Even though the wind swirled through the dark, seemingly endless trees of the Syarg Forest, the sound of a deer running through the dense woods could still be heard, especially by the heightened sense of an elf. Or even a half-elf for that matter. One half-elf in particular, Keyleth Urthadar, who was in hot pursuit of the fleeing animal.
As she ran, Keyleth's mind went back to why she was in Syarg Forest in the first place. Considering all her life she had been told it was much too dangerous to enter all alone, what she was doing was more or less plain idiocy. After a few more minutes of running, she gave up and slumped against a tree as the deer quickly disappeared into the trees.
Sighing, Keyleth turned her gaze upwards. The leaves on the towering trees were so many in number they covered the sky and she wouldn't have been able tell if night had fallen yet. Even if it had, the stars and the two moons that illuminated during the dark hours would've been completely obscured. She sighed once more as she thought about the argument she had with her father earlier that day.
It was completely petty. All she had done was swiped a satchel from a pompous looking man in a red cloak, a sorcerer or something similar. When Father had found out and was fuming, demanding she returned it and obviously, she refused. All that was in it was a coin purse containing two gold pieces, a few rations, broken sunrods and a scroll held shut with a red ribbon. And she was only doing what Father had taught her. Unfortunately, this comment had not gone down well and he was even angrier.
So, she had stormed out with the satchel, taking her blades, and her bow and arrows. Nothing calmed the nerves like a spot of hunting. Sadly, she was furious, and angry hunting led to mistakes, like letting a doe get away. It seemed that she couldn't get anything right today.
She looked up again, seeing the thick branches of the trees that towered above her and she thought that perhaps she could have more luck hunting from the air. After two or three minutes, she had climbed the tree and was perched upon a branch, bow in left hand and her right hovering over her quiver as she waited patiently, remaining very still at all times.
It was at least twenty minutes before a stag came into view. Taking an arrow, she set it into place, drawing the string of the bow towards her as she took aim. Just as she was about to shoot, the sound of a large explosion ripped through the air. It was so sudden that it made Keyleth jump and she almost toppled off her perch.
Almost at the last second, she let go of her bow and arrow to grab onto the thick branch. She winced as she heard her weapon hit the floor. Daring to look down, Keyleth peered over her shoulder, sighing in relief to see her precious bow was undamaged, at the same time judging the distance between her and the floor. She let go of the branch and landed on her feet. Uninjured, she picked up her bow and scanned the area. Noticing that the stag had fled in fear, she gave chase in the same direction she had seen it run.
Despite having a head-start due to fear, Keyleth had almost caught up with the male deer. That was until the stag disappeared into what appeared to be thin air, the sound of the explosion in the air once more. If she had been able to stop, Keyleth would've noticed that the "thin air" was distorted, but she hadn't stopped and had skidded into nothingness.
The sensation was almost like falling, only under-water. Except she wasn't under water. She wasn't anywhere. Bleakness surrounded her. There was no colour. Everything was monochrome; even her attire was now several shades of grey, instead of the greens that kept her hidden amongst foliage.
After what felt like forever, Keyleth landed on leaf covered soil with unusual clumsiness. She had thought that she was still in Syarg, but decided against that theory when light assaulted her eyes, which had grown used to the utter blackness of the forest she had previously been in.
She presumed that it was day until she realised that it was night and the light was coming from a single moon in the sky and several lanterns held high upon tall metal posts, which seemed rather shocking to her as she wondered what could have happened to the second moon. Allowing her eyes to grow accustomed the dulling brightness, she got up and inspected her surroundings.
The trees in this forest where further apart than the ones in Syarg and she could just about make out flecks of oranges, browns and yellows dotted sparsely on the branches. The rest of the leaves were now on the ground indicating that the season of Lanmutua had arrived in this forest, which was odd as it was mid-Remmus in Arlos.
In the distance, Keyleth could hear several rumbling sounds. Perhaps this was the danger of Syarg Forest that everyone spoke of. Keeping her bow out, she managed to locate a path. Despite the light being cast from the solitary moon and the lanterns, it was still fairly dark.
She cursed when she walked into a red box. Inspecting it, she saw that it was made of a strange material and was being held up by metal rod that was embedded in the ground. Upon it was a sign which had a black dog drawing on it, the writing on it read "PLEASE CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR DOG. DOG WATSE ONLY". Keyleth had never seen anything like this in her life and, letting her curiosity get the better of her, used the tip of her arrow lift open the lid.
A foul stench attacked her nostrils and she let the lid fall shut. A rustling distracted her and she turned to see the stag that had led her to this bizarre place. Keyleth smirked and raised her bow and arrow, drawing them back as she aimed. She groaned in frustration as a loud screeching scared the stag away. At this rate, she was never going to eat tonight.
Suddenly, a terrifying metal monster with glowing eyes started advancing towards her at an alarming speed. Jumping out of the way and diving behind a wooden bench, Keyleth took aim once more and fired her first arrow of the evening, hitting the beast in what appeared to be its back leg. There was a hiss and it skidded to a halt.
The young half-elf laughed triumphantly as the right hand side of the beast swung open and a tall, broad man stepped out of its stomach, looking more angry than grateful that he had just had his life saved.
"What on Earth have you done to my Jeep, you stupid cow?!" The man bellowed, inspecting the leg of the creature he had named 'Jeep'. Keyleth was shocked, not only at how ungrateful this man was but at the way he spoke to her.
"I just saved your life! And in what way do I resemble cattle?" She asked in vain as the man want to the back of the beast and, much to Keyleth's horror, opened its rear.
"You're lucky I had a spare in here or you'd be paying for a new one, lady," he got out a metal box and a large, thick disk that looked like one of Jeep's legs. Putting them both on the floor, he pulled out the arrow. His expression changed from displeased to fury. "An arrow? Are you actually kidding me? Were you hunting?" Confused by his choice of words, Keyleth settled with a nod, infuriating the man further. "This is a no hunting zone! I hope you haven't killed anything!" He yelled, marching up to the girl and waving the arrow in her face for effect.
"Unfortunately, I was not that lucky and any way, this is a free forest!" Keyleth snapped, grabbing the arrow from the outraged man.
"No, it isn't! This is a national park, not a hunting ground. If you had killed anything, I would give a fine of up £1000!"
"1000 what? Is that gold, because I do not have that money on my person!" The man sighed as he got to work removing and replacing Jeep's leg. Keyleth had the opportunity to run but was astounded by how quickly he was finished. The man stood up and took the metal box and Jeep's old leg to the beast's rear-end, putting them inside. She felt slightly sorry for the creature.
"Right, I'm going to take you back to my cabin seeing as it's after closing hours," he went to the left hand side of Jeep and opened its side.
"You must be insane to think I would climb inside a beast," she said, crossing her arms. The man opened his mouth to speak but the words refused to leave his mouth due to what appeared to be utter bemusement. After a moment, he spoke.
"It's just a car." He told her. Keyleth scoffed.
"Don't play dumb with me. Still, anything's got to be better than putting on a foreign accent and giving me the "I don't speak English" nonsense. In." He grabbed her arm and forced her into Jeep and onto what felt like a leather chair.
"Unhand me!" Keyleth screamed, but the man closed the side of Jeep, trapping her inside. She turned as the man climbed into the creature from the other side, where a shiny black wheel was imbedded into the creature's insides. That had to be uncomfortable. The man put a key into the side of the wheel and turned it, causing Jeep to roar. As the man turned the wheel, the beast growled and moved.
It was at least five minutes until the man spoke again.
"I'm just taking you to the cabin. That way I can find out where you live and send you home." The man explain, seemingly calm now.
"I live just a mile outside of Syarg Forest." Keyleth told him. "It shouldn't be far, I was only there a few minutes ago. At least I think it was a few minutes."
"Where? Never heard of it." He looked confused again.
"You've never heard of Syarg Forest? It's in the Mahniar region, which is next to the Gnikrab Mountains where the Dragonborn live."
"Are you high or something?" He sighed at Keyleth's confused expression. Pinching the bridge of his nose with a hand that seemed to have a patch of scales on it, he asked: "What's your name?"
"My name is Keyleth Mailee Faral Urthadar," she told him, sitting up proudly. Unsure at why he frowned at her name, she asked for his.
"Ben Walker," he muttered, as he made Jeep stop in a clearing. In the middle of the clearing were two medium sized huts made of wood and a stone like material, only it was a yellow-green colour. There were raised from the ground by wooden beams and a small set of stairs led up to a porch. Both buildings seemed to have only one floor but were still much bigger than her tiny house back home. Her thoughts were interrupted as the man spoke. "We're here."