Chapter 14

I do not own 'Ice Age'; I only own the characters you don't recognize from the movies. YAY another chapter!

Roshan's heart began to pound in his chest at the sound of the horn being blown not too far away. The sound was coming from just near the bottom of the mountain where the forest met the rock of the mountain. Almost instantly, Roshan began running towards the sound hoping that he would find what he had been desperately looking for.

"Roshan, wait!" Taravati called as she ran after him but Roshan didn't stop.

He ran into the forest and the sound began to get slightly louder as he neared it. He could hear Taravati trying to catch up to him and then Roshan suddenly screeched to a stop close to the edge of the forest and stared at what lay in front of him. Multiple huts were set up with people who Roshan didn't recognize go about their daily village jobs. Roshan couldn't explain it but it seemed odd in some way and he didn't like the feeling he was getting in the pit of his stomach. Just then Roshan felt his arm being grabbed and then he was suddenly pulled down into the bushes.

"Wha-" Before Roshan could even finish speaking, a hand clamped down on his mouth and it was then that Roshan realized it was Taravati. Roshan was only just able to glance at Taravati and saw that her face was full of fear but at the same time she was ready to leap into action if need be. Roshan tore her hand away and spoke in a whispered voice.

"Taravati, what are you doing?" he asked.

"You don't know what you are doing," Taravati replied, also in a whisper, "These people do not give in to mercy, we shouldn't even be here right now. It's dangerous."

"How do you know?"

Taravati began to reply but then seemed to change her mind and she fell silent. Roshan peered through the bushes at the village to get a better look. These people in this village were nothing like the people Roshan knew in his village. Most of the adult men seemed to almost be guarding or keeping watch for any mischief in the village. The women who were doing their daily chores seemed almost afraid to even flinch from their spots. This seemed extremely odd to Roshan, where were the playful children? Where were the elders? Why weren't the women socializing with one another? Why wasn't anyone smiling or speaking to one another? Everyone except the men who were "guarding" seemed to be in constant fear. What kind of a society was this?

Roshan turned to Taravati, "This isn't right, everyone looks so scared. What could they possibly be afraid of?"

"This is exactly why I said this place is dangerous," Taravati said, "We need to get out of here, Roshan. Now."

Roshan nodded and as the two cautiously began to move, Taravati suddenly felt a sharp pinch in her neck and she gasped in pain before falling unconscious to the ground.

"Taravati? Taravati!" Roshan quickly knelt to her side as he tried to revive her but then he too felt a sudden sharp pinch in his neck as he yelped and fell to the ground. His vision quickly blurred and he tried to reach for Taravati but failed as his world began to darken and he fell unconscious.

After Taravati had run off after Roshan, Diego began to run after the two young humans but seemed unable to catch up to them. He was getting too old to be chasing after teenagers in a forest. The others began to follow Diego as Crash and Eddie dashed after Diego and Peaches followed. Manny and Ellie glanced at each other both with slightly worried expressions and moved to follow the others.

"I hope nothing is wrong." Ellie said.

"I don't know, Ellie" Manny replied, "We'll just have to see."

"I have a bad feeling about this." Sid said and Manny nodded in agreement.

By the time Diego began to near the two humans, he froze when he saw Taravati fall to the ground and then Roshan too when the boy tried to revive her. Crash, Eddie, and Peaches came to Diego's side as Crash and Eddie scurried up onto Peaches' tusks and Peaches gasped.

"Oh no" Peaches gasped, "We have to help them." She took a step forward and was about to continue but Diego stopped her just as Manny, Ellie, and Sid caught up to them.

"Stop, wait!" Diego warned as he heard figures approaching, "Quick, hide!"

Everyone did as they were told as they all crouched as low as they could in the bushes. It was then that two wolves appeared and they began to near the two unconscious humans. Diego was about to attack but was stopped as three human men who Diego recognized as members from the enemy tribe approach and they commanded the wolves to stand back. To the herd's surprise, the wolves obeyed as the three enemy humans stepped forward and examined the two young, unconscious humans.

The first enemy human, who seemed to be the leader, snickered, "I knew she wouldn't get too far," He said, "And look whom she brought with her. Those darts worked very nicely."

The second enemy human nudged Roshan's side with his foot, "Not much, is he?" the second man added, "Pathetic."

All three laughed and the third man glanced down at Roshan, "Do you think he's the one?"

The first man looked closely at Roshan, "Could be she was always saying she would find the wild runner someday. Take him and put him with the others, I'll take her."

The other two men nodded as one took hold of Roshan's legs and the other lifted under Roshan's arms. The first man bent down as he lifted Taravati into his arms and all three walked away carrying Roshan and Taravati with the two wolves following obediently behind.

The herd remained hidden all in fear and shock. Crash and Eddie were the first to emerge as they scampered up a nearby tree and watched to see where Taravati and Roshan were being taken. "Oh man, what are we gonna do?" Crash asked frantically.

"I don't know!," Eddie frantically replied, "Uh… Play dead?"

"This isn't a 'playing dead' situation, guys!" Ellie called up to them.

"Oh." They both replied and they scurried down the tree and onto Ellie's tusks.

"What should we do?" Sid asked, "That's our little Pinky in there!"

"His name's not Pinky!" Manny warned.

"Sorry, sorry."

"Hey," Ellie said, "Focus guys, we need to get those two out of there. Any ideas?"

Crash and Eddie glanced at each other and shrugged and Sid began to think and was about to say something but decided against it. Diego began to pace back and forth as the rest began to think and after a few long moments, Diego stopped as he turned to the others.

"I've got an idea!"

Roshan groaned. What happened? He remembered being with Taravati as they looked at the village and then pain in his neck and that was it. Where was he anyways? And where was Taravati? Taravati! Where was she?

"Roshan? Roshan, are you alright?" a voice asked, "Roshan, can you hear me?"

"W-What? Who?" Roshan managed to say as he turned to the sound of the voice. As Roshan's mind began to clear, he realized that his hands were tied behind his back and his ankles were also tied. What was going on? He could tell that he was sitting in some sort of hut but he was still a little dazed. Roshan's vision began to clear and he saw one of his friends from his tribe, Kane, who was tied up the same way as Roshan.

"Kane?" Roshan said, "W-what happened? Where are we?"

"At the enemy tribe's village," Kane replied and Roshan's eyes widened.

"WHAT!"

"Shhh! Keep it down, they'll hear you."

"What's going on?"

"We tried to escape from our village the way that you said but the enemy tribe ambushed us and most of us were captured and brought here. They took our weapons and supplies and threatened to beat us if we didn't cooperate. They keep saying something about some sort of 'wild-running-something'. I have no idea what they are talking about."

After hearing what Kane said, Roshan looked closer at his friend and saw that he looked slightly skinnier than usual and his face had a few small scratches and small patches of dirt here and there. Roshan glanced around the hut and saw that there were six others in the hut some boys and some girls making it a total of eight young teens all tied up the same and in the same starving and dirty condition as Kane.

"Mauka got the worst of it," Kane said nodding towards one of the other boys who seemed almost to the point of passing out, "He tried to escape once and got beaten badly. He used to be the strongest one out of all of us and now…" Kane didn't even bother to finish his sentence.

"How could this have happened?" Roshan said, "They weren't supposed to be anywhere near the escape route."

"They are smart, Roshan. Aggressive and evil but smart, it wouldn't be wise to underestimate them."

Roshan nodded in understanding and it was then that they began to hear voices nearing the hut. A young but tough looking man suddenly burst through the entrance and Roshan could see that everyone in the hut seemed to almost shrink in fear. The man looked around the hut once before his eyes landed on Roshan. Despite the man's fearful impression, Roshan stared at the man refusing to show any fear towards him.

The man smirked as he stepped towards Roshan, "I knew you would show up sooner or later," the man said, "I'm surprised you're not shaking with fear by now."

"I'm not afraid of you." Roshan replied sternly.

"You should be."

With that, the man grabbed Roshan and dragged him out of the hut with no reaction to Kane's weak protests and Roshan's struggling against the man's strong hold. Once outside, the man dragged Roshan towards the center of the village that was a clear open space and the man dropped Roshan to the ground on his knees. Other men began pulling and dragging everyone in the hut out into the clearing and they were all placed down roughly on their knees in a line.

The man spoke, but not to Roshan, "Is this the boy you were with, Taravati?" the man asked and Roshan's head shot up to see Taravati standing in front of him with two men holding her arms on each side. Her face was red from crying and obviously there were still more tears to come.

"Why should I tell you?" Taravati protested, choked up with tears and fear.

"Because, dear sister…"

Sister? Roshan thought as he stared at Taravati but she was looking at the man holding Roshan who continued to speak.

"If you do not tell me that either him or these other pieces of dirt are the wild runner… Then they will all die and it'll be all your fault."

As he spoke the last sentence, the man pulled out a knife and moved to press it against Roshan's throat earning a small fearful yelp from Taravati.

The man grinned, "That's a good girl, now answer my question. Is he or is he not the wild runner?"

Taravati glanced at Roshan as fresh tears began to stream out of her eyes and Roshan stared into her eyes silently signaling a comforting message to her. It seemed as if Taravati was about to speak but was interrupted by a loud bellowing roar making every single person freeze.