Around noontime Swallowpad still flew overhead. A few minutes ago he swooped down and landed on my shoulder, he hold me that he was going off to find some food and a nice shelter for tonight. "It's just you and me now Jewel," I mutter as I look around. Directly in front of me I can see the Rush River. From the river Jewel, Swallowpad and I will begin to head south and cross the Glasswater Creek and then go across the mountains to Anvard. The closer I get to the river the clearer the sound of the rushing water flowing down to the Eastern Ocean.
I lead Jewel up the the shore of the river. The pounding of the water is as loud as it can be and I can't seem to think straight. I slide off of Jewel's back and take the saddlepack from him. "Jewel, you find your own way across. I'll meet you on the other side okay?"
Jewel whinnies then trots off upstream where the waters could possibly be calmer and safer to cross. I fasten the saddlepack over my shoulders and begin to wade into the waters. As soon as I get past my ankles the bitterly cold water cut straight threw my clothes and ate at my skin. I couldn't bear to think of how I could make my way through the river but I kept going anyway. The arctic chilled waters slowly rise to my shoulders and I begin to make my way through the river without the use of the riverbottom. Directly in the middle there is a sharp tug from below, I feel myself being sucked underneath the surface. Before I could slip all the way under I saw a splash, but that didn't matter. All color drained from the world and I was left with blacks, greys and whites. Then, nothing. I fell into the dark void of unconsciousness and my body floated lifelessly through the icy water.
My mind was foggy and even sitting beside a fire my body wasn't warm. I was just beginning to wake up when I remembered what happened in the river. I never managed to swim out of it. The last thing I remember were strong arms grabbing me around the waist and swimming toward the surface. Someone had saved me.
I had woken up enough to open my eyes and try sitting up. But as I was, my efforts were stopped by the warm touch of my rescuer. I heard my rescuers voice for the first time right then. "Now now, Aria, you have to stay down, or you won't heal fully." The voice was one of a strong young man about my age, so maybe seventeen. But what surprised me the most was how he knew my name. I opened my mouth to ask him but it was as if he could hear my thoughts. "I known you since you were little Aria. But I don't suppose you remember, I'm Trevor," the boy said to me.
"Since I was little? You talk about it like you were older back then but you're only like, what? Seventeen?" I reply to him, managing to find my voice right away.
"Well no, I'm not exactly seventeen. But if you'd like to know, I was your protector but the royal court said you didn't need one. But I kept my eye on you anyway."
"So you're a stalker," I say bluntly. I manage to turn myself away from him, while ignoring the slight pressure on my head. I raise my hand but Trevor quickly grabs at my wrist to stop me from touching the spot on my head.
"I wouldn't do that Aria."
"Why shouldn't I? It's my head," I reply sourly, getting more and more annoyed by his constant presence.
"Well, after you went unconscious, you went under and kind of hit your head on a rock. And you quite possibly could've died if I hadn't jumped in after you from blood loss." Trevor's voice was played out in a flat but amused voice, which only made me more frustrated. Frankly, I didn't want to be indebted to him because he saved my life.
And yet again, it was like he was reading my thoughts. "Oh I don't play that game miss Aria. Saving a persons life just once is no fun. I play by the rule of three."
"Rule of three? What in the world is that?" I ask as I struggle to stand.
"I'm surprised you haven't heard of it 'queen' Aria. The rule of three is exactly that. If you save someone's life three times they are foever bound to the person who saved them," Trevor says with a cocky smile. "And you'll be forever indebted to me if I have to save your life twice more."
"Oh I don't think so Mr. Trevor. I just met you and I want to leave. Now. How long exactly have I been here?"
"Just a day. You fell in the river yesterday just past high noon. And if you're going anywhere I'm coming with you because your wound still needs to heal," Trevor replies, his tone becomes hard and serious.
"Okay, fine. You win. Happy?" I mutter getting quite annoyed. "By the way, did you ever find my horse?"
"I didn't have to find him Aria. He came searching for you, and in the process almost trampled me when I was stitching your head," he said remembering the scene.
"That's good. It's nice to know Jewel dislikes you as much as I do," I say as I finally get to my feet and stumble over to where Jewel is tethered. Again, Trevor follows me as I stand beside Jewel. "Didn't I tell you to go away a few minutes ago?" Trevor shakes his head happlily. "Then go away!"
"But I have to-"
"No! You don't have to do anything! I don't know you nor do I want to," I say firmly, while staring straight at him. I scramble to get onto Jewel, I know I looked like a fool but I finally got steadied. "Come on Jewel, lets get away from this lunatic."
I pulled on Jewel's reins and he whirled around then he began to trot away from where I left Trevor. Looking back at him, he had his mouth wide open. "Hey nutcase! Close your mouth, or you'll catch bugs!"
To my surprise he actually listened, he closed his mouth abruptly then turned around and rushed around the camp cleaning up his things and stuffing things onto his pack. I needed to get away, and fast. Because, it's quite easy to find someone on a white horse in the middle of a forest during the fall. "Jewel, come on we gotta go faster!" He obeys and begins to do a steady canter, while weaving through the trees.
"ARIA! You can't go alone! You don't even know where you are!" It's Trevor. How in the world is he following me? And why? I've done perfectly fine on my own until now. Jewel breaks into a run, he feels my panic. My panic to get away from Trevor. Just as we make our way past a small hill a very big pitch black horse comes out of nowhere. It scares the heck out of Jewel and I. Jewel rears up and throws his head back whinnying very loudly. I fall off Jewel's back and just manage to roll out of the way before his hooves can crush any of my bones. "Jewel, calm down!" Trevor says as he jumps down off his horse and holds his hands up, this motion instantly calms Jewel down. Trevor runs over to me right after he tethered Jewel to a nearby tree. "Are you okay?"
I don't answer him as I curl up on the leafy ground. My hands are on my head. I possibly landed on my hands to break my fall but hit my head on something quite hard. Trevor gently put his arms around me. One beneath my knees and one behind my back. He lifted me up and hoisted me onto his horses back then climbed on behind me. "My horse, her name is Thunder. Now Aria, please. You have to rest." But I didn't have to listen to his words. I was already asleep before he could finish.
Trevor then untied Jewels reins, he tired a rope onto the reins and had Jewel follow along behind Thunder as we started off. Trevor made his way out of the forest and headed across a dull grassy plain as his arms were wrapped around my waist to keep me from falling. My head bobbed along with the rhythm of Thunder's pounding hooves as I dreamed about times of peace and harmony.