I can hardly believe Oliana would give up on the clan like this. I wish Father were still here; he knew how to lead the Veringrove Clan as a noble chief. I know my sister means well, but she’s out of her depth. I may be in that same category, but I know I have to do something. I cannot sit idly by as everything Father has worked for crumbles. Gillireth must never be our king. I will put a stop to this, even if I must do so by myself.
I know I cannot risk gathering others to help me on this mission. If the wrong people find out, they could rat on me to Oliana. I realize that it could be dangerous, but I believe that if I go alone, I’ll remain well enough hidden until the army scatters in confusion. It’s all I can hope for.
I focus before I fall asleep on waking up early; it’s all I need to do to rouse myself before Oliana awakens. It works, as it always does. I’m able to tiptoe into the weapons room after dressing to grab my bow and arrows while it's still dark out. I can see she’s still fast asleep.
I am sure to wear my thick, fur-lined cloak on a morning like this one, especially considering I don’t know how many hours I’ll have to wait out in that frozen wasteland. I am fully willing to admit a part of me is in denial, but I see no better alternative to the action I am about to take. In protecting the clan, I will be facing my greatest fear: the moors.
The morning starts out clouded with fog. I hope it lasts; it’ll help me stay hidden. On the other hand, it rather terrifies me. I keep seeing tree branches move. Is it just windy? Or is there something out here….
I station myself at the edge of the moor, where I’m well-concealed in brush. I should have a good view of the army when they arrive, and I should be within range. The fog keeps lifting, but that’s alright, because some snow has begun to lightly fall. I’ll let it provide cover and help me blend in.
A couple of hours later, after the snow has ceased, and after having heard various noises from indeterminate sources, I jump. There’s some movement not far off, but then I realize it’s just Oliana and Dechar. They better not get in the way. I’d like to think I’m a fairly good shot, but I’ll have to leave significant space between my aim and their bodies for good measure, and that means I probably won’t get the chance to take out the leader. I’m beginning to regret not seeking help in my rebellion. Even with just two shooters, it would be so much more difficult for the men to figure out where the arrows are coming from. But I have to try.
I nearly freeze before I finally hear the hoofsteps of the army approaching. My eyes widen as I realize they’ve brought trolls with them. I’ve only ever seen illustrations of these creatures before. They are more hideous than even their crude drawings.
Here I am, in the midst of the eeriest place I know. Perhaps Ravenquill Moor is not haunted after all. A few noises here and there, but nothing too disturbing. I’m feeling brave now; my confidence is high, and it needs to be, because I can see that the surrender has commenced.
Now is the time. I place an arrow in my bow and pull it back tighter, tighter. My hands are shaking from the cold now, but the army makes for a fairly large target. I release and the arrow pierces through the cold air, but it only lands by one of the horses’ feet in front. It has at least left them properly befuddled, and I can’t help but snicker softly to myself.
I release a second arrow, this time nearly striking one of the men, if he hadn’t blocked with his shield. I hear shouting. I must continue. I pull a third arrow back. I can hear the bowstring being strained under the pressure. I re-situate myself to get a different angle, hoping that if I keep hitting different areas of the group, they’ll be more confused about where the projectiles are originating from. The snow crunches beneath me.
And then I heard something not unlike the sudden laughter of a ghoul right next to me. I see a flash of movement in the corner of my eye and scream, ducking. It is too late before I realize that it was just a moorhen being startled. They’ve seen me, and in this moment, I know what it truly means to be afraid.
I hear Oliana scream as I try to run, stumbling deeper into the undergrowth. Can they still see me? My answer comes in the form of the faint sound of an arrow soaring straight toward me, and then the force of it striking my back. My body didn’t register this immediately as pain. I only knew something had hit me, but then I noticed that I could not breath. That I was choking. That I was bleeding.
I would say that the worst aspect of death is leaving those you love behind, especially when you cannot say goodbye. Moments passed with my face down in the snow until I felt the now very present pain in my back sting even more sharply. My body was rolled over, and I saw Oliana.
There are many things I would have liked to say to her in this moment. That I was sorry, that I was wrong. But the most important thing that I wanted to say, those words which never came, stopped up by the blood in my throat, were “I love you, sister.”