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Lowenna Part 1 (Chapters 1 and 2)
By
rbo

Lowenna Part 1 (Chapters 1 and 2)

A young woman awakes in a strange world of magic, the only clue to her past is one word Lowenna

Chapter 1 AWAKE ON A BEACH

The sun of light had finally risen, and the second lunar moon of Orkenza had finally set. All was calm and quiet on the island after the wild storm of the previous moon. It had not just been any storm, but the biggest and most destructive the island had seen in many years.

Some people will say the storm was the Angelus and the Demon-Gods at war with each other, shattering centuries of peace. Others will say it was a convergence of nature and magic mixing together with destructive consequences, and some would even say an ancient power had returned to walk the land once more. But whatever had caused it, there had been more thunder and lightning, sleet and rain than had been seen in a long long time.

Some children hid under their beds while others were held by their loved ones, like the world was coming to an end. It had been a brutal storm, with ships smashed and cities and towns damaged alike, but now everything was at peace and aside from the damage, and a few frayed nerves, you would never believe the storm had ever been there or even existed. The storm had affected so many, and for a chosen few their lives were never going to be the same.

***

A young woman awoke on the shore with the sound of the sea splashing around her. There was something very wrong she thought, other than the fact she was cold and very wet. Opening her eyes, as her mind awoke from its slumber, she realised she was face down in wet sand. She could feel the sea lapping at her face, and in her mouth she could taste the salt and the grit from the sand and sea. She had no idea how long she had been lying there.

Pushing up with her arms, she slowly lifted her body from its resting-place. Spasms of pain flowed through her muscles, as she removed her almost naked body from the sea's grasp. The light stung her eyes, but as she tried to stand, she fell back to the ground with a gasp, as spears of pain shot up her leg.

The sensation had been unexpected and had overwhelmed her. She was trying to keep calm, breathing slowly, allowing her body to acclimatise to the pain before she reopened her eyes.

Looking down at herself, the first thing she noticed was her lack of clothes. The ripped remnants of a skirt which no longer covered everything, and her top was completely uncovered. The second thing she noticed was a sharp finger length chunk of wood sticking out of her left calf. This was the cause of her pain and discomfort.

The woman slid her hands around her top, trying to warm herself while covering her breasts. That is when she touched it. There was a crystal hanging around her neck. She held it in her hand and stared at it. It was an almost red, dark pink coloured crystal, attached by some string, tied through a loop in a metal clasp. The stone itself was the same length as her middle finger and had a slightly rough feel, ending in a spike.

As she held it in her hand, a warmth flowed through her, as she slowly breathed in and out. Staring into the centre of the crystal, she couldn't fail to notice its beauty. Her eyes getting lost in the little imperfections and the way the light reflected through it. The young woman closed her hand and squeezed the crystal tightly. It was her prized possession. Her only possession of worth.

She looked around the beach she had found herself on, but the golden sand seemed to go on forever. There were large rocks that were weathered by nature, but also bits of protruding broken wood and other bits of debris scattered along the coastline.

She couldn’t remember how she had arrived on the beach. Had she been on a ship? Possibly a smaller boat, which had run out of luck, being smashed by the seas unforgiving might? It would explain the debris, and the fact she had awoken on the shore, almost naked with a bit of wood sticking out of her leg.

She looked up to the top of the beach where the sand stopped and a jungle started. There were enormous palm trees with leaves of so many colours, but beyond that it looked very dark and uninviting. There was suddenly a screeching noise, coming from the jungle. Either something had killed its dinner crying out in triumph, or something was running for its life, alerting others of its kind of the trouble it was in. "That is not the way to go," she thought.

She allowed herself to breathe slowly, trying to take in all the sensations from the surroundings as she re-stood. Her long bright red hair hung loosely over her shoulder, matted and tangled, awash with seaweed and splinters of wood. She could still taste the salt and grit from the sea.

More questions now entered her mind. Where was she? She had no idea. She had woken on a beach practically naked. What was she doing here? Again she had no answer. She believed that she had been on a ship, but there was no real proof of that. Was she alone? At the moment she was. There was no sign of anyone living or dead. Who was she?

This last question startled her. She has no idea who she was. Her name escaped her. Panic started to enter her mind, “Who am I?" She said aloud, hoping someone would answer, but there was no one, she was alone. “Who am I!?" She shouted, but the sound of her voice was unfamiliar, tears started to roll down her face. “Who am I!?" She shouted once more, but it trailed into silence. The roar of the waves and a cry from a seabird was the only answers she got.

The cold numbness from the sea had passed and her leg was throbbing with pain. She looked around again, hoping for any type of answer, or something useful. There were some shredded strips of material, on top of a broken wooden post. "The remains of a flag or small sail," she thought. She hobbled over to the post, the material scraps were at the top fluttering in the breeze, so the young woman had to stretch to grab them. She managed to free them with a strong tug, but this overbalanced her and she fell back to the sand, her leg screaming in pain.

The young woman sat there for a few moments with nothing but the noise of the sea for company, before forcing herself to stand once more. She tied the larger of the white strips around her waist and one around her breasts. The strips were only just long enough so she positioned the knots on the sides.

She looked down at herself, deciding she needed some proper clothing, but this would do for now. She pulled some of the seaweed from her hair, before throwing her long red hair back behind her.

After a few moments, she sat down on a large rock facing the sea, feeling totally alone and dejected. She used her forearm to wipe a tear from her cheek, and she held her crystal again. This was the only thing that felt familiar. She spent a few moments staring at it, getting lost in its intricate design, wishing she could remember something, but there was nothing there, nothing at all.

After a while of feeling sorry for herself, she looked up the coast, and then down again, and this time also spent a few more moments staring at the jungle behind her. Did she stay here or did she go? Go where? She had no answers to these questions either. It was like a nightmare, not knowing anything about how she had arrived at this location, and not knowing what she was supposed to be doing. She tucked her pink shiny crystal inside her makeshift bra and forced herself to get up, wincing in pain again as she put her weight on her bad leg.

The breeze had died down, and the sun was high and almost right above her. It was hot, and she could already feel the sun's effects on her pale, unprotected skin. There was still plenty of time before sundown. What she didn’t have, was drinking water, food or any means to contact anyone.

"Is anyone looking for me?" She asked herself out loud, deciding to stay close to the wreckage. It didn’t look like much of the boat or ship had survived, but it was possible there would be something to eat or drink close by, and if someone was looking for her, staying close to the wreck would help them find her.

The pain in her leg throbbed, but it seemed to have dulled slightly. Maybe her body was finally adjusting to the pain, or the fact that she had made her first important decision had raised her spirits enough that the pain didn’t bother her as much. She might not know who she was, but she was determined she was going to survive.

She told herself to move, to head towards the largest pieces of the wreck, but every step hurt. She tried to ignore the pain as she slowly walked along, passing several large pieces of debris and personal effects, which had obviously belonged to a passenger or one of the crew. A small statue, a broken mask, a skull... the young woman shuddered as she saw it, but there was no proof that this had been someone she knew, or even when they had died.

“There must be food, water or something I can use there,” she said out loud to herself. Trying to distract herself from the situation she had found herself in. A sign of madness talking to yourself she thought, as she continued walking. “Probably already mad,” she said and then giggled to herself. “Going to keep talking, keep my mind busy,” she said, trying to make herself feel better, as a gust of wind blew off the sea, and a cold shudder went through her body.

It took longer to reach the large pieces wreckage of than she expected. “Further than it looked,” she said out loud, looking at the sharp piece of wood in her leg, which was definitely slowing her down. She grasped it, hoping she could remove it, but pain pulsed through her leg as her blood started to flow.

The young woman hobbled over to another rock, she sat down, gritted her teeth, and pulled the piece of wood as hard as she could, screaming out loud as it finally came out of her leg.

She slowly made her way into the sea, splashing water against the bleeding wound, hoping the salty water would clean the small deep wound in her leg. “This could have done a lot more damage,” she said to herself as she looked at the blood stained piece of wood. She threw it as has she could into the sea, hoping she would be faster and not in so much pain.

She slowly limped back to the large pieces of debris, her blood still running down her leg. She hoped to find something she could use, but it had looked a lot more promising when she had set out. She searched around but only found rocks and bits of broken wood and rope. She was getting annoyed and frustrated, there was nothing here which could help her.

She looked again at the large piece of the shattered ship, which was protruding from the sand. Its jagged edges showed that whatever had happened to the ship, had been violent. Now she was closer, she could see just one word was written on this imposing piece of ship. She tilted her head and looked at it as her mind made sense of the symbols carved into the wood. “Lowenna,” she said as she read the name out loud, hoping that it would jog her memory. It did sound familiar, but nothing else came to her. There was also a symbol of half of a dragon's head with the other half replaced with a shield carved into the wood.

Suddenly tears started to run down her face again, as the realisation that there was nothing her to help her. No water, no food, nothing. The only thing she had found was one word which might, or might not, be connected to her. She sat down on a shaded brown rock, wiping the tears off her cheeks and looking out to sea, hoping that another ship would be there on the horizon to take her away from this situation she had found herself in.

Time passed, the sun moved, but she did not. She was determined to stay where she was until someone came for her. She had been holding a small round pebble, but as she finally threw it into the sea to try and elevate a little boredom, there was a loud crash, followed by a noise like a screeching animal. For a moment, she hadn’t realised where the noises had come from and looked into the sea where the pebble had vanished.

Then she looked along the beach, in the direction she had been walking, and her heart skipped a beat. Jumping up, she could see five figures heading towards the wreck. They were examining the pieces of wood and smashing the barrels and crates, looking for something of interest. "I’m saved!" The red haired woman whispered to herself, but she slid behind the large piece of wreckage so she could just see out, she sensed something wasn’t right.

Although the figures walked like men, they didn’t look human, they had tails. The largest one was at least a head taller than the others and was growling at them. From what she could make out, it was wearing some sort of bulky armour and had a large axe in its hand, that it was using to smash boxes and crates that were near. The two smallest creatures seemed to have long capes and carried large shoulder bags, and the final two were holding swords and didn’t seem to be wearing anything except a rag, making a small skirt. Were they looking for her, or just looking for anything of value?

"I need to move!" She thought to herself, "Into the jungle. I can hide better." One of the creatures, which now looked more reptilian than human started screeching to the others. They all headed towards the screeching creature and stood surrounding something. The young woman breathed in deeply and held it. "It's now or never," she thought, looking straight at the dark damp jungle at the top of the sand. It was only fifty steps to the tree line, she had one final glance at the figures and then started to run. She was ignoring the pain in her leg, determined to get to the tree line, and didn’t look again till she was in the safety of the jungle, which she had to admit to herself, looked a lot more inviting now.

Peering out through the long grasses, she was trying to make out what was happening but kept her head down as she didn't want to be seen.

It seemed the creatures had found something to pique their interest - no it was someone. She could see a body being raised from the sand. She wondered if they were alive. The two smaller cape-covered reptilians held the limp body by the arms, in a crucifixion position. The leader of the pack stood right in front holding onto the man's hair, so he could look at his face.

"He must be alive," she thought to herself, and she was proven right by a deep growl from the large reptilian. The captive gave a deafening scream which was followed by the noise of ripping of flesh and sinew as his head was torn from his torso. She could see the blood pumping out of his neck, turning the sand beneath his body a deep red. The young woman turned her head away feeling really sick, but had a morbid relief that they had found him rather than her.

She had to get away, she thought again, but her legs didn’t want to move, so she returned her gaze to the creatures on the beach.

One of the sword-wielding creatures was running up the beach. It stopped right beside where she had been hiding, just moments ago. The creature was looking down, then at the jungle, then down again. Her footprints! The blood from her leg! The thoughts rushing through her mind as the colour drained from her face. The reptilian creature screeched to the others, they all started to head towards where she was hiding. “You have to move!” She said quietly to herself. She turned into the jungle and started to run as fast as she could. 

Chapter 2 THE CHASE

The young woman scrambled down the bank, weaving through the trees and pushing past bushes. She was trying to ignore the pain in her leg, and the fact that her bare feet were being scratched and cut by the loose chunks of wood and brambles on the jungle floor. There were a lot of colourful flowers and interesting plants just to the side of the narrow weaving track, but she didn't have the time to look, the blur of colours as she passed was the only thing she noticed.

The smell of the jungle was damp and moist, long vines hung down from the tall trees, and the air was humid. Suddenly there was a crash and a growl behind her. The creatures were after her, hunting her, and they were close. "I’m not going to outrun them," the red haired woman thought to herself when the track widened into a small clearing. “I need to hide,” she thought as she looked around desperately for any way to avoid the terrors that were just behind her.

There were a couple of large trees with a large canopy of red and orange leaves and the trunks were tall with long grooves. She ran at the tree and with no effort at all climbed up and hid, sitting on a strong long branch. She could just see part of the clearing through the leaves while trying not to look at the spiders which shared her hiding place.

She was impressed with herself. She was breathing slightly heavily, but she had travelled a long way from the beach and had traversed a tall tree easily, with a bad leg. "With a good leg they wouldn’t have caught up with me at all," she thought to herself, forcing a small smile on her face.

Looking into the clearing she could now see some of the unusual plants in so many colours. There was red and blue moss adorning several of the trees, the floor was covered in a dark red or brown grass and most of the trees, except the one she was hiding in, had green or yellow leaves. She was just starting to enjoy the beauty of it when suddenly one of the sword-welding reptilian creatures burst into the clearing.

The creature stood there slowly looking around the clearing and then it took a long sniff and glanced at the tree she was hiding in. She lowered her head as a terrible thought ran through her mind, "Can it smell me?" She looked down at her leg, she had lost the makeshift bandage, but the blood seemed to have had stopped flowing and the wound, though was hurting, was looking a little better.

Up close the creature looked a little odd, its head seemed a little too big for its body, and the tail looked like it used to be longer, and it also had several scars on its torso. It was definitely reptilian. She could see the scales, and orange slit eyes, it even had a forked tongue similar to the snake. The creature hissed, then sniffing the air again, its tongue vibrating, like it was tasting the whole area.

She cursed under her breath, and then held it, trying not to move, trying not to make a sound. She had done so well to make it this far and was thinking it had all been for nothing. The creature stared at the tree the young woman was hiding in, and a smile spread on its face, it knew she was there. Suddenly there was a screech from one of the other reptilians, not too far away. The reptilian creature in the clearing growled and sniffed once more, before charging back into the jungle towards the sound of the screech.

A moment passed in silence, as the red haired woman allowed herself to breath. She was still on alert, expecting the reptilian creature to come back at any moment. She knew she had to move, get away from the clearing. She slowly climbed down the tree, and pushed her way through some heavy brush, heading deeper into the jungle away from where the screech had come from, trying to be quick and very quiet.

She was wandering for a long time, wading through the soft boggy ground, clambering over rough rocks, pushing through brambles and long wet grass, with no sound from any of the creatures. The only wildlife she had seen were insects and spiders. Something had given her a nasty bite on the forearm, but she wasn’t caring about that now. She just wanted to get out of the jungle quick and away from the things that had been chasing her.

It was eerily quiet like the whole jungle was asleep. She shuddered in dampness hoping this bad dream would be over soon. The only remotely positive thing she could take from this experience was that she would have still been sitting on the beach, feeling sorry for herself, if those things hadn’t turned up. She wasn't so scared anymore, but she still wasn’t enjoying the long hike through the jungle, and she was hoping that she had seen the last of those creatures.

Entering another clearing she came face to face with a steep incline which was now before her. It was made up of rocks and loose earth. Some of the stones shone with several colours, and others blended into the earth. It looked almost impassable. There were only a few possible handholds, and no ledges, just a long steep climb to the top.

The young woman looked at the climb in front of her. She didn't want to go back. “You have to keep moving,” she said quietly to herself, enforcing that this was the way to go. The earth was loose and kept giving way, and her feet kept slipping on the loose rocks. “You climbed the tree easier,” she said to herself and smiled briefly while searching for a hand hold. She grabbed a small plant which was growing, but as soon as she pulled it, it snapped and at the same moment the rock her feet was braced on just gave way.

She fell backwards, crashing back down to the base of the steep incline, grimacing in pain and cursing to herself. Her leg had started bleeding again and had really whacked her head on the ground. She stood up slowly and rubbed the bruise which was forming. and for the first time she hesitated. She looked back the way she had come from, starting to consider looking for an easier route, just as one of the reptilian creatures, wearing a cape burst into view. It was staring right at her, and a smile spread on its face.

Now she could see the creature clearly. It only had two long fingers and a thumb, with sharp nails. It's long jagged teeth were on show, and now she could also see a sword or dagger, sheathed in its cover under the creature’s hooded cape. Her heart started to race, as panic gripped her mind. Was she about to die here?

The reptilian creature jumped at her, its claws pointing towards her. She ducked and weaved so the creature missed, trying to turn in mid-air before smacking itself against the hillside. It turned to face her again, lunging unskillfully, trying to grab her, but she avoided the attack easily.

The creature growled and jumped at her again, and this time managing to grab a hand full of her red hair, but she kicked the creature hard in its knee, and as screeched in pain, she rammed her fist into the underside of its jaw, stifling the noise, but the creature didn’t let go. It had her now, and it slashed her with its free hand, drawing blood from her arm and ripping the material that was covering her breasts.

The pink crystal was now hanging down in clear sight of the creature. The crystal glowed faintly in the sunlight and the reptilian creature's eyes widened seeing a prize worth taking. The creature grabbed the glowing crystal, and almost immediately released it and the young woman. The reptilian started wailing in pain, its claw-like hand was ablaze with pink flames. It rammed its hand into the loose earth of the hill, to try to stifle the fire, completely ignoring the young woman.

The young woman just stood there watching the creature then looking at the crystal then the creature again, not moving, with her mouth hanging open, shocked by what she had just seen. Slowly the thought she still had to get away from this monster entered her mind, but how? She couldn’t get past it nor could she run back towards the others. It was looking away from her, looking at its badly burnt hand.

She grit her teeth and grabbed a large sharp edged rock and ran at the creature smashing the edge of the rock onto its exposed knee. The reptilian creature wailed in pain again as blood started to flow from the wound the rock had made. Its tail swiped her more with instinct than design, knocking her to the jungle floor.

The creature looked at her once more but then launched itself back into the jungle, not wanting anything more to do with the girl it had been chasing. As it disappeared, back into the jungle, it let out the familiar screech calling for the others. They would have heard the commotion, and would be there soon.

“Move!” The red haired woman shouted to herself, trying to get herself going again, as she tried to shake off the feelings of confusion and pain. She climbed up the steep incline quickly, avoiding the plants and testing hand holds before putting her full weight on them, what had just happened still rushing through her mind. Where had that fire come from, and how had she avoided those claws? She had weaved and moved quickly like she had done it before, but she had no memory of anything like that. She allowed herself a moment to catch her breath, as she reached the top, very glad to be alive.

At the top of the steep incline, there was a thin track, leading away from where the reptilian creature had gone. There was another screech from the bottom on the incline and without looking, she started to run again.

She was making good time and had run a long distance. The track had widened and was less rough than the jungle floor. She would have properly enjoyed this place if she hadn’t been running for her life. Her feet, leg and head all hurt, but she was trying to keep positive, “Just keep moving,” she said to herself, but then she heard the familiar screech, they were catching her up.

She dived for cover into some long red grassy bushes on the side of the track. She noticed the leaves were a very similar colour to her hair. Hopefully, she wouldn’t be easily seen, and when she looked out she saw the two reptilians with swords run past. The largest reptilian followed, roaring into the air, showing its complete fury and frustration for not catching her. Next was one of the caped reptilians -- the one she hadn’t hurt. It ran past quickly, but then it slowed and then stopped still in view. “Uh oh,” she whispered, “I think I’m in trouble." The reptilian creature raised its hand above its head, sniffed the air and hissed. An orange mystic orb appeared in its hand, and suddenly, the reptilian knew where she was, and she knew it.

The reptilian creature turned to face where the young woman was hiding and threw the orb towards her. She launched herself away from the bush just in time, as it burst into flames, but before she had time to think or react, the reptilian and its companion, were on top of her. The two reptilians grabbed one of her arms each and held her, just like the man on the beach. She tried to resist but the creatures were too strong dragging her towards the others. She could see them coming back, the largest one seemed to be laughing, and she knew they were going to kill her.

It happened so quickly she didn’t even think. She kicked the creature she had hurt earlier where the wound was still seeping, making the creature hiss in pain and loosen its grip. She slipped her hand free, and grabbed the curved dagger which was on show inside the other creature’s cape, and drew the blade straight up, slashing its owner’s throat. She then stabbed the dagger into the wounded reptilian creature's chest. The blade was sharp and easily penetrated its scales. She tore the blade sideways between its ribcage, making a huge gaping wound, from the centre of its chest to its side. The reptilian fell backwards, placing its good hand over the wound trying, in vain, to stop the stream of blood, which was pulsing from its body.

She stood there with the blade pointing at the leader of the group, who was looking very surprised and was no longer laughing. The creature’s blood was running down her arm, it felt warm and thick, but she didn’t flinch. A small smile flickered across her face, and for the first time, since waking on the beach, she was in control. She wasn’t scared anymore and knew what was coming next.

The two sword-wielding reptilians jumped at the same time, swords raised above their heads, striking down at her. They were close to each other, almost getting in each other’s way. She raised the long dagger above her head defensively and jumped to the side at the last moment. Both swords missing their target and hitting the floor harmlessly.

She spun behind the first creature and thrust the dagger into its back. Then she lashed out with a violent kick to the hand of the second creature, sending its sword straight up in the air. The creature looked up, its eyes firmly fixed on its sword and the young woman pulled her blade out of the first reptilian's back and she sent it with all her strength straight through the second's exposed chin into its brain. The creature fell backwards like a felled tree without a sound except for the thud of its dead body hitting the floor. She caught the falling sword, and with a single swipe, she beheaded the beast that she had stabbed just moments ago.

All four of the smaller reptilian creatures were now dead. She pointed the sword, which was well-balanced and surprisingly lighter than it looked, at the leader of the party, much like she had with the dagger just moments ago. There was no smile this time, she just kept her eyes firmly on the large reptilian. The blade was about the same length as her arm, slightly curved and ended with a sharpened double spiked. It looked extremely deadly.

The leader of the five-strong group was all alone now. It hissed at her but then started edging backwards. It was scared of the woman with red hair now, and this she took this as an enormous compliment. She drew the sword behind her, and as the creature turned she threw it with all of her might, and it impacted into the large reptilian back.

The creature screeched in pain much like the reptilian whose hand was on fire. It dropped its axe trying to grasp the sword, but it was just out of reach. The creature then fell down onto all fours hissing and growling, its blood freely running out of the wound the sword had made, and also from its mouth. The young woman walked around the creature, keeping her distance until she could see into its slit eyes. The creature was gasping for breath, and growling, still trying to sound threatening. The large reptilian fell onto its belly as its strength slowly abandoned it. “Not so easy, was it?" She asked, knowing it couldn't reply. The creature had lost a lot of blood, but still more flowed out of the wound, until with one final croakish gasp, it stopped fighting and died. The last thing it saw was the woman standing defiantly in front of it.

Collapsing at the side of the track, she now had time to think, and her hands started to shake. She had just killed five monsters who were going to kill her given half a chance. Running the fight back through her mind, she couldn’t work out how she was still alive. “How did I do that?" She said out loud, “Where did those moves come from?" Looking back it had almost been instinctive like she had always known what to do, even though she didn’t remember it. The thing that troubled her most was, she had almost enjoyed watching the largest creature die.

The young woman sat at the side of the track, not knowing how long had passed, running what had happened over and over through her mind. The sun was starting to set when the woman finally stood. She was thirsty, hungry and tired and although it had been a warm sun, the breeze was now getting stronger, blowing through the trees and making it much cooler. She removed a cape from one of the dead reptilians, and put it on, over the strips of material she had covered herself with.

The cape had a waxy feel about it and it didn’t fit that well but was better than nothing. She replaced the dagger, which was lying on the floor, into its holster and attached it to the inside of the cape, and then opened the creature’s shoulder bag. Inside was a small purse with copper coins, a large empty vial or flask, and some dried meat. Trying some she decided it wasn’t very nice, but knowing she had to eat something forced it down. Then she replaced the remaining items in her new bag.

She set about searching the other bodies. “I need to survive,” she said to herself as she picked up the sword which wasn’t embedded in the largest reptilian's back. In the largest creature's pouch, there was a dozen large gold nuggets and some large gemstones, but the prize possession was a gem-encrusted dagger. “Not much of a weapon,” the young woman said, as it looked more for show, but when she unsheathed the blade, it was surprisingly sharp and the blade was a deep red in colour. She didn’t feel like carrying the heavy axe, so she set off, following the track, with a smile on her face and the knowledge that she had survived.

Although the sun had set, the two moons of Orkenza had risen and were giving ample light to see the path through the gaps in the leaves. There were tall trees with vines and short stubby bushes on both sides of the track, but she couldn’t see much beyond them, and, if she was being honest she didn't want to know what was hiding just out of sight. She felt uneasy and could hear strange animal sounds, coming from the darkness It was like the setting of the sun had woken the whole area up.

A large cat-like animal crossed the path only a short distance ahead. She stopped moving, watching it, and the large beast stared right back at her. It had purple fur which was perfect for camouflage in this dull light. The young woman stayed very still, only moving her hand slowly pointing the sword at the beast, trying to keep eye contact. The wild cat snarled at her before it disappeared back into the jungle. She stood still just for a moment longer, making sure it had gone, before continuing along the track. She was very glad it had not decided to attack her, after what she had been through, the thought of being some creature's dinner would just not have been fair.

While keeping an eye out for any other dangerous wildlife, the red-haired woman kept walking along the small track, pushing past any plants that were growing in her way. She could hear the roar of a river, but there was no sign of one. She needed to find it, water would keep her alive.

The path she was following eventually veered to the left but the noise was coming from just in front of her. The woman pushed past several large bushes and was slightly taken aback by the beauty of what she saw.

There was a small, but beautiful, waterfall flowing into a lake, and the two moons shone on the surface of the water. It looked so inviting to her aching body, so she slowly walked around the edge of the lake until her back was against part of the rock face.

She looked around to make sure she was on her own and realised that she obviously was. Placing the sword down, she removed the cape and the blood stained damaged material which was wrapped around her and walked into the water. She left her crystal around her neck, not wanting to take it off.

The water was cool, and the waterfall glistened in the moonlight, the spray making a glowing mist and there was a swarm of fireflies dancing at the far end of the lake, to finish the beautiful scene. She submerged herself in the cool water, allowing the trials she had faced to wash away. Only returning to the surface to breathe.

The young woman wiped over where the blood had dried, some of it coming off, as she washed away the scars of battle and the grime. She also checked where the reptilian creature had cut her arm and the hole in her leg. Both wounds were hurting, as were her feet. Running along a dirt track and jungle floor, without shoes or anything to protect them had not been kind, and her feet were now covered in little cuts and scratches.

She drank some of the water, it tasted so fresh, but she so wished she could remember something, but no memories came to her. She climbed out of the cool water, trying to wring out the wetness from her hair before she threw it back.

There was nothing to dry her shivering body with, so she wrapped the waxy cape around herself, trying to keep warm before she grabbed the sword and held it close. Her eyes felt so heavy, and with a final thought of what could have happened to her, she fell into a deep sleep.

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