Trials of Seperation – Da’loach Pt.5

Upon reaching the scene of their struggle I noticed a bloody streak painted in the dirt leading towards the woods, and I could just scarcely see the body of the kopru slithering away into the shadows. I forced a ball of arcane ice to form into my hand and I threw it towards the kopru, but it shattered against the beam of a hut and erupted into a cloud of icy gas which swirled around the wooden pillar.

I whispered a curse and started running after it as it slipped amongst the underbrush of the ridiculously large jungle. I ran headlong into the brush, searching for any sign the kopru left in its retreat. I noticed erratic swishes where there was dirt showing, and I could see the spatters of blood upon leaves and fallen branches reflecting off of the silver light emanating from the moon.

I turned around to get a bearing on my locale and I saw several torches following me from behind. Good, my crew is on the hunt as well. I thought to myself.

I reached into my bag and pulled out a sunrod and illuminated my area. The bright light of the sunrod illuminated outwards and revealed to me that the tracks had abruptly ended. My first instinct was that the kopru might have scaled a tree to elude us, but the nearest tree seemed clean of blood or marks. I spun around in circles, looking for any sign it might have left, but to no avail. I turned back, retracing the steps in hope of finding something I had missed in my hasty pursuit.
I bumped into one of the hunters, who was in fact following my own tracks, “Euh’wa?” he asked in his language, and I shrugged my shoulders in response.

“War’dee goh?” he asked again in broken common.
“Guess he got away!” I said in frustration.
“Wha?!” he said in shock.

I walked back with this other set of eyes, keenly making sure the tracks weren’t a decoy set, but once more I came abruptly to the end. Odd.
The rest of my party collected where me and the hunter were standing. I could hear one of the remaining hunters with Jariah giving of what seemed like an animal call, “Ort-ort-ort-ort!”
No idea why.

“What’s going on?” asked Jariah as she approached, and the hunter ceased his calls.
I didn’t respond right away.
“C’mon man.” said Jariah.

I looked up and closed my eyes, attempting to hone my senses to any adverse arcane effects lingering in the area. I caught the feeling of some dim arcane activity, eerily similar to the Obsidian Eagle statue I carry, one of the Beast Triad.
I opened my eyes and saw the group standing before me, waiting for me to do something.

“Where’s Tristam?” I asked as I realized he wasn’t with the group.
“He’s back at the fuckin’ battlefield.” snapped Jariah.

I pushed past her and started pacing back towards the village. When I got there I saw Tristam sitting on a crude deck of one of the huts bandaging his wounds.
“Damn it-” Tristam hissed as he wrapped himself. He noticed me approaching, “Did you guys get him?” he said in a hoarse voice, as he rubbed his neck tenderly.

“No. We couldn’t find him.” I said in quiet shame.
“Fuck!” he snapped.
“I thought you killed him.” I said plaintively.
“No way! I almost got killed.” he responded, still in his scratchy voice. He looked around the devastated village, “Well we did take care of all those mind-controlled savages.” he said.
“Well we didn’t kill what we came here for. So that was kind of a waste. So let’s take a short rest.” I said. In truth, I was thwarted.

Jariah and her few hunters emerged from the bushes shortly and I told them to rest before we departed. I sat there for more than an hour with Tristam as we watched the six remaining hunters gather their companion’s bodies and pile them in a mound of carcasses. Jariah stood close by and watched them with teary eyes. The hunters wouldn’t touch the bodies of the villagers, fearing that they would succumb to the effects of the mind-control. When all the slain hunters were piled they made a thick ring of sticks around the base of the bodies and Jariah set it ablaze with her arcane fire. We watched somberly as the flames took hold. We didn’t wait for the bodies to fully burn, we left before that, heading back to our campsite, in dismal morale, leaving our small genocide behind.

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On the trip back I could hear Jariah and one of the remaining hunters talking in heated exchange, in their ‘Dread’ language. Jariah got my attention so she could relay the conversation. I turned around and waited lethargically.

“Well they did take over like three villages. And there is one uncalled for- un- unsomething- unclaimed kopru out and about, so there is probably two more. And who knows how many babies!” she said that last part with disgust.
“Let’s not talk about that right now. Let’s start with those other kopru then.” I said, trying to hide my shame.

We decided to move on to the next village the next night, rest was optimal at this point, dawn would be soon upon us, and it had been a very long night. We reached the campsite just as the lights of dawn began to creep up from the horizon. I clambered to my tent and rolled up in my bedroll. Before I closed my eyes to rest I looked up to the sky, questioning my reasons for being here, and then I thought if any of my brothers-in-arms were suffering the same toils. My eyelids blocked out the engrossing light and I drifted to sleep.

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I was awoken several hours later by Jariah’s soft shaking hand. She snapped her voice at me to wake up, and I sat up and lurched out of my bedroll. The sun had passed its pinnacle and was slowly drifting towards its inevitable decent towards the opposite horizon. The hunters were slowly packing their things. It was strange to see several empty tents standing like testaments to those that didn’t make it back. I left my tent up, partly because it was brought for me by one of the slain hunters and partly because I felt it was right to leave it amongst these others in case we didn’t make it back. I did, however, roll up my bedroll and take my traveling gear.

Our party consisted of nine:
• 6 Hunters
• Jariah
• Tristam
• Myself

Only nine out of the closer of twenty that had originally joined us. We departed towards the next village, mixed emotions were written in obvious ways upon our faces. It was nearly sundown when we reached our destination.
The sight stirred my inner intrigue. This village was unlike the rest I had visited on this Island. It was larger for one, hundreds of huts arranged in a semi-circle. Secondly, it had a great stone wall rising well above any of the huts that encircled a great stone building. It appeared to my eye to be some sort of ancient temple complex. My prediction was asserted by the fact that the sun slowly crept behind the complex in a direct path down its center. Even in the darkness I could see the vast structure looming overhead, shrouded in shadows.

We crept towards the village as quietly as we could.

As we got closer I could see the familiar sight of villagers mindlessly trudging the edges of the village’s border. Torches were lit in intervals along the borders of the huts, illuminating most of the village. I peered about in hopes of catching sight of some kopru, but all I saw was the mind-controlled villagers. My guess was that if there was any kopru, they would be within that temple structure. Not only that, but the fact that there was mind-controlled villagers was a dead give-away that there had to be a kopru here.
I looked around some more, checking if there was any breaks in the network of patrolling villagers, but all I saw was an endless stream of mind-controlled folk.

“Man, I don’t want to kill any more innocent zombie people.” I said with unease.
“They aren’t zombies,” said Tristam as he turned to look at me, “They are mind-controlled.” he said furrowing his eyebrows.
“I know, but they are walking like zombies.” I said, pointing to them walking aimlessly.
“But they aren’t zombies.” Tristam asserted.
“Is there any way to sneak past them in any way?” I asked, hoping Tristam could see something I couldn’t.
“It’s going to be a combination of stealth and athletics.” he said, surmising the situation.
“Aw, that’s not going to work,” I said in dismay, “I kind of want to just head back to the kopru lair.” I said, half-jokingly.
“Well, gotta decide.” Tristam said, still looking at the continuously trudging villagers.
“Mmmmm-umm. I want to kill all zombies.” I said in jest.
“What?” said Tristam as he looked at me with a questioning look.
“That is a long way back to the kopru lair.” I pointed out.
“It is,” he said, turning back to peer at the village, “It’s across that desert.”
“Aright I’m going to try and sneak in there.” I stated suddenly as I saw a small break in the patrol.

In that brief moment I made my move. I scurried out of the cover of the brush. I diminished one of the torches within my path with magic, making my attempts at sneaking past their notice easier. I barrel-rolled through the break in the line and crept through the shadows, heading behind a nearby hut. I could tell that the alleys between huts seemed relatively void of meandering villagers. I could see that the walls of the temple were within a stone’s throw. I looked back and could see the dim silhouettes of my companions hiding in the bushes. I signaled for them to follow.

A lone hunter slowly stepped out of the bushes, looked back and forth and then darted across the line of trudging villagers. One of them took notice of the hunter and immediately began walking towards him with arms outstretched.

“Noo!” shouted the hunter in panic. The hunter halted and hoisted up his spear and stabbed towards the villager. The spear drove into the gut of the villager, but the villager just kept walking forwards, forcing the spear deeper into his gut. The spear bursted out of the back of the villager and then the mind-controlled elfman reached out to the hunter, grabbing onto his shoulder.

“No!” screeched the hunter.

“Eugh!” grunted the villager in response, and pulled the hunter closer and then bit a chunk out of his neck. The hunter gurgled a mouthful of blood and other villagers walked over and began to pull the dead hunter to bloody pieces. I stood paralyzed, watching this all transpire in stupefied horror.

“Euhh!” I muttered in my shock.

I looked up and I saw Tristam, taking advantage of the commotion, dart past the feasting villagers. He ran up next to me and slapped me out of my horrified daze.

“What are we doing?! You didn’t tell us anything!” he spat at me in hushed anger.
“I don’t know man. I’m just looking for some kopru.” I said in a whisper.

He shook his head and walked off towards the walls. I took one last glance at the gory scene. Some of the villagers had returned to their endless trudge, blood dripping from their mouths and hands.

I turned and hurried after Tristam.

The lights of the many torches on the perimeter of the village casted dim illumination between the alleys, enough for us to see our way along the wall. We spotted a small gateway a short distance away. We made for it and slipped through the doors within the archway unnoticed. The shielding wall blocked all the light of the torches and made our surroundings pitch black.

“I can’t see shit.” whispered Tristam.
“Neither can I.” I replied. I couldn’t hear anything outside within the walls.
“Oh, what are we going to do?” he asked me.

The silence was eerie. I could scarcely make out the temple structure sitting still before us some thirty feet away. The immense shadow that was cast by the structure made the darkness feel even more empty.

I made my way towards the structure, walking blind in the dark. I heard the crunch and snap of several twigs as I walked forward.

“Fuck!” I said quietly.
I felt the presence of something step up close to me, “Shut the fuck up!” said Tristam’s whispered voice.

I felt the next step with the tip of my foot, judging that the path was clear of debris I set the weight of my foot down. No sound. Safe. I repeated the method until I was within a few feet of the structure.

I carefully chose my steps and successfully reached the walls of the structure. I put my back against those cold stones, the chill evident through the cloth covering my body.
I slid across the edge of the wall, stepping lightly. Suddenly I felt the smooth walls change. By change I mean that I had slid across the frame of a wooden door.

My hands fumbled around for the handle. My fingers stopped against a cold, hard object protruding from the one of wooden beams of the door. I pressed down on the object and I felt the door swing open slightly. I pushed the door closed and quietly let the latch set back in place. I attempted to look around to locate Tristam’s whereabouts, but the heavy darkness did not permit it. I moved my hands across the frame of the door, attempting to uncover any hidden mechanisms. I didn’t locate anything, which was a safe enough assumption to continue further.

I grabbed hold of the handle once more, pushed it down, and slowly pulled the door outwards.

Eeeeeetttttttttzzzz creaked the door as I slowly swung it towards me.

“What the hell?” snapped Tristam’s whispered voice.
“What?!” I snapped back, too loudly.
“What are you doing?” Tristam asked, still using his hushed voice.
“I don’t know man, I’m going in here.” I stated.
I felt the door shift as he grabbed hold of it and peeked his head inside the interior.
“I can’t see shit.” he said.
“What do you want to do man?” I asked in a whispered voice.
“I thought you had a plan.” he said jabbing a finger at my chest.
“Let’s just go in sneaky, sneaky.” I suggested.

I felt a hand grab hold of my vest, but I still couldn’t see anything in the darkness. I reached into my pocket and located a loose coin of copper. I squeezed it between my fore and middle finger and flicked it down the hallway. In midair I illuminated the coin with arcane light.

My breath caught in my throat as the light illuminated the interior of the structure. Inside was a narrow hallway, and standing along the edge of the walls was two rows of mind-controlled villagers, one row on each side.
Dink-dink-dink sounded the coin as it hit the ground and bounced a couple more feet, revealing the stretching line of bodies within the hallway.

“I’m scared.” said Tristam in a quiet voice, then he shook his head, “Hell naw.”

Luckily the light of the coin and Tristam’s disdainful remarks didn’t cause the villagers to react. I hesitatingly turned and reached into my bag, reaching for my sunrod. I grabbed hold of it and activated it, casting bright light within the hallway.

The light illuminated for about fifty feet and all it showed was more villagers, standing erect against the walls, facing one another with blank stares.

“Oh fuck!” snapped Tristam, covering his face as the bright light erupted into his eyes.
I saw a stick lying on the ground and reached for it. With stick in hand I prodded the closest villager in the face with the stick. Not even a blink.
“I don’t know Tristam, what do you think man?” I said, pointing my stick at the villager.
“I think we should go get some more people.” he responded.
“What are we going to do with these people though?” I asked in rebuttal.
“I don’t know,” he said shaking his head, “What the hell are we doing here? I forgot our quest.” he said, quickly shrugging his shoulders.
“I thought there would be some kopru here.” I said in a disquieted sigh.
“Shit.” he said, looking at the ground.
“Alright man, let’s go back.” I said, lethargically dropping my sunrod to my side.

I turned my back to the hallway, and suddenly I felt a hand land on my shoulder. I looked up and my heart sunk into my stomach as I saw that Tristam was still standing beside me, with his hands at his side.

I instantly reached for my dagger, pulling it from its scabbard at my waist. I turned around and stabbed forwards, plunging the dagger into the elfman’s chest.
“RAAAAHHHH!” screamed the elfman in a strange reverberating voice.
In reaction to the scream, the rest of the occupants standing along the hallway began snapping from their quiet trance, their groans and footsteps echoing against the stone walls.

“Uh-oh.” I said, and then I took several quick steps backwards. The elfman moved with me, still clutching onto my shoulder. I stabbed and stabbed with each step I took backwards, splattering blood all over my torso with each jab. The elfman’s grasp released and he slumped to the ground. I reached my orb up and focused a concentrated blast of icy air to erupt within the hallway. The two nearest the door were instantly frozen, but their icy remains fell backwards, propped against the wall. The mobilizing horde behind them slowly pressed on and in their path they pushed their icy brethren to the ground.

I saw Tristam look to the encroaching villagers and he turned and ran past me towards the gate. My eyes followed him as he ran past. I took one glance at the group of mind-controlled villagers I would have to face alone and decided to follow in Tristam’s footsteps.

“Wait! Wait god damn it!” I said and began to run after Tristam, but my foot snagged against a fallen twig and I fell to my hands and knees.

I stood up and continued on. I saw Tristam slide through the gate door and disappear. Just before I reached the door, I saw, illuminated by my still active sunrod, a line of villagers walking towards me from the bushes and trees lining the edge of the walls.
“Oh shit!” I shouted in a panicked voice.

I ran full sprint to the door and crashed into it, throwing it open violently, causing it to slam against the walls of the gateway.

I saw Tristam sprinting his way back towards the way we snuck in. He had created quite a distance between us and I ran like a madman to try and catch up to him. I could hear villagers pouring out from behind me. I looked over my shoulder and saw that they were running quite speedily behind me.

Man this sucks! I thought to myself and pressed harder to catch up to Tristam. My stride was so wide that I thought my balls were going to scrape against the ground, and somehow I bridged the gap between myself and Tristam.

“OHH! There is hella of them!” he shouted loudly over his shoulder. We had ran through the huts far enough to reach the edge of the village where we had snuck in. Across the road the mind-controlled villagers had pounded into the dirt, stood Jariah and two of her hunters, back-to-back, surrounded by the villagers, their usual trudge broken to rid themselves of their conscientious invaders.

Tristam sprinted across the road, unsheathing his dagger and shortsword, and leaped onto the back of a villager about to pounce onto Jariah. Tristam drove his blades into each side of the villager’s shoulder. A quick death.

I wound up and threw my orbed hand upwards. A cloud of misty frost rained down on the attackers in front of my allies. The wind took hold of my cloud and blew away most of it, but two out of the six villagers I had targeted were still taken by the sub-arctic temperatures of the cloud. Those were the two standing before Keeno, the hunter that had fought off five villagers at one time.

“Yeah!” he shouted in his heavily accented voice. He swung his wooden spear at the icy statues before him, smashing through both of them. He pulled his spear back and stabbed its sharpened stone tip into a villager about to strike Jariah.

“Eueh!” she squealed as blood sprayed onto her face. Suddenly her hand lit up in arcane fire and she slammed her fist into the face of the other villager closing in next to her. The villager’s face lit up in a sudden blaze and he dropped to the ground.

“Da’loach! Buhind you!” shouted Keeno over the clamor.
I turned around to see a snarling villager leap at me.

“Uuaahghh!” he groaned and swiped his hands at me. His powerful fingers swiped across my face, slicing his lengthy finger nails into my smooth skin. His other hand swiped for my neck, scraping along my soft neck-flesh.
“Fuck you!” I shouted as I grappled for my injured neck. With my other hand I slammed my orb into his stomach and a burst of invisible kinetic energy sent him flying back five feet.

I heard “Uhhruahh!” emit from the bushes next to me and an elfman came crashing through the shrubbery and lunged at me. His hands crashed against the invisible shield of arcane energy protecting me from harm, I did likewise to him and slammed my orb into his chest, forcing him flying back into the shrubbery he charged from. Another one came growling as it approached me. I turned to face the elfman and he reached out at me but his hands only hit against my arcane shield. I expended the effects of my shield, focusing it into a close blast of kinetic energy that bounced off of me and swelled over the elfman, sending him flying backwards.

“We’ve got to get outta here!” I heard Tristam shout from across the road.

Skwah! I thought.

I felt the familiar energy of the Beast Triad, contained within my Obsidian Eagle Statue, take hold of me. A black ooze of demonic energy spread across my back and suddenly a full, outstretched set of black wings emerged from the darkness on my back. The light of the torches reflected dimly off of the blackness of the wings’ feathers. The wingspan is quite impressive at its full length.

I pushed off the ground and the wings snapped into action, flapping down with one powerful swoop, sending my body soaring into the air, and forcing a powerful gust of wind to swirl the dust where I was just standing.

I soared through the black of night and landed next to Jariah. My wings folded behind me and quickly began to dissipate, their swift energy lasting only a brief amount of time.
I gave the order to retreat as I saw the mass of villagers in my wake start to make their way across the road towards us.

I looked behind me and saw a small opening in the underbrush and ran towards it. I ran past several trees and jumped over a small bush sitting in my path and landed running. I could hear the growls of the mind-controlled villagers hot in our pursuit.

Then, from the south-west I heard a manly scream, “AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!” and I paused in my sprint. I moved towards the direction of the scream, wading quietly through the brush. I soon came upon four villagers clawing the entrails of a moaning hunter, still clinging onto life. I couldn’t see the hunter’s face, and I feared it was Keeno. I reached up and a blast of cold air splashed against the backs of the feasting villagers. All four of them were frozen in place. I hopped over to the man laying there and knelt down beside him, cradling his head.

It wasn’t Keeno, but his eyes opened, and he said to me, “Get out of here,” and coughed up some blood, “While you can!” he managed to say, and then closed his eyes, his common was quite fluent I might add.

I stood up, closed my eyes and shot an icy spike into the man’s head, ending his suffering, an agreeably more deserving death than suffering the considerably slower and more painful demise by open bowel wounds.

My attention snapped behind me as I heard more rustling in the brush emanating in the dark. I instantly resumed my sprinting escape. I paused for a quick second in attempts to gauge which direction my allies might have ran.

I think if I was Tristam I would run this way! I thought to myself and ran that way, but a face broke out of the darkness before me.

“Wlaaaugh!” screamed the villager as he lunged at me. His powerful hands lashed across my already scraped chest, causing more lacerations.

I reached up and blasted a ray of ice into his face, and ran past. I could hear the ice that collected on his face shatter as he hit the ground behind me. I ran as fast as I could, then ran harder until my lungs felt like they were going to burst. I had to stop, and saw a clearing up ahead. I halted and took several heavy intakes of air. The groans and pounding feet of the mind-controlled villagers couldn’t be heard anymore. I didn’t know where any of my allies were. I listened, but only heard still air.

“Ka-kah!” I sounded loudly, hoping that one of my allies would hear it.
“EEUUGGUH!” I sounded again. Just making noises to alert someone.

Suddenly I heard the bushes nearby rustling. I waited in anxious silence. A spear head popped out of the bushes followed by a familiar face. Keeno’s! My heart soared to see a friendly face still alive.

“Oh shiet, captain Da’loach!” he said in an accent.
“What happened? Where is everybody?” I asked as I approached him.
“I don’t know man,” he said, shaking his head, making his dreadlocked hair slap against his face, “I just, dipped, had to bail out.”
Just then we both heard rustlings in the woods farther behind us and a faint glimmer of a light.
“Oh shit, they heard me.” said Keeno in panic.

Keeno readied his spear, but I placed a hand on it and pushed it down. I stood there silently, watching the light grow as it moved closer. The light moved behind a large bush and I could see the beams of light shining through the leaves. The light emerged from behind the bush and then I saw Jariah, holding the light spell on the ring on her finger.

“Oh shit!” she snapped, startled to see us standing silently in her path.
“Ah! It’s Me, and Keeno. Where’s everyone else?” I said to her.
She walked up, gently shaking her head, “I don’t know!” she said in dismay.
“Just you?” I asked in concern.

She only nodded in response. After that we could hear faint sounds growing louder behind us. We all turned to face the direction of the sound, Keeno stepped protectively in front of Jariah, holding his spear out in front of him.

“Be on guard. But hold your fire.” I said quietly.

A faint orange light began to glow from Jariah’s fingers as she charged up her fiery energy. Keeno poised his spear over his head, ready to hurl it at any threat. I stood there intently awaiting what was coming at us.
“Ooooouuuuahhhh!” came an unfamiliar voice, and then a villager came barreling out of the bushes.
“Kill ’em!” I shouted.

I jumped into action and summoned an icy blast hurling towards the hostile villager, but the blast overshot and went careening into a tree. However, my companions were well prepared. Keeno immediately hurled his spear, which slammed through the villager’s stomach, and then a fireball smashed into his chest, burning for a moment and then diminishing, leaving scorched flesh in the aftermath. Keeno ran over and pulled his spear out of the deceased elf.

“Let’s get the hell outta here!” I said, swirling my arms in rapid signal.
We could hear more rustling accompanied with groans escalating behind us. The quick exchange with the villager must have alerted them all.

Keeno and Jariah began running in the opposite direction. Just as I was about to run I thought I saw a shadow move further in the woods.

“Tristam is that you?” I shouted, but heard no response.

Several villagers emerged from the brush and charged towards me. I turned and ran away from them. I was running just behind the edge of Jariah’s illuminating light and it was making it hard to see the ground, and I could hear the groans of the villagers getting closer behind me. I focused my energy into my orb and lobbed a frosty cloud behind my shoulder. I peeked over my shoulder and I saw about three villagers get frozen in effect, their agonized groans confirmed their demise. Another one was just out of reach and continued his pursuit.

“Da’loach, hurry up man!” sounded Keeno’s accented voice from up ahead of me.

I continued my flee, and I could tell that Keeno and Jariah had gained distance from me. The light was out of my range and I was running blind, my eyes now unadjusted to the dark. I pressed on, but as I was running I slipped on a root and felt my momentum lurch forward. My next footstep faltered and I swayed to the side, slamming directly into a tree trunk. The force of the crash knocked the wind from me and I strained to gasp for air as I tumbled to the cold dirt. I saw a face loom over me, a face I was attempting to escape.

“Huuuaagh!” yelled the villager as he stomped his foot down at my face.

I turned to the side and his foot pressed hard into the dirt where my head had been. I reached my orbed hand up and blasted a shard of ice at him. The villager dipped his head back as the shard zipped past his face. I rolled over, pushed myself up and then began to run away. I charged through the woods with all my effort, pushing overhanging leaves and branches aside as I ran. I could see a light up ahead.

“Jariah! Is that you?!” I shouted as I ran towards it.

The light turned and stepped to the side. I was suddenly overcome by the bright light as it shined directly towards me. I could tell the person holding the light wasn’t a woman. I stopped, reached into my bag, and pulled out my sunrod and activated its light, then I aimed it directly at the person shining me with their light.

Is it Tristam? I thought to myself… It is!

“Tristam you motherfucker! You left me back there to die!” I shouted angrily, stomping towards him.

I saw Tristam reach for his belt and unsheathe his dagger. He poised it in his hand and threw it right towards me. I closed my eyes instinctively and yelped in fear. I opened one eye as I heard, “Ouughh.” and peered over my shoulder. I looked just as a villager teetered and tipped backwards onto the ground, with Tristam’s dagger sticking out of his skull.

“Get the hell outta there! There’s more coming.” called Tristam as he deilluminated his light, turned on his heels, and began running.

I followed his lead and began running after him. I managed to keep up with him, though I was truly feeling the adverse effects of continuous sprinting, but the thought of not dying was definitely urging me to keep going. Eventually we bursted out of the jungle, and stepped foot into the sands of the desert.

I still had my light out and I saw two figures pop up from behind a rock and start waving to us.

We realized it was Keeno and Jariah. We skulked over to them and I asked if this was it. Jariah looked to me, a somber look across her face, and she told me that we were probably the only who had survived.

“Damn it!” I said and stomped my foot into the sand, I rubbed my hand through my hair and groaned in disappointment, “Uh, well guys we need to spend some time and uh…” I paused for a moment, “Reappraise our situation.” and I kicked my feet in the sand. I mentioned that I needed sleep.

“Out here? Or should we go back to camp?” asked Jariah.
“Let’s go back to camp.” I said sullenly.

We began to walk off along the border of the jungle, back towards our campsite in the woods. I noticed Jariah take one last look back towards the jungle and sigh, I could tell her spirits were down.

Defeated and downtrodden, I opened a bottle of wine and began to drown my sorrows, though from what I recall, I was the only one drinking.

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