Trixie felt a cool breeze across her cheek. She had been dreaming of sailing ships, with their sails whipping in the wind. She knew her luck for waking up had lately not been very good.
*What would it be this time? Another cave? Perhaps hanging from a cliff?* She thought to herself bitterly.
Somewhere she could feel Cur - not very far away. He did not seem to be in distress. That was odd, given the fact that she had been fighting for both hers and Cur’s life when she was last awake. She did not even remember falling asleep, only hugging Cur, and snatches of running - seeing trees blur by.
A heavy curtain flapped again in the gentle breeze. Trixie opened her eyes to see she was in a bed. A real bed.
*I must be dreaming again* her groggy thoughts told her.
Her imagination must be going overtime, as she blinked and saw that the bed was a four poster bed, only at each corner the posts went up to the ceiling and merged with the wood there, as if the bed and the room itself were one living tree.
The room was brightly lit by the open windows, and the cheery sun warmed her face, while at the same time a gentle breeze blew the curtains about and cooled her face. The bedsheets were silken to the touch, and she was wearing something other than the cast-off clothes from the cave.
Her mind cleared suddenly with the thought of someone else dressing her. Sitting upright she saw she was in an immaculately furnished bedroom, with walls painted in scenes of a forest grove. Deer, birds, and other forest creatures were so skillfully painted, they seemed almost alive.
There was a man dressed all in shades of blue sitting near her bed. She could tell immediately that he was an Elf. His calm visage displayed only concern as he looked at her and smiled. One of the windows near her bed opened wider and a huge red muzzle pushed through. Trixie was astounded to realize that it was Cur.
“Good morning, morsel. I know pups sleep a long time, but I guess human pups need that much more.“ His growling voice was a familiar anchor, given that everything else was completely new and different to her.
“Let me guess, you are hungry now?” he said.
Trixie closed her eyes. “Are we - are we in Elf lands now? I can’t remember. Oh Cur! Are you ok? What about the Goblins?”
Her memories ripped their way to her consciousness.
“All in good time, mistress” the Elf said.
Trixie turned to him. He had been so patient and calm she had completely forgotten about him when Cur arrived.
“Can you please tell your wolf friend that you are ok now? He has not left that window since we brought you here. And it was all we could do to prevent him from tearing the wall down to get to you. He’s... scaring the Queen’s staff.” The Elf shuddered.
Trixie grinned a devilish grin. “You haven’t eaten anyone, have you Cur?”
“Not yet. It seems after I told them who you were, they put away their swords and arrows and brought you right to the Queen’s den.”
“This - this is the Queen’s home?”
Trixie brought her hand to her mouth. She was suddenly very shy, and she turned to the man. “How long have I been here? I must see the Queen! Right now! Thalon has given me a spell to heal the Queen!”
The Elf paled. Without a word he went to the door and knocked twice. The door opened to two guards standing outside with silver spears.
*Was I a prisoner?* Trixie thought.
Perhaps having Cur around was a better idea than she had imagined.
“Come with me, now.” The Elf said.
“My name is Faerdhinen. I am the Queen’s counselor. You spoke the name of Thalon. How could you know of him?”
Trixie slid out of the bed. She was wearing a loose long sleeved shirt and pants - all of silk of a deep purple color. Faerdhinen handed her a robe of the same color, only it was soft fur on the inside, with a white fur collar. Trixie had never even seen such rich clothing, let alone wear something like this. The clothes fit her as if made for her. They hurried out of the room.
The next few moments were a blur for Trixie. Something was welling up inside her. She could feel the Queen as they ran down the hallway to the Queen’s chamber. In a moment she had outpaced the Elves and she burst through the large, intricately carved doors.
The Queen seemed to be a shadow of herself, Trixie thought, as she revived the memories that Thalon had given her. She was lying on a large bed, with black sheets beneath her and a lighter sheet above her. She was pale, with dark circles under her eyes and tight, drawn skin making her cheekbones much more prominent. She was surrounded by what looked like Elven healers and guards. The bedroom was also filled with large windows that were open to the sun. Trixie felt more than saw Cur running around the building to meet her.
The guards immediately brought their spears to bear on what must look like an intruder. Trixie brought up her hands. Cur howled outside the window loudly. The guards turned to the window to see Cur bashing the window in - the thin wall beneath the window crumbled beneath his large paws.
The healers backed away in fear, but they were still standing between Cur and the Queen. Weakly, she opened her eyes and held up her hand to her face. Her arm was wrapped in bandages that were red with her blood.
“Cur! Stop! I’m ok!” Trixie cried.
“I did not bring you all the way here, only to have you killed by these … Elves.” Cur responded, but he lay down in the midst of the ruined window and placed his head on his paws. His golden eyes pierced Trixie.
Compelled by Thalon’s spell, Trixie slowly walked the remaining distance to the Queen.
“Braigeth” she whispered. Even in her sickened state, the sight of the Queen filled her with awe.
“Stand down” Faerdhinen said behind her, but everyone seemed far away. There was only Trixie, and Braigeth now, and somehow... Cur was there as well.
The words and gestures of the spell flowed from Thalon’s memories through Trixie. It felt like a dance - she could feel the heartbeat of the world, the rhythm of a butterfly’s wing, the strong thunder of crashing waves. The spell carried her higher and higher and she was filled with power.
Somehow, she reached out and touched Braigeth’s arm. Light exploded from the touch and enveloped both Trixie and Braigeth, who called out in a high, tight voice filled with pain. Distantly, Trixie could also hear Cur’s howl as well as they all shared in the agony that Braigeth had somehow endured for all this time.
Trixie marveled as she could see this gentle, yet immense spirit that had fought for life day after day since she had been attacked by one of Rath’s creatures.
The magic flowed through her, like light through a prism. She found strength she never knew she could possess, and she realized that it was from Cur as well. Somehow, he was part of the spell now - since Trixie and Cur shared a new bond that Trixie only barely understood.
Within moments, Braigeth was healed, and not only healed, but restored in strength and appearance. She sat up in bed - light still playing across all of them like a sort of aurora.
Braigeth touched her hand and spoke to her in her mind
*Thank you. You have saved me. But it appears as I must now save you. Your bond with this wolf is in an imbalance - you have poured your spirit into it, but wolf, you have to complete the circle, or your friend will die as her spirit flows completely into you.*
Trixie was astounded and fear filled her like falling into a well of cold water. Dying? How could this woman who was nearly dead just moments before be able to see what was happening?
Trixie sensed Cur’s presence. He was confused, angry, and tired. He had not slept since he had arrived in the Elf Kingdom, and now this little Elf pup was trying to say he was somehow killing Trixie? Braigeth reached out a delicate hand and touched Cur’s muzzle. In a moment, he understood - not only what he must do, but what it would mean for him. His life alone was over. Trixie and Cur would be bonded forever, together, or if he refused, she would die from the one-way connection she had established. The bonds could not be broken, only new ones could form. Cur thought about his daughter Wren, once again and knew already that he could not let this little spunky human die, especially after all they had been through.
Within his mind, he accepted his fate, and accepted the Elf Queen’s gift.
There was immediately a blinding flash of light that filled the room and a shockwave of power that threw everyone to the floor. Everyone except Braigeth, Trixie, and Cur.
They were transformed. Cur’s fur was no longer red, nor black as it had once been. It was now a white that was almost silver. His eyes were no longer golden as well, but a deep violet, like Trixe’s. Trixie was similarly changed - her long, lustrous black hair was now white as well - and shimmered with the same silver quality as Cur’s. Even the Elf Queen herself had been influenced by the spell. Her once blond hair was now golden, as if translucent spun gold. The color Cur’s eyes had been.
*You have been made whole* Braigeth said to both woman and wolf.
*Before I speak now, I must tell you one more thing. You will not understand the significance of this for some time, but you both have new names. You Trixie, are now Trixen, your life as just a human Mage is now over. What you make of your new life is for you to discover. *
Trixie - now Trixen - turned to stare at the white wolf before her.
*And you, Cur, are now Currick. You are a prince among your wolven kind. And you are destined to lead a pack that has never before been seen in these lands*
Trixen’s eyes filled with tears as she found a way to hug both Currick, and the bemused Braigeth at once.
The guards could only stare terrified as their fully restored Queen was face to fur with a mountain of white muscle and teeth that could consume her with one bite.
Currick could only lie there and let these little ones embrace him, but he knew now that he would never be alone again.
It was at that very moment that a very large and angry looking fairy burst into the bedroom, took one look at a destroyed wall and a white wolf almost atop the Elf Queen and shouted. “Get away from her!” Her hands formed claws and her body began to glow with heat.