Day Two

She scooped water up with her cupped hands and drank eagerly the water was crisp and started to ease the fire within her throat.  after she felt bloated with water she scrambled up the end of the river and rested. since she had fallen in the river she was no soaked and getting cold. it would be dark soon too she thought. No shelter or warmth or food. she wondered how long she could survive out here before she succumb to the forest. She hiccuped and the tears that sat waiting in her eyes fell. she felt herself sob as she realised she would never again see her home town, her mother, Avalyn or her friends. she clutched at her legs holding herself in a ball and wept. once her tears stopped and she stared at the bark of a tree she chastised herself. If there was even the slightest chance of seeing her family, she would have to get up now and continue. She would do all it took to get back home. She picked herself up and wiped her face with the sleeve of her dress. Then placing one foot in front of the other she walked upstream. She found a small clearing and worked quickly to gather some sticks and dry pieces of plants to make a fire. Marantha worked quickly she had stopped shivering during the walk and she knew if she stopped she would feel the cold again. She had to kept moving. Getting the fire started was harder than she expected with only one person. She and Mara had made fires together many times when playing just outside of the town the memory of her threatened to bring back the tears but Mara persevered and felt a moment of joy when she saw the sparks catch on the plant matter and a small flame licked the pile of sticks. Mara ran around the clearing gathering more and more wood for her fire. She ran excitedly and piled the wood onto the fire and soon it was big enough for her to sit back and admire it. She lent against a tree and sighed. she noticed how hungry she suddenly was. She hadn't eaten since the night before. But there was no food around and she didn't know how to catch an animal. She sighed and resigned herself to a very hungry night. Marantha looked around and started to remove her once blue dress. It now had so many tears in it and was stained all over. she hung her dress over a tree near the fire and hoped that it would dry somewhat. with another quick glance around the trees which she thought was a bit silly she was totally alone out here. No one came out to the forest. She laughed and removed her under clothes and skipped and ran to the stream. she jumped straight it and tried to scrub the filth from her body and clothes. The water was cold and didn't invite her to stay long so she quickly hopped out and decided that she must be clean enough.
She gathered up her underwear and walked back shivering to her fire. she was grateful for the warmth as it help dry her body. Her dress was feeling a lot less damp. She tore at the edges of her dress. it was hard to walk in something so long anyway. She kept the torn off fabric and put her dress back on over her wet clothes. and she curled up beside the fire yawning. The sky had gotten dark quickly and Mara drifted off to a restless sleep.
she dreamed of the bandits attacking her home and dragging her out kicking and screaming. then she passed her families bodies laying in the dirt and she screaming thrashing out at her captors. Everything went black and
her hand connected and there was a grunt and a laugh from someone nearby 'you think it's so funny then you take her Curif' some laughter 'only you would have trouble with a sleeping child Kurome' a snort and Mara felt herself being shifted. She was hanging over someones shoulder. And she wasn't dreaming anymore. She screamed as loud as she could. the person who was holding her, Kurome she presumed, swore and shifted Mara taking her off his shoulder and placing her on the ground, but held on tightly to her so she could run. SHe felt him shift in the darkness and thought he must be crouching at about her face height now, looking at her. 'Don't be frightened kid. I'm Kurome and this is Curif.' one hand was removed from a shoulder briefly then clamped back on 'while we were on the way to our home, we found your path crashing through the forest. Then found you by a dead fire shivering. You can't survive out here alone so we're taking you somewhere safe.'
a voice came from so close she jumped at the sound 'were you a part of a caravan group that got attacked?' Maranthas voice caught and she just nodded 'wow you came a long way kid' said Kurome sounding a little impressed
'i.. i can't see' Mara finally stammered.
'we know' Kurome replied softly 'i'm sorry we gave you something to drink while you were sleeping. Just to be safe.' he paused ' not many of your people come this way on peaceful terms. Your vision should return shortly. It's night time anyway so there isn't much to see but shadows'
'and you should consider yourself lucky you don't have to stare at Kurome's face' Curif erupted into laughter at his own joke. a loud whack and an 'ouch' followed. Mara felt a smile creep onto her face
'come one kid, we'll take you home'
Kurome lifted her up onto her shoulder and Mara relaxed a little. These men might have saved her from certain death.
'you're a lot easier to carry when you aren't kicking and screaming'
At some point Mara fell asleep. The forest was quiet except for a few twitters of night birds and the rustle of leaves. She could barely hear the the footsteps of her rescuers and the gentle gait of kurome was soothing. When she awoke the first light of dawn was starting to peak through the trees above. And Mara saw her rescuers for the first time.
They had covered her with a cloak and left her to sleep in a mossy clearing. Both men lay close by wrapped up in traveling blankets. They seemed to be quite long and lean their faces more angular and square. Marantha watched them sleep for a moment until one man started snoring and the other jerked awake. He blinked at Mara, confused for a second then smiled. 'have a good sleep kiddo?'

The End

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