The trees are as tall as the grandest fortress. The ground is littered with jagged rocks, splintered bones and the vilest of dirt. The air is thick with mist and the smell of decay. And on the wind, if you listen for a moment to long, you can hear the sounds of the hellish creatures that dwell within.
As the sun began to set high above the trees, Lethena began to awaken. She could hear nothing but the wind and the rustle of leaves, bones and Lord knows what other vile things across the hard cold ground. She could feel the cold ground underneath her feet and something jagged against her back. But she couldn’t move her arms; they were trussed above her head. So, I’m bound to a tree. How original, she thought. Slowly and carefully she tried to move, but all her muscles ached and her head felt as heavy as a blacksmiths anvil. She had been barely conscious for the transfer from Bloodmore Delve. Before she had been taken from her cell the guards had forced her to ingest some disgusting liquid which had rendered her body numb; a decision by the pompous Judge she thought.
As the effects of the liquid began to wear away, she began to hear the voice of her doom mocking her again. In accordance with the laws of this ancient land… A violation of the King’s sacred law is punishable by… a decision must be made…Do not think back. It is too late. The time for action is now. With what little strength she could muster, Lethena focused on the restraints that bound her to the tree. She kept her eyes closed and breathed deep. Break, break, break she chanted in her mind and drew all her energy into breaking the chains. She began to feel the sparks on her skin, the heat in her mind returning. Even out here, in the darkest part of the land, her magic still stayed with her. Phillius Magnata… Zelena Rand… Biak Ozark… twelve others who were unidentifiable… accompanied with the illegal practice of sorcery…No, do not think back. Focus. She forced the sparks to move up her arms towards her chains, forced the heat in her mind to melt the links that bound her. Break, break, break. Her arms and hands began to shake. Why can I not do this simple incantation? Please just break, break, break. You will be forced to suffer as those you have… You will be stripped of your power… left for dead…eventually you will perish…BREAK, BREAK, BREAK. I will not die here, I will not die here. BREAK, BREAK, BREAK.
And then she fell, her face landing on the cold dirty ground. As she turned her head she could see the broken chains lying next to her on the ground. I’ve done it. Lethena groaned and pushed herself from the ground on shaky hands and legs. She could not stand and fell back into the tree where she had been bound. Gradually she opened her eyes and examined her surroundings. It was just as he had said it would be. The Wilderness of Hellsonas…A never ending labyrinth of dark forest… No food… No water… no way out… you will be chained in the wilderness as pray for the creatures of the shadows…“No” Lethena whispered looking around at the endless labyrinth of trees and rocks. “I should not be here. This should not have happened” she muttered as her strength started to return to her. Even if you do manage to break from these restraints the delusion and paranoia caused by your confinement in Bloodmore Delve will stop any attempt to escape… Hellsonas will feed on your sins… this is the place where you will meet your death…“I will not die here. I will not die here” she chanted in an attempt to calm her quickening pulse.
Everything was cold. The ground, the mist, the wind. Lethena tried to warm her arms with her hands, but as she rubbed with her shaking hands she felt something strange on her right arm. She looked down and saw a dark brown band embedded into her skin. Dried blood and scar tissue surrounded the brown leather that wound the entire circumference of her arm. “No, no, no, no” tears began to fall down Lethena’s face. How could they do this? No wonder it had been so difficult to break the chains. A Rehosta Band, once embedded into the skin, inhibited all sorcery and magical spells a being attempted. It would eventually weaken the individual and could only be removed with a concentrated elixir only the highest of courtly guards had access too. “A nice application of magic for a kingdom that outlawed sorcery” she said bitterly.
With a strengthened need to escape Lethena got to her feet. Forgetting how to walk for a moment, she stumbled forward. But slowly she began to walk the forest floor. As she moved through the undergrowth the wind blew and the trees shook. Out the corner of her eye she thought she saw something move. A beast. She turned. There was nothing but more rocks and trees. The wind began to whisper to her. Lethena. Do not listen to the wind. She tried to ignore the whispers, but could not ignore them when she thought she heard a familiar voice. No you can’t do this. She didn’t do… That voice had tried to save her. Back in the court, that man, he had tried to help. But the Judge would not listen.Silence boy… Her fate is set. He tried to comfort her, tell her all would be well.They can’t do this to you… I promise I will get you out of this… It was an accident. But she knew better. Lethena spun around, searching for the familiar voice. But there was no one there. Nothing but trees, mist, rocks and wilderness. Focusing on walking she tried to ignore voices for she would not succumb to this prison. In the unlikely event you manage to escape your restraint and not succumb to delusion and paranoia then the hunt will begin… The guards of the Hellsonas ensure that justice is served… They are the scorned; desperately seeking vengeance for the wrongs done unto them by other criminal scum… No-one can escape them… Not even you…
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