Someone else was here. He could hear their boots in the underbrush, quiet as they were. His ears flicked. The fleeing pilgrim, back again? He turned his head at just the right moment to catch her eyes.
Mostly hidden behind a tree in the shadows of the leaves, she looked like one of the abandoned changelings of the Faewild Forest. She had all the tells of a child once touched but not claimed, reflective pupils and pointed ears and streaks of grass-green in her hair. For those who turned, the final effect was ethereal. Half-done, they looked like dolls abandoned in the dirt, broken and mossy.
This one was grown, though. As grown as any human ever was. What had made her leave the forest, where she could have lived on ageless and waiting?
“Hello,” he said, and her eyes widened.
“You speak Astia?” she asked. Her voice was small and coarse.
“Most Taurils do,” he said.
Her thick brows furrowed. “No they don’t.”
“I think I’d know better than you do,” he said, and she pressed her lips together. “Have you met many Taurils?”
“They keep trying to kill me,” she said. “I’ve never heard one talk.” Her eyes drifted lower, still high above her head. “Or wear clothes,” she said. “Armor, but not clothes.”
“I’m old,” he said, and her eyes narrowed as she tried to connect the two statements. “Your horse must be very fast,” he added, since few Taurils ‘tried’ to kill rather than simply succeeding.
She grinned, pearl-white teeth glinting like knives. “My sword is very sharp,” she corrected.
most of my WIPs lately have been things i can’t post but idk if this is going to be usable for anything even if it manages to go anywhere, so here, have a feral-ish hero and a monster king