Chapter 1

Chapter 1

A Chapter by Analae

what awaits the traveler in the woods


 The wind blew through the boughs of the tall trees, the leaves dancing at the edges of their finger like tendril branchlets. The forest was a cumulative of oak, elm, laurel, birch, and many that could not be named by the common tongue. Silver, grey, and shades of blues danced off the tall trunks that shot up from ground to sky, leading into a green canopy that almost blocked out the sky, but somehow the forest floor stayed bright and welcoming.

The traveler, was shuffling his tired feet, dust billowing up around his leather boots. His hooded head was bowed with exhaustion as he put one foot in one foot in front of the other, stopping to rest a weary hand against the body of a tall tree, breathing heavily. His armor creaked against his body, the leather ties groaning as it held the metal together. His cloak was tattered, blood flecked against his armor and hands. He grimaced as he drew in a deep breath and made himself start moving again.

He moved deeper into the forest, following the path his feet found before him. He moved off instinct, no energy left to really think about what to do other than to find a safe place to rest before night fall. He could hear water moving somewhere to his left and was trying to make his way closer to the water. A fresh drink would help. He had nothing left in his water skin, that had been drained a while back. He had no recollection of how long he had been walking, just that he was beyond exhaustion and his need for self-preservation had kicked in. He leaned against the bow of another tree, his hand running against the bark, amazed at the smooth texture. He panted, every breath more painful than the last. He shook his head, knowing he was not truly injured. It was amazing how exhaustion would make one think they were beyond help. He sneered at himself, steeled himself for the next trek and started forward once more. The sound of water was closer.

The traveler pulled his cowl farther over his head, the light peering through the breaks in the leaves hurting his tired eyes. He sighed, seeing a small creek bed and knelt, filling his cracked palms with the cold water, splashing his face and taking a few drinks before filling his water skin. He tied the skin to his leather belt and stood back up, hand to his side. He sighed, knowing he needed to move again. He was not far enough in for him to feel safe. He sighed to himself, breathing in the fresh air, wincing once again at the sharp pain that shot through him. He once again moved his feet, his dust stained boots moving once again.

Above him, in the canopy of the forest, he was being watched. Amber eyes narrowed as he took a drink. A hand slowly moved for the bow that was slung behind the watcher’s back. The hand slowed, curiosity taking over for a split second. That had been long enough for the traveler to finish his drink at the clear pool. The watcher jumped to the next tree, silent, not even a branch shaking as they settled from tree to tree. The traveler had no idea how close he had been to his own demise, had he not moved again. He had entered a protected area, and now was in a danger he did not even know stalked him. Danger moved in the trees, silent, deadly, watching.

The watcher stuck to the canopy, watching every step the cloaked traveler made, waiting for a stumble, a threat, anything that would be a reason to attack. Not that one was needed, entering the forest was enough of a death sentence. The traveler couldn’t make his feet move any longer, walking into a clearing. He leaned against a tree and collapsed. He leaned back, hand at his side, breathing deeply. He knew it was too early to sleep. He could not allow himself to pass out from exhaustion until he watched what passed through the area. He didn’t know if this was safe. Self-preservation would be null and void and he passed out now.

The watcher sneered and waited as the traveler settled himself down. They gathered their self, took a breath and jumped to the ground, blade in hand. Booted feet did not make a sound as the watcher made himself known. The traveler looked up, blinked from under his cowl and was staring at a beautiful creature, in awe that something just appeared before him. She was blonde, tall, lithe, and stalking towards him. Her amber eyes were narrowed warily, a short, curved sword in her hand. The traveler stared at how she moved, swallowing the tightness in his throat. How had he missed her? He had been so careful. She stopped a few steps from him, the point of her blade pointed at her toes, the blunt part towards her. She spoke to him and he blinked, shaking his hooded head, not understanding the language. She frowned, spoke again, twisting her wrist that held the sword, pointing at him with the tip of the blade.

The traveler swallowed, shaking his hooded head. “I’m sorry, I do not understand you,” He replied, speaking slowly, his voice deep. She snorted, taking a single step back, sheathing her sword, fitting into a scabbard on her hip. He watched her movement, observing the blade’s twin over her other hip. He also saw the bow and full quiver, the fletching’s many different colors, peaked between her shoulders.

“Who…are you?” She asked, rolling the common tongue around in her mouth. “What…are you?” She followed her first question, quickly, knowing many questions wanting to fall from her tongue. She had to check herself, knowing that her inquisitiveness could, and had in the past, get her into trouble.

The traveler took a painful breath, shocked that she had understood him. He didn’t even know what she was. He thought he knew, he had read about them, studied them, but to see one!; that was something new. He pushed that thought out of his head, watching her. He shook his head again, chasing the drowsiness away from his pain filled, weary mind. The watcher, the woman, snorted, shaking her head and disappeared once more into the trees, disappearing once more. She had grown tired of the game and being in the open and was gone as quickly as she had appeared. The traveler leaned back, lost in thought and closed his eyes. Little did he know, his adventure had just begun…so had hers. The drums were coming, and they spelled war. Where had his feet led him? Who was the woman? He closed his eyes for a moment, nestled against the tree, his weary body no longer able to concentrate any longer. For a short while, he lost consciousness. Little did he know, he was still be watched, she had not strayed far, like a cat watching it’s quarry, she was there.

She watched him for a short while, noticing his breathing had changed. She had watched the rise and fall of his armored chest, counting the moments between breaths, the little movements the hooded figure made. When she was sure the traveler was asleep she jumped down from her vantage point and started towards him. Her pulse rushed in her veins, fear wanting to make her flee, but her sense of curiosity over this new creature made her push through. She smiled to herself, just a quick peek, then back into the trees, she thought. How wrong she was.    

© 2017 Analae

Author's Note

rough draft

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Added on November 30, 2017
Last Updated on November 30, 2017



Sumter, SC

I love to write. I have a lot of new ideas and have found a few of my ideas to have taken a darker turn. I have moved from doing poetry to doing more along the story lines. I have been updating a l.. more..

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