Legendary Dragon Queen – Prologue – Terrors

Legendary Dragon Queen – Synopsis:

In a world where life thrives with different races, dangers lurk in all corners of the planet and none are safe at any given moment. Travellers are lost and never found. In this terrible world of terror, a dark legend is about to wake up.
Within the borders of the various kingdoms, corruption, politics and hatred has evolved through the growing terror that lies deep within the human souls. The fate of the human race and its kingdom lies only in the hands of those who can face their fears, become courageous, and believe in a destiny that can be changed.

Please note – This story is both a work in progress and a first draft.

The morning was bright. The sun beyond the hills lay far to the east beyond the forests. There were sounds full of twittering birds and insects. On few occasions, the air would fill with sounds of low growls, those that lay within the forest.
Outside along the path that lay across the river that flowed in parallel to it, stood a shiny spectacle of rock that spit out light across from within the river. There were lots of other jewels around it as well, but this one, was more than anything anyone would have had seen. With the rising currents in the river, the jewel would get caught up into the water current and flow downstream.
At a close distance, a house can be seen. The road ends at the house and reaches as far as can be seen with a human eye towards the south. The house is made of wood, and appears to look as if more work is needed to maintain it. The house has a conic structure on its top, and is almost a two-floored house. Outside the house towards its right lies a stable, where horses are safely tied within their shelters. Food for the horses has been placed out onto the floor, wooden buckets filled with water for the horses to drink from it. On the left, a small warehouse stands closed, facing the stable. In completeness, the stable and the warehouse appear as if watching out over the house at all times. At the end of the stable and the warehouse, where both its ends meet in parallel, across the path lies an wooden gate with a latch lying over it.
Murmuring sounds start to appear from within the house. As the sounds grow distinct, it sounds more like a conversation about to be over.
“… I’m sure everything would be alright.”
After a few seconds, the other muffled voice becomes clear to understand.
“… As you say so, Maria.”
The handle to the door clicks and twists open as a woman in her late twenties opens the door wide open and places a wooden block on the floor to stop it from closing.
“I’ll take care of it, as soon as I’m there, Mr. Frost.”, replied Maria with a smile. “I’m going on my way home for the weekend. When I get back to town, I’ll discuss about your concerns regarding the threats.”
Maria reached for her scarf from her bag and wore it on her head. Due to a lot of birds migrating into the forests nearby, a lot of crows and ravens had arrived during the season. A lot of bird droppings were observed these days, specially those of crows scavenging for food at all places possible. Travellers and adventurers from the western city of Swordlate, across the mountain ranges mention of thunderclouds appearing west of the city over the Great Wilderness. Winds have gathered along the borders of the kingdom, and the shores across the Sea World appear to display rough tides. With rumours of an upcoming thunderstorm, a lot of people staying beyond the mountain ranges have crossed the Crackstick Pass and moved in to stay in other cities and towns. It is known that more than a hundred thousand people have crossed through to cities and towns south and east of the capital city.
As Maria comes out through the main door, Mr. Frost walks slowly towards the door. “Please give my regards to all at home.”, mentions Theodore, placing his right hand on the edge of the door.
“Sure. I’ll give them your regards.”, replied Mariah.
With that, Mariah climbed down the steps and walked towards the wooded gate of Theodore Frost’s property. Theodore remained at his door watching as Mariah left for her home to visit her family. When Mariah was far from his view, Theodore gave a small glance towards his stable and warehouse. Theodore came out stepping down the steps. When he came close to the stable, he observed patches of blood near one of his horse. When he carefully looked at the wooden bucket, he found blood in it, leaking out from it, as if it was used for a wrong doing. In shock, Theodore jumped back and fell to the ground on his back. Fear embedding within his heart, he tried to run as fast as his legs could towards the door. When he looked back to see if someone else had been there, it was only the sound of the bristling leaves of the trees and the quiet flow of the river running in the distance. With nothing more to see, Theodore went inside the house and locked it.

After Mariah walked out of the wooden gate, the scenery changed from a worn out house all around, lush green forest all around. A river went down the smooth slope in the southern direction. The sound of the river flowing in parallel to the path she walked made her feel soothing. It calmed her mind from all her troubled thoughts. She could smell the fresh wind coming from the south. Sometimes, she could even see salmon fish jumping out of the surface of the water, making its way as high as the river source could allow. The riverbanks displayed a crystal clear smudge-free water. One could see the river floor even while at the centre.
Mariah thought it was all so wonderful to walk on this path. She thought of how fortunate Mr. Frost was to have a house away from all the troubles of the town, nobody to disturb, and concentrate on the work. She envied Mr. Frost for having such a wonderful place all for his family. She wished for such a place sometime to live outside the politics which played in their lives. It was a good thing, she thought to envy the place for making money for a living, being a carpenter, cutting woods within the forest.
It was not long until she came across the edge of the forest and the path laid ahead of her would keep going on and on until it reached the town. As she walked ahead and the trees were left behind, she started to feel better as she was tired of watching the same kind of trees over and over again. The forest now remained on the other side of the river bank. The path in front of her was close to the river bank and she decided to rest for a while.
Lying down at the edge of the riverfront, she decided to rest for a while. Placing her feet in water, she felt the cold water helping out the release of stress. The chill of the water pierced within her and she felt calm and free from all the burdens of the world. Glancing towards the sides of the river and along the road, Mariah closed her eyes and enjoyed the peace, calm and quiet nature. Nothing moved except nature. These woods had been cleared off from all the predators, when small villages had collectively decided to ask for help from the king to protect them from the attacks occurring during the night from the predators that lay hidden within the forest. When the king had agreed upon the request, the council members allowed hunters to move in groups and kill all predators that lived within the forests. Within the borders of the human kingdom, it took about two years to clear off all the forests from predators, both known and unknown. Variants of wolves, bears, felines and hyenas were killed, their count displayed in the castles dead upon the floors or walls.

She might have slept only for a few minutes, when she woke up and felt something tapping on her feet. She thought it might be a fish pecking on her foot. The tapping on her feet was in complete synchronised way. Left foot, then right foot. After a few seconds, it was again left foot, then right foot. Curious to know what lay in the river, she sat down across the riverfront, in search of the thing that kept tapping continuously on her feet.
What she saw completely amazed her. There were not one but two jewels neither floating nor completely sunk in the river. They were glowing red and it shined bright in the clear water. It appeared to have a glow emitting from within. The dark red colour filled it completely. It seemed as if it was not from this world and had fallen from the skies.
What is it? Is it a jewel of some sort? Or is it an ancient artifact? Or is it something from out of this world? Mariah thought of these questions, only to come up with no answers for it. She decided to keep the jewels. She thought she would be able to get a high price for them if she sold them in the market.
When she picked up the jewels, one at a time, she felt them to be as heavy as a bag of heavy leather clothes. As soon as she touched the jewel, the red colour from the jewel turned to blood red, and then to black. But with that, the weight of the jewel lightened. When she had picked up the first jewel, she had thought of having it to be difficult to keep them along all the way until home. But after it’s colour had turned to black, it was light, like feather. When she picked up the second jewel, it’s colour also turned to black finally and it also became very light to carry. With two feather weighted jewels, she placed them in her pouch and hung it around her waist on the insides of her long skirt.
She looked around for any more jewels and crystals along the riverfront, but didn’t find any. Mariah always wanted to get rich as quick as possible. But in these days, there were high taxes laid out on the poor as well, due to increased threats occurring from the barbarian kingdom which lay along the north west border of the human kingdom.
Mariah would wear dresses in a different sense. She liked wearing a man’s shirt. Often at home, she would even wear pants of her husband. Although she liked to keep her hair short, similar to the style as that of a man, she had decided to keep her hair long since she was married. Her parents had requested her to display herself as a woman when she would always present herself in front of other people.
With her hair hanging below her shoulders, she had started to like her long hair as they slided on her shirt over her breasts. She would wear full sleeved shirt whenever she walked out of town to sell her goods to customers, trying to make herself appear decent. It was a plain dark purple coloured shirt with buttons and a pocket in front. As the shirt was quite long, she had tucked it inside her skirt. The skirt she wore was also long, almost touching the ground by inches. She wore good quality sandals, which she made herself using leather resources. She also had a beautiful necklace, shiny and glaring in the bright daylight. It was her lucky gem. After the incident in the town when a man had tried to flirt with her, and she had rejected him, he had accepted it, only to look for a chance to get a lonely moment with her. It was when he had tried to force her into having sex with him at that moment. When she tried running, he had almost raped her, when her husband had arrived and saved her from the terrible man. She had started to believe in the lucky gem.
After walking for a distance, the road and the river separated out and went in separate ways. Up ahead at a distance, a few small boats were parked alongside the riverfront. There were boats on the other side of the river as well, and a path going on into the forest. Mariah kept on with the road and walked her way towards her home, eager to be waiting for the past five days since she had been working in the town. She would normally live in town while she was working during the weekdays, whereas she would live with her family on holidays.
The road went on and on, until it started drifting towards south east, whereas the river went on towards the south. Almost half an hour went by when Mariah saw the forest on her right side appearing as if getting close to her. Somehow, the forest had crossed the river side and come close to the road. The forest lay at a close distance and remained within the eyes of travellers who walked this road. With every step, it would feel as if the forest was stalking on the traveller while walking in the southern direction. Whereas, for the traveller going north, it would seem to let go.
Maria would always feel creepy while walking down this part of the road towards home. She felt as if there were creatures in the forest, watching her, staring at her, looking for a chance to grab her and have her as lunch or dinner. Although she knew that the creatures like those were hunted down and killed, she would still feel scared for walking on this part of the road, where the forest would get closer and closer with every step taken south.
Creepy feelings started to grow within her. She started to walk fast in order to reach home. It didn’t feel weird at all when she stood at one place on the road facing the forest. It was only when she walked south that she would feel creepy, as if stalked by some predator hiding in the forest.
Grabbing her lucky gem, Mariah kept walking fast as she could to reach her house not far from the village. Her house lay at the edge of the forest, where they had a huge farm. Her father-in-law took care of the farm and her husband helped him out most of the times. She was married to an earnest man who did not live by performing any sort of politics within the village or towns nearby. Everyone at home was hard-working and honest with their work. Her husband and father-in-law were involved in farming, growing vegetables and crops, and selling them out in the town market.
Mariah was excited and nervous to be home, excited as it was her daughter’s birthday today. She had picked up an artifact, she purchased during the week in the market. As she got close to home, she started to think of her twelve year old daughter, running around the house all the time, since she was five. Her father-in-law had brought her a puppy when she was nine. The dog was now fully grown and was almost half her daughter’s height.
Soon, she saw her home at a distance, as if parked along the side of the forest, leaning on it. The house she lived was a one-floored house, having six bedrooms in all; for herself and her husband, her daughter, her father-in-law and mother-in-law, her brother-in-law, and another two for any guests who might arrive at any time. There was also a kennel placed in her daughter’s room.
When Mariah reached the house, there did not seem to be any sound of voices coming from within. She thought everyone must have gone out to town to celebrate her daughter’s birthday. As she placed her hand on the wooden gate’s latch, it was already open. The latch she had thought was not there at all. Her eyes went towards the garden in front of the house, where the latch had been. It seemed to have broken from the gate and was also bent. She opened the gate, and bent down to pick it up. When she took it in her hands, bugs crept out from it’s underside onto her hand, making her shake it off suddenly, as she got the jittery feeling of creepers and crawlers. As the latch fell to the ground elsewhere, Mariah looked down to the ground to see bugs lying below the latch feeding onto something. When she blew air over the area, the bugs started to disperse all over and she saw some sort of paint coloured in blood red. When she touched her fingers over it and felt it between her fingers, it seemed like blood.
She started getting weird visions in her head, her mind racing in directions of high imagination towards what must have happened. Is everything alright here? I hope everyone is okay. Is my daughter fine? Questions raced through her mind as she kept looking at the blood on her fingers.
Placing her thoughts aside, Mariah looked up towards the house. It loomed over her, as she was bent on the ground looking towards it. Somewhere, she felt as if the house would come crashing on her anytime. She stood up standing and started to walk slowly towards the door of the house. There was a small porch along the house elevated high enough, so when the rains poured on and it flooded all over, it was still safe to remain in the house. Climbing on the steps towards the porch, it creaked and squeaked with every single step she took towards the front door. One at a time, when she finally made it up the stairs, she looked around the sides of the house first. There was not a sound to be heard. When she looked at the garden, everything stood still in the moment. It felt as if the world had stopped spinning. There was no breeze at all. The trees stood staring at her, when she looked in the direction of the forest.
“Hello? Is anyone there?”, she said to no one in particular, as she felt as if someone was watching over her.
When she didn’t receive any reply, she returned back to look towards the door in front. The door was made of wood, but it was locked on to an iron shell casing in front. A wolf was carved on the wooden door as if howling and calling out to it’s family. A look on the door seemed like the house had been there since the time the forest contained wolves in it, and feeding off some of the travellers while they existed.
“Hello. Dad? Mom? Is anyone inside?”, she called out while in front of the door.
Calm and quiet, everything seemed to look as if it was all frozen out here. Mariah placed her hand on the door knob and twisted it. The lock to the door did not twist. But when Mariah pushed the door with enough force, it simply opened up, without the need to unlock the door first. Slowly opening up the door, she tried to see all the things inside, within the living room. There were wooden chairs polished on it’s surface placed besides a long table, which could allow for at least 10 people to sit down and have a discussion. The table was also made of wood, and on it were placed various objects. There were a couple of closed bottles of ink placed in between. Along with them sat a couple of feathers that would be used for writing. Papers had been placed in the centre of the table. Empty wooden mugs lay on the table, along with an a bottle of wine. It seemed as if everything was in order and nothing was touched.
Mariah called out her dog, but she didn’t hear any sound at all. She walked across the wooden floor towards the kitchen and saw few of the utensils spilt over the ground. There were spoons, forks, knives, and other vessels strayed out as well. Vegetables and fruits lay here and there across the floor. Mariah became concerned for her family members as soon as she saw all of this.
She got back to the living room and started screaming, calling her husband, daughter, so that at least someone would at least listen to her and get her attention. She went up the wooden stairs which lay at the end of the passageway. She was already scared while she climbed up towards the first floor. She took two steps at a time until she reached the first floor.
All of the doors that she saw had blood on it. Mariah was shocked. She started to walk slowly towards the nearest door, which belonged to her brother-in-law. When she pushed the door open, she found him lying on the floor, blood spilt all over. Scratches were all over his body. Panic struck inside Mariah’s heart. She had started to sweat all over her face. As she went out of the room and towards her bedroom, she opened each door and saw a similar condition for every person in the house. By the time she reached her room, she also saw her husband drenched in blood, cuts along his face and chest. The blood was still seeping out of the body as if all had been killed between an hour from now.
She couldn’t see her daughter anywhere and the dog as well. They must’ve escaped the slaughter somehow. She saw the window open which led towards the back of the house embracing the forest. When she approached the window and looked down from it, she saw her daughter and the dog as well. She might still be alive. She thought so, keeping her hopes as high as possible. She ran out of her room, across the passageway, down the stairs and out through the front door. Climbing down the front porch, she grabbed an iron wrench which lay down next to the steps and carefully started walking towards the back of the house.
As she turned, she didn’t see anything moving around the back. She hurriedly ran towards her daughter and sat down next to her. But it was late. Her daughter had probably died from the fall itself, or maybe the fall had broken her legs.
Crying out slowly, she let go her daughter and quietly reached towards the main gate. She had gone into a shock after watching everyone in her family had been ripped open by creatures unknown, which were supposed not to exist. Mariah was in a traumatic condition and there was no one to help her out.
She went out of her house, away from the gate, sobbing all the way for a few minutes. Within moments of getting away from the house, she sits down on the ground feeling tired. Her mind was only with thoughts of her family, which she had seen them after entering the house. She could not forget the lifeless bodies that lay all over the house. Nonetheless, she could not imagine her daughter having fallen down to the ground and died. Whatever the creatures did to her family, Mariah did not feel like living anymore. Why had she survived all the trouble? Why wasn’t she part of it when it happened? She was completely depressed and was unable to keep to her senses. With all the burden, her mind drifted away into a deeper dark well where one would not be able to lift themselves back to the surface. She fell asleep in the middle of the day, her thoughts making her to wander away in her depressive thoughts.

When she woke up, it was already evening, and the heat of the sun was already gone. Mariah felt her conscious come back to her, although the shocking images of her family, specially her husband and daughter were very much disturbing. She felt as if she was going to loose her senses again and go to sleep. However, that didn’t happen.
Mariah got to her feet and started walking quietly towards the village. She decided to inform the guards in the village about the incident which occurred at her house. Hopefully, they would help her out with whatever happened at home. At least a similar incident wouldn’t take place at someone else’s place, if action was taken quickly to hunt down the creatures which lay within the forest.
Walking further down the road, she had reached about one-fifth the distance, when the road had started to proceed to the village nearby, through fields and plains on the way. The forest appeared to have fallen at a distance, but it was still within range of viewing it. The vast green texture of trees intermingled in it’s branches. The view would have been fantastic to see the forest, if Mariah wasn’t lost in her thoughts. She was worried more than anytime she had experienced before. What was she supposed to do now? How was she supposed to live through the coming days, months and years that lay in front of her? The thoughts did not seem to vanish at all and remained in front of her, as if they popped up straight in front of her eyes.
By the time she reached a signpost displaying distances and directions towards villages and towns, the sky had turned red. It was close to sunset, Maria thought. She had to reach the village soon, before the sun had set for the day. She didn’t have anything with her to light up the way, neither torches nor candles. She had left the house in panic and did not even know what she had to collect while going to any other place than home. She had even let go of her bag she would take anywhere she went. She always kept a lot of things handy, if things went out of control.
As the distance towards the village shortened, trees planted across the roads appeared frequently. The forest at a distance had come close towards the road as well while she had walked since quite some time. When she saw a light-post in the far distance blending out with the increasing mist that lay far in the south, she felt glad of having reached close to the village. With the hills overlooking the village in the west and the forests which spread out on them, the sun had already been set for the village.
But the sun hadn’t set yet where Mariah walked along the road. She couldn’t see much due to the mist which lay beyond the lamp post. She kept walking ahead towards the village, when all of a sudden Mariah heard a low growling sound from within the forest. When she glanced over at the forest, only the dark forest loomed at the distance in it’s wide open spaces. She wondered if the creatures were looking over her, staring her from a safe distance, waiting for a chance to pounce on her and have their fill for the night. She looked back at the road and started to walk quickly towards the village.
As she closed in on the lamp post, the sounds of the growls increased and they became even more scary. It sounded as if there wasn’t only one creature, but probably more. She couldn’t imagine how many were out there, but the sound they made, she felt afraid, scared.
Soon enough, she heard a creature growl every single step of the way. When she closed in on the lamp post, she managed to see two more dispersing light from it, as if a glow of light existed nearby.
Mariah must’ve crossed a few lamp posts, when trees were to be seen almost all over the area on the roadside. The trees appeared to have a dark green colour. The sun had set in these parts of the village and objects were only lit from what light hit from the sky, which was a mix of dark red and violet. The trees would sometimes appear dark enough for anyone to see anything on it. The road would seem to have faded into the dark. It was becoming more and more difficult as the night crawled in.
Somewhere close to the village, while walking along the road, Mariah heard the growling again, this time in front of her.
She stopped where she was. Trying her best to listen carefully to the sounds, she waited for it again.
Grrrrr… a sound straight in front, but difficult to see what lay ahead beyond the light of the lamp post.
Grrrrr… another one, this time from front as well, but slightly to the left, as if on the side of the road.
Grrrrr… a third one, sounding from in front of left shoulder of Mariah.
Mariah gathered her senses, her alertness and boldness to fight the creatures. But she eventually considered it dumb as she was outnumbered three to one. Either there were three creatures making sounds one after the other, or there was only one making the sound while moving from the front to the left. She had to make a decision quickly. She thought of running straight towards the village. She felt so close now. But as she thought of it, a dark shadow, half the size of a man, approached on the road which led to the village. It’s shadow fell on the road, enough to create fear within the soul.
As Mariah saw the shadow, she thought she saw the teeth of the creature bare out in front of it, growling. Simultaneously, she hears the creature on her left growl, approaching silently towards her. Fear filling her soul, Mariah jolted out in a run away from the sounds. Away from the road. Away from the beasts that were onto her. And towards the forest. Straight into the forest.
Running for her life, she started to scream about for help. But help did not arrive. There wasn’t a soul nearby, none could her her. Everyone were still quite far away in the village, most of them inside their homes speaking to others within their homes. Even the guards at the village gates wouldn’t have heard her scream. They still remained a huge gap between the village and Mariah.
As close as it could be, the forest appeared to loom out on Mariah. With the creatures growling behind her, she did not even think of looking behind. She could have fallen, tripped over a branch, which was all the creatures would want to happen.
Jumping over broken branches, getting around the trees, Mariah kept running all the time. She had been fortunate the ground was still lit with enough light for her to run up the hill. She managed to see the branches, twigs, carcases of small rodents and a lot of bird droppings. A lot of vines went past along the trees, most of them hung over the branches, trying to gain height towards the sky.
Soon enough after she had reached some unknown part of the forest after taking turns and twists, Mariah stopped for a few seconds to listen to the creatures. It was all silent all around. There was no sound of anything at all. She managed to breathe air finally. She was perspiring and sweat trickled from her head onto her face, and along the neckline. Breathing in and out, in and out, with quick gasps, making sure she wasn’t followed until here, she decided to rest along one of the tree trunk. Taking as much air as possible, reassuring herself of the threat to have lost behind, she dared not go back the way she had come. When she thought about it though, she hadn’t a slightest idea which direction she had come from, only that she had reached this dark place from the front. But with all the twists and turns she had taken in the forest, she had no idea where she was. She thought she was lost in the forest. There was no one who would search for her in this forest.
Tired of standing and running, legs paining and hurting, she sat down on the roots of the tree. With silence all around, she started to listen to her own heartbeat, pumping blood to her body, in quick beats. Blood was rushing towards all parts of her body. Even her head felt heavy and hot all over. She felt drowsiness gaining over her senses. She tried to get up, but her own weight did not allow it. She felt heavy at the moment, unable to move. When she pushed herself into getting up and staying alert, she started feeling dizzy and sat down again, to make sure she didn’t fall down from giddiness.
As time went by, and silence crawled over the forest floor, the sound of insects flying around didn’t trouble Mariah at all. Mosquitoes started biting all over her hands, face and feet, wherever the skin was exposed. At places where blood trickled from the cuts and bruises she acquired while on the run, pain was on to her running towards her brain, asking for help from her immune system. Muscles and joints ached all across the body, when she attempted to move. With all the trouble she was experiencing, she thought of taking a nap for a while.
Within moments after going for a nap, resting herself along the tree trunk, she felt peace gaining inside her, the same peace she felt while sleeping at the riverbank, and the same while she would sleep next to her husband. It had started to heal her. She felt her heartbeat soften and grow slower than it was before. But before all became normal to her, the pain only grew stronger, giving her enough pain to lay down instead of moving her body.
And in those moments of pain and exertion, the sounds of insects flying around her made way towards her brain. Various sounds started registering all around. Her sense of touch gained as the mosquitoes sucked in her blood, feeding over her skin. The skin started to tickle all over with bites, bruises and cuts. Cool breeze started to move across over the forest floor. The leaves waved in motion synchronising along with the wind to and fro. As she felt the wind flow upon her skin, it felt as if the pain was getting healed by nature itself. She was accepting what nature was providing her…
…until at a close distance, somewhere near, within the forest, on the forest floor, slowly and steadily something had started to walk, a foot after another, placing as slow as possible, in stealth, in an attempt not to alert it’s prey. But the hearing sensation of Mariah was developed since during her childhood, she had stayed in the borders of the forest. Her parents would take her into the woods everyday to the riverside and she would enjoy the picnics, her parents would have there. She would play, enjoy, eat and sleep for some time, until her parents woke her up to get back home.
Mariah heard few leaves getting crumpled under feet in front of her. She also heard a few twigs crack. At random, she had started to hear the same from the left and right sides as well. It was time for her to leave the place, she thought. When she tried to stand, she shrieked with pain as the muscles were worn and stressed out. Her joints ached almost everywhere. It had become too much for her body to handle. She started to feel dizzy again and sat down. Her eyes started to wear out and all she could do was hear and wait.
All she could hear was her heart beat. Glancing her eyes in front of her, she waited for whatever lay in front of her. Within moments, the creatures came out of the dark shadows. The rough noise of the creature in front started with that of a low growl. It was joined by others on both sides. Footsteps of the creatures increased with them joining their sound growling and arriving close to Mariah. As Mariah opened her eyes for a few seconds, she saw three wolfs, half the size of a man, their teeth shown towards her. When she looked left and then right, she saw wolves on either side of her as well. She was shocked to see what kind of terror had been unleashed over her family when these same wolves had attacked her family.
Mariah closed her eyes and waited for the end to come to her. She had lost all hope to survive.
When she became motionless, the wolves in front of her walked slowly towards her. The wolf in the centre came ahead and growled with a high pitch. He was probably the leader of the pack. He sat down on the ground on his hind legs and started to howl. The others followed him and started to howl as well. Mariah started to think when it would all be over. When she tried moving one last time to escape death, it pained all over her body and she collapsed onto the forest floor. When the leader of the wolf pack saw, he started to run towards Mariah. With the sound of footsteps coming close, Mariah feared for what was to happen next. But she didn’t get enough time to even think about it. The moment she fell to the ground, the wolf leader ran towards her and gripped her neck with his teeth. Biting into her neck and giving it a couple of quick shake-ups, it snapped. Mariah only had one chance to scream when her neck broke, and along with it her body lay down dead with her neck hanging in the wolf’s jaws.
With no more motion from Mariah, the entire pack of wolves moved towards the kill. As they feasted on the lifeless body, the sound of beasts ripping out flesh off it’s food echoed into the night and died within the forest.
When the wolves had had their fill, they left the place. As time went by, it had become silent all over. After moments of wolves disappearing into the forest, a man arrived at the place where Mariah had died. The man wore a robe and had a staff in his left hand. On top of the staff was a red coloured jewel polished to a smooth finish. The jewel was held within eight five iron carvings, each being different from the other. The staff itself appeared to have been made from iron as well. For a normal human being, holding the staff would have weighed about a ton or so, but this man with a robe held above his head and flowing down over his feet could easily manage to pick it up and use it at his will.
The man with the robes walked towards Mariah and bent down his knees. He spoke a few words in silence and waited. With a red glow appearing from close to the body, the man removed the glowing matter out of the grasp of the human and laid it on the forest floor. It was the same jewel Mariah had picked up from the river. Both the pieces were glowing bright red. The man in the robe removed a piece of cloth from one of his pockets and placed it over the two jewel pieces. After wrapping it, he placed the jewels in his pocket, making sure it did not get touched.
With the two jewels in his pocket, the man in the robes walked away with his staff towards the capital city of the human kingdom.

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