Too Much To Ask For

Chapter 1

Author’s note: Again, I own only this story and my character!

Chapter 1

She blinked and lifted her head. Pain shot through her neck and back and her eyes watered. Looking around, she realized she was in the back of some kind of wooden cart. Where was she? She thought she could hear garbled voices arguing and strange animal like sounds. A clank of metal by her ear made her realize she could see between the planks. She clapped her hands over her mouth to keep from crying out, because the things she saw were not human. They weren’t really even animals. Ankle high green things carrying needle like weapons raced around beneath her cart, squeaking and chittering in a strange language.Others looked like crones; old, shriveled women with stringy hair and beak like noses, they moved around her singularly and spoke in whining voices that made her shrink back. But the things that scared her most were the huge bull-humanoid creatures that carried battle axes and wicked looking swords.

A strange feeling of calm came over her as she surveyed her surroundings, and she realized she could handle this. Pulling experimentally at her bonds, she took a minute to identify the beasts around her as ankle slicers, hags, and Minotaurs. This dark castle was evil and she’d ended up in this wagon trying to escape from a routine patrol. She knew she wasn’t going to be treated well anymore, though she hadn’t been treated well in some time. How could she escape?

She remembered the patrol leaving camp a few months ago, a dark cloak drawn around her shoulders in a futile effort to escape the snow. The Queen’s Wolves melted into the shadows around her, and she spurred her Elk forward. She’d heard the rumors of The Lion’s arrival in the South. This was her chance. But now, she couldn’t even remember her name. And that really scared her. Over the years, as she lost more and more, her name she’d always had with her. Now it was gone. Please, please, someone help me!

The doors at the back of the cart creaked and opened and she was nearly blinded as sunlight spilled into the cart. It almost seemed like dark sunlight, as if this place itself was dark. Something stood silhouetted in the opening and reached in. They grabbed her ankle and dragged her towards them and she found herself too weak to fight back. When she was closer, she realized it was one of the Minotaurs.

“Not much fight left now huh?” he snarled at her as he heaved her from the cart. She fell to the ground in a heap and someone cut the ropes tied around her ankles and shins. Then she was hauled to her feet and shoved forward, making her stumble. Glancing around, she saw no humans, only oddities, and she realized it was still winter here. Deep snow and thick ice covered everything, and as she looked up at the castle, she realized it was made of ice. She did not want to return to the non-human ruler thing that lived in a castle of ice. She had to get out of there while she had the chance, because she knew that this would be her last.

No archers guarded the walls, but plenty of Harpies did.She shuddered as she heard one screech, and she saw that the gates were still open. A pack of very large Wolves milled around, and she spotted a few Polar Bears among them. She caught a glimpse of a mangy Cougar and a skinny, patch-furred Bobcat before her eyes fell on a tall white horse being held by one of the bull creatures. The horse, a mare, fought the beast, her eyes rolling. Clearly she was scared out of her mind. “Let me calm it down,” the girl ordered, pulling towards the horse.

She was yanked back by the bull that held her before he sighed. “You don’t have the strength to run away now,” he mused before easing his grip on her arm. With clear reluctance, he led her over, and she reached up for the horse’s face. As she soothed it, whispering to it in a language that flowed off her tongue with ease, a new motivation stirred inside her. She was a fighter, a survivor. She wouldn’t let them keep her here, because she knew they’d kill her. Oh, no, she would not stay. She would break free and run. Aslan help her, she refused to die here.

It was time to start this over.

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