Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read. Enjoy!
Heavy hooves sounded behind me, as I raced through the fog and brambles. Pain seared my muscles, my body tired from running. But I couldn’t stop. With a quick glance over my shoulder, I watched an elongated snout pierce the haze, red eyes glowed. Bony fingers reached for my cloak, but I pushed myself to go faster, dodging between two trees.
Inhuman, that’s what they were. And they were after me. Gasping for air, I hefted myself over the gate. Once on the ground again, I checked my purse to make sure the scroll was still there.
“Stay off the main road, Simone.” Mother had told me. “You must make sure the king get’s this.” She’d given me the scroll, then sent me out into the foggy woodland.
For over two weeks, our village had been surrounded by the fogs and what dwelled within. Each night they searched for something, killing villagers like pigs sent to slaughter. Father managed to keep me and my younger brother, Devlin hidden. But we were running out of supplies, and the stench of death overwhelmed Moonridge Hollow.
Every night was like the last. Piercing screams, fires, death—always death.
Leaves crackled beneath my footsteps, as I burst through the forest. I stared at the empty, wooden docks. There was no where to hide here. No trees to camouflage me, no bushes to crawl into. Just me and them.
Boards creaked beneath my feet as I raced for the river. Something jerked my cloak, tugging me to the ground. In an instant, I unsheathed my sword, ready to fight.
“Stay down,” a low voice, whispered in my ear.
I turned to see a pair of golden eyes staring back at me. The man covered me with his cloak, pressing me face first into the wooden planks of the dock. Icy air swept past, and I felt my skin prickle.
Shrieks filled the night, then all went quiet. We remained still for several moments, until at last the man stood and reached down to help me up.
“Thank you,” I said, my hand clenched around my sword. “They’ve been pursuing me for days.”
The man smiled. “And why pray tell are you traveling in the fog? Do you not know the dangers?”
I lowered my weapon, belting it back to my side. “I’m on my way to Goodblin to deliver a scroll to the king. Our village has been attacked.”
“Where do you hail from?” He frowned, jerking his hood down to reveal shoulder length dark hair, and chiseled features.
“What is your name?”
“Simone Light Walker. Daughter of Mayor Light Walker,” I said.
A look of surprise flashed in his eyes. “I am Darrog.”
Darrog? Why did that name sound familiar?
“Good to meet you,” I said. “Well, I must be on my way. It is only a matter of time before the fog returns.”
“If you’ve no objections, I’d like to see you safely to Goodblin.” Darrog offered. His hand brushed mine as he reached to wipe debris from my cloak.
Chewing my bottom lip, I agreed. Two swords were better than one, and I had no idea what else I might face along the way.
By daylight, we managed to cross the river and reach the outskirts of Goodblin. It was strange, but the fog had dissipated. As if Darrog’s arrival had frightened it off.
The cobbled streets were empty, a heavy coating of dust layered the clay buildings and market stands. My blood hummed a warning in my ears, as my gaze shifted nervously. Where was everyone?
Darrog grabbed my hand, pulling me close as we stepped toward the large stone gates of Goodblin. Heat radiated from the rocks, like invisible flames trying to lick my skin.
But where his body touched mine, I only felt coolness.
As soon as we neared the door, the gates groaned open. “Welcome home, your highness,” one of the cloaked guards said, bowing to Darrog.
I gasped, and turned to stare at my rescuer. “Darrog?”
“Prince Darrog.” He grinned, keeping a tight grip on me.
It was then I noticed the twelve symbols etched in the stones beneath my feet. The twelve destructions. Each representing one of the twelve sons of the God of Destruction, himself.
“You—you’re one of his sons…” I took a step back, but Darrog drew me closer.
“I’m Darrog, Prince of Death. And I’ve been searching for you, Simone.”
I swallowed hard, legs trembling. “For me?”
“You’re to be my mate. It was written long ago. Your parents knew of this, but refused to hand you over.”
“Then it was you destroying my village?” I screeched.
He seemed taken aback. “I was only trying to claim what was rightfully mine. You.”
My heart thudded against my ribs as I remembered the scroll in my purse. With my free hand, I withdrew it. “Mother said I was to give this to the king. I assume she meant your father.”
Darrog smiled and gestured for me to follow him. Our footfalls echoed on the blackened stones. The whole palace looked as if it’d been set on fire, then frozen. Bones dangled from the turrets, while benches made of skeletons and skin adorned either side of the walkway.
My stomach churned as we stepped over the threshold into the castle. Torches glowed along the walls, illuminating gruesome paintings of war, famine, and destruction. At last, we came to a large throne room, where a man garbed in a long black cloak sat on a dais.
“Father, I have returned,” Darrog said. “And I’ve brought Simone Light Walker.”
“Then you’ve chosen to spare her life?” a loud voice echoed in the cavernous room.
“She is the one I sought. If her family has agreed to our union, than I shall call death home and not unleash it upon Moonridge Hollow again.”
“You have my blessing, son.”
“Let us see this scroll.” Darrog glanced at me, his golden eyes glowing eerily.
With shaking hands, I produced it for him. He was beautiful and frightening. Even if my parents disagreed, I knew I’d be his. If only to save my people.
He peeled back the wax seal and smiled. “Her parents have given their blessing.” Darrog dropped the scroll to the floor, then clutched me close to him. “At last, you shall be mine. No more waiting, or hunting to find you.”
He bent down, his lips brushed mine and I saw everything as it was. It was not fog that surrounded me on my journey, but a cloud of bones and dust. The welcoming trumpets of the Prince of Death, guiding his bride home.
Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment. This will be our last Muse until after the holidays! But make sure you check back after the first of the year for more YAFF MUSE!