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The Magician Within Chapter 5
Hide and Seek
Lilah and Tristian exited from the mouth of the Dragon’s Keep but found they had a problem to face head on. The bandits were back and there was only one way down off the mountain. They had to find a way to outsmart them or they would surely be captured. Lilah tapped Tristian on the shoulder and pointed up to a boulder that was large enough to hide them both. Tristian nodded in agreement and moved quickly as the bandits moved in closer. “Do you think they will look for us here? I’m not sure how long we will be able to hide here one of them is bound to see us if they spread out far enough.” Lilah said having second thoughts about her idea. Tristian peeked around to check out their surroundings to find five large men that looked more like grizzly bears than men spread out searching everywhere for any sign of movement. Tristian tried to map out an escape however everything was looking dim, the only escape was to go up but there was an excellent chance they would be discovered before they got a few feet. They needed a distraction but he wasn’t even sure how to but that off. “We need a diversion Lilah and quick, any ideas?” She started looking around but all she had at her disposal was rocks and dirt. She picked up a handful and when the bandit’s attention was else where she threw as hard as she could and hit on the other end of the cave. Their attention was diverted to that area and moved quickly to inspect it. Tristian and Lilah moved as the bandits did. Tristian’s biggest fear at the moment was the horses giving them away even though Lilah was ahead of the game she was feeding each of them fruit to keep them calm. She took the reins of the strongest looking steed and mounted him she put her hand out and motioned for Tristian to jump. Just as he hit they were discovered by the bandits “There they are!” One of the burly bullies called out. Another yelled “They’re taking the horses, catch them now!” But with a small whistle Lilah was off and the pack of horses followed her loyally in hopes of more treats. Once they were a fair distance away from danger they released the horses and left them a few treats behind. Once at the foot of the mountain Lilah retrieved their satchels from the hiding spot and they made a run for the woods.
They could hear the bandits in the distances yelling for their horses as they tried to catch them. Lilah was moving quickly gathering leaves and other things from the forest floor, Tristian was confused by her actions. “Lilah what are you doing we have to keep moving or they will catch us.” She shook her head and grabbed him by his arm and drug him to some thick brush “Lie down under this, there is no time to run they will catch us before we reach the edge of the forest.” Tristian trusted her judgment her survival on her own all these years. She covered him with leaves and moss and when she felt he was safely camouflaged Lilah scaled to the top of a large oak nearby so that she could keep an eye on Tristian and the bandits.
Tristian felt he had been lying in the dirt for hours when he heard the approach of hooves. He began to get nervous that he would be stepped on and crushed to death by the horses. “Search the woods they haven’t gotten far.” The man’s voice was hoarse from all the yelling and he was breathing hard still from chasing them on foot for the short distance down the mountain. Tristian kept watching their movements but couldn’t for some reason take his eyes off the man above him. He seemed determined to find Lilah more than the others. Why?
“There is no sign of them Markus. They are gone. If they didn’t let up off their pace they could have made it to the edge of the forest by now.” Another horseman said “Gabriel that is not the answer I am willing to hear right now. I want Lilah in my possession and that boy dead. Do you understand? Or it will be you explaining to Mason why we do not have his bride and then explain to her father why we failed to catch her and pay him back the money you have already gambled away. NOW FIND THEM!!” He gave his orders harsh and cold.
It wasn’t long after that when the bandits moved out and started their search back toward the north. Tristian decided to detour as far out of sight as possible which meant his trip would take longer. He held his breath and counted to twenty before he started to remove the leaves and dirt from his body so he could hear to make sure they didn’t to decide to double back and catch them trying to make a run for it. Once back on his feet he was flicking all the bugs off him, the creepy crawly insects made his body quiver, with all their little feelers crawling over his skin, he could even feel one in his ear. Once he got over his little fit he began looking for Lilah.
Lilah knew the woods well she felt safe in them she could make her way through them with making sound and that’s why she could easily follow the bandits to the edge of the woods undiscovered. She felt guilty for leaving Tristian behind but she also knew he would be safer there and besides he would only slow her down. Once they were moving on out of the area she would return back to him and they would continue their journey. She watched the group of men argue over how a little girl and a puny boy escaped them without so much as a foot print left behind. “We searched every inch of that area Markus, there was no sign of them.” Mason bowed his chest out standing by his skills. “Well they didn’t just fly away my dear Mason.” Markus snapped sarcastically. “Do you want to go back and search the area again?” Mason offered. “No we will move forward we will find them soon enough there aren’t many wooded areas between here and the next village, they will be needing supplies soon I imagine.” Markus waved his hand forward to move out and they rode away.
Tristian was worried and panic that he could not find Lilah. Where is she? Captured? Hurt? Dead? He was about to start shouting when he seen her running back toward him from the darkness of the woods. “Where have you been? You scared the death out of me?” His voice was harsh and hard. Something she rarely heard out of him. He didn’t give her a chance to answer before he wrapped his arms around her and took a breath of relief. “I’m sorry I followed them to see if they were going to continue the search or move on. We have to avoid the next village if we can. Try to gather as much as we can from the woods and river to survive to our next destination. They will be waiting for us there. I will gather food and you can get the water from the stream not far from here.” Lilah wasn’t one to give orders but she knew this was important.
Tristian did not argue and gathered all the containers that would hold water and made his way to the stream while Lilah moved out to hunt for their next few meals.
She watched and waited as a small rabbit made its way toward her. She readied her spear that she had crafted when she was younger and learning to survive it had become her closest friend, it knew all of her secrets and all of her dreams. And it was there for her when nobody else is. With an inhale she let the spear fly and with an exhale it hit its target. She continued her hunt catching another three rabbits and a dozen fish at the river. After hunting she gathered some mushrooms, berries, and other edible plants. She also knew of a few fields where they could gather fresh vegetables and grain.
Once they were done they packed everything nice and neat in each satchel and headed east for the Forest of Gala.
Would Tristian be able to pull the spell off or would the wolves be dining on them?