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Chapter 1: Of New Family
‘Run, run far away ’thought a girl roughly about 14 summers old. Her mahogany hair that only fell an inch or two over her shoulders was trailing her fleeing form. Her emerald eyes were crazed with fright as she scanned the woods she ran through.
At her heels was a shaggy reddish-brown dog. Its pink tongue lolled as it ran swiftly through the forest with her.
The girl constantly peered behind her to see if anyone was following her; although it had been several days since she left the village.
She looked trashed. Her hunting breeches were torn and dirty. The rough tunic she wore had faded from black-brown to gray-brown. The undershirt seemed to be in good shape, despite her mangled appearance. Her black boots were scuffed and spattered with mud. Hooked over her left shoulder was a quiver, her bow safely attached. Lopped over her other shoulder was a boar-skin bag filled with knives, flint, stale loaves of bread, a few water skins and some scrap cloth to mend her clothes, though she was horrid at sewing.
Looking straight ahead of her, she saw a faint glimmering of light. Her swift pace slowed to a trot.
The duo came to a meadow. A lively brook ran through it. She leaned against a boulder that was near the stream and sat Indian-style on the cool pale green grass. She watched the sun dance and shimmer over its surface.
The dog had already taken a drink of water lay next to her she didn’t notice. She stared at the water absentmindedly then she began to scratch its ears. The dogs ears suddenly pricked up, but the girl didn’t notice. She just kept scratching his ears.
Suddenly an eerie whistling sounded. She ducked and pulled her legs up to chest. Then…
Abruptly, right where her leg had been moments before was an arrow sticking out of the earth.
“What the devil!” She yelped, scrambling to her feet. She had heard of people who preyed on the unsuspecting and what they had done to them. She was scared out of her wits.
“Why am I being shot at?” She demanded trying to sound brave; she peered with a hunters trained eye around her. With her well trained hearing she heard the dog scamper away. ‘Coward’ she thought with contempt. She silenced her thoughts and began to focus at the matter at hand. She tried to hear anything.
“Who are you”, boomed a disembodied voice. She spun around and stared into the forbidding forest.
The girl looked about her frightened.
“Tell me who you are or an arrow will be through your throat.” It threatened, the voice sounded male.
“I’m…Kay. Kaylen. Who are you?” Her eyes searched franticly about, all the while her mind thought about different ways to escape.
She spun around. A boy mayhap around her age strode out of the forest. He had flaming red hair and his brown eyes were menacing in the sunlight. He held a loaded bow. He wore a tan tunic with no undershirt; his beige breeches were a little worn. Red was threaded around the sleeves and collar. Tied around his left calf was a golden-brown and in the middle was a red swirl.
His face was adorned with black zigzag tattoo on the top and a red one in the bottom. His arms had black gloves; on his forearms were arrow armguards much like the kind that were so much like the ones around hers.
“Kaylen, hmmm…perhaps I’ll take you to Midnight. Yea that’s what I’ll do.” He said talking mostly to himself. Kaylen began to tremble, petrified ‘He wants a show of a terrified damsel he’ll get one’.
“Come, Kaylen” He commanded his voice rough and uncaring, how could he not at least ease up on her; that was her plan, get him to ease up on her then bolt, it had worked before. Now he was beginning to scare her, fear showed in her eyes. Kaylen took one step back then another, trembling at this fierce stranger. ‘Why is he not easing up on me? It should work. What is going on?’
“Well? Are you coming or do I have to make you?” He cocked an eyebrow.
“I-I…” she stammered, her eyes traveling around the area.
“I said come here! I’m taking you to Midnight to be judged! Now get over here!” he roared, Kaylen jumped back, truly frightened for once.
“Who is Midnight? Why should I go with you-” she was cut off of her rant by a shrill voice, the girl turned.
“Back off Arrow!” shouted a defiant female voice.
A girl with short black hair and green eyes ran through the field toward them. Her attire was brown leggings and a green tunic decorated with black and purple zigzags. Her feet were bare.
“Silver,” shouted Arrow, “What are you doing here? I’m handling this intruder.” His face went red with anger and irritation.
“No Arrow I won’t leave her alone. It’s obvious that she’s tried and scared, she’s half- dead on her feet God damn it! Come here girl! I’ll keep you away from this, boy.” Folding her arms over her chest she stood between Arrow and Kay, her lips set and eyes bold, as if challenging him to cross her.
Kay quickly scampered over to the girl, Silver. She knew a refuge when she saw one, better go to the female who has a heart than a heartless male.
“Come on I’ll take to our place.” she slung an arm around her shoulder and left Arrow back in the clearing. Together they trudged through the underbrush. Brambles stuck to their clothes most of the time and she often stumbled, more than usual that is. Silver was right she was suffering from fatigue.
They both soon reached a large bunch of oak and willow trees. Then they heard a crashing behind them they turned. There was a muddy sweat streaked Arrow.
“You left me!” he cried outraged.
“You made me mad and were scaring her.” She shrugged uncaringly, Kaylen smirked hiding under her unruly short hair.
“Well come on time for you to met Midnight” growled Arrow still pissed about the previous quarrel.
“Where is this place then?” murmured Kaylen so that he could hear her.
They both pointed up. She looked; there were only branches as far as she could see then she saw movement. After a few moments a rope came plummeting down toward them. While she was staring into the trees she hadn’t noticed had Arrow whistled for the rope.
Kay jumped backwards startled when she saw the rope fall towards her. When they motioned for her to grab the rope she did. Then Silver tugged on the rope twice.
Up she went, she expected to crash through the branches but the branches that must have been in the way had been cut away for a clear path to go up to. ‘But up to what was the question’ she thought.
In a few moments she learned the answer. Up ahead of her was a platform, leaning on a pole that held up the platform was a boy with shaggy golden brown hair his eyes were hazel but had far more green than brown. On his forehead was the same band that Silver and Arrow wore. He wore a brown shirt with a red swirling design on it. Black trousers with red was the along the side and black boots seemed to make him taller than he actually was. But what really caught her eye was the necklace he wore a necklace; ‘Fangs he wears a necklace of fangs.’ she thought in shock. Painted on his cheeks were red swirls.
“Hello!” He said in a rough voice “I’m Wolfsbane.” He held out a callused hand. Kay shakily took it. He hauled her up with surprising strength. He held her hand still as she tried to regain her balance. When she let go of his hand she stumbled and almost fell. A pair of strong arms caught her before utter disaster struck.
“Whoa! Careful there girlie you almost courted death there.” said a deep booming voice. She looked up to see smiling green eyes staring down at her. He carefully put her onto her feet, he laughed at her startled expression. It was a boy not much older than her but large with muscles like a blacksmith he had smiling green eyes and tousled red-brown hair. A dark green tunic accented his eyes and he wore black leggings, he gave her a wolfish grin. She noticed the same band that the others wore only this one was around his forehead, ‘probably to keep the hair out of his eyes’.
“I’m Lance.” He boomed politely holding out his large hand.
“Kay,” she answered putting a hand into his large one he shook it vigorously. Later Kay realized that Lance does everything with a kind of wild vigor that was very infectious.
“Come on Kay you have to meet Midnight to pass judgment on you.” growled Arrow in a rough voice. She hadn’t realized that Arrow and Silver had come up to the tree-homes. She jumped slightly at the sound causing her to nearly trip again and fall. Both Arrow and Lance grabbed her and hauled her to her feet this time. On Lances face was pure exasperation and on Arrows annoyance of the deepest kind.
“All right no more dilly-dallying,” muttered Arrow “let's get you to Midnight already.” With that he just pulled Kay to the cluster of trees that were connected by bridges and had wooden plank nailed into the sides to make ledges to land on if they chose to use the ropes instead of the trees.
‘But where do they sleep. If they sleep at all they seem to be like savages.’ They went thought a maze of bridges then they stopped at a large oak tree. Arrow lifted his fist, Kaylen flinched back half-expecting a beating. He then knocked on the bark of the tree (much to her relief). What she didn’t notice was that Lance and Silver had seen her reaction; they had decided to follow her to meet Midnight. The two exchanged uneasy expressions.
After Arrow knocked twice on the oak he let out a piercing whistle. Kaylen gasped right where a solid tree had been the wood had slid away to reveal a staircase winding down the inside of the tree. ‘They live in trees!’ she realized aghast. The small group walked down the staircase for a few minutes. Then they came to an opening where the base of the tree met the ground. There was a room in the canter was a hearth where a small fire was burning casting shadows over the chamber.
The flames danced in the bright gray eyes of a young man with black hair that came just to the nape of his neck. He had the wild look of a black wolf in the moonlight. His clothes were in good condition but were a little dirty from the sitting on the ground. Black pants and a dark green tunic tied of with the same band as the others around his left upper arm but his had a black circle around the swirl. ‘Wonder why his is different.’
“Hey Arrow, Silver how is the day going?” He asked politely his voice surprisingly soft for his appearance. Though he wasn’t as muscled as Lance or had Arrow height or Wolfsbane wiry builds. He cared a kind of... aura that demanded respect and showed a kind of natural born leadership.
“Silver, Arrow who’s your friend?” Midnight asked politely. Looking directly at Kay his dark eyes contemplated her form seizing her up.
“This is Kay we were hoping we could welcome her to the tribe” said Silver simply “don’t scare her neither.”
“Since when do I scare people?!” he demanded indignant.
“Since ever idiot.” She said mischievously.
“Arrow what do you think am I freighting?”
Arrow simply shrugged though he suppressed laughter his shoulders shook with the effort.
“What about you am I really all that strange and strikingly horrid.” He rounded on her.
Kay froze and looked down and mumbled something inaudible, for once in her life since she ran away she was truly frightened of this man…boy. ‘Why does he have such an effect on me?’
“See you scared her Midnight!” shouted Silver triumphantly.
“Fine then! I’m scary. Jezz!”He muttered rebelliously. Suddenly he was all business.
“So who are you again?”
“I’m Kay.” She murmured.
“Nice to meet you. I am Midnight; leader of the Runaway Clan, lord of the Children of the Forest, master of weaponry and hunting. I let children whom have runaway come here and begin a new life and better friends and family. I am the 3rd generation of Runaway Clan leader starting with our first leader Oak-Wood then came second Blue-Fire now I am here. I am Midnight.” He declared. Silver rolled her eyes at his arrogant speech; he smiled at her and pounded his chest as though to proclaim his dominance.
This time Silver stuck her tongue out at him. He grinned at her then looked to Arrow who was struggling to keep his composure. When Midnight glared at him Arrow succumbed to whoops of mirth. ‘So he does have a funny side.’ she thought looking over at Arrow. He didn’t notice.
“So what brings you down here Kay?” he said over the hysterical laughter coming from Arrow.
“I don’t wanna talk ‘bout it” she muttered her surprised demeanor changed to that of a secretive one. No one but a forgotten Lance had notice the flicker of pain that passed though her eyes.
“That’s okay you don’t have to We won’t pester you about such a thing.” he glared at Silver. “No one will bother you about the past.”
“I get it. Back off Midnight.”
“Now Kay you will need a new name. You can probably tell that these aren’t our true names. So what will your name be .It could refer to anything?” He waited for her answer.
She thought it over. ‘It had to do with nature’ she immediately came to that decision. ‘Thunder no not right, Windy maybe, no not well either. West nope. Wait what about Westwind.’ She thought about that for a moment but it wasn’t right either. ‘Dusk’ she thought ‘yes that was it Dusk.’
“My name is Dusk” she said finally.
“Good. Good. ”murmured Midnight. Midnight rubbed his hands together. “Alright we’ll have Silver look after you. No questions, Silver” he said warningly.
“Gods and Goddesses above you already told me!” she exclaimed annoyed
“Jus’ warning’ you, Gods can’t I give healthy advice to my friends.” He growled.
“Not if you’re gonna be a snob ‘bout it.” She retorted. “Come on Dusk I need to get you properly outfitted. These boys are crazy.” They walked out in silence.
“So your Silver right that’s your name.” said Dusk.
“Yeah and don’t be put off by my temper I just really hate Midnight when he gets all up in his leader ness. I‘m okay sort of but do not get on Rose’s bad side her thorns are at least a foot long at the shortest.”
“One of the other runaways that’s with us. Her and Cerulean. Cerulean is well interesting, she’s a little odd but you‘ll get used to It.” explained Silver.
“How many people is in this …tribe?”
“Counting you we now have eight,” she counted them off on her fingers “Me, you, Midnight, Rose, Lance, Wolfsbane, Arrow and Cerulean.”
“Not very big tribe of people.” muttered Dusk.
“True.” She agreed simply.
Dusk blinked when the light blazed in her eyes. Suddenly she saw a slight form coming towards them. It was a girl with dancing blue eyes and long braided red hair. She was almost as tall as Arrows shoulder.
“Ahh. Rose hello. Dusk this is Rose. Rose, Dusk.” Smiled Silver introducing them.
“Afternoon Dusk ar’ you a new recruit to the tribe?” asked Rose politely her voice had a bit of a city slum accent to it.
“Yeah are you new also?”
“Kind o’ bin ‘ere for ‘bout a good six months.” Answered Rose her voice still a little accented.
“I thought you were going to get the new kid outfitted.” drawled Arrow from behind them.
“I was jus’ introducing meslf to Dusk.” said Rose coolly but her blue eyes flashed dangerously.
“Well get on with it she has to learn the ropes right.” growled Arrow
“I will not ‘get on wiv it’ if anything I’ll go a lil’ slower.” Her voice rose.
“Don’t raise your voice.” Hissed Arrow “I don’t feel like fighting’ ”
“Then stop been’ an idiot and airhead.”
“I am not!” he cried indignant.
“Yes you are!”
“Shut up. Can’t we have a day without you two going at it?” Muttered Lance he had silently behind Arrow. He rapped the side of the smaller boys head with his fist. Arrow rubbed his noggin glaring daggers at Lance, but he took no notice.
“Rose, stop it.”
“He started it.” whined the red-head pouting prettily.
“I’m ending it. Now go check the snares we need more rabbit. Arrow go help Cerulean she’s mending clothes.”
The two people grumbled as they went off into separate directions. Dusk looked amazed at Lance feat.
“How did you do that?!” she asked surprised. Lance seemed to be an easy going guy.
“Lance is the strongest person in the tribe. He once beat off a young bear when it had slashed at Rose.” Looking at his muscles she believed it.
“Stop it Silver I don’t like bein’ talked ‘bout.” Growled Lance a blush creeping up on his tan lean face.
“He’s also extremely modest.” She said obviously having fun.
“Just take Dusk to get fitted already.” Muttered Lance. He went from a commanding intimidating young man to a shy 6-year old.
“Fine, seems like everyone wants to get rid of me.” She said half-laughing. With that she grabbed Dusk’s wrist and they went over a few bridges. Soon they reach another tree.
Pushing on the bark the tree revealed its secret, a small room that was a warriors dream; daggers, axes, spears, arrows, bows, quivers galore. In small niches were tools for repairing weapons.
“Pick two daggers any length, a bow and a quiver of arrows. You may also take a spear if you know how to use one.”
Carefully she took out two black handled daggers each as long as her hand after came the perfect bow, cherry wood with a black quiver that could hold a large amount of arrows in it. Once finished Silver handed her a long band with the Runaway Clan symbol on it.
“Welcome to the Runaway Clan, Dusk.”
Smiling Dusk tied the band around her wrist like a wristband the symbol showed right on the top of her hand. She was now a Runaway.
Park City, Utah
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