Chapter One: A Hunter's Moon
The TV show, Merlin, gave me the inspiration for this story. I absolutely loved the series and the whole medieval magic thing.
A lot of the names of people and places are made up and completely random. So just bare that in mind when reading...
I'm not an experienced writer and I make mistakes, but I try and I really enjoy writing so I'm giving it a go. Usually I just write fanfiction which is easier because the characters aren't yours... So I apologise in advance if my character suck ass. :)
Anyways, this is my first real attempt at a story so please be kind and feedback would be great. :) Thank you. xx
Cooler were those nights the moon shone completely round in the sky, casting a mystical glow on the land beneath. These were the only nights when true fear was struck into the hearts of the Farrow Woods inhabitants; for this was the time when the hunters of Terrin City would go on patrol. On the island of Alkarrah there were two kinds of people; those who bore the magic to bend the elements to their will and those who were barren of such powers. The kingdom of Terrin (the North West quarter of the island) had banished the use of magic over 200 years ago, after the king of that time's son had been murdered by a wizard, leaving the old man bitter and grieving. Since then, the war between the two species hadn't ceased.
If you wished to find the witches and wizards living in the Terrin kingdom, there was only one place they could be found; the Farrow Woods. The vast woodland at the foot of the Carver Mountains on the border between the kingdom of Knarwich and that of Terrin had been the only home for the people of magic since the Riddance (as the barren people liked to call it). During the Riddance, all witches and wizards were driven out of their home throughout the kingdom on orders from the king, along with any whom supported them. The event marked the end of peace in the Terrin Kingdom and shaped the suture of Alkarrah.
The darkest and densest part of the Farrow Woods held a cave hidden amongst the pine trees. The people of magic called it Haven and they came to gather there on the nights of the full moon, in order to find safety. Deep into the cave the crystal rocks would emit light in the late hours, flooding the place with a beautiful sheen of various colours that could not be seen from the outside. Describing Haven was easy; it was perfect.
Witches and wizards huddled together in the cave, having travelled from even the furtherest parts of the forest to reach Haven in time for the full moon. Now, all they had to do was wait, and pray that another month would pass without the hunters finding their precious Haven.
"Emma, come on!" A girl screamed back to her sister, having stopped to find the other was at least fifty metres behind her.
The younger was slouched against the trunk of a tree, panting heavily. "No, I can't go any further. I'm too tired." She cried, her head flopping down onto her knees into exhaustion. "Go on without me, Lois."
Lois, the elder by six years, moved to crouch beside her little sister. "I am not leaving you. Never. Now get up and we'll make it to Haven before the hunters catch us. Come on." An arm slipped under Emma's and heaved her onto her feet like she was nothing.
The two trudged in the direction of the cave, Lois supporting Emma the whole way, occasionally glancing behind her to ensure they were alone.
They were about a hundred metres from Haven when it happened, so distraughtly close to being safe. An arrow shot above the girl's heads, piercing the bark of a tree a few feet ahead of the witches.
"Oh no, no no no." Lois gasped, realising what it meant and pushed her sister forwards. "Run, Emma, it's the hunters. Get to Haven, I'll hold them off!"
The twelve-year-old's slight face paled and her eyes widen in fright. Emma shook her head, tears threatening to appear. "No, Lois. I can be quick, we can make it. We just have to hurry, please!" She begged softly, not wanting to leave her sister behind.
The sound of horses approaching from the distance rattled through the otherwise silent forest.
Lois reached out and stroked her sister's cheek gently, her dainty fingers brushing the mousy waves behind Emma's ear. "You can hear the horses, Emma. They're close, close enough to see us and fire an accurate shot. If I can distract them, it will give you enough time to get to Haven. Mother would never forgive me if I let you die, let me do this. We'll make her proud."
Emma nodded hesitantly, wiping away the teardrops that had begun to fall. "Okay, for Mother." She whispered an agreement. "But you better come back, don't you dare leave me on my own. And Mother wouldn't have wanted you to die, either."
"I'll try my best, I promise you I will." Lois swore, gripping Emma's small hands in her own. "Now run, run and don't look back. Don't you look back until you reach Haven, do you hear me?"
"I won't, I won't look back." Emma bit her lip. "I love you sis."
Lois pulled her sister close, pressing a soft kiss against her silky hair. "I love you too." A tear fell from one of the elder's hazel eyes before she let go.
Emma scurried off then, heading deeper and deeper into the woodland and towards protection, leaving Lois in the bone-chilling silence, all by herself.
The orange flickers of torches came into view gradually and Lois steadied herself, facing her opponents head on, her hands flexing at her sides.
They were her greatest assets, her hands. Along with her brain, they were the most important parts of the body needed to perform spells. It was much more convenient if a person of magic could use non-verbal spells instead of spoken ones; it saved time and they could be done more surreptitiously.
She could see the hunters clearly now. A pack of fourteen were making their way over to her, all were mounted on horses, not a single was on foot. This made it harder for Lois to formulate an attack, but fire would make a good choice of weapon for this battle. Lois knew that horses were scared of fire, along with many of the forest animals.
Several more rounds of arrows were fired in her direction, however Lois simply swiped a hand across through the air in front of her face, sending the iron-tipped sticks falling to the ground next to her.
"Surrender to us, magike, or face death." One hunter called out from horse-back. It was a man; all the hunters were men. In all of Lois's eighteen and three-quarter years of life she had never once met a female hunter.
The witch pulled the hood of her cloak up so it cover her head and cast a shadow on her face, masking her appearance from the men. She allowed herself to smirk for a moment. "Then you'll have to kill me." Lois announced.
"Suit yourself." Another replied, then galloped forwards. Lois spotted a sword in his hand as it glinted in the moonlight.
Once her assaulter was at a suitable distance from her, the witch pointed a palm at the ground just in front of him and watched as a flame blasted up out of nowhere, causing the cavalry to buck and throw the hunter off course. Lois smiled, that was exactly what she wanted to happen.
Others had started to move also and Lois created a wall of fire to hold off the incoming attack from the right. However, simultaneously an arrow was shot at the base of the tree behind Lois, embedding itself in her ankle. The witch cried out, stumbling back. Her foot hit a tree root and she fell, landing on her backside in the mud. Another shot of a bow ended up with the sleeve of Lois's dress getting pinned to the bark. She was officially stuck.
Blood flooded from her wound like water flowing down a stream and every time Lois attempted the move the limb a jolt of pain ran up through her leg, wracking her body. If she couldn't move her leg, there was no way the witch was going to manage to get away. Lois had never excelled in healing magic, that was more Emma's forte.
The next thing she knew something was forcefully being brought down upon her head. A great agonising sensation erupted causing Lois's senses to dull and she lost consciousness shortly after. She knew nothing more.
A loud clanging noise shocked Lois out of her unconscious state and she woke up to find herself slung over the back of a horse. The witch blinked, trying to figure out what was going on and then she remembered about her foot. The pain was still throbbing from the damaged limb, but it was dulled by her sleep. Lois soon realised she was chained to the mammal's saddle as she attempted to slide off and escape but to no avail.
"I think she's awake now, William."
"Stop and we'll take a look." The horse jerked to a sudden halt. A caroused hand came up and felt Lois's face. The witch tried to look at the man but failed, restricted by the chains. "She's come around, alright. Luca, get her onto her feet would you? No point wasting a good mule on her now."
Lois as heaved off the horse and dropped the the ground unceremoniously. The chain was still attached to the saddle, preventing her from running.
She could see the men properly now. Each was dressed in chain mail, full amour with the crest of Terrin sewn onto their flowing red cloaks. The hunters didn't seem as terrifying in the daylight. Daylight. Lois then came to the conclusion she must've been out for longer than she had first thought, seeing as it looked to be the early hours of the morning.
A sudden pull on her chain threw Lois back into reality. The horses had begun to move, all the hunters having resumed their places on horseback and the witch was being made to walk along behind. It took a while to get accustomed to the speed at which the horses were trotting and the incessant jerks of the chain, but Lois managed to only fall a couple of times throughout the journey. This, in her opinion, was quite a success. Her falling over just meant that she was dragged across the ground until she could get back onto her feet again; never once did the hunters stop for her.
It was nightfall when the horses did finally begin to slow down. There was a stream nearby and the hunters were pausing to allow their steeds a drink. Darkness was once again consuming the Farrow Woods and Lois shivered in her thin clothes.
The same hunter as before, William, walked over to Lois and in-tied the chain from the horse and moved it so it was wrapped around the trunk of an old pine. "We're setting up camp." He told her, shoving Lois roughly to the ground. "It might be in your best interest to get some sleep, we have another day's ride before we reach the city and I don't want to have to put up with you tripping all the time."
Curling in upon herself, Lois gather her cloak and dress and pulled it close in an attempt to keep her body heat from escaping. She sighed and watched as the water in her breath condensed. It was going to be a long, hard night.
She was awoken by owls hooting in the trees. It was almost pitch black in the forest, with the full moon masked by a grey cloud. Lois glanced around the camp, the fire had been stamped out and all of the hunters were fast asleep. The stars dusted the sky like salt on a black table-cloth and it made Lois remembered how beautiful nature could really be.
It was in that moment when she thought of Emma, hiding away in Haven, safe. At least she was alone, Emma had Willow and Puck to look after her now she was stick here. Willow and Puck were a middle aged couple and had been very much like the girls' aunt and uncle since their mother's death. They helped Lois to raise Emma in the times when the elder sister found it all too much. Willow and Puck had lived in the same clan as Lois since before she was born, they had been friends with her mother.
Lois's hands twitched beneath the cool chains and the witch figured that now the hunter's were asleep she'd have a chance to get away without notice. Twisting her hands, Lois managed to place each of her finger tips onto the metal and closed her eyes. She willed for her hands to heat up and for the restrictions to burn away.
The smell of smoke hit her and she watched as the part of the chain connected to her fingers turned orange, like a burning inferno, and broke apart. The chain fell to the ground, twanging as it collided with itself and piled up.
Lois lifted her wrists so she could see them properly. Her escape from the bonds meant that now her flesh had been branded slightly by the hot metal, leaving her skin stinging and a dark maroon in certain places. But Lois could live with a few burns, at least now she was free and could make her way back to Emma again.
Jumping up carefully, Lois snuck away from the camp with ease, she had always been light on her feet, her wounds didn't slow her down too greatly.
The witch couldn't shrug off the feeling however, that this whole ordeal had been far too easy. She turned back to see that the scene hadn't changed, not one of the hunters had moved, not in the slightest. Sighing, she continued on, just glad that date was on her side this time around.
Then she tripped over something solid, landing with her hands in the sticky mud. Not another tree root, she groaned internally. Lois got back up, wiping the mud onto her cloak and in the moment, wished she hadn't decided to check out the object in question.
Because it wasn't a root at all, it was a hunter. A hunter lying on his back with his eyes melted into blood and his complexion as white as snow. The man was dead, that was for certain and that fact that it happened right under Lois's nose without her hearing a thing, scared the life out of her.
She ran as fast as her wounded ankle would allow her. And Lois didn't look back.
Should I continue or not? I get that this doesn't really give you much n an insight, but I hope it was quite interesting and makes you want more. :)