One With The Beast
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"Would I ever be free from the curse?" She asked with shaky breath. "Can I make peace with it?" She wanted to know. She didn't want to believe that nothing could be done. There had to be some way to free herself of the pain, the guilt and... The Beast. She was willing to do anything, even if it meant going after the gods themselves! ***** Carnage! Love! Bloodlust! To the gods, humans are just entertainment. They do as they please but someone dares to stand up to them. She brings upon herself a punishment that makes her life nothing but a game to the celetials. She's a rare beauty. A slave to the gods and bound by a curse. With no one to love, it seems all hope is lost... Or maybe not?
Alone in the deep dark forest, she sat behind a tree with her head bent forward and her hair shielded her face. Now that she was no longer running, she observed that the forest was giving off an eerie feel. Was it really the forest or was it just her?
Annalise had observed that she seemed to be the only living creature around. She couldn't hear the loud chirping of crickets that often invaded her thoughts. The fireflies were not there to create some light and even the night owl was nowhere around to keep her company. She couldn't pick up any trace of life with her heightened senses. Had the animals deserted her too?
She suddenly raised her head and listened to the darkness. Picking up the sound of numerous footsteps approaching, she hastily got to her feet and peered into the darkness. They were coming!
Not waiting to know how many had come to hunt her this time, she broke into a run.
Annalise had been running like this for days now and that is how she ended up deep in this forest. She wasn't just running to save herself. She wanted to get away from her pursuers to save their own lives because they might end up becoming more of her victims.
"Over there!" She heard one hunter scream. "Do not let it get away!"
Annalise knew that she couldn't outrun the hunters. They were catching up to her and she didn't want to imagine how that would turn out.
She looked down at her hands. She was already transforming. There was no need to try stopping it. She needed the beast if she was going to escape. She couldn't do it on her own.
Just when she decided to let out the restless monster in her that had been waiting to break free, she arrived at the cottage that only existed in folklore. It was the cottage of Meriba, the infamous witch.
Everything Annalise had been feeling suddenly evaporated and she could now feel goosebumps crawl up her skin. She was no longer trying to get away from those hunters because she could tell that they had retreated. No normal person in their right mind would come here.
Well, she was far from normal but she still dreaded this cottage and it's occupant. Every child of Dexteria had been told the story of Meriba and it was only ever told to instill fear.
Now Annalise found herself on the threshold of the witch, she wondered if this was also written by the cruel hands of fate. She had no home, no family and she had no one to call a friend. Would this evil witch also turn her away? There was only one way to find out.
Filling her lungs with air, she raised her hand, ready to announce her presence.
The laughter of the happy people in the banquet hall could be heard even from the palace gates. The room was crowded with the royal family, courtiers, noble men and women who were celebrating the Kingdom's victory in the recent war.
"And we make a toast" The King said in a loud voice as he rose to his feet and lifted his goblet. Everyone in the hall did the same with happy smiles on their faces. Of course, some were feigned and others malicious, but most were genuine.
"This toast is to my eldest son, Prince Phillip" The King continued. "It was he who led the brave soldiers of Dexteria to victory in the war and now, our Kingdom has no equal in all the southern region. We have taken down the only opposition in these parts and this was possible because of Prince Phillip's bravery!"
"Hear. Hear" the people chorused as they raised their cups of wine higher in the air.
King Baldwin nodded satisfactorily at the pe
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