by Little Red
A short prologue of an epic fantasy tale yet to come...
|Tears streaked her face, mingled almost indistinguishably among smeaks of fresh blood. Tangled red hair streamed like bushes of seaweed behind the petite woman, a vunerable creature that helplessly tried to escape this ever growing darkening shroud. Creatures of the underbush sneered pitilessly at her. Gnarled arms distended with grasping claws to gnaw at her sordid cloths and exposed skin. Constant stumbles and inevitable falls soon bloodied her knees, yet stubborness and determination kept her aloft. She bit her lips until droplets of crimson appeared.~0~
Sounds of her pursuers were no more in the gathering darkness. She wished with all her might to hault...for only five seconds. This would be enough. Five seconds. But these invaluable time were enough to cause her her own death, tortured death. She couldn't afford to die, not now, not at this fetid place. Haunted voices of the forest continued to follow wherever she ran, pulsuing with an unearthly chilliness. Screams and cries of helplessness cloaked her mind, while the doomed wound in her heart continued to bleed. More blood. More blood. They poured out of the gash in her heart, draining away her life. With tears streaming down her face, with a bleeding heart dying, she ran blindly through the forest, embracing her precious bundle of blankets to her breasts tightly... ~1~
* * *
It felt like years. Perhaps I had been running for a decade, she mused to herself half-heartly, a smile of triumph touched her lips as she finally left the darkness behind. Oh, how could I still be smiling? she thought in amusement, the smile continued to linger in a moment on her thin, bloody lips. Madness, she thought. Madness! Perhaps it was better to be mad than sane-wherever pain would simply vanish forever!~2~
However, a quick glance at the blankets held protectively between her arms quickly waved aside her thoughts. Not now...She couldn't fail, she couldn't fall. She couldn't just become mad. Only for him, for him...Staggering, and bleeding, she ran forward...~3~
With all the strength she could muster, she managed to complete the last ten strides in her life. She fell to the ground, and clawing, pounded vigorously on the wooden door. ~4~
"Open this door. Open!" She continued to pound the thick wooden door determinededly. She wouldn't give up. Not now, not at this second...She wouldn't give up! It opened, finally, with a loud, ear-breaking creak. A middle aged woman stepped out of the disclosure. A plain brown dress adorned an oversized corpulent body. A pair of gray eyes were alert with amazement and annoyance at the disturbance at this late hours. With a sudden yelp of surprise, she caught the bundle of rags in her arms before it fell completely to the ground. ~5~
"What is this- what is---" She brushed back the mass of hair that veiled the other's face impatiently. She gasped in shock as she recognized the young innocent face. ~6~
"NO!" Her eyes widened in shock. Tears were beginning to pour out of her own eyes at the sight of the other's face. She held the woman tightly, trying to calm herself from trembling. ~7~
"What had happened..." Her eyes widened and swiftly surveyed the outside world where the other had just came out. Light from the inside spilled through the huge gap of the opened door, yet even such light was unable to go through the impenetrable darkness beyond. Quickly, she dragged the other into the room, closing the huge wooden door behind them in haste. ~8~
The young woman opened her weary eyes in great force, in pain. Large icy blue eyes were still alert, despite the fact that she was near the end of her last strength. Supported in the older woman's arms, she mouthed quietly, with much effort.~9~
"My dearest Mother....they came. Just before twilight dawned over this world, they came to us.....oh the blood! The blood and those fires! Mother...they hurt me! They hurt me so much!" Tears streamed down her face. Breath was eluding her grasp.~10~
The older woman was momentarily stunned.
"Who are they? My love, who are..." she gasped suddenly, finally finding her wits, "This is impossible! They couldn't come out this early. They couldn't! Remember His words? One hundred decades! It's nowhere near this age yet!" She always backed away, eyes widening in horror.
"They couldn't." The other cried silently, "someone is there to free them. Someone who finally gives himself to the Lord, with immense power..." Her blue eyes were suddenly fierce, boiled hatred plainly reflected within. She trailed off at the other's gasp of disbelief. Realization of what had truly happened and the thought of the future dawned over both women's hearts.
"And...Dy'lan?" the older woman asked tentatively, dreading the answer. Her hands shook uncontrollably as she slowly caressed the other's hair soothingly.
The limp of rags in her arms stiffened and finally trembled. She hid her tear-streaked face under her mass of tangled red hair.
"Light have mercy...and Dy'ran. He is not..."
"He is here" Hope shined instantly in her icy blue eyes. Slowly, she parted the bundle of blankets still grasped securely within her arms. Fingers streaked with blood caressed the smooth innocent face of a sleeping child, barely more than a year old. "They want to annihilate all of us, but they only partially succeeded...please, Mother, keep him safe. Keep him safe. Promise me. Do not let them get him. They wouldn't dare to come into these castle walls. He is the last of..." she trailed away, hugging her precious child tightly to her breasts.
The older woman, unable to stand the pain any longer, grasped the other's slim arms and embraced the dying woman. Clearing her throat, she released the other and whispered...
" I vow I will take good care of him. I promise you. This beautiful baby will never die. They could never touch a single hair of his while I AM still alive!" She tried to keep her voice strong and determined yet inside, her heart was swiftly shattering to pieces. Her heart too, was bleeding.
A satisfying smile touched the lips of the innocent face.
"Thank you Mother. Thank you..."
Rivulets of tears streamed down her cheeks. Finally, she had completed her duty, what was meant to be. She could rest now. She did not have to bear the pain anymore-such pain. Oh, how she wished to watch her beautiful boy grow. How she wished to act her role as his mother. How she-. There were a thousand things she wanted to do, yet the inevitable had arrived. Fate had planned the time for her.
She bent down and planted a kiss on the young baby's forehead.
"Live, my child. Be brave and live. Don't ever fail...remember that I love you...forever and forever."
Her voice trailed away as the light in her blue eyes winked out.
The baby started to cry, his screams of loss echoed relentlessly throughout that Winter Night.