Simha's belly growled. She tried to ignore that. She focused on her walking. Simha counted each step through the golden grass.
She exhaled in a steady pace. The ridge crunched under her feet. Simha knew this village had to be close.
Simha could hear their thoughts in her mind. The dozen or so teeth piercing her dark skin kept her storm rumbling. The magic came through those teeth. She'd spent the better part of the last three winters purifying the fetishes.
They took time. Oaths. Promises made to the spirits bound to them.
In exchange, they let her open the Storm. Her mind. Her thoughts and dreams turned into thunder. On her chest, the infant stirred a bit.
Simha soothed her baby son. In the hot sun, Simha wore him in a sling across her chest. Along with the fetishes piercing her skin, bits of a lion skin dragged behind her.
The walk to the village went how she thought it would. Simha worried she'd been right. She worried that she'd be too late. That her Storm wouldn't be able to prevent disaster.
The woman walked down the stones that lined the path to the village. They knew Simha. They knew she was one of those who bore the storm in them. Those who could see minds and read dreams. It had always been enough to let her move through their territory without harassment.
Villagers moved about the village. A few looked up to see her. Simha then let her Storm crack with thunder. The sun was bright. No clouds hung in the sky. Yet anyone with a mind would've heard the crack of thunder, as loud as anything they'd ever heard.
No heads reacted to that.
Simha frowned. Too late. She'd been too late.
The creature strolled out into the middle of the village. It sat on its hunches. Simha's eyes narrowed at it.
"Mine." The creature said. The words were sour, wicked sounding.
It looked like a lion, but Simha knew better. It wore the corpse of some cat. Rot had dug into the frame, bloating it. The dead lion's fur had blackened from rot. Flies clouded around it. But the eyes. The eyes betrayed it.
It's eyes weren't feline. They were human. Red and black, with no white. They were the look of someone who broke every decency Simha knew.
"You should be dead." Simha said. She patted the head of her infant son. Her eyes stared direct into the corpse's demonic eyes.
"Your Thunder is nothing here." The creature growled. "This is just one piece of my crown."
"You should be dead." Simha sighed. "Please oblige me, do not let your greed force me."
"Empty words. Your meager fetishes, your storm is nothing to me. Immortal. Mindbender, how can you do anything to end that?"
Simha kissed her son's head. "You moved your mind into a dead piece of meat, sorcerer. How can I not do something about it?"
The creature paused. It tilted it's head. "You fail to understand how glorious my power is, that I've-"
Simha called the Thunder. Her storm opened. Her mind unleashed itself upon this horrid mockery. It ripped apart the memories stored in the corpse. The impressions the sorcerer had implanted in it cracked as the storm took them out.
It tried to resist her touch. It thought itself clever. It thought It could protect itself against the Storm. Fool.
Simha watched the fool's mind fly away in the wind. Like dust in a zephyr. She'd broken the dead man's vessel. Gone. Nothing more left to harass her.
"No one can outrun the Thunder." Simha told her son, as she set to trying to help free the people the Sorcerer's magic had ensorcelled.
The nearest villager looked up at Simha. She cursed as she saw the same dead, red eyes in it. The same that the sorcerer had, the same the dead lion had borne.
No. Not just one vessel. She clutched tighter to her son, certain that her storm wasn't done yet.