It had been a long few days since returning from Minauros and Onyx’s mind and bones were weary with the weight of Tegalad’s situation and with bringing Jack back from death. It was finally time to relax. Gennevive was dead, the veil recovered and finally time had come for this dog to rest. He made his bed among the leaves and grass of the sparse woods outside of Barter’s Pass and lay down to sleep.
Not but a few moments had passed before he noticed a cool light descend before him. A luminescent woman stood before him, her shoulders wrapped in a silver fur, her features too bright to look directly at. “Perrin, my faithful follower… I am glad you are still well, I had trouble watching your progress through the Nine Hells. I am glad you yet survive.” Onyx’s wolf eyes squinted at her and he rumbled in his throat “Mistress,” but did not stand, he was too tired and laying seemed as good an idea as any.
She stepped toward him and rested her hand on his head and sat next to his curled body, stroking his black fur. “I am glad to have a follower such as you Perrin. It makes me proud to know that I have one such as you to carry my light to the darker places of the world.” The black wolf laid his head down upon the ground once more as she rubbed his ears causing him to close his eyes. “Perrin, I need your service elsewhere, I must call you away from this place.” This got the druid’s attention; he had accompanied his companions to the Nine Hells and back. They had visited the Elemental Chaos and survived to tell the tale. He had shared the pain of loss, when Brother Kalan had fallen, the fear and adrenalin of battle, the joy of bringing friends back from beyond the veil of death. All of these memories flashed across his eyes and he turned his head to the woman.
She stroked his head gently and spoke as though she heard his thoughts, “I know, you wonder why. You have found a home here, but your destiny lies elsewhere. I have need of you my child.”
“But Mistress…” Onyx rumbled. “My companions…”
“They will be well. They have tasks set ahead of them that they must follow. You need not worry about them.”
Onyx lowered his head once more “What would you have me do?”
The woman appeared to relax some. “I have need of an agent, and you are the most promising I can fathom. I need someone to be my eyes, someone to carry my light where it does not reach and ferret out those hiding in the shadows. I will not lie, these places are not pleasant ones but my light will always be with you.”
“May I know where you will be sending me my Lady?” Onyx’s voice was tired, nervous and pained with the knowledge of leaving his friends. “Please tell me the truth of my task…”
A small sigh escaped her lovely iridescent-blue lips “You will be heading to the world of shadows, where the dead walk, there you will hunt down and question a slippery shade for me… That however is just the beginning of the task. I will be able to tell you more once we get the information I need from him.”
Onyx shifted uneasily. The task of planar travel never sits right, it always means meeting unsavory sorts on their home turf. Once again he was going to be tasked with heading into an unknown plane of existence, but his Goddess herself was asking this of him, he could not let her down. “How will I get there? How long do I have?” Onyx couldn’t hide the hint of resignation in his voice, the apprehension of the journey causing his neck muscles to tense under the avatar’s hand as she stroked his coat.
“I know you feel you are not ready my child. I know you have been through much, but that is the main reason for me asking you on this quest. I see within you unbound potential to act as my chosen… You will first travel to your home village, where your mother rests. Do not tarry here more than a day or so.” Her hand ran along the underside of the black wolf’s chin and neck, massaging the tension out some. Onyx relaxed some, the woman’s touch easing him, soothing him. “Your mother needs to see you before you depart, she is beset on all sides by opposition from the other druids, you must make a show of support to her, her drive is flagging and your show of support will help quell some of the other druids in the encampment.”
She stood and Onyx felt very tired, as though he could sleep for a year and still yearn for more. She took a step away from him, and he missed her immediately; she knelt down and rubbed his ears while facing him. “Go, say your goodbyes to Ilmater’s child, to the dwarf, and to the others. Head to your home and attend your mother’s side, give her strength, and then you will meet my emissary, a great silver wolf. She will lead you to your next destination.” She leaned in and touched his paws and when her hands left their fur was silver. Then she kissed the wolf’s head and Onyx felt her grace, not a tangible thing, but a force that he knew but could not describe. “The night is far from over child, rest, for you and your friends have long journeys ahead.”
Onyx’s eyes opened and he still felt tired, he looked around and realized he must have fallen asleep at some point. He began to wonder if it was only a dream conjured by his overly tired mind or if it had he really seen his goddess. He lifted his head and a light caught his eyes. He looked down and saw his paws had turned to a silver coat and he suddenly felt the vibrant lips upon his forehead. “I’ll tell Jack in the morning…” He muttered to himself as he rested his head and tried his best to go back to sleep, feeling the moonlight filtering through the trees to rest on him.