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?


2. Survival

As Sophie flew through the forest, it seemed to hum with life around her. The grass under her feet seemed to whisper and the leaves upon the trees above her head seemed to laugh in joy at their new friend. But she was growing tired and the light was fading, slowing down to a gentle jog, Sophie also realised that she hadn't eaten anything today and her stomach growled. Looking around, she spotted a patch of earth where some flint had been exposed.


Picking up the largest, flattest and longest piece she could find, she ran her finger along the jagged edge. Drawing a thin line of blood that welled up and beaded along her fair skin. Satisfied with her find, she ripped a piece of cloth from the hem of the gown and found a sturdy piece of wood that she tied to the flint. A makeshift knife that sat in her hand, the weight familiar yet foreign. Glancing in the dense undergrowth and the now fading daylight that dappled the landscape, Sophie realised she needed to make a fire, not only for light, for warmth but as a distraction to anything that came by looking for an easy meal.


Gathering some dry tinder, and logs and branches of varying sizes and thicknesses. Sophie constructed something that looked like the fires she'd seen the servants back at the mansion construct in the marble fireplace. It wasn't glamorous but it gave her a spark of hope in the approaching darkness and she gathered two more pieces of flint, striking them against each other, next to the tinder, until it sparked.


"Yes! Yes! Come on, light," She muttered, the spark faded amongst the dry leaves and twiglets. She felt the anger boil inside her gut as her creation failed, throwing the flint pieces at each other in a frustrated gesture, she yelled out into the darkness. "light you Kigmoree Simposse!"


Holding her head in her hands and feeling shaky after cursing at the unlit fire, she heard a crackle and pop, like wood burning and catching the flames. Peering out, she saw the fire licking through the pile of wood, casting a soft glow in the surrounding area of darkness and giving warmth. As if it was apologising for causing such grief to Sophie. Grinning and starting to warm from the heat of the flames, she placed more logs onto the hungry flames and then she leaned against the giant tree that had obviously fallen many, many years ago. The spongy moss offering a sort of pillow and the warmth of the fire and it's glow, the soft crackle as the wood burnt and the sound of the night creatures patrolling their homes, it was an also melodic scene.


Sophie felt her eyes droop but before she let her exhausted body sleep, she placed her knife under her apron, clutched in her hand even as she passed out from her restless day. The blade was there, offering protection, a symbol of hope, safety and also, to Sophie, a sign that she would survive. It was her everything now and she wouldn't leave it even if somebody tried to prise it from her dead body.


Her sleep was dreamless, just darkness that helped her body recover. And morning brought with it song birds, soft green light and the dying embers of the only magnificent fire. Sophie woke quickly, she didn't feel sleepy after waking like she normally did, she was alert. Her body screaming for her to eat something and to save it from this torture she had unknowingly inflicted upon it. Scanning the area, she heard the noise of pigs snuffling and grunting in a patch of ferns to her left, placing more logs on the fire and drawing her knife. The stone reflected the morning sun dully, but it was sharp and that was what mattered.


Sophie's steps were quiet, with no shoes to become a burden, it was a relief when she managed to get within a meter of a small boar. He was alone, sniffing the ground to find his own breakfast, but she had other plans for him. Although she didn't believe in taking life without thanking their God, she felt that he had abandoned her now, in this land and it was her in control of the knife. She was the one who was hunting and the boar was her prey. Another step forward, and another proceeding that.


Suddenly she lunged, crying out in a furious, in-human scream that surprised the creature and made it turn around in shock. Tackling the beast, the pig started to squeal and gore her with its tusks but Sophie stayed clear of them as she slit it's throat, the creature bucking in vain as its life force poured from its neck. All was still again, no noise bar the leaves rustling. And then the songs of the birds started again, the forest came back to life around her and the carcass.


Picking it up, she panted under its weight as she slung it over her shoulders, making the weight slightly easier to bear as she stumbled back to camp. Using her knife, she skinned it and cut the meat off the bones. Making a makeshift grill for the meat out of criss-crossing logs and then Sophie started cooking. The aroma of cooking meat filled the air and made her stomach growl painfully.


The day had begun, the night behind for now and Sophie only thought of focusing on surviving until she could find the rebel movement.


Then she would fight against the King, against the tyranny and the poverty that she had seen under his reign.

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