Chapter 4

       It became almost completely dark and the forest beyond seemed empty with darkness. We came upon some tall bushes that blocked my view, but I allowed Spirit to take the jump anyways. She flew over the obstacle as if she were born with wings. A rare smile spread across my face as I braced for landing. I enjoyed the moment until I discovered seconds later where we had landed. Thirty natives surround my horse blocking every escape. We had landed in their camp and they probably heard us coming and got prepared. The natives were decadent and had body paint which hid their true shape, and distorted their body's proportions.
      I swung down from Spirit and attempted to make peace with the chief. The figures started to move in on me and close the gaps between the crowd and I. The shapes moved and twisted until it all became a cold nothingness that spread to my fingertips. I dreamed of days with adventure and knights in shining armor, until I awoke in some kind of a hutt.
      I heard voices ouside the hutt and the leader of the village entered to speak with me. I could not understand a word that he spoke, but I could tell it was not pleasant by the expressions his face made. The other figure nodded several times in agreement. He left within a few minutes and I felt as if my future had been chosen without my having any control over it. She elaborately bound my hands and I was dragged out of the hutt and put on display for all the villagers. Their horrified looks stared back at me as I squirmed to my feet.
     The large campfire showed that what had seemed earlier to be 30 natives was more like sixty. I discovered how helpless I really was and hoped that some how I would be able to escape. For a few meaningless moments the chief addressed the people in this unknown language and then the gaurd led me out into the woods. The light filtered across the forest sky, and radiant beams of light poured across portions of the forest floor. It seemed an eternity before we stopped and my only companion through this perilous journey was my thoughts.
      We finally stopped and she tied me hand and foot to a thick tree. My back lay against the cool bark, and I felt the sap drain down my back from where I'd bruised the tree with my head. I was truely ashamed of my predicament. The gaurd stood by me praying on her hands and knees. The only thing I could see of her was her big blue eyes that brought life to anything they touched. She had long thick black straight hair that cascaded down her back in perfect form. My blond curls on the other hand never had form, and my brown eyes were not brilliant instead they held warmth.
         The gaurd heard a branch crack in the distance somewhere. She looked back at me to make sure I was securely tied to the tree before she left to investigate, and then she dissappeared into the dense trees until she was out of sight. I struggled with the knots on my hands. If only I could just get my hands on Crux! But I knew that was impossible.
         A person started to approache me from another direction and he signaled me to stay quiet. He had dark brown hair that seemed almost black and soft blue eyes that glistened in the morning light. The curls fell wildly around my face as I struggled to be broken free. Once he untied all the knots he grabbed me by the arm and pulled me into the bushes. I wiped the hair off my face and tilted my head toward the sky. Partly because he was a head taller than me. My body trembled with shock and he put a reasuring hand on my arm to steady me. I had not eaten in so long I thought. For a few brief moments we stood in silence, just staring at each other. He had had perfect timing and if the gaurd had returned before he had come upon me I would not have gotten away. No, surely I would of gotten away. I did not need anyone's help.
         "Are you alright?" He asked kindly. "My name is Darian. You looked pretty helpless tied to that tree."
        "I don't need anyone's help. I was about to escape anyways, you just made it quicker! Had you not come I would of eventually found a way to escape." I responded curtly.
        "Your welcome! What is you name my lady? May I at least know whom the ungrateful woman I've saved is?" Darian said grinning sarcastically.
        "My name is Akantho." I responded with even more air than before. He was rude, and I was merely implying that I was not a helpless female. I could wield a sword and I'm sure that gave me more credit than any other common helpless woman. I had always said I was not the damsel in distress type. I starte to pull myself away from his grip when he said in a concerned voice.
       "A girl can get lost out there."
       "I can make it just fine on my own." I said indignantly.
       "Well I can tell by the looks of things at how well you do on your own." He said with a smirk. I knew he was mocking me and my situation amused him. But I couldn't find the words to tell him what an ungrateful beast he was. It wasen't in my heart to destroy a person so I didn't say what I thought of him. Although he was mocking me I sensed genuine concern. But before we could bicker any more, the gaurd returned. Darian pulled his sword from its sheath and swung at the native. With one more move he stabbed her and she turned to dust. It was common language that natives turned to dust when stabbed.
       "You are very courageous." I said solomnly. Darian looked back at me with a daunting expression on his face, that made me wonder what he thought. I had never known anyone so bold as to jump out of the bushes and attack a native just to protect a complete stranger. Darian approached me, his eyes were filled with questions. In the background a loud sound filtrated the air with fear.
       "We must go." He said looking in the direction of the noise. I had no choice as to what was going to happen to me because he had a firm grip on my arm as we ran through the forest. I ran relentlessly until I knew my elgs would carry me no more and when my legs gave out I passed out on the cool underbrush of the forest floor. I felt gentle arms lift the wieght of my body and then everything went black.
        When I awoke I discovered myself lying on the ground. My vision came back within a few moments and I saw Darian sittin gby my side on a log poking at the fire. I started to sit up when his voice addressed me.
        "Give yourself a moment to regain your composure. You need food and water. I went to get some while you were asleep." He stared fixedly into the flames.
        "I'm fine, I'll .... I'll be fine." I stammered shocked that he would even hint to a weakness in me. He studied my face in the light of the fire.
        "I rubbed healing solution on the bruise on your cheek. I hope you don't mind." He spoke.
        "I hope you weren't worried about me because really your concern is unnecessary!" I held myself back from saying what I wanted to.
        "I assure you I was not worried in the least. The curt manner in which you spoke earlier assured me that you would be back in spirits in no time at all." I could tell he was holding back to. There was somthing about him that made me want to remind him I was not inept. I smelled the smoke as it billowed toward the sky. Day had turned to night and the darkness filled the air. The dark plague enshrouded my thoughts, and I fell asleep beside him just pleased not to be alone.
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