A Chance at Destiny

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There was something about tonight. It was too calm, especially for a full moon. Normally, with all of the light, the city folk would still be out; going to the tavern with friends, having a smoke in the moonlight, or having a bad case of insomnia, just like Selenia. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't get to sleep.

Well, she thought to herself, if I can't sleep I might as well see why it's so quiet out there. She threw the covers off and stepped onto the cold wood floor. She silently walked over to the window. The warm summer breeze lazily blew her long brown hair across her face. She stared out the window awhile and, finally satisfied with the silence out in the night, she turned around to go back to bed.

A pale, cloaked figure stepped out of the shadows near Selenia's bed. She froze mid-step.

'I had hoped you would have been sleeping. It would have made this a lot easier,' the dark figure explained.

Selenia tried to call for help, but her voice was caught in her throat.

'Don't bother screaming for help. I hexed you, so you can't speak for awhile. Sorry about this, but it's imperative that you aren't awake for the trip.'

The cloaked figure stepped soundlessly toward Selenia, drawing his sword. He knelt down at her side and struck her temple with the hilt of his sword. Everything went black.

Selenia opened her eyes. She was laying on cold, rocky ground and could see a patch of blue sky directly above her between two towering cliff faces on either side. A small stream on her side bubbled away softly.

'Is this some sort of giant crevice or something?' she thought. Suddenly her head began to throb. She remembered everything. Her mind began to race as she wondered where she was, why she was kidnapped, and what she could do about it. Ideas swirled around in her head until she heard footsteps coming up at her feet. Quickly and carefully she grabbed a handful of rocks beside her and shut her eyes, pretending to still be unconscious as the footsteps became louder.

Selenia's eyes shot open as she bolted upright and threw the rocks as hard as she could at the approaching figure. As the rocks hit his face, she recognized him as her kidnapper.

'Aghhhh! Damn it!' the figure shouted. Selenia began to run, following the curves of the stream on her left and the cliff face on her right. As she rounded a bend, she saw a village of wooden huts built into the cliff face across the river. There were men and women down at the stream, getting water and washing clothes. One by one, they looked up at her running by and stopped what they were doing.

She stopped running, and stared back at them, lost in their eyes. There was something about them that spoke to her. It was as if she saw a part of herself in all of their eyes. They were connected to her somehow, and she to them.

At that moment, she felt cold steel slide under her neck; Not close enough to harm her, but close enough to make her throw out any plans of escape.

'Remember me? I think we should have a little talk which will hopefully discourage you from throwing any more rocks in my face.' He led her across the stream and into one of the huts. 'Now, how about we have a civilized discussion? You are the royal princess of the Grand Kadzran Empire, after all.' He took the knife away from her neck and pushed her toward a chair. 'Sit down.'

Selenia reluctantly took the seat. It seemed to be a wicker chair and wasn't particularly comfortable; At least, not compared to the chairs back at the Celestial Bastion, the great stronghold of the Grand Kazdran Empire.

'So what? Are you going to ransom me back to the Empire? What's your price?'

'Are you really that na've that you think money can solve every problem? Can money correct immorality? No, it causes it. Can it overthrow an unjust ruler? No. They are unjust because they crave power. Can money ensure a hopeful future? No. Hope for the future is what gives money its value. Money is worthless.'

'Well, what the hell do you want with me?'

'What we want is all you have ever wanted. We want hope, happiness, and justice, and we're going to help you achieve that.'

'My father has always ruled justly. He gives the people hope and makes them happy to live under his rule. When I'm returned to my Father-'

'The next time you see your father, you'll be holding a bloody sword over his lifeless corpse. That is, if he doesn't do the same to you before then.'

Selenia began to tremble. 'Who are you people?'

The man smirked. 'We're the good guys.'





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