:: Casaday Evening, the 92nd of Jhyel's Slumber ::
A stiff and sore Theo, making sure that no wolves awaited a fresh supply of scurry meat, slowly and clumsily scampered down from his small rocky plateau.
"I'd just like to see those wolves come back so I can show them what-for. Just *look* at what they've down to my fur.” Theo angrily muttered out loud, making himself as presentable as he could, considering the circumstances.
A short walk brought Theo back to the remains of the camp, and still there was paw nor tail of Saw.
"Sawwwwwww, you lousy excuse for wolf food, come out here.” screamed Theo, forcing himself to not let worry enter his mind.
"Let's see, if *I* were a Saw, where would I hide” exclaimed Theo, placing a finger to his out-thrust lips.
Theo began examining the muddy soil of the campsite for tracks, and realized that this wasn't going to be easy, judging from the chaotic array of prints. But the ground was a willing canvas, and before long, Theo was able to pick out the distinctive four-padded scurry footprint. After losing the trail a few times, Theo finally managed to find a narrow aperture formed by a jumbled arrangement of stones, boulders and earth.
Peeking through, Theo was able to see the distinctive bright clothing, tattered though it was by the evening's confusion.
"Why, Mr. Redtail, Solenari begins to climb to her highest peak, and yet *still* you lay about!” said Theo with a grin which was a mix of sarcasm and relief.
"Unnhhhh...” was about all Saw seemed able to manage.
"Oh, it can't be as bad as all that. Well, it's good to see you haven't paid a visit to our good friend Majashara."
* * *
As Theo and Saw relaxed at the spring, eating Acisha nuts, the previous night of horror and fog seemed to vanish into a dim memory, despite the aches and pains.
"You don't look quite so bad as you did this morning Saw, could it be that you're recovering?"
"I've felt better.” grimaced Saw.
"He's looked better, too.” thought Theo to himself.
What remained of Saw's left arm hung limply in a crude, blood stained tatter of a sling. He had some scabbed over claw marks across his face and stomach, and the tip of his tail was apparently in some wolf's stomach. But apparently the wounds were deeper than Theo first had thought.
"Well this looks like a much more preferable place to camp, wouldn't you say.” declared Theo, smiling up at the lofty tower of stone which he leaned against and waving a ragged sword hand at the Acisha tree and fresh water spring.
As Saw was numbly nodding, Theo marked the noted change in his friend since the previous morning. None of the good natured chatter and playful ribbing.
"Let's call it a night, Saw. I'll keep first watch.” Theo said quietly, with a sympathetic pat on the wounded scurry's shoulder.
* * *
Devouring the bright, afternoon sunlight, the dark, shadowy trees which clung to the dark soil were sinister and menacing, even from this distance. A gentle plain of brown grass led down to the edge of the ominous forest, which Theo and Saw where observing with noticeable consternation. Theo couldn't help but feel the hackles on the back of his neck rise.
"Welcoming looking place, isn't it?” said Saw in a voice heavy with bitterness.
"It doesn't exactly give off the warmth and friendliness of the Whimsical Troll, does it?, said Theo, eyes riveted to the cold, adumbration beneath the trees.
As they looked at the weald, the two scurries noticed a light flurry of snow begin to float downward from the leaden clouds and gather on the dead, brown grass at their feet.
"Let's head for the shelter of the trees while it's light, Saw.” said Theo as he shouldered his pack and advanced towards the eerie forest...