Nanaive. She stands there knowing. In this city I hate. She advised me to leave. I trusted her. Now I have no friends. Here. Or there.
I know her because she walked with me during the journey. My long walk which began when the male druid said to me, “Go”.
I was stumbling from weariness as the moon rose on my third night of walking. A short dark-haired female was standing just at the edge of the trees which lined the path. She waved. I almost shifted. I wasn’t sure what she was. Almost as wide as she was tall with a soft smile, she nodded and yelled greetings. I looked around. She was speaking at me.
“Whut are ye doin’ oot here? This time o’ tha night?”
She had a staff in one hand and a small lamp held high in the other. The flame of the clay lamp flickered as her breath brushed it. I did not speak. I stood in a slight crouch hoping she would turn and go. She did not.
Time stretched. The moonlight flickered with passing clouds and soon disappeared completely. I could smell snow. The only light was that tiny flame. I watched the flame descend and settle onto the earth. I smelled her. Wildflowers and meat. Smoke. I heard twigs snapping and watched as the tiny candleflame moved, disappeared, and then blossomed into a small
The short woman unrolled a wolfhide onto the ground and sat. I waited. Snow began to waft down caressing the skin of my bare arms. I shivered. The woman added a larger piece of wood to the flame.
“Coom over here. Ye are welcome ta sit and warm yurself”.
She indicated the fire and the warm hide. I cautiously sidled toward the fire and sat on the very edge of the hide, making sure to keep my feet off the fur. I didn’t shift into my heavy form and lumber off because I was more afraid of that than of her. I did not.
There in the wilderness, she quietly shared her food with me. Later she led as I followed with the wolf hide across my shoulders, holding it closed against the chill. For the first time I could remember, I slept in a cottage. I lay on the floor in front of her fireplace. I watched the flames and listened to her snore. So I met Nanaive.