Kenton soon realized that bringing Danya to the open air would do him no good. The man was led blindly from the dark depths of the caves to the top of the cliff where the cavern’s entrance stood. Danya felt the burst of heat hit him straight on from the raging wind, and he was forced to cover his eyes with Kenton’s cloak to block the sand and small debris that flew through the air. He felt Kenton pull him to the side, where the wind was less severe, and encouraged him to look around.
It took a moment for the landscape to sink in. There was little light, except to his right, where the sun was starting to... set? Rise? He couldn’t tell. The lumbering mountains of rock were painted with reds and violets, and the whole atmosphere felt... hard. Inorganic. And that’s when he realized - there was no ocean in sight. There was nothing else he recognized, either; the forests, the fields, the sand dunes, the small houses and creeks - they were nowhere to be seen! Danya’s knees began to buckle. His head pounded. No, no... this can’t be, he assured himself. It can’t be.
“It can’t be, no, no...” he murmured, holding his head. “Where is mah home? The ocean! The ocean! It can’t disahppear!!” He moaned and shook his head in disbelief, starting to fall back. “No...!”
Kenton couldn’t understand what was happening. He grasped Danya’s shoulders and tried to keep him standing up. “What are you talking about? The ocean? What is the ocean? Do you not know where you are?”
A choked cry came from the the bewildered young man. “Sir, I have ne’er seen ‘dis place! I have never seen ‘nything like it! This is fantasy... fantasy! I’m so far from what is mah home... why? Why am I here? Why can’t I remember?!” He began to shake, unable to process what to do next. He started to pull away from Kenton, but gave up before he even tried. His feet wouldn’t take him anywhere. “Sir, where am I? Please, tell me! Where are the trees? The ocean? The rivers and the fields... my home!”
Kenton had never heard of any of these things, ever. They couldn’t possibly be landmarks in the South? “...Listen... I can’t help you. I haven’t heard of anything like that. This is what it looks like for thousands of miles in every direction. This is our world. Are you telling me you’ve never seen any of this?” He was bewildered at the thought of it.
“Sir, ‘dis is a desert! Deserts are in faerie tales! They dun’ exist! They’re not s’posed to! How come I am in one?” Danya began to crumple. “What am I s’posed to do? I can’t go home...”
It was obvious that the stress was becoming too much. Not only had he barely survived drowning in ice-cold water, but he had seemingly awoken to something that he could never imagine in his life. He couldn’t survive out in the world on his own - he would perish. Kenton could only think of one thing to do. He pulled Danya to his feet once again. “...Let us help you,” he assured. “Please trust me when I say this - we’ll do anything to help you. I’ll take you back to the campsite myself, and we’ll get you on your feet and figure out what to do next. I promise, it will be all right.”
Danya could not even think of how to respond. His emotions were overwhelming him. Depression, fear, anger, dread, loneliness - they were all eating at his mind. His head was numb, his body was so tired and He could only be pulled along by this new stranger, placing all his trust and mind for the time being into his hands.
Eventually, everyone found their way down from the mountains to the cliffside where the temporary campsite had been completely set up by this time. It was completely dark out, with exception to the light of the large moon in the sky, and Veia and Artemus were sitting outside by the campfire, against the side of the mountain to keep away from the strong blasts of air. They had been waiting for the rescue party to come back for quite some time - Veia only had a vague idea of what had happened when Maeron had come from the cavern system, asking for Andra’s help - they needed as many ropes as they could find, along with a bucket. Veia could not question further than what had happened that made these items so essential, and Maeron could only mutter a quick explanation - “we found someone down in a well, and we think he’s gonna drown.” By this time Andra had come and the two lugged off their necessities and left Veia without a clue.
This didn’t bother her as much, though - after all, she wouldn’t have been of much help, and who would look after Artemus? Certainly if he woke up with no one there, he’d be terrified. She could only sigh and hope that the best would come out of the situation.
Luckily it had - Kenton came down with the newcomer at his side, and Veia was able to let out a breath of relief she had been holding. She stood up, pulling her scarf over her head to block the sand and debris from her face, and ran to the two. “Kenton! Is everyone all right?”
“Yes, yes, we’re all fine,” Kenton assured with a small smile, keeping his pace towards the campfire as he held the arm of the stranger next to him. “We found a string of wells - man-made or natural, we can’t tell - and we found this among them.” He nodded to the man that stood beside him. “This is Danya. He’s a bit... disoriented at the moment. We don’t know how long he was under the water - I’m surprised that he lasted as long as he did; there must have been somewhere where he could stand and keep his face above the water. ...Anyway, he’s cold to the touch and he can’t remember a thing. I think we should get him something filling and let him rest up. Could you help me with that? ...Oh, don’t worry about Maeron or Andra, they decided to take their time and gather some water before the sun rose again.”
Veia nodded and began walking off, satisfied with this answer - she knew that Kenton would never leave anyone hanging. She stopped for a moment, however, to look back at the new figure as Kenton led the poor soul to the fire. She could barely get a glimpse of him from underneath the cloak that covered him, but she knew from what she saw that there was something more to the stranger. His hair was the color of the sand - she knew no one with that color hair except for Artemus. He looked ragged and sickly from being in the water, and his clothes were torn to shreds around the edges. Clothes that looked so odd. She pulled her eyes away, however, and went to fetch something for the man to eat that could be easily warmed up in front of the fire.
Just wanted to put something up for everyone. Goodnight.