The icy prickles of the breeze are the first thing the girl notices around her. She looks around, brows lifted in confusion and mouth open but not making a sound. The trees form a maze around her and her vision is clouded with the thick fog rolling in from between them. Goosebumps raise on freckled skin and she brings up her hands to rub down them to create friction. The simple pale gown that hangs off her shoulders doing little to protect her from the humid and cold surroundings.
Bare feet start to walk through dead leaves and broken twigs. She makes her way through the forest with slow steps. Every noise has her turning quickly and gasping. She still keeps going deeper and deeper as the tree line grows thicker and paths become blocked by thick brambles.
What feels like hours in, she stops and a voice calls out.
‘What are you doing?’
It’s full of laughter and belongs to a young man. She turns in the direction and walks towards it.
‘Troublesome girl, really.’ The same voice with the same amused joy in it. She craves to hear more and starts to run towards it.
’C’mon lets go home’
’Aren’t you supposed to be the older one? You sure don’t act like it.’
There’s a split path up ahead a vague figure down the left. She squints her eyes catching sight of longer hair. Auburn just like hers.
She stops right at the start of the path. Panting and kneeling over. She tries to say something to the figure but her voice is still gone. The girl looks up just as he turns around and amber meets green a smile on the young man’s face. Her brother’s face.
Rowan tries to call out again, silence. He laughs shaking his head and turning to walk away. The trees end not far down the path and she sees the dark just beyond them. Waiting for her to come home.
She smiles and takes a step towards it.
’Don’t be so quick to throw your life away,’ Another girls voice. Relieved and exasperated all at only. She feels a warm embrace around her.
‘I know I’ve made mistakes,’ a young male full of regret, she wants to comfort them immediately. Because it’s alright, they survived together and they’ll keep doing it.
‘I don’t think we’ll make it out of this one,‘. Yes they will, she’ll make sure of it. She’ll drag him off the battlefield herself if she has to. This voice female, with a male voice repeating the same line after it.
“I can get angry over you …but -” Her heart skips a beat. She knows how the line ends. She remembers how safe she’d felt at that moment.
The voice come from the other path one by one and by the time the last one speaks she can’t resist turning her head to look down it. Four figures all standing in a clearing at the edge. Moving among bright lights and weapons being slung around them. A fight?
They need her help. She can protect them, she…
Glances back to her brother who keeps walking down the opposite path expecting her to follow. Her fists clench and she glares at the ground. She inhales and turns around on the path sprinting towards the other now. When she looks down back at her hands she sees a bow in one, and arrow in the other. The gown is gone and dark leather are in it’s place. Ahead she begins to hear the sounds of the battle. Crackling of lightening and fire, the clang of steel. She steps out into it and knocks back the arrow letting it loose into the fray.
She doesn’t see the brambles growing on the other path to the farm and blocking it off for good.
Rowan’s eyes shoot open and she rushes to lift herself up from the bedroll. Slender hands hold her up when she almost falls back from the dizzy spell lifting up so quickly causes. She gasps for air feeling the air robbed from her lungs somehow. There’s shouting in a language she doesn’t understand, but recognizes. The same voice switches to common.
“It’s alright, you are safe…”
She doesn’t care about that. She snaps her gaze to the elf assisting her and manages to get out. “My friends…where are they?”