(A continuation of A-Z Challenge: Worn.)
It hadn’t taken long for her eyes to adjust to the constant darkness of the Wilds, but her heart raced just as fast as when she first stepped foot into the forest.
Everyone knew the stories about this place. Here, wild monsters lurk behind every shadow and time itself bleeds away. She had always hoped that they were just myths, but the crunch of nearby footsteps and uncertainty of the hour confirmed that it must be true.
She gathered all of her courage and pressed on, sword clenched tightly in her hand. She had to. She was her people’s last hope.
There were footsteps to her left, louder than any she had heard yet. She stopped and peered into the darkness. At first, she couldn’t see anything. Then, between the silhouette of trees, she made out a light. A torch was headed her way.
She gripped the hilt firmly with both hands now. Her mind raced. The torch and its bearer were getting closer now. Clearly, her presence was already known. There was no point in running, and even if she did, losing the path would mean the end of the quest and likely her own life.
Finally, the person stood within clear view, for a person indeed it was. The light bothered her eyes more than she expected, but she could plainly make out the man donning hunting gear.
“Who are you?” she asked, tightening her grip with her sweaty hands.
“Sorry, miss,” he replied with a bow. “Didn’t mean to scare you. I’m a hunter yclept Theron. Who are you?”