Once Upon a Nightmare
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notes: sorry for lateness!
Once things had settled down after the Blight Nala felt the need to go to the Deepwood, not only to seek out druids, but also to see if she could find some of her fellow skinwalkers. She knew many of the prey had moved here after the death of one of the young female leaders and she couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt about that as the tribe had been helping her survive after running and what she had feared happen would happen, the tribe had been punished for it.
Despite this she still needed to find them and speak to them. It was important that she speak with them. She was planning on retaking the Pride Lands and she would need their help. It was time for predator and prey to unite in order to make their world a better place. Even though they were prey she knew they had lived together peacefully before under Mufasa; she was planning on bringing that back, but they would need to be willing to accept working with humans for this to work
It gave her a sense of purpose to be used as a sentinel for the Deepwood Druids. Whether it was because her father had done much the same, or because she felt duty bound after making peace with them, she wasn’t sure. It wasn’t even that they were using her, because she hardly listened to their instructions or advice—but they had an understanding since she returned. As long as she respected their laws on their land and in their company she was welcome, free to come and go as she pleased without explanation and do as she wanted elsewhere. They tolerated her, and she was fond of them in return. Minding their rules made her bound to simply observe and report unless protecting her life or defending others, but every hair on her body had a thing for this place; her sanctuary. The woods and its people were a reprieve from the outside world, reminding the skin-walker of her humanity, and that she could do better than the beast within. Around them, there was a hope to strive for something more. Without them, the outside world was austere.
Erestel was hunkered down behind some brush, and it was the smell that first caught her attention. There was something familiar in the aroma, something wild, but still altogether human. Besides her father, she had little exposure to other skin-walkers, and those she had met hadn’t been exactly the kindest. She swallowed a lump in her throat at the memory of her father. It filled her with guilt and revulsion, and instilled her with anger that threatened to surface, but she quickly choked it off.
Erestel made efforts to persuade her mind of the truth it could be a mere hunter passing through, but she failed. A wave of nausea surged down on her like a hammer at the potential. The closer the stranger got, the more anticipation pounded in her chest. However, her sense of fear quickly twisted with mounting interest. She pushed a wet bough out of her way as she followed her short trail through the dense woods, careless she made noise as she passed. The birds overhead scattered from the threat of her form, and leaves crunched under her feet. There was no need for stealth on her part. Her lithe muscles pushed their way through a break in the underbrush and into open view. Erestel stalked a distance in front of her before stopping to inhale deeply, making no secret she was taking in her full scent. Erestel locked a predatory stare at the woman, but instead of snarling, raised her head and chuffed in her direction. She let her form melt away moments later, and stood on two feet. Her change was something normally kept private, but here in the Deepwood, she felt no need to hide. Among the Druids, she had no real fear.
“What are you?” Her voice came quiet at first, and she kept it calm, but firm. Her fists tightened, and there was hardness in the lines of her expression. And while she already knew the answer, there was a genuine curiosity reflected in her eyes amidst the hesitation. Her voice came quicker the second time. “Why have you traveled so far into the Deepwood?”
...sorry it's not the greatest.
notes: sorry for lateness!
As Nala moved through the woods she could sense a danger following her; a danger much like herself. A predator. The only question was; which kind of predator would she be dealing with. The lion moved through the woods, not even bothering to hide her scent or be stealthy. This was not the time for stealth. While she commended the hunter for trying to hide; Nala had spent nearly two years on the run surviving from assassins; she was far too used to finding danger in her surrounding areas.
When she got close enough to the scent Nala shrugged and shifted back to her human form as the leopard came into view. While she was not the usual fare of danger, the priestess could easily sense the danger in her. She knew the leopard was trying to go for the intimidation factor but after facing down Scar and untold numbers of assassins Nala was far from afraid of the female before her.
When she shifted back and spoke Nala tilted her head and took in the woman's appearance. It was clear that the skinwalker was comfortable in her skin, but was not fully aware of other skinwalkers despite the rumors of them living in the woods. I am Nala; a skinwalker like yourself. I am a Priestess of the Huntsman. I have come here in search of other skinwalkers and perhaps the druids in the hopes of returning the balance to our native homeland of the Pride Lands. Who are you guardian?"
Her hot ears pricked back at Nala’s words, but forced her expression and defenses to soften. This was the first time she’d gone out of her way to speak to a skin-walker in ages, mainly because avoidance worked so well for her in the past as a long-term plan. Memories of her father seemed fleeting, and her heart felt like it might come up in her throat again. It gave her a solemn, curious frown on her face—almost sad. Erestel made quick work to pull her mind from her thoughts and mask the heartache strangling her face with a sense of stoicism, but the confidence in her eyes withered.
She seemed dispassionate about the Priestess, as if the title meant little. If it should have commanded more respect or trust, she was unaware. Mistrust of strangers came too naturally to shrug off the instinct, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t attempt to be nice—as bad as she was at it all. Erestel was fully aware she was terrible at carrying on a proper conversation, saying the correct things, at precisely the correct time.
“My name is Erestel,” she started. “I’m not familiar with the other skinwalkers in these parts, but I do know the Deepwood Druids,” she admitted carefully. Well, she was familiar with the existence of other skin-walkers—but she made a point of avoiding them; not a complete lie. She looked down, away from her eyes, and caught sight of her clothes. It was suddenly apparent to her that a blind person would notice she wasn’t just acquainted with the Druids. A sheepish smile twitched up on her lips, and she flushed a little.
“Oh—” she confessed and mused. “I suppose that doesn’t look right, does it?” Erestel paused half a moment to consider the differences between the two women. [color=teal]“I can show you the way,” she commented, “unless you just want me to point you in the right direction?” It was clear the more she spoke, the more flustered she felt.
...lol her at the end all dumb.