Episode 2 – The Archer and the Viking
Disclaimer: Since it is purely fanfiction, I do not own any of the characters (Disney, Dreamworks, Guardians of Childhood book series by William Joyce, Fairytales, Arrietty, and other characters from other stuff to come) nor the whole concept of Once Upon a Time.
Episode 2 (Part 1)
An 18 year old Merida was running through the forest, bow drawn and red curly hair bouncing about at her every move. She was cautious, checking her surroundings as if invaders were going to attack on all sides. Though, ironically, it wasn't invaders at all that she was weary of, but her own people and someone dark and untrustworthy that had lived far too long within the forest, as she strained an ear to listen lest she was being pursued by either. Not a sound but her rapid heartbeat, footsteps, and the brush of dress fabric against bush, bramble, root, and low branch. To further the irony it was a supposed 'invader' she was looking for; his foreign armor and the unusual way in which he always carried himself as if he never should've been anywhere near her presence in the first place. He was smart, he would've known what it could all mean now, but half-dumb enough to risk the visit anyway. She'd only turned her back for a minute...half an hour? That idiot. She swore and muttered. Where could he have gone? He said he would be here...I can't believe I trusted...And more wearily, please let him be safe. Please let him be safe.
She heard a loud flapping in the distance and the wind changed as a shadow moved swiftly overhead. She looked up too late to catch a glimpse of it, but saw only sky beginning to darken, and continued her run.
She didn't have time to look back, didn't have time to check, though she half worried she'd be leading them to him. She had to get to him first. She knew the woods well enough, although wished she'd had the sense to go find Angus first, but the stables were too far off and the men had already started the hunt. Stupid! She'd been harangued by the queen about speaking up during an important clan meeting between the Lords, attempting to sabotage their battle strategies, and intentionally causing a dispute among the sons of the Lords. Really, Merida, what has gotten into you? Rebelliousness is one thing, but going against our own in a time of crisis? I expected you'd know better. I thought you would understand by now the delicate balance of the clans—
You don't understand! I've been trying to tell you—none of you would listen! We shouldn't have to fight them! They're not invaders! It's not fair—
A horn, loud and heavy in her ears, had sounded, just as a ruckus came and she was sure someone had said "Over there!"
And then started her run through the woods.
It was halfway across the clearing where the wisps had first led her that she had heard the voice 'My, my, quite the pickle you two are in.' It had sounded rich, in such a way that it reveled in her present fear, and seemed to make the atmosphere grim and dark. She had been too stunned to scream, but had the sense enough to utter before stumbling away—far, far away—when met with a man whose face was pale as death.
"We don't need your help!" she'd called in an attempt to shoo him away.
"I know where he is. What's the harm in a little...direction?"
Obviously she'd known who the stranger was and had stopped in her tracks to listen.
Now, she dismissed both memories, resolving to tell the person she was looking for as soon as she sees him what the grim man had told her on her way. It was all as well as to warn him. Just as she was expecting more and more trees in her run, she finally ran into someone else who, she hadn't noticed at first, had just gotten off the back of a big, black, dragon. She fell off balance but scrambled up, hand pulling back with an arrow at the ready.
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