Allyna had lost hope. Her people were being smothered by a culture that was not theirs. She had tried to free them. The mad King Lomash and his equally deranged son, Prince Alric had seen Allyna as a threat, and acted on impulse. All she had done was try to bring back worship of her people's Goddess, Danu. All she had done was talked of Her openly and only to her own people.
King Lomash was an outsider, from another land. He came and talked himself into Queen Oraella's trust and then betrayed her. He killed her and her pregnant sister, ending her line and placing himself as conqueror and King. What were Allyna's people to do? The Goddess herself had blessed the queen's ancestors and set them to rule. With none of their blood left, they were lost.
King Lomash demanded they cease worshiping Danu and turn to his violent God instead. His soldiers marched on our temples, destroyed Her statues and any texts they could find. He took Her away from us, and she never came to free us.
King Lomash had his soldiers come to Allyna in the dark of night. They came silently and rushed. Slipped in through the back door and the kitchen to her bedroom. One knocked her unconscious and she awoke alone in a forest, with no idea how to get back to the City of Danund.
Allyna cried, the left side of her face throbbing in agony, her stomach rolling with every move she made. Allyna tried to stand, and the little food she had been fighting to keep forced it's way out of her body, leading to more pain and tears. She was beaten, broken, and lost. Alone with no food, and no skills to guide her in the wilderness. She has been born and raised in the city, an orphan.
Allyna faded in and out of consciousness, not fighting the pull of darkness. Every time she woke, she ached more with hunger, and worse with thirst. Her mouth grew so dry, her lips cracked and bled.
At one time, she woke to rain. She lay upon her back with her mouth open, to weak to move. The rare drops that made it into her mouth only made her thirst more. Allyna shook with dry sobs, her body not having and water to spare for tears. She felt herself fading again, and she welcomed it, hoping it would be the final time, and that she would wake no longer.
This time when darkness overtook Allyna, she dreamed. She was standing in front of a statue of a woman. Her arms were spread wide in welcome, though the statue was cloaked, and a hood pulled over her head which was bowed.
Allyna, the wind whispered, blowing her long honey hair around. Allyna tried to tame her hair, but the wind persisted. Do not give up, my child. All is not lost. I am still with you. Allyna fell to her knees and looked up at the statue, and realized she was moving. The statue had come to life, holding one hand across her heart, and the other to Allyna. Allyna shook her head, not understanding, not able to speak from awe.
In your heart, you know me. You know where to go. Follow the wind, let me guide you as I once did my beloved people. Allyna let her tears fall. She reached out to grab her hand, and as the Goddess helped her to her feet, Allyna found herself back in the forest, the rain still falling.
She knew she had dreamed, and she remembered the statue, but her body was still broken, her hunger and thirst still real. The relief of the pain-free dream cruel in her memory. Just as she had decided to return to sleep, she felt a pull from her chest, as if her heart could leap right out of it. The pulling was insistent, nagging. Giving Allyna no choice but to follow.
Allyna tried to get up. Her weak legs would not support her. Allyna sobbed, but the pull would not be ignored. She used her weakened arms to pull herself forward across the muddied forest floor. The rain making the ground slippery, her light body sliding easily.
She pulled herself over and under tree roots, resting every time the tugging on her heart eased. Allyna paid little attention to what was in front of her. She found herself suddenly falling head over foot. Her already battered body taking new hits and scrapes. She came to a stop in a low stream. While the water was not deep, she had little strength to get out of it, only managed to face the sky so she could breath.
As Allyna gazed up at the sky, she realized it had stopped raining. She hadn't been able to keep track of time. It could have been an hour, it could have been days. As she watched the sky, she wondered if she could give up now. The tugging had stopped, and the water was soothing. She quickly drifted off to sleep the sleep of the truly exhausted.
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Note From Ash
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