Return of the Wyldess
An Underground Cavern
[Exits: up] The scent of wood smoke fills your nostrils as you glance about the rough- hewn cavern surrounding you. The roof of the cave glitters with the light from thousands of precious stones embedded deep within the rough stone, each one catching and reflecting the light of the enormous bonfire that blazes in the center of the cavern. Piles of furs dot the walls, some occupied by the Huntress' minions and others empty but oddly inviting. Strings of skulls, both animal and human, hang from the ceiling against the eastern wall, clattering and echoing hollowly as a constant breeze emanates from deep within the cavern. Tendrils of thorny vines writhe against the northern wall behind the throne, occasionally offering up a glimpse of the large, black thorns that guard the black roses the Wyldess adores. (Light Red Aura) (White Aura) Manatheren, hound of the Hunt, lays beside the Wyldess' throne.
Katrana giggles as she beckons Manatheren to chase her.
Ebon tendrils of shadow ooze from the southern entrance.
Katrana tilts her head to the side in thought.
Katrana says, 'Manatheren...did you do that?'
The hound stretches lazily as if he has no care in the world.
Katrana stamps her foot angrily.
Katrana says, 'You are no help! You've gotten rather lazy!'
A voice echos from within the inky blackness, 'It doesn't help that you ran him all night long through the Twisted Forest little one.'.
Katrana giggles, 'Who are you? Have you come to play with me!?'
A petite gnome shamaness, wielding a pair of bloodied shears, steps from the blackness.
The gnome says, 'In a way, young one. In a way.'
Katrana tilts her head to the side.
Katrana says, 'You are back again!'
Katrana says, 'AND YOU HAVE A WEAPON LIKE I DO TODAY!'
Katrana says, 'Are you a princess too?!'
The gnome says, 'I once was. Long ago. I was a princess, I was a slave, I was a Tiger, I was a Nashite, I was a Chosen, I was an Acolyte, I am a Wy...I was and am many things.'
Katrana says, 'Wow! That's alot!'
The gnome continues, 'Tell me little one, during all of my visits, have you figured out who I am?'
Manatheren stretches again then slowly trots over to the gnome.
The hound nuzzles her hand and laps up the crimson dripping from her shears.
The gnome's eyes sparkle with a ruby light and she leans slightly over to hug the hound.
Katrana says, 'He only likes mine and, well, ME!'
Katrana pouts, 'Why does he like you!?'
The gnome grins wickedly.
The gnome says, 'Little one, I visit you often...in a way I am always here, with you.'
The gnome says, 'I guess he just knows who I am.'
Katrana chews her lip in thought.
The gnome says, 'I need to speak to you, child.'
Katrana says, 'I didn't do it!'
Katrana runs to the north wall behind the throne, the briars encasing her.
The gnome sighs and walks over to the wall of writhing briars.
The gnome raises an eyebrow at the form visible within the briars and makes a gesture.
The briars retract to reveal a gnome child huddled against the back wall.
Katrana gasps, 'You must be a shaman too!'
The gnome nods, 'I was, once.'
The gnome smiles slightly, 'May I sit with you?'
Katrana giggles happily, 'No one has ever sat with me back here!'
The gnome moves and sits behind the wall of briars and makes a gesture; the briars surround them.
Katrana says, 'What did I do?'
The walls glisten, weeping water, as Katrana frowns and her eyes well.
The gnome sighs, 'Oh, little one. You are so small. I cannot stand to see you like this. You haven't the experience you need to take on such burdens.'
Katrana says, 'I don't understand.'
The gnome says, 'You. You should not be in this time. You should not carry the burden yet of being Wyldess, and Huntress.'
The gnome continues with tears of crimson, 'You should be playing with your brother. You should be annoying the miners with meaningless orders.'
The gnome's tears fall harder, 'You should be making Kriltin wish he took up a profession other than teaching. You should be sharpening your shamanic skills!'
Katrana wipes a tear from the gnome's tear stained face.
Katrana nods, 'I am a powerful shaman! Dad says so.'
The gnome smiles innocently.
She nods, 'Yes, you are very powerful little one. But, you should not bear the burden that is mine.'
Katrana arches an eyebrow.
Katrana says, 'You mean my weasels. You mean my Hunt!'
Katrana stomps her foot with anger.
Katrana screams, 'THEY ARE MINE!'
Thunder crashes and hail pounds on the lodge roof over head.
The gnome shakes her head slowly, the tears not ending.
'They are ours.', the gnome continues.
Katrana stands quickly, and looks at the gnome with horror, confusion, panic, love, and a sudden understanding.
Katrana stutters, 'You...you are me.'
The older gnome nods slowly.
The gnome says, 'I am. When my...our followers were slaying the fragment...something happened.'
The gnome continues, 'The Chronomancer, the Wyld Acolyte...all of that energy in the same location...Not even I understand.'
'I believe that Wyld energies mixed with the Chronomancer's inate ability to modify time shifted 'us' to a time when we were only driven by emotion.'
The gnome sighs then continues, 'Back to when experience, social matters, and other elements were...not within our being. Back to when we were a child.'
The gnome grins, 'I am very proud at all of the chaos you've managed though, but it is time for you to return. Give yourself over to me.'
The eyes of Katrana shift to crimson, 'I will NOT.'
The gnome sighs, 'You do not have the experience to handle what is coming up. I do. And I will return - NOW. You have had me trapped away.'
The gnome winks at her younger self. 'Oh I manage to escape from time to time. To sway your decisions. You do not know when I do this.'
The gnome continues, her eyes shifting to crimson like those of her counterpart, 'But I have regained my power. I AM the Wyldess.'
Katrana grabs her head and shakes it screaming, 'GET OUT OF MY HEAD!'
The briars part and the gnome child sprints for the inky blackness.
Thunder crashes, and as the child passes the threshold of the inky blackness, she is enguled in the inky blackness that seeps from the southern wall.
The gloom surrounds the older gnome, still encased within her shroud of briars.
The older gnome smiles sadly, 'No, it's my head little one.'
The older gnome walks with purpose to the throne and rests, letting the briars hold her.
Manatheren pads to the throne, and lays his head upon Katrana's lap.
Katrana grins Wyldly, 'Manatheren, my hound... contact my lovelies. Let them know their Wyldess is back.'
Manatheren stalks into the shadows up to the lodge and, after a few moments, the baying of a Hound is heard.
The Call of the Hunt echos through the realm.