She hadn’t gotten very far from where her and Midna’s shadow session before the chill of night began to get to her. She pulled a cloak from her bag and wrapped it around her. There was a village close by that she could go to, although she wasn’t entirely sure if they had any kind of inn or anywhere she could stay the night.
If she was willing to walk, she could head all the way to castle town where there would definitely be an inn.
At the same time, she hadn’t visited home for a very long time. The Goddess Gate was by far the farthest point away, with Ikana Canyon being the opening to Termina. She wasn’t entirely sure she could handle walking through the land of the dead again. And she wasn’t quite strong enough to spend the entire trip slipping through the shadows.
She shivered slightly and pulled her cloak tighter, reaching to pull up the hood. She was a bit homesick, not entirely sure how her parents would be reacting to her disappearance. She had left a note this time at least.
She peered around as she walked. The things that would have once frighten her terribly were almost welcome. They weren’t as numerous as they were in Termina, but still existed. She tilted her head slightly before walking down the path. Most people had to be getting ready for bed at this time. So she might not have to move out of the way for any carts.
She considered diving into a shadow and seeing how far she could go but if there was a chance that she could frighten someone by popping out of a shadow she’d rather just walk.
Sighing loudly she began walking, glad at least that she wore proper walking shoes this time.
Azrael could already feel his energy returning to him the longer he avoided his Hylian disguise. He exhaled his frustrations as a lungful of stale air, smirking to himself as he recalled the faces of the terrified inn folk. Pulling his hood closer about his face, he continued walking through the night, quite comfortable in his solitude.
At least, he was quite comfortable up until the moment he realized he wasn’t alone.
The first sound he was distinctly aware of was the slight tapping of feet against dirt roads, dainty and light in the quiet of the late day. After straining his ears further, he discerned hesitant breathing and a singular, loud sigh. A woman’s sigh, if he was correct.
Well, then. Perhaps his night wasn’t quite over just yet. Having nothing better to busy himself with, Azrael kept close to the shadows of the dim evening and followed the sounds that had disrupted the silence.
For once in a thousand thousand years, he’d let go. The plains of that old doomed Hyrule had surged beneath him; the stars had turned above him till he was struck dizzy with all the glowing ether. And the world had slipped and flickered till in his wild release he soared fluidly from earth to spirit, spirit to earth, the physical world a melting fickle thing that dressed a vastness of gold — cold and unyielding to the savage humanity of his anguished howling.
And so when he came to rest — when he’d sobbed out all his frustration and lost years and wasted glory and all the things he couldn’t say when there were pupils to hear — it was quietly. His pale form barely made a sound as he flitted among trees with fluttering leaves, now a weary corpse carting an old sword best as he could, now a frosty-furred old wolf limping on shaky, tired legs. Now nothing but a shudder of light that could’ve come from a will-o’-the-wisp.
He came out on one of the back roads, where and when exactly he didn’t know, just a little dirt streak through shadowy country. Far away from his tantrum, though, he’d made certain. Wisping shamefully a bit off the path, he was lost in his own reverie till he heard a footstep scuffle some ways off and crept idly to investigate. A sadness touched his old heart. She looked cold, tired — out of place, beyond all else. He watched her for some time, curiosity itching at him. Who was this strange, lonely-looking woman? he asked himself. What was she doing alone out here? At this time? In this chill?
Which was when he caught it. That certain staleness. That surplus of shadow, that sense of a wretched darkness that he remembered quite well enough.
A rasping voice, seeming to come from nowhere, erupted just near enough to the dark woman to be audible: “Be careful. You’re being followed.” Because that wasn’t abrupt or untrustworthy at all, naturally.
Although she straightened up, and the color drained from her face completely, she did not stop walking. For a moment she thought it might have been one of her three shadow servants— but the voice was different. This stranger, however, was warning her about something else. Unless it was some cruel joke and it was what was following her.
She felt terrible for it, but as she took the lumpy shadow mask from her bag as stealthily as she was able to, she figured Midna would understand. She kept it hidden in her cloak, stretching and pulling the material. For a brief instance she thought of making it a sort of dull sword but the thought faded due to it’s foolishness. She wouldn’t know how to wield it, let alone make a passable version. Instead she made a stick- a walking stick. It was far from straight, and curled a bit at the top without her permission but when it was finally produced from her cloak it looked like a loosely respectable ebony walking stick. It wasn’t enough to frighten off this stalker but if she had to she could smack the person a bit with it.
She’d just have to remake the mask again later…