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Subject: I know this was supposed 2 finish things off, but I got bored. Will carry on later.

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Date Posted: 22:32:03 03/03/03 Mon

Faeirex's hair whipped sharply back behind her and the wind stung a chill on her cheeks. She scrabbled in a pack for arrows with one hand, whilst trying to listen to hoofbeats and work out how many men were chasing her. Fifteen, sixteen...nearly a score, by a rough count. She was all to aware of the limp that jarred Carenina's normally flowing stride, and realised with a twinge of fear that she could not keep up this pace for long. The horse would falter, and then they would be upon her.

Now was the moment, while she was out of their sight. She slowed her mount and slid off, slipping a full quiver over her shoulder and taking up the carved bow.
"Go," she whispered to the horse, "Make for-" she paused. Too late, it occurred to her that there was nobody she could trust except Aralias, and she didn't know where he was. Nobody else...
She sighed, time was running out and there was only one choice. “Make for Minas Tirith. Find the faery named Rhylin. He’ll care for you.”
Carenina flashed her understanding and vanished, gone in a mass of whirling white mane and tail. Faeirex glanced back towards where the shouts came from then around sharply looking for an escape. There was none where they would not catch her up in a matter of minutes. Her eyes lighted on a gnarled oak, thick with branches. She slung the bow over her shoulder and swung lightly up, crouched low on the branch and holding perfectly still. Not a twig quivered at the intrusion. Slowly, ever so slowly, her hand crept to the knife in her boot and drew it out. With luck they would carry on without even noticing she was there but if not, she would have to fight. She kept her eyes on the trees, berating herself for the lapse in attention that had allowed them to get so close.

They were almost past her when a man in the lead held up his hand and they drew to a halt. Her breathing became shallower in anticipation as he scanned the ground, then laughed dryly.
“Clever, very clever,” he gestured at the horse’s tracks. She stared them – they meant nothing to her. Her own feet had left no mark on the ground. “She paused here,” he continued, “and then the prints get lighter, and further apart. This horse started travelling faster.” He looked around. “She’s here somewhere. On foot. Find her.”
They spread out immediately, drawing swords and covering the ground. One passed underneath her and she couldn’t help wrinkling her nose in distaste when his sour smell reached her. Did mortal men never wash? This bunch truly was a foul example of their race.
Caught with little choice, she wavered. It would be so easy to extinguish them all at once and rid the world of their filth. She had sworn to have no more blood on her hands, but this was different. These would deserve the death they got. She began to reach down into her power for the spark of darkness that would at once both free and chain her…

And stopped. Recoiled, shaking from the wave of pure terror that had overtaken her as soon as she touched the source of her power. Confused, she tried again, only to meet with the same result. This time, she could not stop the involuntary gasp that forced itself from between her lips. It was only a small sound, but it carried and mingled with the rattling of the twigs of the tree that had picked up the tremors of her trembling body. The man below looked up, and met her eyes. He smiled.

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