Of Shapes And Places Uncertain Who: Aedre, Garrett Edgewalker Where: Korcari Wilds When: Late autumn of 9:43 Dragon Summary: A Chasind shaman moving from one village to the next encounters someone who does not belong in her Wilds. Rating: Uh, NS for Naked Shapeshifter
Winter was coming in the Bannorn, and the deer and birds and other migratory creatures that called those rolling grasslands home were heading south to the winter - so, of course, the golden wolf with the mind of a man followed them, though this year he ranged a great deal further south than was strictly necessary.
The Korcari Wilds were a place of legend among his people; when he has been little more than a cub, his mother would tell stories of it as if she had been there, of how green the marshes were, how untamed the land, how witches haunted the fens and the souls of the dead in the form of wisps would lead travellers astray. Now that the Edgewalker, son of Swiftrunner, was a lone wolf and free to explore as he might, he did not find their beauty or danger failing - but the animals and spirits of the place, so thinly separated from the Fade's realm of dreams, were not the threat to him that they were to the sons and daughters of the true-men.
Garrett, padding along as a golden shadow through the verdant grounds of the outer Wilds, couldn't remember if his kind had ever tread here; werewolves were unwelcome in the best of circumstances, but he had heard whisperings that shapeshifters populated these lands, that yellow-eyed men and women were not only familiar, but known for what they were. Something to do with the Grey Warden who had ended the Blight and Zathrian's curse alike, one of his companions, a yellow-eyed witch - Garrett struggled to remember. As he moved deeper into the Wilds, however, his ears and tail flicking at insects or tracking noises through the underbrush, he came across the scent of man. Nose to the earth, he filled his lungs with the smell: incense smoke steel blood, a hunter of some kind, then, perhaps Chasind. If it was a hunter, he did not keep dogs, and that was all to the better for a wolf who might come across him.
The tracery of smell on the earth led him to a series of traps, hidden in and around a copse of trees. Two were simple snares (one held a terrified rabbit that Garrett happily consumed) while the others were more complicated beasts, metal and springs and bone-shattering teeth.
There was a balance in nature, and Garrett's mere existence tipped it; that did not mean that the hunters of the true-men could be allowed to do so as well. A whisper of power, a push of his will, and the golden-furred wolf became a golden-haired man, strong hands dismantling or prematurely springing traps as he went.