Okay, first off, I would like to apologize to my readers. I have had a major case of writer's block that came after I had to rewrite this next part in SaDbF completely. I really hope that you continue reading my story. I intend to continue it. There will probably be longer intervals between posts then before my break (1 week- 2 weeks). So, the long awaited thirteenth chapter!
Anabelle didn't know where to go. She didn't know the terrain and had little resources. The reality of it sunk in, and she bitterly cursed herself for it- she needed other people to survive. She'd never once traveled alone the entire time she was in Alagaesia. She always had someone by her side; Evan in the beginning, then Brom, then Eragon and Saphira, then Ryla, and then recently, Richard. Even though she hadn't moved more than five feet from where the Dragon's Fire Chasers left her, she felt completely and utterly lost.
She started walking almost without knowing it toward where the mysterious half human, half creatures went. An enveloping fear surrounded her and sped up her steps as night sunk in - night alone. As she continued in a general direction, her imagination tortured her. Every shadow was a Shade just waiting to strike at her. Every rustle was an ambushing enemy ready to leap out. Her heart pounded faster as she went from a fast walk to a lively, power -walk. Her mind instinctively searched for Evan or Eragon's mental presence. After finding no trace, terror tightened its grip and she started to jog. She saw figures up ahead and relief swept over her like warm shower water. She simmered down from her jog to an even-tempered walk as she approached the Dragon's Fire Chasers. Catching her breath, she tapped the figure on the shoulder. She opened her mouth to greet Richard, but instead she came face to face with a vulture's head. Anabelle couldn't move. The vulture wasn't truly a vulture at all. It was part vulture but had distinctly human characteristics. A grotesque beak protruded from its face, but it had a human body and head.
"Hello, deary. Lost are we?" Came the voice of the vulture-person. Anabelle slowly backed away from it as her heart beat started to race inside her chest.
"Now, now, deary. Let's not be rash." The vulture hissed as it reached an arm toward her. Anabelle took another step back to keep out of the creature's rang, but its arm was grossly disproportionate to its body and was able to reach her six feet away! It grasped her shoulder and dug its nails into her. At first it was slight, but then it started to penetrate and she became fearful. She tried to back out of its grasp and then turned to pulling the hand off. The beast's grip not failing, she began to go into survival mode. Adrenaline kicked into gear and she struggled and tossed and frantically attempted to worm her way away from the approaching demon. Adding to her struggle, the imp outstretched its other arm and this time clutched the back of her head, slowly pulling her toward it.
"Get away from me!" She yelled as she dug her heels into the ground, flailing and thrashing. When the beast was within kicking range, she did so. It seemed to have no effect on this non-human. Then it lifted her up into the air so it could be face to face with her. She continued to kick and squirm.
"You possess a fighter's instinct. Whether that of a coward or not is yet to be decided and is more or less irrelevant." His enlarged, dark eyes searched Anabelle.
"You are small and weak, but that can change. How would you like to become like me!" She didn't stop writhing, but she did become confused. She was still on survival mode, but the words spoken by the vulture made her think.
"Well, it's either this: you come with me and join the Sundivers or you die because you have seen too much. You're choice." Anabelle could see her reflection in the beast eyes and she could see her own terrified expression. She didn't answer as she was completely engulfed within the vulture's irises as if they were an attempt to swallow her.
"Maybe you would like some time to think about it?" The creature smiled maliciously. It lowered her down to the ground and Anabelle was relieved. Maybe she could catch up to Richard again and they could help her get to some place safe? It released its grip on her and reached around behind it to grab something in its belt. Anabelle didn't waist this opportunity and bolted away. She ran through the woods in a zig-zag pattern that stayed off trails as much as possible. She was running on adrenaline and another asthma attack was always in the back of her mind. She couldn't hear if it was following her and she didn't care to check. She just had to get away. After running for a full five minutes, she dared to stop. She looked behind her and was relieved to not see him or any movement. She continued scanning the forest carefully. Now that it was dawn, hope seemed to have come with the sun. She smiled and turned around to get her bearings only to look straight into the face of the Vulture!
"Five days!" It hissed as Anabelle jumped back which caused her to tumble down a slope crashing into brush and other random sticks and rocks. Once Anabelle finally came to a crashing halt, she got up as fast as she could and kept running. This time she didn't dare stop until she came to a dead end in the form of a waterfall and cliff eight minutes later. She knew her body could not take any more of this torture and she, still paranoid, sat with her back against a rock to catch her breath. Her eyes frantically searched for the Vulture. She was not that naïve to think that he would just let her leave so easily. After she sat for about ten minutes with no sign of it, she began to relax only to examine her wounds. She knew that she was certainly cut up and bruised from her fall and began to tend to them when she heard a windy sound, like that of an arrow. Before her brain could process this and tell her to duck, she cried out as something struck her in the right arm. She found a small, purple dart sticking out. Anabelle hurriedly plucked it out which caused it to bleed. But once the bleeding stopped, she saw a bigger problem. Around where the dart had pierced her, was a redish bruise the size of a dime. It didn't look like any bruise she had seen before. Anabelle picked the dart back up and saw a dark liquid drip off it that wasn't her blood. Anabelle stared wide-eyed as she realized what just happened. It had poisoned her! Anabelle immediately wondered how long she had to live. Then she remembered the Vulture's words. "Five days!" Five days! Five DAYS?! Anabelle began to panic.
"Richard!!!" She screamed in her mind as she swept the surrounding forest looking for the Vulture. In a desperate attempt to get away once and for all from the Vulture, she shook her head of all common sense and launched herself into the air out over the waterfall. The Sundivers would never have her because if they had her, they had the Dragon Riders too. She could never let that happen. Even if it meant jumping off a waterfall. She never intended for this jump to be a suicide leap, but an act of poorly thought out desperation. As she thought this she was waiting for a bone crushing crash, but…it never came. She was slammed in the side and knocked to the shore just feet before she would have hit the water. Anabelle gritted her teeth as a new pain coursed through her, but it ebbed and she found Richard's terrified face glaring over her.
"What the FRICK were you doing!?!!!" The fanged boy panted as he hauled Anabelle to her feet.
"You know what? I don't care what you thought you were doing but it was stupid!" Richard was clearly still scared that he had to just save her from falling off a waterfall.
"Uhhnn." Anabelle moaned as she felt faint from standing up too fast. Richard quickly caught her and held her up but grabbed her where her poison wound was. Anabelle flinched and quickly batted Richard's hand away. She pressed on the wound to hopefully stop the pain.
"She has been poisoned." Melay's voice could be heard in Anabelle's head. Richard looked alarmed. Anabelle rolled up her sleeve to show the extent of her injury.
"A Vulture. The Sundiver." Anabelle said as she wobbled. She already felt energy draining out of her.
"A Sundiver did this? We have to bring you back to Revatel!"
"Richard! You shouldn't even be talking to her! There's no way you would be permitted to take her to our base!" Melay said firmly.
"But there's no other healer that would be able to cure her anywhere else!" Richard protested.
"Even if that's true and our healers could cure her, she might not be able to make it there alive."
"I have five days." Anabelle said.
"How do you know?"
"The Vulture told me that unless I join the Sundivers, I will only have five days to live." Melay seemed to ponder this when their Elvin leader seemed to materialize out of nowhere followed by Asterion.
"Poisoned, you say?" D'lani asked as she examined Anabelle's wound.
"You're an elf. Can't you heal me?" Anabelle wasn't afraid to speak so bluntly to the elf. What could she do? She was already dying. D'lani almost laughed at her comment.
"Although I am an elf, I am unnaturally ungifted with magic. I can barely speak in the Ancient Language. However, with the combined efforts of the healers, Ashes as they are called, back at the Dragon's Fire Chasers' base, I might be able to heal you. But we will need to erase you're memory of the base afterwards. I think you understand why." D'lani seemed to be carefully picking and choosing what she revealed to Anabelle as she explained all this.
"I understand, but Melay said I won't even make it there."
"If we go fast enough we might." Richard exclaimed, his eyes filling with hope.
"I can never thank you enough, Dragon's Fire Chasers!" Anabelle shared in Richard's new found sence of hope.
"Then let's go!" Asterion seemed impatient, but willing as Anabelle was practically thrown into his arms, and the race was on.
Woot! I am glad that this chapter came out the way it did because it cured my writer's block! *does happy dance* I don't have much of Evan's side of the story written mostly because you already know what happens to Eragon and what would be happening is them traveling through the desert which is a time-skip anyway. So I'll try to throw a filler chapter in here or there about them but most of the next part of this story will center around Anabelle. Don't worry, you will hear from Eragon and Evan soon enough. Anywho, thanks for reading and sorry, once again, for the very extended hiatus.