Opening his eyes for the first time in a long time, he spotted a woman standing casually just a few steps away. She wasn't overly short, perhaps a head shorter than he, nor was she intimidating, though the expression on her face seemed oddly serene given her surroundings. She bore no armor nor weapons, but her bearing was of such confidence that he doubted she had any concern for threats she might encounter out in the wilderness alone. She was neither thick nor thin, but the curves of her body would certainly turn some men's heads. Her skin was as pale as milk, giving off a soft glow in the ambient light of the forest, contrasting starkly with her deep, auburn hair that came down just to her neck in waves. Her dress was of a crimson so dark it looked almost black, with what appeared to be some sort of corset above the waist, four sturdy buckles keeping it in place and a skirt with large frills hanging halfway down her thighs, only revealing a peek of the skin beneath before her long boots began. In addition to the skirt, a half-dress, of sorts, hung down, adding a bit of elegance to her shape that just a skirt wouldn't do. A thick, but short, coat covered her shoulders, the front held in place by a fine wooden ornament of unknown origin, coming down in long sleeves that had frills hanging past her fingers.
"I don't sleep, Raven," she said somewhat tiredly, the woman's voice matching the one he had previously only heard in his head. "At least, not in any way that you'd understand, yet." It was different hearing her out loud, gentler, less intense. Turning his attention away from the woman and towards his bags, he found her already standing there beside them, without having moved, as though she could place herself where she wished with a simple thought. The corner of her lip curled upwards slightly into sly grin, "This is... Somewhat of a figment," she started, answering a question he hadn't asked, "More than an illusion, less than reality... No one will be able to see or hear me but you, unless you make the sign and summon me properly. In this form, it won't take any of your concentration to communicate." She fell in step behind him as he made his way towards the springs, though he knew full well that she wouldn't have to actually walk anywhere, or even appear to him at all. "Now, I do have a question for you, little one," she called, despite her current form being noticeably shorter than him, "Why
are you studying magic?" She didn't turn away as he prepared for his bath, but neither did she seem overly interested in it. She simply stood at the water's edge and awaited his reply.