The Hestia elemental walked slowly through the trees. Dontarius stared at the creature. It’s blackened, wood-laden form smoldering underneath a ferocious flame. For a moment he was happy to be tied to a tree six feet from the ground.
The struggles of walking into a world of fantasy struck him as he watched and pondered. The logic of a walking fire elemental below him. He still struggled with the realities, the physics, and science of this brand new world but his heart yearned to find his wife.
Herocislies told him earlier in the day that his wife was likely struggling in the Living Prison. Not a happy place, he imagined.
The Hestia disappeared into the forest ahead of him and he again was left alone. Unlike the forests of Earth the trees were quiet and the only noises he heard were when things approached. Dontarius struggled with the restrains but the thick rope held tight. Unable to free himself he fell asleep as night fell over the sky above.
A noise snapped Dontarius awake and he opened his eyes. It was morning and the sun above shone through the canopy of trees. The noise repeated and he recognized it as a loud clap. It was closer and followed by shouting. It sounded, as if, someone was herding animals.
“Hey,” he shouted as he tried to turn.
Small footsteps returned his call and soon a dozen small sheep appeared beneath him. He sighed at the sight of something he knew. The sheep were followed by a tall man, with wings. The wings stood three feet above his short, brunette head of hair.
“Hey, you!” He shouted but the man ignored him. The man jumped and fought the urge to turn around. “Hey, can you help me out here. Come on man.”
The bird man turned around immediately, as if pulled by a rope. His thin, sculpted face would of turned any woman into jelly on Earth. Dontarius returned a smile sitting on the bird man’s face but it disappeared.
“I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else,” said the bird man. He spoke English but it seemed old and had a vocal punch at the end of the words.
“Hey, dude. You cannot leave me here” Dontarius spat, imitating the accent.
The bird man stopped and turned. He looked up and thought.
“You will make a valuable negotiation tool to the Mur. They often broker the train riders to the Conductor for souls.”
Dontarius grumbled. “I’m not interested in a negotiation.”
“Not much of a choice.”
“Right,” Dontarius replied. “Can you help me or not?”
“You remind me of another train rider I knew a hundred years ago. I think I can help you out.”
The bird man began to work on the knots as Dontarius waited and balanced upon the small wooden wedge that he stood on. As soon as the tension fell Dontarius fell forward. His knees unable to hold his weight. He fell into a bath of thick brown leaves and lay motionless for moments.
“I’m so sorry about this, friend.” The bird man tried to help him up but Dontarius’s legs were too weak. “Sit here.”
Dontarius sat against the tree as the bird man lead several of the sheep back near him. He then watched as a travois was framed in using large branches and layered with leaves.
“Alexander, will help you escape the forest. It can be quite daunting. Oh.. Alexander is me.”
Dontarius returned a smile and was happy to be on his way again to find Rebecca.