Aria sneaked through the castle corridors, her bare feet making it easy to remain quiet on the hard stone floors of the dungeon. She watched a guard come round the corner and before he could react, knocked him out by slamming his head into the corner. Aria grabbed his sword and scabbard, tied it to her waist, and continued down the corridor, her eyes watching for more guards.

As she silently tread down the hallway, she heard the voices of the other inmates, crying out for release, for freedom. Aria felt some pity for them, but right now, if got herself caught, then she'd be right back where she started... cold, alone... always alone.

She shook off those feelings and continued down, only to bump into a couple of guards. This time, it was Aria who was taken by surprise, and the first guard grabbed her by the arm, keeping her from drawing her sword. "Looks like we need a special cell for this kitty, wouldn't you say?"

He turned Aria around and was about to cuff her hands behind her back when Aria delivered a swift ankle to the man's groin, causing him to fall over, grabbing the damaged area. "W-why... y-y-you..."

The other guard drew his blade. "Time to die, wench!" Aria, however, was quicker, and slammed to hilt of her sword into the man's stomach, knocking him back. "Grrr..."

However, the loud noises had attracted too much attention from the other guards, and Aria had no choice but to bolt for it. She managed to make it outside, but got hit by an arrow in the back, causing her to fall over.

The guards drew their swords, ready to kill the escapee if necessary, but Aria recovered quickly and continued running... and jumped off the castle wall into the moat below.

The guards looked over the side and their commander turned to the others. "Gather the hounds! She must not be allowed to escape! If we lose her King Shadis will have my head!!!"


Aria swam to the shore, the arrow still in her back, in a place she was unable to reach. She cursed herself for letting her guard down the moment she felt the rush of fresh air.

Suddenly her vision began to blur. Apparently the arrow had been poison tipped as well.

"Drat... so... close..." Aria mumbled, before falling down, unable to move, having difficulty just breathing. Tears began streaming down her face, a sense of self loathing filling her at being as weak as she was.

As weak as she had always been.

She saw someone approach, a man with jet black hair, but her vision was so blurred she couldn't tell if he was a guard or not... and then she passed out.




Lynn heard the cry of of the Dark Lord's minions. It sounded like they found someone trying to escape... and she prayed that it wasn't her that they found. She decided to head deeper into the cave, hoping to at least elude her predators a little longer.

Then she tripped over something. She looked down and saw a strange stone tablet. She lifted it up and began to examine it carefully.

"Strange... there's a magic of some kind coming from it... what could it be?" The howl of the Dark Lord's Stygian enforcers grew louder. She realized she had no time to ponder on such things. She ran deeper into the cave until she reached the end of it... a solid stone wall.

"Looks like I have nowhere more to run..." She said, sitting down, and examining the tablet once more, feeling it with her hands. Then she felt a slight depression in the tablet... like a switch of some kind. She blinked. Was it safe to try it?

The howl suddenly became a high pitched screech. They had found her. She had nothing left to lose.

She pressed the depression hard into the tablet, and suddenly everything began to swirl and collide... blending, distorting, as if the very world she lived in was changing. It was both beautiful and nauseating. She had no choice but to close her eyes and wait for it to stop. Then it felt like the floor gave way, and she felt like she was floating.

When her feet found solid ground again she opened her eyes, and was amazed at what sight greeted her eyes. Buildings as large as Castle Relanisia, billowing white smoke. A long serpentine looking thing stopped in front of a group and opened up in the sides, revealing that it was not only hollow, but offering others a passage.

She blinked. This world was completely different from the one she left behind... was she still in the same world? She smelled the air and shook her head... the air was different... cleaner, fresher, as odd as that was to say about white smoke. She looked down at the tablet, and began to read, new letters having formed on the tablet.

"The Kingdom of Escartes, World of Steam and Technology."

The End

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