The soft voice of the wind whispered secrets into her ear as the young girl, dressed in chainmail, bounded through the forest of tall, silver birch trees. The grass rippled beneath her light, careful feet as she swiftly as a rabbit raced over logs, streams and rocks, scarcely making a noise. Thin, weak shafts of moonbeam pushed through the thick treetops and little light reached the soft, mossy woodland floor at day, never mind at night.
The girls face was flawless, with pale, snowy skin and delicate features, but on it she bore a look of anxiety. Her eyes were an icy blue, the colour of freezing water in winter, and they shone with urgency. Her hair was long and silky silver, completely loose, and straight nevertheless of her wild flight through the undergrowth, and her ears were pointed as a leaf.
The girl, whose name was Opal, was fleeing something. She had easily disappeared from its sight but she knew she wasn’t safe for long. She was clutching a silver longbow, and on her back was a quiver stocked with arrows, and on her belt was a long, curved metal sword that glinted in the silent rays of the moon. Around her neck was a silver chain, encrusted with small diamonds, and dangling from it was a large opal that gleamed in many different colours.
Suddenly, she heard a thud behind her. Spinning around, she knocked an arrow to her bowstring and aimed into the bushes where leaves rustled despite the dying wind. A low growl erupted from them and the blinks of moonlight were blocked by the swaying trees as the wind built up. She saw eyes everywhere, all an evil, sharp green that bore into her like they could see into her very soul… And, as she stared into the swaying bushes, she heard the low growl rising louder from them and fear pricked her spine.
Trembling with fear, she touched her necklace of gems and backed away from the shrubbery. Her cold eyes were alight with anxiety and suddenly, she lost her nerve. Turning and sprinting off into the shadow, were the trees hunched over and blocked out the moon that’s forlorn gaze had been calming and soothing, she went through the forest like a fox, swift and silent.
She didn’t stop running. The thuds and snarls behind her grew louder, louder than before, and when she turned to look and tripped, a single, glistening tear fell down her face and onto the opal on her necklace.
Staggering to her feet, she once again took flight.
Despite her swift, leaping gait, her pursuer soon was so close Opal could hear the thud of steady paws, and the snap of sharp fangs just inches from her leg. Blinded by terror, she shot onwards, unaware of anything and only focusing on one thing:
She was running for her life.
*What do you think so far??????
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Chapter 2
Meanwhile, near a glistening, moonlit lake that was like a mirror of the night sky, another girl was sitting on a mossy rock, gazing out over the rippling, glassy surface of the water. Her hair was long a pale gold, and her eyes a soft, emerald green. She was dressed in a long silk dress with a small silver satin belt, with a white dagger hanging from her side and an ivory longbow leant against the boulder she was perched on, admiring the woven bracelet, which hung loosely from her thin, pale arm, which was bound tightly around a small gleaming emerald.
This girl also had pointed ears and the same flawless face of Opal, but it looked slightly older. Her name was Silka, and she was Opal’s kin. Silka sang a soft, beautiful tune to herself as she looked at the round moon in the ebony sky-
“Soft, soft, the lapping waves, against the sandy shore,
The water which reflects the eye that is the moon,
The stars spangle the surface of the rippling waves.
Distorted, in a beautiful kind of way, with more and more and more,
Of the ripples, the many ripples, the many more and more and more.”
She finished with a small, soft sigh, and stood up, picking up her longbow and slinging it over her shoulder. She started walking towards some candlelights in the distance, more orange than the white stars that dotted the sky above her. As she came closer, an arch of white willow wood was bending over a small gravelly path that led deeper into the forest but also towards the tiny, dancing flames. Carved into the top were words of a strange language, and Silka could easily understand them: Eryglade; the city of elves.
She loped through the arch and gradually, a city made from the forest could be seen. Lanterns hung everywhere, more curious words were written into the bark of trees, and an elegant castle of pine and willow was visible on a hill in the distance, with balconies and columns and grand, curved entrances.
Suddenly, out from behind a tree came a tall, broad-shouldered elf with long, dark russet hair and sharp, eager brown eyes. The handsome elf gave Silka a greeting smile. “Welcome home, Sister Silka. Did you have a pleasant walk?” He asked, standing under a lantern.
“Very nice, Thank you,” Smiled Silka. “Is Opal back yet? I didn’t see her…”
The elf named Freldan frowned. “I haven’t seen her either. I suppose she’s out in the forest…”
Silka nodded faintly, unwilling you ask what had troubled her brother about their sister being in the forest. “Well, shall we go home? I’m starving.” She asked, starting to walk towards the regal accommodation in the horizon. Not bothering to wait for answer, she bounded onwards. Soon, Freldan was beside her.
“Silka… There has been word of a beast lurking in the forest of late…” He muttered to her, so only she could hear, thus not to unnerve any of the elvish citizens.
Silka tilted her head to show she was interested, but said nothing. Freldan took this as a sign to continue and went on quietly.
“It isn’t a dragon. No fire reported, or scales. It has fur, and stands on four legs. That is all that is known of it…” He said in a thoughtful voice. Nothing was said for a while, until they reached the ivory and oak steps up to the great entrance to the palace. A pair of elves stepped out of the door and smiled to the two.
One was a female, very tall and thin with a royal look about her and very long, white hair. She had green eyes that shone warmly like those belonging to Silka, and on her head was a crown of willow wood, small gems and silver. She wore a long satin robe and a rowan-coloured dress.
The other was a male elf, and he was tall and strong like Freldan. He had a stern and high-ranking expression on his face but he bore a slight smile. His hair was long and deep brown, and his eyes were a piercing, icy blue. On his head was a juniper wood, a ruby and gold. He wore a long, golden cape that was trailing behind him as he walked down to welcome home the two.
“Freldan, Silka. Welcome home. Silka, did you have a nice walk?” Asked Queen Willowa.
“Where is Opal?” Asked King Rowaken. “She mustn’t be out alone, not with the beast stalking our woods…” He said, frowning in worry. “You’d better go and look for her, Freldan.”
When Silka opened her mouth the protest, Rowaken held up his hand to silence her. “Captain Colden is here to see you.” He said, narrowing his eyes as if he knew something she didn’t know he knew. Princess Silka scowled. Not him, he’s a show off and full of himself!
Prince Freldan dipped his head and raced off towards the entrance to the forest, leaving the Queen, King and a reluctant Princess to enter their regal home.
Opal blinked open her eyes. Above her, trees swayed restlessly, and she realised she was on the ground, flat on her back. As she tried to get up, she winced and a shooting pain struck her left leg, and she glanced down to see a huge, gaping cut with ragged edges and blood dripping down the side. She groaned and flopped back down onto the grass, clutching her leg and shutting her eyes tight with pain.
Then, she heard a growl.
She had forgotten about her pursuer.
A huge, bulky shape emerged from he darkness into a shaft of moonlight. It had huge, cruel green eyes and a wolf-like head, and jaws filled with bristling fangs that dripped saliva and blood….. Hers? It had huge, bat-like wings that sprouted from it’s shoulders and were dull red in colour, and it had a long tail that curled around its front leg and whipped its sharp, barbed, arrow-tipped end in front of its huge bony claws that glinted like reinforced steel in the thin light of the moon. Its back legs were huge and golden and feathery with bird-like talons on its back feet.
She gasped in terror as it slowly advanced forwards, a hungry glimmer in its huge eyes that were narrowed in concentration. She could see it’s eyes going wild with excitement; the beast, that she recognised as a legendary Worscalen, had no care, no thought for her life, only a fierce hunger that forever gaped at the bottom of the creatures pit of a stomach.
She drew her sword, although she knew with a sudden terror that she had no chance of beating this deadly predator. Her hand was shaking like a leaf, like a pine leaf, like the ones that were falling down from the trees, decorating the monstrous creatures shoulders in clumps.
“D-d-don’t… kill… me…” She stuttered, despite the certainty that the beast would pay no attention to the words of what was probably just another meal for the Worscalen. The monster lowered its head and paused for a moment, before letting a crude, vicious gleeful expression flood over it’s coarse, narrow face.
“I’m… Hungry. And you… little.. bird… just… another… meal for… me… eat. Time… to.. DIE!”
It lunged at her and all she saw before she fainted was Freldan, charging at the Worscalen with his huge sword.