A large ship sailed through choppy waters dropping off a light brown package from its bow. It landed in the cold unforgiving water with a splash, bobbing in and out for a moment. At second glance it wasn’t a package but a person struggling to stay afloat waving her arms trying to paddle, but it was too far to land and she began to sink.
Surfacing suddenly with a gasp she managed to stay afloat for a little longer, but her arms finally cramped up painfully and her legs follow suit causing her to sink again. Panic filled her as the water came closer covering her chin, then her mouth and with a sudden burst of energy her arms emerged and began to paddle stiffly, her legs followed mechanically.
The sun had now it had dropped to the lower horizon when she felt sand beneath her feet. Her legs were too weak to stand while her arms were too stiff to support her. She drifted as if nothing more than debris riding each small wave closer and closer to shore. By the time she washed up completely the last of the sun’s golden rays had faded to a deep red and was sinking into the horizon. She had passed out from sheer exhaustion by the day’s events, for now she was safe or at least a lot safer than she would have been in the ocean. She slept undisturbed for the first time in years.
When she awoke she was half covered in sand, the sun’s rays beating down on her. In testing her legs she found them able to support her for a few moments. Managing to get further from the shore, the sand began to turn into a mixture of brown dirt & roots and the beach gave way to a forest.
She paused by a large smooth tree, her legs refusing to carry her any further. She heard the sound of water nearby, trying to move again but her legs gave out. Instinctively she tried to catch herself outstretching her arms only to land squarely on them awkwardly bending her wrists. Hitting her head on an above ground root stars exploded in the back of her head she laid on the ground in a daze.
Her legs were now numb and her wrists throbbed dully with pain. But the sound of the water beckoned her there had to be a stream nearby.
Pulling herself to her knees and tried to get to her feet again but her legs wobbled too much settling instead for being on her knees, she began to crawl towards the sound, dragging her legs behind her over the dirt and branches. Her arms threatened to give away and she began to use the uprooted roots of the trees to pull herself across the forest floor. A few fallen branches scrapped across her thighs tearing away the worn fabric that was left of her clothes.
Gritting her teeth with determinations she continued to drag herself onward fueled by the promise of water, not only to fill her empty stomach but to clean off the scratches on her legs. The dense forest began to open up, as the trees spaced further and further apart. The upright roots were less common becoming a disadvantage forcing her to claw at the forest floor itself.
She reached the bank of the creek leaning in to a get a gulp of water. Her weight rested just on the edge of the grassy bank and as she bent over to take a sip, she lost her balance and slipped in. Her right knee made contact with a rock on the bottom jarring it and slipping off the algae. She went underwater in a matter of seconds her jaw connecting with another rock stars once again exploded in her head and everything when to black.
She came to gasping for air, pushing herself above the water, crawling her way back to the bank. Her entire body was soaked and she began to shiver uncontrollably.
When she managed to get into a sitting position to look at her knew, it had swollen grotesquely and was throbbing.
She knew she had to get further inland top get help. Looking around trying to find a fragment of familiarity amongst the trees anything that would help her remind her of the direction of the city square, but there was nothing.
Several yards away in some of the low lying bushes she saw movement.
She quickly grabbed a branch that was lying next to her, plucking off the leaves making it into a makeshift weapon. Two dusty brown dogs burst from the bushes panting and heading for her they both sucked in their tongues sniffed her bare feet, to her legs up to her hands, one licked it and the other licked her face. They both went to drink nosily from the water next to her.
She heard footfalls and someone trying to catch their breath, a young man emerged from the bushes.
“You dogs will be the death of me.” He panted, then noticed her and straightened up,”I hope your husband didn’t leave you like this”
“I can help you to Tekr’s tavern, it’s not far from here. Can you stand?” He looked her over for a moment as if unsure.
“I can try.”
He held out a hand for her, she grabbed it and was pulled vertical. When she tried to take a step forward and pain shot suddenly through her leg she let go of his hand about to fall when his arms shot out and lifted her up as if she weighed nothing. She opened her mouth to protest
“Trust me, it will be easier than you walking and injuring yourself worse. I don’t think you’ll be wandering in the woods for quite some time. Name’s Delmar by the way.”
“Seline.” She provided before she could stop herself.
“Well Miss Seline if you are ready we can head towards the tavern.”