Calden's eye could do naught but follow the scene unfold from first person as Astrid slid into the tiny cave. He was on the very edge of excitement and barely able to pull his eye from the onward creeping mass of those crawling monstrosities when Astrid whispered her uncertainty. Of course she could do it, he thought, or maybe... no, she could, she would do it. "Yes! Of course you can! Astrid hurry! Hurry before they get here!"
His focus was entirely drawn to the face of the creature poking into the cave before a bright orange flash was reflected on his round blue eye. He felt a powerful surge of success take place as the flame flickered before becoming a small stable flame and the gathered creeps fled in its wake, retreating into the darkness. "Hahaa! You did it! That was awesome Astrid!" Calden tore his sight away from the now brightly burning flame and glimpsed at the girl. He saw tears, but knew from her face that they weren't those of sadness. Unable to feel the stress of the day like her, he just grinned inside and kept on the small happy chatter of victory. He only stopped the cheering babble when noticing her eyelids had fallen closed and her breath had calmed to a steady sleepy rhythm. It didn't even occur to him to think how much her body must've been aching after such a day in the wilderness.
With Astrid asleep, Calden looked back towards the flame. He could see the vibrant brightness of orange fire, and on top of it the pretty magical energy being burned away to feed the flame. It was the first night he spent solely by keeping his eye on Astrid's magic while listening to her quiet puffing. The first of many nights that reminded him of just how much he missed being able to move by himself, or at least sleep to pass the time. In the night, while keeping a vigilant eye for the terrors in case Astrid needed awakening, he had time to ponder.
The night passed with both kids feeling their solitude despite the connection and days went past. Calden tried to keep up his attitude to keep Astrid in high spirits, but it was starting to get obvious how it now demanded effort for the boy rather than being a natural habit. He was starting to really miss the body.
Five days down the nature's own roads - still within the borders of the seemingly endless kingdom of green - and the for the first time after leaving their hometown, the two spotted another living, breathing, human being resting behind a tree. As they approached by climbing on top of a particularly large twisted tree trunk to get on top a small cliff, the voice of an old woman shouted out with a shrieking and wavering tone.
"W- Who goes there? Is, is that people I hear hmmm? Footsteps of a pretty child. Come! Come closer little one, be not afraid. I'm just an old woman weary and lost after a fruitless pilgrimage. Will you come sit down here and help me out?"
There she was, right around the corner, a dozen or so paces away sitting against an old moss covered giant tree on top of one of its roots. The woman was wearing rags that looked like they had been on her for years. Her back was so hunched that even while standing she would have probably not been able to reach Astrid's chin. The long white strands of her ruffled unkempt hair reached the forest floor where they curled into small bundles. However, the woman's face, despite being wrinkled and aged by time, was wearing a content grin as if today was the best day of her life. Her weary green eyes were looking right into Astrid, smiling along with rest of the face. She was grasping onto a dark wooden staff with bony fingers almost as gnarled as the wood. A tiny unlit oil lantern was dangling from the tip of the staff.
The old crone lifted one of her hands to motion for Astrid to approach and tapped the root next to her.
"We've got to go," whispered Calden with quiet terror in his tone. He had been somewhat wary of everything for the last few days, but it had been just careful precaution to try and balance against Astrid's curiosity. Now he really meant it, and only hoped that she would realize it too. Calden could barely even see the old woman that the thing before them was masquerading as. The whole area around her in his field of vision was filled with a vortex of colourful intersecting auras that danced in strange flowing motions. "I mean it this time," he added, looking up at Astrid, trying to make a demanding expression at her, but failing to move anything other than the eye.
Patiently waiting, the elderly woman kept smiling at them with all the friendliness in the world.