It’s been 6 weeks since the last chapter so I would not expect anyone to remember anything here, so to catch up here’s the prelude!
If you want a short summary and for some strange reason want to read this story starting from chapter 7 then here is the story so far.
Two escaped slaves Kil and Rick flee from their captors through one of the most dangerous forests in Sevren. On their way they find Maron, who left her village to escape conviction of a murder she committed. They are in fear of pursuit from their captives and have spent several days in the forest already.
Unknown to them they are being stalked and followed by the terrible bandits that inhabit this forest. Also this is on their way to a main goal of going to the kings tournament.
Alright let’s start chapter 7! (The formatting is also a bit strange because I copied and pasted it so sorry.
I could see Kil and Maron walking and laughing together in front of me. It made me feel jealous and inadequate. Maron was so beautiful. She had shoulder length red hair, a brilliant laugh and a body to die for. It was painful watching Kil get along so well with her while I was left behind in the dust. She had already judged me as weak and probably hated me. I felt awkward, with an extreme sweat and lips that just wouldn’t feel comfortable. My mouth was dry and there was just no way to make it feel right no matter how much I moved it. I was reduced to shivers in the presence of such a lovely girl.
This new problem made the rest of my issues feel insignificant. The threat of danger from our pursuers was negligible compared to my current troubles. That a girl I loved was right next to me and there was nothing I could do about it. I could love again but it wouldn’t be the same. She’s the cutest girl I’ve seen and that goes for Kil as well. He knows it too.
I’m so nervous that I can’t even speak up to talk anymore. It’s an irrational worry but it’s there all the same. Why is Kil able to be so confident around her? He’s stronger and better looking than be but even so, it shouldn’t change much. But somehow it does. My anxiety is what changes everything, I just can’t get rid of it.
Every time I think to talk to her I can’t help but think of my stupid, ugly, empty eye, which nobody, not even myself can stand to look at for more than a moment. People shouldn’t judge you for your horrible facial inconsistencies but I feel like I’m constantly judged, not by myself but everyone. Every time I have a thing to say it’s shot down by the loud mind which won’t stop calling me worthless. I wouldn’t mind just the restricted vision, but it’s a wound that cuts much deeper than the physical.
I could barely focus on the path I was walking on. It was all the same. All I could do was look at the ground to make sure I wasn’t tripping over any of the stones or holes in the ground.
One moment I was walking with Kil and Maron slightly in front of me, the next moment they were missing, and then I was tackled to the ground. It hurt so much to be pinned down, I felt pain rush through my body.
I tried to scream and alert the other two that something was happening but my mouth was covered. Hopefully they could save me, or get away, whichever was most possible. I wrestled and tried to break free but no matter how hard I tried my captors were stronger and more skilled than me. There was nothing I could do. I tried to fight but eventually gave up.
“Don’t fight back” a rough sounding voice said as I was lifted to my feet. A gag was tied round me which was impossibly tight and my arms were bound. I saw that they’d done the same to Kil and Maron.
Our captors, dressed in green, took us to a forest cave in a clearing so obscure to see that we never would have found it without being led there. They took Kil away for questioning and left me and Maron to lie in the back of the cave all tied up. We were just lying amongst chests and barrels of presumably equipment, food and supplies as well as a couple of beds. With one guard watching over us and the sun in our eyes we waited.
They had already grabbed Marons supply bag and it seemed like they would let us go. They weren’t dangerous but I didn’t like it. Maron was next to me so I had this one chance to prove myself to her.
We exchanged glances lying next to each other, in this dangerous situation it felt strangely intimate. She might have been trying to convey something to me but I couldn’t tell. I went to move slightly closer.
“Don’t move” The guard said. He was dressed in green with a bow and arrow, his clothes looked as if they were made for walking around the forest, they were very strong and seemed very suitable for climbing and survival. I had to think of a way out of this situation.
After what felt like an hour of this awkward staring they took me out for an interrogation. The man they put me in front of was old yet athletic; he’d clearly been doing this for a long time and an air of confident experience about him. His most distinctive feature was his long white hair that had decided to stick around despite his age.
“Alrighty, just got a few more questions to ask you, ones that your friend didn’t really answer very well. I don’t think he can count properly.” He was being open and nice but I had to be wary and hateful towards him.
“Ok what village do you come from?”
“Well the only thing is that Withwood doesn’t really exist, it’s a legend. So I’ll ask again what village are you from?”
“Withwood, I assure you it’s there.” he obviously wasn’t happy with this answer but there wasn’t much he could do.
“Ok fine, so how many people are in Withwood?”
“About 100 to 150 I’d say. Mostly children really.”
“Oh and why are there so many children?”
“Well it’s to do with something called a trial, once you’re old enough to be an adult you get given the trial to enter the village, if you can’t you’re sold as a slave.”
“That’s interesting thank you, where can you buy these Withwood slaves from?” He liked that I was complying but I was too scared not to. I was just glad he didn’t want to kill me. And I was about to reveal another answer he’d be very pleased to hear.
“Well I actually have a map of its location” then I thought that if I would be able to return then I might be able to set everyone free “I’ll just go back and get it.”
“You will do no such thing.” Griffin said calmly, he looked at his companion, “get the map” minutes later he returned holding the map that Kil and I had stolen from Withwood village people. He was very impressed. I didn’t know where the village was relative to my position; potentially that was why they had the trial out so far, so that the people who escaped to Glenmore couldn’t report them.
“Thank you very much for this, I assume you know the location of the village?” Griffin said to me
“Nope but if you ask someone at that house then you’re sure to find out where it is, if not you can wait for someone who’s on trial to arrive from the road and find out that way.” I just wanted this whole thing to be over, Griffin didn’t look like the killing type, so I trusted him to be relatively pleasant if I complied normally.
“Thank you, that will be all.” Griffin walked out and his companion grabbed me and took me back to the cave where my friends were.
“You are free to go, but we’ll be taking all your things.” Griffin said casually, and that was it, we were taken out of the forest a considerable distance with nothing but the clothes we were wearing, they weren’t evil enough to make us hand over our clothes. I wouldn’t be sure if seeing Maron naked would be worth it, or actually… no it wasn’t right.
We had been robbed and made to look like fools by some terrible, terrible people. So as I thought about it more a revenge plan began to form in my head for what we could do. But it would all have to start at night.
After half an hour of walking in silence with everyone I had my idea. I placed myself in between Kil and Maron and put my arms around their shoulders and whispered.
“They’re still following us. Keep quiet.”
“Why would they follow us?” Kil said who had the unfortunate view of my left eye.
“I don’t know but they are, we know where their hideout is so it’s important to them that we don’t go back or leave any markings that would indicate someone is here.” It felt so great to be talking normally in front of Maron with my arm around her, using stealth as a pretence when I wasn’t even sure myself if they were listening in. Having a plan and a prepared idea, clearly establishing me as the leader of the operation felt so satisfying. The plan was good though.
“Actually maybe…” Maron said, I could hardly believe she’d talked to me and agreed with something I said, it made me so happy. It also made me a lot more confident when trying the next part of the plan.
“It’s getting late and it’ll be dark soon, we’ll have to sleep here, in this forest. Once we do that the person following us will either leave or go to sleep, after that we’ll be free to backtrack to their location and get our stuff back.”
“But won’t there be more bandits sleeping there?” Kil asked questioning the plan, but I had reason to believe otherwise.
“I showed them the map that had where we came from on it, I’m sure that they will be making the trip over there instead with very few people left back.” I spoke more confidently than I sounded.
“Oh you genius!” Kil said louder than I would have liked “that means nobody’s going to be there but it also means that we won’t have to worry about those dogs, once they find us and take us back there’ll be no slavery to return too!”
“You’re slaves?” Maron asked.
“We were slaves, me longer than him, hence my skinniness” I said it calmly but I wasn’t prepared for Marons look of sympathy gazing deep into the soul of my very existence, making those days and months of misery feel ok. “And there’s no guarantee that they’ll take those dogs out for us.”
“Yeah anyway can you get off me now?” Kil asked, and I got off of both of them, happy that they were going to follow my plan. It wasn’t long before I was able to put it into action.
To my surprise Maron was very sympathetic of our slave status and happy that we were freed. It was weird to talk about something that only happened a few days ago but she was very understanding.
When we arrived at the place we wanted to stay the first thing we did was lie on the ground in a row facing upwards, that way we could look for the bandits who might have been looking for us. Out of the corner of my eye I was sure that I saw movement in one of the trees but I did nothing, I had a better idea than to openly demonstrate that I knew where the guy was.
When it had been night for several hours I got up without telling anyone and went to the tree where I saw movement and shook it. I shook it hard and still nothing. Then I went to another tree nearby and shook that one too, then another and another and another, continuously working my way through shaking all the trees as hard as I could. I shook another one nearby and a man fell out, he wasn’t sleeping so high that the fall killed him but he clearly wasn’t able to get up. I tried to ignore the sound of broken bones as he fell from a huge height. He was an evil stalker who had robbed us, how could I sympathise?
“KIL, MARON” I shouted. They wearily got up and walked over to me.
“Look what I’ve found.” I showed them the injured bandit lying on the floor, clutching his feet in a ball crying. “He was lying in that tree.” Kil was impressed but Maron looked a little sick. I never wanted her to feel bad but taking down this bandit is probably for the better of our situation.
“Let’s loot him.” Kil said which was what I was thinking. Together we ignored his pain and screaming, held him back to prevent him from attacking us while we got his bow and arrow, knives, and bag full of equipment.
Looking in to the colossal bag he was holding made me wonder if we even needed to go back for our stuff at all. It had plenty of food, a map, tools I’ve never seen before as well as a whole lot of useful things like a flint and steel. It was really enough, I wasn’t sure if I could even find the way back to the hideout anyway.
“Hey don’t you think this is enough that we don’t need to go back?” I asked showing them the mountain off stuff I had acquired.
“Maybe.” Kil said and we had decided by majority rule without hearing Marons opinion.
“Here you go Maron” I said as I gave her a knife “I know you always carry one around.”
“Thanks” she said “but what are we going to do about that guy?” She gestured over towards the forest bandit who had clearly seen better days.
“Well I don’t think we should kill him” I said.
“And I agree” Kil was backing me up really well.
“So are we just leaving him?” She asked.
“Yeah I guess.” And me and Kil walked off, walking slowly so that she could catch up later.
Thank you for reading the 7th chapter of my book! It’s already written to completion however I’m just releasing chapters as I update and edit them. Now our characters are moving on to their next location so stay tuned! I guess.
All feedback is appreciated especially ideas/edits for improvement of the chapter! So thank you!