Weyland followed the witch into the forest, hoping no-one would notice him doing so. The sharp looks of some of the locals when he had asked about her had led him to think he might end up dead in a ditch if he was seen talking to her, and not by her hand.
She walked along a narrow path that was starting to turn to mud in the steady rain. Weyland figured that keeping well behind, and calling out to her once they were far enough from the town and the street his voice would not carry there would be the safest bet. He had not expected her to move faster than him, to the point that he wondered if he had already lost her. Neither of them was carrying a light, which did not help matters.
But the path neither ended nor forked, merely wound around trees and rocks, over the roots of a pair of oaks that had grown close together, and Weyland kept following, right into the trap.
He called out, an inarticulate sound of surprise, when the ground gave way and dumped him in a deep pit. The ground was soft, mud thin enough to splash, and the space so narrow that Weyland hit the wall with his back rather than falling over. Gravel trickled down at his touch, and his hands found purchase on roots keeping the wall together, and a heavy clump of soil dropped on his head, mud blinding him entirely.
Sputtering and cursing while he wiped his face, he did not wonder who had set this trap, and how, and tried to think fast how to get out. There would probably be enough roots to use as handholds to climb out…
The first thing he saw looking up was an indistinct figure against the further darkening sky, watching him with shining eyes.
He cleared his throat and wanted to wipe his mouth, but found that a root had curled around his wrist. With a jerky movement he almost pulled free, but another root in turn snaked over his shoulder and down his other arm, and his feet seemed tangled, too. He looked up, raindrops hitting his face, and just managed a breathy “please” before another root pulled his sword from its scabbard and slowly lifted it. The witch crouched down by the edge of the pit and spoke, voice crisp and clipped with anger. “I do not like strange men bearing arms following me home, trying to stay unnoticed.”
“I swear, I meant you no harm. I am just looking for information.”
“You have a very weird way of going about that.”
“I didn’t want to be seen talking to you.” Maybe not the wisest thing to admit, but he was close to a panic. The roots holding him grew thicker and stronger and more, one slithering around his neck. “Please, I swear, I’m looking for help breaking a curse.”
The witch huffed, and accepted his sword her enchanted trees were offering her. She looked at it for a moment, then up at the sky.
“I beg you, give me a chance to explain.”
“You know what? I’ll give you a chance.” She scraped at the edge of the pit with a foot. The sound of trickling grew louder, and this was clearly water, not gravel, flowing into the pit. “I’ll be back in the morning. If you’re alive, I’ll pull you out, and we will talk. If not, I’ll bury you, and you will feed my friends here.” The sword swung out, gesturing towards the two trees behind him.
“No. No! You can’t do that!”
The root around his neck loosened briefly, only to tighten across his mouth, forcing itself and the mud and grit covering it between his teeth, muffling his scream.
“Luck decides. We talk tomorrow, or not at all.”
The witch left Weyland in the deepening dark, rising water, and mounting fear.