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Ghalia is a world filled with mysteries shrouded in darkness and magic hidden in the forests. Man divided the world up between three great nations: Marin, Lafelion, Rourik. Although they are in peace now, evil stirs within the dark corners of the world again. Now the race to stay alive is upon them; their only hope left lies in the hands of the Arklings.

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3. Chapter 2

   Slowly, I began to tilt my head up. I didn’t need to see a lot; just a glimpse of their faces would be enough. My gaze began to reach over the crowd, until finally I saw. Four bodies were cloaked in fine cloths, of which I could only imagine to be silk or some other opulent fabric. Their graceful movements made it seem as though they were walking on air; not the least weighed down by the many jewels that decked them. The three Arkling men passed by me, all of which had faces that were sculpted into a serious expression. Despite the hardness in their countenance, it only seemed to accent their handsome features. Instead of looking straight ahead, like her male companions, the woman Arkling had been looking amongst the crowd. It was as she passed by that her iron gaze locked with mine. Starkly, she stopped, causing a few confused looks to be cast her way. She looked to the guards that had been stationed along the street for the occasion.

   “Arrest that girl,” she said looking back to me. The guards followed her gaze before they began to move in my direction. I bowed back down to the ground, feeling the panic rising within me in knowing there was no escape.

   “Please, it was an accident your majesty, it wont happen again.” My voice pleaded frantically as I felt the rough hands of the guards haul me up from my spot. I struggled, scraping my nails against their forearms, kicking at their shins, doing whatever I could to break free of their hold. They dumped my body in front of the procession. My forearms broke my fall, and I quickly turned to see what was happening. My gaze locked onto the guard waiting next to me as his hand reached to unfasten the whip attached to his waist. I turned instead to the Arklings who stood only a few feet away from me, to the other side. They stared down at me, impassive and indifferent. To them, this must be a common occurrence. Perhaps they enjoy the pain of their citizens. If that were the case then I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of hearing me scream.

   I stood to face them, glaring at their stiff faces, when I felt a sudden jolt push me over onto my hands and knees. The kick the guard had given me knocked the wind out of my lungs and I gasped for air. For a brief moment the world seemed to take a deep breath with me before the whip cracked down upon my back.

   It felt as if fire had ignited on my back as each lash stripped away more of my skin. The pain burned me to my core and I had to resist the urge to pass out. In front of me, my vision switched in and out of focus as my ears became deaf with the sound of blood rushing within them. Every passing crack my teeth tore deeper into my bottom lip as I willed myself not to scream. My eyes scrambled for something to focus on. They latched on to the pair of leather boots in front of me. I followed them up to the face of the Arkling. He was peering down at me so I stared up back into his cold gaze. With every lash I came closer to passing out, my limbs began to tremble and the metallic taste of blood filled my mouth as I refused to scream.

   A voice cut through the sound of the whip that echoed down the street. Still another lash landed upon my back.

   “I said halt!” The voice shouted. My eyes moved, desperate to find the speaker. He was one of the attendants with the Arklings. I tried to focus on him but my mind seemed incapable of anything. Not feeling another lash my limbs finally collapsed beneath me. I shut my eyes, desperate to feel the comfort of unconsciousness, but before I could I felt a soft hand lift my chin. Fingers gently parted my eyelids. I stared for a moment at the face before me, but not truly seeing it. My mind was already retreating to the comforts of oblivion, and finally, when my eyes were allowed to shut, my body followed too.

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