Nate is trudging right along with her, his spirits a bit higher, but his feet just as sore -- nice as Kercho and his wife were when they landed seemingly randomly on this particular world, they couldn't provide anything like shoes or boots for the journey.
Nate has at least taken heart in the fact that they're going more downhill than uphill at this point, and he chooses to believe that means they're getting closer to their destination, rather than preparing for another climb. If anything else, he thinks, they're not stuck in the desert anymore.
Bri sighs deeply, somewhat discouraged. She was hoping they'd have been closer than this by now -- not a sign of civilization yet at all. Just as she picks up the pace again, she stops suddenly. She heard a screeching noise from the southeast, just over those rocks there. It wasn't a normal bird sound, which is what caught her attention. Some kind of scraping across rock, maybe? She glances to Nate for his thoughts.
Nate noticed it, too, his hearing being as sharp as ever. He'd started to pick it up to find out what that sound was, even, when she suddenly stopped. He turns to look back at her.
"You heard it, too?" The first thought on his mind, quite honestly, is that they might score something tasty for supper; the hunting really dropped off after yesterday, and they're running low on their 'borrowed' supplies. Never mind that the ground doesn't look quite so stable on that path; if they're quick enough, it shouldn't matter much.
"Yeah." She heads in that direction, since he was going that way.
"Guess we might as well check it out." She's not certain at all what it was, but something in it gave her a chill. Perhaps it was just how sudden it was in the relative silence of their journey, she tells herself, as she picks her way quickly and carefully over that path.
Nate nods and heads on without a second thought, slightly ahead and to the left of her. He pulls out the little sling-type weapon Kercho lent him, nabbing up the nearest hefty rock to use as he heads toward whatever that was. He still isn't seeing anything...
A few steps later, though, that hardly matters, as Nate suddenly looks down instead of up. By reflex, he comes to a halt, but that only speeds the ground in cracking beneath them both, and soon they're sprawling and rolling down a slide of rock into the interior of the mountain they were just descending.
Beyond outcries of pain as he slams against the rocky slide, Nate can only think at the time that it's a good thing he didn't drop that sling... he may need it, if this world is anything like theirs...
Bri lets out a startled yelp as the ground gives way beneath them, and as absurd as it is, has the sudden thought that she probably just scared off whatever creature it just was. Beyond the agonizing pain of rocks cutting her already burned flesh, she experiences nothing extraordinary before she blacks out temporarily, tumbling the rest of the way into the mountain.
Bri falls to the ground rather hard, though the rocks that fell with them muffle whatever sound her body makes against the interior surface. She landed prone, face turned to one side, with rock quickly covering one of her legs. The other is spared due to a small outcropping above her that is deflecting some of the rock.
Nate hears her land, none the less, and he imagines a sickening crunch as she does so, even if one doesn't sound. He's quick to try to stand and scramble to her, but the ground underneath him is just too unstable, and he keeps sliding for a bit, falling back to the ground and beating more rocks against his body as he tries again to stumble to his feet. This is *not* how he imagined a successful hunting foray, no...
A low and throaty roar reverberates around the cavern -- whatever made that noise must be huge. In the twinkling of an eye, a part of the smoother reddish rock near Bri moves and rises above her, a long neck attached to a menacing draconic face swinging to take a look at the girl. A clawed hand easily brushes the rock aside above her and picks her up in order for the creature to get a closer look.
Bri nearly screams as she wakes up, due to the sudden pain in her leg at the movement. Her head feels too thick to move and the motion is disorienting, but she lifts her head anyway to take a look at the enormous creature that has her. Um.. *now* what's she supposed to do?
Nate opens his mouth and points at the mass of red that rises from the rock, then quickly shuts it and moves into action, loading a rock into the staff-sling still in his hands and whipping it toward the creature's face, ignoring the flicker of recognition that jets across his mind. Let her down -- you!!
The dragon is distracted enough to eye Nate instead, casually tossing Bri aside. The girl bounces off a wall and hits the ground again, this time falling completely still.
Dragon takes a step toward Nate, that shaking the entire cavern. Before the boy can move out of the way, a wave of rock shifts and covers him, it heating quickly to liquid form. The dragon steps on the rock and pushes the boy down with just enough pressure to force him through a portal just beneath him.
Nate's eyes widen as Bri gets tossed across the room, and he uses the time he takes to look over there to make sure her true-sight image is ... still ... there... something... isn't right.
Before that thought can really set in, though, he has the wind knocked out of him, as well as a bit of blood and maybe some bone, as that wall of rock throws him to the ground. He wants to scream as it all suddenly turns burning hot, but he can't make a sound, nor really move... until he falls through that portal onto something soft. He's tense and taut with pain, his mouth still worked into a half-scream as his body finally registers everything that just happened.