Still nursing a few sore bruises and a minor headache, Kane followed the river until he was thoroughly lost. He didn’t mind though. The river was good company and it felt refreshing whenever he reached down to touch it or cool off. He was beginning to understand why the Lime Sink was so hard to find.
The river weaved its way through some of the thickest forests Kane had ever been in. Moving more than a few paces away from the river banks, you were faced with walls of dense, green foliage. Kane imagined that if the river ever let up in its endless pursuit, it wouldn’t be long before the trees and forest choked the river off completely.
“I suppose now would be as good a time as any.” Kane said to himself as he pulled a single leaf from his pouch, still bright green despite being removed from its tree for over a week.
As he examined Titania’s gift, a warm breeze picked up and plucked the leaf from his hand with a flutter. Kane’s eyes widen in surprise as he tried to follow the leaf in the air. After a few moments of tumultuous flight, the leave plummeted into the rushing river, pulled quickly down stream.
“Shoot!” Kane exclaimed as he rushed after the leaf.
Traveling along the river banks was hard enough at a walk. Falling into a dead run, Kane struggled to keep up with the leaf on its maiden voyage. Trying to keep an eye on the leaf, Kane was struck, cut, and knocked by what seemed to be every branch as he ran by. The terrain also made it difficult to keep his footing and it wasn’t long before his boots were as wet as the river. Above the churning of the water, Kane could hear bird’s chirping gleefully as he passed.
“This isn’t funny, Titania!” Kane shouted as he crossed a fallen log, trying to keep his balance. Halfway across, Kane gave up in his effort to stay dry and hopped into the water below before continue his chase.
After a few more minutes, the river slowed down and the waters calmed. Breathing heavily to catch his breath, Kane watched the leaf slide gracefully out of the main current and into a small swirling whirlpool on the river’s edge. Walking up to it, Kane plucked the leaf from the water. He gave the leaf a small death glare, before returning it not-so-gently back into his pouch.
He assessed the cuts and scrapes he’d received during the chase. There were several long red lines running up and down his arms, but there wasn’t anything serious. They would heal eventually. Maybe even leave a scar, if he was lucky, but he doubted it. Crouching down, Kane washed his arms and face while he considered what to do next.
“Why did the Titania bring me here?” Kane wondered aloud. “I don’t see any cave. Just more river.”
It was then Kane noticed there was a small trickling stream, feeding into the main river below his feet. Looking behind him, he saw that the stream was quickly eaten by the foliage. That had to be it.
Pushing aside the branches, Kane forced his way into the foliage and left the river behind him. Almost instantly, the sound of the water was cut off and Kane was left in the humid embrace of the forest. The smell of green filled his nostrils as he pushed, crawled, and weaved his way deeper, always following the steady trickle of water beneath his feet. The ground was wet and grasped at his boots, hoping to slide Kane’s feet out from under him.
Still Kane pushed through, despite his growing frustration. Kane never liked when inanimate things fought against him. It was one of the fastest ways to bring his blood to a boil. After a few more minutes, Kane had had enough. He pulled out his knife and began cutting his way through the branches, getting out his frustration with broad slashes and broken branches.
It took Kane a full hour to finally break free of the forest’s clutches. Falling out of the foliage to lay on the ground, he let out a guttural yell of exasperation as he breathed in enough fresh air to clear his head. When Kane finally calmed down and felt ready to continue, he looked up to see that he really had arrived.
Before him was a field of broken stones, covered in moss. Between them was the trickling stream that emerged from a small cave on the other side of the clearing. Rising to his feet, Kane made his way across the clearing and looked into the mouth of the cave. Pulling an apple from his pack, along with a torch, Kane shouted into the darkness.
Nothing but a muffled echo and the sounds of water returned.
Lighting the torch, Kane held it before him, letting the flames lead the way. Orange light was cast onto the damp walls as the water-soaked stone reflected back, shimmering as Kane passed. Taking a bite of his apple, the crisp crunch echoed into the Lime Sink.