You could swear there are lights ahead, but it is almost like there is something between the trees distorting your view, like rain on a window a wet day. Green Tiger leads you straight ahead, and when you get closer you can see an open space on the other side of the barrier. "Portal" she explains curtly. You close your eyes as you take the final step, the barrier surrounding you like cold water.
You almost fall as your step ends in a pile of sand. A warmer breeze brings new scents and as you open your eyes the scene has changed. The starry sky stretches wide above your head, undisturbed by foliage. All around you sand dunes and rocks. Far, far away in the north there might be mountains at the horizon. In front of you, the lights now shine bright against a dark mass of trees. Music and the sound of voices is drifting towards you as well as the smell of cooking. The walking is difficult now, every step sliding in the deep sand. The pain is harder to bear, gritting your teeth you force yourself to take one step at a time. You slide into half-consciousness, everything is dreamlike. Next time, you are aware of hands gently lifting you, sliding you down from Green Tiger's back. Humans move, the image of an olive-skinned woman with piercing dark eyes floats in firelit darkness. Her black hair is braided under a thin, lilac veil and she carries a rod. Aliyena. The voices rise in a language you can not understand, only Green Tiger's indignated protest. "I'm all right! Leave me alone. The blood isn't mine." For a long time, only sensations reach you. Cold against your forehead and your wounds. Warmth over your skin. Pain and numbness. A man, his chestnut hair in dreadlocks to his shoulders, his hands careful as he touch you. Blue eyes bright against tanned skin. Drifting in and out of consciousness, you find yourself lying on a bed made of hides, under a cloak of thick, red wool. You shiver uncontrollably, teeth clattering. The stars are so bright above you. The language incomprehencable, but for a single word. Windsage. You have some faint memory of Green Tiger's voice, uttering this name with respect. The pain rise and fall like the tide, and like the tide it takes you away.
Next time you wake, you lay for some while just staring at the stars. Slowly, people seem to gather around your bed. Suddenly, a shadow block out the stars. A large animal jump over you. Turning your head, you see him mock charge against a couple of young girls standing nearby. Yelling and giggling they scatter like leaves for the wind. He whirls, spreading his wings, and pounces at the blue-eyed man you've noticed before. The human goes down low, and they wrestle for a while. Had it not been for the cheers and laughter from the audience, you would have thought this a deadly batte. Finaly, the man fall to his knees. Grinning, he spread his arms wide, the creature puts both his paws on his shoulders and they embrace. You are disappointed, is this the creature of whom they spoke with such reverence and awe?!
Some people bring large torches and stick them down into the sand, flanking your bed. From your point of view, all of the oasis is dark except for this pool of light on yourself. The creature comes toward you, he moves with a strange, flowing grace, like an asian dragon. He paces up and down your side a few times, the silken tuft of his tail once brushing the back of your hand, His mane shine in the firelight, a cascade of auburn and silver. The fever makes you light-headed, it is hard to focus. But the whole scene reminds you uncormfortably of sacrifices. And when he moves up to you and place one heavy paw on your shoulder you wait, with eyes wide in fear, for the moment when the claws will slit your troath.
"Peace, Kavernin." His voice is calm, golden in your mind. "They call me Windsage. Do not fear me." "What are you?" The question is torn from you without thinking. The creature laughs. "My species, you mean? I am a Drigius, my homeland is Alonnia. But who am I? I am a healer, I am a friend. We will not harm you. Rest, traveller, and rest will bring you healing." He smells of fire, of clean wind and something like cinnamon. His eyes are blue, too, and intelligent. Calmed, you drift into sleep.
Land of Origin: Alonnia.