The moonlight leaked sparingly through the rigid thickness of trees in front of Lillian, giving barely enough illumination and just enough time to jump over the large roots, rocks and other unrecognizable obstacles, as she ran with all her might to elude the enemies behind her. She knew from the sharp snaps and crackling of leaves and twigs that they were gaining up on her fast. Dreads are large, but not quick on their feet, and to her advantage none of them were on horseback. The fortress couldn’t be too far ahead, she thought. And she knew that if she reached it she might find cover enough to cast some effective spells. The deep grunting of Dreads closed in behind her. She held her hand up against the sky with a beckoning motion, causing large branches to crack violently; hoping to create a more solid barrier between her and her savage foes. Glancing after, she could see that it had worked, if only for a moment. She tried to gain speed, but her legs were becoming tight and sore from the constant, grueling chase. Arrows continued whizzing violently through the sky all around her, as she reached the top of the small hill ahead – that’s where she could finally see it. Foreboding as it was, with its black, slick, and sinister design; it still looked very extraordinary in the moonlight. She had reached the fortress at last. It had taken years to discover how to disarm the protective enchantments around it, and now she was finally here. Four members of the Great Council, her companions, had been killed tonight on this deadly quest and she simply couldn’t bear to fail them all now. As she scanned the open clearing around the building, she noticed that more Dreads were standing guard and preparing for the oncoming chase that was imminently obvious by the arrows, yells, and loud trampling coming their way. Lillian continued to rain debris in their path, frantically casting spells behind her as she ran. Taking cover behind a large tree, she began enchanting the rocks to fly in the direction of her pursuers. Loud grunts and angry howls echoed through the forest as the rocks made contact. A few moments of near silence ensued, giving Lillian the confidence she needed to break away from the tree and descend the slope in front of the fortress. She speedily moved down the slope, hiding between trees and large rocks on the way to conceal her. It seemed as if her pursuers had finally fallen behind! She triumphantly moved nearer to the entrance, when all of the sudden something hot and forceful struck her violently in the back. The heat surged through her body rapidly, causing instant paralysis. As she fell backward onto the hard earth, and just before her eyes closed, a long black haired figure hovered over her, piercing her with dark and soulless eyes.
Life often changes suddenly and devastatingly. It is then that our reality takes a deep plunge into the unknown, and can alter much of what we once knew to be true. It causes us to wake up and be ready for the changes that are inevitably coming. In this change, there is always a chance to grow and learn who we really are, if we choose it to be so. We can choose light or darkness - to expand or be stagnant. We will never find out what we are made of, if we do not conquer what is laid before us for our benefit. We can have unbelievable strength that we never thought was possible, if we open ourselves up to who we really are...
Author A.L. Bawden A.L. Bawden was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, into a large family of artists. Her father is a renowned sculptor -(Dee Jay Bawden), and her mother was an ingenious crafter, interior decorator, and seamstress. She has siblings that are sculptors, photographers, painters, cake decorators, tattoo artists, film makers, and crafters. She and a couple of her sisters have also had a successful mural painting business in Utah, called Artistic Murals. Her other hobbies include, reading, sewing & designing costumes, making jewelry, crafting, wake-boarding, snow-boarding, camping, fishing, boating, hiking, and running. She is a lover of fantasy fiction books and has enjoyed writing ever since she was a kid. She is the mother of three and is currently managing a couple of small online businesses
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