Nora: Discovery (Fiction)

Nora stepped along the path of the just-pink meadow, the odd sun of Aeth casting its first color through the strangely alive trees. The light swathed her leather and steel armor in a small warmth, causing her body to shiver a bit at the prospect of a change in temperature. She stretched her toned arms above her head, the leather sleeves she normally wore tucked away in her pack. She enjoyed feeling the chill breeze of morning passing over her naked skin, and sighed at the touch of its refreshing embrace.

The Aeth meadows that had come to house her were now a bit more familiar, more homelike. She had two separate camps, both outfitted with reasonably sturdy shelter and neatly hidden supplies, the first slightly moreso that the second. The nameless blade, who had become her greatest ally of late, bounced casually at her right hip, the silver hilt and guard absorbing the color of the sun. She knew that if she were to draw it, the sword’s length of uncertain metal would hold the pale pink of the sun’s equally uncertain light. The only sure thing she knew of both was their bond; when one’s color changed, the other followed suit. Even that was a stretch. She knew only that both changed. She knew not which was leader, or follower.

Nora glanced about for what she always searched for these days–any sign of sentient life. The land had challenged her survivability to the brink of death and back, never letting up and always ready to render her nothing more than fodder for the creatures of the woods, fertilizer to the trees. She knew there had to be some intelligent life, and that it had to be somewhere in the vicinity of this meadow. Her meadow. It provided all she needed to live, but that might not mean much. She had no idea of other forms of sentient life needed the same things she needed. But they had to exist. They just had to. No evidence of this claim came to light, but Nora felt it in her stomach. She simply hadn’t looked hard enough, or in the right manner.

She also didn’t know exactly why she felt this need. It hadn’t come about until she had settled in, found her sword, and gone through the motions of building herself a second camp. Maybe it was simply time to up the anty of her adventure, get to the point where she needed to communicate with another being who didn’t understand her words or ways. Perhaps she wished to conquer whatever other secrets might lie in the meadow, before she herself became conquered at an inopportune moment.

More than anything, she felt it in her blood. It drove her towards this path, the purpose in the tight muscles of her arms, legs, and stomach too stubborn and direct for her mind to fight the forward momentum with uncertainty.

At that moment, she saw it. One with an untrained eye and a lack of knowledge concerning the workings of the woods could surely miss it.

An opening to a cave, adorned on each side with moss-ridden, ancient looking poles of living wood.

The blade clinked at her hip lightly as she came to a stop, frozen.

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