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that I had to keep moving. It was still dark out,and Lilith was still sleeping,perched on the stone beside
my feet. Without my owl,I’d be completely alone. She found me 12 years ago,on my 11th birthday. Or
rather,I found her. She fractured her left wing and was hidden so well in the tall grass of the meadows
that I would have nearly crushed her if i hadn't heard her cries of pain. I am by no means a Healer, but
I helped her heal. And in many ways,she did the same for me. Reaching the in depths of the never-ending
black hole of a bag,I retrieve an apple for me, and the papaya I will attempt to feed Lilith. She prefers to
hunt. There’s light rainfall out,and judging by the clouds it will only get worse. Before I leave,I pull out the
letter my mother wrote me shortly before her disappearance. I read it just about everyday.
“To my beautiful daughter, Lyra Stone. Life has been so beautiful since you got here, And I despite that I have to go. After the Dark War,and after the loss of your father, my goal was to get you arrived safely,and have you blossom in safe hands. Unfortunately, I was not safe as I had hoped. Our kind was being hunted. For your safety, I brought you to the temple I spent most of my life in,under the close keeping of my dear friend Hakau. I believe you will grow to be a beautiful,strong woman,and I believe you will be a wise woman,as well. Know that this is not a safe world, not many are to be trusted. I am always,always with you,just look to your heart, that’s where your Father and I, will always be.”
Hakau Autura raised me since i was 3,and he taught me well. Taught me to fish,hunt,and tend
the garden. He taught me to fight,Love,and meditate. When I was 10, Hakau grew sick,rapidly.
He left me just two years later. When Hakau died, I fled the nest. I was no longer safe. I was
never safe, I suppose. But staying stagnant was not appealing. All I’ve seen outside the temple
was mundane and destruction. There just had to be something else. So far, I was wrong. Lilith
has been the only fortune I’ve found. Now it was more of a survival battle than beauty adventure.
It’s like the Dark War became the Dark Age. Nothing but Fear all around,searching for security
instead of purpose. There was no point in going back, so all there’s left to do is move forward.
I often wonder if my mother was still alive out there,somewhere. Sometimes I feel like it’s what
this adventure is about,although thats ludicrous, because I don’t even know what she looks like.
Another raven caws and I’m slightly startled,but back from my drifting. “ Lilith, time to get up.”
She snores,what kind of bird snores,anyway?! “Lilith. Lil. C’mon Lil, don’t make me shout!” Still,
nothing. “LILITH YOU DAMN ROCK! ITS TIME TO GO!” Her eyes pop open and almost seem like
they are going to bulge out, she frantically flies around our small shelter a few times ,leaves fleeting
from the branches forming our shelter as her wings thrash amongst them, and then flops on the
ground by my feet. “You silly bird, we’ve got to hit the road, it’s nearly sunrise and we dare not be
seen in such light when we are so close to the Evelyn border! You know damn well they are armed
there,and they kill for the fun of it,ya know!” A “hooo” was all I got. It was good enough. A “cooo”
is what I got when I attempted to give her the papaya. I eat the papaya and limb by limb, I tore
down the shelter while Lil used half an empty coconut shell to spread sand over our trails, in high
hopes we leave no evidence of our presence. We took high caution every step of the way, with no
real plan of where we were going or what we were doing. We had each other,and together we cont-
inued our sweet journey of nothing-ness towards the unknown, planning for the unpromising days
ahead of us. Black ash covered most of the ground and the brittle trees that surround us. Dry river
beds weave left to right, leaving patterns still in the ground from where the water once danced around.
The rain ceased, and the winds picked up. “You ever wonder how much Life used to roam the Earth
before the Dark War? I mean,I’m sure it wasn't nearly so empty! With all this room…..” Lilith was grace-
fully soaring right beside me,occasionally tilting her head,in reassurance that she was listening. “Now,
we’re all either trying to kill one another,or hiding from one another because we are afraid to be killed!
It’s ridiculous,but I’m part of the whole show, so who am I to say? Right,Lil?” A lot of the time, I find
myself wishing that I had a human being to talk with. Then a simple hoo and a nod of the head is all I
needed to change my mind. Lilith was loyal to me,I was lucky. Suddenly a blue patch in the midst of
the dying desert caught my eye, and a thrill of excitement followed. “Check it out Lil! Water!” I skipped,
sprinted,ran,dove,and landed straight into the fresh,cold,and clear body of water,laughing with delight.
Lilith splashed around,bathing herself as I filled up our jug with water. I sat for a moment, trying to catch
my reflection. I remember as a young child, I seen my reflection in a mirror, and the image comes to mind
often and I wonder what I would look like now. In the ripples i see a much older face, longer somehow, and
long, dark hair that I keep in a bun most of the time. I set it free,and it danced in the wind. I try to focus on
my eyes, I know they are green, but I want to see for myself, in case they've changed over the years. I lean
forward,nose almost touching the water. Holding my breath as if it would help my balance, I struggle to see
beyond the constant ripples. Getting even closer, the water seems to finally settle and then the next moment
my face is submerged underwater and quickly in the mud. Surfacing and catching my breath, I scold Lilith for
dumping me in. It isn’t the first time, I suppose always take too long to bathe. I scoop a bundle of water and
throw it onto Lilith,who flies around flapping her wings in annoyance. I laugh, and step out to dry. I gather my
clothing and just as I reach for my bag, a fierce pain strikes my left shoulder. I’ve been shot with an arrow.
Dizzy, I grab my belongings and run, seeing in tunnel vision until I reach a boulder big enough to shelter us both.
Searching for the enemies, I quickly see three flaming arrows dispersing from the Evelyn wall flying our direction!
We were still in target. Barely able to move, I clench my left fist as my right one clenches the arrow sticking out of
my left forearm. With a scream as quiet as screams get, I rip out the arrow, and watch a few droplets of blood hit
my feet as they take off running, before I even remember telling them to do so. All I see is smoke, an empty field,
and absolutely no where to hide. Getting dizzier my eyesight starts to blur, and I focus on Lilith as a reference point.
My footsteps were thumping louder and louder it seemed, and I grew further and further away from Lilith, and as my
body hits the ground, another arrow strikes me in the leg and the blue sky is all I seen before I drifted away.
Lying on my back I attempt to turn over, just to realize that I cannot move. Shocked and recollecting the recent events,
my eyes bulge open and I am surprised to see that my surroundings are familiar trees,creating shade over myself and
the stream on my side. I am outside,not in a hospital,recovery tent,or a jail cell. Someone must have found me,someone
who was willing to spare me. Why? Who? I looked around,and I seemed to be alone. And unable to move. Suddenly I am
the very opposite of the mood I was in two minutes prior to this realization, and I attempt to kick and scream,but with my
body acting as a vegetable this scenery is most likely very amusing. I am wondering why somebody would help me heal
if they wanted to hurt me. Then again, I am immobile. And it might not be for a good cause. I cannot tell if i’m being held
captive,under treatment,or a twisted version of the two. It’s a strange feeling,not being able to move but yet feeling every
bit of it. My head hurt,like a migraine staring at the sun. A piercing pain that i could not comfort. I wish I could have some
answers. Wether or not i should escape,or if I was safe.
I must have drifted off to sleep again,cause this time I open my eyes and the sun is well past asleep,and the moon shines
overhead,bright enough to reveal my surroundings. This time,a small fire has been ignited nearby my feet. Although the
warmth is comforting, the unknown is so uncomfortable that I start to worry. Who is keeping me captive? I hear a shuffle
in the woods to my left,and looking to the left I’m thankful that my eye movement is still in tact. Rustling out of the bushes
is unexpectedly a tiny girl,probably not much taller than 4 feet,with bright blonde curls cascading over her tiny hips, a bow
in hand and a satchel of arrows strung over her tiny shoulders, big blue eyes and a gigantic, bright white smile. Dropping all
of the dish ware she held in her tiny hands she shrieked at me as if i was a long lost friend. “Finally you wake! It isn’t healthy
to have so much sleep darling, but far better than not enough! Now, it'll be just before sundown that you’ll be able to move
again, and if your hungry,I have no problem-“ I couldn't take anymore of her high pitched nonsense without any answers.
“WHO ARE YOU? Where am I? And just what in the hell did you do to me?!“ Looking just a bit alarmed, her lips trembled
as the words fell out on their own. “My name is Aurora, You are nestled in the forest about 200 feet from where you got shot,
and i gave you a mixture of herbs,flowers,roots,and river water that will temporarily paralyze you,but permanently heal your
wounds, and contour the effects they would have pursued on your body. I am here to help. Your bird is injured,but I’ve healed
him with a similar batch that should have him soaring in no time. He is in that nook by the springs.” Hearing her sincerity in her
voice assured me,yet I was still weary. “If you wish to part ways after your feeling better, be careful and mindful if you head East.
Many soldiers are aimlessly assassinating for the hell of it. If you wish to carry on your travels with me, that door is wide open,
and you and your bird should stay safe with me.” She would keep me safe? She's merely a child! 7,maybe 8? Her words sound
much older than she and her walk much more graceful than that of a child. She may be young, but she seems wise. Hopefully
not wise enough to manipulate me,because my decision is to travel with. I’ve been alone for far too long,and on a journey with no destination in mind, I cant really take a wrong turn. “Thank you.” A thank you was all I could say, I need not agree to travel along until I know I am for sure.