Chapter 5: River of Kindling

Ico jumped up. His head was tired. "Yorda!" he yelped. He fell back into his bed on his bottom. He held his hand up to his face. "Noooo…" he moaned.

Icos' mother knocked on his door. She called though the door, reminding him that breakfast was ready to eat. Ico got up slowly, and made his way to the living room. He sat at his table and ate eggs and bread and water, like always. His parents didn't know anything about Yordas' absence, and suggested maybe she simply went exploring. But he knew something was amiss. He left the house as soon as he did the dishes.

He respected his parents' wish not to be seen by the other villagers. He went into the woods where they had come from, calling for her. Deeper and deeper he went, calling until his throat ached.

Saddened and disappointed, he sat down on an uncomfortable rock and thought. Where else could she have possibly gone? What if she was back at the house right this moment? He decided to go back to the house just in case.

Faintly, he heard a soft voice call out his name. He jumped up, his heart racing. "Yorrdaaaaaaaaaaaa!" He howled.

Again, the voice called his name. He ran toward it, jumping over rocks and roots, racing through the river and through the trees. He knew whom the voice belonged. She screamed his name, but suddenly it was stifled.

His feet skid to a halt narrowly avoiding a fall off of a cliff next to a waterfall. Ico looked downward. There, at the bottom of the fall, came out a suspicious man in a cloak, with a squirming Yorda thrown over his shoulder. He shrieked her name. The man looked up at him. Yorda saw him also. This, he saw, gave her a blast of energy of kicking and screeching at the man until he lost his grip and she fell off. Her body hit the soft ground beside the river. The wet soil quickly crumbled away and she splashed into the river. The man in the cloak stumbled for her. But, not wanting to get wet, he strayed back from the river. Yorda gasped and gulped for air, as she was hurriedly swept downstream. She called for Ico just as an undercurrent sucked her under.

Ico ignored his senses and leaped. He dove into the rumbling icy waters, loosing himself in the bitter rush of idle ego.

Cold. I So cold. /I

When he opened his eyes, he was being carried downstream. He shook his hair and looked about for his Yorda. A glimmer of white caught his attention. Yordas' pretty face bobbed up in the water. Her eyes glowed daintily as they opened into the sunlight.

Ico stumbled over rocks and kicked through undercurrents. It seemed to take forever, but at last, her moonlight skin was within his grasp. In one last heave of effort and bitter strength, he threw his arms over her. He managed to grab a-hold onto her middle. Thankfully, she was light enough to keep above water, as he leaped and splashed and plodded up onto the shore.

He grabbed the sides of her head. "Yorda! Yorda!" he called. At first, there was nothing. But, after an long, draining, agonizing moment, she finally winced her eyes and coughed up a little water. She raised her hand up to her face and wiped her eyes. She looked up at him leaning over her. She smiled. He smiled back at her; she sure was beautiful.

"Yorda!" Ico was so engulfed in his happiness he sprung forward to hug her. Yorda wrapped her cold wet arms around him tenderly. Both of their wet cloths squished unpleasantly together, but, at least, they thought, at least they were warmer.

"My little Ico…" She cooed. "Thank you." She reached up to pet his hair. If only she could tell him what happened. If only she could tell him anything! She held him tighter as she thought of how frustrating everything was: she knew what was happening, and she knew who he was, but there was no way to tell him. Well, maybe. If he's smart enough to figure out the maze of the castle, then he could easily figure out names. She pulled him away from her and looked into his eyes. She pointed to herself and said "Yorda."

Ico looked at her. Stern, though confused. "Yes…?"

"Ico." Yorda said as she pointed at Ico.

"Go on…."

"Knight." Yorda pointed off into the distance, from where she fell into the water.

Ico looked around him. "Ico. Yorda. Knight?" He pointed to the same place, and then to where he thought he saw the strange man run away to.

Yorda jumped up with excitement and clapped her hands and smiled. Then she changed her face to a more stoic expression. "Yes." The man was no one to be happy about or fond of.

"Hooray!" Ico said as he took her hands. "Well, not really. Knight tried to take you away. That's not good. Why? Why Yorda? If you know who he is, then he must be from the castle? Why can't they just leave us alone now? Why can't we live in peace now?"

Yorda shrugged. The happiness gave way into a calm sadness. Ico put his hand over her shoulder. "Yorda… I'm sorry. I don't know what to do now. The only way we will find out who he is is if he comes after us again. And I'm gonna guess that if he had the balls to come after us in my parent's home, then he will come after us anywhere." They looked at the ground for a moment, before Ico helped her get up.

Yorda looked behind her as she stood and noticed all of the dirt on her bottom. She tried to wipe it off as casually as she could, but alas, Ico noticed. He looked at his own butt and saw there was dirt there too! He turned around and pointed his rear at her and wiggled it at her. He laughed as she did, merrily and wonderfully, the best laugh he had ever had.

Unfortunately, it was stopped short by the crack of a twig.

Yorda and Ico turned to see the mysterious man from before; his dark eyes peering out at them from under his hood.

Duh Duh DUHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! (To beh continuededed). Lol lol ROFL wut UP?