Barking Up The Wrong Tree

The Avatar of the Eight Virtues of Britannia – as well as the Three Principles, not to mention Infinity – and newly christened Wolf Knight and Pikeman of Monitor, known as Alex to her friends, gave the darkened evening forest a perplexed glance, knitting her eyebrows in a look of utter bafflement.

"Where are we...?" she wondered aloud, slowing her pace. The answer, as certain and sure as she was not, came from the ranger on her right flank.

"We are lost, Avatar."

"I know that," Alex replied with a nervous grin. It waned with a nervous groan as she stopped and looked straight up, to a thicket of branches. She knew the basics of celestial navigation – pick a point and follow it – but she was bad at it to begin with. This was going to be hopeless.

"Don't look now…"

Dupré's abrupt growl prompted her to spin about in surprise. "Huh?"

"Spy!" Iolo hissed. That's what she was looking for – spies. But she was looking for goblin spies, and the overdressed man standing out so starkly in the middle of goblin infested forests was... not what she expected in the least.

Utterly speechless, the Avatar managed to blink a couple of times. Dupré and Shamino took up her defense, at her elbow Iolo cocked his crossbow, and it was the best she could do to lick her lip in thought.

"I'm a busy man! So what if my path follows yours…" Zulith – his name was Zulith, she vaguely remembered – explained himself. The explanation wouldn't fly, they all knew that, but he tried his best anyway, "into the woods…" It was a valiant effort, really, for which the Avatar didn't quite blame him; in the dark, Dupré was looming dangerously, something he was remarkably good at, "late at night…."

"Nowhere near Fawn," Alex finished for him, a bit louder than discretion warranted, maybe, but it came out sounding spectacularly heroic. She didn't get many of those; she might have been proud of herself, except that it wasn't virtuous and now really wasn't the time.

"So… a pikeman, are you?" Zulith stuttered to fill the silence, "How's that... you know, how is that for you?"

Alex quirked an eyebrow. "A girl could get the wrong ideas."

At that precise moment, Dupré moved – really to scratch a particularly incessant nose inch – but Zulith took it as a sign of his imminent demise and fled into the underbrush.

"That was interesting," the Avatar grumbled quickly, and, while she still could, called after his uneven footsteps, "Turn left if you're going to Fawn!"

"Okay, now," she said, turning back to the matter at hand, "Where were we...?"

"We were lost, Avatar."

"I knew that."

the end

Working Title: A Forested Encounter

Inspiration: After getting healed with leaves from Fawn, I wandered off to find me some goblin spies. I got lost in the woods, which is usual, and Zulith came barreling out of the woods behind me and gave me the spiel. Never seen that happen before.

Disambiguation: More humor, if you can call it that.

Derivative work of material © Origin and Richard Garriott