The coal is red-hot to the touch, but for some reason it doesn't burn Mateo. The sensation is similar to that of holding one's hands too close to a bonfire. It continues as the coal slides down his throat and into his belly. The heat spreads through his body. It keeps growing hotter and stronger, hotter and stronger, until it threatens to consume him.
And then it does consume him. The Hall of the Huntress fades away and is replaced with only the burning, exhilarating heat of life. And then even that fades.
It's late night when Mateo awakens. He's definitely not in the same place he was when he was defeated by the siren, but he can tell he's still in the same forest. Or he came back to the forest? Something like that.
If it wasn't for his keen sense of sight, he wouldn't be able to see anything in the gloomy dark. It's late enough that Mateo may want to consider finding somewhere to rest for the night, lest some great beast decide on vampire for dinner. Or was that the idea?
Ah. Perhaps not a child, then. Mercutio chuckles to himself in pleasant surprise as he makes his way around the fire. Before sitting down on the indicated log, he lifts the bottom of his coat out of the way so it hangs down on the far side. "You'll have to forgive me," he says, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees, "but it's rare I meet a member of the mortal races who may be older than I am." Mercutio is quite young, but only for a devil. There may be a few ancient elves kicking around older than he is, but they're not long for this world.
For a few moments Mercutio seems content to simply study the witch. He doesn't bother hiding his curiosity as he cups his chin in one hand as he peers at her through the smoke. Perhaps, he ponders, the witch was not a member of the mortal races at all, or perhaps she had transcended mortality and gained some sort of eternal youth. If that was the case he would surely feel quite the fool for guessing her age wrong twice, but such was the path of enlightenment.
"Have you a name?" he asks, finally breaking his contemplative silence.
Looks like Mr. Wolf here is a dirty fighter. How rude.
Well, it manages to make contact with the lizard, but as its fangs draw close the lizard turns its head away and it is met with scale and the muscle beneath rather than optical jelly. Nevertheless, the lizard lets out a loud and deep cry of pain and rage. It turns, thrashing its head to the right. The wolf will find itself very suddenly between a rock and a hard place as the lizard tries to ram it against one of the towering hoodoos.