Chapter Sixteen

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– Relax, Tarke, said Sherath, running Awareness through her mind. She looked across and grinned at him.

Is it that obvious?

– Fairly. Moonwind's being very cautious about how she moves – she's afraid of losing you. He patted Moondust's neck, and straightened out a twist of the unicorn's mane. Open your mind to mine; feel how I feel. Feel the movement of Moonwind's back; feel the sequence of her legs; feel the muscles shifting and the way she uses her balance; feel the rhythm – it's very predictable, she won't throw anything unexpected at you. Let yourself move with her; absorb her movement and relax.

– You're very expert all of a sudden, Sherath.

– Farinka's a good teacher. You must ride with her sometime; she has a beautiful feel for togetherness with Moondust. I could almost let her mind control my own movements – it's a quick way to learn.

– Probably. But if I let you control me I'm responding to you and him rather than to Moonwind.

– Good point. Ride with me? Just until you get the feel of it more? He looked across at her, the question echoed in his eyes.

Yes. Tarke edged the filly closer to Moondust where Sherath had halted him, and slithered over to sit behind Sherath.

As close as you can; it helps him to balance our weight. Shut your eyes, feel his movement; open your mind to mine. With me now?

– Yes. Tarke drifted into a sleepy Awareness, allowing her responses to take their cue from Sherath's consciousness, and feeling the flow of movement from the unicorn to herself and Sherath and back to the unicorn. I feel how he thinks, she said after a while. He's not using Voice, but I can feel his Awareness of me.

– Yes. He knows who you are.

– He has enormous strength, she remarked. The Power of his mind is immense. As young as today and as old as forever. How can he have learnt so much wisdom in so short a time?

– He's a unicorn, said Sherath, answering everything. Can you handle moving faster? There's a lot of ground to cover.

– With this kind of link I can manage anything you can. Your abilities become mine; you know that.

– Yes. I wondered if you did, though.

– If you let me, I can know anything that you know. The Power of your own mind is also quite impressive, Sherath. Not entirely -

– Don't say it, Tarke. Wiser left unsaid.

– Why? As Counsellor, I should be the one person you need have no secrets from. She felt his Awareness shifting, and, probing, knew there were parts of his thoughts that he was quite deliberately keeping closed to her. Can you not trust me, Sherath? She shifted the tone of her Awareness and let him feel the hurt of being shut out.

His eyes screwed up for a moment. – That's unethical, Tarke.

– It needed to be said. Trust me. You can, you know. I won't hurt you. She felt him smile, and let the wash of his affection flow over her.

You're very wise, for a Child.

– It's in the breeding. My sire was a good Counsellor.

Sherath laughed. – This is very true. I'm going to ask him to canter; it's a very easy rhythm. Flow with it.

Moondust swung into an easy canter, the filly keeping pace half a length behind him.

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