The group huddled close together and had a cold breakfast. Bran had warned that they not build a fire to warm their food else it might alert their pursuers from the day before to their location. The cleft in the mountain had provided limited shelter through the night, but the group would need to find better shelter soon, or they would not survive long.
“We should break camp and get moving quickly,” said Bran. The group quickly and without wasting energy talking followed his lead. He and Ankoma took the lead breaking a trail for the others to follow.
As the group traveled through the snowy mountains, they discussed the attack from the day before and their options for survival now that they were without the bulk of the equipment that they had been sent out from Raven’s Keep with, and without the skills that they loaded into their memories. In fact, were it not for the slight training that Bran and Ankoma had received at the hand of Clifton Raven they would be completely helpless.
“We are fortunate for your father’s foresight, Bran,” said Elx, “Your skills in these mountain passes have proved invaluable. We would surely be lost and frozen by now were it not for your and Ankoma’s abilities.” The other murmured agreement. They all paused to take a short break to eat some rations. “I feel that I should tell you all about some abilities that I have that may eventually be of use. They won’t be of assistance now while we are wandering through these mountains, but once we are among people again they will hopefully serve us.” So saying the features of his face started to blur and transform and then Elx was a different person. A moment later and his face blurred again and he was again a different person. He did this a few more times, “I am a shapeshifter able to assume the likeness of other people. I felt that informing you of this would help us to be more successful when we do reach civilization again.” Elx switched to using telepathy and continued, “As you were made aware, I’m am an accomplished linguist, but I also am able to speak directly to the minds of others using telepathy bypassing language should the need arise. This too may be a skill that will be of use once we find others.”
It took the others a moment to absorb the information that Elx had revealed, Sayberion was the first to respond, “Those are fascinating and to be sure useful abilities, Elx, thank you for sharing. Hopefully, we’ll run into people soon where we can put those skills to use.”
Bran started somewhat hesitantly, “My father spoke to me of a race of people called Chameleons. They were able to change their shape as you seem to be able to do. Are you a…are you related…” He seemed a bit unsure how to broach the subject as if it were something that might be taboo.
Elx seemed nonplused, “Yes, we are sometimes called that. Amongst ourselves we typically refer to ourselves as We Who Become, but to others we are often called Chameleons.”
Bran put his hand to his sword and took a defensive stance and continued, “My father also said that Chameleons are servants of Blern.”
Elx put his hand up in defense, “I believe you misquote your father. We are the creation of Blern. And as his creation, many of my brothers and sisters do serve him, but just as you and your hirsute companion have free will, so do all of my created family. I ask you to recall our recent incident from but a day ago, I was under just as much threat as you all and fought just as vehemently against Blern’s forces as you all. However, to be honest, when I was first created I did follow Blern and his teachings. I found, however, that he was inconsistent in his own teachings and that to be true to his espoused philosophy I must oppose him. To do otherwise would not be the noble thing to do. Does this answer your concern?”
Bran’s hand relaxed and he replied, “Yes, that does thank you.” He started to pack their meager lunch and pick up the dropped crumbs to prevent leaving a trail. “We need to break camp and get moving. However as we are traveling, and I hope you don’t consider this to be prying I’m just trying to gather useful information on our enemies, since you seem to know something about Blern what can you tell us about him and his use of Chameleons? Do you know the extent of Blern’s forces? His agenda? Anything that might assist us in fending off another attack of like kind to what we have already suffered against him or his lackeys? It seems likely that he would still have Chameleons in his service, correct, what can you tell us about them that could help us?”
Elx replied, “I’ll tell you what I know, but realize that Blern has been exiled from Raven’s Keep for many years and I was privy to his council only while he was still within Raven’s Keep. But, perhaps what I do know will be of assistance. We will talk while we move forward.” So saying they continued their trek into the frozen mountains.