She looked in the mirror, seeing the cascading honey-blond hair, short, rounded ears, distinctive pale-blue eyes, and prodded at the creamy skin that seemed to want to drag her smile downward, as if the face was unused to Kyna's expression. The human body was fit; in fact, she found that her reflexes seemed almost instinctive. She was unused to fighting with her hands, but her new body remembered the hours of shaping and training. She tried desperately not to think of the soul that had once occupied it, a fanatic, murderous crusader. She submitted to the facial muscles remembered drag, but let the expression sink into despair rather than what evidently must have been a perpetual sneer.
She had moved beyond what was natural and right the moment she allowed this blasphemy to take place, cajoled by her colleagues and twisted by the emotions of young Katanya. But she couldn't blame them. The final word had rested with her, and, in truth, in those last moments of facing the darkness of Death, she had succumbed to fear. She had been a coward who took a foolish, if not overtly evil, road, and only hoped that the Goddess could forgive her.
She felt a great sense of loss, not only for her mortal shell, the body she had inhabited for hundreds of years, but for the severance, the absence of her magical attunement to Nature. If she had not discovered that it was still possible for her to Dreamwalk, she might have been rendered paralyzed with grief. It was as if she had lost her closest love, and had only memories now to console her save for this one shred of hope left to her: the Dreamwalk.
She had learned a great deal about human culture in the month passed, but she felt the pressure of quickly-flowing time, her hastened mortality hanging over her head like a precariously-held sword, awaiting the perfect moment to sever her now all-too-brief existence, to snuff it out as easily as a candle's flame. She had once discussed at length with Nazumai the wonder and curiosity that was humanity, and Nazumai had insisted that the brevity of their lives made every moment more vivid, more meaningful. Kyna only felt the ticking moments of time counting down to her demise. Her life now seemed but the blink of an eye to the once-immortal elf, and she couldn't help but lament that she had endangered her soul for but a few fleeting moments left in the river currents of time.
Everything came back to that moment, that critical second when she gave her reluctant assent, tortured by the burning plague infesting her lungs, suffocating her from the inside out, dissolving her vital organs even as she labored for every breath. She remembered the fear, fear that closed around her throat, icy fingers choking her, making her fight for every intake of breath, every remainder of life left in her diseased shell. She smashed the mirror with a gauntlet-covered fist, sending shards dropping to the worn-smooth wooden floor of her stark inn room. With a grimace at her own self-pitying behavior, she haltingly removed the simple frame and laid it, too, on the floor, making the mirror appear as though it had fallen. She would pay the innkeeper for the damage.
She let her gaze fall to the stacks of worn books that littered the small, uneven table in the corner. She had been studying everything she could find on humanity and had become particularly enchanted by the philosophy of the holy Light. It seemed as though redemption was possible to find, through the Virtues of the Light. Respect, tenacity, and compassion: these were values that seemed good. And through practice, the tomes promised that the faithful would make the other inhabitants of the universe happy, and thus, themselves, happy. She could reconcile these beliefs with her worship of Elune; one did not necessarily exclude the other. Did it?
She snapped off the thought and then drifted to the things she had recently discovered living in this new body. She had discovered a talent for drawing on magic, but not that of Nature. It felt pure and cleansing, refreshing balm to her bruised soul. She spent her evening hours in meditation, trying to piece together her shattered existence. She spent her days training as a warrior, for the weak magics she could wield she had little control over yet. She had to find some way to make the sacrifice worth it, to make her new, brief existence count for something, and she could only do that if she could prove herself useful, adaptable.
Her thick mail boots crunched over the shards of glass as she strode purposefully out the door, counting coins from a small waist pouch.