Deathly silent save for the rustle of the pine needles beneath her, she pulls herself up into a sitting poisition. Feeling exhaustion seep deep into her very marrow she crawls to prop herself against the base of the giant tree. Falling for the second time tonight, but this time not onto her face but into a deep deathlike sleep.

"Shian" came a throaty growl from the Giant Black Wolf's muzzle an inch from Shian's face, unable to speak or even move her hands, she watched with wideeyed horror as the Black Wolf bared it's pearly teeth and sank them into her face with nightmare ferocity.

Starting awake to a bright woodland Shian began to move the parts of her body that were actually responding. Working feeling back into her arms and legs she gingerly stood up, bracing herself against the tree as her head began to swim.

Judging by the height of the sun it was still early morning and she was facing in an Eastward direction. Turning to the North she began to walk knowing she needed to find somewhere to reccuperate and think things through.

Walking along Shian's mind was racing with the events of last night, the shameful exile, the chase, the wolf that had once again spoke her name during her dreams, this was the first time it had tore into her face though, she wondered at it's meaning with a shudder. 'Time to look for a new sword' she thought glumly. At nineteen Shian had shown more promise than any other Shaytarn student in her village. She could do things no other person knew about, things that fascinated and repelled her at the same time.

Stubbing her foot on a loose rock brought Shian's thoughts back to the present. Looking above the treeline directly in front of her she could see the column of smoke rising in the air. Picking up a loose stick off the ground she began a slow trot from tree cluster to tree cluster. Eventually Shian found herself crouched behind a small bush studying a tiny cottage complete with a vegatable patch and a roaring bonfire that sent flames 10 armspans into the air.

Shian watched as a small woman emerged from behind the cottage with an armful of logs and tottered towards the bonfire and threw them onto it. With her back to where Shian was crouching she seemed to cock her head a bit to the left.

Suddenly Shian felt  a high voice pierce into her head,

"Your late, early, and actually just on time child."

Shian quickly spun in a circle in a defensive position using the stick as if it were made of steel. Facing the witch, who was now looking directly at Shian with a wide smile on her face, Shian felt suddenly awkward.

"Hello, I'm sorry i didn't mean to be spying on did you know i was there?" Shian called openly to the old woman, stick still raised in a sword stance.

"Oh dont worry about that child, i knew you be there this morning, or yesterday, maybe even next week i'm not too good with my time nowdays anyway are you going to come into the cottage we've got a lot of talking to do." With that the old woman hobbled towards the door of the cottage and with one last beckon towards Shian, dissapeared into it.

Not knowing quite exactly what to do and feeling strangely she had no choice, Shian walked towards the cottage, and quietly but very distinctly a voice quite seperate from shians, spoke softly into her thoughts. 'This is your destiny young Letalis Shian, Princess of Wolves.' 

The End

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