The fire had died to embers. The smell of roasting meat was fading. The stripped deer carcass lay in the coals, smoldering still. It had been the first time he had eaten since he had awakened, and he had been ravenous. Whatever force he had used to heal himself had drained him completely, burning fat and muscle alike to close the wounds. The meal had helped, he could almost feel his body rebuilding itself, but it would be a few days before he was back to full strength.
A stick broke in the night, to his left, and he turned to investigate. At first the night obscured his vision, but after a moment, the curtain of evening receded, and his field of view extended far into the forest around him. Just as he saw the creature creeping out from behind a tree, the smell of it came to him. A raccoon.
The changes were coming steadily now, so his improved vision didn’t surprise him. There had been moments in the past few days when even solid objects had not barred his sight. He found himself wondering what new gifts would come to him the longer he was in this vessel. He was almost excited by the thought of how his new abilities would aid in the cleansing to come.
As he turned those thoughts over in his mind, he found his thoughts wandering, unfocused. He was exhausted. It felt strange, somehow, to be tired, to need sleep. Sleep was for the old self, a limitation of what he had once been, but the healing had taken to much out of him. Rest would speed the recovery, bring back his strength, so it must be endured. With that last thought, he drifted off into unconsciousness.
Light, bright and searing, burning through his eyes. Anger, pounding at his mind. A force was tearing him from the vessel, pushing him out, trying desperately to replace him. He fought back, clinging to his new home, to the need that drove him. The struggle was close, but only for a moment, and then the light faded once more.
His eyes shot open. He was awake. His breathing was ragged, his heart pounding. Was the conflict in his dream real? Was something trying to force him out? It would explain the strange light and emotions after the attack in Waterdeep.
He had to hurry. If more attacks came, he may not be able to fight them off. He could not be compromised before the world was cleansed. The sun was well into the sky, he had slept for half a day at least. Standing, he pushed through the brush and back to the road. He turned south once more, and continued towards his destination.
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