I had to abandon my "ideal" spy post almost at once as the cabin's inhabitants started going about their day. It seems the larder I was hiding in was more of an attached spring house and frequently used. I did make one useful, or at least interesting, discovery. I knew more than one language. The one I'd been thinking in and the one these people were speaking. Now that I knew to reflect on it the names of these tongues came easily to mind. The spoken language I was hearing was called the common tongue. Although it was heavily accented compared to what my former self had known. Whether this was due to geographic or temporal distance was a question I would need more information to answer.
The other language, the one I'd been thinking in, and had likely been given, was Yuun-Xi. Which is also the name of the race that used it. So now I knew who my makers most likely were. This explained a number of things. The lack of shoes, for example. Seeing as many Yuun-Xi have no feet, and those that do are well equipped with naturally thick scales on the soles making further covering unnecessary in most cases.
Now that I was awake and fully rested what to do ?
Explore. The people I assumed to be connected to the smoke I'd spotted earlier would likely be asleep now. So I should be able to find a good observation post without being noticed.
And so, I packed up the things I should need for a day or two of skulking and spying. I wanted to know as much as possible about the people living here before revealing myself. It seemed likely that I'd been modified to be a combatant in some war, or the like. But as I'd been left on the shelf, as it were, the war could well be over. With the side that made me not having come out on top. So one reason to expect a hostile reaction. On the other hand I had no clear idea of how long I'd been left down there. The war I'd been made for could be so long ago that no one would even know what I was.
By the time I'd finished with these cheerful, and largely pointless reflections, I'd finished gathering my supplies and set out.
The darkness was no problem for me and nothing predatory took any notice of me. Likely the Slider Beast had driven off anything likely to be competition.
And so after a long but uneventful hike; I found myself on the edge of the woods looking at a log cabin built against the side of a hill. Small garden patch off to one side, with a henhouse and an animal pen beyond.
As it was getting close to dawn I reached out with some of the Slider Beast Essence and probed the hillside for open spaces large enough to hold me. It took longer than I would have liked, but I was rewarded with a chamber ideally suited to my needs.
The builders of the cabin had blocked off part of a larger cave giving me a large room on the other side of the back wall of their pantry. A wall I could "slide" through when I wished. And the pantry door itself had a gap with its frame just at eye level which gave an excellent view of the entire cabin.
And so I settled in to spy on my neighbors and learn what I could of them and the world in which they lived.
My eyes opened. The fire was just a bed of glowing embers now; but it had been a small fire to start with. So only a few hours had passed. Yes, it was still dark outside. Overcast, with the Moon somewhere close to new. How I knew that last bit I couldn't say as I'd had no clear view of the sky since my first awakening. Yet I knew it was true, just as I'd known which way was North while still below ground.
It was around Midnight, both logic and my inner instinct told me so. What they weren't telling me was why I was awake. I listened for any sounds that might warn of impending danger...
So, why was I awake and feeling fully rested after only 4 hours of meditation; when I'd slept for close to 8 hours the night before ?
Meditation; yes, and I'd feed by way of my Shadow Fire today; deeply. While the day before I'd eaten food and gone to sleep.
My new nature vs my former life.
My new self was made to feed by way of Shadow Fire, on the move with just a few hours meditation for sorting information and rest before moving on. My former self had lived as a trained Hunter/Woodsman able to eat on the move and sleep light. But my makers, (retoolers ?) had given me an upgrade beyond what training could provide. Had I volunteered for this, or been Press ganged into it ?
Somehow the later seemed more likely, as it would be a reason for so little of my former life remaining in my mind.
I lit a fire. I didn't really need it for warmth as my body had shifted from scaly to hairy now that I was out of the damp. I didn't really need it for light either as my ability to see in the dark would doubtless serve me better on that count. But I wanted it, just to have something to focus on as I cleared my mind. And so seated on a bedroll with my back to the wall I gazed into the flames. My mind emptied. Then a map started forming. The cave, the woods, the pool where I'd killed the Slider Beast. Then the bit of stream coming down from the hills I'd noticed in the distance. Then the plume of smoke I hadn't noticed, coming from a point partway up that hillside. Small smoke plume, Small fire, and most likely People. Had they seen the smoke from my all day fire ?
Very likely. Would they come to investigate ? Maybe, But unlikely. If they were going to they likely would have already.
So traffic through here was common and likely somewhat erratic.
But sooner or later someone would come. How would they react to me ?
If hairy, I might be taken for a beast or a Wylding given that I was wearing a cloak and tunic. No footwear. Strange, now that I thought about it. Clothing had been left in the complex below, but not one bit of footwear; Strange.
But not important at the moment.
Scaly, Maybe I could pass as one of the Lizard Folk. Not much better. Most places Lizard Folk avoided the other races and were mistrusted by them in return.
A problem, but not one I could do anything about just now.
The map filed itself away in my mind for later study and my mind went blank as my need for rest overcame my desire for reflection and information.
Just uploaded a bunch of new themes. Some will need new logos. Let me know which you like and which I should get rid of. After that, I'll do logos for the ones we keep - if they need them. Also uploaded a chatbox. It's at the bottom of the HOME page. Let me know what you think about it and we'll decide if we keep it or go back to the old one.