A scream cut through the forest like a knife through an enemy’s body.
So swiftly, a beginners ear would not have heard it.
Soon as the echo of it dissolves in the air, the forest resumes in its presence, as if to forget the sound and the pain with it.
Trained ears pick up on it, inspect and evaluate it.
These said trained ears, hush through the thicket with the swift movement of a lynx.
Darkness envelops the bushes and trees she is jumping through an over to get to the source of the cutting scream.
She stops at a tree, her neatly braided hair adorned with a thick ribbon dangling around to land on her torso, she smelled the blood in the air.
A couple of heaps forwards she feels the earth, her instincts urging her to find the end to this trail.
Her head snapped up from the ground as the wind blew a breeze in her face, carrying the familiar smell of iron and…
She picked up her pace, knowing she was on a time limit now.
She followed the long grass heap till the end of the cliff. Looking down to see the sunlight basking on the open field.
Looking around to find whatever injured thing was near, her gaze trailed over the hidden field directly under the cliff, dipped in the shadow it cast.
A sound of disbelief escaped her as she hurried downwards, hanging from rock to find the hunched figure in the grass.
Her hand already scooping up her belt to reveal a leather flask filled with water, she examined the body.
She tore the bag off of his body, laying him flat on the earth. His breath was shallow but steady.
Pressing her ear on his chest she encountered and rhythm that made the anxious feeling in her chest fade.
Still, this was not over.
Her fingers moved all over his body to inspect what she was dealing with.
He winced in his unconscious state, giving another good signal but showing his bruised ribs.
Hands thrumming across his legs and arms to check for a last time, she concluded her initial examination.
Wait, the blood.
Gritting her teeth she moved her hand behind his head, warm blood greeting her.
Cursing herself for not checking that in the first place she took him by the shoulder and flipped him to the side.
The wound had almost stopped bleeding completely, a slow trickle coming out of it.
She let the water from her vial flow over it and tore a piece of fabric to stop the bleeding.
It was no use, he needed a proper healer.
Reluctantly, she drew her hands to her lips and sealed two fingers between them.
A series and low pitched whistle noises erupted from her.
Shortly thereafter, a familiar companion trotted towards her.
The wolf started to pick up his pace as he sniffed the blood on the floor.
His snout hovered over the injured man’s head and scooped his arm up.
The woman helped to heave him onto the wolf’s back and climbed up herself. With a whistle they embarked, her village as the destination.
“HAH-“, his scream was cut short as he came to wake. Beads of sweat trickling down his body.
The sudden movement of him sitting up in the process seemed to be a bad idea, a low pain thrumming in the back of his head while a sharp one arose in his abdomen.
His surroundings were unfamiliar and so were his clothes.
Or lack thereof.
A quick glance under the sheet that was draped over him revealed his pants.
A sigh escaped him. Where was he?
He remembered his way through the forest, walking through bushes and thicket
The memory of falling made his hand jump to his head, feeling the injury that was now wrapped on something.
Who helped me?
To answer his own question, the woman in question walked through the huts door, holding a pot in her hand.
Her eyes fell on the man before her.
His hair was still as unruly as when she found him, the mahogany locks framing his face. She noticed his bronze eyes, staring right through her.
One would call him handsome.
She could almost see the rapid thoughts his brain was producing, a fight or flight reflex apparent in the way he clenched his sheets.
She put down the pot and slowly moved closer.
Before she reached him she held her hand on her chest and bowed slightly, smiling to ease his concern.
It partly worked, he was still on edge.
“Where am I?”
She didn’t respond.
Does she understand him?
Instead, she held the pot again and motioned to his head, a question in her eyes.
He held his hand close to his neck and nodded.
With ease, she sat down next to him, removed the bandages and inspected the wound with her fingers.
“What is that?”, a cold shiver running down his spine as she applied something cold to his wound.
No reply again.
She bandaged everything again and retracted herself from him.
His eyes were full of wonder, yet he tried to suck answers out of everything he could observe.
The woman smiled and tapped her mouth with her palm and shook her head slightly.
“You can’t talk?”, he asked, still trying to figure her out.
Her head swayed from side to side, eyes looking up and a smug smile etching on her face.
“Am I close? You can talk but you won’t?”, he tried and the woman clapped happily.
Quick witted he was, and he observed carefully. He wasn’t like the rest of the humans getting stranded here.
“Thank you for helping me and taking care of me”, he bowed slowly. Now it was the woman’s turn to smile. She was impressed at his decency.
Sadly, this kind of respect was uncommon.
She only knew the scrutinizing taunts of her not talking and the different culture being a menace to others.
What a refreshing sight.
The sound of someone entering the room startled her, and she turned around to see the chief coming inside.
“Welcome stranger”, her mysterious voice hushed while she looked at the young woman and nodded.
The latter slowly left the tent while stealing a last glance at him.
“You talk”, he remarked, his head bowing slowly but his eyes didn’t leave the new figure in the room.
“I do, but I am probably the only voice you’ll hear for now”, she replied.
“What happened ?”
“One of our women heard you scream as you fell down a cliff and brought you here. It is a miracle you didn’t die. In fact your wounds are almost healed”.
The woman kneeled next to him.
“Be sure to get well and leave as soon as you can”, she stood up and left the tent swiftly and silently.
Alone at last, he dropped his head.
How did all of this happen?
The image of the girl flashed through his head.
She saved me.