Slywyn crept through the stand of trees, which only seemed to be something like one hundred feet wide, and strangely straight. She could hear more of those things whizzing by with their odd humming noises. They sounded almost like the steam engines she knew from home, but they had a much deeper note than what she recognized.
The entire area smelled awful. Now that she had a moment to herself, she felt like she could feel the smell burning into her nose and dimming her sense of smell somehow. It was acrid and seemed to suffuse everything in the area.
She let her eyes travel over the trees, confirming something she’d already gathered from glances. None of these trees looked remotely like any species she recognized from home. Oddly enough, though, some of them looked strangely similar to some of the trees from Elwynn and the rest of the Human-controlled areas.
This, among a few other factors such as the strange machines, led Slywyn to believe that she was no longer on Azeroth. But this didn’t look anything like Outland, and she didn’t recognize any of the sky above her, when she could catch glances of stars between the cloud cover.
She noticed that the moon above looked very different as well, both a different size and color from the ones she knew. The only option left to decide based on all the information she had, was that she was somehow in an entirely different part of the Great Dark Beyond than she had been before.
Sly could really only blame herself for this. If she hadn’t brought along her Worm Hole Generator, she likely would be in Gadgetzan right now enjoying a drink and some sun while she waited for a Gryphon to fly her back home. She let out a sigh, deciding not to dwell on the problems anymore, and instead try to figure out some kind of solution.
First thing she needed to do was fix her arm. The entire time she’d been walking, she had been scanning the trees and underbrush for something suitable. She needed a crook or a divide in a tree that she could wedge her arm into.
Now that her adrenaline was fading, she could feel that she’d probably need to fix her arm soon, or the pain would just get worse. As of right now it was just radiating from her shoulder joint, but at a level she could deal with. She could already feel it spreading though, meaning she didn’t have long before it would get bad enough to cloud her thinking.
Making matters worse was the fact that she could very vaguely hear things moving in the brush behind and off to the side, in the direction from which she had come. They were looking for her. Normally, she’d be able to travel in such a way that she could leave minimal tracks, if any at all. But being in her suit of armor, and having crashed into the brush as she did, she knew that she was leaving a much clearer track than she had been trained to do.
She could hear some kind of high pitched whining sound in the back of her mind, and wondered what exactly it could be. The sound changed seemingly at random, but the randomness would be followed with some kind of pattern. Thinking about it was making her head hurt, which she mostly attributed to the growing pain in her shoulder.
It also seemed like she was running out of trees, as before her she could see that the line of trees she was in ended a few hundred feet ahead. There looked to be some kind of dip in the land that just didn’t seem entirely natural to her.
As she crept closer, a bit of a grim smile crept onto her face as she spotted what she needed. She smirked a bit, thinking quietly to herself. “Even on worlds removed from mine, you can always trust the forest to provide.”
Just a few feet off of the general path she’d chosen was a pair of trees entwined with each other. They’d grown too close together, and had fused and split apart several times, eventually splitting and growing into two separate trees, though their bases were conjoined. Just about half a foot below Slywyn’s chest level, they had finally split, leaving a somewhat oddly shaped V that she could use.
Sly winced in pain, gritting her teeth to keep from making any noise, and raised her injured left arm, placing it inside of the crook of the tree. Grunting in pain with each blow, she used her right arm to knock on her left, and wedge it into the gap as much as she could. Then, bracing herself for what she knew was to come, she put all her weight into the tree, trying to shove her arm back into socket.
It was something she’d only ever had to do once, hundreds of years ago when she fell from a free due to some moss she hadn’t seen that forced her to lose her grip. She’d smacked her shoulder on the way down hard enough to knock it out of place. But that time she’d had someone to help her, and now she was on her own.
She gasped in pain, her knees going weak, on only the first shove. She apparently missed, or didn’t use enough force, and she felt like someone had stabbed a knife into her shoulder. Her face grew damp as she struggled to remain standing, the pain searing all through her left shoulder and arm. She gathered herself for a moment, fighting against the pain, and pushed again, with as much strength as she could muster.
It seemed her luck held, for with a sickening grinding noise that made her stomach lurch, and a bit of a quiet pop, she felt her shoulder pop back into place. She went as limp as she could against the tree, being held up by her arm wedged into the crook. Her chest heaved, her nostrils flaring, as most of the pain faded from her shoulder and arm.
After a moment, she was able to gather her legs under her and stand, though she was much shakier than she would have liked to be. Her left arm was still in a rather large amount of pain, but it was back down to the tolerable level it had been before, and she’d be able to move on.
She pulled her arm free from the tree, wincing a bit as she looked over the damage her armor had done to the bark. Not only was the damage somewhat unnecessary, it would be a clear sign of her presence to anyone trying to find her.
She dimly noted that the strange whining sound had grown quite a bit louder, and she realized that it was coming from without, rather than within, as she had suspected. Somewhat relieved that she wasn’t just hearing things, she continued toward the break in the trees.
She moved a bit slower, trying to leave as hard a trail to follow as possible. When she came to the break in the trees, she realized that the strange road the things had been moving on had a twin, where more of the things streaked by in the opposite direction. It was some kind of one-way pathway system, that the engineer in her wanted to study. But she knew she didn’t have nearly enough time to stand around and observe.
Sly crouched and crept toward the strange dip, separated from the trees by a good fifty feet or so of open ground. Thankful that she had chosen to keep her armor with a matte finish rather than something shiny like many of the Humans chose, she made her way to the dip.
She peered over the edge once she arrived, a bit confused that the sides of it seemed to be some kind of incredibly flat stone that she didn’t recognize. It was far too uniform in composition to be natural and smelled very very dimly of Human when she put her nose near it. It was laid in slabs, creating some kind of aqueduct that water flowed through.
With a shrug after her brief examination of the stone, she slid down it as quietly as she could manage, the only sound being of metal scraping against stone. Once in the bottom and holding herself just out of the water as she lay against the stone, she was faced with some kind of choice. She had noticed off in the distance that there was a strangely large amount of light radiating up into the night, presumably from a city of settlement of some kind. That was to her right, and to her left, she had noticed more woods and a lack of the same kind of light, though there seemed to be light everywhere in this world.
She decided to go right toward the city/settlement, wanting to know more about where she was. And she figured it might be easier to find some kind of shelter nearer something like that. If these Humans were anything like the ones she knew from Stormwind, they were likely to leave empty houses or shelters littering the landscape once their owners had moved on.
Dimly noting in the back of her mind that she felt strangely weak and tired for such a comparatively small amount of physical exertion, Sly slid into the water and crept her way downstream, making her way toward the city.