TotTSM – Part 12
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Silence was the dominant state between Phena and Voren as they walked at a steady, yet brisk pace through the woods heading in the vague direction of a river. Phena had never been so tired in her whole life, but she wasn’t going to let Voren think she was weak or couldn’t hold her own. Yet with every step she wished she could lay down and sleep. With each step she wondered if she could take another. Something in the back of her mind to keep walking, keep going because the guards and palace soldiers could be on their tail or have released the dogs to do the hard work first. But even with that fear pumping adrenaline into her body, it wouldn’t be enough to keep her going for ever.
Phena was a proud woman. Voren could tell that from a mile away. She didn’t want to take help from anyone or anything because it was a sign of weakness for her. He admired her tenacity, but there was a time when pride needed to be set aside so that common sense could take over. If the goddesses or whomever thought she was so bloody special, then they ought to have built some into Phena from the get go. He loved how strong she was, but Voren couldn’t help but wonder who his new traveling companion really was. Why had Ori seemed so keen on her when he brought her there? Why was half the kingdom up in arms over her? There had to be a reason..
Casting his eyes over to her, it was evident that Phena was tired. He was too. Since their emergence from the tunnel they hadn’t stopped moving, and that was at least an hour ago, again, just judging by the angle of the big moon over head. If the dogs were going to be set on them, he would’ve thought they’d heard them by now. But other than their foot steps trudging through the under brush and such, there was nothing.. So it stood to reason they were at least safe enough to find a place and rest. Of course Phena would never suggest it, he noted with a slight roll of his eyes. Why were some persons so stubborn all the time?
Just when he was about to open his mouth and suggest they finally in fact rest, Phena stopped dead in her tracks and sank to her knees with a muffled sob.
“Please… Voren.. I can’t move another inch. I’m begging you. We need to rest. I need to rest.. It feels like we haven’t stopped moving since we fled from Ori’s room..”
“Alright… I think we’ve earned a rest.” Voren chuckled softly. Feeling really bad for Phena all the sudden. Perhaps he was wrong to think so harshly of her.. Yes she was stubborn and steadfast but she was kind and intelligent.. Nevertheless, Voren pushed those thoughts to the side as he glanced around for a moment. There was a massive fallen log underneath a lot of dead foliage and under brush. Providing there wasn’t already an animal inhabitant, they might be able to make use of it.. Quarters would be a bit cramped though..
Phena followed Vorens gaze and also settled on the log. It definitely wasn’t what she had in mind for some place to sleep.. Yet she could see why Voren would be studying it with interest. Apart from climbing a tree and settling in some precarious nook, she really didn’t see anywhere else to make a semi decent sleeping area. Something out of the way, hidden..
“I know… it might not be your favorite place, Lady Phena but..” Voren began.
“First thing, I’m not a lady. Just Phena is fine. And second.. I’m not keen on it, but well.. it’ll have to do.. A couple hours sleep and rest is better than none at all. I think we should use it.” referring to the hollow log, of course.
Smiling again, Voren nodded.
“Good. With any luck we wont be disturbing anyone.” he joked as he crouched down to look inside. “Seems clear enough. I see no glowing set of eyes staring back at me so…”
“I wish I could say I was thrilled.” Phena frowned. Unable to keep from cringing as she set their things down and crawled inside the log, which was hard bigger than the tunnel they spent most of the night frantically crawling through, but at least this was somewhat open to fresh air flow, but not exposing them to elements. She supposed dealing with the thought of a few bugs crawling around was better than the alternative.
Voren waited patiently as Phena slid into the log and made herself as comfortable as was possible before he too ducked down and slid in right beside her. Of course it was cramped and smelled dank, but it was at least out of the weather and somewhat hidden. Least Phena tried to remind herself.
“Sorry…” Voren murmured, squirming around a tad. He didn’t want to be pressed up against Phena like this any more than she wanted to be trapped in such a confined space with him again, no doubt. Making use of the limited space, Voren turned away from Phena and crossed his arms over his chest while Phena herself remained on her back, arms also crossed over her chest.
“Don’t be sorry.. It happens. Erm…. thanks for today… For not leaving and all that.. You’re… sweet, Voren.. Thank you..”
“Any time.” Voren murmured, a tiny smile flickering onto his face as he closed his eyes and tried to sleep.
Phena tried to do the same, but sleep didn’t come to her as quickly as it evidently did to Voren. She lay in that dark, damp, creepy hollow log, staring up into the darkness while being exceedingly grateful FOR that darkness as she couldn’t see what was crawling around it. As tired as she was, it took some time for Phena’s brain to calm down and fade into that blissful unconsciousness she so longed for since this whole ordeal began..
The last thing she recalled just before sleep claimed her, was her head slumping against Vorens back, and noting how pleasant he smelled, even now..
The next thing Phena knew, there was a sudden bright light in her face, causing her to jolt awake quickly. The fear she was going to thump her head against the inside o f the log was quickly forgotten by a sudden realization: The light in her face was not from someones torch. It wasn’t from light reflecting off of something, like say, a sword, and into her face. No, when her eyes snapped open Phena found, to her horror, that she was no longer in the log with Voren, she was sleeping on the bank of a river..
Her mouth opened to scream, to cry to say something, but words, emotions, everything choked her throat and she could only look around her in disbelief. Not again. Why would the goddesses bring her to a person like Voren, only to pluck her away and deposit her somewhere else again?! Scrambling to her feet, Phena raked her fingers through her hair and muffled a sob in her hands soon after. Where was Voren— more importantly, where was SHE?!
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