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Ensorcelled Jaunt

Push harder, her mind roared as her powerful limbs sprinted forward. Step by step, she was desperate to use her ability to go faster, to prove she was a warrior, like the rest of the Horde. Harder! she encouraged herself as she leapt over a fallen log, ducked under a low lying branch, and slid down a ditch into the small brook. The burning in her legs was a reminder––it was after her. She could hear the panting, its claws digging into the wet mud, and her own splashing as she ran through the spring. Her vision was disoriented from the caapi root tea she'd been given, which forced her to use her other senses to navigate the forest. Around her neck, she wore a black tourmaline pendant nestled inside an ancient symbol with which she was not familiar. It served as a ward to block the use of elemental abilities to the person who wore it, but Kaylin Wilde thought it was a miserable nuisance. Her long hair had been purposely cut to match the other Horde members. Shaved on the sides, all that was left of her raven tresses was a single, long braid, which bounced against her back. A few more feet. The air was chilled, and a fine mist had coated the surface of every plant, rock, and tree, making this jaunt even more dangerous. One mistake could be disastrous. The crisp air intermingled with the scent of pine trees, moist soil, and the strong, distinctively repulsive odor of the beasts chasing her. She needed a way to outrun them, but without her ability, she needed her wits more than ever. In the distance, the glistening water bounced off her salvation, and she knew what she had to do. Kaylin saw the long branch hanging over the small brook and realized she only had one shot or she would be done for. Moving to the edge of the water as her toes dug into the wet muck, Kaylin took two long strides and leapt onto a large boulder. With the force of the landing, she bent her knees and then catapulted herself toward the branch before her. Kaylin's calloused palms connected with the rugged bark, and her fingers tightened around the limb. She lifted her legs just as she heard the loud snap of jaws clamping, ruthless growling, and her own labored breathing. Her forearms held her weight, and with one steady motion, she curled her legs over the branch, pulling her body up into a sitting position. Two large wolves snapped their jaws, attempting to reach for her dangled legs, and with a dazed look and cunning smirk, Kaylin yelled down to her vicious pursuers.

"You almost had me, you mangy mutts!"

Kaylin pulled herself into a standing position, and then she walked out on the branch. As she stepped along, she muttered, "Blasted, filthy mongrels, the lot of you!" Kaylin's eyes crossed momentarily when her foot slipped and her crotch connected with the hard bark. A loud groan escaped Kaylin's mouth, along with a string of profanities, as the pain raced to all of her nerve endings. For a moment, Kaylin paused as she rubbed her eyes, took steady breaths, and stood on the branch once more. The pain had yet to dull away, but she had to finish the jaunt. With complete concentration, she took slow, gradual steps along the bark and found herself moving away from the ravine and over the ground. The soil and rock falling into creeks edge resonated in her ears when the beasts' clawed against the steep ravine. The panting and snarls of her pursers intensified when Kaylin lowered herself down to the ground; she was safe--for now. Still, she could hear the wolves growling below, and she bolted up and started to run into the forest. Her goal was to head north, where the Legionnaire and the rest of the First Five waited. After spending most of her youth training, this would mark her a full member of the Horde. She would finally be able to go on a mission with the rest the men. Kaylin surveyed her surroundings. Walking to the trunk of the tall tree, she looked down to the exposed roots and noticed thick, green moss completely covered one side. North. Her vision clouded, an array of colors surrounded the blur, and she knew she didn't have much time before the hallucinations began. She had to run, and fast!

Kaylin ran along the edge of the ravine, dodging fallen trees, knotted roots, and low branches. She panted, sweat coated her pale skin, and chills overtook her. It was another sign of the limited time she had, and she needed to reach the end or she could very well fall into a mind-bending nightmare. Kaylin's eyes flickered to her right and noticed the wolves were following along right next to her. Keenly aware she didn't have much time before the rim was low enough for them to try to attack her again, she backtracked, and the wolves turned around, pursuing her once more. In her periphery, she noticed a haze of white and felt the urge to chase after it. Against her better judgment, Kaylin left the safety of the stream's boundary and went deep into the forest. In the distance, she could hear the wolves growling, but the darkness started to shroud the forest perimeter and cold seeped into her bones. The Great Star had done little to warm the area, but the mist waited for her. Her eyebrows pinched; she knew this could be another obstacle from the Legionnaire, but her gut insisted she follow the peculiar occurrence. Her vision began to cloud along the edges once more, but she stepped toward the direction of the marvel and it floated forward. Kaylin knew she needed to finish the jaunt, but her urge to shadow the mysterious fog overrode all sense or reason. Kaylin walked deep into a part of the forest she didn't recognize, which she believed had to be her disorientation from the caapi root tea, because she knew the forest better than any Horde warrior. Gnarled, willowy trees, with long, white strands of leaves much like fallen hair hid a meadow with large, pillar-like stones. Kaylin stepped in the circle and counted twelve in total, but the most peculiar was the perfectly-formed ring with strange symbols. The meadow was bright with light—strange, for the Great Star was nowhere in sight, yet the glow was breathtaking. Kaylin crouched down, her fingers sliding over blades of grass, and a fine glittering dust drifted into the air.

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