Prologue

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Prologue

The rain came down harder. The dense trees no longer providing the cover they had at the start of the night. The darker it had become the colder it became. The huddled figure hidden amongst the roots of an ancient tree was indistinguishable from their surroundings.

                Aislinn tried to find coverage from the deluge with her already soaked cloak, but it was no use. As she made herself into a tighter ball against the tree roots the shivering increased so much her bones were starting to ache. She thought she would have been used to this by now. Tired, hungry and expecting no reprieve tonight all Aislinn wished for at that moment was a warm fire. She would even have been happy with the slimy pottage her mother had made that she would have turned her nose up at before…before that was a time that always hurt to remember.

                It was time to move. If she stayed where she was she might not make it till morning. Aislinn realised that to survive this storm she had to find shelter, and with the way she was feeling it was going to have to be soon. This storm was here to stay for the foreseeable future and in the Highlands of Scotland that did not bode well for Aislinn’s chances. In this weather she knew there would be no food until it passed…and that could be days.

                Stumbling to her bare feet, not that she could feel them at this point, she blindly tried to find her way through the rain to any sort of shelter. It wasn’t until it was too late that she realised that for all her wanderings in these woods as a child, she really had no idea where she was. That was when her foot hit the rock that gave way under her slight weight.

For a moment there was a sensation of weightlessness and then she was tumbling and turning, hitting branches and rocks sliding through the mud. As she finally came to a stop her head made a sickening thud against the boulder at a streams edge. The last thought she had before everything went dark was it was never meant to end this way

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