The young wood elf bounded through the thick underbrush of the Grahtwood, darting this way and that, chasing whichever animal grabbed her attention. She was fascinated by the creatures, and often went out into the forest to observe their interactions and behaviors. Of course, being Bosmer, she observed a diet of mostly meat, but the relationship she held with the animals of the wood was much more complex than predator/prey. It was as if she could speak to them, and they sometimes obeyed her commands.
A few weeks ago, she had captured a Nixad, rare in these parts. She named him Wind Dancer. With hours of careful training and instruction, he was now tame enough to follow along on her adventures, always hovering just out of reach and constantly on the lookout for a tasty torch bug.
At this point, the dream became familiar. It happened the same way every time.
“Ooh, look, Dancer, tracks!” she exclaimed. Descended from great hunters, she was eager to improve her tracking skills. This trail appeared to be made by a pack of some kind, probably canine. She crouched and followed the tracks, deliberately searching for other telltale signs of passage. A broken branch here, a smeared berry there.
Following the trail captured the bulk of her attention, and she soon lost track of her surroundings.
Before long, she found herself in an unfamiliar grove. The ever-present chirps and squeaks of birds and bugs grew silent. She sensed an ominous shadow and slowed to a halt. Twigs and leaves began to rustle all around her. As she swiveled her head, she realized that she had been surrounded on all sides by a pack of large werewolves. They carefully encircled her. Werewolves were not common in this forest, but the pubs in Elden Root were often filled by hunters one-upping each other with tales of their brief encounters with the dangerous creatures. Most were dismissed as fable, the stuff of dreams and legends. Perhaps that’s all they were. After all, wasn’t this a dream?
Bretta Sylvania stood up and stiffened her back in defiance. Her spunk and pride would not allow her to die a cowering, shameful death. She hoped that the loud beating of her heart would not betray the terror building within her. She sternly met the gaze of the pack leader. This took him off guard, and his snarl softened nearly into a grin. He relaxed his shoulders and eased towards her, until his hot, foul breath grazed the top of her head. She stood like a rebellious statue. Finally, she closed her eyes tightly, awaiting a swipe from his massive paw. Several seconds passed. Then she felt herself pinned to the ground, and as quickly as he was on her, his weight lifted. When Bretta opened her eyes, her blurred vision revealed only an empty grove and a few rustling tree branches, disturbed by the escaping pack just seconds prior. As she tried to sit up, she noticed a sharp pain in her shoulder, and examined it for dislocation. She withdrew her crimson-colored hand, and it became clear what had happened. She’d been bitten. The normally jovial bosmer grew angry at this violation. How dare they inflict her with this….this CURSE, and just leave her like this? It was as if she was being toyed with. The fire inside her grew until she simply couldn’t contain it any longer. The last thing she saw before the world slowed down was her own hands, frightful, sharp and covered with hair.
Then the dream changed.
It was no longer the past. It was present day, in a faraway land. She saw a member of The Reliquary, bloodied and tortured, his bow and quiver kept just out of reach. She saw faces, both familiar and new, embarking on a daring mission to save him. Their planning was meticulous. Their resolve was firm. Then the scene changed and she saw Bazram, surrounded by minions of questionable character, laughing amongst themselves as the downtrodden warden slumped in the corner. They were sketching lines and arrows into a crudely drawn map in the sand. They knew Jibbs and Kash were coming. It was a trap! Bretta awoke with a start.
She sat straight up in her makeshift sleeping bag. Her breathing was quickened but her senses were dull. After a few minutes of recounting the messages from her subconscious, she began to question herself. Was it just a dream? Were her friends really in danger, or had she enjoyed one too many mugs of Rotmeth the night before?
In the end, it didn’t matter. Bretta was an elf of action. If there was any chance that the leadership of the Reliquary was in danger, she could not sit idly by. She quickly gathered her belongings and whistled for her partially domesticated grey wolf. He growled nervously as she stuffed his saddle bags. “I know, Brax. We’ve got work to do.” She soothed.
Then, with a single motion, she swung across the saddle and they shot off through the woods.