The distant cry split the silence of the underwood. Trithemius looked towards the sound as he stood from where he was gathering spores. He glanced at Thinker whose head was cocked towards the sound, its front legs ceasing their tinkering with the odd machine it had been playing with for a few days. Trithemius knew the sounds of the insects and the few other animals that dwelt in the forest. This cry didnt sound like any of them.
The cry continued and it didnt take long to find where it came from. The woman lay sprawled on the giant mushroom, unmoving. Bound on her chest was the source of the weak, breathless wailing. Trithemius uncovered the infants head, the wailing faltered as the tiny eyes scanned him, then flared again with new urgency.
The wail stopped again, and the child blinked. Trithemius looked up to find Thinker, lowering its head over the child, its antennae twitching. The baby looked at Thinker for a moment then started crying again. Thinker withdrew its head by a couple of feet, curling its antennae, it glanced at Trithemius, and cocked its head as if to ask what now? then returned to staring at the infant.
Looking over the woman Trithemius realized that she wore the livery of a servant but she didnt have a mask. This deep in the jungle she would have breathed too much of the miasma. He could already see the telltale veining in her neck and face. He looked again at the infant. It seemed fine, if weak, but he didnt see any evidence of mask either. Perhaps the woman had given it to the child and it had fallen away when they fell through the sand.
The woman stirred weakly. Her eyes barely opened. She saw Thinker and her eyes went wide and fearful. She made a dry sound that might have been a scream had she been stronger and began to try to move.