She remembers falling.

Obons’ screeches cutting through the air after her. The flapping of wings as he struggled to reach. A sharp pull as he grabbed at her fur with the sharp talons, even sinking a couple into her shoulder. It’s that final move that brings Gal out of her sudden sleep to reality.

The hand grabs onto Obon’s foot and she tries to pull up even as they both start to slip past the tops of trees and further down towards earth, primarily towards sharp rocks and jagged ice. Gal keeps cursing as she keeps pulling, trying to get back to the reigns of the saddle that were inches from her fingers. Obon was still crying out, flapping the stunted wings as hard as he could so they could gain some altitude. Any altitude. 

The griffon screeches again. Gal gives herself a heave up the body to get a hold of the saddle. She let out a sharp exclaim, not seeing the move also brought them further into the terrain, and thus bringing up new issues. Like the trees.

He slowed them down at least.

Gal slams back first into one of the sturdier trees around them, knocking out all air from her body and causing her grip to slip from around Obon’s reigns and foot. She can see enough to see the hands struggle to stay with them, but she’s also able to see Obon now going up vertically, and her going down. Gal tries her best in her state to grab at branches, slow down her descent even more, hell even get a stop, but each branch grabbed broke and the bark shredded off under her feet.

 She comes to the base quick, bouncing off the roots exposed and sending her up and away. More skidding, scrambling, but with the ice she keeps going, all the way to a rock formation. She hits into it right side first, and there’s a large CRACK before her body falls still, nestled in leaves and moss while staring up at the cloudy sky with crossed eyes.

It went quiet. Obon was gone.

“…Falling asleep in the saddle. Fucking brilliant,” Gal mutters out loud once the world came back to view, blinking away snowflakes and trying to get breath back into her lungs. Each breath though brought a sharp stab of pain into her, and she struggles not to cry out the deeper the breath. It takes her a moment, but she reaches to her side, right where she remembered the injury of the fight weeks before, and presses down to double check. Instantly she screams, kicking the rocks and leaves and twisting in place until she pulls the hand back.

Broken. Maybe two ribs.

Alone, mountless, and injured.

She wipes tears back as she returns to her breathing and calms down, careful not to take in such large breaths. It takes more time before she bothers sitting up and pushing herself up the rock, letting out whines as the ribs rub. Soon, she can sit back on the top of the outlay and she can hold her side without major pain, giving her a moment to think.

“…I try to do one thing. ONE.…Focus, I need to see where-” As she turns her head, the world spins around her and Gal has to grip her spot to gain some stability. Dammit, now she might also have hit her head somewhere along the way…Things were really wanting to make sure she knew her faults.

Soon it passes, and soon she’s able to look up and check the skies. Yes, the clouds are rolling in and taking light away, but even with its limited view she can at least make out the horizon, the soft smoke rolling from the Keep nearby. It gets her to mutter something of mileage, going so far on foot. It’s another look around, slower this time, before it makes a connection in her head of where she was. The Southern Mountains. Not great, but close enough. Least the distance wasn’t bad. If she started now, she could be back just at dawn, and no one would know if she was gone. 

“Fine, walk. Get to the gates and get healed. No worries. I can do this.” It’s the line that she keeps repeating to herself as she goes through her options and looks across the land. she adjusts in place with her left hand to have it under her enough that with a quick count off, she pushes up to her feet.  The side stings with pain. It takes a few steps, some curses, then some adjustments of armor, but soon she’s  standing proper, looking to her target. 

Gates by dawn. 

It takes a moment to get proper footing, her hand having to grip the side as carefully as possible, but she’s able to make it up the incline and begin her trek, watching each step for any rocks or steps that could give way. As she goes, the lines are repeated over and over. It numbs her, and numbs up the side just enough.

The air is still cold from here,  giving an extra spike into the side with each inhale and clouds of heat on exhales. Her blade dangled limp on her shoulder, bouncing now and again so often she grabs a hold of it with the free hand. The head stays down. Wind cut through her, the fur was barely working now since Obon took half of it away from her, but it didn’t matter.

Dawn. I can do this.

A new adjustment from tugging on the wraps holding on her armor, a string of curses from the pain that vibrated through her bones, and soon she’s on her way, heading to the break in trees for the valley. 

Follow. It’s the only command. One that the bearish figure obeys and starts after her, the pace slow but continuous. 

Follow. End. 

Author MaddAce
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