I don’t remember how I got here. Where is here? Where the hell am I? An island. Somewhere.
Danica lifted her head off the coarse sand and looked around. Her vision was still hazy, but she was able to hear the lapping waves against the shoreline, the birds behind her where the treeline divided the beach from the forest, and another, unfamiliar noise. At first, it sounded like the wind. But then, as she craned to listen, the sound shifted to a soft, cold, shaking breath. Was it her own breath? But it did not match up with the rising and falling of her own chest.
What is that?
A feeling of fear shot through Danica’s body like she had been struck by lightning. It was so sudden that she thought something had stung her while she lay on the beach. Quickly, she jumped to her feet, surprised at her ability to move, and raced into the foliage. But still, she felt like she was being watched.
How did I get here? What is this place? So many questions rushed through her head. She hid in the brush, but could hear something moving around her. It was large and snarling. Danica was frozen in fear and could not turn around. Whatever it was, she could feel it’s breath on the nape of her neck, warm and moist. Then, she heard a voice.
“It’s time to stand and face your destiny,” the man’s voice said. “Danica Redvayne, I challenge you. Your throne and your life.”
Queen Redvayne immediately recognized the voice and spun around. Her family’s longtime enemy, Drannen Willowspear, had killed every one of her kin. If she died to his hand, he would assume her throne and govern the entire continent. She was young and naive, but had dabbled in magic as a child. It was unpredictable but it was the only weapon she had. And Drannen knew that.
Calm. Remain Calm Danni, she told herself.
Drannen dismounted from the large blank panther he was riding and pulled out his staff. Without a doubt, he was much more skilled in the arcane arts, but her abilities were unknown. There was a chance she could defeat him.
She raised her hands to release a column of fire, but only sparks sputtered from her palms. Run was the only word that arose in her mind.
She took off, running barefoot down a dirt path. Low hanging branches clawed at her face and caught her hair, tearing through flesh. Her body was numb. Drannen and his pet were right on her tail, but the brush was so thick that it was difficult for him to hit her with any spell.
Soon, his magic will be depleted, she reassured herself. I have the upper hand. My people can run faster than anything Drannen can ride… and I can run forever.
Another spell exploded over her head, breaking a large tree limb from above, missing Danica’s head by inches. Splinters shattered the ground, one embedding into the Queen’s calf.
She screamed in pain. If I can cast a Stoneskin spell, that shard will get pushed out of my body. It’s the only chance I got to keep going. Otherwise, I’m done for.
With one deep inhale, she tried to calm herself amidst the chase. It was just enough for her to speak the incantation correctly… Well, enough to have half of her body start transforming into a thick, hard skin. Lucky for her, it was the half that had been injured. And just as she had planned, the large splinter squeezed out from it’s wound and onto the ground behind her.
Even though Danica could run without fatigue, the island was rather small. She had traveled up a steep hill and was met with a straight drop down to jagged rocks and the sea below. When she scanned the treeline behind her, no trace of Drannen or his pet were to be found.
She capitalized on the moment of silence and hid in a small cave near the apex of the hill. The sound of her own breath was calming until she realized that even the birds had stopped chirping. For a moment, she thought of each funeral that she had attended in the previous year. Every single family member, murdered in cold blood by Drannen and his evil kin. He who controlled the throne, ruled the continent. It was only natural for someone to attempt to overthrow it.
But the Willowspear family had not always been enemies with the Redvaynes. In fact, their bloodlines were bound by marriage eons ago. But one betrayal sent the families into an endless feud. Assassinations and wars followed. In fact, the Willowspear family had been the family who held the throne for a millennia. When Radgar Willowspears wedded Elsiin Redvayne and mysteriously fell ill. He died shortly after their wedding, giving Elsiin absolute rule. Since then, the Redvaynes hold the the throne.
Drannen Willowspear had made it his life’s duty to wipe out the remaining members of betrayal. Up to this point, he had succeeded in massacring every member of Danica’s family Only she remained.
“You can’t hide forever,” he taunted from the shadow of the forest. “Danica. I will end your miserable life and take what is rightfully mine. My family shall speak of this day for all time.”
She wanted to cry, but no tears came. I. Have. To. Try.
With a forced exhale, she stood up and revealed herself. Her enemy, once again, dismounted the massive black cat and slowly walked towards her. She backed up until her ankles crumbled against the edge of the cliff. There was no where she could hide. No where she could run.
She would either stand and fight or stand and face her death.
Just as Drannen lifted his staff and pointed it at her, she put her hands out and mustered all of the magic energy that she could. The light from the connection of the two energies, light and dark, blinded the entire region for a single moment.
I hope you liked this one! I wanted to leave it on a cliffhanger 🙂 Enjoy this writing prompt I came up with!