As I prowl around my circle and altar, pondering my current situation, I discover there is more to being a panther than I first thought. The natural instincts and needs of the animal I have transformed into are becoming apparent and they are not making my life any easier. For one, I am thirsty, secondly I am hungry and thirdly I have an overwhelming urge to rip the throat from some unsuspecting enemy or rival. There are many places where this would not be a problem but I am in a small patch of woodland within shouting distance of a small estate where there are humans, adult and child, pets, guard dogs, security systems, safety lighting. In a slightly different direction there is a small river and a steam railway line, not so much an issue but if I happen to be around there when the workers are taking their late night journey home I will be in trouble. Further out I have the town’s centre to worry about. Nothing much to eat where I am other than a few hares, squirrels, perhaps a badger or fox though I am not keen to taste the flesh of fellow carnivores and I am rather fond of badgers. I prowl my circle again, looking at the Guardians and imploring them with my eyes and thoughts to assist me.
Paralda gazes at me, concern showing in her azure eyes but she does not speak. I have not transformed into a bird so she cannot help me, she does not fully understand the ways of the four legged, being more comfortable with feathered creatures. Ghobb is no use either, looking at me with a certain air of ‘I told you so’, even though he had not. Gnomes have a particular mindset of intellect though in reality they are somewhat lacking when it comes to practicalities. They are quick witted when it comes to pointing out the obvious after the fact.
I visit Nixsa next. Now Nixsa has a handle on problems and I am hopeful she can help with the more urgent problems I face, that of being thirsty, which is getting very distracting now, my throat is dry and no matter how much I lick the edges of my mouth I cannot produce enough saliva to at least temporarily ease the pangs. It is not really helped by the fur gathering in my mouth which my tongue seems to accumulate quite rapidly. My mind fills with the image of the nearby river and I feel her assurance that the water is safe to drink, it used to be polluted and vile but the people of the town have worked to improve it over the years to the point where there are even places to fish now. I bow my head in thanks for the reminder though it does not really help my problem of risking leaving the protection of my circle.
Next I stop at the Djinn, his eyes ablaze, warm and comforting like a log fire rather than the threat of wild fires. He chooses to speak to me and his voice booms and crackles inside my head. His voice is like a wild fire with undertones of the crackling of logs in a hearth. The Djinn may be the epitome of passion but he is also controlled, exactly the temperament I need to see me through this. I need to be bold and I need to be cautious at the same time. He tells me in no uncertain terms that I must leave the circle and face the world, I must find another witch to help me transform back, the spell will not break when I leave the circle and will not fade. The gods have given me a task, I must keep this form until I have learned the lessons they wish to teach me.
Lastly I gaze on the figurine of Bastet on my altar. Surely the cat goddess would be here for me to guide me? It looks like I am on my own, a feeling I have not been comfortable with until now, at least this form has the confidence of a solo predator, I just hope I still have enough control to make it through without putting myself or others at risk.
I raise my left paw and cut through the veil with my claw and step through back into my world…