The screams, the panic. It had been just long enough to recover, and now another panic had set in. The fire in the skies and cries of victims had come back.
Smoke rose into the sky turning the black colour of the night into a deep grey. Another house covered in flames suddenly collapses to the ground with a crackle sending sparks into the sky. A woman desperately trying to get her children to safety runs into the trees. They would not escape.
Guards had covered Montoya by now, servants of evil, covering the land in a thick smoke from their fire.
Something was different about this smoke, something in it maybe, that had a calming effect, so calm, the people fell into a deep sleep, enough to have them fall to the ground unconscious. The next day, they would all dissapear.
What happened to these people cannot be known, except by the people who had been to the place where they are taken.
Dakari, after the Capture
I am underwater. Submerged in tears of nature. Cold pure water pulling me under. As I sink, silence is heard. The world goes away. All I could hear before, the people and their horrific screams, and fire crackling as everything in its path is dying, it’s all drowned out. As I am drowned in. The surface is so near, yet so far. Reaching out would take me out of this deep trance. Any sharp movement and I'd be drug out. Serene sinking, peaceful floating. All is gone. The maniacal world is vanished. Don't struggle, don't breath. I let the water overtake me. It encircled my body, and then dragged me downward into a deeper level of the water. My eyes opened. The blackish blue that surrounded me... I was scared... but relaxed to further allow myself to hold my breath. My mind slipped away slowly as I hung onto the last bit of consciousness I could.
A tug, a pull. Somewhere in my mind I knew someone was with me. Maybe something. A disturbance to my water, to me. A cold wind blew across me, and a rough wood feeling beneath my body. My body turned without my permission, and a soggy wet floor, with splintered wood cutting slightly into my arm came into my mind. Judging from the air and my instincts, it was still dark, and I could hear water right beside me.
My eyes opened, and I took in my surroundings. A cold small paddleboat, built of ancient wood, on top of the smooth water, completely undisturbed by the recent events. The water shimmered in the bright moonlight. And a soft breeze blew through pine trees bringing with it the smell of smoke. The Night was gorgeous, surely my memories were false? Though nature does deceive. Yet it seemed unrealistic that such a beautiful night would emerge after such disaster and devastation.
"Lucky one. But perhaps not lucky enough" a deep voice came from behind me I knew someone was paddling the boat yet it didn't come through my still somewhat unconscious mind, so I was a little startled by the suddenness.
I knew the man was not good, as one; he said I wasn't lucky enough. And two; nobody would try and evade the guards by boating in the middle of Winter Lake. I didn't say a word, and faced forward to avoid any contact with him. I didn't trust him. He was one of the guards. I was sure of this.
"How did you escape" the voice came again, and I noticed a little gravel in his voice, giving it a slight Velcro feeling.
Still, I did not speak.
"Answer me." He spoke more sternly now.
The urge to answer came stronger, and slight fear ran through me. I felt tension growing in him, but I refused to speak still. Giving in was never an option for me.
The lake shore was getting closer now; I could swim to it by now. Perhaps I should have, had I not been a poor swimmer. My speed suffered, and as the thought of the man being a guard was now solidly locked in my mind, he would swim after me. Even if he wasn't any more than average at swimming, he would catch up to me. If I was to get away, I’d have to do so while on land where I excel at evading and fighting.
Over a period of 5 minutes I had only one plan, and that was to run the moment I got within reach of shore. My father always believed in a plan B, so I quickly thought up a horrible plan of over powering him, putting on his cloak(which I heard him put on when it started to drizzle) and boating back out to the other side of Winter Lake where maybe I could evade them longer. If anyone else had evaded this Capture, they would probably be there. But if nobody else DID evade, and I was alone...I hopefully wouldn't need to worry about that. Being the only one not captured... if I was I might just try and be captured. Yet, with even one person outside of Captured, as I call it, there is hope?
My wondering thoughts came to a halt as ground came close. In just a minute my time to escape would come. I mentally prepared myself, talking myself through the multitude of steps of what to do and where to go. I would go, hide, and only sneak around at night.
The wind blew a little harder, and I looked up into the tall trees, covered in deep green pines. The trees seemingly reached onward into the skies forever. One single bird was flying in circles not too far up. Any bird flying around when so much darkness was out of control was strange. My father always told me that where the animals are scarce, evil was nearby. The boat shifted oddly, and I came to the realization perhaps the forest was sending warning signs. I shifted uneasily.
*Thank you, forest*
If there were no more people that were not captured, I still wouldn't be completely alone. I had the forest, and Zaltana. I always would. That would never change. Would it? The raven cried out, giving me one last warning sign. I shot around one second too late. He had my wrists tied up within half a moment, in thick splintering rope. My wrists already were getting cut up from all the splinters. I struggled, but my efforts seemed hopeless.
The boat finally reached the shore, but a firm grip on the rope held me still. He got up, and then drug me out of the boat. It took a moment for my legs to wake up, but the man wasn't waiting a moment. He started pulling me along immediately. Wasting no time whatsoever. It was a matter of minutes I realized my father would never put up with this sort of treatment. I stopped in my tracks, planting my feet firmly in the ground, and looked up at him for the first time.
His hair was light, but his eyes were dark, almost fully black. His face was firm, almost sculptured. Nearly perfect, except that he was showing no sensitivity, almost inhuman. The expression he wore had no kindness, like perhaps his feelings and emotions had been stolen, somewhat like the Captured people. Perhaps his past consisted of being captured like all the others.
The thought of the Captured screamed in my mind, literally. I reheard the screams of the people earlier, their cries, everyone running, trying to escape with no luck.
His saggy old clothes were worn out and faded. Obviously they were black to begin with but time and weather had stolen the deep black colour. He didn't stand up quite straight; slouching every time he stopped moving like his back was in pain. He wasn't exactly tall, but taller than me, and obviously had more age put on him, He must have been in his 20s or 30s, yet so much older on the inside than physically.
The guard didn’t seem angry or annoyed that I had refused to walk; on the contrary, he had quite a lot of patience for someone that looked like he’d been through so much.
I had been expecting somewhat of a fight when I stopped, but seeing his patience almost made me feel as though I was a little immature. Somewhat like a child and its parent, and the patience a parent must have for their kid. I reset my mind, and went from being ashamed and feeling immature and became, to my surprise, immensely angry. I had been chased, attacked, starved, and had my father taken away from me. In a matter of three days. The guards people had overtaken the forest and everyone living in it, I wasn't about to give in.
The guard made no movement, putting us both in an awkward position where nobody was about to make any sort of move. Fair enough, all I needed were my wrists freed, and once I had them back, escaping wouldn’t be so difficult. He had the knife in his belt, and I needed it.
Backing up slowly, and slowly making a large circle around him so my back was to the forest, and quickened my pace slightly, keeping my eyes on him but attention on the ground to prevent myself from tripping. He did nothing but watch me, and slowly kept up, which made me all the more uncertain.
The trees began to absorb me. The guard wasn’t too far away, yet far enough I had a chance to look behind me. A strange sensation had come upon me. Was someone there? Why had I thought this, instinct? My senses lit, keeping eyes and ears on all surroundings. Something was wrong, besides the fact probably 300 people had just been kidnapped and many died, and half the forest on the other side of the mountain was lit on fire and smoke was still in the air, though it seemed like the fire finally died.
The forest was still too quiet. Even with all the recent events, a moment or two ago birds still cried, and wind still blew, letting me know the forest was safe. My heart stopped at the thought of something else happening. It wasn't dead quiet though.
Just keep your eyes open I told myself.
The guard was still keeping just in sight, if I were to run, I could keep just out of reach. I counted down, on the count of 3, I’d take off. I’d call Zaltana to get my wrists free.
Before I could get to three, a pull on my wrists jerked me back. I twisted, pulled, kicked behind me. Yet another pull and a hand on my neck. I fell down to my knees to get out of his grip, and I felt myself get pulled right back up. I struggled to free myself of his harsh grip, yet it was no use, his hands were like steel, unbendable.
The loss of ability to breathe had me dizzy, as I could feel myself helplessly tugging and pulling, squirming trying to get free. That was when I saw my first true guard, on the left side of my attacker, in the distance, a ghostlike figure, almost a silhouette, I was hypnotized.
One hand released me, and out of instinct perhaps, I twisted my body just out of the way of a hard punch. Lucky for me, as the wind from the blow was enough to scare me, I probably would have been knocked out. I forgot about the ghostlike man, just then.
My hand, though still tied, searched frantically, while I squirmed even harder to distract them so they didn't notice. The hand that had punched returned to my neck, once again stopping air flow. Soon I managed to find the persons guards. I reached around till I found what felt like a knife. I tugged and tugged till finally it came loose. Cold metal and sharp sides confirmed it. The hands around my neck had tightened, and with the last amount of oxygen I had left, I aimed, and stabbed it into what I had hoped to be an enemy. The grip loosened, but not fast enough. Last thing I saw was the shape of the other guard running behind me, helping the guard that had been stabbed, and the shape of a raven in the skies.
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