I Am The Storm (Book #1 the Lone Riders Trilogy)

In the kingdom of Thresparia, a tyrant rules. He's taken all the gold, resources and hope of the people and crushed them into a shadow of their former pride.

But there are people who can rise against him. Can raise their weapons in a symbol of hope and glory, but these are not just any mortal men.

They are humans, elves, dwarves, Fae folk and creatures dedicated to protecting Thresparia. In a land where Riders exist, and many creatures side with humans to fight, in a never-ending battle. Who is better to wash away the blood....

Than the perfect Storm?

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3. Discovery

To feel the cool darkness around her again, it was refreshing after the heat of the day under her green canopy. The day had consisted of eating the pig, cleaning to bones for use later and saving some raw scraps for a possible trap for more food. Also a lot of walking, Sophie had moved her camp further into the Feral Lands and she could now hear the ocean lapping a nearby beach that sounded like it was south east to her position.

 

But she didn't care for the salt water as she had almost two days ago, and her love of the ocean had been trivial but she understood its power and its uses. Many times she'd entertained the idea of trying to tan her skin before going back to the district to catch a boat to sail to some far away land but she'd made herself so at home in these woods that she couldn't leave and she still had the hope of finding the rebel forces. She still dreamed like a child, having grown up hearing stories of the Riders amongst the servants of the household.

 

The Riders were magnificent humans, dwarves and elves that rode on the backs of Creatures, mythical beings that were only born to serve their Rider, a person that was chosen before the egg even hatched and the Creature could wait centuries before hatching for their chosen one. And Sophie had always loved their tales, of bravery and courage and even occasionally one of Creatures loving their Riders so much, that they adapted human forms to spend the rest of their lives living as lovers. Which Sophie had questioned for most of her life but everybody had laughed and said it was just a story to show to power of love.

 

Sophie had dreamed of becoming one, of being one with one of those magical Creatures and she could only imagine the joy that people must feel when getting chosen. But her thoughts were pulled aside when she heard a twig snap in the darkness surrounding her little camp fire and shelter, drawing her knife slowly she stood and hide behind the tree that sheltered the fire from any rain that might decide to fall. Watching where the noise had come from, she had to stifle a gasp as a young man emerged from the growth.

 

His red hair was shaggy and longer than any boy Sophie had ever seen, it was tied at the back with a black cord and his skin glowed in the light, the colour of molten bronze so she guessed that he was tanned. His clothes were strange, a grey-white shirt and leather breaches that were wrapped in cord around his shins, his jacket was tied around his waist and seemed to be made of some form of leather but it was black and looked stiff. The thing that emerged next almost made Sophie choke.

 

It was a Creature, the body was a sapphire blue hue and it shimmered under the light. A mix of scales and feathers formed it's neck and it formed a beautiful black mane of raven's feathers atop it's reptilian head, twisted grey horns grew from it's head and it's talons glittered like a beautifully deadly dagger on each finger. Sophie was rapt by the Creature and the boy who she assumed was his Rider. He was looking at the fire confused.

 

"I swear I saw somebody sitting here." He murmured, shaking his head. The Creature made a sound that sounded like a laugh.

 

"She's around, I can smell her. She smells like pig and smoke." The Creature rasped, the voice strangely feminine. The boy stepped closer to Sophie's hiding place and she tried to keep her breathing quiet.

 

"Well Saturama, I'd love to say she'd here but we can't spend all night chasing after little girls." Sophie froze, she'd assumed all the Riders had died out and here one was, seeming to be plotting her demise, probably going to drag her to the King. Dragging her knife across her finger quickly, testing the sharpness, she left from her spot with a gurtal snarl ripping itself from her throat.

 

The boy crashed to the floor as he was taken by surprise and Sophie forced all her weight upon him. She poised her knife at his throat and pulled his hair back so his throat was exposed, the Creature growled and started advancing but Sophie pressed the knife further into his throat.

 

"You move forward anymore," Sophie barked, surprised at her tone and the feral underlying in her very breath. She'd become a wild person. Gosimata. "I skewer his neck."

 

Neither the creature nor the boy moved again, Sophie had control of the situation. She could feel the boy's breathing under her and it scared her a little bit, he sounded like he was in pain. The fight faded from her eyes and she scuttled off, dropping her knife. Sophie just wanted to be away from what she'd done, she couldn't believe that she really had become Gosimata for a few moments. She held her head in her hands, listening to the logs crackle and suddenly a hand was on her shoulder, making her jump.

 

The boy was crouched next to her, one hand holding her shoulder comfortingly and the other holding Sophie's dagger behind his back. To him, she looked beautifully rugged, with her white blonde hair tangled and scruffy, embedded with moss and dirt, milk skin flaked with blood, dirt and little bits of drying skin. Her dress was stained with blood, grass and smelt faintly of salt and of fish. Like it was an old smell that some how clung to her. But there was something that made him focus on her eyes, the copper-gold colour capturing him within them as they seemed to hold a thousand secrets and a timeless soul.

 

Saturama coughed, jerking them both out of their thoughts. She flicked her feather tipped tail in a smug way and the boy frowned. Turning back to the girl, he looked at her and stood up.

 

"You need to come with us," He sighed, expecting to be attacked at any moment by Sophie. "you've been noticed by the Resistance, you've lasted two nights without protection apart from your own instincts."

 

"I'll go.. But first, who are you?" Sophie tilted her head, she was puzzled by this boy and it was the least he could do and tell her his name. His blue eyes sparkled as he smiled and ruffled his hair.

 

"My name's Jason, and yes, I'm a Rider."

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