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SETTING: Labyrinth Valley

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Feb. 22nd, 2006 | 11:40 pm
posted by: t_storyteller in its_onlyforever

QUEST 1: Hatched
CHAPTER 1: Mark of the Beast

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The short trip she'd taken in order to escape the city went without great incident. With the hood of her cloak pulled over her head she turned only the occasional eye with no questions asked. The city had certainly become the exact opposite of what she'd seen upon her first arrival for the streets were now robust with ceaseless activity. It would take time to get used to feeling this sword on the side of her hip, Sarah thought while the massive south gate of the city wall entered her eyesight with its guards posted on either side of the towering wooden doors. When she approached the massive rings that adorned the entryway, two short armored soldiers stepped in front of her and crossed their spears at the tips in front of her.

"Halt!" One commanded, with the other chiming in shortly thereafter with, "None may pass here!" Sarah's eyes strolled from one metal helmet to the other, widened with confusion. "What?" She asked, feeling concern tingle in her spine as she tried to keep her face hidden. "You mean to tell me none can leave the city?"

"That is correct!" One of the small guards chimed. "By the order of the king we are to remain posted here to ensure the safety of Goblin City! There are invaders roaming around, you know!" The other guard stood up a little straighter as pride swelled in his small, armor covered head. This seemed to serve confusion on a bigger plate to Sarah. She crossed her arms in front of her belly to keep her cloak wrapped around her. "Um, not to deny you.. great gentlemen your duty of.. guarding this gate," she stated, trying to imitate a bit more of a deeper tone in her voice in effort to accent her disguise, "but wouldn't it be better to be outside the gate in case the invaders come?"

The guards paused for half a second before they turned to look at each other, armor clattering with each quick movement either of them made. After that brief glace, the pair returned their hidden eyes upon Sarah and straightened up their little bodies again. "Perhaps you are correct!" One of them answered. "Yes, certainly the invaders would be more likely to come from outside the city!" Came the agreement of the other whom soon turned around to begin directing the lesser-ranking guards. "A grand plan! We will meet them.. outside! You must be a great strategist! We thank you for your advice!" Came the gratitude of the first before he, too, joined the second in directing the others outside. Sarah took advantage of the open gate and slipped herself outside the wall. She expected a large garbage yard outside, just as it'd been when she arrived a year ago, but now what she saw was a brilliantly green hedge maze that'd been blanketed by the warm sun she had still not come used to this close to the city. Without hesitation she quickly slinked into the walls of the hedges.

The maze wasn't that long and, upon exiting the other side, Sarah's eyes were greeted with a sight that stole her breath clean from her lungs. The labyrinth was monsterous in size compared to what she remembered. To her east she saw its winding walls proceed into a mountain range. To the south, directly in front of her, the trees began to grow so thick she couldn't see where the labyrinth continued onto. To the west seemed to be a sun baked desert though she couldn't tell from where she stood and there was no way to know what was north of the city. Not from where she was. The trail that carried out from underneath her feet declined effortlessly into an enormous hill laden valley that, she estimated, was once the garbage yard she had expected. At the very bottom of the valley she was able to see what appeared to be an intersection where the trail split into eight different routes. There was something else there, too, but she couldn't make it out from where she stood, so it was down to it she decided to walk.

It took the better portion of a half hour to get as far as the intersection given the sheer size of the valley. As she neared the unknown object she was able to make out the shape of a thick post on which sat eight arrows pointing in eight different directions, one underneath the next, with no words written to help her know what went where. Across the trail in the valley, not too far from where she stood, she could see a saddle ready black horse grazing idly on the rich, emerald green grass.

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from: nopowerover_me
date: Feb. 23rd, 2006 10:35 am (UTC)
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Sarah squinted against the sunlight as she observed the animal on the other side of the path from where she stood. With her curious attention fixed on the stallion, the worn trails were neglected. Licking her lips with anticipation, she couldn't help but feel like she was in Lilly's shoes, recalling the character from her second favorite story "Legend"; the chapter in which the heroine is confronted by the unicorns. Sarah felt herself being drawn toward it like Eve was to the forbidden fruit, enticed by such an extraordinary creature. She also found memory of how greatly the distance of the maze had seemed and how much her feet were going to despise her by the end.

If she even makes it to the end, that is.

But what are the chances, she thought idly to herself. No living thing in their right mind would leave such a beautiful horse behind! A sigh of disappointment whispered from between her lips while she inspected the immediate area with her eyes. The standing fact that the equine was saddled was enough to inform Sarah that it could very possibly be owned, yet no signs of its master were anywhere present. The only thing she could see, upon a broader inventory of her surroundings, were mountains, grass, and, of course, the horse. There were no other presences as far as she could tell besides herself.

"Or maybe it just doesn't want to be seen yet," she muttered with bitterness. She wasn't afraid, she knew that much. Even with a beast as horrid as the one described to her earlier she couldn't let herself feel so intimidated by a mere maybe-owned-horse. Hesitant, slow steps were made toward the black stallion, trying her mightest not to bring the animal's attention her way. The plan was to fail as quickly as it began when the loud snap of an idly lying branch cracked underneath her shoe, bringing the horse's attention her way with a loud, disapproving snort.

"Damn," she breathed. After moments of staring, the horse continued back to it's grazing but she knew it was going to remain on stronger guard now that it was aware of her presence. Maybe she could find some way to lure it ...

Looking around quickly, her eyes fixed upon a flower resembling a dandelion. She reached a hand to it and plucked it quickly from its base.

"Hey ..... you," she whistled lovingly, stretching her arm in offering of the flower to horse.

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from: t_storyteller
date: Mar. 3rd, 2006 07:29 pm (UTC)
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"You?" Came a question mere seconds before the stallion raised its head and turned its gaze from around a broad shoulder to the girl that was approaching him. It was hard for Sarah to determine, at first, from whom the voice came. After a brief moment, however, the horse turned to face and approach her, its hooves clicking against the path on which Sarah stood. Then it began to speak.

"I have a name, you know," it continues, its voice almost unrealistically deep from how low in its throat its larynx can sit. Sure enough, around the stallion's neck, swings a necklace chain of sorts on wich resistes a golden plate that reads 'Ares'. His presence is neither friendly nor scolding. Sarah may even describe it as welcomingly professional. "I will be your transport from this point, miss," Ares invites. "Simply choose which location, on those signs," she motions with his head to the arrows, "you'd like to go, and I shall take you."

Finally Sarah was able to see the words that'd been etched into the arrow signs but they were written in a language unfamiliar to her eyes that proved to be of no assistance whatsoever.

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