Running (TWC ch4)

Story by MaddyFerret on SoFurry

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Chapter 4: Running    Anya awoke in a start as she heard the shouts ring across the large camp. "Get up! Get up!" For a few seconds all was dark, and except for the shouting everything seemed normal. Anya struggled to get up, only to find herself still tied to the tree. "Get up now!" Shouted the watchman, his deep voice waking the camp. Men began stumbling out of their tents into the darkness against this unseen foe.     Soon though, the shouts turned to screams. No longer forming words the watchman's voice only carried pained screams through the camp before falling silent. At this point the whole camp was gathered in the center, armed with heavy axes, wooden bows, rusty swords, and a whole array of other weapons and makeshift weapons. Except Anya, who remained tied to the tree. She saw a figure running toward her, away from the group. In a few seconds Will stood in front of her, his face a picture of terror. Pulling a heavy dagger from his belt he sawed through the ropes binding her to the tree. "Hurry." He panted, grabbing Anya's hand and pulling her up. Bewildered she ran back with him to the gathering of bandit-warriors. Some of them glared at the pair as they arrived, but most of the men were too focused on the trees to pay attention. Then, the fire started, and the soldiers began to advance. A circle of soldiers emerged from the trees. Resplendent in their shimmering armor they drew their swords, shining in the firelight as they approached the outlaws. "Lay down your weapons and come with us." One of the armored men ordered. "You are all charged with murder and high treason against your rightful lords and kings." "Lay down our weapons?" Spat Brandon, the outlaw leader."So you can kill us easier?""Return with us to Ota and none of you will be harmed." promised the leader of the knights. "Until you hang us, you mean."     "You will face the king's judgement and your punishment will be whatever he deems fit." The man raised his sword menacingly. "Lay down your weapons or you will all be executed now." The circle of  knights. Anya shivered if terror. These were knights, the glorious heros of the books. These were the protectors of the best, but somehow the warriors didn't seem so noble when one stood on the wrong side of their sword. Anya knew she was the monster, she was standing with the outlaws. She knew she was realm, the slayers of monsters, and hunters of bandits. Anya had always liked knight stories the protected by her kidnappers, against the same men who took her mother. She wasn't a witch, but they took her anyway. Suddenly Brandon made a signal, one which meant nothing to Anya but obviously something to the rest of the men. The outlaws lept into motion like a pouncing cat, taking the knights by some surprise.     Anya's world suddenly became a flurry of steel, screams, and flames. To her left she saw an outlaw dueling with one of the knights, rusted iron clashing with shining steel. To her right she saw Horace, the giant man, throw a much smaller knight to the ground. Anya closed her eyes as the man let loose a guttural scream, which was followed by a sickening crunch. There was fighting all around, and her in the middle of it, standing petrified, terrified. Anya felt herself shoved to the ground as an outlaw she didn't recognize came tumbling past her before tripping and falling to the ground himself. One of the knights came barreling after the fallen man. Anya was stumbling to her feet as she saw the knight raising his sword, his silver steel armor and sword looking almost red as it reflected the fire burning the camp. Just as his sword was about to swing downward Anya felt herself possessed by a force almost outside of herself. She found herself flying through the air, her body striking the knights armor and throwing him to the ground. Cursing furiously the knight reached for his sword while Anya clawed wildly at the air, hoping to beat of the armored man. She struggled to get away but the armored hand grabbed her ankle. As Anya tried to squirm from the iron grip she saw the knight's other hand find purchase on his sword. She cried in terror as he moved to kill the girl, when suddenly he fell. Anya looked up to find a knife sticking out of the back of the knight's armor. She looked around to find her savior, but whoever it was had already disappeared back into the whirlwind of the fight.Anya scrambled to her feet and looked around, seeing only falling men and fire. Will any of us survive this? She asked herself in fear. She could see that the outlaws were not faring well, and were dropping like flies before the king's knights.

She could hear the screaming of injured and dying men.     Outlaws began to break away from the battle. First it was one man who escaped from the mob of steel and blood and began running for the trees. Then there was another, and a third. Soon the entire remainder of the outlaw band was running for their lives into the dark forest beyond the camp. Anya took off after the retreating outlaws, the knights in close pursuit.                   As they moved further away from the burning camp the darkness of the forest began to encroach upon them. The girl was temporarily blinded, but her eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness. Not all the men were so lucky though. She saw one outlaw trip over a root, and get left behind the group. Another ran straight into the trunk of a tree.           Anya dodged around trees and hopped over logs. She kept seeing other outlaws in the trees, some of them not making it. The clanking of the knight's armor grew fainter and fainter the more the outlaws ran. The bandits were obviously more accustomed to the forest than the knights; they were also unburdened by armor, unlike the knights.  A man right in front of the girl tripped and fell with a scream. Anya jumped over the fallen man. It was sickening, jumping over him instead of helping him. But there was no time, the knights were coming. He would get up himself or he would die. No one, certainly not the girl, was going to help him. The girl kept running. The man, like so many others from the camp got left behind her. The girl kept running through the darkness. The screams of the fallen outlaws behind her. The clanking of the knight's armor behind that. The sounds grew distant. The sounds grew fainter and fainter. Anya no longer saw any of the other outlaws. She didn't know if they went another direction, if they were lost in the darkness, if they all get caught. All Anya knew is she had to keep running, running until she was safe. The girl ran away, away from the screams, the clanking armor, away from everything. The girl jumped at every shadow in the corner of her eye. Is it another outlaw? Or is it a knight? It never was either, just a shadow. She was desperately hoping to see one of the bandits, some sign she wasn't lost, wasn't alone. It didn't occur to her until much later how odd it was to be looking to the outlaws for safety, and fearing the noble knights. Soon the armor was so distant the girl wasn't sure if the men were still chasing her. All the girl heard was the thumping of her heart, the sound of her heavy breathing, and her feet pounding against the ground. Anya stopped running. For a moment all seemed quiet, then she heard it. Another scream. The wail rang through the forest like a church bell, and Anya knew she wasn't safe yet. She bolted in the opposite direction, hoping to get away from her pursuers. She hadn't thought about what to do after that, where she would go if she didn't find anyone. When you are forced to run you don't think about where you are going, only where you came from, and what's coming for you.Soon the girl reached a river, and after only a split second hesitation hopped into it. The girl waded as fast as she could over the slick stones of the river bank. I have to get away from here. Her feet heavy and soaked she waded deeper into the river the water rushing over her legs. Hurry! Her panicked brain insisted, as the girl pushed through the water. Suddenly she felt her foot slip on a moss covered stone. Into the water her body tumbled. Arms and legs flailing Anya struggled to find some purchase on the wet stones. Just as she thought her feet were secure she tried to stand up only for the water to immediately toss her unstable body back into the river. "Help!" The girl shrieked, flailing in a panicked frenzy in the rushing current. She knew no one was coming to help her though, just like she hadn't helped those who fell before her. "Help!" She cried again, struggling to pull herself through the water and to the shore. Again the water pulled her down. She felt something hit her head, a rock maybe, or a log floating down the river. She thought she could smell blood. She was bleeding, falling, drowning. Mother, protect me. She cried out silently to the spirit world as the water filled her lungs. She just knew she needed help and she was not getting any earthly aid, not anymore. She was alone.The girl could see the moon shining above her. She focused on it's light as she pushed herself through the water, trying to fight against the current and reach the bank. She was bleeding. She was almost there, she could make it. Blood continued to pour from her wound. The water was cold, how come she never noticed how cold it was until now. It seemed to be getting darker, she could hardly see the moon anymore. I'm almost there. The girl told herself. Just a few more steps. It was cold, it was dark. She was bleeding. It seemed to be getting colder and darker.        The girl stumbled again. I just have to get up. She thought. I'll be safe if I just get up. It was cold, it was dark, she was bleeding. But I can't. The girl felt her eyes closing. It was dark. She couldn't tell the difference between when her eyes were open or closed. The girl fell back. It was cold, it was dark, she was bleeding. She was drowning. She was dying. Almost there. She thought, But almost isn't enough. The girl knew she had to keep moving. She knew she had to get out of the river to survive. But she couldn't. It was too cold. She was too tired. She was bleeding. She was dying. The girl closed her eyes and fell into the cold dark embrace of the rushing river.    

Friend? (TWC ch3)

Chapter 3: Friends?    "You're cutting wood today." Spat today's man, one Anya didn't recognize. Each the the outlaws sent a different man to wake Anya each morning. It was never the same person, nor was it ever the same person as the same person as...

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Work (TWC ch2)

Chapter 2: Work    Anya, the beast-girl as her captures called her, had been following the camp for ten days now. She'd been counting. The first few days had been miserable as she had struggled to find a way out. By now though, the girl had given up...

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Caught (TWC ch1)

Caught: Chapter One    The girl stabbed the wooden spear into the water, only to see the fish dart away, a silver flash. The girl flicked her tail in annoyance, she'd been out since sunrise; the sun was nearly halfway across the sky by now and her...

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