After a full morning of negotiating our way through the mountains led by Zahkon we stopped for lunch in a clearing in the middle of the mountains, lit by a single beam of sunlight which shimmered across a shallow stream.
“We’ll stop here for lunch” Destran said, leading his horse over to the stream to allow it to drink from it, Yara did likewise then she took off her riding boots and dipped her sore feet into the water and watched as they became at one with the water. Yara gave a sigh of relief as the water relieved her sores and when they reemerged from the water feet shaped once more, they were not red at all but skin coloured.
I reengaged Zahkon in conversation once more, continuing our conversation from earlier that morning whilst we had been travelling.
“What do you think?” I asked Zahkon and looking intently back at him.
“I’m not sure” he replied, which made me goggle at him with confused expression etched on my face.
“You haven’t been listening to me have you?” I asked him, my eyes darkening … I had felt hurt that he had allowed me to talk about my life and yet hadn’t even had the decency to listen and take any real interest.
“Sorry, but no, I haven’t. I was just enjoying listening to your voice I couldn’t even concentrate on your words.” He replied sheepishly and my eyes lost their darkness instantly.
“Oh” was all I could manage to say before feeling awkward and getting up and heading towards where Yara and Destran were sitting, deep in conversation.
I hadn’t gone more than a dozen steps however when I stopped dead in my tracks and wheeled around, something had growled from in the bushes, something big and who had big fierce red eyes which were staring straight at me.
Yara and Destran had got to their feet at the sound of the noise too and hurried to my side just as the creature, whatever it was slid out of the bushes so we could see what it was. It had sharp teeth protruding like daggers out of its mouth. It had horned heads which were lowered, as if ready to charge and those red eyes and the dribble hanging out of its mouth could only mean one thing …. It was readying itself for a kill.
“RUN” Zahkon shouted, before launching himself upwards and hanging from a tree branch out of the way. Destran grabbed Yara’s hand and began to run grabbing their horse’s reins as they passed and pulling them into a reluctant trot.
I made to run but instead my feet tripped over a protruding tree root and I fell, hitting my head on the rocky ground. Something sharp clasped my leg and began to gnaw painfully at it before beginning to pull me by my leg into the bushes.
Branches above me shifted and I squinted upwards to find that Zahkon had moved branches out of the way allowing sunlight to stream into our clearing. The creature clasping my leg let go and scampered away into the undergrowth and out of sight.
Zahkon dropped down from the treetops and was kneeling by my side, silvery blood was seeping from my head where I had hit it and the leg which the creature had been gnawing at.
I smiled weakly at him, feeling slightly lightheaded, “You saved me” I said.
Yara and Destran had now reached me and were kneeling next to me as well.
“What was that thing?” Yara asked.
“That was a Vinger, nasty little buggers, will eat anything but hate sunlight” Zahkon said, “I am used to them back in the forest.”
I was feeling more and more lightheaded now and could feel my consciousness slipping away, my hearing was becoming muffled and my vision blurred and unfocussed. Yara must have spotted this too because the last thing I heard Yara say before my vision and hearing went completely was;
“Submerge Lyra in the stream, the water will cure her.”