Part 2: Metamorphosis
We are in the Druids Grove. It is too hot, the air is too humid and I think I felt something crawl up on the inside of my left pyjama leg a moment ago.
I bet everything around here is either poisonous or VERY poisonous
My feet aches. We have been trudging around here for ages. At least it feels like ages. I am currently squelching along a bit behind the others. Amazing how fast they can walk with all that armour, and the heavy backpacks, on.
While walking I have reached a few conclusions. One: Being a familiar is not much fun when you're not a cute fluffy animal with neat special powers. Two: Hiking is much more enjoyable when you know there is a warm shower and a soft bed waiting for you at the end of the day. And three: Soft slippers are not the right kind of footwear for long walks in swamp like terrain. Or any type of terrain, short of a floor.
Unfortunately, no one had any clothes that would fit me, but Kierwan has promised to get me something suitable once we are back in Trademeet. The poor boy seems very uncomfortable around me, but at least he tries to be civil. The others, except for Cernd, avoids me.
The druid treats me as if I am a zoology project. He even asked me questions earlier about the mating habits of my species. I hope the answers I gave him will keep him awake a few nights.
Kierwan has stopped now, and is waiting for me to catch up with him.
"I was wondering…," he starts to say. Then he stops, and stare at my face with horror in his eyes. "Strange, the skin on your face," he gulps "it… it is dissolving!"
"What!?" I touch my face, and feel something gooey. I rub it away with the sleeve of my bath-robe while Kierwan watches me as if hypnotized by dread.
The mud mask. I didn't rinse it off.
After all this time it should have stiffened like a crust on my face, but the humidity and my sweat must have kept it runny.
"It's a cosmetic thing," I say ,"it's supposed to make me look better…" The absurdity of this statement hits me once I have finished talking. "Well, in a long term perspective, anyway."
"I see…" The tone of his voice indicates that he doesn't. "And the… objects in your hair? Are they… um… cosmetic too?"
Objects in my hair?
The others are watching me too, now. They look a bit confused and risible. I can't really blame them. Carefully, I remove the multicoloured foam rubber rollers from my hair, and put them in my bath-robe pockets.
"W-well, she looks a little bit more human now." Aerie says.
Do I? That's nice to know.
"Hmm, let us not jump to any conclusions yet. Her previous state may have been some sort of chrysalis stage. Ah, there is no telling what wonders nature can come up with. Think about how the…" Cernd rambles on. Obviously he wants to continue his studies of me.
"Alright! " I yell, irritated with being a spectacle for their entertainment. "The fun is over! I AM a human! End of discussion." I wish I had a mirror. Or maybe not.
"What was it you wanted to ask me about?" I ask Kierwan as we start walking again.
"Um… huh?" He is still in shock.
"Before the… face… thing." I say.
"Oh. That. Well, I was wondering if you..."
We are interrupted by a racket up ahead. A band of trolls is coming against us.
"I'll just… get out of your way now." I remark to Kierwan before I run and hide behind a tree. It's a bit cowardly, I know, but the prospect of dying here doesn't appeal to me. The others make themselves ready for the fight.
This is cool!
I watch the battle proceed. For the first time since I arrived I am actually enjoying myself a little. Seeing magic in use for the first time in my life is quite an experience. And so is watching Keldorn and Valygar whack away at the ugly buggers. It feels a little unreal, though, like I am watching a movie.
"That's my boy! You fry the sucker!" I call out to Kierwan who just finished off a troll with a flaming bolt of magic. Then I hear a cracking sound and heavy breathing behind me. Slowly I turn around.
A large greyish green, drooling troll is standing over me. I recall what happened to the servants in De'Arnise's keep. I know I probably have fewer hit points than a rabbit. I don't have a weapon. To sum up the situation in one sentence:
"Help!" I croak pathetically while I try to back away. The tree is momentarily blocking my way so I take a few hesitant steps to the side. Then I stumble in something and fall on my back. As I fall, I register the oversized hand of the troll lash out towards the place where my head was located a moment ago. The miss does not seem to discourage the thing one bit, and it starts to bend down over me.
"FAMILIAR DYING OVER HERE!" This time my voice work properly, and they hear me. A series of light red orbs hit the troll, and it jerks back. I use the opportunity to get out of it's way and run to relative safety behind Kierwan.
I hate to think this is what the rest of my life will be like.
Part 2: Metamorphosis
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