Of all the things to run into out in the wildlands, a wildcat was not precisely what she had imagined when she woke up that morning. A normal cat - a puma, perhaps, or a tiger, she could see. Maybe. But not the four hundred pounds of striped, enraged feline that was hot on her tail, spitting and hissing in its rage. The ancient Sidhe had not encountered a dire animal of any kind for quite some time. Something about the aura she exuded seemed to keep most of them at bay. It was something that she cherished, as it kept a lot of problems at arms length. Here, in the forest, she was without another to throw between herself and whatever threatened her. Except her pony, which of course she would never do. That animal was tearing chunks of the wagon path that they were pelting down up, sending them flying behind her as she ran. The mare could manage a surprising turn of speed, when she needed to. The ancient sorceress hung on to the beasts neck for dear life, the wind of their passage making her eyes water. The same wind whipped the skirts of her dress, divided for riding, so that it expose the pale flesh beneath which might have been disconcerting if there was anyone around. It had been a while since she wished for anyone to be around. The feral roar of the big, yellow eyed beast shattered the quasi-silence of the woodlands, and seemed to spur Nightwind on even faster, even harder. Just as well, for the place she sought was some few miles back, where the road crossed an ancient, sun-bleached bridge of hard-as-stone wood crossing a chasm that dropped to a river channel some three or four hundred feet below the road bed. This mountainous terrain was, for once, proving to be useful to her. Her journey to Fal'addas to look down her nose at a bunch of posturing children had been ruined by the ill stroke of luck that put her between this beast and one of its cubs. Chalk one up to bad luck and poor timing. The smell of turbid water was sharp in the air as she rounded a bend in the road, the cat somehow still not caught up with her. The hillside to her right dropped steeply to the river below, and to the left it fell away, leaving a wood patch of ground on the edge of a rather precipitous drop. She spurred her pony and steered her off the road and into the woodlands, praying that the beast did not trip in a hole or on a log and break a leg. The cat followed. A few hundred yards in, she sawed the reins, to the whinnying complaint of her companion, and slipped off the back of the pony to stand in the path she had just blazed. She slid the staff she always carried with her from beneath the saddle strap, and swatted Nightwind on the rump to send the shaggy little mare galloping into the woods, leaving herself alone. Facing down a charging dire mountain lion. This is either my greatest stroke of genius yet, or the stupidest fucking thing I have ever done, she thought to herself as she stood her ground. The wildcat was just now coming off the road, and charging straight for her, rage in its eyes. She thought to herself, that the cliff leading into the river was only thirty yards or so behind her. It should be enough for her purposes, anyway. Taking a deep breath, she steadied herself...and embraced the wellspring of power within her. It flooded through her, torrents of unbridled power flowing through every inch of her flesh, making her wish to yell to the heavens for the invigorating life it gave her. There was no sweeter thing than the ply the ancient Art of her people, although it was something never truly, well and truly, done. Not in ten thousand years or more, anyway. Taking just a fraction of that awesome power, she quickly crafted a pattern of mana, giving it shape and form. Giving it purpose. The diminutive sorceress, silver hair streaming in the wind blowing in her face, seemed to blur, and then shift several feet to the right, pale purple eyes grim with determination and a touch of the ecstasy she felt at that moment. The cat bore down upon her and, a dozen yards away, took flight. The image of the sorceress flickered and faded, and suddenly she was standing there, plainly visible. The illusion was simple enough, and had served its purpose. Woven magic, prepared carefully as she waiting, suddenly took shape as the beast went airborne. Right hand held before her as if she were carrying something at arms length, she spun, silver hair flying, she flung the hand forward. A tremendous roar cut through the peace of the woodlands, drowning out the cat as it screamed it feral cry, its head snapping to the side as it caught sight of the slight woman - who looked my like a child in truth - but unable to change its direction. Something unseen slammed into it, and it was punched forward violently. Leaves and dirt kicked up by the colossal wind almost obscured the view, even as a few trees toppled in front of it. The cat, carried by those sorcerous winds, sailed out into the empty gulf, slamming against the far cliff, and then falling out of sight. The flow of power within her winked out suddenly, and she sagged a moment as it drained away, a faint throb in her forehead predicting the headache that would come later. She almost took hold of that sweet source again, to savor it...but refrained. There was nothing to be gained by such juvenile displays. Brushing her skirts off, the sorceress put two fingers to her lips, and blew a piercing whistle. She waited for a long moment, but heard nothing in the sudden silence following the confrontation. "Nightwind!" she called in a strangely child-like voice, high pitched and completely out of keeping with her age. There was nary a sound in the woods. With a grimace, the woman hitched her skirts up, and set off into the woods to find her pony.