She knew that.
She knew it well enough that she never traveled visibly through the city or presented herself as a target. The woods, however, the wilds and mountains and glens that she and the Nightmare called home, however… she had no qualms of traversing the dark, dense landscape.
A necessary trip to Iristica ended early and profitably and the woman found herself home two weeks before anyone’d anticipated. It was a perfect time, she felt, to surprise her Nightmare. No doubt he’d be there, perhaps even at the stream they’d accidentally begun their courtship… such that it was.
Dawn’s lips curved in a light twist, a satisfied smirk playing to surface at the memory of that first night.
Soft, silent steps of dark grey “boots” delicately planted one, two, three and more, mindful not to stir either withered branch nor pale-violent wings and give the game away. Jewelry, clunky and loud in its presence, was left at the edge of the clearing some meters ago. While expensive and tasteful, she had no want of its betrayal. If it was lost… she could afford more. Clothes, too, had been sloughed and left behind, silken sheath dresses useless and even dangerous in the environs. She was covered, however, in slithering, swirling bands and bits of dark grey, silent and slick as they traversed over her form. As she continued to move, faint shadows from surrounding features, mottled and broken in the moonlight, gliding over her feet and twining her legs until they added to the bulk of her camouflage.
A pause and she canted her head, nose angled lightly to the sky above. She inhaled long and slow, seeking his scent without garishly snuffling.
Nothing yet, but not surprising.
Fingers curved, following the unsubtle arc of the tree trunk they touched. “Mm,” she finally allowed, brows lifting in that silent question asked of the night. Not a rustle answered, and she chuffed a faint, short laugh. “I shall find you, my love….” Words cast undertone, murmured in that cold drawl.
Leaving the tree behind, Dawn struck across the clearing toward another bit of cover and a few lengths closer to that spring.
The soft rustling of leaves caused her freeze mid-step, and her head snapped up so she could scent the air once more.
“….!” Words started, her mouth opened, and were lost as she twisted toward the sound’s likeliest origin and noted a slip of a thing had launched herself forward, arms outspread with a long, pale knife in her right hand. Dawn didn’t waste time on vocalizing her surprise, instead swerving aside just in time to avoid a collision. Her hand came up and circled round to draw what would become a shadow disc in her palm and she flicked it toward her assailant. Unfortunately, the smaller woman gathered the momentum from her leap and angled into a controlled tumble, barely avoiding the counter. The girl spun and half fell down with the momentum, managing to use the hand for balance and to snag a handful of snow and debris to whip at Dawn.
The assault caught the woman full in the face, eliciting a startled gasp as it stung and stained her vision. Her hands came up even as she reeled back into that earlier trunk, aimed to clear the filth from her eyes. Snarl followed the second gasp, forced when her spine made contact with the rough bark.
If the snarl was prelude to words, those words were lost as the slip of a girl slammed into her at speed. “Die, Mistress Bitch!”
For just the briefest of moments, Dawn Shadowsbane had detached enough to inwardly return ‘how… unoriginal. well, at least I know where you’re from’ before she was jolted back to the reality of assault by a sudden, very striking pain in her shoulder.
Realization jolted and she bucked, the screech cruelly torn from her lips.
The pain curled the following howl a bit more panicked, trying to dislodge attacker and weapon.
The burr clung and the weapon freed, a calm before the firestorm that was her second wound - the precious belly. The blade withdrew again and in that moment, Dawn clawed to her wrist, halting momentum as knee came up to strike the stranger. The smaller of the combatants fell to the side, off, and scrambled to her feet. The blade arced in, curving wide as it carved Dawn’s flesh, from sliced eye and nose to curled cheek and finally from neck to chest, gray shadows no armor for the weapon.
The pain echoed and bounded off trees for a goodly distance, empowered by lungs of a sudden beast, long, that surged up. The dragon, iridescent scales dim in the moonlight, overran the slip and stripped flesh from bone with her talons on the way. It was the girl’s turn to scream as her soft belly was punctured.
Dawn flipped to confirm the girl’s demise, jaws snapping around a leg and lifting the body enough to fling it to the trees. A sickening crunch led to a slow descent until the crumpled mass pooled at the base.
Pain wracked the dragon’s form and expressed in her keening, sung while she staggered her bulk with no kind of stealth or sneak. Indeed, her only aim was to find cover.
Her strength didn’t last long and she fell, snout burying into the snow. It was a few hours before she woke, wings curved around her once-more humanoid form to keep her warm… relatively. Red-gold eyes lit on the weapon and she sneered, fingers clutching into her palm until they bled. However, she eventually did pick up the knife and stalked away. She faded into darkness, finding her way home and (likely permanently) bearing the consequences of her former life.
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