Liora's eyes were wide with anticipation as she surveyed her surroundings. Mighty oak trees reached heavenward, their arms opening up to embrace the sun and in turn shield her from the great star's fury. Pines with shaded boughs mingled with the oaks and threatened to steal the ground that their roots ran through. A silent, motionless was taking place before her, and Liora noticed every bit of it.
A bird fluttered noisily above her, and the woman looked up. It was a bluejay with a piece of bone in its beak- she, of course, had no idea what a bird could want with a bone, but the fact that the object it held was indeed a bone worried her. What could've died to produce a shard of its body... and, more importantly, howdid it pass into oblivion?
"Isillion?" she called, her loud voice carrying an echo throughout the entire forest.
She could hear the sound of her cry bouncing off of each and every tree, rock, and bush, and she became aware just how silent the woods were at this moment. A noise like rustling leaves and the faint howling of wind sounded behind her and she turned expectantly, hoping to see the familliar masked face of The Forest King. To her shock, a different man stood behind her, his resemblance not at all similar to The Forest King.
His skin was not the pallid complexion of Isillion- rather it was tan from being exposed to the sun for so long. his hair was vividly crimson in hue, and it bordered his face as well as covering his head. It crept down the back of his neck and clung to his skin like firey moss. The whites of his eyes were black- like The Forest King's- but his irises were shockingly red instead of yellow. He donned a gray shirt and black pants, and a long, tattered cape trailed behind him.
"Isillion?" he asked, his voice very rough but not quite as deep as The Forest King's. "No one has called him such since he was a youth. Tell me, woman, what is the King of Leaf and Wind to you that you should call him by name?"
As the man spoke, Liora could see that his incisors were pointed, much like that of the fictional vampire. She felt herself begin to tremble against her will, and she tried to remain strong.
"He is a friend of mine," she said, her voice shaky but not quite squeaking.
"You are a mortal human," he said, taking a step in her direction. "He is not foolish enough to befriend a being so much lower than him as yourself."
"Who are you to speak such things?" demanded Liora, resolving in her heart to be bolder.
The man grinned, his pointed teeth glittering in the filtered sunlight. "I am Khov Faletrath, twin brother to Isillion and second born son of Markus and Lavinnia."
"Then why have you no royal title?" asked Liora, curiosity besting her common sense.
"My my, aren't we nosy?" sniffed Khov. A saber made of shadows began to form in his left hand, and Liora felt her heart racing inside of her chest. "You will leave the forest without another word, or you will die."
Liora did not stop to consider the risk- she bolted deeper into the woods, dodging thorns and trees, rocks and low-hanging boughs, whatever she had to in order to escape her pursuer.
"Isillion!" she screamed as she heard Khov growing closer.
Suddenly a great bear charged out from the woods to her left, and she cried out as it ran towards her. Another man was riding it, and she assumed it was an agent of Khov. Liora ran to the right, but she felt a hand grip her and pull her up onto the bear.
"NO! PLEASE! STOP! I'll leave the forest- just don't kill-"
"It's me," came the rider's soft and incredibly deep voice. "I told you never to enter the woods from the side with the pines," he said, his voice sounding almost pained.
Liora exhaled deeply and let herself get comfortable on the bear's saddle. "That man said his name was 'Khov', and that he was a brother to you."
"There is much you do not yet know about these woods- or about me, Liora," he said. "I will tell you all once we are back in my kingdom."
Merci pour la lecture!
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