Katsu had not slept well. Her dreams had often been troubled recently, by visions of the dark woman with feathers obscuring her face. This time though, the visions which had become familiar were mixed with something else, something less benevolent. The nightmares came quickly and were full of shrieking, howling voices and coiling, contorting darkness. There were glimpses of people that she had known, just momentary, and not really them, but disfigured, and distorted, and then.
The familiar woman was back again, talking of the same subjects she always did, of ancient gods and terrible consequences, but these words were comforting compared to that they had replaced. Each time she came her words were more purposeful than the last, as though the importance of the task were not being imprinted deeply enough into the mind of the barbarian, and this time the powers that she granted were of a different kind than those to which Katsu was used.
The ability to beguile a person, to sway their thoughts and feelings using only words, was not one for which Katsu had had any need thus far – she had found her own methods of persuasion to be effective enough. The means to change herself, her appearance, now that was a different matter, as that stupid meeting with the elf in Erigælis had proved, and Katsu was intrigued to discover how different a world in which she was not reviled for her outward form could be.
But then the woman with the feathers was gone and the dark, twisting, nightmares were back, and screeched on until finally it was morning and Katsu awoke feeling drained, exhausted, worse than when she had gone to bed, and the memory of losing an arm wrestling competition to Gnærk did not improve her mood.