I found myself on the forest ground; dirt and leaves tangling in my hair, dirt smearing on my clothes and tears falling down my temples. The fresh air blew through the canopy of trees that sheltered me from the blazing sun, while the little pattering of small animals and twittering of birds echoed. I gazed around the area surrounding me; looking for any sign of life. I found nothing. I had no idea where I was or how I came to be there. I only knew that I had fallen asleep in the warmth of my bed before they came and pushed me into a cart, tied up and helpless. I felt so confused. Frustrated. Scared. A sob erupted from my chest, scratching my dry throat. I looked down at my wrists, seeing a thick robe still holding them together. Whoever left me here had not bothered untying me; it did nothing to calm my nerves. I rolled onto my back and stared up into the sky. The clouds sailed across like ships; the sun giving light to the world from behind them. I deduced that it was morning, possibly noon. How long had I been here? When had I been taken? I tried to think back but could remember nothing. My tears and sobs became more violent as fear began to nestle inside me. I wanted to go home. I wanted to go back to my bed and stay there.
Yet, where was home? Which way would I go? Everything in the wood looked the same. I rolled on my stomach, trying to find some means of untying myself. My hands were turning red from the tightness of the robe; the pain numbed them. I needed an escape. What item could I use? There were no knives or any other sharp objects. If I found one somewhere, I cannot walk to it. I'd have to wiggle. I felt so stupid.
Suddenly, I heard a shift in the distance. I could hear rough voices; the soft breaking of twigs and leaves as footsteps came my way. At least, some kind of salvation was coming my way. I lifted my head as much as I could to look in its direction. If luck came, if I were to be saved, they could help me home.
"So, we're really going to do it? We're really just going to kill the girl and leave her body? "
"Those were our orders. Don't leave her alive."
The voices came closer, and I shifted onto my side for a better view. Two large figures were emerging from the darkness of the thicket. They were men: One was slightly shorter than the other with red hair; the other much taller and broader. They wore the Pendragon colors: Red and black with the dragon symbol on the front. I hoped for a moment that they were here to bring me back; someone had told them I was missing and they had been sent to find me. However, once they stopped short, I realized quickly that they were not there to rescue me.
"I don't know if I can do it, Argus," The red-haired man said. "She's only a little girl."
"She ain't that little. A young woman…and we've been ordered to do it, so we will," The taller man approached me. "But…" He bent down hear me and brushed some hair from my face, "She never said anything about not having some fun with her first. I mean, how can I just kill something so beautiful without taking my chances with it?" The man turned me over onto my back, holding my hands down so I couldn't get away, "I've always wanted to know what a virgin felt like…"
"Stop! Please stop!" I said to him over his cackle. I struggled against the body that mounted me, hearing the tears of my dress and the breeze chilling over my exposed skin. "Leave me alone!"
His hands ran up and down me. Chills fell down my spine, my hips bucking and shifting around. I searched for a way to free myself. I found nothing. I heard the sound of a knife cutting rope, and my legs fell free into the tall man's hands. I screamed, yelled, cried out, trying to get away from them, but I wasn't strong enough.
"Come on, love," He said, "I ain't going to hurt ye'. Filtch!" He called to his fellow, "You gonna help me or what?"
That brief moment, the small moment where that heavy form lifted and those hands slightly slacked off my own, I seized my chance. My hands clasped together; I swung them across the man's jaw as hard as I could. Only, he didn't move off. He scowled at me past the hand cupping his bruised cheek. "You little bitch!" All thought of raping me gone, the man grabbed a dagger from his pocket and punctured my shoulder. My cry of pain reverberated through the forest, my cries dying away as a dull, burning pain grew in my shoulder at once.
"Now, you won't be goin' anywhere!"
I continued to fight back with great effort, thrashing despite the aching sensation waving over me. His companion finally stepped forward, appearing rather unsure about what he wanted to do. I stared at him, pleading for his assistance. He gave none. His eyes looked over my half naked form as the taller man began violating me again. I swore for a moment he was going to turn away.
Then, I heard something else over all the noise. I could see shadows of horses, and hear the laughing and chattering of men coming closer. The red-haired man heard this too; then drew out his sword. "Argus," He said in what sounded like panic, "Someone's comin'"
The taller man stopped abruptly, but still held me down by my shoulders now. My pain grew worse. I stared in the direction of the figures. "Please help me! Help me! HELP ME!"
Their pause worried me for a moment. I wondered whether they'd join in or help. The taller man shot a glance back at me, put a dirty hand over my mouth to silence me. That dagger came over my throat again, "You keep shoutin' and I'm just gonna have to fulfill my duty anyways…" The steel of a blade touched my throat, sinking in enough that drops of blood would come out.
"HELP ME! PLEASE HELP ME!" My voice was muffled. They could not hear me now. I was going to die here now.
Then, those shadows emerged from the darkness, the sounds of hooves charging, the swinging of blades and flashes of brown and black circling the two men. The group of men dismounted their horses immediately, making the two guards jump up and pull out their own swords. I continued to cry, but shut my eyes. My wounded shoulder would not allow me to lift my arms to cover myself. I heard clanging and grunts. I felt blood sticking my clothes to the skin on my shoulder. The wound was deep; I could tell when I turned my head. A small gaping hole flooded with crimson. I sensed weakness taking over my body.
Eventually, as quickly as it started, all noises ceased. The guards must be dead now, seeing as I could no longer see or hear them. Swords were being put back into their holsters, and I could sense looks being exchanged between my saviors. My panic did not fade. I had no idea what these men would do with me. Take me for themselves? Kill me? Leave me here?
I flinched at the gentle touch of a hand. The hand cupped my cheek to turn my face and I looked up into the face of a bald man. His light eyes gazed down at me with curiosity mixed with a twinge of shock. I gaze back into his eyes, tears streaming and arms over my chest.
"Please…help me," I begged him.
He did not reply, instead unclasped his cloak and covered me and my shoulder. With the use of the dagger lying nearby, he cut me free; then used the rope to apply pressure on my wound…which hurt regardless. Out of my peripheral vision, I could see a young blonde haired man coming closer cautiously.
"Merlin?" He said attentively.
The man-Merlin-ignored him. He continued gazing over my face; searching for something when he finished. My eyes tore from his and darted to the men around me. They all stood mesmerized by the scene before them; they were curious, but did not dare move closer. He touched the side of my face with light fingertips, going over my face himself. He might as well have been studying a peculiar painting.
"Pick her up and put her onto my horse," Merlin said. "We have to take her back to Camelot."
I had expected someone would question him, but they didn't. The blond boy made a motive gesture, and someone came to my side. A dark haired boy lifted me up in his arms. I glanced up into his face as he led me to Merlin's horse. Our eyes locked for a moment; his browns gazed into my greens. He only gave me a concerned expression; a face that expressed wonderment and interest. He settled me onto Merlin's horse, before returning to his own.
"You're safe now," Merlin whispered in my ear.
He gently kicked the sides of the horse, and we rode off onto a road. For some reason, we seemed to be in a hurry. I would have asked, but was afraid to…However, the blond boy wasn't.
"Merlin, why in such a hurry?" He sounded concerned.
"Because we have to get her as far away from here as possible."
"I don't quite know yet..."
As we went further down the road, I felt myself slowly slipping away. Not into death, but into a creeping darkness that would cloud my blurring vision. Merlin must have seen this, for he then said:
"Pull yourself together. We will be there soon."
Where were we going? I wanted to ask. I didn't however. I blacked out.