After so long spent in solitude, the mixture of emotions churning in his gut after this latest interaction was overwhelming.
With his bridle tied safely around his wrist once more, Ciaran no longer felt the gut-wrenching terror that came with being apart from it, though he frequently found himself running his fingers over the smooth leather.
He was safe, he was fine.
And somehow, that was because of the wulver- the same one who came every day to fish on Ciaran’s lake, who never shied away despite the fact that he must have known a kelpie resided there, and still had never managed to disturb that kelpie’s peace.
Ciaran sat on the ground, curled into himself with his back against a tree, making little attempt to hide - there were no other fae living near his lake, and though the wulver could probably locate him easily should he try, Ciaran wasn’t so sure he minded anymore. With trembling fingers, he brushed a dark lock of hair from his eyes, trying to make sense of the emotions fluttering like dragonflies in his chest.
Intense gratefulness, a cold flash of fear, and yet a strange warmth that seemed to creep to his face, darkening his cheeks and curling the corners of his mouth.
He’d been suspicious, of course, through the shock - the wulver had returned his bridle to him, yes, but Ciaran had feared what he may ask in return.
But that was the catch - he hadn’t, had he? He hadn’t asked anything, he still hadn’t. He’d simply left the bridle on the shore, waiting only a few moments to make sure it found its way back into Ciaran’s hands before disappearing again. He could still see those green eyes, eyes as deep as the forest, they were burned into his memory, they were…
And though the wulver seemed to have accepted the fish Ciaran had left on the rocks, he knew they could never be enough - they were more an acknowledgement, an expression of his gratefulness, than any attempt to settle the debt.
He knew that was impossible anyway - he owed him his life and more. His freedom.
Eventually he’d stopped leaving the fish, knowing it was pointless to continue, it would never settle the debt, but after that - the gifts had started. Small things: beads, carvings, all beautiful and expertly crafted, and he’d been careful to leave yet more fish in exchange for each one, though he’d had no idea what to make of it.
Somehow, he felt like he needed to talk to him. He needed to ask.
Ciaran took a deep breath as an idea came to him, pulling a few thin cords of leather from where they’d been tied around his wrist, settled comfortably against his bridle. Tying the ends, he pushed one of the beads the wulver had left for him onto one of the cords, whispering words of luck - and with a rare smile, he began to weave.