Confusion

Katra Alterian clawed her way to consciousness one painful realization at a time. The last thing she remembered was entering a cave, wondering at the sight of the crystalline structures that surrounded her and her gaggle of siblings and cousins. Katra vaguely remembered turning to her cousin Dreyah to say something about the formations … then, she was here. Shivering, nude, under a blanket that smelled so foreign to her that she could not begin to identify the odor.

The air itself held that same alien quality, something much deeper than just a cookfire and food from a strange land. While the ground felt stable enough, her weight against the ground was … not right. The air not only smelled wrong, it felt different in her lungs and her body. Not quite like the difference between one house and another, it was much more … alien than that.

It must have been dark, as no light made it to her eyes through her closed eyelids, although a flickering reddish hue teased her retinas. Katra lifted an eyelid just enough so she could make out the flicker of what could have been a small campfire, though the fire scent was strange—vaguely like wood, but not somehow. To one side of the fire, a small figure that looked … human? … stirred something in what sounded like a metal pot that rested in the glowing coals.

Without turning towards her, the figure said something in a soft voice that she could not begin to understand. She ignored the voice, feigning unconsciousness. Trying to figure out not only what had happened, but where she was. Katra tried to calm herself as she felt her muscles begin to quiver. She prayed to Olladra, Goddess of Luck and Good Fortune.

This time, however, it wasn’t Olladra who answered her prayers. This voice was different, the timbre half an octave lower.

Ah, one of the Astral Changelings. I wondered whether one of you would appear in my realm.

Wha..?

You are in the Realm of Faerûn, child, the voice continued. I am Tymora, an … associate of Olladra.

Katra was stunned. She lay by the crackling fire, skin prickling, breath catching in her throat.

The figure by the fire muttered more sounds she couldn’t understand.

You are my cleric now, the voice in her mind continued. You must learn to use my gifts in this Realm. I will grant you this blessing, to understand and speak the languages of this land as you understood and spoke the tongues of your Realm.

Through her closed eyelids, the firelight flared. Not much, but enough to notice.

The voice from beside the fire sighed and said, “Look, I know you’re awake, no use pretending.”

Katra lay there, dumbfounded.

“I have some” a word she couldn’t quite understand, “stewing in the pot here, if you’re hungry.”

Sniffing the air, Katra pushed herself to a sitting position, pulling the blanket tight around her shoulders.

“It smells…” her voice trailed off. The smell made her mouth water and stomach grumble, but she had no words with which to compare the aroma wafting through the camp.

Now that her eyes were open, she looked around the small clearing in which this stranger had set up his camp. He looked like any of the human men she had seen on Eberron, albeit the size of a twelve-year-old, so she assumed him a man. The thick, red stubble that furred his cheeks, jaw and chin marked him a man, even though he appeared years younger.

Handing her a bowl and a flat wooden stick, he said, “it’s” another word she couldn’t quite understand, “mixed with some herbs and root vegetables, it should make you feel better.”

“Thank you,” she murmured, suddenly embarrassed because she realized that this young man must have found her naked and covered her with the blanket.

“Do you … Um, have you a change of clothing, perchance?” she asked.

He turned from the fire and looked at her, eyes narrowing.

“Where are you from?” he asked, abruptly.