Prologue

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Wind pulled at the woman's cloak as she hurried through the lands of Aessolyn, a baby close to her chest. She needed to get them to safety, had to ensure the future of their lands. They were all already doomed, the only thing she could do now was make sure that there were people who could eventually change this horrible world.

An arrow flew past. If she hadn't ducked, she would have been hit. She couldn't see much because of the dark night sky above, but yet she peered ahead, trying to see any shapes, anything that might tell her where she was. The woman could make out the dark lines of trees in the distance. A forest, maybe she could lose her pursuers there.

These men had been chasing her ever since she had fled from the safety of Mydward's castle walls, her capital – her home. It wouldn't be long until they'd breach the walls surrounding it. These men had no mercy and would kill anyone in their path. The person they were looking for was the king of this land, though. The Guardian of the element Spirit. Tears stung in her eyes as she thought of the loving face of her father. The thought that he would be dead soon...

More and more arrows followed. She shielded the child she carried from the attack. Luckily shooting for horseback was very difficult, otherwise she would have been dead already. The woman shot a look backwards, the men following her were closing in. These were Aether Zephyros his best men. He had send them after her on purpose and they were not going to give up.

Neither was she.

The sound of an arrow piercing through skin followed. The horse. Her heart dropped in her chest as the horse stumbled and fell, sending both woman and child tumbling to the ground. Another arrow followed moments after. It hit him right in the head. She could hear the poor animal breathe faintly as he tumbled down before he became completely silent. They hadn't aimed for her at all, they had aimed for her horse, of course they had. She rolled away from the horse, still trying to keep the new-born save. It wasn't a smart move. Her back hit something hard as she rolled down a hill. She broke the fall for the baby with her own body. Something crunched in her back and all air was sucked right out of her as stars blurred her vision.

She gasped for breath, but nothing came. Through her blurry vision she could see guards coming down the slope. She tried to get to her feet, but her knees wobbled like a baby deer walking for the first time. The child in her arms started crying. She tried to tell him to be quiet, but he wouldn't listen. The line of trees was so close, if only she could get there in time, she could hide from her pursuers.

One of the men notched an arrow onto his bow and aimed. Before they hadn't hit her because they hadn't aimed for her, but now they did and these men were probably the most skilled archers in the land.

She held the child with both arms. The little boy cried loudly, the woman made a hushing sound with her mouth. It was no good, he wouldn't stop, it was like he knew what would follow next, like he knew that their end was near. Her knees buckled as a sob escaped her mouth. Her father had appointed this task to her specifically, she had promised him she'd do this final thing for him. In the end she couldn't finish her task, couldn't keep her promise....

That's when a loud roar filled the air. She opened her eyes in fear as she saw a giant brown bear rip his claws through two of the soldiers. A big black shape appeared in front of her and took the arrow that flew towards her into his side – another bear.

Shapeshifters.

They were helping her, these were people who were on her family's side and they were saving her life. Another roar filled the hills. More animals appeared: wolves, lions, bears. They had all come to rescue her - help her family.

Claws and teeth tore through Aether Zeyphyros his men. They were skilled, but they were nothing compared to these powerful magical creatures that took the form of animals.

In the end all the men died, but her quest was far from over, but her horse was dead, how would she get to her destination? A bear appeared in front of her. She knew this animal was actually a person, but still her heart beat rapidly in her chest from the size of the beast.

He didn't attack her, though, he kneeled down, meaning for her to climb onto his back. She wouldn't need a horse, not when she could ride a bear.

Now she needed to bring all the Guardian Heirs to safety, even when safety meant going to another land, one unknown to all of them.

 


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