"Well, that was interesting."
Fox's hand remains trapped in the stranger's grip even after she loses consciousness. Her claw-like nails break the surface of his skin, four perfect pinpricks of blood welling up from beneath the thin layer. He ignores the red beads brightly contrasting against his pale complexion in favor of studying the newcomer.
He's never encountered a full hybrid before. Fairies with hybrid lineage occasionally display the traits of their ancestors - sharp canines, wide wings, ear tufts or even size. This is something else entirely.
This stranger is fully half fairy.
And half insect.
Where on Caliah does she come from?
An exosqueleton adorns her body like an armor. The midnight black shell shimmers with a rainbow of colors wherever the sun's rays make contact. Her skin, in the few places it's exposed, is pale lilac. The black helm enhances her insect-like appearance, complete with stylized antenna swirling over her ears. Yet those emerald eyes are unmistakably fairy. Eyes which so intensely studied his face.
He fervently hopes her head wasn't damaged in the fall. The accident was his fault, after all. If he hadn't startled her, she wouldn't have lost control. Now it's his responsibility to set things right.
"Where's the healer?" He searches the area for the identifying blue robes, wincing as the woman shifts and her nails dig further into his skin. A hiss of air escapes from between her clenched teeth, but otherwise she doesn't wake. Her left arm's bent at an odd angle, likely part of what's causing so much discomfort. "It's ok. You're safe, help is coming." He whispers, reassuring himself more than the unconscious woman.
"Help is here, General Fox." The healer kneels and studies the prone form between them.
"Chief Healer Lyrissa! I thought you were away aiding the eastern farmers?" The petite blonde snorts, completely out of character with the beautiful features of Greythorn's top healer.
"If I have to so much as look at another case of spring pox, I'll scream. Tryssa's tying up the loose ends with my apprentices. I encountered your messenger on my way in, he all but dragged me over here. Who's our guest?"
"I've no idea, never seen or heard of her before. Thanks for coming."
Lyrissa waves her hand in a dismissive gesture. "It's my job. You know I like to be in the middle of things." The blonde winks at him. Oh, he knows alright. Lyrissa gossips worse than a group of idle soldiers. "I'll need some space Fox."
He displays his hand still firmly ensconced in the stranger's grip. Lyrissa has the nerve to giggle at his situation. "I see. Clings like a burr, doesn't she? Alright, let's relax her, shall we?"
A blue aura envelops the stranger. The healing process always intrigued him, no matter how many times he's witnessed it in the past. The muscles in the stranger's hand relax as the healing trance takes over. Those sharp nails lift from his skin leaving four thin trails of blood behind. Fox lowers the hand gently. "See if you can get her helm off will you Fox?"
Fox places both hands on either side of the helm and gently pulls. It doesn't budge. The entire thing forms to her head like a glove. The helm is amazing, as streamline as the rest of her body. This feature, combined with her grand entrance, tells him this woman is made for speed. No one's challenged him in the air like that in a long time.
"Um..." He scans the surface for a release mechanism – a buckle or button. Nothing, not even a seam line. The helm's only adornment is a flat black gem set in the center of her forehead. "Is this a shieldstone? Aren't you a curious creature?" He presses a finger to the stone.
YOU ARE READING
The Paths of GreythornFantasy
The dream paths, accessed by a chosen few, reveal the most likely future following any given choice. Unfortunately for the human dreamwalker Daystorm, the decisions made by the fairies of Greythorn make her long for the simpler days of sweat-induced...