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Silence. Nothing dares to move. Not even then wind blows through the canopy above my head.
Something is wrong.
Then, a sound. Quiet at first, then steadily louder and louder, until the air and the ground quakes with the deafening roar of hundreds of armored feet, stomping in time ever towards their destination.
The closer they come, the more fearful I am for my safety, but also the more curious.
Who are they? Why are they here? Whom have they come to confront?
With every question, I unconsciously take a step forward, following the sound of the now receding army. Soon I am running to catch up.
After a little bit, I am able to see the front of the army, as it is heading in the direction perpendicular to mine. The General, at the centermost part of the head of the army, is riding a dark horse and wearing blood-red armor with black trim. Most of the soldiers are just wearing the crest. The crest of the Bloody King, with a red crown upon a weeping woman’s head, and a black bird below it.
This army is Accentaryian. The thought makes my blood boil.
It was they who murdered my family and sent me into exile. It was they who began the War of the Kings, the war that killed countless people and engulfed the entire continent into a gory battle of insults and death.
Then I realize where they are headed, and it brings me up short. The West Forest, a place that is know as a haunted jungle with perils that even the greatest man fears.
I live there, and have done so for three years.
‘They couldn’t be after me, could they?’ I think to myself, worrying how long I will be able to hide before I must start killing. As much as I hate them, we are kin, and I do not wish to harm them.
A figure runs out of the forest in front of the army. I notice that it’s a young male with light clothing on and quick feet.
He runs up to the General, whispers something, the General nods his head, and the figure goes back to his ranks.
He must have been a scout.
They have found what they are looking for.
I smile, thinking that as soon as they receive their orders, which I will be able to hear from this distance, I will scurry along the opposite direction.
I will admit, being in exile for three years has driven me a little bit crazy, but that’s only to be expected after what happened to me.
Firstly, I saw both my parents murdered in the cruelest ways imaginable, along with my one-year-old brother and four-year-old sister. Secondly, those idiots kicked me out of the entire country. The ENTIRE country! And for what? They claimed that I ‘stole’ the royal majesties pet hawk. The stupid bird had flown into the tree in our front yard and broken its wing! I was helping it heal when they came and they arrested me!
Thinking about the subject has brought back unpleasant memories and I quickly focus my attention back to the army. They have stopped at attention and are waiting for their commands from the General. I happen to be close enough to hear the orders.
“Soldiers!” He yells across the field, commanding every ounce of concentration from all of the soldiers. “Today, we have come to fight! We have come to claim victory over a terror that has plagued us through the years! We have come to make a name for ourselves and destroy a demon that many even scarce mention! We come to slay—“
I hear a noise behind me. It’s an average soldier, with normal armor and a normal weapon.
The one thing different about this soldier is that he was looking for someone. And that someone was me.
“Caitlyn!” He called. “Caitlyn, where are you? It’s me, Garret!”
Garret! My one childhood friend was looking for me! But how did he know where—of course. They announced that I would be exiled to the Forests of Time to everyone. He must’ve gotten lucky that he was sent to my forest.
“Garret! Is it really you?” I call down to him. He spins around and scans the trees for me.
“Yes! Oh, finally I have found you! I knew you would be here!” He exclaims, still looking for me. I jump down and confront him. Just as I land, the sounds of a battle reach us. We both look out at the clearing to find it encircled with flames.
“What in the—“. I am cut off from my exclamation by a thundering roar, so loud that the earth quakes. Both Garret and I rush out into the clearing, trying to find the source of the blood-curling scream. I scour the arena with my eyes, only to stop short at the monstrosity in the sky, hovering but a few feet off the ground. The beating wings send turbulent winds ripping toward us, creating a strong force that blows out the flames on either side of the beast.
From within the serpent’s throat emerges a deafening roar, the likes of which sends shivers up my spine.
A basilisk. A beast known by many names, but is just as fearsome in form.
With another ground shaking roar, the basilisk lets loose a jet of blue flame, scorching half the field along with the soldiers. The screams of the dying and wounded shred my heart, but tease no tears from my eyes.
With a roar of my own, I charge onto the battle field. I can hear Garret behind me, calling me back, but I continue forward. As I come into the beast’s vision, it pauses, contemplating this new enemy. It decides I am no immediate threat and turns around. Big mistake.
I run faster than I ever have, leaping at just the right moment. I land on the basilisk’s back, which immediately makes it furious. It shakes its body, attempting to throw off the obstruction that is me. In its failure to do so, it takes to the air, and for a moment, it’s magical. Flying through the air on the back of such a powerful beast. The basilisk must sense this to, because the flight is steady.
Huh. Imagine that. The first human to ever ride a basilisk and it happens to be me. The feeling of utter calm and cool air against my face calm me, and a peace settles around me and the basilisk. I can hear the gasps from below and I can feel the stares. I like this feeling of soaring hundreds of feet above the ground.
It feels… right.