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He raced through the woods, trying to think about a course of action that was more about action than running. He wasn't the greatest runner in the world, always coming last in every race he ever attempted. He was sure to be captured.

He could hear them, The captain of the guard was shouting orders at the foot soldiers and they were close. Too close for comfort. They were crunching through the autumn carpet of oak leaves, obvious in their desperation. He had stolen one of the most valuable treasures of the Dark Lord. He'd be executed if they caught up with him. Maybe even killed where he stood.

He had the golden amulet. He actually clutched it firmly in his fist, the cold metal biting into his palm. He had it. They wanted it back.

It was that simple, and that blunt. If he could stop running…  An arrow whizzed past his head, startling him out of the strange numbness of exhausted panic, and caused him to stumble.

He tripped, falling, slipping, rolling down a steep hill, to rest for a few seconds at the bottom. Now he was covered in mud, he thought glumly, gingerly getting to his feet. Covered in bruises too by the feels of it. 

Looking around he realised the woods were less familiar now. Darker, more sinister, and even less protected than before. The trees were sparser here, and some looked burned. Some looked sick and some were definitely dead. There were no birds or any other creatures in the trees. The wind whistled close by, picking up a few leaves and playfully dancing them up and away. It was like the wind was a living thing, and as it played with the leaves, it toyed with his senses.

They would come, as they had to. The amulet was too valuable to lose. He opened his fist slowly as if the pendant was alive and likely to fly away, but he wanted to see it clearly. In his haste, he had snatched it out of the room, without too much thought. He knew by legend what it looked like, and the fact that it was so important to the Dark Lord made it even more valuable to the resistance. 

It glimmered in the weak moonlight. It was said to be a colourful, vibrant stone, but it was muted and cloudy here in the gloom. His eyes must be playing tricks with him, as he noticed colours begin to swirl and dance slowly at first and then faster.

"What the?" He murmured. 

"Henry? Henry Blackwood?" A silvery, female voice came from somewhere. He glanced up and around him. That was his name, but he doubted anyone here knew it.

"Not out there, stupid. Here." The amulet was speaking to him. He almost dropped it.

"Henry Blackwood. You need to keep running. They are coming for me. Keep me safe, Henry."

He closed his fist around the now warm amulet and decided it was right, he did need to keep running. He marvelled at such a pretty voice trapped in the stone. But where to now, and how far did he have to go to get away?

"Run towards the Silver Cliffs, near the sea," the amulet whispered. "I know where to go."

Obediently he picked himself up from where he had sunk into a seated position. There was an old path, still slightly visible through the rocks. "Yes, this is the path, quickly now. Quickly."

He couldn't hear the soldiers any more, but that didn't mean much. They would still be looking for him and in the morning his tracks would be clear enough. The Silver Cliffs were more than a couple of days away, and he needed to keep moving. He needed a head start on the army before they brought in the horses, 

"Don't let them get me again, Henry. I don't like them. I want to go back home." The pendant was talking again. It sounded like a child, petulant and pleading. And scared. What could the Dark Lord do to a stone to make it afraid? Why was the amulet speaking to him? He had never heard of such magic before. It had not been in the legends of the amulet.

His muddy clothes came in handy towards the early dawn, as he finally heard the approach of people. He slunk against the bare hillside, almost sure it was to no avail, and they missed him completely. How? He had no idea.

"The keeper of the amulet is helped in times of danger," the amulet whispered. "They couldn't see you. Mud or not." The stone giggled. "I like you. Don't lose me."

He nodded and moved the amulet to sit around his neck on its chain. It sat there and warmed his chest. It was safer there, he reasoned. He had no idea what the amulet was capable of.

"I don't help every Keeper of course. The Dark Lord, for instance. He was creepy. I can't help boosting the Keeper's power in things, however. He will miss having me around."

"You talk a lot. Why can't anyone else hear you?" He hoped no one else could hear it, as it might give him away.

"I only talk to the Keeper and then only if he or she is worthy."

"Great," he said, not knowing if that was good or not. "What about me?"

"No one can hear you when you talk to me, we are using telepathy."

Tele what? He hadn't been magical in all his life. He was a thief, and lately siding with the rebels. Not a wizard of any sort. None of his family had any of those skills, no one that he knew of.

"We'll be great friends, you'll see. Keep still, another patrol is coming this way. Don't tremble so much, they can't see or hear you."

Five soldiers marched past him, completely unaware that he was right there. 

"We will need food and shelter," Henry said to the amulet. "Or at least I do."

"I'll deal with that as soon as we are clear of the soldiers. I have been out of practice for centuries, my power is low. Just keep heading towards the Cliffs. Leave everything else to me. Trust me."

Trust me, she says. He thought of it as a girl now, so if they were to be a team that's what it would be now. I don't know much about the amulet, after all, he thought. 

It would be a long trip to the Silver Cliffs, and then what? A sea voyage afterwards? Where was the amulet from? What did it mean? What had he gotten himself into?

July 17, 2020 06:32

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3 comments

Batool Hussain
13:46 Jul 17, 2020

Hey! A very good story. Also, I just realized you changed your name...right?

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R L Brewer
13:55 Jul 17, 2020

Yeah. That is my maiden name. It has mucked up a little but hopefully sort itself out next week.

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Batool Hussain
15:34 Jul 17, 2020

Oh okay! Good name, Btw;)

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