Dark tree trunks, shadows, overhanging limbs across the path seen at the last second, clumps of bushes, barely visible black trails snaking through the undergrowth, the moon shining through a lattice of leaves, patchy sky and stars seen in glimpses through tree breaks.
It was already freezing and the light that the moon emits is the only thing Ambroz could entrust his vision.
It was already midnight when Ambroz came back to his cave. He intentionally planned to head back once he thinks that Theon is already gone.
He entered the cave. Gently, placed his weapons below; the bow and arrow. When Ambroz walked further in, surprisingly, he saw Theon. Theon was sound asleep in a sitting position, resting his back with the cave's wall, all wrapped up with the huge leaf he found nearby.
Ambroz bent his knees and lower his body. He saw how Theon was slightly trembling from the cold air engulfing inside the cave. He stood up and entered further inside the cave. From the narrow side of this cave, he took his other coat. It was made of old grey threads and slightly rough due to the fibre ageing, however, the width is wide enough to cover a man's body such as Theon.
He went back to where Theon was, still sleeping and snoring softly. With the coat, he covered Theon's pale body.
Somehow, he found himself observing and staring at Theon's face for a moment. His face was quite familiar to him; Pitch black coloured hair, smooth pale white skin and...
He hummed. "I guess I have seen him since he's a man of that village."
However, he can point out who he truly was and where did he certainly saw him.
His eyebrows furrowed. "Young man, have we truly met before?" He asked Theon although he did not intend to receive an answer.
He almost reached out for Theon's face when it suddenly move and groaned while brows furrowed. It was dreaming again, like how it was when they've first met each other. He stayed there for quite a while when he decided to sleep as well. But, before that could happen, the moon illuminated the cave with its light and its flash through Theon's neck. He saw a silver thing almost hiding from the cloth of Theon's neck to chest.
His eyebrows met as he grabbed the necklace to see it thoroughly.
His eyes widened a bit when he noticed what it look like. Pendant with a leaf carved in it and the silver chains encircled in his neck.
"This necklace," He uttered while reminiscing something from his memory. "it's from that man." He whispered through his breathe when he finally recognise it.
Ambroz narrowed his eyes a bit to see if he is not mistaken with his intuition. Indeed, he was not mistaken and it was the ornament he's reckoning.
He let go of it and leaned back to the cave's wall just like how Theon is. He held his forehead and massage it. Thinking deeply about the past, he fell asleep beside Theon.
The next day came. The sun was rising and its light touched Theon's face causing him to wake up. His eyes were fuzzy and were still in a daze. He felt a huge coat wrapped around him and warm his body temperature.
'Who's coat is this?' He thought.
He moved his head from left to right to see where he is at.
"Oh," He uttered when he realized.
Now he remembers, he was patiently and eagerly waiting for Ambroz to come back, yet night came and darkness evade the woods and he proceeded to embark himself inside Ambroz's shelter, the cave.
His stomach grumbled. Afterwards, the man settled to a sit and scratched the back of his neck.
"I haven't eaten last night. I miss mother Zynthia's cooking." He mourned as he said those words. The man sighed in distress.
Theon then roamed his eyes around the cave.
"He still hasn't returned yet," He let out. But then the reality immediately made him understand that Ambroz did come back and left right after a quick doze when its weapons were laying in front of him. "He does not want to see me."
He thought that maybe Ambroz place pity on him and covered his body with this thick clothing. Such a strange man.
He stood up and his necklace let out a tingling sound. Lowering his head and grabbed it. Closed eyes, inhaled a huge amount of air and exhaled it right after.
Theon, no matter what happened, still thank the Gods that he's been alive and breathing. His heart may be shattered in million pieces yet, he seeks a way to mend it.
"Now, what should I do?" He hummed and raised a question to himself.
He held his waist with the use of his hands while thinking of what to do next. Surely, wandering around the woods will not aid him in searching for his people. Theon did it once and he was chased by hungry huge monkeys. The second time will probably get worst.
He stepped outside the cave and welcomed the sunlight.
"I should head to the river and hunt some fish." He said to himself. "If my memory serves me right, the right way should be..." He roamed his eyes and a familiar path strikes him. "Here."
He went back to the cave and grabbed Ambroz old and rusty weapons. The bow was not the kind that he normally used. It was built differently.
"Should be alright." He assured himself.
After all, a bow and an arrow was his first weapon to handle, train, and use.
He went out and continued tracing the path headed to the river. His ears were out and alarmed, so whenever he could hear the river's cascade of water, he can rush right into it.
He could not afford to repeat the same mistake twice, that's why letting his guard down was below the list. Every step he makes assuring everything is safe.
The man kept his eyes wide and broad, cognizant of the potential dangers, latterly, he heard the streams of water coming from the river. As soon as the noise became much more clear and not vague, he hurriedly ran right to it and his ears did not disappoint.
Again, the view in front of him was pleasing. The rivulet's tempestuous caught his eye like it did the first time. Into the steady rising light, into the watery warmth of the air, comes the river of the forest, this great and gliding dame.
He was in awe, however, he did not forget the purpose of his arrival here. He rapidly walk near it and wandered his eyes around the water, observing every slight splash movement of it. Later on, he saw an average size fish and decided to steady the weapon he's holding.
Theon grips his unpolished old longbow firmly in his left hand, as he holds it out in front of his torso. Reaching down by his right side, the thumb, index and middle fingertips lightly grasp the feathered end of the wooden arrow that is sticking upright in the soil beside him. With an ever so gentle pluck, the arrow frees itself from the grip of the earth, as Theon raises the shaft to the bow.
With a skilled hand, he notches the arrow and draws the bowstring back, his muscles flex and strain against the natural strength of the longbow, forcing the arrow back to his cheek. The old oak bow creaks in protest as the leathery sinew of the bowstring pop and crackles under the enormous stress and pressure required to draw such a marvellous weapon back to his full potential. The bowstring painfully bites into the fleshy parts of Theon's index and middle fingertips.
Theon's arm muscles bulge, with his thick veins extending up as his arms begin to tremble from the tremendous force required to hold the bow ready. Silently, he mentally evaluates his target...range...distance...crosswinds...and elevates his aim to allow for the estimated arch and drop of the arrow to the fish.
Finally, he releases the arrow with a loud pronounced cracking SNAP of the bowstring. The shaft streaks from the longbow with lightning speed, launching high into the afternoon sky. The arrow gently floats over the high arch and begins to fall back earthward, plunging from the sky with deadly force.
It went right into the fish, clashed right into its flesh and this gave Theon the signal that he needs to hurry up and pick for it. Which he did.
"CRAP!" He whispered shouting when he almost slipped.
The fish was floating when he grabbed it. As soon as he went right back into the land, there was a vague shadow behind the three. It caught Theon's eye almost immediately. Before, heading to its position, he placed the fish on the huge rock that was placed near the river.
He slowly strode towards that shadow, hoping, it was another person and not Ambroz.
Indeed, it was another man. Sitting while holding his knees tight and trembling. The man saw him and stood up while still quivering for the reason Theon does not know why.
"Who are you? You don't look like one of our people." Theon asked.
Even though he does not know this man, Theon was rather confident that it would not win against him if warfare between them is set. This man was unarmed and was pitiful to look at.
It gripped his shoulders tightly. Theon slightly shivered when he felt the man's hands were cold.
"Y... Young man. You o...ought to help me. There's a man named Ambroz and he is a dangerous man." The man spoke with a tremor in his voice.
Theon furrowed his eyebrows. "What do you mean he's dangerous? What did this 'Ambroz' do to you?"
Theon noticed how the man's eyes were red and diverting them every second. It looked so scared. However, Theon was not quite convinced with it. If Ambroz was a dangerous man, Theon would be dead and breathless at this moment. Still, he wanted to confirm it. He knows nothing about Ambroz and this might just be the chance.
"Those vicious eyes, ravaging teeth, and that noise. It's all him!" The man said almost shouting.
Theon was rather even more confused.
'Is he perhaps describing a creature? Was it a male creature that was exactly named Ambroz? Was it Ambroz's pet?'
He could not help but furrowed his brows even more?
"You should tell me more, I don't understand." Theon inquired of this and held its arms.
"I... I can't say more to you. He will kill me. You need to run!" The man let go of his shoulders and ran.
Theon was still stuck underneath his grave but insisted to follow the man. It might help him point where to escape from this forest as well. But, the moment he started running where this man went, he slowly lost sight of him. Its appearance started to diminish. Theon was madly thwarted by it. Roamed his eyes around the tall trees and just like the air, it was as if the man was once there but disappeared in one blow.
"Where did he go?" Theon panted when he uttered those words of the question. He went in circles to navigate through the man, but there was no hint of him.
"Ah!" He yelled in frustration and slumped down. "I lost my chance, he might have been a huge help but I'm dumb enough to question about Ambroz first." He hissed and massaged his forehead.
'Why would such man run so fast like that?' Theon thought. After just realizing it, it looks ridiculous that it disappeared instantly when Theon runs faster than the looks of that man. It also was making a fuss about Ambroz.
"The longer I stay here, the more frustrated I get. Ambroz..." He said while deeply thinking things through.
"I need to see Ambroz and talk to him. I can't let him ignore me." He said.
He turned around and saw how he was lost again. But, thoughtful enough to look at his footprints. He thanked his body for being slightly heavy to have left such clear footprints rather than vague ones.
It guided him back to the noise from the Cascade of the river and he picked up the fish he left on the huge rock. Also, the weapons he accidentally let go of when he came running towards the guy.
He sighed and his stomach grumbled.
"I need to eat. Maybe, Ambroz is at the cave. Probably..." He reckoned.
On his way back he can only think of that guy's commentary on Ambroz, he felt anxious and tried to recall any actions from Ambroz that was quite strange and far from normal, but Ambroz has always had this strange personality. So he can't think of it through.
Luckily, no one came to attack him while he was heading back and stuck wandering in his reverie. Or so he thought.
Loud rustling was heard from the trees. He immediately stared upwards that his neck cramped.
"Oh, Crap!" Theon cursed and held his neck with his right hand.
When the cramps eased, he stared back at the trees. However, there was nothing but air.
He furrowed his brows. "What was that again?"
He began to trace back to the cave again.
Meanwhile, outside of the forest. So far away from where Theon stands at.
A woman in its dark and obscure covenstead. Wearing a black-coloured head veil with its black robe. Her thin bloodless lips, nose are like the raven's, somehow her eyes were not seen with the veil that is covering them.
The woman smirked devilishly as she stares at the thin magical circle. It was a sphere forged object that beams with a pinch of smoke lurking at the edge of the sphere showing Theon's every movement.
The woman lay down her hands with long black fingernails and slowly pass her hands through the crystal.
She evilly laughed and her crenellated teeth were shown. Even without her face fully revealed the grotesque in her aura emitted the place.
"Well, well, well, look who's in here. The most unexpected kid. The other kid is probably breathless and burned to ashes, suffered from gruesome death at the hands of those mockery conquerors, how unfortunate. Now this kid," Her voice was no near elegance but with atrocious mannerisms. She began to laugh once more.
She was the one who manipulated the poor man and cursed his soul to swiftly follow her decisions and devastating schemes.
Theon who was reflected in the crystal and he was already near the cave when this woman noticed something from his pale neck.
"What is that shiny junk on his neck?" She leaned closer to the crystal.
Theon walked and the ornament that he hid inside his neck that was covered with the cloth. It moved and went outside. The woman gasped but was marked by incisive sarcasm.
"It's that necklace!" Her cracked voice filled the room.
She clumsily walked towards her dusty shelf that was full of spider webs and searched for something.
"Ah! This is it." She exclaimed.
It was an old book with lifeless words and spells. A book of history and the sceneries from her perspective way back.
"How nostalgic. However, I need to look for that necklace's history. Where have I seen it? Where? Where?"
She began to turn the book's page. And she located it in the middle of the book.
"No!" She dramatically said.
The book was read, "An ornament builds by the good ol' travellers whom made a pledge to the goddess of the forest. To stay and live by its land without weakening its hearts. Any form of curse and wicked spells can be removed by this necklace."
"This. This can't be happening. I need to get that kid out of sight." She spoke in a horrid way.
She went back to the magic crystal. While thinking of a way to peel off Theon's existence, the woman raised her head when she heard footsteps moving towards her.
"What's the noise all about?" A man with a hoarse voice spoke.
"It's nothing, my love!" She let out a nervous laugh.
When the man saw Theon in her magic crystal, it strolled over to her and held the circle.
"Who's this kid you're setting your eyes off?" He couldn't help but ask.
The woman decided to tell him about this. "He has the necklace of the Everson's."
He hummed in a very rusty voice and removed his hands off of the circle. He turned his back towards the woman.
"You need to think of a plan to get rid of this kid. Or else, our plan to colonize this forest will all come to waste," He faced the woman. "We have waited so long and tried so many, this is our last chance. I'll kill you if anything goes wrong." He threatened her.
The woman may look frightened but her thoughts say otherwise.
‘Do you think I would let this kid live? For so long has passed. I am not gonna let you order me.’
She wickedly grinds.
‘After I'll use you again, you will be the one to be murdered.’
She unintentionally laughed so vociferously that made the man look at her strangely.
"What are you laughing at?" He asked.
This woman just stared at this man while smirking.
"Nothing, my love. I assure you, this time it will not go to waste." She pretentiously uttered.
She repeatedly laughed at her covenstead while the man stared at her. The crows when astray with her evil laugh.
In the meantime, Ambroz felt a stung by his heart. Ambroz gripped his chest and scrunched his nose to the pain. He almost fell off the tree where he's sitting.
"That witch! It's happening again." He complained and gazed at the sky.