He moved slowly down the riverbank, penknife in hand and his guitar strapped to his back. He had just lost his friend Jancuis in the evil swamp, and all around him he heard:
‘Ο Ποταμος, ‘Ο Ποταμος.
The talking trees were chanting again, and this time it was the Greek word for “river”. He had heard of a huge beast called the ‘hippo-potamus’, which meant ‘horse of the river.’ This beast had huge jaws and was very dangerous, but this was the least of his worries.
Poxig had yet to find his father’s friend’s house, Emissary Seljuk, who had known him before he disappeared. If he made it through the forest, he would be able to at least get to that small hamlet in the woods called Renfro, where the Emissary lived.
“These woods are spooky,” he said. “I had better get out my guitar and start singing, and that way, the imps would be scared away. If I run into an orc, there’s no chance that I could defeat him. If only I had not lost Jancuis in the forest!”
The sun was setting as he got out his guitar and began to sing to the elven god, Releven.
‘O Releven, Releven,
You are the shining star
Bring us back to our senses,
Show us eternity from afar.’
As he began singing, the talking trees seemed to sing along with him, as if he were bringing life back to the forest. Just then, as he was smoking on his pipe and taking a small rest, he spotted a sinister figure through the underbrush. Poxig quickly hid behind a tree, for his friend, who was a skilled warrior, would have been his only protection from this beast.
It was an orc, of that much he was sure. The he-beast ambled through the underbrush, searching for forest creatures to devour whole. He had a huge pig-like face, and three ugly horns emerging from his chemical green face. His jaws were dripping with blood. The beast was pregnant with evil, looking for more ways to trap his innocent prey like a poisonous spider.
Fortunately, Poxig successfully concealed himself behind the tree. Then, strangely, the trees began to shriek loudly. They were protecting him! The orc held his ears and then dove into the river. He swam down the river and disappeared out of sight.
Poxig wondered if this had been Trink-Zelfo, the orc who was formerly Sir Belhomme the dashing prince. He was sure that it was possible, for the descriptions of him fit the likeness that he saw. He had just missed certain danger and sudden death. The orc would have beaten him to a pulp, since Poxig did not have a weapon strong enough to repel him.
He would have to make sure to bring his bow and quiver next time he came to this evil wood. But Poxig’s luck was about to change. He would soon meet his confidante and closest friend, in the most unlikely of places.