Letting out a soft sigh she removed the delicate, star-like earrings from her pointed ears along with the silver hair comb and ear cuff. Tucking them inside the soft curve of her neckline she resolved to wear them again sometime for herself, and hugged the pup to her chest with both arms even as he snuggled against her. You are not helping, little one.

Casting the small, petty thoughts away, along with the grumble of an empty stomach, she refocused her mind. There were more important things to be dealt with before she could even think about finally escaping to relax and soak up hot water and starlight. First, she probably should not name the puppy. Not that she did not want to, of course. Puppy cuddles were some of the best, and even carrying the little ball of fur and love was unexpectedly comforting. But, in his best interest, he would be better off with someone who could look after him properly. Second, and most importantly, Anya was missing.

When she had told him that he should be happy, she had not expected his response to crush the amusing reply she had prepared. Oh, oselle. It was this alone that sped her pace to a swift glide down the dark, empty street towards home.

Perhaps Atrian would like a puppy for his first pet.

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