I guess you could say that standing in the middle of a circle, doesn't always look like a circle from where you're standing. This would best describe the life of Gretchen. Yes, she's special and different, but when everyone else around you is special and different, you just take it in stride.
When she turned 13, her mother sent her off to be an apprentice to a sage of the woods, Rothchild Manley. She was terrified of being in the woods. Why, there their weren't even any ponds or lakes where Rothchild lived. How would she survived. She'd never really spent any time with a man. He didn't even know how to become himself...he just look like a furry guy who didn't shave. She did as she was told and didn't ask a lot of questions, and hoped he never made he grow all that extra hair.
One day, Gretchen and Rothchild stumbled upon a pond in their daily travels. Gretchen waited for the evening to come. Rothchild was fast asleep when she made her transformation. She became a beauiful white swan, with yellow and black plumage, like her aunt Hilda. She was swimming, she felt free for the first time in several moons. When the orcs came from the far side of the pond, she never saw them coming. They were heading in two directions. She was one and her mentor the other. She needed to change back to save him but wanted to ensure that wouldn't see her. It was one of the most treasured secrets, her gift. It couldn't fall into the wrong hands... She got there just in time to duck in front of him and lure them away to an area of the forest where some dire wolves were hungrier than usual. They happily accepted her gift. She doubled back and pretended as if she had gone off to use the "little rangers' room". Rothchild, who had been made aware of her gifts from her mother, Tiina, just laughed, and knew that his plan to train her was working. He never told her, not in their many years together, that he knew. It would have crushed her ego to know otherwise.
When she was sent back to the area now just outside of the lands called Roadhaven, her mother was duly impressed with her transformation. She was no longer the timid child they had sent off, now she was a woman, and a trained scout for the woods. Tiina had been studying a group of adventurer's that had started to settle the abandonded dwarven keep. There was much ado about and they were interested in the lands around the keep. There was one human in particular that Tiina had wanted to get to meet. A tall woman who the other little ones seemed to stand around and take orders from was a bit annoying as humans went, but she and the half-elf that she was traveling with could be what her daughter needed next. It would keep her close to home, but give her a chance to get out a bit. It was something she never got to do. She was shackled to this area. Sworn to protect the lands and her sisters.
Soon after, she spoke to Gretchen and told her of the plan for her to go to the human female and ask to be part of her group. Gretchen was to learn and grow. Make friends and protect the Swannmay lands from those that would do it harm. They had been friends for many a decade with the one the adventurer's called, the "Spider lady". Tiina knew that entrusting Gretchen with this task could be dangerous, but hoped she would carry the burden in the proper form.
...only time will tell.