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[/font]You may have noticed, that I’ve been busy in Photoshop since last week… and my HTML is slowly improving… although, any of you that are clever enough to tell me how to make my new pretty picture go in the centre of the frame, please Email or PM me.

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The Wayfarer Part 2

The Dreamer.

Firelight flickered across bare and dusty earth lighting up a small circle in the deep black of the night. Sara had not seen a single tree since she had left “The Wayfarer”. Stumbling after Lyan as he strode through the rough terrain Sara had barely been able to keep pace with him. In the three days they had travelled together, Lyan had said little to her, only what was necessary. For  Sara, only the occasional low gnarled shrub had broken the monotony of the bare, red dunes of the desert lands.

Now, camped at what seemed the very centre of the massive expanse of nothing-ness, Sara felt exposed and isolated. Lyan sat across the fire from her, his attention completely upon the action of oiling his sword, and the carved leather scabbard that held it. He worked with meticulous precision, his attention wholly upon his task. He seemed not even to notice the sounds of animals moving around in the darkness, those sounds made Sara particularly nervous. With each rustle of leaves or stirring of sand she was certain that, rather than a harmless rabbit or mouse, it was in fact the slavers who had come to take her.

“Lyan,” She spoke softly, little more than a whisper. It seemed almost a shame to break the silence of the night. He looked up briefly, then his attention returned to his work. He grunted a short reply.

“How much further is it to Tarna?” she asked, knowing before the words were fully from her lips that she would regret asking.

“Our pace has been slow.” Lyan told her with a shrug.           

He held up his sword and admired it carefully, before muttering something Sara didn’t catch, and then bringing the sword down to begin the polishing ritual over. With a sigh Sara curled herself into the thin blanket that had become her bed. The earth felt hard against her side as she brought her knees up to her chest in an attempt to block out the chill of the desert night.

Sara cried out as the lash snaked across her skin. They punished her, and she did not know why. The open, wood panelled chamber was familiar to her. She remembered kneeling upon the polished floorboards and scrubbing them until her hands bled, and standing before the dark wood desk at the far end of the room, staring up at the row of five paintings, each of a woman in a flowing coloured gown.

 The lash bit into her skin again, but this time Sara did not scream. Her heart felt like it was breaking, at that moment she knew. She had been betrayed. She turned pained, tear filled eyes toward a slim blonde woman who watched on with her blue eyes as cold as ice.

“Liar,” the stern looking matron who wielded the whip snarled, “pretender!”

“You do not belong here,” The young blonde woman said cooly as she stepped forward to cut Sara’s rope bound wrists free. Sara fell to her knees and rubbed weakly at her burning wrists. All of her strength had left her long ago, she had no heart left to fight. Again, she turned pleading eyes to the girl who had been her best friend, but only cold, compassionless eyes stared back at her. Roughly four satin robed women, the matron, and blonde girl included, pulled Sara to her feet, and dragged her to the glowing disc of blue light that throbbed at the centre of the wide chamber. Snarling faces forced her forward, staggering to the centre of the disc, where Sara fell to her knees sobbing. The women joined hands and a sing-song hum seemed to fill the air, and Sara’s vision was clouded by a white-blue fog that seemed to pulse before her eyes.

Moaning softly, Sara forced her stiff limbs to move. A blazing sun beat down upon her naked skin, and her ceremonial knife was clutched tightly in her fingers. She could feel a mix of blood and sweat as it trickled across her back, and her fresh wounds were stung with sand and grit picked up by the harsh desert winds. She had been sent here to die, she knew that with certainty. As she thought of the look in the eyes of the girl who had been as close to her as a sister, Sara felt the last remnants of her strength leave her, and she allowed her head to fall back to the sand.

The wind turned cold, and faintly Sara could taste salt in the air. The soft breeze seemed to curl around her, and the pain of her wounds seemed to lessen slightly.

“You must survive,” She heard a familiar voice echo in her mind, “All hope rests with you…”

“Sara!” firm hands shook her roughly. Her pounded wildly in her chest, and every inch of her skin shrank from the touch. A sob of fear wracked her frame as she scrambled free. The scars on her back stung like fresh wounds, and when she looked down at her hands, she could see fresh rope burns at her wrists. The most hurtful of all, though, in her minds eye she could still see the hateful glare of a blonde haired woman that she knew had once been her best friend. She knew only one thing, above all else, she had to survive, and she had to remain free.

“Sara?” A note of worry in the voice that called to Sara made her look up from her burning wrists, and the focus of reality slowly returned to her. Lyan knelt a few feet away from her, his dark eyes alight with concern.

“You had a nightmare,” he said simply as he rose. Slowly she nodded, but could not bring herself to rise and return to the fire.

Suddenly Lyan’s head whipped around and in a few strides he crossed the camp to where he had left his sword.

“Leave it,” four stocky, rough looking men entered the circle of light shed by the small fire. The leader, with long, dark hair tied back by a tattered bandanna, brandished a short, slightly rusted sword. Behind him the three remaining bandits trained short bows upon Lyan and Sara.

“We will have your coin, and anything else of value,” the bandit growled and stepped forward to force Lyan into submission.

Well, that’s it for another week. Remember, if you have any comments or suggestions, or even ideas for the upcoming adventures of Sara and Lyan, don’t hesitate to email me at priestess@netspace.net.au

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