"This is insane!" came a frustrated yelp.
The young redhead had found herself staring at the exact same tree she had when all of this silliness first began. Three times she ended up staring at its same bark and moss. Apparently the warning mark had lost its touch. If she was to get anywhere away from the tree, why is it she kept walking into it?
"I must be going insane if I'm talking to myself," she grumbled. She was tired, the sky was getting darker by the minute, and her outfit was soon to be ruined. Mud everywhere! Even on her pretty-pissed face. This was just cruel. She felt like a caged animal, wondering if she should attempt escape once more, or sit, awaiting a slow, hungry death.
"Willow, what have you gotten yourself into?" she whispered to herself.
She paced around a while before giving a huge kick to the tree's upturned root.
"Ow! Oh OW!"
A hoping-in-pain redhead is always a joy for any recently kicked tree to watch.
Especially if she falls mid-hop.
"When Mummy and Daddy hear of this they will beg for my forgiveness..."
"Caranthía, it is good to see you again," came the soft reply.
The young, brunette warrior, clad in the usual minimal bodice and skirt with two daggers latched onto each leg, walked forward, placing her staff down before the elderly woman. She knelt, eyes cast down, in a show of submission.
"I come in peace, mistress," came the almost apologetic statement.
"And yet you wear the ceremonial war-weaponry." This woman was no fool.
"There has been a breach of our territory," came a rushed explanation.
"Yes, near the Sacred Seven."
"Really? Well, well, well... it's been ages since we've had a trapping..." the old woman trailed off contentedly; dealing with intruders used to be her specialty. Make no mistake; this woman was not your average bake-you-cookies-and-give-you-kisses grandmother. She was a killer at heart, similar to all her granddaughters. Well, that is, with one exception.
"What do you wish to do with him?"
"A strike and kill-his body will warn others. He's only come thus far," the girl said, withdrawing a map of the surrounding land. She pointed to the far top right corner, "what should our plan of attack be?"
"The usual. If he attempts to fight, which he will-they usually do-kill him. If not... if not, bring him here, we shall ask how it happened he got so lost... so very, very lost," the old woman had a glint in her eye.
"And then we kill him?"
"We shall see. Go; take the others to surround him. We do not know what to expect; it has been a while since we last were approached. The fire shooting weapons might have evolved since before."
"Thank you, Grandmother Thea. Your daughters will not let you down." The slim, yet toned brunette made her exit as the elderly woman looked down at the map once more. Tracing her hand around the hook formation of the trees. She stabbed right in the middle with her claw of a finger.
Willow awoke with a start. Rain had started to drizzle down, and sleeping on a not too comfortable tree root had given her a backache. She slowly arose, put her helmet back on her short, curled hair, and in doing so managed to wipe more mud on her already caked face.
"Ugh! This is just perfect! First, I land myself on some silly adventure, then get lost in the thick of an African jungle, and now I've managed to cover my, " she looked down, "...whole body..." she looked up, "in mud!"
Her outfit did look a little worse for the wear. The once-kaki suit began to take a dark-brown tint with a few specs of rain here and there.
"What did I do to you, tree?" she asked angrily, "I only wanted to get away from the boring life of Oxford, and now I'm here, stuck for God knows how long until that silly Whahemia comes back!"
She heard a crack behind her. A tree bush's limb seemed to have broken due to the pounding of the rain. During her own torrent, the weather had picked up it's pace, perhaps to keep up with the fuming redhead.
"If he comes back..." she whispered.
She started wiping off the clumps of mud from her boots, however in doing so she managed to just smear more on. Slowly, the realization of how alone she really was sunk in. The fact that she was cold and shivering from the wet didn't help either.
"No, no tears, none!" she almost screamed.
"I did not survive seven years of the teasing and mockery of secondary education to die crying over being alone!"
She looked around and sniffed.
"I will find myself a way out of here. I'll just start in the morning when I can actually see where I'm going," she nodded her dripping head in confirmation. It seemed her lone voice was a comfort in of itself. So much so, she began to wonder if she would ever hear another human's voice.
"CARANTHIA, MA'ALITHIA PAH EMPUR!"
Then again, she could do without the yelling.
The redhead looked up immediately, and as soon as she did, she wished she hadn't. She barely went for her handgun before she was knocked to the side. Rolling down to the ground, she pushed herself up on her knees, only to have a sharp blade at her throat. She stayed stock-still.
"Palath'ania, mela ithania halem," came the same voice softer, but no less threatening.
Willow slowly turned her head in utter surprise at the view of a woman's (bare!) taught torso, and the slim form of her captor's long knife. Sharp to the touch, and barely above her collarbone.
"Palath'ania, Wamahiea, wekemya belah," the voice said again.
Willow noticed her hands were being pulled behind her. Apparently the woman standing next to her was giving orders. There were others. Several others. She looked around to see many hardened faces-all female-staring back at her through the brush. Similar outfits adorned each one, staffs, knives, and daggers in each woman's hand. Their skin seemed darkened and used repeatedly under the sun, scarred and scathed.
Such a pity, they could do with a little Fortnum and Mason skin cream.
But how long had they been there? Had they heard her talk for all that time only to now show themselves?
Willow's indignant frown found it's way back to its surprised expression with a sudden movement on either side of her. She was lifted, effortlessly, to her feet by two other warrior-women.
Well, at least they aren't savages.
"Oh, thank-" Willow said graciously.
"BELAH!" came the voice, along with a fierce face staring straight at her.
Willow took that word to mean something along the lines of "shut it" in Amazonian. Oh god, that's what they were, weren't they? Why didn't Whahemia just say so?!
So she shut it. Her mouth snapped closed and an audible gulp could be heard. That seemed to satisfy the fierce woman, as she smirked in response. Willow did not like the feeling of helplessness, nor the idea that she was the inferior. It was a bitter, and weak taste in her mouth, so she decided to spit it out.
Silence enfolded the women as Willow stared back, pissed as ever, at the seemingly calm warrior-woman. Willow's mucus landed on the woman's right cheek, only to slide down and land on the ground next to her.
Willow pondered for a moment if perhaps the silence was a positive change from the screaming and yelling of words she knew no OED would contain.
Then again, maybe not.
Blackness consumed Willow and she was falling, falling towards a pit of nothingness. Rough arms grabbed the redhead's limp form, and she was being dragged before her head finally fell forward in resignation.
Mental note: Do not spit on Amazon women, they do not take to it lightly.