It had been a long trek upwards from the small village of which I had been born and lived in for all of my nineteen years. I had travelled for many suns and my whole mouth was parched with the hot climate that had made my journey even more unbearable. An aching pain rippled through my battered legs and I wanted to collapse onto the rocky ground. Never had I been this far into the Great Valley, and I still had miles to go before I reached the peak of Mount Besar.
Tepid tears ran down my face, mingling with the layer of sweat and dust that clung to my dark skin. I thought woefully of Lyra, a fierce yet beautiful female warrior that had migrated into a nearby clan six harvests ago. We had met during a temporary alliance when the Western Clans declared war on the Eastern Clans. When that alliance crumbled we met afterwards in secret, spending countless nights resting together beneath the stars.
Though our lips never once did meet, I enjoyed trailing my hands through her smooth mahogany hair that would fan out across the grass as she lay down. She had eyes the colour of summer waters and when I gazed into them I would instantly feel refreshed. On the rare occasions that she chose to smile my breath would catch in my throat.
I could not deny that I felt more for her than I would a friend. But cross-clan relationships were forbidden, destroying all the hopes we could have had for our future. It was not long before she was promised to the chief's Son, Golithe. He was a giant of man who was prominently arrogant and relied only brute strength.
After the engagement, I did not see Lyra again. Even when I peered up at the night sky and howled a prayer to the g-ds for one last glimpse of my lost love. Then, about a month ago, I heard that she was pregnant with his child. His child! This sparked a rage within my shattered heart. Without glancing back over my shoulder, I left my village and begun the dangerous hike towards the tallest mountain in the valley, not caring whether or not if I perished on the way.
I discovered a cave to hull away in an hour before sunset. Gathering what little firewood I could find, I limped inside.
As darkness began to settle in and the temperature rapidly dropped, I erected a fire. My empty stomach grumbled. This area was deserted, meaning that there was no animals or plant to eradicate my hunger pangs. Instead I momentarily distracted myself by place my hands over the dancing flames and allow the heat to sear through my freezing body.
I awoke to find the ground vibrating. I blinked as my eyes gradually adjusted to the dawn light flooding through the cave's entrance.
After a few seconds of disorientation I realised it was me that was vibrating and not the ground. I slowly stood up and tried to stretch but some force was forcing my spine to bend.
Vines forced their way out through cracks in the walls and shot towards me, wrapping themselves around my wrists. As the cave floor crumbled away beneath my feet, they held me up and prevented me from falling down the newly created abyss. They began to grow rapidly until it cocooned my whole body and I was thrown into complete darkness.
Adrenaline charged through my veins. I sucked in a sharp breath that reverberated in my lungs, and when the vines finally slid away from my eyes I released it. It was came out as the deep, rough sound of a primitive roar.
Somehow I had ended up out in the valley and when I whirled around I saw that the cave I had been sleeping in was now no more than a crumpled heap of rocks. Then I glanced down at myself - though I had not felt any pain - to check for any injuries. What I saw caused my heart to lurch.
I bounded through the valley, wondering what the hell was happening to me.