He was ambushed before he could get far. He smelled fel before he saw it: a panther’s ghost loomed on an outcropping above him, snarling.
“You are, or were, the archdruid of this vale,” said Ezran softly. “My contact. What did the other archdruid know…?”
“The demons will consume your life essence!” roared the panther, leaping on him. Ezran clutched at his holy symbol, struggling to get the words to a spell past his lips. The ghost’s claws seemed to reach past his skin, filling him with a chill. As the great cat closed on him, fangs flashing past his face, Ezran grabbed one ear, oddly soft and wispy to the touch, and pushed the symbol into the druid’s forehead.
“Who cursed you?” he demanded as the panther howled, dazed by the Light’s power. “Was it the Zilv’natha?”
“No–no!” cried the druid’s ghost. “Sent them to us, yes. Jealousy drives that one, of lover and life… but cursed me, no. The demons… the demons are the real threat. They poisoned that whelp as they did me!”
“I know,” said Ezran soothingly; even though the panther’s claws were still digging into him, he tried to act non-threatening. “Tell me where they hide. You’ve been stalking them, haven’t you?.”
The archdruid hissed without words. It blinked at him, the mad green glow in its eyes fading to a soft blue. “I recognize you…”
“Yes,” said Ezran. “It was I who slew the last Zilv’natha, and by my inaction, gave rise to the current one. I must fix this, for the sake of my kin. Tell me where I can find him!” As Ezran continued to press the holy symbol of the Light against the cat’s head, the spirit began to shred and dissipate. Ezran didn’t dare let go, even as he feared that, as the Light burned away the fel within the archdruid’s soul, so it did the archdruid himself.
“Tell me. Quickly!”
“Powers of the moon guide me!” roared the archdruid instead, and its fangs closed around Ezran’s head. Knowing he only had seconds to live, Ezran plunged a dagger into its underbelly.
EzIts claws suddenly tightened on him, punching through with force enough to steal Ezran’s breath, even though they did not draw blood. Light flared around him, the archdruid began to dissipate with a wail, and Ezran could stumble away.
He crept into some bushes, feeling dizzy and sick. He cast only a light spell of healing, not wanting to overdo it, or do it wrong, while he had what he suspected was a concussion. While he slept, he dreamed, and he wondered if the Light was granting him the visions, or if it was the head injury making itself known, or if, perhaps, the archdruid’s prayer to Elune had somehow latched onto him as the benefactor instead.
He saw another ren’dorei in his dreams, much like himself in looks, fighting in the Vale with warlock magic. The ren’dorei slew many satyrs, and Ezran came upon a thought: Seryth wasn’t allied with this sect of demons at all. But why, then, were the demons attacking the druids?
He also saw the ren’dorei enter into a cave, fighting one of the satyr leaders and rescuing a quel’dorei from a cage: Jalinde. The ren’dorei was calmer around Jalinde, the fel less thick about him. That, perhaps, was the demons’ reason for targeting the druids. Without Jalinde, Seryth’s corruption by the Nathsyssn was slower.
Was the dream real? Or was Ezran only witnessing what his fevered mind wanted him to witness? Somehow, Ezran thought not… he resolved to remember this dream. He had to find Jalinde, tend to her, if he hoped to help Seryth.
The dream continued, ren’dorei and quel’dorei traveled together, and Ezran caught a glimpse of a ghostly panther stalking them. Then the dream broke, and he floated back up to consciousness again, but he was no longer in the Vale. A druid had found him and was bringing him back to Fordrellon’s camp, and Ezran was feeling too ill to protest.