he Bosmer was late, as was her reputation. She never considered taking a ship to Valenwood, nor did she see any reason to avoid crossing through Elsweyr.
The wood near the Xylo River was much calmer than the jungles of Falinesti. There were no wild hoarvors feeding on drunks, no glittering snakes blending into the soup of decaying leaves. Still, whether she was in the jungles or the forest, Indrel was like a spider crawling through the web of trees. Even as she slept, she dreamt she was awake. She could feel the breeze wading through the bark, the creatures slithering up the vines, and the birds nesting on the boughs. When the Bosmer was in her element, no assassin could ever take her by surprise.
The Khajiit may have claimed this land, but the trees belonged to her.
The trees in Black Marsh were hers too, but there was often little to be had. Arnwulf used to say they were upside down, the way the branches looked like roots. In Valenwood, even the smallest of oaks touched the sky, their heavy crowns drinking in the sun. The trees were so large and so voluminous that the entire province could easily be shrouded in darkness, yet the path was always lit by thin blades of light.
In Valenwood, you could stop at any moment, and find yourself woven into a living tapestry. Yet those moments never lasted for long. And when the trees shook Indrel from her slumber, she knew this day was no exception.
The Bosmer reached for her knife. Something was approaching from behind her, and moving fast. In fact, she had barely unsheathed the blade when the figure continued to move right past her, darting swiftly from branch to branch, stopping only briefly when his pupils caught the glint of Indrel’s knife. Their eyes met for a moment before he continued on, maneuvering deftly through the chamber of trees. He was a Wood Elf, like her. He was also in a hurry. Seconds later, she knew why.
A pride of Cathay-Raht followed suit, at least a dozen by her count, trembling the forest in their wake. Indrel put away the knife and reached for her bow. Two of the great beasts caught sight of her, but she saw them first. The Cathay-Raht were incredibly fast, but her arrows were faster. She trained a third on another, but it only hissed its displeasure before continuing its pursuit.
The remainder of her journey to Silvenar was uneventful. She hitched a ride with a local caravan in exchange for a handful of gold, nearly a quarter of what the stranger had sent her, but for her legs it was worth every septim. As she lay in that wagon, her thoughts occasionally drifted to her friends in Skyrim, the scent of Jagga, and the prospect of home. She even had a dream about the Bosmer in the trees, and the curious eyes that met her own.
As fate would have it, they would soon meet again.