Author: ToxicKittyCat PM
"I had seen many warriors, Miss Selvana." Morphego said as they strolled past he corridors. "Yet, you are the only one I had ever spoken to, as..." He sighs heavily . "There's a request that has to be fulfilled." Selvana eyed him cautiously. "What's the catch?" Morphego laughs, "You're probably going to die..."Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Fantasy - Chapters: 3 - Words: 7,009 - Updated: 03-21-13 - Published: 03-06-13 - id: 3106516
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"People who had cheated on death, those are survivors, Selevana" Odys stated.
It is said that Berkanan forest was crafted by angels.
The rumours from far state that those foreign woodlands are filled with spirits kinder than kindest of humankind, and water running there in torrents is cleaner than Crystal. Place is filled with birches, whiter than clouds on the sky, and willows so green you cannot look away. It is said that amid the twigs of those trees settle most majestic birds, with colours eyes never had seen and rainbows never captured. The air there is rumoured to be most precious smell you'll ever had chance to breath, and that the ground sparkles with spirits of ancient magic. Berkanan was proved to be existing, yet no one living had ever seen it up close.
Philosophers mutter that those can be promised lands that we would encounter after death, while Warlocks mumble that those forests are protected by magic we had never seen. Millenniums of researches and expeditions featuring Berkanan were always fruitless, but legends, as legends always do, live on, aspiring other generations before and years to come.
One thing about Berkanan is known, is that thousands meters below those enchanting grounds there's prison, real and hated for that. All outlaws and assassins are packed there, locked for handful of days, in most hostile environment for a man, then burned to ashes in feared Combustion Zone.
Prison is named after its founder, tyrannical leader of The Celtic Nations, Mage of Fire and Drake Whisperer, Fafnir was his name. Prisoners and those who aren't afraid of Fafnir's wrath often joked about it, they called it simply Pyro.
Fafnir prison held many reputations, none of them were good. Those who were imprisoned often didn't committed crime worth the pain they would suffer in Pyro. People who were burglars, supported science or just disobeyed Fafnir were send there, beaten, drugged, hands chopped off and then slowly burned down.
The prison was guarded by most ruthless creatures that ever inhabited Celtic Nations, Lycanthropes, deadly and delirious killing machines, that look like rotten wolves, and act like nightmares, loyal only to Fafnir.
No one ever escaped from Pyro, prisoners laughed that only way out was in form of smoke, through the Combustion Zone, but Fafnir and Lycanthropes didn't know that fellow newcomer would change this fact forever.
Selvana moved quieter than a shadow, avoiding flickering lights of torches, gleaming at her like demons. She followed her mentors trainings and used darkness as an advantage. Her heart was pounding death march as she stumbled across labyrinths of Pyro, twisting like serpents body.
Selvana passed cells, some empty, some filled with people so depressed they didn't bothered to look up, or too afraid, because they thought that passing Selvana was rotting lycanthrope. Her rough skin moved over slippery walls, smeared with fresh and dried blood, she was seeking for her platoon members, all imprisoned for the same reason.
Selvana crept slowly, her joints were still rigid, substation that Fafnir supporters drugged her with was still circulating in her body. She bit her lip as another wave of stabbing pain slashed through her nerves. That drug did well to her, thanks to it she escaped from her cell a while ago. Lycanthropes thought she was helpless and weak when drugged, they haven't taken their task seriously, that gave her a chance of snaking behind them, stealing their sabre and slashing them dead against the cold floor. She smiled to herself remembering her action, the greenish blood of creatures still stained her hands. Smell of burning meat and warmth from Combustion Zone touched her skin.
Something had broken the silence, it was ricochet of a chains, moan of one prisoner the one rat was eating into to get a bit of his liver.
Selvana's eyes turned watery, what if same fate sprayed over her loyal soldiers. She speeded up, always from time to time lurking into the cells, in one of those her man can lie.
Paths forked and she picked one at random, the one who stank less of smoke and fire. The further from Combustion Zone the better. Another set of cells, some empty, some with prisoners with hands already sliced of, chill ran through her body, looking at those helpless people. They were so hopeless they had forgotten what life is for. Their eyes were blank, and reflected nothing but misery.
Selvana breathed steadily, she wanted to throw away the worst-case-scenario that throw her off the track. Her squadron, and she, are in Pyro just for couple of hours, nothing should happen to them.
Her shadow followed her, exposing silhouette of young, flexible body. Lighting in this chamber is different, she changed her position and moved to the left walls side.
Bad thoughts returned she closed her eyes to make them go away, it didn't help, they just turned darker and more eerie. Selvana stopped and rested bending on the wall, breathing silently she tried to regenerate energy and stop circulation of the potion.
There's fourteen members of her squad dumped somewhere, the longer she waits the more they can suffer. What if her mentor is having his hands chopped now?
That gross idea gave her push and forced to continue investigating everlasting darkness. Cell after cell, but no sign of her soldiers, her hopes haven't faded yet. She would find them, free from capture, find exit, fight off Lycanthropes along the way, escape and flee to their home country Reimerswaal. Impossible it seemed, for what Pyro is named inescapable.
Another set of empty rooms behind the bars, with faces she did know not, but then she stopped. In one of the cells hopelessly sat young man, her age if not younger. Pale, tired and wounded, but living and breathing, with fierce hope of survival in his piercing blue eyes. Selvana had never seen this boy before, but something about him made her came to halt. She tilted her head like curious animal.
His hands rested on metal bars, he still had hands, that means he is a newbie here, just like her.
The stranger behind the bars rises his eyes and stares at Selvana, her features were illuminated with reddish glow. They silently gaped at each other, her wild brown eyes to those still sea of blue.
"You ain't one of them?" Stranger asks, his voice is slow, but strong and sure. Selvana doesn't respond she just nods, as if invisible forces had stole words from her. "How did you escaped?"
She whispered to him, patrolling corridors of any Lycanthropes. "I tricked them when they thought I was drunk." Nothing came, it seems that those diabolic dogs have poor hearing. "Like my mentor taught me to do so."
"Your Mentor... are you an apprentice?" Selvana couldn't believe she was wasting her time to talk with a stranger, leaving her people in suffering.
"I was, now I am the leader." Were the last words she spoke before leaving, but after making few steps she slowed down, his eyesight was still bearing on her. Young man, like her, leaving world of living in such a shameful way.
"I used to be an apprentice also, now I am lone hunter." He silently speaks to her, Selvana turns around, that poor man would also suffer, she has to help him.
"I am the platoon leader of Reimerswaal army." Selvana replies quickly, taking out ragged blade she had stolen from lycanthrope a while ago.
"Reimerswaal!" He gasped, voice echoed and amplified bouncing off the walls, making Selvana shiver and became more aware of danger she was was in. "I am spying for Reimerswaal as well."
Interesting, they were working for the same region, rebelling against same enemy, another reason for freeing him.
The weird, dark weapon she had captured recently was nothing she had ever seen, it was made of weird dark material, with luminous green markings that tyrannical ruler Fafnir adored. She inspected it before smashing onto the locker that blocked unnamed spies freedom.
Remains of locker thudded on rocky floor, in Selvana's mind the sound of falling was far louder than it was really. A cold, inhuman grasping sounds came from distant corner, coldness climbed up her neck, the prisoner was out, she eyed him cautiously, spy seems even taller and manly than when he was in cell.
Selvana had few weapons in her pockets, all of those were from Lycanthropes she had disabled minutes ago, or hours, time seemed to be nonexistent here. She gave him long, thin blade, also made out of the dark material with patters favoured by the tyrannical leader.
"Hopefully you know how to handle those." She said mockingly, lighting silently trying to find blind happiness in this hopeless place.
He smilies, surprised by her smile. "Sure I had handled harder tasks..."
"Escaping from inescapable prison seems easy to you?" Selvana said looking at the distant source of sounds and threw dark weapon over her shoulder. Another growling sound echoes somewhere, Selvana tightens grasp so her knuckles turn white. "Get yourself ready, it ain't going be easy."
They silently strode deeper into the corridor, hearing louder clanking of claws. Selvana wondered if those mysterious weapon would handle Lycanthropes.
Selvana had heard about lycanthropes, it was for the first time she had encountered one through, before she only knew them from oil paintings in museums or old folk tales told to the young ones, they were far more nightmarish than those on pictures and stank even worse. She never had encountered something she knew not how to defeat, it made her felt weak and exposed.
"I think I know where the exit is..." Spy mutters to her. "Probably away from Combustion zone, we must move there where's cold..."
She gave him a quick nod, Selvana had not thought about escaping from prison, her first aim was to find her platoon members, and her mentor. Escaping was third thing on her mind, second was surviving.
"First I have to find my people." Selvana said to him, surprisingly he haven't commented or seemed annoyed by that fact. Finding over ten people would not be easy as finding one way out. Silence had passed, the duo turned into different corridors, leaving cells with and without people, but no sign of recognisable soul. Maybe she should do what the spy had proposed and run away, be first one to escape inescapable. Selvana gritted her teeth, no, each member of her team would waste life for her, she would do that also. They were too loyal to her and she was too loyal for them. Another twist, and no signs of lycanthropes.
"Thanks." Spy muttered, his breath smoothed her neck, it was weird thing to say. "For saving me."
"Thank me when we get out here living." She gave him friendly smile, it seemed that they knew each other from childhood, but really it was not even a full minute. Then silent voice came, somewhere from the depths, it clearly stated: "Se?"
Selvana smiled, it was her mentor, the father she never had. Forgetting about everything, leaving spy behind she ran towards source of noise. Happiness changed into tears of joy and her body was pumping with something else than blood, it was pure relief.
Her mentor, Odys, but she called him Elder, three times older than her, with grey eyes and hair that spoken about his age, but it ain't hard to imagine him in his youth, his body was still solid and well structured.
"Why I am not surprised to see you here?" Elder speaks, his voice calm and fatherly, like always. Tears sparkled down Selvana's solid face. "Oh cry not my protégée, tears are wonderful stuff, better for them to be kept for special occasions."
She clenched the blade and smashed it down, releasing the one she loved the most.
Elder walked out of the cell, looked around and then faced his girl, the one who was like daughter to him.
"I can sense Orion, not far from here." Elder says, he is a Warlock, rare type of person that can master simple magics. "Carina, Lynx, Grus and Corvus are there as well, I can guess that most of members of our platoon would be there as well." He pointed in one direction running across the corridor.
"Good." Were only words Selvana spoke, she reached into her pockets and whisked last weapon, a long, curved blade. "I disabled lycanthrope, Elder, that blade from now on would belong to you."
"Thanks for your generosity, At, know that I cannot handle a sword or a spear." Elder pushes Selvana's gift away, she had nearly forgotten that Elder dislikes fighting with weaponry, he prefers relaying on his magic. "Handle it to Pictor as we would revive him."
She smiled, Pictor was her most loyal supporter in platoon, he is quirky, fast and like no one skilled in combat with swords, but now he hopelessly sits in his cell, waiting for miracle to happen.
Without any other words Selvana sprinted deeper into the corridor, this section was warmer, it was closer to the Combustion Zone. To her surprise rows of cells there were inhabited with her people, no delirious wolves were seen near. It seemed to be too easy to be true.
Elder and spy behind her stopped as she did so.
"You-" she pointed at nameless spy, "Help me with releasing my people; Elder, you look out for lycanthropes." When Elder faced depths of corridor she and spy started to slice through lockers with their black blades. One after another platoon member was released.
"You're late, Selvana." Joked Pictor as she released him, he was short and skinny, with huge, grey eyes and feathery hair.
"Sorry, I was stuck in a traffic." She laughed back before throwing him curved blade. Pictor grasped the weapon with passion. "I knew you would like it."
Eight of her people were out already, and still no sign of Lycanthropes, Selvana slashed through another locker, releasing their archer, named Capri. She moved to release Octavian, their numerator, when Elder shouted: "Lycanthropes, around sixteen moving in our direction, would be there within minutes."
Selvana's heart stopped for a second, those villainous creatures would outnumber them, they have only three weapons and are drugged and tired. Pyro would remain ever-inescapable. Her desperate eyes focused on Lynx, the old platoon member.
"Don't look at me like that, Selvana, you're leader here!" Lynx shouts at her and that was truth, it is Selvana's job to save her people, she looked at her feet, fear had paralysed her body and her mind.
"Why did Elder assigned you as a leader?" Lynx shook her shoulder, then faced other members of platoon, now everyone was out. "Everybody, beats are coming and we are too weak to fight against them", he stopped, collecting his thoughts. "We don't have many weapons, we don't have enough of people, our only hope for survival is luck, as Lycanthropes arrive, we would charge at them, shout and distract, maybe we would whisk through them."
That was an insane plan, insane but only. Selvana was still staring at her feet, like child that just lost an ice cream. Behind them, there were people still locked in their cells, those were other people she knew not. Some still had hands, some didn't, all of the captured prisoners glared at her platoon with desperate eyes.
She looked at one of the prisoners, a handless man.
"Oh m' lady." He silently pledged her. "I've got a 'arm land, and h'me, and wife an' child, lil' one!" She started at him wordlessly, eyes blank like surface of the moon, then she faced Lynx.
"We've to free the others!" She shouted, they have to free people that didn't belong to her platoon, that would increase their chances of survival, not only theirs, but also of the others. She saved the spy, why she won't do the same for others. Lynx started at her then looked at the rest of the team.
"Listen again, anybody with a sword free the others!" Lynx informed the others and then rapidly faced Selvana. "Go, do what you said!"
Selvana ran towards cells that were still locked, she smashed dark blade against the locker releasing the armless man that was pledging her. Behind Selvana, Pictor and nameless spy were supporting her by releasing the others. One after another lockers smashed and more souls retrieved deserved freedom.
"Thank you child, thank you!" Whimpered elderly women with bushy, grey hair as Selvana released her.
"Shout and distract beasties as they arrive, then run for your life." She instructed her moving to another locker, then loud grasping and howling came, she noticed that Elder started to scream and lycanthropes filled the corridor. Her blade quickly slicked through device locking another cell, then she jumped onto lycanthrope closest to her. Black blade slashed through its neck, causing it to collapse lifeless. Quickly, Selvana reached for the dark axe creature owned.
"Lynx!" She screamed, throwing the axe in his direction, "Catch!"
Lynx catches new weapon and started stabbing another wolffish beasties, weaponless platoon members and other prisoners booed and kicked creatures, some even tried to seize them with their bare hands, or lumps on which hands were supposed to be.
Lycanthropes bite into flesh of weaponless attackers, green saliva sank into their skin, leaving them twitching in agony. Their skin turned black and like pollution of water it had spread across the whole body. Twitching of attacker stopped and he, dark skinned, had lied dead. Selvana gasped seeing this.
"Elder! Lynx!" She shouted, her voice barley audible with yelps of beats and shouts of men. "Those beasties have poisonous fangs!" Then she jumped sideways as lycanthrope reached to plant a bite on her, she waved her blade and crashed it on wolf's skull. Another lycanthrope charged in her direction, greenish, toxic saliva leaking from its mouth.
She raised blade to smash again, but another weapon slashed against creatures body, leaving it dead, it was nameless spy that caused this.
"Thanks." She gasped moving to another creature, spy was close to her, assisting her professionally. They both leaped onto dark creatures and pierced them with their sharp weaponry. Spy was skilled, he used quick and rapid movements that were effective but complex. Fighting alongside the spy made Selvana feel more secure.
"Pointless!" Lynx shouted, waving his axe. "The longer we fight the more of them come! We must charge out!"
"Follow me!" Spy wailed at him. "I think I know the way out!"
Selvana's platoon followed young spy as he sprinted through corridors which were getting colder, weaponless attackers shouted and distracted creatures on their way, while those with weapons smashed them as they went along.
Many had fallen, wolves and people. Corridors seemed endless, but adrenaline and desire for survival supported everyone on everlasting race.
It seemed like ages, but finally Selvana could feel cold wind of the outside and fresh air. After minutes they entered exit, which was unprotected, no one ever realised that inescapable prison would ever change this title.
It seemed like they had never seen the sky, Selvana burst with laughter of happiness as sparkling eyes of universe started at her from the black sky.
In front of them there was a forest, dense and dark, as soon as they would enter it then sooner they would be safer.
On the plaza there were around eight horses, thoroughbreds, horses breed for speed and races. They stood there awestruck gaping at the escapers, they had seen people going in, but never people going out. Entrance was made out of dark rock, layered with dark, ragged clothes, eerily resembling scales of Drakes, monsters the monster adores. They belong to cloakers, people supporting Fanfir or catechised to do so. There's enough of cloaks to support all the survivors, they poured darkness on them, so they would resemble dark natives and probably be ignored by Fanfir's real followers. Forests here are darker.
Selvana climbed up horse, Elder climbed behind them. Creature wobbled as supporting two people was a challenge.
Thoroughbreds are fast creature, not good in swamp areas and forests, but they were only creatures around. They had brownish coat, thin and powerful legs ready to sprint with the new rider.
"Which way to Reimerswaal, Corvus?" Elder asked dark skinned man who was now on a horse, alongside Grus, staring at the stars since they went out.
"Front..." Corvus replies simply, and all horses like on the order started to gallop into the forest in front of them. Selvana smiled, they were on their way to the Reimerswaal, they were on the way to their home.