[P] cannot tell anymore when a door opens or closes
It was hard to admit that they'd gotten wildly lost, and harder to parse out who was responsible for it. At a certain point it stopped mattering, and the two Onubans eventually fell into a routine that revolved around the barest pragmatic concerns. It was all they could afford as the days sank further into freezing temperatures, stalling them in mountainous caves and forcing them down circuitous paths. Traveling was hard enough, the last thing they needed was discord between the two of them.

Despite this, she heard Tercero mutter under his breath about certain things; what should've been, what they'd both sacrificed.

Serafina hadn't quite processed all that had come to pass. It took time, and perhaps a space of warmth, to figure out how she felt or how she might move forward (if there was ever such a thing). All the concerns she'd had in Onuba seemed a luxury to her now that survival played a much larger role in her life.

But sometimes she dreamed of firelight and Isabel, and woke with a hurt so deep in her soul that not even the painful bite of winter could compare.

They'd gotten an early start that morning. Tercero stamped out the fire and collected pieces of charred wood; they had learned to spare nothing from their camps, not the dry pieces for kindling nor what could be traded as writing implements if they crossed another traveler. However, it seemed the worst was behind them once they'd reached the forest. The bitter winds stalled in the tangled branches and the snowdrift was shallow, and in some areas nonexistent the deeper they went.

Drawn by the scent of grass and flower, the Amaranthe girl directed them towards a small glade. It was a pretty place, with icicles gleaming in the branches and a low mist over the half thawed stream. She did not need to beckon Tercero to the water, he came to it and drank readily.

"I think we should make camp here," she said to him, once they'd both had a moment to rest.

A sound like a cry was heard through the trees. They both reacted in the same way, with ears perked and noses to the air, but it was Serafina who sprang to her feet first.

"Don't, Sera." He grabbed her wrist, and she was forced to turn and look at him. "We can barely take care of ourselves out here. How do you expect to help them?"

Serafina could see the sense of it, but she didn't want to believe in it.

"I can't just leave them." She said, wresting herself free. "What if I'd left you, Tercero?"

The Onuban regarded her with a serious look. "Then neither of us would be here."

Her mouth trembled. "No. We wouldn't." She said, and left him as quickly as she could. As she marched down the stream in the direction of the sound, her arms shook.
(490) | NPCs: Tercero Robles
For Kris/Bastian! Located in the Dampwoods.
(440) | NPCs: Reginald
Sorry this took so long!

The forest known as the Dampwoods was near enough to Bastian's home of Casa di Cavalieri that the young man knew it fairly well even covered in snow as it were. The paths were a little less visible, a little more treacherous, but simple enough to navigate for someone who had made a pastime of it in the season prior.

Walking on two feet rather than his typical four, the Nightshade boy gripped his bow tightly with one hand and brushed his hand along rough bark with the other. His dark nose quivered close to the tree. A deer had glanced across it not too long ago. He wasn't a skilled enough tracker to know how long or in which direction as a recent snow had covered up its tracks. He could only hope he was headed in the right direction.

Call it youthful ignorance or perhaps stupidity, but the Reticent Cadet was certain that he could take down this deer if he could only find it. His mother's tutelage had made him confident in his shot - a confidence that he had yet to test on a moving target.

His brown fur had come in thick for winter, but he still wore a long-sleeved red tunic that was a little tight on his broad shoulders but he wore it for sentimentality sake regardless. His mother had gifted him a shirt from his late father's trunk when the weather took a turn for the worse. At first, it had fit perfectly, but his father had been a smaller man than Bastian was growing to be. As he knelt down near a bush a few minutes' trek away from the previous tree, he reached down to a broken branch and felt the seams creak in protest.

Bastian grimaced and pushed forward a little further, his hand swiping gently at the snow to see if the earth had more secrets to tell. There was a sharp rip and a release, his hand shoved forward a little more forcefully than intended against something a little softer than the frozen soil. A rope tightened around his wrist and then yanked it high above his head. The boy yelped in fear and dropped his bow into the snow. He stood on the tips of his toes to release the pressure on his wrist a little bit but to no avail, it only pulled tighter. He'd been caught in some kind of trap that threatened to rip his arm from his torso.

"Help!" Tears welling, he hoped that someone could hear him as he frantically tore at the rope that refused to tear. "Somebody help! Please?"

[Image: KxGHYNe.png]
"I'm coming!" She called to the voice, thankful that they had the sense to keep shouting. The sound helped to direct her away from the stream, and after a moment of surveying the woods, she spotted the red of their tunic flashing amidst the wintry greens and browns.

Serafina hurried to the scene, heedless of the sharp branches trying to slow her down. For the first time, she was thankful for the cold, as it helped to numb the little nicks she'd acquired on her cheek and hands.

She soon made her way before the young man, arriving breathless and appearing more worn than she'd started, having gained a few leaves and twigs in her hair. Serafina couldn't help but to gape at the contraption and its bewildering predicament it had caused him. "What...?" she panted, a look of blank confusion on her face. It reminded her of the ropes and pulley systems of the ships at sea, but why it was out there in the woods of all places was lost on her.

It didn't matter. Shaking away the bafflement, she began to search around for the origin of the rope. "Hold on," she said to him, "I'm going to get you down. Can you see where it's tied?"
(---) | NPCs: ---
You're good! sorry for the wait too haha

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