“Above all else it must be saved.” The Priestess whispered to her Protector. “I cannot leave you, I would be disgraced.” The Priestess shoved the book upon her. “Take it now. I am begging you, nothing but this book can save us now you are our last hope. The City is being over-run. Take the book to the Outside and save us all. You wont be disgraced I promise.” The Priestess begged now on her knees. “Yes Star Fallen.” The Protector hoisted herself onto her horse and looked down at the Priestess. The Gate opened and the Priestess slapped the horse, prancing forward it bolted out of The City and into The Maze, her rider holding onto her new burden as if it were her life to protect. The Gates were lowered and locked into place. The Priestess wondered if The Gates that kept the Wrecked away from them was meant to keep them out or to keep the people in. The screams of her people echoed around her, the Wrecked could never be killed unless burned. The Priestess took up arrows and a bow and lit the arrows aflame and shot until her arrow supply had been emptied and her bow used to the point of snapping but the Wrecked kept leaking in, swallowing everything in their path until they finally took the Priestess into their fold.
“Sara?” I asked in to the darkness. “Sara!” I screamed throwing myself recklessly at The Gate. The branches tore at my clothing like they were living, evil things with a mind of their own. The only problem was they were living evil things that did have a mind of their own. “Sara.” I whimpered. I twined my fingers around the linked fencing. I shook the fence and pounded at it like a manic. Io pulled me away from the fence and towards the center of the path. The vines pulled at my fingers begging me to come back. I watched, as Sara was pulled apart by the vines until only a tree remained where she had been. This was what happened when you got to close, you were pulled and twisted by the vines and trees until nothing but another evil tree existed where you had been, only the what you were after the Twisting was an evil malicious thing that thirsted for human flesh and blood. 500 years ago one of the Corrupted lived among us and they summoned to being this land of Twisted Beings. The Corrupted sacrificed almost our whole population to the Land of the Twisted until the Land was so vast that it stretched on for seemly forever. Some of the Brave constructed The Fence to protect the remaining people and they constructed The Paths. The only problem is where The Paths lead was lost to time and all we knew was that our City was safe. We closed off The Paths with The Gates so that if The Fence inside The Paths were broken the City wouldn’t be destroyed. Two weeks ago The Fence that protected the City was broken and the Twisted took over the whole City, only three survived. Io Sara and me Now there was only two left. Only two left to wander through The Paths and two left to wonder if there was an end to The Paths if the stories of mountains and valleys safe from the Twisted actually existed. Only two left. “Glirise,” Io said as she drug me away from where Sara was. “Its over she is gone. We have to leave this and keep moving, soon we will run out of energy and then we mise well give ourselves away to the Twisted.” I nodded. “Nara!” I called waiting for my black cat to come. As soon as I heard the familiar jingle of her collar I started forward down the trail, hoping that soon we would find a way out of this twisted maze of paths and dead ends. Io and I moved so fast that to the on-looking Twisted we were probably just blurs of color. The one good thing about being a Star Fallen was the freedom you got and all the amazing stuff you were gifted and the training you got, but all of that came at a price. The Star Fallen were rejected from normality and not allowed to love. Io Sara and I came from the Star Dividarina. The brightest Star in the Skye Light. Therefore we were the most powerful Star Fallen in the history of The Light Ones. While we were a Star, we watched over this City, as they went on with their life, always aware of the Twisted but recklessly living their lives. We watched them love and hurt and live and die until it was our time to Fall and walk among them. Our only task was to protect then from the Land of the Twisted even if it cost us our lives. We failed that. The one lesson we were taught before we Fell was if all fails take The Paths and find The Outside. All had failed epicly and that was our only option. So we set out and left the City and all of our people to the Land of the Twisted.
Nara managed somehow to keep up our pace even though she wasn’t Star Fallen. The branches and vines reached through The Fence at times and ripped their twined fingers through our hair. “Io!” I called. “We need rest, we need The Light of Skye Light to give us energy for tomorrow!” “No, just a little further.” Io was always the one that pushed the limits of our Powere. I dug my heels into the hard-packed dirt and skidded to a halt. “No, Io. We sleep here for the Night.” I pointed to the ground. “Here, and nowhere else.” Io stopped and rolled her eyes. “Fine!” she practically yelled at me. “Nara can’t go any further Io. Sorry to disappoint you but she will die if she doesn’t stop. “ I said trying to make a point without telling her that I needed a break. “Fine, fine, fine. We’ll stop for now, but we move at first light. I grabbed two rocks from the edge of The Path and hit them together hard sparks bounced off and hit the dead lims from the Twisted. I laid by our protective fire for a long time, but I couldn’t sleep. All I could think about was the people who we doomed to the Twisted when we left after the break. “Io? Are you awake?” I asked. “I am now.” She groaned. “Do you really think there is an Outside? Something more than this? An end to this misery and death and pain?” I rolled over to face her. “I don’t know Glirise. I don’t know. I’m sorry. I just don’t know.” “Do you think were the last of The Star Fallen who ever have had the chance to protected humanity?” Io shook her head as if to empty it of thoughts. Io just looked at me and didn’t answer as if admitting we might have caused the end of everything, of the revolt of the Twisted, the humans, the sacred Life, the Bond, and everything else that separated us from animals. “Are we the end?” I whispered holding Nara tight against me chest, tears slowly seeping down my face. “No. There has to be another end far after our time. This can’t be the last of humanity. We will protect people again before we Fade.” Io said her voice cracked and I saw a tear roll down the side of her face. We both knew that this was probably just false hope but it was like opening Pandora’s Box. All of the darkness pours out but at the end a small bit of white, glowing hope lingers. I tunred back over and fell into a world of nightmare and horror just like in the life I was living now but worse.
“Get up NOW!” Io snarled at me. “Jeez, Io. What did I ever do to you?” I rolled over and blinked trying to get my eyes to adjust to the light. “Its past High Flares. We’ll have to run through the night to regain all the ground we have lost!” Io barked and I shook Nara awake and gave her a strip of meat from what we managed to get from the City during the chaos of the break. Although Star Fallen don’t need food I am told that my beautiful black cat with silver and gold streaks does. She mewed as if to say, “Please don’t make me run again today.” “Sorry girl,” I petted her head. “Gotta make up for the lost time we spent sleeping so we run through the Night. If you get to tired just meow and I’ll carry you, you can even sleep on the way.” I whispered to Nara just quiet enough that Io couldn’t hear it. “Lets walk. We might miss a Gate.” “And lose more time than we already have? No.” “But what if we find another Gate to another City that can tell us how the hell to get to the Outside.” Io snorted I even though she was facing away from me I knew she had just rolled her eyes. “The chances of that,” she paused and turned around to face me. “Are about as slim as the possibility that people have successfully taken back the City from the Twisted and still have more than one person left.” She grabbed my wrist and started to drag me down the trail, or should I have said tried to. I was stronger than her so I just jerked her arm back and she came flying back with it almost making me fall on top of Nara. “Could we at least try? PLLLLLLEEAASEEE?” I stretched out please. Io let out a sigh big enough to blow down the little piggy’s brick house and said, “Fine,” she rolled her eyes and turned starting to walk about the pace of a snail. “This slow enough for you?” she asked sarcastically. “Perfect.” I said as I started to walk along side her. “What?! I was just being, being…!” she yelled enraged. “Shhh you don’t have to wake up the Twisted for the next 500 miles now do you? Then they would break The Fence and our beautiful little bodies would be ripped to shreds.” She snorted and sped up to a normal walk, even though it was FAR slower than a Star Fallen walk she still dealt with it like a “big girl.” Nara stopped and padded over to The Fence line mewing at Io and I she ran back over and jumped up on me. “What is it girlie?” I asked bending down to pet her. “Gate?” she nodded and ran back over to The Fence with her tail sticking straight up. “Io,” I whispered furiously. “Gate!” I pointed, still whispering. “I KNOW.” She whispered back. We slowly slinked up to The Gate. I grabbed three arrows from my quiver and lit them ablaze. Ready for the City to be over-grown. Io pulled up the metal latch and I ran forward pulling my bow taut and I aimed but the City wasn’t over-grown just empty of humans. I blew out my arrows and walked forward but I didn’t take my arrows and put them back in my quiver. “Glirise!” Io screeched “Above you!” I pulled my bow tight and aimed at the blur of color that was above me. I loosed the three arrows and the blur screamed and landed beside me. I pulled out my dagger and held it at the ready. The person stood and pulled out the three arrows from its side. I watched as the wound healed slowly but it had already scabbed over. “Io!” I yelled. “They’re one of us.” The clank of sword on sword stopped instantly. “Who are you and what happened to this City?” I heard my bossy Io bark at her opponent. “Sunna and Lunna this City was over-run. If we don’t get out of here quickly the Wrecked will overtake us.” “Fine.” I sheathed my dagger and ran at the tallest building climbing up it as fast a lightning. The two Star Fallen looked at each other and shrugged doing the same as me. Io took the back of our two new Star Fallen friends. “Who are you?” Sunna and Lunna asked at the same time. “Io” “Glirise.” We both said at the same time. “We’re from The City…” I shot her the look that said “IM THE TALKER HERE!” “Were from the Star Dividarina. Our City was over-run and we didn’t have a choice but to follow the orders The Leaders gave us right before we Fell, If all else fails take The Paths and find the Outside.” I quoted them exactly. Sunna and Lunna looked at each other and then looked back us. “Well, since we both need to find the Outside then we both need to get back to the trail over there.” Lunna pointed to where we came in. That instant vines shot across the road and the trees followed heading straight to our building. Luck for Nara she was still in The Paths. “Oh. Great.” I got three arrows and lit them afire. I loosed them at the tree from which most of the vines came from. During the pause I screamed at Io, Sunna, and Lunna. “Go now i’ll get you to the door.” I shoved Io off and Lunna and Sunna followed. “How will you get out!” Lunna screamed. “Just lock The Gate!” I screamed back as I loosed three arrows that hit the vine at was about to Twist them. “Go!” I screamed “I cant hold them off for much longer!” I grabbed and lit arrows and loosed them in one fluent movement as Io, Sunna, and Lunna raced across the ground to the Gate out of this wreched City. Io looked back over her shoulder as the others ran out the Gate. “Go!” I screamed as I loosed four more arrows. “Lock it!” I screamed as I loosed more arrows and tried to set fire to that vines that were climbing up the building that I was protecting. Time for me to leave here. “Ralkshan!” I screamed as I ran and leapt off of the building. Right before the vines would reach me I turned into a silver, glowing songbird. I fluttered up and dove towards the door opening a hole in it with my remaining Powere. Once I was safely inside The Paths I shifted back to my human form. I landed on my feet, but with most of my Powere gone I collapsed. Io was by me in an instant. “Well. That, was an epic fail.” I said through my coughing from the black smoke that had risen from the burning Twisted. After lighting a fire I fell asleep almost instantly.
© Copyright 2017 Arce Demeter Echo. All rights reserved.
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