Slave to the Shadows

Allaix has been on the run all her life but she doesn't know why. All she knows is that she can't let the Lord of Shadows catch her. But what about the Lord of Light?

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3. Chapter Three

      We rode for hours and only stopped when the horses could no longer go on. We were heading towards the sea. I had never been there and I wanted to see it before I died. Romana had told me to follow my heart so that was what I was doing. Anyway, I knew I was going to die; it was only a matter of time before the Lord of Shadows found me.

      Blake was muttering in his sleep. It wasn’t a good thing to do when trying to hide from the Lord of Shadows’ minions. I kicked him and Blake woke with a snort and a jolt. His sleepy green eyes narrowed at me.

      “Did you just kick me?” Blake demanded haughtily.

      We were resting in a clearing in a dense forest. The horses were grazing and I was sat with Romana’s sword across my legs.

      “You were being noisy. We’re trying to go unnoticed.”

      Rolling his eyes, Blake rummaged around in the bag he had brought with him. He withdrew an apple.

      “At least you were clever enough to bring food,” I muttered.

      Blake narrowed his green eyes. “You’re not getting any of it.” He went to bite into the apple but I held out a hand to stop him. Blake glared at me and sunk his teeth into the apple.

      Jumping over to him I snatched the apple away and covered his mouth with my hand. Pressing a finger to my lips I listened to the sound of approaching footsteps. Blake blanched and I retracted my hand. Slowly picking the sword up, I waited silently. Blake moved to stand but I forced him to stay down with a hand on his shoulder. Scanning my surroundings I gripped the sword’s hilt tighter.

      After what seemed like an eternity the footsteps became quieter and quieter. When we could no longer hear them Blake shoved my hand away angrily.

      “What if that was someone who could have helped us?” he demanded.

      “What if it was one of His creatures?” I retorted.

      Blake got to his feet and went over to the horses. “Remind me why I helped you.”

      Giving him a sweet smile I replied. “You wanted to play the hero and help a damsel in distress.”

      “Well let me know when you see a damsel and we can go our separate ways.”

 

      I could smell the sea before I saw or heard it. It was salty and my heart welled at the thought of seeing it for the first time. I urged my horse onwards and all of a sudden we were out of the trees and on a beach. Dark blue waves crashed onto the sand and I dismounted. The dark sand crunched beneath my boots as I approached the sea. Watching the water I felt strangely serene. I had the strangest feeling that I had been to the seaside before even though I couldn’t remember it. Something about the roar of the ocean and the salty smell was making memories resurface.

      “What are you doing?” Blake was behind me still on his horse. When I didn’t speak, Blake turned the horse around before saying. “There is a port in the distance. We should stay there tonight.”

      I nodded absently and got back onto my horse.

 

      We reached the port late in the afternoon. It was small, shabby and there were no ships around. There didn’t seem to be many people either. Blake and I delved deeper into the town.

      “Maybe we should continue riding,” said Blake gazing around in distaste.

      Narrowing my eyes at him I replied. “There’s no telling if we’d come across another town before nightfall. You’d better let me do the talking.”

      “What? Why?”

      “Because you’ll probably insult anyone we come across and we’ll get thrown out of town.”

      We arrived outside an inn called Rough Seas. Blake pulled a face.

      “Don’t,” I warned as I dismounted my horse.

      I knocked on the door, keeping a hand on the hilt of the sword. It was answered by the innkeeper, an elderly man with a big moustache.

      “What do you want?” he demanded, eyeing Blake and me warily.

      “Do you have any rooms free?” I asked, keeping my tone friendly.

      Running his eyes over us, the innkeeper replied. “That depends… can you pay?”

      Blake snorted and I trod on his boot. Cursing he glared at me and clutched at his foot.

      “Yes, we can pay.”

      “You can come in then. The stables are around the back.”

 

      I took the first watch that night. Blake kept complaining about everything so it was eerily quiet when he finally fell asleep. Wrapping a blanket around me I sat by the dying embers in the fireplace, listening out for anything unusual. I couldn’t sense any of His creatures nearby but I didn’t mean they weren’t out there. Blake shifted in the bed making the thrushes rustle. After a while I stood up and went to the window. I opened it ever so slightly and peered outside. The main street that ran through the town was just down below. I could hear and smell the sea. Closing my eyes a memory filled my mind. I was lying down and must have been very young because I was reaching my small arms up, trying to grab something. A face came into view but it was blurry. The hair was a vivid red though, just like mine. Opening my eyes I felt my stomach clench. Had I just seen my mother? Romana had told me that my parents had been killed when I was a newborn baby. Romana had been in her twenties when the attack had happened, but she had saved me and had looked after me for seventeen years. We had lived with others sometimes, others who had helped Romana protect me, but they always ended up sacrificing themselves for me just like Romana had.

      Bitter tears stung my eyes and I closed the window before returning to the fire. Pushing my sleeve up, I examined the purple lines on my arm. They were all that was left from the cuts I had received. I still didn’t know how I had taken on three of His minions and survived. I’d never been that fast or strong before. Not for the first time I wondered just what I was and why the Lord of Shadows wanted me dead so much.

 

      We ate breakfast downstairs in the inn. It was early so apart from the innkeeper and his wife, Blake and I were the only ones there. Pulling a face, Blake picked at his food.

      “This might be the last hot meal we have for a while,” I said, chewing a strip of meat. “You should make the most of it.”

      Blake’s green eyes were cold. “I wish I’d stayed at home,” he grumbled.

      “Why did you come?”

      “I’m not sure. I guess it was because I felt trapped. I wanted to go somewhere new.”

      Blake had had it all; money, family and safety. I didn’t understand why he had felt trapped.

      “It was just good timing that I was leaving then?” I asked, glancing up at the innkeeper who was wiping a jug behind the bar.

      Smirking, Blake replied. “I also wanted to find out what you are.”

      Hurt, I concentrated on finishing my breakfast. Blake was smiling, knowing that he had gotten to me. I was used to his cruelty though.

      “Morning, Al.” The door opened and a tall man with a straggly, black beard walked into the inn. He was carrying a crate. “Here you go,” he said putting the crate on the ground. “Have you heard about the strange creatures that have been roaming the woods?”

      Al the innkeeper rolled his eyes. “Is this another one of your stories, Yan?”

      “No, it was Erik that saw them. He said they looked like they were tracking something.” Yan gazed around the inn. When his eyes fell on me his mouth fell open. “You!” he cried pointing his finger at me. “You’re supposed to be dead!”

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