He felt exhausted, not just in body. His spirit was weary. Spiritual strength and wakefulness were more essential than the body's strength. The body could be healed in time. On the other hand, healing of the spirit often took more than time. It took deeds and deliberation. He knew his healing would take more than time. More than deliberation even. Deeds were required. In his case timing was as important as the deed itself.
His legs burned sharply in pain. Trudging along through an untamed jungle had long since become arduous. This was especially true as he had become a captive against his will. Could there possible even be another variety of captive? He laughed weakly to himself.
All about him fibrous creepers hung down, threatening to choke the unwary. Century old roots twisted out of the earth to entangle trespassers. Semi-sentient plants lay malicious traps to snare victims. Little did the forest care if it happened to exhaust those who traveled between its trees.
Thick green foliage seemed almost like an impregnable wall of Nature's design. Tall trees created a canopy in which little light was permitted to pass through to the forest floor. The world seemed so small and dark, only shafts of precious sunlight marking the way. Despite the darkness, sweltering heat still managed to permeate into every part of his body. It was heck, he decided.
Every few seconds some creature or leaf brushed past his skin. If he were a newcomer to the equatorial land of hot jungles, stinking swamps, and slender, white-sanded coastal beaches of Adzalkerka, he would actual believe this to be the God of Torment's realm.
But he was no newcomer. Not to his homeland. He was an Adzalkerian, a dark, brown-skinned race of hardy humans.
The Zosan Swelterwoods was the jungle's name, so said in his tongue. If one was in his position, and asked an Adzalkerian whose territory this was, he or she would say they were in their own nation's borders. Interestingly if one asked several other nearby nations who the jungle belonged to, their people would likely say it was theirs. Thus was the disputed nature of the hellish place.
He often wondered why anyone would care to own the Swelterwoods. There was no economic worth to the land besides small quantities of lumber cut from its edges. Its military importance was that no one wished to journey from end to end, this was as much of a hindrance as it was an advantage. Exploration was deadly at best. Beasts roamed in the murk of the rainforest floor. Monsters hunted those foolish enough to trek through its cursed trees and imperiling rivers.
Unfortunately, he was a prisoner of beasts that haunted some men's nightmares. And they were surrounding him.
Chapter 1: The Prisoner [Part 1]
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