Here's another! xD
Butterflies raged inside my stomach. Me? No. It couldn’t be. Why me? I was just a
regular girl! Why not Stefana? She was rich. She was courageous. Heck, she was even kind!
Well, sometimes. Only to people she was fond of. Not me. I was too poor for that.
And The Council? How could they decide that the fate of the entire kingdom rested upon one
lonely and inexperienced girl? I was currently the most untrained warrior in the whole
group! There was no way they called my name. It must have been someone else. But then
again, who else would have the name of Annaline Demosky? No one. At least not in our clan.
I finished tying my black heeled riding boots and shook the dirt off my dress. It was very
casual, not like the ones I had owned at home. It was a deep red, like my hair,
contrasting with my mother’s emerald necklace. It came up to my knees, to make the
riding more comfortable. The sleeves were elbow length, tied off with a green bow on each
side. I simply loved it. It reminded me so much of home.
I opened our curtain door and steeped into the gorgeous sunlight. The place was empty. The
camp was still sleeping, so really only my friends and Faunk had woken up to see me off.
It was after all only 10 am. They were all probably in the meeting center, ready for
everything to begin.
I knew I should have been there too, but something just drove me towards the training
center. A small clearing with very few trees, the training hollow had been like home to
me. And that was because it reminded me of home, I thought, making my way through the
I looked up at the sky with a longing to know what the Gods knew, even the very minor
Gods, like my mother.
“Mother, what am I supposed to do?” I called, with the absolute knowledge that only
the Gods could hear me. “They couldn’t possibly have chosen me, yet they did. How
could they do that? They all hate me, except for Faunk!” The clouds rumbled, and I
headed back to where I had dismounted my horse before. “And what am I going to say to
father? To Lamil?” I wondered silently, remembering how I betrayed them. “I left
I suddenly felt my mother’s presence, her comforting tone ringing inside my head. “Be
strong, Be true, Be the best they can hope for, and everyone, everyone will accept you,
good or evil.” That was her promise to me. And I believed it. Promises from loyal
Goddesses like her were pretty much short prophecies of encouragement. Her oceanic
fragrance was like going into the past when I was a toddler, playing on the shore of my
mother’s lake. I had only lived with her for a small while, until I was four, but I
distinctly remembered her, and anything that reminded me of her almost made me sob.
I was already tearing up by the time I had mounted my horse, and I had to retire to my
cabin and rearrange my features before setting foot outside.
“Annaline, your transportation is ready.” A thin, frail man looked up at me, and I
noticed for the first time that he only came up to my shoulder. The attitude seemed in his
voice seemed to make up for the height issue, I thought grimly. Then realization dawned on
me. It was Faunk, Anyal’s assistant. “Are you ready?” He was waiting just outside my
cabin, scowling as if he thought I had just been snoozing instead of getting ready for my
His voice echoed in my head. Am I ready? Of course I wasn’t. But I had to be. I took a
small breath, shooed the persistent butterflies away and nodded. I didn’t trust myself
Anyal walked up behind Faunk. “Hello sister. Are you ready?”
I had heard that question only a million times in the last five minutes, but this time I
found my voice. I didn’t want him to think I was cowardly. “Of course Anyal.”
He smiled warmly. “Mother would be proud that someone with such resemblance to her is
taking on such a dangerous mission.” Resemblance? To her? Nonsense. That would be Anyal,
with his blue eyes and blonde hair. I had straight long red hair, deep green eyes, full
lips, and long lashes. The only thing I had in common with her was her fair complexion.
Thank goodness. Not that she was ugly, but I definitely preferred my father’s looks.
And dangerous? Oh, no. I glanced nervously at my shoes. “Dad’s not.” In fact, Dad
wanted nothing to do with me. Ever since I got my first mission call he had slowly drawn
away from me as he had Anyal.
He snorted. “That’s his fault. But what would you expect? He hates the fact that we
are actually loyal to our clan. The only reason we were ever trained here was mother’s
fierce bonds with nature. Otherwise, we would be serving the darkest lords imaginable.”
He paused, and I just barely caught the alarmed look then passed between the men, as if he
had said too much. Then Anyal abruptly changed the subject. “Now let’s get a move on.
Don’t want to keep those manticores waiting!”
He lightly shoved me toward my horse, Eternity. I took one last look at the thick, wild
forest surrounding me and mounted.
What had he said before, about the darkest lords imaginable? Surely father wasn’t that
horrid. I had grown up with him for half of my life. He had treated me lovingly and always
put me first.
But was there more to it? I vaguely remembered his assistant, an Orc. And he had always
refused to talk of any heavenly and righteous being but their mother, Castalia. And even
then he held back. He had always told me that because I looked so much like him, with the
bottomless green eyes and deep red hair, I was too special to be bothered with such
nonsense. And of course when he said nonsense, he made it clear that he meant the clans
and their mother’s “religion”. I believed him. I stayed by his side for ages, while
Anyal took off.
But that was why I had left him. He had forced all of his beliefs down my throat.
Eventually, I couldn’t stand it, so I ran off in search of my older brother.
By this point, everyone I knew and loved in my clan had joined the line just a few yards
away from where we had been talking. “Farewell, they all said sadly, as if I were never
coming back. My best friend Lisania ran forward and hugged me so fiercely that I
couldn’t breathe. It was going to be hard, leaving her.
Mounting my horse, I waved goodbye to my friends, and gently nudged Eternity toward the
* * * * *
The ancient shack creaked insanely from the harsh wind. I rolled over to find my
companion, Eternity, staring at me with wide eyes. So he was terrified too, being in a
strange place with the most horrific weather. At least I wasn’t the only one.
It had been a tiresome night; sleeping in an abandoned shack without the forest
surrounding me on all sides. Just that thought was enough to make me restless, never mind
the bitter cold, the foggy air, and the barren ground. There was very little grass and no
shrubs or trees whatsoever. Which meant no where to hide and no easy sources of food. This
was proving to be harder than I expected, I thought grimly.
Eternity nudged me expectantly. Food. I’m almost out! I had been camping here for at
least a week, waiting for a sign of Lamil, my father’s messenger.
Which of course was why they chose me. I was the closest with my father, most in touch
with him. I knew many of his secrets and I could easily get him to share more. The problem
was finding him. Father never stayed in one place for long. He would look petrified
whenever I had mentioned anything about actually settling in one place. And I understood
that, I really did. He didn’t want to be noticed. He was valuable. Or more, what he knew
And the only way to get that valuable information was by finding him, and the only way to
find him was Lamil. Lamil used to live here, before his family died. He always traveled
back here after a few weeks, for memory’s sake.
Eternity whinnied. He was getting desperate. I had to move. I had to leave in search of
food. But what if I missed Lamil? I would be stuck out here for weeks more, waiting for
him to deliver his next message.
Eternity quietly nudged me once again. But this time it wasn’t in search of food. One
of his ears was to the side. I turned in the direction he had indicated and felt my blood
turn to ice. Lamil. He was here.
I crouched down in the small bedroom I had found for my horse and I. It was at the back
of the house, but had many windows, and I could see him approaching. His bay mare was
following steadily behind him. Lamil kept his head down, as if he were silently mourning
his dead family.
Lamil entered his former home, muttering in a shushed tone. When he had entered the
shack, the wind had blown off the door. Not that the door was of much use anyway. I peeked
through the small hole in the wall that separated us. Lamil had bent over to pick up a
shattered frame. Oops. That’s what I got for letting the horse into the house.
“Lamil!” I crawled into the room and help him stand up. He was so light. The Lamil I
used to know was one of the strongest people I had ever seen. He turned to ward me,
“Anna? What are you doing here?”
Fear gripped me so tightly, I almost puked. To lie to him… I just couldn’t bear it.
But I had to. “I came to find you, of course.” My voice was filled with unintentional
concern. “Are you okay? You seem…lighter.”
“I am lighter.” His face suddenly darkened. “But you wouldn’t care about that.
You got your own life to live. You don’t have time for your father and best friend, no.
You don’t need us. But how were you to know that we nee…”
“That’s why I came back.” I interrupted him with a smile on my face. “I’ve
missed you all so much. Especially you, Lamil.”
“Your left leg is shaking,” he noted, pointing down at the forest green riding dress
I wore. It wasn’t nearly as fancy as the red, but it helped with camouflage. Same with
the sturdy brown flats I wore. Light and easy to walk in. “You’re lying.” I looked
down at my leg. Sure enough, it was shaking like an earthquake. And only he would know
that. My left leg always shook when I felt guilty.
I looked up at Lamil for the first time and gasped. He looked so different! His long
brown hair was now a handsome short cut and his hair was a sandy blonde. His eyes, which
were always a light blue, were now dark gray. He was angry with me. Of course.
“Why aren’t you wearing your gray cloak?” I asked, partly to change the subject.
“I’ve been working out in the city.” He replied. “I’ve been in disguise. That
and traveling is much easer in more modern clothes.” He gestured to his sleek blue pants
and black elbow length shirt.
“You look so different!” I inspected him for a moment before returning to the much
dreaded subject. “I need to see father, Lamil.”
His face switched from one of nonchalance and hidden sadness to shock. “Why?” he
gasped. “You hate him!”
“I do not!” I retorted angrily. “I only ran away because he was forcing his spells
and magic down my throat!”
“Well then, why do you nee him?”
“Is that any of your business?” I questioned, hurt.
“I am the messenger.”
“And because I’m traveling along side you, I think I can tell him myself.”
“Traveling with you.”
“No, actually you aren’t.” she looked away, his cheeks colored with embarrassment.
He always did poorly with this type of thing. Especially with me.
“And why not?”
“Because you can’t just leave us one day without telling me and expect me…I mean
us,” he stuttered. “to be okay with it, Annaline.”
“I’ve realized my mistake.” I said quietly, silently begging my leg to stay still
for just a moment.
“I don’t think you have.”
“Excuse me?” I asked, a little shocked.
“When you told me you missed me, your leg started quivering. I don’t think you mean
“Oh Lamil, you know I never wanted to leave you!”
“So why did you leave without telling me?”
“You would have stopped me!” I retorted, looking into those beautiful hurt eyes. My
heart stopped for a moment, and I silently vowed to hate myself forever because of this.
How could I blame him for my choice? I had already broken his heart, and now I had the
nerve to come back!
“Of course I would have!” he cried. “I loved you!”
The guilt and sorrow was suddenly too much for me, and I knelt down on the muddy dirt
floor, sobbing. To my absolute horror, he eventually sat down, and with an arm over my
shoulder, and began comforting me.
No one said anything for a long while. It was just us; Lamil rocking me gently in his
arms, and I crying like a newborn baby. For the first time in so many years, I felt that
soothing comfort I had only known at home. Lamil. He always knew just how to comfort me. I
knew just how to comfort him. We were like that. And I knew it. How could I have left him?
My eyes drooped heavily, and I felt myself slowly falling asleep. I never did well with so
much emotion in such little time. I blinked a few times, shaking the fatigue out of my
brain, but I knew it was no use. I finally gave up, and in a matter of seconds, I was dead