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Old 01-22-2007, 02:37 AM   #332
Tevildo
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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Azhar's post

The noise and smell of battle threatened to overwhelm the girl as she struggled to open her eyes. With great effort, Azhar reached out and latched onto a small limb of a bramble bush that was growing nearby. Ignoring the thorns that left deep scratches along the back of her hand, she labored to pull her body into an upright position and stared out across the grove, straining to see what was happening. The sky overhead was dark and bleak. This time it was not the storm that painted the heavens a murky black, but the fact that they had been fighting so hard for so many hours. Azhar stared upward, seeking some sign of consolation, but not a single star was visible above.

The girl's head was pounding with hurt and confusion; her side ached horribly, where she had slammed against the sharp edge of a rock. Yet that pain was nothing compared with the sight that greeted her eyes. There was chaos and tumult everywhere. The bodies of three women littered the ground, and the dread horsemen had not left. They galloped from one fleeing party to the next, swords and nets in hand, attempting to round up more of their victims.

Rg, where was Rg? Where was the great dragon that could sweep into the heavens and chase away the riders? Azhar quickly glanced around. But Rg had fallen, huddled in a ball of pain and blackness. She could make out his shape and form concealed by a scrub bush just a short distance away--- a tall gangly man, dressed in robes that seemed more like those of a scholar or scribe than a warrior in the midst of battle. She could not even tell if the southerner was still alive. Nor could she guess the reason why he had not taken on another form to save himself. Her stomach lurched, and she wretched on the ground.

Her first thought was to try and do something to save those who were fleeing and could not fight for themselves. But even if she had the strength or will, she had no weapon of her own. A bright image of a great bear rising up from the ground slipped inside her mind. But it was nothing more than an illusion. No matter how hard she concentrated or how much she tried to pour herself into the form, her body did not respond. She was a small human figure on a bloody battlefield, seemingly deserted by all her friends.

She quickly drew herself to her feet and started to sprint out of the grove, but a sharp pain in her ankle told her this would be impossible. It was only a simple sprain, something that would clear up with a good stiff bandage and a day or two of rest. But right now she had neither of these. Unable to run away, she nervously looked around, her eyes widening in fear and surprise as a single rider came sweeping in her direction. The slaver galloped up, slid off his horse's back, and, with one swift motion, grabbed her by the hair and forced her head back. For several minutes, Azhar struggled, screaming and kicking in a desperate attempt to get away. She managed to yank herself forward and, by violently twisting her neck to one side, positioned her head to clamp down on the man's arm, biting as hard as she could. The slaver howled in pain, then reached down and drew out a long glinting dagger, brandishing it threateningly an inch from her neck.

Helpless and defeated, Azhar let go and slumped to the ground as the man tied her wrists together and clamped on an iron bracelet with a long trailing chain . He remounted his horse and began loping forward, as she stumbled along behind him. "You'll fetch a good price on the market." he crowed, sounding entirely pleased with himself.

Last edited by Tevildo; 01-25-2007 at 11:30 PM.
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