01 - A Fresh Start

3rd of Autumn YSTR 115

“ No situation is so dark that there is not a ray of light! “

The sound of the horses hooves resonated as they rider struggled to breath. His lungs burned like fire as pain riddled his body. Each time the hose galloped the broken arrows in his body wiggled in pain. He had two arrows in each shoulder, two in his lower back and one in his left leg. He barely escaped from where he came from and his mind was drifting off as he forced himself to focus on escaping.

He could hear the shouting of his pursuers from behind and knew he might not survive this time. The burn on his chest hurt with each breath as he took. Even if he escaped he had no idea how to stop the pain in his chest. He failed his mission and his target was only wounded and not dead on top of him nearly getting caught. It took all his resolve to hold onto the horse as he avoided low branches. Luckily for him the ones chasing him were caught by the low branches which aided him in getting a better lead away from them. Then like a bad dream he realized he and horse were not on land anymore as they fell from a cliff they ran off and plummeted into a river.
He faded in and out as he struggled to breath while being turned around by the current and the movement of the horse. Then despite his best efforts his vision faded and he blacked out thinking this was his fate to die. Little did he know the horse made it out of the water and was now walking along the bank with two arrows in its back. The unconscious rider swayed with the movement of the horse as it continued to walk aimlessly. As the out cold rider lay limp on the horse his human skin began to turn green and scaley. A glow from his chest began to glow as his hands turned reptilian with claws. His feet slowly ripped out from his boots to expose reptilian scaley clawed feet. Suddenly the rider woke up as his eyes turned yellow and his face turned reptilian before he puked up a lot of water and passed out again.

The horse continued to walk aimlessly and was eventually chased by several predators which led it into a swampy area. The poor horse struggled as it trodded through the mud and muck. It was only a matter of time before the wounds from the arrows began to fester as the poor horse was short on time. With the rider out cold on its back it continued to make it way through the swamp till it escaped to a dirt road where it decided to rest. As it collapsed to the ground the rider was flung off and lay to the side of the horse as the horse took its last breath. An eerie silence of the swamp filled the air as the two lay in silence.

There was no telling how long the man had laid there on the ground, an hour, days? It was impossible to tell. But the silence of the swamp was broken by a distant voice giving little cheers of encouragement to what sounded like it would be a group of children. "1...2...1...2. No slowpokes everybody keep up. You're all doing great." the cheery voice carried far in the quite. "Come on everyone we need to get home before it gets dark."

Finding her way down the path, the voice suddenly fell to a whisper. "Stop! Stop everyone stop." she said seeing the big crocodile green shape spread across a portion of the road. "Sit." she told whatever she was leading before making her way to the sprawled figure. Approaching slowly and as silently as she could she moved forward her shepherd crook out in front in case the croc lunged she could push it back. But on a closer look she saw it was a man. "Oh!...oh..." she said a bit saddened. "You poor thing." she got closer thinking the man was likely dead. crouching with her knees near her shoulders. "I'm sorry..." she said glumly, "Someone must have mistaken you for game..."
The woman turned her attention to the horse, looking at the spot it must have come from in the mucky swamp. "You sure fought long and hard to get your friend to the road." she patted its haunch. "You did so so good. Rest now." she said, bowing her head to say a prayer for them both.

The reptile man began to moan as the shepherd girl prayed. He was having a nightmare and was running for his life in his bad dream. Though he barely moved he moaned softly in pain like a wounded animal. Then he started to mumble something and only a few words made sense like "trap", "magic" and "failed". The rest of his words sounded like gibberish mainly because his reptile mouth altered his speech a bit. The reptile man had no clue he was being watched by the satyr girl since he was out of it and still suffering from his nightmare. Since he could not sweat it was hard to tell he was traumatized.

The shock of a sudden voice scared the praying woman. Opening her eyes she say the man's head shift and drop to the other side from where it original was, and his chest heave with one sharp intake of breath before going still again.

The woman's hands shot up and clutched her horns, as she rocked on her hooves. "Oh crackers!...you're still alive." she started wide eyed, noting the cracked but not fully broken arrow in his hip. "Okay...okay..." she rocked a bit more. "What would papa do...what would papa do..." she mumbled to herself, letting go of her horns before taking the thing from her back and sitting it one the ground. "What do I do." she whispered, closing her eyes for a moment. "I've got it!" she said triumphantly, pulling the tarp from the 'pack' she'd just placed on the ground. "I'll need some strong branches." she said, going to search for them and to check in her herd. Eventually returning and crafting a makeshift stretcher by folding the tarp around some branches.

"Okie Dokie...this might hurt a bit and I'm very sorry for it but I don't have many choices." she said, moving the crook she carried under the man's arms and pulling him up and forward to get her body enough under his to guide him laying face down on the stretcher so the arrows weren't digging in more. "Sorry again, but you'll thank me once we get those arrows out." she said, "Okay everyone get moving ahead of me but go slow. We have a new friend to look after."

The lizard man was still out if it as his dream began to shift. He was being chased by a black fog in a swamp and it was getting closer and closer to him. Eventually he came to a cliff side and jumped only to find himself flying across. As his eyes peeked open for a moment he saw he was flying above the ground, but the pain sent him back to sleep. This dream continued as he heard a female spirit singing to him from the clouds. He wondered if he was in the afterlife as he kept flying forward without any control. Was he a ghost? Was he a bird? He was very confused by this as he continued to drift forward across the land.

It was a long grueling few hours as she trekked towards town. She didn't know how to take out the arrows but the town doctor would. Eventually they made it to the bridge just outside of town. "Everybody across." she said and her small companions all marched across and waited for her on the other side. Moving slowly, as softly as she could she pulled the man across, with each bump of the gap between boards she apologized. "Sorry..." "Sorry..." until they were finally across. "Also there." she said, weather the man heard or not or if it was for her own benefit was unclear. The low drone of merriment could be heard in the distance. As the satyr woman and her small group approached a building standing alone outside of town. "We can stop here and get help..." she huffed thinking how lucky they were to be somewhere she could rest her arms that felt like jelly at this point. "Gideon will know what to do. If he doesn't he'll know who can, or send someone to get the doctor." she said to assure the man, even though he was out cold. The small cluster of animals with her all went up and sat on the low porch as the woman went inside. "Gid...I need help." she said.

(co-written with Jaxx)

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