Shadowcat steps into the darkened cave. A dark figure sitting in a dark corner rises and greets the lady. "Vendui' milady." He says as he greets her.
"Good to see you, my friend." she replies.
"I'd hope so." he replies with a smile as he offers her a seat.
She sits and gathers herself for a moment. "What made you want to single me out for this 'gift?' I mean, we've hardly even met."
He looks at her for a moment "Well you mentioned that if any could offer a cat form then maybe you'd be interested."
"True enough," she replies. "How long have you been a shapechanger?"
The cloaked man thinks for a moment, "Since I reach the age to be a warrior. My gift was given to me by the oldest member of my house."
"Sorry for the questions, I'm a little nervous." the young woman informs her host. "So it's common among your people?" she asks tentatively.
"Xas, it is what make my house so different from the other drow houses."
The young ranger bows slightly on hearing this "I'm honored that you choose to pass it to me then."
The drow returns her bow and replies "As am I that you might accept."
"You do understand that I'm not drow, or even full elf?" she asks, frowning a little.
He chuckles a little at that, "Xas well the truth is Im not a full drow myself, have a little sea elf in my veins and the oldest member of my house was a half sea elf half drow."
"Aye," she replies, nodding in response, "but I'm half hobbit." She smiles slightly.
"Hehehe....so you've met Bilbo?"
"Fraid not--he was dead before I was born." she says, frowning slightly.
"Xas, well, I'll not say how old I am then," he replied, chuckling slightly.
"Dad was a master thief--Romark the Swift-handed." The young ranger added. She then asked, looking nervous, "What do we have to do to bring this about?"
"Truth is, there's not much to it, just a small bite." He replies as he pulls his collar out and shows her the small fang marks.
"So you are a true were?" she asked, looking curious.
"Xas, a noble were, and master of three forms." he replies calmly.
She looks at him in disbelief, "Three?"
"Xas as all true were have three forms; human, hybrid, and beast."
"Of course, silly me," the young woman replies slapping her forehead.
He looks at the ranger reassuringly "Don't feel bad, few actually know of that."
"What do you ask in return for this gift?" she asks, looking pensive.
"Nothing more then that you uphold it's nobility."
"And it'll turn my hair silver?" she asks, her curiosity growing.
"Xas, thats were the silver stripes come from." He replies with a grin, "Oh, and if drow you were..glowing green eyes, but since you're not I guess just green eyes."
"Then I'd really be a 'shadowcat.'"
Again he grins at the young woman. "Xas, truly a shadow cat would you be."
"I'm beginning to regret that mom wasn't drow."
He chuckles a little in response. "Don't, it's quite a burden."
She looks at him seriously for a moment "You realize that you're the first person from the grove that I've met like this?"
"Huh, what do you mean?" he replies in slight confusion.
"This is the first time I've 'chatted' with anyone from the grove." she replies."I guess your offer intrigued me more than any of theirs. Or maybe you're the first one who showed any interest in me."
He nods, "Xas, well you're also one of the first to take interest in the life of a drow and the gift of triform."
"I had a drow friend a long time ago." she says. "And I'm looking for a new me."
He chuckles. "Xas, well, with this you definitely change your outlook."
She hesitates for a moment before continuing. "How long will it take to master the changes?"
He thinks for a moment "Hmm....not long, if truly one is determined to master it."
"I won't have to drink blood or anything like that, will I?"
"Nau, it's not vampirism."
The young woman wipes her forhead in relief.
"Though in truth," he continues, "you'll at times feel a need to hunt in tiger form."
"As long as I don't have to hunt my friends, it'll be okay." she replies, a nervous edge to her voice/
"Oh..that only happens to those who believe it has power over them." he says, trying to calm her fears.
"Mom was a shapechanger." she notes.
"Ahhh," he replies, "then you'll find it even easier to master the gift."
"Again, I apologize for the questions," she starts, "I just want to know what I'm getting into."
"Xas I understand." is his reply.
"Does silver bother you?"
"Nau," he replies as he pulls out the silver pendant about his neck.
The young woman sighs in relief as she pulls a silver dagger from its sheath and shows it to him."One of the last remembrances I have of my mother." she notes with some chagrin. "Be a shame to have to lose it." she says as she sheaths the dagger.
"Nau, silver only bothers those who believe it will."
"Sounds like there's a lot that depends on your frame of mind," she notes.
"Xas, truly it depends mostly upon that."
"Then I'll try to keep a clear head." she replies
Again he chuckles, "Nau need to worry it's not that serious."
"One last question," she asks, growing more and more nervous as the night wears on. "Do you have fangs? Or are they only in cat form?"
He smiles showing is feral fangs. "Well they're not too noticeable unless you want them to be."
"I guess I could get used to those," she replies smiling faintly.
"They only get a bit longer." He replies with a grin, "as I said nau one notices them unless you point them out."
The young ranger looks nervous, and maybe a little scared as she consdiers what he has told her.
"Milady be at ease," he says, noting her growing discomfort. "I myself was nervous when I went before the house to receive my birthright."
She hesitates a little before continuing. "Where does one usually get bitten?"
"Umm...on the shoulder near to the neck." he replies
She tentatively loosens her collar. "Will it hurt much?"
"Nau milady, only a little sting," he replies."And once the bite is given it heals almost immediately."
She slowly removes her top as her collar is still in the way. "Will there be a scar?"
The drow blushes a deep ebony. "Umm...not really only a small mark."
"I don't mean to embarrass you," she says as she blushes. "My people weren't all that worried about nakedness. Clothes were more for protection than modesty."
The young woman gulps slightly. "I'm ready if you are." she says, trembling slightly.
"In truth a were has little need of clothes."
Looks at him in confusion, "what do you mean by that? Can you grow fur at will or something?"
He smiles and laughs as he replies, "I was as nervous as you were when I was given the gift. Well in hybrid form, a were-tiger looks almost human and xas then fur will cover all areas, as for any other time nau, what hair you have is as much as you have."
"I'm ready if you are." She tells him, looking a little nervous.
"Ohh...may I suggest always traveling with a cloak so that you may cover your self in you have an unexpected shift, tis common at first." he suggests.
She nods in response to his suggestion. He then shifts to his hybrid form, a magnificent combination of human and tiger, and walks over to stand behind her. She begins trembling again as her fear of what is to come begins to build.
"Well if youre sure," he tells her. "This won't hurt much and fast it will be, well after a small nap."
She bites her lip and nods. "I'm sure." she replies softly.
He places his hands gently on the sides of her arms and lifts her with ease to reach his now almost seven foot form. She gulps slightly as he lowers his head and starts to bite down on her exposed shoulder. She stifles a cry as his fangs break the skin. There is a little pain, then a tiredness washes over her.
"Sleep now milady." he tell her, "and when you awake the world shall seem different."
As she drifts off to sleep, he lays her down gently and shifts to tiger form. He lays down next to her sleeping form to watch over her as she sleeps. She sleeps fitfully as her body slowly adjusts to its new state. Days pass while she is in this deep sleep, until the day comes for her awakening.
"Awaken milady," he says to her softly, "and greet the world with your new powers."
"How long was I out?" she asks as she rubs the sleep out of her eyes.
He takes off his deep cloak and offers it to her. "Here milady, you may wish to change."
She takes the cloak and then changes her clothing while under its cover:.
"Tis common to sleep a week while your body adjust to the higher level of new senses." he tells her.
She nods in response. "How does one change?" she asks laughing slightly.
He laughs. "Believe me I doubt any shall sneak up on you now." He smiles, "Well at first only through strong emotion, but as time passes it shall become easier." he explains.
"You mean I will only change when I get mad?" she asks.
"Mad, upset, really happy, and very excited," he replies.
"Means I'd better be on my guard for awhile till I get the hang of this."
"Well xas, at first you should be," he replies. "But that only takes a month or two with proper instruction."
"Will you instruct me?" she asks tentatively.
"Took me almost a year for I had nau teacher," he replies. "Xas, I feel it would only be proper. Through instruction you shall quickly learn the full extent all your new powers."
"How will we trigger my first change?" she quickly asks.
"Well, usually the first change is one of a lunar event."
"So when's the next full moon?" she asks, her anticipation obvious on her face.
"Soon." is his only response.
"Have you got a mirror?"
He reaches deep into one of his belt pouches, "here you go milady."
She looks at her new reflection in wonder.
"A deep cloak you may wish to keep." He begins with a grin, "in fact just keep mine as you'll need it to hide new feature. After all, those green eyes and that silver hair of yours may draw attention."
She reaches up and kisses him on the cheek. "Thank you, my friend!" she says as tears of joy begin to form in her eyes.
He reaches deep into another one of his pouches and pulls out another midnight blue cloak. Before he can hide his face in the cowl of his cloak she can see his face turn a deep ebony.
"There's no need to hide from me, my dear friend." she says as she puts her hand on his cheek.
"Careful milady the first change is the hardest to control." he tells her with an almost wicked grin.
"You have given me a wonderful gift." she tells him. "We're two of a kind now."
"Sorry milady never have been used to walking about with face uncovered."
"You have helped make a dream of mine come true and I shall never be able to repay you."
He bows as he replies. "Tis my pleasure to see the gift passed on to a worthy host."
She blushes. "I hope I prove worthy."
"Dos shall," the drow replies. "For I see it in the future."
"I should go." she says as she turns to leave.
He holds up druid stones of fate. "Hehehe...gotta love magic." he says with a smile as he bows. "And may you come to be a powerful were milady....aluve' "
"We will meet again on the full moon, my friend."
He laughs. "Dos can count on it." he says as he smiles his feral smile."
TO BE CONTINUED....
Copyright 1997 by PT Riley except where otherwise noted