He grinned at her and gestured to the forest ahead of them. She raised a questioning eyebrow at him and he simply nodded.
They continued towards the woods in silence. Speech was almost impossible so there simply wasn’t a point in trying.
As Thail stepped into the shadows of the trees, Storm turned upwards suddenly, disappearing into the canopy of the woods. Beth slowed down but continued. As she breached the tree line, she saw Storm sat on one of the lower branches of a tree.
“This is my home,” he said to her.
“The forest?” Beth asked, looking up at him and Thail trotted over.
“My forest. These trees belonged to my father, and his father before him.”
Storm stood up and moved with ease through the trees, leading her further into the woods. He kept his wings tightly tucked against his back as he weaved through the branches.
“I was twelve when Evil took me in. He didn’t know what to do with me, really; there were stories about the forest folk but it was very rare indeed to see one. Of course, I’m the last,” he said. He didn’t look at her as he spoke. “Evil treated me as his own, because that was all he could do. He tried his best, I know he did. But this was a very long time before he met Isabella; he was very different then.”
“What kind of different?”
He glanced over at her briefly. “He used to be very... secluded. I suppose that’s the word for it. He purposefully isolated himself a lot. He couldn’t control his anger. Which didn’t much help when he couldn’t work out why I was so moody and mercurial,” he said with a short laugh.
“Why were you?” she asked.
He stopped suddenly. For a while he said, nothing. Beth pulled gently on Thail’s mane, causing her to stop.
“I’ve been addicted since I was four, Beth,” he said without turning.
She gasped, so shocked, horrified even.
“Evil called in so many psychiatrists, you wouldn’t believe it. They didn’t help with the withdrawal symptoms. They didn’t help at all, with their fucking diagnosis,” Storm said bitterly before moving on.
Beth patted Thail’s side, making her walk on.
“What did they say?” she asked quietly.
“They said I had a borderline personality disorder,” he replied without looking.
Beth knew what he was talking about from briefly studying psychology when she was in school.
“What did Evil say?” she asked after a while.
“I don’t know. I threw a fit, screaming and shouting at everyone. I ran to my room and climbed out of the window using the ivy that was growing there. I came back here. I was still sat by my mother’s grave when they found me. I don’t really want to discuss my psychological history. It would take far too long to talk about everything anyway,” he said.