"Come on birdie! Bottoms up!"

Voll chuckled to himself, watching as Kureel (straight-laced, taciturn Kureel!) tossed back another mug of what the Wolfriders called "Dreamberry Wine." A cheer erupted as the Chosen set the mug back down with a resounding thud, grinning in triumph as he did. Then he fainted dead away. The group, including his thoroughly smashed lifemate Hoykar, promptly burst out cackling.

Sounds of celebration rung out across the banquet-hall of Blue Mountain, filling Voll with joy. This was what Blue Mountain had been missing for so long. Life.

A happy hum slipped up from his lap, turning his attention down to the figure curled up into him. His fingers brushed against the soft, dark skin of his new lifemate's check. Rayek chuckled softly, trying to nip teasingly at the finger but missing, likely due to the large amounts of alcohol in his body.

Next to the two Winnowill sat, perfectly sober, enjoying the spectacles everyone was making of themselves, and brushing her fingers through her young Recognized's dark hair. Voll beamed as he looked at her, knowing what awaited them. How long had they waited, hoping beyond hope for such a gift. And now… he laughed gently as the young hunter finally managed to catch his finger. Not only the healing of his love, but a child and a beautiful new lifemate. How many blessings could they receive in so short a time?

"Come on Lord Voll! Join the celebration!"

The red-head Pike nodded sagely, astoundingly sentient considering the colossal amounts of wine he had consumed, "Aye milord! As one of the expecting fathers it's your solemn duty!"

With that, he shoved a large mug into the Glider Lord's hand.

Voll stared at the tankard in his hand. It smelled quite nice. Surely, just one wouldn't hurt.

##########################

Light streamed though a high window, waking Voll with a sensation not unlike having needles shoved into his eyes. Slowly, so very slowly, Voll rose to his feet. He yawned softly, wincing as the action caused a shooting pain through his head. He must have knocked it against something. Hmm, that would teach him not to sleep on the floor.

Why had he been asleep on the floor?

Voll turned, staring down at the stone floor of the banquet-hall as if it would answer him. Why was he even in-

"Ah, Lord Voll –hehe- good –snrk- morning."

"Did you… -snrk- sleep well… milord?"

Voll nodded dumbly, staring in bewilderment as Oroleed and Yeyeen bowed and hurried the other way, stifling laughter as they went.

'What in the-?'

"Oh! Lord Voll! Good morning!"

He turned sharply at the sudden noise, eyes falling on the Wolf-chief Cutter and his soul-brother. Both of whom were coughing thickly.

"Quite a… night we had last night… wasn't it?"

"I… suppose?"

For some reason, the Wolfriders seemed to find this amusing, as both began coughing even harder, tears brimming in their eyes.

"Yes well –ahem- we… -snrk- should be going now. Good day Lord –snrk- Pickles."

For the second time in his scant moments of wakefulness, Voll stared as a pair of snickering elves ran away from him.

Lord Pickles?

############################

Something was terribly wrong.

Hastening (a Lord did not rush, ever) down the corridors of his Mountain, Voll knew this clearly.

No. not even 'terribly' wrong. 'Terribly' was Kureel forgetting Hoykar's life-day. 'Terribly' was Ember getting stuck in the eye-socket of a stone bird-sculpture. 'Terribly' was discovering that it was not Winnowill or Rayek who had slipped into the hot-springs with him while he was napping.

This… this was horribly, obscenely, catastrophically wrong!

He had not been awake a full half-hour, and already he had been laughed, giggled, snickered and chortled at by half the Gliders and nearly all of the Wolfriders in the whole bloody Mountain!

Aurek! The wise, the calm, the High One in first-born's skin, had taken one look at him, then promptly fallen on the ground laughing hysterically!

Dread flowed through Voll. What was the cause of this?! Were his people under some sort of bizarre magic? Were they ill? Were they drun…k…

Oh dear sweet High Ones.

###########################

"Winnowill! Rayek!"

Voll tore into their chambers, breath coming in sharp gasps and hair hanging in his face.

His lifemates, both finishing the last fastening on their clothing, stared at him in shock.

"What did I do last night?!"

The shock deepened.

"You… don't remember?"

They exchanged a look, then broke down in a fit of mad laughter.

"Rayek?! Winnowill?! What did I do?!"

"Oh nothing dearest," Winnowill tittered into a delicate hand, linking her arm with Rayek's as they turned to leave, "nothing at all."

"Oh and don't worry lifemate." The young hunter smiled sweetly, pausing for a moment to brush a finger against his bare arm, "I, for one, will never stop liking your… 'bones'."

With that, his lifemates left him alone with his utter confusion, and their ringing laughter.

"WHAT DID I DO?!"