I remember that crisp morning when we left Rafellum, I remember looking around at the others and could see their fear and excitement in their eyes, the same feelings that matched my own.
We all walked out of town together, none of us spoke for those first few hours of travel. It was like we were in a daze. We went on like this for nearly a week, speaking little or nothing, finding reason to continue on as we encountered more of these beasts and it was decided that we would continue on to Meliora to see if they were under the wrath of these beasts as well.
We had traveled for nearly week and the first day we entered into the forest would be the most memorable, I remember gagging from the stench as we came upon the corpse, its flesh had been flayed from the body and had been there for a few days from what we could determine, there were tracks nearby and I quickly chose to examine those as I wanted to be away from the grizzly scene as fast I could. It seemed my years of tracking had paid off as I could determine that we were dealing with an elf, based off the deeper toe and ball impression as opposed to the heel.
There was one thing that always bothered me about that discovery, even long after when we found ourselves deep into the mountains. Why was the track even there for me to find? Was he in that much of a hurry? Or was it left for us to find on purpose? Regardless I’m getting ahead of myself.
As we continued on, we came to a small clearing where there was a tent with some things set up inside, but no one around. We decided to wait the night at the edge of the clearing to see if anyone ever came back. To be honest even if they did I don’t think I would have ever noticed, my attentions were too much on Sophia and how the moonlight played off her skin and made her eyes sparkle when she would look over to whisper if I saw anything. I certainly hadn’t noticed the goblins that had made their way into the camp until they had attacked us.
The fight was a difficult one but we eventually gained some ground and finished them off, I knew from the sounds of battle that if the person who’s tent that was, was anywhere nearby, they certainly wouldn’t be coming back now.
The morning brought more traveling until we found a rolled piece of parchment stuffed inside a knotted old tree, it was a magical scroll that contained puzzles to solve to be able to read on to the next. We were finally able to solve them all and the message was revealed to us, a warning by the one that we were following this whole time.
We started to continue on but when it started to rain heavily we thought it best to stop and find shelter. With the exception of Raze I don’t think any of the others had ever slept under a tree. I spent my time on watch stripping pine needles and talking to Sophia and Orin, it took every part of my being to not stumble over my words as I spoke to her and as part of me wished that I was alone with her I was glad Orin was there to distract her enough so she didn’t notice my nervousness.
When morning came I had decided to try and sneak away so that I could clean up a bit. I had remembered seeing a small pond tucked away in the forest and thought that would be the best place. I pushed my way through the thicker brush and was nearly there when I could see Sophia, she had her back to me and had waded out into the water. I remember freezing solid and with wide eyes watching her as she bathed, the water came just above her rear and I couldn’t remember seeing anything so beautiful as she would lean and cup at the water and bring it to wash over her. I crept back trying to not make a sound, not wanting her to know that I had seen her.
As we traveled for the next few days whenever I would look to Sophia I couldn’t help but think about what I had seen. It made conversation with her rather awkward and I remember talking to her about nature and animal droppings of all things, she must have thought me to be a complete fool.