He was hiding something. Deshana frowned, resting her forehead against the rough bark of a tree as she thought. Becoming lovers had broken some barriers between them, but added so many more. Nilan was evasive about his days, involved in something he didn't wish her to know about. The druid rubbed the back of her neck, pushing away from the tree and giving it an affectionate pat in thanks.
As days passed the assassin became distant and silent, not wishing to bare his troubles to the druid. Deshana tried to coax the troubles from him with humour, cajoling, to no avail. He spent more and more time within the walls, with the high Priest.
“He will kill you Deshana… He will destroy you” The hated voice of the shadows hung often on her heart. When they loved there was a dark urgency in their passion, as if fate moved to tear them asunder. Each night she slept with a feeling of grim certainty. The end was near.
Deshana stepped from the bark of a tree in Mir, stealing up behind the assassin as he prayed. It took several moments for him to notice her, something that amused her a little, so jumpy was he. Nilan ended his prayer, and raised his dagger, then turned, jumping a little at the sight of her. His eyes were cold and hard. “My hand, or your life, Abbil” Green eyes stared into red tinged black with bewilderment.
“What do you mean V’Danre?” Her heart in her throat, freezing her features into a mask-like visage. His eyes were so cold, nearly dead. “Has something happened?”
Nilan stood calmly. “I have chosen Vhaeraun, I am his. What we shared has ended. It is time to leave these woods” His tone was flat and hollow as a casket, he showed no emotion as his words sunk into her soul.
“Goodbye Deshana. My Life and Hand are HIS and no others. There is no place for you in my life, or His wood.” His mask of calm nearly cracked as he saw the soul deep agony his words evoked in the druid. It was to protect her, couldn’t she see that?
“Leave my side, Deshana. I belong to Vhaeraun.” He watched her back up a single step, then another, finally she turned and fled him, in too much agony of spirit to even weep.
Deshana wandered the vast southlands, at a loss to ease the pain in her heart. For so long she had hoped her influence provided the assassin an outlet for the gentle side he kept so deep within. Now she wondered if the whispering shadows were right. Was it all a lie? Had he used her to gather information on the elves of Evermeet? Worse, what if she really was a traitor?
Dark whispers swirled around in her mind mingling and merging with the agony of his rejection. He had used her. Used her and discarded her. A beast worthy of a pat of affection but only so long as it served its purpose. Tears burned down her cheeks. ‘In the end I am a woman after all’ Deshana acknowledged this bitter truth, her heart was reacting in all ways as a woman of any species to her mates betrayal.
She heard wolves begin to circle her and the peril made her realize for the first time that she was bleeding from her left hand. The four scars that had gleamed silver on her palm were now raw and open wounds, and her side and leg were soaked with her own rich blood. The broken oaths had chosen this form of retribution. Well, that was always a risk to magical bindings. She paused, considering letting the wolves finish her, tearing her to shreds like the assassin had shredded her soul. Deshana sighed again, then whispered the prayer that would keep the wolves and any other animals from seeing her then curled up in a hollow tree to tend the bleeding.
Deshana tried several magical healing spells to no effect. Finally she daubed the sounds with salve from the jar Nilan had given her so long ago and bandaged them as tightly as she could one handed. She would move on. She had to. Another prayer, and reality warped around her violently and she found herself in a distant land. There was no sky, really, just an all illuminating glow, and in the far distance to her left gleamed a column of silver-white light. She was on the Outlands.
Deshana now stood in another plane of existence, or more precisely a place between planes. To her right was a strand of trees that looked unnatural to her, a place teaming with odd wildlife. She would never forget the first time she encountered a squirrel of the Outlands. Damned things were carnivores.
The planes welcomed her, the very unnaturalness of the Outlands a balm to her spirit. Deshana began to walk towards the strand of trees, knowing there was a gate to Faunel there. The city of the beasts always welcomed her when her heart was sore, she hoped that it would do so again.
Perhaps later her steps would take her to Sigil, and she could forget for a time, the politics and hatred of the gods. For hours she walked, and mused about the fact that Plane shifting was so very imprecise. The trees loomed no closer after several hours, and finally she changed form and burrowed under a hillock, curling in a ball of vulpine fur for warmth. That was one benefit of being a beast, after all. Animals don’t cry.
A slight brightening of the ever present light woke her and she stretched, then went in hunt of breakfast. The poor, ordinary ground hog bore the brunt of her pained spirit. Licking the blood from her muzzle, she sniffed the air, and trotted anti-Spirewards toward the Gate town to Arborea. Fast and small, Deshana remained as a fox as she moved through the Outlands. Her claws clicked on the shale, ducking from cover to cover. From past trips here she knew she was entering the territory of a landshark, a fearsome predator. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad… No, she shook herself violently, puffs of downy undercoat floating around her. A moments concentration, and a majestic golden form launched from the shale, soaring high above the Bulette’s hunting ground. Deshana the eagle glided on the warm currents of air rising above the plains, the freedom of flight lifting some of the gloom in her spirit.
She stayed in Faunel for three weeks, half of her time in the form of a cat, the form most comfortable for her. She aided the healers, tended the plants, and tried to ease the pain in her heart. Each night she wept herself to sleep, missing the warmth of the man she had given her heart to. Finally it was the eldest of the Treants who lived within the central parklands of the tree city. The ancient Treant scooped her up as she tended a broken branch in its crown. “Deshana,” the voice was slow and groaning, “you know you belong elsewhere. Your heart is weeping, we all feel it. Go home, settle things.” The treant stroked a tear away with a gentle brush of leaves. “We will always welcome you here, planewalker. Go, and bring closure to your heart.” The massive branch set her down gently, and gave her a little push. “Shift yourself home, lass, return and see what might be seen.”
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