Chapter 3 - Saving Jethro (Arthur)

949 Words
I ventured into the forest a few hours after Jethro vanished. I feared lest wolves consumed him or a bear tore him to pieces. I feared exceedingly for my brother. Being nineteen, I was still a lad. Nonetheless, I had to save him. If it were not me who would drag him back home, then who? “Come back alive, Arthur!” my father yelled through an open window. “I doubt I’d return if I perished,” I replied with an amused smile. “In case you do not return, know that I love you. Your mother would have been so proud of you…” he said, choking. “I love you too, father,” I replied with tears in my eyes. I feared that I might never see him again. I ran into the forest and wandered for hours. Time had no meaning here. Everything blended like a painting, and I soon found myself lost. I thought about my mother and how much I missed her. When I was on the brink of seven, she became gravely ill with shadow frenzy. Shadow frenzy is a strange illness; those afflicted by it have fits of laughter followed by weeping. Their body gradually becomes weaker, and their memory slowly withers away like a worm in the sun. You revert to a childlike state and are too sick to even feel afraid. I watched my mother wither away day by day until she was bedridden. Her last words to me were, “Bless Mother Yuna for giving me such a brilliant son. Forgive me for my mistakes, Arthur. I will never leave you. I’m just moving somewhere else for now.” Thinking about her inspired me to continue to look for my i***t brother. “Jethro!” I shouted so loudly my throat hurt. My throat felt like it was on fire, and I wanted to cry from the agony I felt. I couldn’t afford to show fear; it would attract all manner of beasts. I could picture swarms of blade fangs surrounding me and tearing me to shreds with their blood-red eyes shining like rubies. I’ve heard lycanthropes howling from the forest before. I was told that if I ever came face to face with one, to stand still and not make any sound. It confuses them because they expect everyone to run away from them as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, fear often overtakes logic, and many forget the advice. Being killed by a blade fang is a terrible way to go; they play with their prey for hours, maiming and torturing it until it’s so weak it can’t even crawl away. I heard a strange clicking sound as I stepped forward and hung upside down in a tree. I became so distracted in my thoughts that I had neglected to see the tripwire. “You hunters have made a mistake, for I am not a rabbit, neither a badger nor ferret,” I exclaimed in terror. “Nay, we have made no mistake in capturing you,” a shrill voice called out before laughing in a sinister tone. “For what reasons have you captured me? I am but a serf. I possess no money nor fame. I am of no use here.” “Wrong, you are of much use, for you are young and full of vigor. You will serve us until the day you die,” the nefarious man spoke before showing his face. By Yuna, he was the most hideous man I had ever seen! His face was scarred and full of warts. I almost confused him with a troll. “I will not serve you until I die, for I have ventured into this forest to save my brother!” I shouted in shock. “Is Jethro your brother?” the man asked with a cruel smile before laughing louder than a waterfall. “Yes, have you seen him?” I asked anxiously. “Yes, we captured him and took him to our camp. You’re next. Oh, what a joyous occasion. It has been years since we caught siblings!” the man exclaimed. “If you hurt him, I will raze your camp and drag you to the underworld myself. You and your people will be but a speck of dust relegated to nothing more than a memory,” I growled. “You are a funny lad. You speak bravely, and yet you are hanging upside down, as defenseless as a fish out of water. I will release you, for I know you are of no harm,” the hideous man said, cutting away at my ropes. I came crashing down and hit my head on a boulder. My vision doubled. I could not walk without stumbling and falling like a drunkard. All strength left my body, and I was utterly defenseless. “You are like unto a court jester,” the man laughed behind me. “And you are like unto a lazy hog. May your days be short and torturous, that you may wither like my beets,” I retorted. “It will not be in your favor to revile against us!” he warned. “And what will you do to me?” I asked with a smug smile. Instead of replying with words, he hit me on the head with a club, and I collapsed to the ground in a daze. Stars flooded my vision, and my head hurt so much it felt like it would explode into a thousand pieces. He slowly walked up to me and smiled before raising the club. “Please don’t,” I begged. He struck me on the head, and everything went black.
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