Author: LadyEragon PM
Run and survive or stay and die? I know which one I'd rather. Btw, the title of this story will change at some point. Any suggestions would be useful :Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Chapters: 3 - Words: 5,242 - Reviews: 4 - Updated: 08-05-11 - Published: 07-14-11 - id: 2932848
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I grabbed a pack, stuffed it with as much food and water as possible, found a blanket and a hooded cloak then fled. At that point in time I had no idea where I was going. I just knew I had to go. But escaping when you know there's at least three assassins after you isn't that easy. Especially when you don't have any weapons. But that would soon be sorted. I had a hidden stash in the forest; sharp knives, a bow with a quiver of white feathered arrows and a slender yet strong steel sword. I would at least have some protection.
Flitting in between the shadows I had around five minutes before he was found. Before the bell would ring and everyone would be looking for the one responsible. Looking around the houses and ticking off names until they found out I was missing. Then the hunt would begin and I would be the prey. I needed to get as great a head start as I possibly could before the predators caught my scent.
The silver moon was high in the sky, giving off a ghostly glow. Tree branches looked like slender bones swaying in the wind which was beginning to pick up. I pulled my hood over my head to keep the cold out but my back began to tense with the chill. Tonight I wouldn't be sleeping. If I did I probably wouldn't wake to see another day.
I just reached the outskirts of the town when I heard the bell. The bell that marked the start of the dreaded hunt. I hurried my pace and managed to slip past the guards at the gates who were looking up at the fortress, waiting for the signal to close them. They didn't't see me. Fate was on my side. For now.
Reaching the forest I broke into a run. I didn't need to worry about making too much noise as the trees were pines and there needles absorbed the impact of my feet on the hard ground. Thankfully it had not rained for several days so the ground was hard and my tracks would be harder to follow.
The forest was huge and people-often young children- went missing in there. Never came back alive. Probably caught by a pack of wolves and died before the end of the day. The adults often taught their children to stay away from it, it wasn't safe. Most listened but there were the odd few who thought that they could survive. They were always wrong and no one had entered it for years. Except me. I had been venturing in the forest since I was six. I never usually went far and I made sure I was out before the evening. Maybe I was just lucky.
But this time was different. I entered the forest, the thought of try to escape and maybe survive, or stay here and die running across my mind. I know which one I would chose. Life is more appealing than death, but if it was my time to die I would welcome the afterlife. If there was one.
I approached the tree that concealed my weapons. I slung the quiver of arrows across my back, adjusting my pack so that they would both sit more comfortably. The knives I strapped to my sides. The sword was in a scabbard on my left side and I carried the bow in my right hand in case I was attacked. I carried on running into the darkness, slightly slower than before with the added weight, but still fast. A silent shadow.
My legs began to weaken under the weight and tiredness seeped into my veins. I was forced to start walking now. My breathing came in short gasps from the running, gasps that were too loud for my liking. But on I went, encouraging thoughts in my head. Keep going Valora, the further the better. Just don't stop. But the words couldn't dissolve the aches in my limbs. If an assassin found me now I would be in no physical state to fight them. They had been trained for this whilst I wasn't. Of course I knew how to use weapons and how to hunt and gather food but it wasn't anything compared to the King's chief murderers. The could run at least ten miles carrying heavy packs without getting tired. The most I could run for was two. I was at a great disadvantage.
Gritting my teeth I pushed forward, my stomach grumbled but I didn't dare stop for food when I was still so close to the City of Telferor. The magnificent city of Kings. But not so magnificent, I thought, and it wasn't. The citadel was old and the stones had started to crumble. Then there was the King himself. Not particularly handsome and he didn't look very majestic, but he was intelligent and sly. Just the thought of him made my skin crawl. Maliner needed a new King, but not one that was related to our current one…
A branch snapped somewhere to the left of me, my muscles tensed and I reached for an arrow. Looking around I saw nothing but the eerie shadows cast by the trees reflections in the pool of ghostly moonlight. No one's there, it's just your imagination, I told myself. But part of me didn't believe it. Just keep going. I placed my bow and arrow into the quiver slung on my back and continued walking. This time I was careful only to step in the shadows to ensure that I wouldn't be seen. For now.
Eventually I came across a lake. If I swam across I could be at a better advantage. The assassins never swam after their prey because they wouldn't risk the cold water making them ill. There was no cure for pneumonia. But I on the other hand had nothing to lose. Reaching the waters edge I dipped my hand in the water. It wasn't as bad as I had expected. I slowly waded into it until it reached my waist, then began swimming. The water made my chest tighten and the weapons made swimming difficult. But I persevered and managed to reach the other side. I lay on the soft grass panting for air until I caught my breath again. Then I stood and studied my surroundings. Huge rocks and boulders formed many caves to my left, a rocky outcrop with the occasional weed winding itself around the vast greyness, like a vine strangling an animal. It covered the earth for at least five miles south and looked roughly twice as wide. To my right and beyond the rocks was a forest of many kinds of trees. The closest to the waters edge I recognised as Hemlocks and Willows, but the others further away I could not recognise due to the lack of light. In the morning I expected an overpowering burst of colours- red, brown and orange, the colours of autumn.
Exploring the rocks I found a cave with an opening that was just big enough for me to fit in to with a large interior. As I was now at the brink of complete exhaustion I decided it would probably be best to rest here for a few hours and regain some strength despite the fact that I did not want to stay in one place for too long. The cave was quite high up which was helpful as I would be able to see anyone approaching from below, although at the moment there was very little to see with the absence of the fiery sun. The climb to the cave was exhausting, but luckily the moon glinted on the rocks helping me see all the ledges, ridges and weaknesses in the rocks so that I made it to the top in one piece. Laying down on the floor I wriggled and squirmed whilst trying to get comfortable. The floor was rough and cold and had many sharp jagged stones scattered about which felt like daggers sinking into my skin. Finally I managed to relax a little and I fell asleep with dark and twisted dreams coursing fear into my body which would stay there long after I had awoken.