After the events of the Midwinter Celebration, Veronica and Ray talked walked over to the cliff where they talked last time, on the insistence of Veronica at they really needed to talk. Veronica tried to pressure Ray to say what she had done. Ray who was a bit drunk answered avoiding and hesitant, but eventually confessed that she had made a deal with Creek Mother, but did not go into details about that. After a while, Veronica went to get Aya.
In the meantime Aya sat in a tree, in her lupus form, and talked things over with Wind Daughter who stood below her. Wind Daughter expressed her clear disapproval over the breeding program and made clear to Aya that the Black Furies would always stand by Aya if needed. She also mentioned that she was unable to bear children due to a battle accident. Aya expressed her gratitude towards Wind Daughter, whom then had to leave.
Veronica convinced Aya to follow her to Ray. The first thing Ray said when Veronica and Aya got back to her was that she would miss them when they left for the Black Furies. Veronica told Aya that Ray had made some kind of deal with Creek Mother. They continued to talk about the program, how it affected them, what Aya had agreed to do, and how Veronica had made a point in to Creek Mother and the entire Sept. Ray made Aya and Veronica promise not to tell Silver Shadow anything about the deal that Ray made. Then Ray mentioned that Laughs at Death might be able to find out who were Ray’s parents. She also said that it might be Blood Oath, as he was labeled Charach as he once had a metis child that he told was killed at birth, and that the mother was banished. They also talked about their dreams for the future. Ray wanted to run in the woods with Silver Shadow. Veronica wanted to find out how her mother and Gunhilde got killed.
Eventually Aya and Veronica left to get some sleep, but Ray stayed, still waiting for Silver Shadow.
The next day, Veronica once again showed up. She had brought a basket with a warm blanket and some warm soup with lots of meat in it. It had continued to snow. They both sat quietly and ate for a while. Veronica made sure that Ray was no longer drunk or hurt, and then said that she finally thought she understood that Ray not only loved Silver Shadow, but actually was in love with her. She said that she did not really understand those things, but hoped they would be happy. She also said that she thought it was brave of Ray to make a deal with Creek Mother, but also foolish, and that she thought that Ray ignored the pack as a hole when she only thought about Silver Shadow, who was not even there, and ignoring Aya, who also needed support. Veronica continued to say that Ray had not acted like a leader. Then they started to argue about who was the better fighter of the two of them. Both seemed confident that they would win. Surprisingly calmly they agreed to decide that on the spot. They agreed to not use claws, teeth, weapons or even gifts. They agreed to fight in crinos. Ray said that she fought she would have an advantage in that form, but Veronica told her that she actually liked that form, but usually avoided it as it was harder to keep her temper under control in it.
They turned out to be quite evenly matched. Veronica was more agile, faster and a more skilled fighter, but Ray was stronger, had better reflexes, better instincts and actually fought more aggressively. Ray simply wanted that win more than Veronica, who fought a little more defensively. Ray the first thing Ray did was tackle Veronica to the ground, but despite that Veronica managed to keep Ray of balance with lots of quick punches, while Ray only managed a few, as Veronica also managed to avoid many of them. But then Ray landed two very hard hits that made Veronica dizzy. After that it was just a matter of time as punch after punch landed. Veronica raised a paw when she was close to lose consciousness and yielded.
Most of Ray’s bruises and scrapes had healed during the fight, but Veronica was bloody, with one eye swollen shut and lots of bruises. Despite this, once the fight was over she got up like it did not bother her at all. Veronica then asked Ray to get the mead out of the basket. About a minute later all of Veronica’s wounds had healed. They sat down at the same place as before with a pint of mead each, and the only trace of that there had even been a fight was the markings in the snow with some red spots of blood here and there in the otherwise white newly fallen snow.
Veronica said that she apparently underestimated Ray, but was glad that she did, and hoped that Ray one day would lead the pack. They continued to talk about how they both were orphans. Ray asked Veronica to help her do an errand for Laughs at Death, in return for him trying to find out who were Ray’s parents. Veronica promised to help. After they continued to talk for a while, Ray agreed that she had acted to hastily when she made the deal with Creek Mother and to follow Veronica back and support Aya.