ExhaustedMature

The group keep fleeing for the rest of the day, not stopping even once for fear of losing what little distance advantage they have. Through the trees they go, sometimes jogging, sometimes walking - but never slower than a rapid stride. Even though the sun can't reach them, the heat under the trees wears on them. Sometimes Dane and the forerunners come into view, too tired to stay too far ahead. Nobody makes a sound, they just keep going, grim faced and determined, no matter how exhausted they become. Eternal remains unconscious for the entire day, only her deep regular breathing and the soft thumping of her heartbeat tells Falcon she's still alive. However, the strain soon begins to tell and, eventually, they are forced to stop. They find a sheltered glade at the foot of a high cliff face, tall trees growing above them like green-leaved sentinels.

Almost as soon as they reach the place, the group stop and relax. Most crawl off to corners to find a place to rest, others stand, hands on knees, gasping and sweating. They've run themselves into the ground, even if they tried not one of them could take another step without collapsing. Falcon lays Eternal down in an open space, sitting beside her, back agains the rockface. Dane flops inelegantly beside him, sweat-streaked and slightly red-faced.

"Think it's safe," he gasps, "Nothing here... as far as we can see... ought to do for now... posted watch... gods my legs hurt."

"You've done well," Falcon says, smiling at Dane. Dane returns the grin, if weakly. He looks at Eternal:

"When ... d'you reckon she'll... wake up?"

"I don't know, soon I hope." replies Falcon, brushing a strand of ebony hair out of Eternal's sleeping face.

Come on Eternal, he thinks, wake up. We need you now. Wake up.

The End

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