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part one of
Alone in the forest, or so she thought, Soaren wandered the forest in curiosity, trying to find what had fallen from the sky only moments ago. It was growing dark, her mother would soon be calling for her, but she couldn't go back. She was still angry at her family for forcing an engagement on her with the duke's son, Drake. Soaren stomped as she thought of him, those tiny black eyes, that thin figure. He always stared at her amusingly as if she had done something foolish. He was as sly as a fox and stubborn as an ass. Only a complete fool would believe his act. Her mother only thought of how safe Soaren would be, but Soaren wanted happiness, she wanted to marry someone she loved. But that is not as important to her as the others, she wants to live alone.
As she stood thinking of where she would go to escape them, something stirred in the trees above her. When she looked up she should of run, but she couldn't because what she found was a young man sitting there in the tree. He was average looking and had black hair. He stared at her with strange green eyes that she had never seen before, and she returned the stare with her equally strange blue eyes. “Who are you,” he asked.
“My name is Soaren,” she replied to him not thinking of what she was saying. “Who are you,” she asked back.
“I am Francis, I come from the western lands.” Suddenly she realized that this boy would only slow her down. “Would you like to come with me to the village?”
“I'm sorry but I have to go west.”
“Why don't I accompany you?”
“Why would you do that?”
“Because there are plenty of robbers in these woods and I passed some slave traders a few days ago. We wouldn't want you to get robbed or taken would we?”
She thought about that, he was right. Even if he was lying about the slave traders there are plenty of robbers in the woods. “You seem trustworthy, so you may come with me,” she finally said. “Now wait here, I thought I saw something fall over here.” Soaren went off the trail and after a yard or so she found something in what looked like a badger hole. It was a wooden box with silver leaf trimmings. Francis came up beside her and took it. He tried to open it but he couldn't, “let me have it Francis.”
“Well if you're going to try to open it then good luck.”
“Fine, I'll try, and I'll open it.” She took the box back, stepped away, and when she did open it she found a silver necklace inside with a small pendant that looked like a creature curled in sleep. Soaren couldn't make out what it was but it was strange. Then she heard something, and when she turned she found Francis with a group of other young men. They were talking and looking at her. Soaren put the necklace around her neck and walked toward them. “Hello there I trust you travel with Francis?”
They all smiled at Soaren, “yes,” one said to her, he was larger and his features were apparent than the others, “we do and I find that you'll be traveling with us now.”
“Well I don't know about you but I'm traveling west,” she told them, and if you want to go then fine, but I want to get to East Ophal City as soon as possible.
“Well fine then,” the big one said. “We'll go with you.”
“I don't really understand why, but okay, let's go.”
“Wait,” Francis said, “we can't travel by night, we'll all just sleep at the tavern until day break. So then we will have saved up all of our strength. So they all started walking toward the village, but Soaren was worried that the villagers would be wondering why she was sleeping in a tavern, and checking in with a group of young men.
“Oh, by the way,” the big one said, “My name is Evan,” he pointed to another young man that was blond, he had a longer face with a pointed nose, he was also much slimmer than the others, “this is Brian,” he pointed to the last one, that was more square in the face and had brown eyes like everyone else in the world, “and this is Ronald. We all met at the same village Francis is from. Francis has forgotten to tell us your name.”
“My name is Soaren,” she replied, keeping her eyes on the trail.
“And why are you traveling so far, Soaren?” Ronald asked.
“Just running away from the family is all.”
“I see,” Brian said as he nodded, “you were engaged to someone you didn't like so you just ran away.”
“I don't just not like him, I hate him. I'd rather not talk of it anymore, we're here.” They stopped and entered the tavern in town that was called, The Long Journey.
“Fitting name isn't it?” Francis commented. The group took a seat at the bar and ordered, but when the waiter came to Soaren she was recognized.
“Soaren? What are you doing here? Who are these men? Why aren't you at home? I have half a mind to tell your mother, but since you're my best friend I guess not.”
“Hello Sarah,” Soaren greeted her grimly, “I can't talk now I have to leave town, we need some rooms and supper.”
“Happy to do that for you Soaren, but why are you leaving?”
“Drake” Soaren said in disgust.
“Drake?” Francis asked, “who's Drake?”
“Drake is a suitor,” Hannah explained.
“Not anymore,” Soaren said, “now he's my betrothed, as long as I stay here.”
“Oh no Soaren, you can't marry him!” Hannah said handing them some drinks.
“What's so bad about this Drake anyway?” Evan asked taking a drink of his rum.
“He beat her,” Hannah told them, “then he lied about it and said she fell. He always cursed and called her names, then one night he threatened her life, apparently he's gotten to her parents now.”
“They love him,” Soaren said, “and won't believe a word I say. Well enough stories, how about that supper?”
“Coming up Soaren,” Hannah replied, “lucky I have Joshua, her brother.” They all moved to a table nearby with enough room for them to eat.
“Why are you traveling?” Soaren asked.
“Like you we're running away,” Evan said as Hannah served the food, “but we're running away from the army, we don't want to be apart of it.”
“It's just blood on your hands,” Francis told her. They began eating, and when they were finished Hannah took them to their rooms, but there was a problem.
“I'm sorry but there are only two small rooms left, it's hunting season here. Unless someone wants to share a room with Soaren, you men will have to sleep in one and Soaren in the other. Soaren went into her room, Evan looked at Francis and they all went to sleep.
Soaren found herself in a room with her mother and Drake talking, Soaren decided to find a place closer to hear them. “So, you think you'll be able to break that spirit?” her mother asked him, “or will you just kill her.”
“I believe that if you kill the spirit you will also kill the person, but if breaking her isn't an option then something will have to be done.”
“Good, then we agree that she will not find out, right?”
“Because then we will never be able to take over her father's kingdom. That man needs some sense in getting us more money, if I have to eat the food directly from the market again, I'll kill that man right now.”
“We have to wait, till the mage gets here, then he will make the king sick, then the king will die, then we will rule.”
“For now we have to find Soaren, I know she would head west to East Ophal City, she always wanted to go there as a girl. Go with your troops there and bring her back.” Then everything faded out.
Everyone was leaning over the bed staring at her, “what's going on?”
“You've been sleeping all day, it's midday,” Evan told her as she sat up, “we were supposed to leave at daybreak.” Hannah was sitting at her side.
“You had a fever,” Hannah said, “and I think you're parents found out you're here because your Drake came and saw you just before we got here.”
“We have to go,” Soaren said as she got up, “now get out so I can change, I'll just take a few seconds.” She locked the door and hurriedly changed her clothes. She saw her mother walking down the street, her heart raced, she packed only her sleeping clothes and money and ran down the stairs to the group, “come on men time to leave.” Hannah showed them toward the back door and they ran towards the woods. But Soaren didn't notice that her necklace was glowing.
Once they got far enough that they couldn't see the village's farm lands. By that time they were all breathing heavily, all except for Soaren. “Wow, I've never ran that fast before,” Soaren said as the men sat to catch their breath. “I feel so alive today, except that... never mind.”
“Except that what?” Brian asked as soon as he caught his breath.
“Well, it was my dream last night. I was at home, and Drake was there with my mother. They were talking about killing my father and kidnapping me at East Ophal City.”
“Strange,” Ronald said with obvious curiosity in his voice. “Well, do you still think that we should still go to East Ophal City?”
“Yes,” Soaren replied, “I've always wanted to go there, plus were else am I supposed to go?”
“How about north to Phon?” Suggested Francis, “I know some people there that you could live with until you decide to move again.”
“Alright, we'll check there, but from Frazden to Phon is a long way. Are you up to putting up with me till then.”
“I think we're up to it,” Francis smiled while picking up his things, “shall we go?”
“Let's go,” she replied.