A few hours later and it is completely dark. Alsi is doing his best not to run into every branch that comes his way, but finds himself losing and has resigned himself to just plodding along with his arms held up to protect his face from the malicious boughs. Myran is navigating by the moon and what signs she can find, wandering from copse to copse in what she hopes is a reasonably straight line. They are making good time, Myran reminds herself, and remarkably they have been left alone by—

Perhaps she spoke too soon, she thinks frantically as a chill hand shoots up from beneath the leaf litter to wrap clammy fingers around her ankle. She tries to shake it off, but it holds tight, and Alsi runs into her as the owner of said appendage begins to emerge from under their blanket of decomposing vegetation.

"Good evening, milady," cackles the person who had been lying beneath the ground as he clambers to his feet, swaying slightly. It is a wiry man, slightly taller than Alsi, his bluish skin smudged with dirt and leaf bits, his scraggly black hair full of twigs, strangely dressed in a complicated outfit- a coat covered in patches, threadbare trousers, and tattoos twining up his arms from his wrists. His eyes glow slightly in the darkness, an unnatural-looking shade of yellow-green, and his teeth are almost too sharp. He ruffles his hair shortly to get out the worst of the leaves and sticks and such, and continues talking excitedly as he shakes out his clothing and brushes it down. "You haven't been this way in almost twenty years; I was waiting for you."

"What- w-wha…" Only Myran in front of him, arms spread protectively, and the rope binding them together keeps Alsi from running as fast as he could in the opposite direction, and as it is he can't keep himself from cowering. He flinches when the man's eyes light upon him, and tries to hide behind the slight female between them when his smile widens into a grin.

"Ooh, what's this? What's he doing here?" The man tries playfully to get around Myran, who moves to block him. "Are you taking him to the market to sell him? I heard the last one you brought was all gristle, but this one looks nice and tender." He reaches out to try and grab Alsi, but Myran smacks his hand, glaring angrily, and dives into her pack for a small, bright dagger that makes the man gasp in mock terror and leap back, giggling. "Aww, don't be so mean, I was only asking."

Myran snarls wordlessly and pushes past him, yanking Alsi along by virtue of the harness fastened still about his chest. He stumbles, doing his best to keep up, and the strange man prances after them, snickering all the way.

Seven hours pass as they tramp along, Myran searching, Alsi blundering, and the blue-tinged person they seem to have attracted bringing up the rear, dashing forward every so often to grope Alsi and startle him into falling.