Neyir awoke with a silent scream and gasp. For an instant, her body was still crushed under the might of those powerful hands, and she could feel the intense pain from her abrupt meeting with the bulk of that rather oddly placed tree. Pictures in her mind and small snippets of events accompanied her newly wakened state, but soon, the cloudiness of her mind gave way to clarity, and she sat up with the stark realization that she was no longer in pain, and her body made whole again.
She could not see, but it was not a blindness that overtook her, simply a total lack of light. Her clothes were missing, and there in the silent darkness, her pulse echoed off the walls while wonder and fear attempted to take root. Neyir remembered then, in her last moments of consciousness, seeing a small man with a staff standing over her body.
She got up, feeling the edge of stone where she had lain, and gingerly dropped herself to a floor which may or may not have been there. A minute, nearly intangible vibration seemed to emanate from the stones making up the chamber. Waving her hands in the air, Neyir quickly touched more stone.
Methodically, she made her way around, calculating the chamber to be quite small. Her hand on the wall, she felt the vibration increase, ever so slightly with not a sound heard. Suddenly, just as the vibration died back down, a burst of flame lit up the far corner, blinding her momentarily. Instinctively, she shielded her eyes with her arms and quickly covered herself.
Slowly, she opened her eyes to see an entire wall had disappeared. In its place was the smallest person she had ever seen, illuminated on one side by the fire he had just lit. For such a small being, he seemed to cast one hell of a shadow.
“Greetings, young one,” the small man couldn’t have stood higher than her waist, but Neyir was quick to notice his eyes, which held a cold distance and a wisdom that could have only come from lifetimes. She was uncertain how to proceed, or respond, and so he continued, “I’m sure you have questions, so do I. I do apologize for the rather brutal welcome. He was recently killed by another mortal, a woman, not unlike yourself. I pray you can look past his ill intent, as it was certainly more of a reaction. Come with me. Your clothes are right there” And with that, he nodded toward the stone where she had lain, then he walked out into the black as more fires began to be lit just beyond her view.
Without a word, Neyir quickly dressed and followed the light, soon catching up to the little being. “Are you one of the fabled Immortals?” was all she could muster.
“What do you know of the Immortals, young one? From what I can recall, all knowledge of that kind disappeared thousands of years ago.”
“Toreph…” she trailed.
“Ah yes, I know the name. Did he not join you? I have been seeking him out for some years now.”
“For what purpose?” Neyir’s tone was more inquisitive than defensive.
“He is following a trail.” The little man said nothing else, no elaboration, not even feigning an attempt at thinking about an explanation. Neyir noticed his withdrawal from expanding his thoughts. She thought it best to leave it alone.
“Might I ask the name of the one who saved my life?” She noticed the slightest curve at the edge of his lips, and she imagined his smile didn’t come easily. The odd thing was, she didn’t say anything worth smiling at.
“My name is Aedrick. As you guessed, I am what humans have passed into legend. I am, indeed, an Immortal.”