Chapter 3

Sebastian lay unconscious for hours after being healed, and he hardly remembered any of it. He remembered Niythra and her magic touching his chest. He remembered how he had fought like hell to keep from screaming. His chest ached and he could feel each broken rib realigning itself, each splinter delicately piecing its self back together. Eventually the pain began to fade, or rather, he began to fade. Rather than saying that the pain left him, it was as if he was being pulled away from it. He didn't see much, just colours fading in an out of his vision, no pictures, just mottled colours. His body sunk into numbness, hearing muffled murmurs around him.

It took him awhile to wake up from the haze and when he did he was too groggy to fully piece together what was happening. The first thing he saw had been Sayble, her face looking down at him, night-time eyes twinkling stars onto his face. She grimaced as she watched him, her mouth moving slowly. But Sebastian's hearing hadn't come to him and she was speaking to him in vain. After her, he saw other things, leaves from trees behind her, orange skies, pink clouds. Soon his other senses returned to him and he could hear her speaking softly to him.

"Can you hear me? Sebastian, can you hear me?" She mumbled to him though he didn't respond straight away. He let out a groan and pushed himself up, feeling her arms on his shoulders.

"Not so fast, you'll still be a bit dizzy for a while. Slowly..." She whispered to him and he turned his head, blinking away the last of the haze and rubbing his head. His body became more aware of the feelings around him, for instance, his ribs gave of a tiny throbbing, as if there was only a small bruise left behind. His leg was perfectly painless now and he could feel her warm hand retreating from his shoulder blade as she stepped away, eyeing him carefully.

"How do you feel?" He rubbed hi temples and took a deep breath of fresh, crisp air, letting it fill his lungs.

"Better... much better." She nodded and stretched her arms into the air. He noticed her dishevelled appearance, as if she hadn't slept in a while. She gave a yawn and gestured to his armour beside him.

"When you're ready to go, everything I found you with is waiting."

"Why the hurry to see me go?"

"I'll be packing up camp soon; I have to be heading out of the area. Niythra is asleep in the tent; you may want to thank her before departing." She rubbed her eyes and bent down, picking up a flask of water and holding it out to him. He took it gratefully and gulped the water down. She nodded meekly and turned away, setting to pack up the rest of her camp. Sebastian stood up and moved towards his things. His bones were stiff and his head was swaying slightly, but the pain was gone and he was able to pick up his shirt and pull it over his head. He had his armour on soon, though it took time. He slung his arrows over his back and examined his bow. It had been crafted out of steel and plated in gold. It was made of last and had thick engraving along the plating. He tilted his head as he placed it over his back, relieved that nothing had been damaged in the accident. As he turned around, he noticed Sayble's gaze on him and raised his eyebrows, smirking softly.

"Problem Miss?" She straightened up and gestured with her hand to his bow.

"Where did you get that?"
"It was a crafted for me for my eighteenth."

"It looks like it is worth more coin than I've ever owned." She eyed him sceptically. "Who ever gave it to you was very generous."

He nodded briefly, deflecting her gaze by turning away and examining his dagger in his belt. Sayble huffed briefly and rubbed her forehead, bending over to disassemble the tent.

"Niythra, I'm taking this thing down. May want to be out before I'm done." A groggy moan could be heard from the tent and it rustled. Niythra exited the tent slowly and stretched her small body. She smiled at Sebastian and moved towards him.

"How do you feel?"
"Much better, you are certainly good at what you do." She smiled at him and held out her hand.

"It was a pleasure to have met you, Mr. Jacobs." He blinked a bit with confusion, forgetting for a moment the false name he had given. If Niythra didn't notice, sayble certainly did and she eyed him from the corner of her eyes as he took Niythra's hand and shook it firmly.

"You too, Niythra. Where are you heading now?"

"Home, I left my house and cat un-attended." She bowed her head and let go of his hand, turning to hug sayble before departing the camp in silence.

Sayble folded up the tent and tied it with rope before tightening it onto a small pack. When folded, it hardly looked as big as it had been. Sayble stood up and opened her mouth as if about to ask him something. But shook her head and kicked sand over the remaining embers in the fire pit.

"Sayble? Something you wish to know?" He crossed his arms.

"I was wondering if you actually knew how to get to Hawlaren form here or if you planned to stop and ask directions constantly.

"I've been doing well so far."
She raised her eyebrow and scoffed. "I found you buried alive in a cave after some kind of fight. That's not well at all." He rolled his eyes.

"A minor setback." She sighed and brushed her fingers through her hair.

"Well do you have a better idea?"
"If I were travelling that far, I'd get a guide, someone who knows the pathways and safest routes to travel without being accused of being illegal immigrants."
"Like who?" He frowned, knowing she was correct. He had started this journey based on impulse and intuition. But his latest adventure had caused delays and he wished to avoid another one. She shrugged and bit her lip. He looked her over and studied her gear. Beside her back pack, lay what looked like some sort of armour. Though it looked very light in weight. She was clearly a ranger used to roaming forests and farmland without getting in too much trouble.

"What about you?" He stared at her. "You'd be perfect for the job."

She bolted upright and stared at him, shaking her head.

"No chance, why the hell would I have any interest in leading you there?" She picked up her armour and slid it on carefully. Strapping it on and sliding two blades over her shoulder and checking what looked to be a pouch of throwing knives, strapped to her waist. His eyes narrowed as she turned away, starting to walk off.

"I'll pay you." She stopped in her tracks for a few moments and turned slightly, not looking him in the eyes.

"How much?" She looked at the floor, ringlets falling over her face.

"Name your price."

She looked him in the eyes, raising her eyebrow.

"You can't even afford to get a caravan to Hawlaren, so how could you pay me?"

"I have money with my family. When I return home, I'll pay you accordingly."

"Five hundred coin, that's my price. Take it or leave it." His eyes widened slightly.

"Why would a ranger need that kind of money?"

"My business, do you need my help or not?" He scowled and walked towards her, holding out his hand to make the deal.

"Alright, Sayble. You have a deal. Guide me to Hawlaren as fast as possible and Earn the five hundred coin." She looked down at his hand before stretching out her own arm and taking it, shaking it tightly.

"Deal." She smirked. "I hope you are ready for one hell of a walk, because the nearest inn in that direction is five days away. Hope you know How to pitch a tent." She chuckled and waved him towards her and turned around, heading put the campsite. He followed her in silence.