The clouds shifted quickly in the sky and then stopped. They were getting larger, Letalis Shian considered. Larger... No, closer!
Shian put one unsteady foot after another into the rain-soft soil as she sped through the tall trees in a rapid, frenzied crawl. Running blind, she pushed through a fairly large amount of thorny brush, which tore at her clothes and threatened to leave her bare against the wild southern forest. She turned back briefly and saw the clouds had indeed settled in the mass of woods she just left, and was spreading out. She was on the run again.
I will not be taken down here, she hissed.
Shian began to recognize the woods she ran through. She made a sharp turn west and increased her speed, energized by her determination to live. Passing a cairn of stones, three feet high, she grinned and counted her wide strides as she flew through the green. One. Two. Three!
As she had done so often in her youth, Shian gracefully cleared the manageably small brook that fed into the river Asha down it's course. She stopped and turned around, praying for a moment to breathe. When the misty clouds breached the brush and began to descend into the river, she smirked.
Bring destruction upon us all. Bring back the Old Ways. The sky will run red with the blood of the gods. And it will be for me.
The accusation ran through her mind and Shian almost wished it on them. She relished on the thought for a moment.
Kneeling along the brook amidst some Pepperweed and her hand in the wet soil, she tugged on an old cord, swollen and frayed. An opening revealed itself in the muck and she checked the brook. The fog had begun to seep over the bank and she crawled into the hole. She closed the door over herself.
Shian fumbled in the limited light for something to grasp and felt the weight of two small staffs, heavy and short, left there from her childhood days playing. She sat for a time in the hole. The heavy sound of paws and sniffs pressed against the muddy wood and she held her breath. They snorted in frustration at the Pepperweed and one of them whined. A gutteral voice could be heard growling above, and the noises broke into a wild fight, fueled by the hunt and dissappointment.
After a time absent of sound, Shian determined that the village hunting dogs had likely left. Gone to search some other possible route that she had gone. Shian sighed in relief but shortly inhaled at the arrival of another sound. It sounded like the dogs, or one maybe. One who perhaps had not been fooled by Shian's traphole. It scratched at the door for a bit and whined. Shian braced herself for attack. Then, as quick as wind, the door was lifted and a young man peered at her.
Beside him the honest sight of bare teeth caused Shian to strike out and she broke a staff over the muzzle of a red-furred beast. The man reacted slowly but managed to get a hold on her other arm already in mid-swing. "Hold! Hold!..." She sneered at him. His copper hair and dark tone were alien to her. Shian fought against his grip.
"Hold, girl!" he said more seriously, as he looked to the red wolf. "Are you alright, Glennrunner?"
I'm more than okay, Treeclimber. But here comes trouble.
Shian gasped at the thought in her mind.
You two hide.
Then Shian and the strange man were shoved into the hole again. The door clamped down shut.
"Hi," he extended his hand a short ways. He had ended up squarely between her thighs and the embarrasment was clearly seen on his reddening face. She turned her head and wrung her arm free from his hand. He stammered trying to introduce himself. "I'm..."
"Treeclimber, I heard." she offered, shifting to find comfortable room.
"You heard?" his face reflected his internal thinking and Shian thought him not particularly bright.
No one should be able to gauge a good fighter's reaction.
A shaytarn's mask is a smooth rock and mind a clear spring.
"And it's Eoin. Treeclimber is just my songname."
"Eoin?" Shian knew a Eoin once, the name was common among the peoples of a neighboring village, peddlers and tinkerers. Not warriors. This man was not a warrior, either.
"And yours?" He inquired.
She kept silent. True warriors, 'shaytarn', have no names, only deeds.
The clip-clopping of hooves could be divined and the door nearly threatened to collapse with the weight of each heavy footfall. The copperhaired man winced at each step and Shian realized the door had some give to it and that he was essentially taking the weight of the hoofstep on his back. She winced with him and prayed both door and back would hold out long enough for the threat to pass.