Oh Yay. I finally got up the second chapter to this thing. It's kinda short though, oh well. If you like it, or even if you don't please tell me so.

Shadowed Echo

Deis felt a feeling of importance as she rode up to the forest on her white mare. She was going on her quest, finally. After she got back, having triumphantly found another clan and brought back proof of meeting them, her mother, the leader of Iacto clan would teach her how to use magic. Then she would be able to take her place as one of Iacto's elite.

The quest itself, she reasoned, would be relatively simple. Ride until finding another clan take something unique to that clan and ride back. Her great aunt Misca had done the same quest herself, Misca had told everyone that she hadn't even had to use the stones, at all.

Unfortunately for Deis, she was not to have such a luxury. Nature, seemed to agree with this, making it hard for her already. The wind was bellowing around her so hard it shook the trees with its force. Her leather coat was billowing around her, and her long dark hair was streaming behind her.

As she entered the woods she heard the distinct sound of bells coming from the castle behind her. The bells meant that the barriers that kept the underworld in their caves were failing, and that an attack from them would soon be underway. Deis longed to go back to help Iacto clan beat back the creatures, but she wasn't allowed to go back until she had finished her quest.

She knew that the woods would soon be overrun by creatures going through them to attack the castle. She had to hide somewhere or they would kill her. Deis started riding around to find suitable shelter.

Deis found an enormous hollow tree that must have had an inside diameter of five metres, and demounted, tying her horse up inside it. She went through her weapons bag and took out her dagger and bow and arrows, she then unsheathed her sword and placed it within easy reach.

From her hiding place she watched as a horde of creatures swept through the forest, slashing at trees and bushes. Deis calmed her horse, which look about to foam at the mouth and waited for the creatures to pass.

Five minutes later the creatures were gone from the forest and were no doubt attcking the castle instead. Deis ventured outside of the hollow tree to double check that they had really left.

A little huchbacked creature with useless flapping wings was not so far away. It must have gotten left behind because it was so slow. The creature was a reddish brown colour, like dried blood, it was hopping along on two small feet like a less graceful kangaroo. Its claws were withered but had disguised power. It was an imp.

Deis reached for her sword and held it in front of her. The imp saw the movement and realised that a human was hiding nearby. It attacked with a piercing shriek.

Deis swung the sword with a practised ease, it felt right in her hands. The imp blocked her first swing with an armoured fore arm. Then slashed at her with its sharp claws. Deis pulled the sword into a block position easily stopping the lethal claws. She saw an opening, but hesitated, she could have killed it that very second, but she was reluctant to take a life, even if it was just an imp's.

Killing another sentient being, seemed wrong even if it was attacking her. The imp didn't pause however and lunged forward inflicting a cut on her side. Instinct forced Deis to make a swipe at its head, decapitating it easily.

Its head rolled onto the ground and its red eyes stared up at her. The imp was Deis' first kill, and she decided she didn't like it. She felt sorry for the life she had had ended, and was feeling terribly guilty. She wiped her sword on the grass.

Not wanting to leave her grand shelter when there was a possibility she would be caught in the open when the creatures fled back to their caves, Deis decided to have lunch. The hollow tree felt like such a great shelter and so protective that Deis forgot the danger.

She was unaware of the thing that sneaked up on her while she was engrossed in her food. The creature coiled up its muscles. It sprang. Deis was pinned to the ground in an instant. As the single moments started lasting for hours she got a good look at what was attacking her.

Its thin, spindly legs barely looked able to hold the weight of its immense upper body. Its large wolfish head bore a pentagram brand in the middle of its forehead. The creature was mostly wolf, the only other differences were its thin, taloned feet and its forked tongue.

Deis recognised the creature from descriptions in the castle books, it was called a Lupor (A/N pronounced Loo Pore). The Lupor showed its sharp teeth as it shook its head from side to side. Deis struggled to get free, but her movements were easily blocked by the creature. The Lupor knocked her out.