We’ll start my story here. My kidnapping. Though these days, when I look back on it, I think of it as a rescue.
For it was
a rescue, after all.
It was cold that morning. The sun was just beginning to rise as the five of us, my guard and I, crept into the forest on the edge of camp for another day’s recruitment. The trees here intertwined and twirled their way through open air to form some kind of massive net. This was their preliminary defense against intruders. Us. Some of the trees excreted poisonous sap, which would seep into your skin and eventually kill you if you so much as brushed against it. The soldiers relied on me to tell them which trees hosted that defense. No voices crept from the bark of such.
We made our way further in the darkness of the woods. The sunlight became scarcer the deeper we traveled. Eventually it was only life that propelled me. While I was aware of every living creature within three leagues, none of them were aware of me. Not until their senses told them so, that is. There is no conscious indication to them that I am penetrating their thoughts.
I realized how empty the wilderness here had become. What was once crawling with life forms to the very brink of the area, was now lifeless. I wondered if the creatures here had realized what I was doing, brainwashing them and leading them all to their deaths. If the word had spread between them, I would not be able to get close enough to persuade any of them to join us. The thought was worrying and relieving at the same time.
Yet another hour passed and still we found nothing. Mud caked itself all the way up to my knees, and my company all looked like savages. One had tripped and fallen into the swamp of mud I had walked around, another lost a chunk of flesh to a thorn bush, and the other two were breaking out into rashes. Eventually they started voicing their distaste at the direction this trip was going.
“Why are we even heading this way, child. All of our recruits came from the eastern half of the forest,” the oldest asked, annoyed.
“I don’t hear anything in that direction anymore. We have either taken them all or they have left.”
Only a grunt answered me. And a moan. And eight wobbly, uncoordinated, useless legs. If only I was allowed to do this on my own, the results would come much faster.
Following the voices was beginning to prove fruitless; every time I reached their origin, I was only met by a small group of ants, a community of worms, a nest of baby rabbits… all worthless.
“That does it, girl,” the unit leader said, frustratingly, as we found ourselves facing two very old-looking turtles sleeping soundly in the sand bank of a small stream. “We are going back now
. I don’t care if you don’t eat for a-”
But he would never finish that sentence. A flaming arrow lodged itself into his throat and he crumpled to his feet after choking to death on his own blood.
I whirled around, searching for the bow that released it. Then several things happened in a matter of seconds. Something exploded. The remaining soldiers flew from the earth, smashing against trees and plummeting to the rough soil below. I heard the sickening crunch of bones breaking. Another explosion, this one of fire instead of pure force. The flames licked the ground like they were alive, and found their way to two of the fallen crew. One erupted into flame and almost instantly turned to ash. Suddenly, the stream sprouted to life. It rose up into a cyclone of air and water, thrashing at anything that stood in its way. One of the men, probably the last one alive, managed to stumble to his feet and run in the other direction, the water tornado pulsing after him.
I couldn’t move. I could only stare wide-eyed at this strange phenomenon. It was almost like… like magic.
I heard no voices. No life anywhere. Just silence and the distant cackling of flames. There was a hand on my shoulder.
“You are safe now, Peacekeeper,” a voice told me in a deep tribal accent.
I turned to see golden eyes in an olive face on a very tall and broad man. Two others stood behind him, dressed in the same mahogany cloaks, carrying the same oakwood staffs, and wearing the same look of pride in their eyes.
“You … did that?” I asked, referring to the almost unbelievable defiance of nature. Why wasn’t I afraid of them, and why wasn’t I running.
did,” he said, smiling like a hyena, and flaunting a blindingly white set of teeth. Perhaps it was his dark skin that made them seem so bright.
I gazed behind him at the people flanking his sides. Unlike their leader, they had their hoods shading their heads. Only their also golden eyes could be seen from the darkness. “Who are
you?” I stared intently back at the lead man.
“We are your friends, and you are coming with us,” he said, matter-of-factly. And he gripped his arm around my back and lead me away, his accomplices in tow. The strange part, is that I followed.
Deep down, I had been looking for an escape. I was too young and na´ve to think of one on my own, and too afraid to go through with it if I had. I had no idea what these people were, but they gave me hope…somehow. Hope in freedom, despite the fact that I had only known them five minutes and had just watched them murder four men.
And as if he’d read my mind, “Ah, we are mages, Peacekeeper.” He smiled proudly toward the sky. I was already sick of seeing that annoying grin. “Our loyalties are to the Resistance, and yours will soon be too.”
Inspiration taken from Fever's Music & Magecraft. There is now magic in this story. :D