The light glowed green around him in the deep forest, filtered through the many layers of leaves. A cool, damp wind gave him a slight shiver, and the strong scent of damp, old wood dominated his senses. Zion could hear the voices of faeries, their lilting, high-pitched voices unmistakable and beyond comprehension. They seemed excited, and at the edges of his vision he caught glimpses of them flitting here and their, on branches and in the air.
Frozen in place in a deep forest glade, he felt warm breath on his neck and could just hear a shuddered breath follow. He could not move. The warmth of the breath on his skin increased, as if whatever or whoever was behind him was very close, and breathing just next to him. He realized that he was wearing only his sleeping clothes – a loose shirt and baggy shorts.
He felt a greasy hand on his left forearm. He could was still unable to move. Footsteps to his left, and into his field of vision he saw her appear. She was a little thinner than when he’d last seen her, and wore only a pair of knee-high fur boots. She was filthy, with layers of oil, grease, and dye spread across her bare skin. Her hair stood at all angles, caked with dirt that obscured the pink and green colors. Her eyes were wild and bloodshot, and she stood before him, her mouth just slack.
“You denied me once…” she half-spoke, half-breathed.
Zion woke with a start, sheets soaked from his fever. The poison had run its course, and the healing magic applied to him had done what it could, and he knew he was not at his best. He knew it would be days before he would be able to transform again, and that his spells would be limited. He also knew, fever aside, that the dream represented reality: Tessara, the Mad Bitch Queen as she was known by most, was back.