Deep breaths echoed in the cool winter woods. Five panicked silhouettes stood running between trees, escaping whatever was chasing them. A violent cry was heard and within seconds, trees were turned to ashes and darkness was overflowing the once beautiful place.
" Run! Faster, he's almost onto us!", screamed the brown haired woman of the group, accelerating her pace. Her shoulders tensed, she hadn't prepared for this moment to be happening so soon, she wasn't ready.
The pact followed her lead, no one dared to look back. They kept running, until one of them crumpled on the ground, unable to keep moving. A scream of pain and agony escaped her dry lips.
"Anna!", screamed Elizabeth and ran towards her.
"Mother!", screamed the dark haired boy, rushing towards her side in a hurry.
The darkness was approaching at a terrifying speed.
Elizabeth and the young boy tried to help Anna up, but it was no use, the poison was already spreading through her leg. Anna's scream pierced the hollowing grounds in a more alarming matter, her body was in a catastrophic state. Pushing her loved ones back, she erupted into flames.
The other three women looked at their closest friend with fear in their eyes, shock overwhelmed them. Anna simply looked at her son's terrified face, the words that couldn't escape his lips causing her the worst pain of all, regret of not being with him as often as she would've liked.
"No, my boy, leave with your aunts, they will keep you safe."
The boy was terrified, tears took over his eyes and he wept, knowing that death awaited his mother. He looked at the other women who were all in a blemished state, tear bulging up in their eyes. He looked back to his mom who's leg was slowly getting more infected, becoming dusk black within instants. She looked at him once more and her eyes filled with a sudden look of determination. Unable to stop the painful screams from escaping her lips, she somehow managed to stand up, readying herself into combat position.
" I will fight till the end, no matter the cost.", she whispered to herself, her son overhearing her.
"But mother! You can't, you'll -"
Annabeth looked at her friends and gave them a nod. They knew what to do.
She turned back to her son.
" One day, we will see each other again. But till then, I wish you the utmost luck in your lives, all of you. My wonderful son, never forget the love that your mother holds for you and your siblings, I will always be there when you call me.", she touched his face with a kind matter, the flames dying down,"You will be a wise warrior one day, no doubt."
Her eyes filled up with tears as her friends pulled her son away from her. With one last look, they screamed the words that they had told themselves ever since they had been children: "Forever and always, Anna. Never forget that."
Annabeth smiled a last time.
She engulfed herself in the flames she knew so well and stood up as the darkness approached.
"This is the duty of a queen.", a last tear fell on the ground as she charged with bravery against the growing shadow. Her body crumpling in all states, she did not stop, for the safety of her loved ones was within her hands. She controlled the flames in an elegant matter and fought the raging darkness, adrenaline filling her body with every shot she took. But no one ever knew what happened to her, for she was overtaken by the darkness billowing.
As the fall of their friend was perceived from afar, the three women kept on running, pulling the weeping boy along.
They were more than half way through the destroyed winter woods when Tara looked at Elizabeth and Evelyn with a saddening look and stopped running, loosening her grip on the boy. Her body was shaking, she was anxious but knew what had to be done. She stood up straight and prepared herself.
"Eltheryon is my home, my kingdom, and its land is dying. Let me take the battle from here, my power will save this wasted land.", she smiled and whispered more words that were unheard with the overcoming noise of despair approaching.
Without awaiting the yells and screams of her close ones she pulled her hands together and concentrated with all her might. Tree roots emerged form the wasted land, her body glowed and she knew what to do. She called upon all of her elemental magic and moved the ground below her, she twisted the roots until a sort of barrier was formed and wrapped herself within it. She screamed and the last that was seen of her was the apparition of a massive oak tree covered in winter snow. You could slowly see vegetation reappearing on the grounds, warm green replacing winter white snow and ashes.But this sacrificial miracle did not however stop the darkness from approaching.
The rest of the group kept on running, tears never escaping them. Arriving at the previewed destination, Evelyn took her followers hands and eagerly pulled them towards her. Their broken down faces drastically wanted to speak words, ask questions and run back for their fallen ones. She knew what they wanted to say, for she was thinking the same thing, but quickly nodded, silencing them.
"Be quiet, I have to chant. We must escape this land for good."
Her panicked voice was speaking as fast as she could, her concentration level at its might. From the corner of her eye, she could see the darkness approaching. She did not break concentration, she couldn't, she wasn't strong enough to defeat the overcoming darkness. Her survival, as selfish as it sounded, was what was most important, what would keep everyone alive. Without her, without the power of her bloodline, the world would be turned to ashes.
The chanting stopped, the spell was completed, her body pulsed.
And just like that the most blinding light took place, overcoming the snow covered hollowing land and,defined by magic, the three people were nowhere to be found.