Elise’s heart pounded as she ran, gripped by fear, down another alley. Her breathing was labored as she skidded over the rain-slicked cobblestone streets in the dark. Her body was screaming at her to stop, to slow down, but her fear urged her forward. She risked a glance behind her, but all was dark. She could see nothing, but it was the sheer nothing that terrified her. Her long, white cloak was flowing behind her as she ran. The icy rain forced her breath out in puffs. Her hood fell forward, obstructing her face. She turned down another alleyway between two looming brick buildings, and hurtled down it without really looking at where she was going. Count Makraim Declan was on foot. He had gotten an urgent message from his king to do a rescue mission. He was currently making his way using the natural camouflage of night to go undetected. His plan was to stop at the inn for the night and continue on foot before the break of dawn. He picked up the sound of running footfalls. Mind racing, Makraim paused to listen. No one should have been running - or even out - this late into the night. The sound seemed to be coming from one street over. Looking up, Makraim saw the two brick lodgings and slipped into the alleyway between them. Whatever - or whomever - was running right at him. Bracing himself for a collision, Makraim made to put out his hands, but the figure collided right into him bringing both of them tumbling into the wet alley. Elise’s body had given out. She had run straight into something or someone. She could hardly care any longer. Her hood fell back during the collision and her hair fell wildly around her. Her eyes opened briefly to catch a glimpse of what she had run into. It seemed she had struck person. “Help me.” her breath came out as a desperate, breathy whisper before her fear turned to exhaustion and she slumped at a dead faint.

Next Chapter: Chapter 1