My head stings, my neck stiff as I awaken to what is before me. I have been asleep for a time, my fire not what it was, as I hear the embers failing. I reach to rub my neck but find my hands tied, my ankles strapped beneath me. I look up, the pain in the back of my neck screaming as winds through mountain passes. The sky lightens to the east; it is that time before dawn when the world has not yet fully awakened.
The tree behind me stabs my spine as I push against it to adjust my back. My knees ache. I push against the dirt with my legs to straighten myself. It is of little use. My eyes sting as the salty sweat drips over my brow. I am a prisoner.
The flames that warmed me, are now no more than an orange glow before silhouettes as dark as the blackest night. The sounds of dawn begin to trickle into my ears, yet are interrupted by the guttural sounds of my captors. Five I see, squatted before the fire, their voices like claws scraping against stone. Most of their words sound foreign, though the more I strain to listen, the more I begin to understand their gravel. They seem not to care that I am here, their attentions focused elsewhere.
Someone is killing them; tracking them. Their number was once greater. They were seven. A laugh from the tallest makes light of it. My eyes widen as I come to realize I have become the object of their desire. They believe they have captured their hunter. Should they realize I have awakened, my time shall surely grow shorter upon this world and my adventure shall come to an end.
I close my eyes that I should live a little longer.