Leaving the Shadows

Darkness. I hate it here, but it keeps me alive, hides me from those who want me dead. Magic. I don't know what to do with it, or how to use it, but I think it's supposed to help me. Hunters. They seem to know how to restrain me from leaving without even knowing I'm here. Kiri. The one thing I have left to care about. The one thing left living for. The one thing keeping me from ending it all, right here, right now. I have to find her. Keep her safe. It's all I want now. It's all I'm asking for. It's all I've been asking for for the past seven years. But there are those that would be ready to kill even her to stop me if they found out she was my only weekness left. Shadows. The one thing holding me back from finding her.

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5. Fleeing to the Woods

While our mother still ruled Abiladia as queen, Chybeth used her powers to convince the entire kingdom that I was a fraud, a criminal trying to steal the throne. Well, almost all the kingdom. People that are born into the royal family are known as royal purebloods. They are born with a small amount of magic that protects them against most magic by another one of the spells from the first king and queen. Illuminated magic is the only known magic that is able to pass through the protection. By the time Chybeth had the new dark magic, there were only four royal purebloods in Abiladia: our mother, Chybeth, our cousin Etari, and myself. We are protected from the majority of threats that occur, and threats are few and far between.

 

Chybeth soon saw she was having no effect on Mother and I because of the protection spell, though Chybeth had been expecting this and was prepared. We had an old, rundown dungeon that we didn’t use anymore because it was cruel to force prisoners to live in such a drastic environment. It was practically falling apart with few locks that would stay locked, and even those could easily be broken by just kicking them. Despite her lust for power, Chybeth was still my sister and our mother’s daughter. Not having the heart to kill us, Chybeth set traps for Mother and I so she could conceal us in that dungeon. I quickly sensed a change in her attitude. I soon knew something was wrong and that Mother and I had to leave quickly. But when I went to find Mother, I realized that it was too late, that Chybeth had captured her and was already after me. I had to leave without my dear mother.

 

I had married Etari several months before this. When I realized I couldn’t save my mother, I raced to Etari’s and my room to take him with me to flee into the woods. When I got there, I saw him on our bed and started grabbing a few thing to take with us. I quietly shouted to him, just loud enough to wake him. When he didn’t respond, I gathered the handful of supplies such as a knife, weapons, a small wilderness survival kit as well as a first aid kit, and other things. Standing, I started towards the bed to shake him awake. I never got to the bed. The second I stood up and really looked at him, I sank back down to the ground on my knees. Stuck in his chest was a long dagger. His face made it clear that he had died only minutes before I entered the room, and it had been painful. He must have spit up blood onto himself because blood had dried and crusted, leaving a trail from the corners of his mouth to his cheeks to the bed.

 

It was an agonizing sight, to much for tears. Instead my eyes were dry and burning and I had to keep blinking against the numb feeling in my heart. The first tear didn’t fall until I got just two feet closer, close enough to see the  hilt of the dagger. It was decorated with thin dark red ribbon that wound around the black handle. When they ended at the edge where the shaft stuck out from, it continued in some kind of special paint that concluded in a firelike design at the ridged point. Immediately, I recognized it as Chybeth’s favorite weapon and trembled slightly as realization hit me that Chybeth had very willingly killed her own cousin and sister’s husband. That was the first time Chybeth had ever proved how serious she was and how real the threat was to me, that she was so intent on my defeat. She knew I would always see that wound over his heart so vividly and painfully in my mind, as I do to this day.

After a minute I came to my senses and grabbed the pillowcase and threw my few possessions in it. I bent over and gently brushed my lips against Etari’s blood-dried lips, our final goodbye. I turned to depart him for the last time. I ran as quickly and quietly as I could through the hall. I saw the guards before they saw me and vanished through the door closest to me. I waited till I heard them pass before poking my head out a bit to see if they were gone. I just saw the last guard sweep into my room where Etari had died. I knew they would search for me and quickly realize I wasn’t there and that I was about to miss what might be my only chance to escape.  I finally got to the gates and slipped through the small door used by the guards to return to the palace once they had closed the gate. Like a ghost I silently moved past the last of the guards and sprinted out into the night.

 

I ran several miles into the woods before stopping for the night near a stream. I was dehydrated and worn out from the run and the fresh stress of being widowed.  I plunged into the water and drank my fill, although I couldn’t tell whether it was safe or not to drink. I sat there for a minute thinking of one thing I had heard some of the guards discussing as I passed them. One of the guards, Alakon, had been a close friend of mine before Chybeth interfered. I had heard her saying not only terrible things about me, but she had also mentioned that Chybeth would rename the kingdom when she became queen. Abiladia no longer existed. Now there was Glilleria. I know exactly why she named it that. As a child I once wrote a story about a fairy that tried to save a kingdom falling to ruins called Glileria. I never got to finish. Chybeth, who was only three at the time and too young to try to be cruel, came in the room right after I had left to go eat lunch. She had thrown the papers into the fire without knowing how much it would hurt me. I knew she had only been playing, but it still crushed me. I had been working on it for three months and it was actually a pretty interesting story, despite only being seven at the time.

 

As a child, she was truly sorry that she had hurt me. But now she uses it to mock me. I wasn’t quite to the part where the fairy saved Glileria, so without me finishing it,  it forever stays in ruins. I had said that to her once. But now she takes it and is telling me that what was to be my kingdom has become that kingdom of my imagination, forever in ruins. But what she doesn’t realize is that I might still have a chance to finish this story, the story not of Glileria, but the story of Abiladia. The story where I put Chybeth back in her rightful place. And that’s my plan, I just don’t know how to start.

 

I survived in the forest by eating fruit the trees produced and hunting. I’d showed interest in archery since I was a young girl, and so my mom arranged for me to take lessons and I’ve improved immensely in my accuracy. A bow and numerous arrows were some of the things I grabbed and put in the pillowcase as I prepared to  take refuge in the woods. I also grabbed some stones that will spark when knocked against each other. I use the skins from the animals I caught for clothes, blankets and my bed. So the only thing I have to worry about is Chybeth finding me.


She hadn’t intended on my escaping, she’s made that clear enough. I don’t know if I made the right choice, hiding in the woods. At least she wouldn’t have killed me if she had caught me. But my escape has infuriated her and now she surely wants me dead. She has the whole kingdom searching for me and I soon became a free kill. I mostly live in the trees and I’m well hidden from the groops of people that search the forest to kill me. The first time I saw a crowd hunting for me was only days after I escaped and I was unprepared, although I should have been expecting it. I had been so lost in mourning the death of Etari that I hardly had time to stumble under a bush at the last moment as the mob passed and I stayed there the rest of the night, too terrified to hardly breath. I started learning to climb trees after that, and I would not allow myself to dwell on Etari, for there was no longer any hope for him, as much as it hurt to admit. Instead I had to put all my attention on my own survival, or I would no longer be alive.

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