Out of the blizzard and into the fire
There is a silent whisper hidden in the wailing wind
A tale of a world lost now forgotten
A tale of why man fear the dark moonless nights
The tale of the hunter the hidden one
The perfect Survivor
The wind was at hurricane force, there was nothing she could do now. She pulled the thick parkas tighter around herself and shrugged, feeling how anger and resignation made her more tired than she really was. Damn idiotic tourists, why did they never learn? The mountains were no playground, no safe and cozy park. In the winter they were a killer and those not accustomed to the swiftly changing conditions stood no chance of survival. She knew there were ten people in this group, they had left the cabin early in the morning when the weather was nice and they should have been heading for the next cabin along the marked path. But they had not, they had veered off the path, she knew exactly what had happened. They had seen the lovely slopes, the thick untouched snow and they had wanted some fun. And so they went off into the wilderness and forgot about time and weather and everything. In the city you could do that, here you could not.
She could not count the times the mountain rescue unit had been called out to save some ignorant idiot who thought they knew how to deal with the mountains. And she could count on one hand the times when the victim had been a person with the right knowledge, equipment and attitude. If you respected the mountains they would take care of you, if you didn't, well, then it was your funeral. She had been digging corpses out of the snow too many times and every time the papers and the news would call it a tragedy. To her it was no tragedy, it was foolishness. These people had dug their own grave with their lack of preparation, and pure ignorance.
This group was of the worst kind, young men with a full wallet and an empty head. They had expensive gear and clothes but no knowledge of how to use it all in the proper way. She was dead tired of having so save the sorry asses of such fools. Even a child knew that you had to turn and head down to the valleys when the wind turned but these morons had not. She had a strong suspicion of what she would find in the end. Ten frozen corpses which would most likely be found scattered all around. The story was almost as old as the mountains themselves, they would forget all about common sense and do something stupid and then they would be doomed.
The wind was screaming above her, she was on top of a ravine, above her the plateau was turned into a white inferno and nobody could survive up there now. The wind and the cold air created a wind chill factor that would freeze tissue in a few minutes.
She signed and found a place where she was sheltered from the wind, She could of course go up onto the plateau and be unharmed. But there was no point in it. If they had used their brains they would have dug themselves into the snow and she could do nothing to help them before the wind stopped blowing like this. If they hadn't they were already dead and she could of course find them anyhow but if they were alive her arrival would endanger them even more. They would probably insist on leaving and she could not convince them to stay without telling them why she had managed to survive and they wouldn't.
So she waited, patiently and with a feeling of resignation. She had participated in numerous rescue missions, and she was known as the best they had at finding people. It was like dancing on the razors edge, getting too god at this was just as bad as being too sloppy. She could not save everybody, she had learned that lesson rather early. There were times when a successful rescue would blow her cover and so she had to fail, on purpose. It was always terrible but the rule was clear and it had been imbedded in her thoughts since she was a child. Never under no circumstance must you allow them to see the truth. And so she didn't and let some people die, just so she would appear human, flawed and weak.
The winds were getting worse, it was an inferno up there now and she knew that the others feared for her safety. She had experience and knowledge, they all knew that. She had worked in this place for ten years now, in the summers she was a park ranger and took care of the management of the wildlife within the region. She was darn good at her job. Soon she would however move on, she always did. She had to, otherwise she would be the target of questions and suspicion. It was their way, always move on, leave no traces behind. She was a master at that, changing her identity, her manners and her looks. She never left anything which could be used to identify her, she burned clothes she had used, toothbrushes and brushes. It had been easy in the old days, but now, with technology and DNA and everything it had become more complicated. Time was catching up with them, it was ironic really. Her coworkers thought she suffered from some disorder, that she had to keep everything clean all the time and she let them keep that idea. The best place to hide is in plain view.
She shrugged once more, it had become a drag really, she could never bond with anyone, never let anyone close. She had a few friends but kept her distance and she never became intimate with anyone. She was getting tired, maybe it was about time she became someone new once more. She had loved this place, the wilderness, the mountains and the toughness of the people. They were nice, lived closer to the ancient powers than most others. They still heard the song of nature echo in their hearts and loved the outdoors. Few did these days really. She had no idea where she would go next, she had been all over the place and all she ever found was an ever increasing emptiness. The world was being abused and tortured and she wondered how it could be that the children of this planet showed it so little respect, so little gratitude? How could they forget so fast? She did not know but she had become a bit cynical over the years. To her people were just empty shells, with a few exceptions. Children were ok, before the world shaped them into adults. She always said that a human being was an intelligent and good creature capable of doing great things but gather them together into a crowd for whatever reason and what you got was something akin to a horde of lemmings. No brains, no thoughts, just blind stupidity and ignorance.
She remembered her mother's words, the last she ever heard from her before she left her family behind. They all had to do that, it was for protection. A scattered population is always less vulnerable than a dense one. Always believe in something better, those words had been a comfort for her for many decades, but now they rang hollow, empty. Believe in what?
She moved her feet a little, it was getting warmer, the wind was turning the wrong way and she grimaced. Perfect, that would unleash a hell of avalanches, it always did. She only had time to go through that thought when she heard it, a sudden loud crack, like someone had swung a giant whip. Then there was a shaking of the ground and a thundering sound and she gasped and knew that this was it. The mountains gave and the mountains took and they never really cared, she had used all of her luck and accepted it. She was glad it was a huge avalanche, they would not find her body too early. She felt the sudden gush of violent wind and fell forwards, in a way almost thankful that it was to happen like this. At least she was to die on her beloved mountain and not in a car crash or housefire or something like that. Her body would dissolve itself rather quickly as soon as she was dead, there would be nothing left which could reveal the secret. She closed her eyes and thanked the mountains for having spared her so many times before, there was a sudden feeling of flying, then something heavy was pushed on top of her and the world turned black and silent. At least there was little pain.
She opened her eyes slowly, light was flowing through a dense canopy above her head and she just blinked for a moment. Trees? She was laying on her back and she sat up, turned her head around. She was in a forest of some kind, huge hardwood trees which did not resemble any species she had ever seen before. The forest looked very lush and dense and she shook her head to clear her mind. Where the hell was she? She had died, was this heaven? She swallowed, it was very beautiful there and she opened her senses and allowed herself to catch all the scents of this strange woodland. She did not understand anything, no stories or tales told of something like this? Her people had never believed in an afterlife, to them death was the end, and that was that. She got on her feet, she was still wearing her mountain clothes, thick wool garments with fur and leather as the outer layer, just like the natives of the northern hemisphere. She felt that this place was warm, it was summer and she pulled of the parkas and her outer layer of sweaters and pants. She stuffed the clothes into her backpack and adjusted her straps, she felt weird.
There was a vibrancy to this forest, a sort of liveliness she never had felt before. One thing was most certain, this was not earth, she was dead sure. What had happened? She pinched herself and it hurt so bad she knew she was alive and not going through some hallucination. The forest appeared to be huge, perhaps the size of countries where she came from and she swallowed as a strange feeling of eagerness flowed into her. This was an entirely new place to explore and she knew how to survive, after all, that was her sole purpose.
She started walking, the forest was not so dense at ground level, some places it was rather open and very inviting but she sensed something new after a while. Although the forest was strong she could hear a sort of wailing sound, the harmony was off, the forest was sick. She frowned, this place had really captured her imagination and heart, she knew she loved it and the idea of something being able to hurt this wonderful place made her growl. She walked for hours, there were open glens and meadows, meandering rivers and dark holts with trees so ancient she had problems comprehending the very extent of their lives. She could hear them, their slow and dreamy voices and she smiled and caressed their bark. She had always loved living things, except humans perhaps. She started to become hungry, she did not have to eat that often but she had no reason not to. She found some berries and nuts but knew she needed more sustenance. She had already seen both deer and boar and other species too and they seemed familiar, she used the elastics from her backpack to make a slingshot and got a couple of rabbits. She had no problems eating the meat raw and she remembered to bury the remains so nature could reclaim them. She felt a bit full for a while but she knew she wouldn't have to eat again for days. Her metabolism was utterly different from that of a human, not a single calorie was ever wasted. She could survive and thrive on food no other creature could eat.
It got dark and she spent the night in a huge tree, she felt safe there but knew that there had to be danger also in this wood. There always is, nature has its laws no matter where you are. There had to be predators also in this wood and although she could fight just about anything she did not want to kill any living creature just because of her own fault. Any animal will attack to protect itself or its offspring and she tried to avoid taking lives unless she needed food or was in danger. The morning was just stunning, a sunrise so vibrant and colorful she started to believe that this had to be heaven after all. She caught the scents in the wind, they were sweet and natural and she just sat there for a while. Was this some realm without people? Had this world no intelligent species? She had no idea but she started to understand that someone or something did live in this forest. She found a path and it was covered with the tracks of unshod horses, rather huge horses too. So, no cars here, good.
She followed the path, it had to lead somewhere and she soon saw more signs of the inhabitants. A small camp had been set under a tree, a fire had been built from dead wood and she could see that five individuals had been sleeping in the grass. The horses had been grazing and the people had been eating a small deer. She sniffed the air, they had not used any firearms, there was no smell of gunpowder there and she liked this world even better. She increased her speed, curious about the inhabitants of this place. They seemed to be the right kind of people and the trees whispered to her, told her of respect and love.
She was running now, at a pace she could uphold for days. She had a sudden feeling of urgency, as if there was something she just couldn't miss. The trees, their voices told of distress, of fear even. She heard distant sounds and slowed down. It was shouts, raw howling sounds and screams and she tilted her head. This was some kind of fight, she heard something that had to be the clatter of metal against metal and she hesitated for a second. Then she decided that she had to see what this was all about, she dropped the backpack and hid it within some ferns. She jumped up onto the branches of the nearby trees and ran along them towards the racket. She could jump and balance better than any human and soon she saw the source of the noises. A group of people clad in strange clothes in natural colors were fighting a bigger group of very nasty looking creatures. The creatures stank terribly and looked just vile and they were hissing and growling as they were trying to get to the smaller group of people. She could see that there were archers among the people but they were out of arrows and they had thrown their bows away and were trying to fight with swords and spears but it was a fight they were bound to loose. Their opponents were too many and too fierce. Several of the smaller group had already fallen and the shouts and calls of what had to be officers were desperate and filled with fear. She did not understand a single syllable of what they said but she knew an unfair fight when she saw one and the trees were screeching into her mind, she had to help them.
She ran out on a thick branch, nobody cared to look up and she got rid of her sweater and stood there in only her sports bra and her tights. Her boots were a bit too big now but they were solid and she knew how to use her feet. She had been studying different martial arts and had several black belts. The very lovely looking people were back against a cliff, they could not get away from it and she noticed that they all seemed to protect a young man with long golden hair, he was the only one there without a helmet and she gasped when she saw that he had pointy ears. Was she dreaming after all? Elves were not for real, or where they? Heck, to almost everybody back home her own race was nothing but a legend so why not? And those ugly bastards with a terrible lack of personal hygiene had to be orcs. Right, she had ended up in fantasy land but what the hey. She could at least try to help and if she died again she would at least have tried to help someone apparently on the right side.
She looked down, she saw two orcs beneath her, they both carried swords and she remembered the training she had gone through, Japanese fencing. Those blades did not resemble a katana in the least but they had a sharp edge and were rather long. She took a deep breath and concentrated, allowed her body to go into attack mode. Her muscles tensed up, her hyper evolved anatomy reacted to her increase in adrenaline and double tendons and muscles started to shiver with anticipation. She bared her teeth, at home she never did since her teeth were more like those of a huge feline than a human and she let her pupils dilate so she could see more of the light spectrum than before. Her nervous system went into hyper drive, sending signals at an extremely accelerated speed. She growled, felt how the hairs started to rise along her skin, her fingernails stretched, turned into claws and then she jumped.
The fall was high, more than forty feet, it would have broken every bone in the body of a human being, but her bones were made from carbon fiber, not calcium, they could not be broken. She landed on her feet and hands right among the orcs, letting out the terrifying screeching cry of her kin. She was in the air again within the blink of an eye, a hand reached out and she ripped the throat out of the nearest orc with ease. She kicked the other one underneath his chin and broke his neck. She grabbed the swords and went into action. She could hear their heartbeats, see the warmth of their blood underneath their skin. She could smell their emotions, she was the predator and they were her prey and there was no escape from her hunger. She allowed herself to fall into a state of mind where she was only acting instead of reacting. She did no longer think, she let her reflexes guide her. Deep within her were the memories and knowledge of every generation which had gone before her, all of their experiences and all of the things they had learned had been transferred to the next generation and the next and she could access this library of inherited wisdom whenever she needed it.
She was dancing, the roars of the orcs were just white noise, she did not care. Her eyes were completely black as she spun around, cutting limbs and heads as she went. The orcs had started to realize that they were being attacked by something new, something terrible. It was as if this creature was surrounded by a thick mist of blood and gore and the sounds it was making were just horrible. The orcs turned away from the elves and started to regroup, they tried to form a shield wall but to no prevail. She ripped shields in half with just a blow from her swords and the elves stood there with huge eyes and shock written all over their faces. She was performing a massacre right before their eyes. The orcs turned and tried to flee but she laughed and ran them down, her swords cutting orcs in half and she kicked a couple so hard she broke their spines and left them paralyzed. The last orc almost made it into the woods again, she just reached down, grabbed a spear and threw it, impaled the orc and nailed him to a tree. Then she turned around grinning, looked at the paralyzed orcs and walked over to them. Crushed their skulls with her bare hands and then she just ripped the heads off them and threw them into the thicket. She was still in combat mode, she could see the elves as shivering shapes of light and she took a final look around. No more orcs, no more enemies, good.
The elves did not move, they were staring at her in utter disbelief and she allowed her vision to return to normal. She looked down, she was utterly covered in blood, it dripped of her and she knew that only the whites of her eyes was visible against the red liquid. Damn, she bet she looked like Carrie, she had always liked that old horror film.
She allowed her body to fall back into normal mode but she was still alert, she had no idea of how the elves would react to her, they could possibly see her as a new threat, an even greater one than the orcs. Her heartbeat sank from nine hundred beats a minute to a mere thirty and her lungs relaxed, she was equipped with a totally different respiratory system than any other creature, she had air sacks like a bird as well as lungs and could use the oxygen in the air much more efficiently than a human being, she did not have to breathe that often but she could take in enormous amounts of air if she needed it and store huge quanta of oxygen in her blood. She could survive without air for hours or even days if she slowed her metabolism down, she could in fact go into a sort of hibernation. Her heart was not a muscle with four beating chambers, it was a long thick tube with circular muscles placed in rows of three, she had nine heart chambers in a row which worked like an hyper efficient pump and they could beat up to twelve hundred times a minute, her blood did not need to flow from her lungs and back to her heart to be pumped into the body's circulatory system, it was being speeded along directly from her lungs by blood which came straight from the heart and her veins and arteries were incredibly tough and strong. Her blood pressure would make any other creature drop dead from massive strokes.
She just stood there and the elves were not moving, she could see that they were frightened and that they had no idea of what to do or think about this strange creature which had saved their lives. She tried to smile but knew she looked awful, she raised her hands in the air, palms out and then it just dropped out of her. "I come in peace, take me to your leader?"