Pandemonium When death knocks...

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Gavin Blackfyre, May 13, 2019.

  1. Gavin Blackfyre

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    The wheel was misshaped. Gavin could tell as much by the uneven rise and drop of the end of the wagon and how this small flaw caused what should have been a smooth ride to turn into a rather bumpy one. He'd imagine the warped wheel would cause the wagon they rode upon to tilt over at higher speeds. Thankfully they moved at a relaxed pace so any fear of spilling over was erased, though they did have to live through the continuous apologies from the wagon driver who explained that a broken wheel had left him with little option in terms of replacement, and as such had no choice but to accept the current wheel if he was going to make his delivery on time and that they would have to endure the rocky trip. Gavin silenced the man with a gentle pat of his arm and a warm smile when he first told him of this. A bumpy slow ride was fine by him as the alternative would be moving on foot. He had grown tired of walking.

    A week had passed since they parted ways with Falerumasa, bidding the dragon farewell with promises of crossing paths once more. Though their parting had been heartfelt, ending a tale which would be shared over pints of ale in the years to come, they departed minus one key item. Their boat. The schooner had been lost at sea and as such, Gavin found himself in the curious position of owing his beau a replacement and he was sure the elven beauty beside him would remind him of such at every twist and turn during this leg of their journey.

    The wagon they chartered what crammed with wares, leaving the pair little space to stretch out. Wooden crates flanked them on either side, leaving a small avenue before them which meant Kestrel would have had to rest upon his lap for the most part. He didn't complain. He'd have words for when it came time to stretch of course, as he wasn't getting any younger and their trip so far had earned him a few more aches and pains along the way, but for now, he was happy. Nervous, but happy.

    "Close now... Elbion is about a hour or so away.. Should make it by day break... Damn fog is thick though...." Came the voice of the wagon driver as he spoke over his shoulder.

    Gavin couldn't see the man as the canvas cover of the wagon blocked everything, including the light from the hanging lantern the driver hung on a hook. Determined to make his schedule, the man opted to brave the darkness and continue onward. Besides, nothing ever happened in this area so there was nothing to fear.

    "Food... Wine... And a nice bath..." Gavin said, more so to himself as he was not sure if Kes had passed out along the way. He had wanted to sleep, and though there travels on the road had been easy for the most part, the closer they got to Elbion an odd sense of dread began to fill the ship captain. He wrote it off as just the the idea of them potentially falling into some foul play in the city but he couldn't help but feel something eerie was happening around them.

    Just nervous is all.. Just nervous. The thought served to slow his beating heart in a attempt to bring a calmness to him. And like the twenty of so times of him repeating this mantra, he failed miserably. Sometimes, listening to your gut was the smartest move a man could make.
     
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  2. Kestrel

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    #2 Kestrel, May 14, 2019
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
    Setting foot back on land had been, at once, a wonderful experience and a poignant one. For one thing, Kes no longer had to worry about falling overboard and drowning, which… honestly, was a really big plus. For another, it meant that they were close to the end of their journey. Which Kes was rather looking forward to -- she had never spent so much time travelling. It was utterly exhausting.

    Especially once she realized that she couldn’t easily sleep without the rhythmic rocking of the ship underneath her. Which, was a large part of the ‘poignant’ part. Her ship -- okay, well, Gavin’s ship, but she’d just about won it fair and square, and now it was gone forever. Her poor, precious ship. She hadn’t even gotten to name it, and then they were on land once more. The ground felt firm and unyielding in a strange way that was unfamiliar and unsettling. In addition, she missed Faleru. They’d see her again, Kes was sure, but it was an odd sensation to say goodbye to a friend... Plus, walking was way more work and way less fun than sailing had been, so when Gavin had suggested they hitch a ride, she’d been more than happy to agree.

    Even with a bum wheel, it was nice. Well, nice for her, anyway, since Gavin fulfilled the role of ‘cushion-slash-bed’ rather perfectly. In fact, she’d nestled up against her captain, head tucked under his chin, and dozed off rather quickly. There wasn’t much else to do other than stare at the boxes and the one little strip of tree branches and sky they could see unless she wanted to perch on the back of the wagon the whole way, after all.

    Despite how much more relaxed she’d become around Gavin, she was still a light sleeper to a fault. A month of relative safety didn’t change what had been ground into her for over two decades at this point. So when Gavin murmured his words, as much as they were to himself more than her, she shifted slightly.

    “... sounds nice,” she murmured, then stretched, cracking one eye open. It had gotten dark while she napped, which seemed… odd to her. She had a decent sense of time, and she would have bet money (not hers, someone else’s obviously) on it not having been more than a few hours. Certainly not long enough for it to have gotten so dark, and with this… wet, clammy tinge to the air that instantly set her on edge. Not to mention, it was suddenly awfully quiet, even for nighttime…

    “Where are we?” she asked, sitting up. Suddenly, she was keen to have her daggers back on her, having taken them off so they wouldn’t jab into her dearest while she rested against him.

    Pushing to her feet, she carefully climbed to the back of the wagon so she could look up over the cover, easily balanced despite the uneven bouncing of the cart. Running one hand through her short ebony hair, she squinted forward, past the glare of the lantern light. There, between the ears of the horse pulling the cart, she could see a bridge in the distance, spanning a tributary of the river that they’d come up to skirt around Elbion to the other side. The air was cloudy, though, with this… odd color to the mist, and the water looked dark and churned up, agitated somehow.

    “... is it just me, or is the fog ...red?” she asked, glancing down underneath the cover at Gavin with a furrow to her brow. “Is that… normal for here?” She’d never been out of Alliria, after all, but she was pretty sure she would have heard stories of ‘the red mists of Elbion’ if it was a common or well-known occurrence…
     
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  3. Raigryn Vayd

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    Beneath the bridge they waited. They were not kivren, they were not of Arethil. No two looked quite alike. As soon as the wagon started to cross the bridge up and over its walls they would come. Looking for what they could drag down into the depths of the Cairou River.
     
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  4. Gavin Blackfyre

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    "Red fog isn't normal any where." Gavin replied in a curious tone. As much as he enjoyed laying about with the half held, the ominous feeling which haunted him was in full bloom now. Worse yet, he fought to maintain his balance, bracing himself against a wooden crate as the feeling of pins and needles flooded over his lower half. That's what he got not stretching his leg.

    "All is well out there?" Gavin asked their driver, his voice holding an edge as he took note they had slowed down and the whine of the horses suggested they were nervous.

    "I'm going to-" The wagon driver let out before his voice was silenced.

    "Hmm?" Gavin replied in confusion before a heavy wet thud caught his attention as something fell into the wagon form the flap Kes had parted moments before.

    It was a sound that stayed with him since he first heard it years earlier. A definite sort of sound that had weight behind it, like an exclamation at the end of a sentence. There was substance to it as well, a wet nauseating tone that went hand and hand with the thump. And though he heard it clearly, it took him a moment to register what happened as his gaze moved to the floor and he could barley make out the roundish shape. Still he knew exactly what it was.

    "Kes get away!" Came his cry as he looked up to her.

    Having hit the floor beside her and rolling to a stop between them was the head of their driver, lifeless eyes staring up at the canvas wrap that covered the wagon. Their was not pain or anger... Only confusion, as if they head could not phantom why he would be there and not where it should have been.

    And then the screaming started. Not from Gavin but from outside. And soon enough, one voice became many.
     
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  5. Kestrel

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    There was movement in the darkness, and Kes’s eyes narrowed as she tried to identify the source. It was so hard, with the glare of the lantern right in her gaze and the mist making everything so much more difficult to discern -- and then in the middle of the man’s sentence, something flew through the opening into the wagon, thudding on the floor between them with a dull, wet noise that made her stomach twist in instant, primal revulsion. She hardly had a chance to hear Gavin’s cry and no time to register what the object was before the horses began screaming, bucking and jerking at their harness and throwing the wagon around.

    The half-elf lost her footing, stumbling back against Gavin, her boot knocking into the thing that had fallen between them , causing the head to spin until the merchant’s eyes stared up at them with that frozen confusion.

    Kes clamped one hand over her mouth at the sudden rise of bile in her throat, her other hand snapping down to grip Gavin’s wrist. Instinctively, she pulled her power around them both, her natural reaction in this situation to simply hide; the world went muffled but at the same time brighter, a feeling of lightness and a pleasant tingling running through his fingertips especially as telltale indication that he was fully invisible with her.

    It seemed just in time because even as her power settled around them there was a ripping noise from above, and claws shredded through the canvas cover, rapidly reducing it into scraps and tatters. There was no more sound from the horses; Kes didn’t dare look to see if it was because they’d broken their ties and escaped or … other possibilities. Whatever was outside their wagon was certainly not friendly, and certainly seemed to be searching for the two of them… and if not for Kes’s ability keeping them invisible, the inhuman faces that poked through the newly-created holes in the cover would have quickly found them.

    Kes stared up at the creatures as they swarmed the outside of the wagon, her amethyst eyes wide with fear; she was by no means a coward, and even in the past month had faced more than her fair share of ...things. But even the twisted abominations like Drendor’s Leviathan didn’t compare to how inhuman, how unnatural these things were…

    … and Kes’s magic didn’t hide them from other senses, such as smell. The demons were sniffing, testing… searching. The half-elf’s eyes darted to where her daggers were -- on the far side of the wagon. Gavin’s scimitars had been tossed from their place on the crate by the bucking horses, leaving them just out of reach from where they currently were. She’d have to drop the hiding on them to let themselves get armed… but at the same time, there was only so much time they had before the creatures figured out where they were anyways. Best use their advantage while they had some degree of surprise.

    Still holding his wrist, she shifted -- slowly, so she didn’t drop the invisibility -- to look up at him. Her eyes went to his scimitars, then jerked her head towards her own daggers. She knew he'd follow her train of thought well enough. They weren't getting out of here without a fight, and they needed to be armed.

    On three, she mouthed to him. Holding up her free hand, she held up one finger… two… then three.

    And on three she released both of them, dashing for her daggers and drawing them in a smooth motion.
     
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  6. Gavin Blackfyre

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    More then ever Gavin found himself grateful for her unique magic which vanished them away from sight, but as he looked to the creatures which peered in he quickly realized they used more then just vision to seek out their prey. And that was exactly what the Captain and the Thief were. The horrific circumstances which they found themselves in began to become clear and Gavin found staring at one of the creatures faces, eye wide open. The head landing int he wagon was the least of their troubles giving the creature killed the man so effortlessly.

    Kes was able to grab his attention once more and he looked to where she motioned. Their weapons had been parted from them, meaning if they wanted a fighting chance, they would have to face for it. Offering a slow shaky nod in reply, he took in a deep breath and readied himself as she began her count down.

    His movements mirrored her own as she dropped the cloak of invisibility around them and he rushed for his swords. Fighting inside the cramped wagon was not going to happen so with blades in hand, he rolled out of the wagon and readied himself at once ready to face the nightmare they rode into. If someone asked him what he expected to see once they rode into Elbion, this would not have been his answer.
     
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  7. Kestrel

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    The moment Kes’s daggers were in hand, she felt a certain sort of calm settle over her. This part, she knew. Her daggers had never let her down, always there when she needed them, and once they were drawn everything became very simple. The only difference between now and the past ten years of her life was that when she lightly leaped from the wagon onto the road, barely avoiding several grasping swipes, she had someone at her back. Not something she was used to, but something she was rapidly growing partial to.

    The mist was thicker than any fog she’d ever seen now, roiling red along the ground and tasting acrid as Kes inhaled it. The yoke of the wagon was broken, the horses gone, and even the body of the wagon driver was missing as well… no sign of where it’d fallen, or, been taken. Only the sound of the river, churned up and agitated, greeted their ears -- that, and the screeching from the creatures. No birds, no other voices, no normal sounds, only that inhuman sound grating across her nerves.

    Her hands tightened on the hilts of her daggers.

    “Well, dearest,” she began in this deceptively light tone of voice, even as the creatures began to circle them, moving slower on the ground but still dangerously fast. She had no doubt that if either of them were dragged into the water, it’d be over instantly… and so, she coped the way she always did. “The next time you invite me on a leisurely and comfy wagon ride through Elbion, I think I’ll pass…”

    One of the demons snapped forward, a testing swipe at Kes’s left side; seeing how easy of prey she was. It got a throwing dagger between its eyes for its trouble, Kes having deftly transferred her daggers to one hand to do so. Another dagger went whistling through the air to peg another of the demons -- and then the next was too close for throwing daggers and she brought her daggers up to block its swipe, dropping one into her other hand to stab forward, black ichor spilling forth. Withdrawing it swiftly, she brought it in a ferocious slice upwards, cleaving clear through another reaching claw.
     
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  8. Gavin Blackfyre

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    "One day-" Gavin said as creature tested him and swatted at his blade with a clawed hand only to let out a screech as it's arm returned, minus it's hand which fell to the dirt path oozing blacken blood. "-we'll have a normal outing.. Things normal couples get to do.

    Though he tried to remain calm by way of comical banter, his mind was racing with what could possible be causing such a thing to take place. The thick acrid fog surely had something to do with the appearance of these creatures, that Gavin was sure of. He continued to this train of though, trying to piece together the puzzle at hand as he fended off another creature who replaced the one he defended from moments earlier. A quick glance to the others who appeared from the fog confirmed their steadily rising numbers and the fact no two looked alike. The monsters were the product of a nightmare come to life, horrific and demonic in appearance and it was then Gavin stumbled upon the idea of the origin.

    Another creature was maimed, his blade slashing across it's eyes to rob it of it's vision before he plunged his scimitar in the chest of another one and paused long enough to watch the light fade from it's eyes. Gavin was ever watchful as he knew every bit of information they could gather could save them. He watched as the creature he blinded stumbled back, widely wiping at it's face before rebounding a charging forward. Despite loosing it's eyes, it's attempt at trying to tackle him was surprisingly accurate as it honed in on the Captain. Smell or a good sense of hearing, which ever guided it allowed it find it's way to him once more. Gavin however moved quickly to the side and severed the creatures head from it's misshapen shoulders. The captain barely had time to recovery when his blades met the clawed hand of another creature who's strength was fearsome, causing him to stumble back.

    "We need to run." He quickly let out, realizing that the chittering screeches of the creatures were quickly multiplying and soon enough, they'd be fighting against more then they could handle. "There!" Gavin motioned to the sound of the river. Kes wouldn't like this plan at all, but what else could they do ?
     
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  9. Kestrel

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    Normal outing. Hah. It drew a soft, dry laugh from Kes, brief because it was punctuated by the clang of claws hitting her dagger, barely deflected away from grabbing hold of her upper arm; not for the first time she missed her leather breastplate, the armor piece currently in one of the bags in the back of the wagon, still bearing the giant hole from where she’d been shot with the arrow. She was certainly missing to the extra protection, especially when it came to ripping demon claws…

    She dropped in a crouch as a clawed hand went overhead; she would have dropped further back, kept letting them step into her, but she couldn’t, not without baring Gavin’s back to attack. So instead she surged forward, her dagger slicing out and through the demon’s neck, kicking the body back towards another demon who surged towards her, the creatures going down in a tumble of claws and screeching

    Breathing hard, the half-elf glanced towards the captain as he gestured towards the river, her amethyst eyes widening as the implications of what he was saying set in.

    “What? No!” she protested, slicing her daggers through the air and scoring one of the demon’s forearms to the bone. It bought her a small degree of room, but she wasn’t made for fighting large mobs of creatures, not in her fighting style, which was all quick killing blows and feints, and not with her daggers, weapons of a much more up close and personal combat style. More were crawling from out of the mists, both in the direction of the river and from other routes through the mists and the trees.

    “You know how I feel about deep water --” she began, heatedly, the idea of plunging into water that she couldn’t touch in redoubling her efforts as she dodged another lunge only to drive her dagger into the side of the creature’s neck, shoving it away from her. “Now double that for deep water with monsters in it!”

    But they were rapidly losing even the brief periods of rest, the mist getting thicker and darker around them… and Kes wasn’t sure what other options they had. She had just enough time to grab her bag from the wagon and sling it across her chest, adding Gavin’s to her shoulder, too, before backing towards him once again.

    “Set the wagon on fire,” she said, a bit impulsively, gripping her daggers a bit more desperately now. “That keg is rum!”

    The moment the fire reached the alcohol, it’d explode -- and give them perhaps the best chance of actually getting through the throng of demons around them to some chance of safety.

    “And then I swear you’d better not let me drown!”
     
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  10. Gavin Blackfyre

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    She didn't take nearly as much convincing as he thought she would and that just confirmed how dire there situation was if she agreed to his river plan. Battling along side Kes back towards the wagon, he set a frantic pace of dodging wild attacks from the creatures while striking out against them. They moved with a wicked feral-ness absent in normal animals he confronted in his life time. It was easy to see they were savage to a point where they wished to maim and kill and Gavin was not eager to sate their bloodlust.

    Sparing Kes enough time to fetch their bags, he carved a path towards the river, his scimitars whirling with deadly speed in accuracy cleaving anything within their path. He found himself short of breath as they pressed forward and wondered if it was the relentless waves of creatures they faced of the acrid air itself. Regardless, Gavin pushed on following the sound of the rushing water. By now it was a wild frenzy, the creatures climbing over the bodies of their fallen breathen and even pushing past each other in a bid to get at the pair.

    "Don't worry, you won't drown." He assured her as they race towards the river, Gavin taking the lead and then vanishing from sight moments later and leaving Kes behind as he slipped down and stumbled down the embankment. The thick fog prevented him from seeing and just like that, he was tumbling down to heavens only knew what await them below by the water.
     
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  11. Kestrel

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    As Gavin began to cleave a way through the demons towards the river, Kes tarried only long enough to grab the lantern that had been hanging next to where the driver had been and throw it into the bed of the wagon. The lantern fuel cascaded across the bed of the wooden structure, settling around the base of the keg that contained the rum. There, that would buy them a suitable distraction… if her plan worked even remotely close to what she was hoping.

    The half-elf hurried to catch up with her beloved, even as the flames began to lick at the barrel. The demons didn’t seem to notice, only clawing at her and Gavin, deflected left and right with her sharp dagger strikes.

    The bank came out of the mist faster than she would have expected, and she half-stumbled, half-slid down next to Gavin. There in front of her was the river, choppy and agitated, though by what she couldn’t see. The mist was so thick here she couldn’t even see the opposite bank, and for a good moment, Kes seriously considered taking her chances with the horde of angry demon-creatures. Instead of this roiling, foreboding river, and the knowledge that it was deep and fast and filled with monsters. She’d woken up from nightmares similar to that in a cold sweat, and now Gavin wanted to drag her in real life right into it.

    Before they could take the plunge, however, there was a sudden explosion from behind them -- a flare of light and heat that they could feel even through the mists as the keg finally ruptured. It scattered the fire-feeding alcohol across the ground and the remains of the wagon, drawing the attention of every one of the demons nearby…

    Kes seized the opportunity, half-pushing, half-pulling Gavin back into the shadow of the bridge that they were just about to go over with the wagon, pulling her power around them once more. The noise of the river was enough to drown out the sounds they were making and the wind eddied around them, muddying up their scent… hiding them, for now.

    A reprieve before plunging into the water… she didn’t know for how long before the demons sensed them again. She also couldn’t keep the invisibility up around them forever. But… she stepped a bit closer to him, her eyes sweeping to the water as another little shiver went through her. Maybe… maybe they just needed a moment to think of another plan. One that didn’t involve certain death.
     
  12. Gavin Blackfyre

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    The trip down was not as graceful as Gavin could have hoped for, the captain tumbling down before he righted himself and slid the remainder on his rear. His head was swimming, wondering if he had hit his head at some point before the distraction Kes had arranged rang out. The rum served it's purpose perfectly, lightly the area in a orange light which was followed instantly with a loud boom.

    Gavin scant had a moment to gather himself as Kes pulled at him and he found himself dragged along under the bridge. He looked around, looking the upturned earth and realized that the creatures sprung from this area at some point. Their safety was not guarantee here and more then ever he was convinced in his plan to use the river. Looking to her he could read the hesitation in her face and did the only thing he could at that moment. Despite using her magic to place a cloak around them, there was no escaping the situation that befell them with out doing what she seemed to fear most. His blades were sheath, pack hurried taken from her and tossed over his shoulder and he pulled her by the straps of her own pack and pressed his lips against her own. It was a deep passionate kiss that ended far to quickly, especially since he used the moment to steady himself and then sneakily take her in his arms to near toss her over his shoulder.

    "Now or never." He told her as he bounded for the water as the creatures curried rushed down the slope in search of them. The water was apologetically cold and thanks to the time of night, inky black in appearance. Not at all appealing. Splashing into the water, Gavin stumbled but remained standing as he waded in and once he was waist deep he allowed the current to take them. With no horse to ride away upon and no boat to sail, they were at the mercy of the quick moving river. Despite her feelings, he'd taken drowning to being torn apart any day.
     
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  13. Kestrel

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    Kes had to focus hard as Gavin moved, not doing the best of jobs keeping the invisibility up around them both -- it was so much harder when there was movement to account for -- but doing a pretty good job of it. It helped that she could hear the creatures moving just above and beyond them, drawn to the fire and hissing and screeching as they investigated the light and noise. Good motivation to flex magical muscles she didn’t even know she had with adrenaline pumping hard to fuel it.

    Then he pulled her forward and kissed her… and for a moment, the fear that sat like an ice cold rock in the pit of her stomach eased away, thawed by the heat of him and brushed aside by the trust she had in him. Somehow, at some point, she’d come to trust him more than perhaps she’d even realized.

    Certainly enough to let him pick her up and wade into an inky black, demon-packed river, which she was pretty sure was right out of her worst nightmares.

    “I hate this plan,” she protested, one last time, just in case this ended up with them dying horribly. Wrapping her arms around his neck and curling her hands into the straps of his pack, she glanced behind them to see several of the creatures just spotting them -- turning towards them in full preparation to pursue them. “They see us,” she began in a word of warning, but before she could continue she felt him lose traction, and then suddenly they were floating, plunged into the water so icy cold it rushed the breath right out of her and made pins jab at her exposed skin.

    The bank rushed by, red mist and black inky shadows, but Kes had barely any time to pay attention to it. All she could focus on was keeping her chin up above water as much as possible, grabbing breaths when she could, and not tightening her grasp on Gavin and choking him out or anything untoward like that. They weren’t alone in the waters, either, as evidenced by at some point something grabbed at her ankle, her immediate response to kick at it furiously. She was just about to think -- hey, this isn’t the worst thing ever -- when something must have grabbed on to Gavin or his bag, dragging them deep under water.

    Inky blackness covered her head, her grasp on Gavin failing as the currents tumbled them apart -- and suddenly she was without him, alone in the water, and terrified.

    Abruptly, blessedly, her boots hit gravel and she pushed herself up and onto the bank, scrabbling up onto safety, gasping at air. Coughing up a bit of water she’d inhaled, she ran her hand back over her hair to slick it out of her face, casting about around herself.

    “Gavin? Gavin!” she called.

    She didn’t even recognize this forest as where they’d been. Instead of tall leafy green trees overhead, the trees were tall and spindly and brown, grasping branches looking more like knobby fingers. The ground squelched underneath her boots, the whole sky obscured with a ruddy brown cast. And in the woods, the sound of creatures she didn’t recognize, sounds that shivered down her spine. They were, at least, alone on the bank, not in the middle of the throng of creatures as they had been before.

    “Gavin!” she called, one of her daggers finding its way into her hand again as she searched for her captain.
     
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