Tiana moaned softly and clutched her head, desperately trying to squeeze out the throbbing pain behind her eyes. Though faeries were not supposed to get headaches and other such common ailments, she had somehow done something to bring on this misery. Closing her eyes, she clenched her jaw and tensed as another bolt of pain shot through her head.
The searing pain was beyond words. She thought she had screamed while her lungs had still held air with which to make a sound, but now, she wasn't sure if she had been able to perform even that primal action. Thankfully, the pain had been brief and ceased abruptly. It had been followed by an uncertain, timeless period of pure nothingness. It was as though she was a disembodied spirit, floating in a vacuous emptiness. Actions, such as weaving, were impossible, for there was nothing to see and nothing to touch or manipulate, just a complete nothingness without beginning or end. Though it was a challenge, she was somehow able to maintain her sense of self, though she knew that if left in this state for long enough, insanity was the inevitable conclusion for a mind devoid of sensory input.
Perhaps fresh air would help, or perhaps dipping her head in the cool waters under the falls would lessen this intense misery. Somewhat unsteadily, Tiana spread her wings and began to flitter off towards the cool dark glade where a small spring cascaded down a cliff and formed a crystal clear pool surrounded by willows and ferns. It was an effort to fly as she bobbed and weaved through the air each time another spasm of pain wracked her body. There was an intense pressure in her head, as though someone had put something inside it, though of course that was just a metaphor and an impossibility.
Eventually the nothingness faded as shadows of images began to form. At first they were fragmentary, coming and going and never seeming to stabilize. Then, as she concentrated, she was able to make the images more solid and lasting. Though it seemed impossible, she felt like she was flying above the tree tops towards a small waterfall. Stretching out her senses, she felt herself expanding as touch, sound, taste, and smell began to return to her.
Tiana crashed, rather than landed, on the rocks at the base of the falls. Control of her body was slipping, as her vision became subject to blackouts and her consciousness wavered. Thankfully, the intense pain had started to fade, though she wasn't sure if this was an improvement since all her feelings were fading equally. The world had become hazy and unfocused. Though she knew she was standing on a rock, her feet were numb and unable to detect the cold granite below them. Her mind was still capable of rational thought but her senses were becoming disconnected and hazy.
Nyx began to sense another presence around her. It was cold and thin, lacking in emotional depth and substance. She traced it with her newly growing senses and could easily see how to push it into an unneeded area of her consciousness and contain it safely out of the way. Carefully, she began to surround the other presence and sever its links to the outside world, which she was then able to redirect for her own needs. As she worked, she became aware of memories and other remnants of her body's former resident.
Tiana closed her eyes as the dizziness overwhelmed her. When it finally subsided, she found that she was unable to open them again. It wasn't that she didn't have control of her eyelids, but that her eyes were simply gone. It was as though they had been disconnected. She became aware that she could no longer hear, or smell either. Each passing second, she lost further control of her body, slipping deeper and deeper into the safety of her inner brain. Somehow she knew she could shelter here indefinitely, but that she would slowly lose her grasp of reality. There was someone in her head with her and they were strong and powerful -- almost glowing with life and energy. She doubted she'd be able to confront them directly.
Nyx stretched out her wings in the warm afternoon sunshine. After taking a drink from the cool falling waters, she rose softly from the ground, reveling in the joy of flight as she began to flitter gently towards home. It was *WONDERFUL* to be a faerie.
Bathsheba laughed. How silly of the faeries to think that they invented the "old wives tale" in which lesser creatures became faeries when incinerated by a dragon. Tales such as that were based on long forgotten fact. Though embellished over the ages, the core truth remained. Dragons, when calling on the oldest most ancient of magics, could place the soul or spirit of one creature into the body of another.
She had not been amused by the petulance of Tiana for sending the sprite into her lair to irritate her. And so, as the sprite's quips irked her, she reached into Nyx's thoughts and pulled out the truth of the situation. A dragon was not to be trifled with, and she was going to have the last laugh. As the sprite's body burned to a crisp, she had plucked out Nyx's soul, compressed it tightly, and carefully reached out into the fabric of Samsara to embed the sprite's soul deep in the faerie's medulla oblongata. There, over time, it would begin to expand back to its normal form and the two souls, faerie and sprite, would battle for control of the physical body. Either one soul would win or a truce would be formed and the two souls would co-exist in unity within the body. Though the sprite wasn't guaranteed to gain the upper hand, Bathsheba was almost certain that the spunky little Nyx would easily handle the arrogant and spoiled Tiana. Whatever happened, the faerie would pay the price for trifling with a dragon. Now, where could she find a nice oxen for lunch?