Areana’s Journey

This is the second “chapter” of Areana’s Escape.

Leli had fallen asleep on Areana’s shoulder. The hours had passed slowly for Areana as she walked with a child in her arms and a basket of potatoes trailing. She was tired, yet the city seemed too close.

After another hour, she reached a decent clearing where she promptly sat down. Laying Leli down on the forest floor, Areana spread her quilt flat, and then she brought Leli close to her. Minutes later, sleep overcame her.

An angry growl curdled her blood. She tore her eyes open. Bloody fangs hovered inched from her face. Areana screamed.

She thrust her hands in front of her in a brutal offensive. The animal flung five feet away. Areana jumped to her feet and drew her sword, but the animal was already back on its feet.

Areana took in her surroundings. Leli lay behind her, sleeping. The giant cat-like thing in front of her. Early morning light shafted from above.

Areana charged forward thrusting her sword before her. The animal shrieked as the sword pierced its innards. With one last breath, it died.

Areana turned to make sure Leli was okay. She lay sound asleep. Areana wiped the sweat from her forehead and peered closer to the beast. Aside from the crimson fluid flowing from its wound, there was other blood on the animal. Fresh blood. She looked toward the direction where the beast had come. A red trail glistened the leaves on the forest floor.

She was about to follow, but she realized she couldn’t leave Leli behind with such beasts roaming the land. 

She nudged Leli awake and gathered her supplies. Areana followed the trail of blood, which led her on into the deep forest.

After a quarter of a mile, Areana saw the trail stop. She gazed around and then gave a jagged jump. A hump lay on the forest floor. It was a human body.

Areana let Leli down from her arms and told her to sit. She slowly drew near to the form. The body was of a young man. By his uniform, she could tell he was a soldier. His arm lay across his chest, maimed and flowing blood from what Areana guess was the cat-attack. She gently placed her small hand under his pale face to check for a pulse. She couldn’t help but jerk back when she felt the small throb. She needed to stop the blood flowing from his arm, if he was to live any longer.

She rushed to the small basket and pulled out her rope of clothes, singling out an item. She hurried back to the bloody man but stopped short when her eye caught sight of an emblem on his shoulder. A cold chill filled her soul. He was the enemy. She drew back. Memories flashed through her mind. She shuddered. She could just leave him to die, and he wouldn’t know anything different.

She shook her head, ashamed of herself. He was a dying man. He needed help. How could she not?

Areana came to his side and began to wrap her cloth around his wounded arm. Perhaps she could treat him, hope he lived, and continue on her long escape. If she stayed to help him restore his health, for all she knew, he would kill her as soon as he was able. Why was he even here? His army had already sacked the city. Why was he left behind? How long had he been here? Why had the beast left him instead of eating him? These questions buzzed in her mind.

“How did you get here?” she muttered as she finished wrapping him up.

He let out a slow moan and his eyes fluttered. 

He suddenly let out a roar and slung his unwounded arm towards Areana, intending to slam her to the ground, but she easily evaded his blow.

“Get back, you beast!” He yelled, but he fell to the ground in a groan, quickly drained from the release of energy. 

“The beast is gone.” Areana said as she eased back, careful to be out of the way of this erratic man.

The young man’s eyes shot open at the sound of her voice. He turned to her with a surprised expression painted on his face.

“What…?” He sank deeper into the dirt. “Oh, I thought you were an animal.”

He tried to rise from his position, but Areana waved her hand and said. “You’d better relax, or your wound will never heal.”

He looked down at his arm, noticed the bandage, nodded his thanks to Areana, holding his gaze to her eyes, and then fell to his back. He let out a breath and seeped into unconsciousness.

Areana didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t leave him alone. He had already been marred once by a beast. But she couldn’t stay here to be caught. She only had so many supplies, and she needed to be in the next city as soon as possible. What would she do? Areana pondered as she paced back and forth.

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