Morning came around slowly on what Jonrah thought was the seventh day since his adventure had begun. He had lost track of time, and the fact sunk in that it had been a week since his son was taken from him. A week was a long time to keep Jodar alive, if that was the case...
The sun was only just rising, but shed no light on the cold surroundings. It was still as dark as the night outside, and Jonrah had to take a moment for his eyes to adjust before he realised that Ellnar was awake.
Breathing slowly in and out, Ellnar kept her eyes fixed dead ahead, as if she could see something that Jonrah couldn't. She did not look afraid, but more curious.
Jonrah let it go, and checked on the boy. He ducked his head under Ellnar's chest, his eyes searching the darkness for the small pit the boy would be asleep in. There was the hole. There was no boy within.
Jonrah cursed violently as he realised he had been tricked. Ellnar flinched at the disgusting insults being spewed from her master's mouth. Although the boy could not have gotten very far very quickly, he could have had a dramatic headstart. It had been about twelve hours since they had arrived. That's twelve hours that the boy could have used to elude Jonrah. To inform The Eden of his whereabouts, of his plan.
He had to leave now. He had to beat the boy to the next camp.
The snow weighed both of them down. Jonrah and Ellnar marched on through the remnants of the previous night's blizzard, making slow progress, but no slower than that damn cripple boy could have been making. He would have had to walk in the snow, not just through it. He couldn't be that far ahead.
It wasn't until light found the snow that Jonrah realised just how endangered they were. Shadows in the distance approached through the mist, two figures and what looked like a horse, trudging through the snow. Jonrah found a small crack in between the mountain and slipped in with Ellnar.
He watched as the two men walked past, unaware of his presence. The dark mist that had descended over the mountains made it impossible to make out the faces of these men, but the red robes idenitified them as was necessary.
Jonrah waited until they were out of range and emerged from the small crack. He looked for them in the snow, but could see nothing. He walked on with Ellnar, painfully aware that people were now looking for him; he would not be able to hide now.
Shouts could be heard in the distance, and Jonrah knew that a basecamp was near. The Eden would be watching the area, looking for him, and it would prove almost impossible to get past without being detected.
As Jonrah edged cautiously closer, he made out the silhouette of the camp. Several small huts built on a level area of about a hundred square metres. Light from torches illuminated the sky above, and the shouts grew louder. Jonrah could make out the words of men and women, the clang of metal as people trained against one another in combat.
The camp must have held at least fifty people; fifty people who all knew of Jonrah's existence, and would all be keeping an eye out for him.