It took several minutes for Luke to gather his thoughts when he regained consciousness. He felt disoriented, like he was in a dream. He also felt his ears ringing.
Looking around, Luke noticed his dog was acting strange, also. He was rigid, his ears alert. He only behaved that way when he was wary of something. Luke grew suddenly nervous, standing up slowly.
Once on his feet, he followed Sirius’ intent gaze. What he saw diminished any drowsiness he had. A man dressed in pure black was bent over Jackie. He seemed to be checking her over. At least, that’s what Luke hoped he was doing.
"Who the hell are you?" Luke asked, pulling out his hunting knife. He moved slowly toward the other man, who didn’t seem to even acknowledge his presence.
When Luke got within a foot of the man, the stranger held up a hand without turning around.
Luke stopped and waited. "I believe I asked you a question."
The man stood up quietly. "Your friends should be waking up soon. I checked them over, and they’re fine. The blond man has a small cut on his head, but it’s nothing serious."
Luke’s eyes shot to Mark, who had a bandage wrapped on his head, and his helmet had been removed. "Why didn’t any of them wake up when you checked them, if they’re okay?" He was getting sick of the cryptic answers.
The man looked up at him, his ice blue eyes piercing. "You entered through the gateway, most likely. That put a great deal of strain on your bodies. I am surprised you awoke as soon as you did?"
Luke rolled his eyes. More cryptic answers! Shaking his head, he looked the man in the eye. "Who are you?"
The man stared at him. "Alix. My name’s Alix. I’ll explain more once your friends wake up."
Luke put his knife away. "Fine, then. When should that be? They should be awake by now."
Alix glanced at the others. "Yeah, they should."
They waited a few moments, and he proved to be correct. The others started waking up. Once they were all on their feet, Alix dispelled their fears by introducing himself again, assuring them he was not harmful.
Mark touched the bandage lightly. "What happened?" His mind was still foggy. "Where are we?"
Alix glanced at all of them, glad to not be getting any other reactions like Luke’s.
Everyone else seemed to be somewhat compliant.
"I heard some noise, then I saw your horses run past me," Alix helped them up. "I came to see what was going on, and found you."
He looked at their strange clothes, and nodded. These had to be the young people from the prophesy. It was the right timing, and the right place. Alix was almost certain he was correct. There was only one way of knowing. They would have to go to the cabin.
Jackie smiled at him. "Thank you for looking after us," She glanced around her. The grass was green, not brown like they had seen in the woods, and the weather was warmer. "Where are we," she repeated her brother’s question. "I don’t recognize this place."
Alix smiled for the first time. "This is Rotieva. I think you got here through a portal. Speaking of which, I think we need to talk," he looked at all of them. "Will you follow me?"
Luke shrugged. "I guess we don’t have much of a choice." He was still being cold, and Alix didn’t like that. "Why can’t we talk here?"
Alix shook his head. "It‘s not safe. Come with me." He started off into more woods.
Mark caught Luke’s arm as they were starting to follow. "Chill out, will you? We obviously can’t go back, and making him angry won’t solve anything."
Luke nodded. "You’re right. I’ll try. He’s just aggravating." He looked around in disbelief. "What the fuck happened? I don't even know where to begin with this..."
Mark’s mouth twitched. "I don't know, but I hope he can explain." He was suddenly remembering the dreams he had been having recently. This all seemed somewhat familiar to him. He smiled at his friend. "If he turns out to be a threat, I think we can take him. At least three of us can fight. Come on."
Luke just shrugged, and started walking.