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Rebekah King Rebekah King
Recommendations: 21

LAS VIII - Taken

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Decided to write another one. And maybe a couple more...

The first thing Lan registered when he opened his eyes was the pain. The thudding pain pounding inside his head. What had that thug hit him with? His vision was blurry and he found himself struggling for breath. He managed to bring just enough to his lips to utter the one word on his mind.


Where was she? He had to think, he had to remember. What happened? He pulled himself to his feet, using a tree for support. He shook his head, but it didn’t help. He remembered being struck by something hard. Where had they come from? He hadn’t seen them, hadn’t heard them until they were upon him. Sorraru was with him and now she wasn’t. They must have taken her, but where? He gathered himself and tried again.


No answer. There was no one here. He had to find her before they killed her, or worse. If only the pounding would stop. He cursed himself and his weakness. What had his mentor said? When you’ve got a pounding head... something. It was hard to think through the pain. He’d wasted enough time already. How long had he been lying there on the ground? An hour? Two? It could already be too late.

No. If those men were meant for his and Sora’s deaths, he would be dead and her body next to his. He was alive, she was gone. She was bait. More games from The Man. Was this some kind of test then? An experiment to see what he would do? Regardless, he had to find her, he had to save her. Ignoring the pain, the fog, he pushed himself forward, stumbling through the forest.

He crashed through the trees for hours, the light of sunset came and passed and stars blanketed the dark sky. That was when he saw it. His vision back to him, he saw it clear as day, the pillar of smoke billowing into the air. He rushed up to higher ground, running as fast as he could up a steep hill. Out of breath when he reached the top, he saw the glow resonating from the very centre of the environment. She was bait, then. This was a trap, one he would have to outsmart.

He had no idea how many there were, he couldn’t very well charge straight in only to be faced with his death. There was no guarantee they would spare her, there was no guarantee she wasn’t already dead. His expression turned to one of fury as he gazed at that pillar of smoke. Awake, fresh, with new resolve, he charged back down the hill, not caring when he rolled to the ground at the base. He jumped back up and ran in a straight line towards the glow.

By the time he was in sight of the impressive bonfire the men had set in the middle of the plain, his head was pounding with such an intensity that he could hear his heartbeat in his ears. He crouched low to the ground for a few moments. He couldn’t fight like this, he was useless. Suddenly, he remembered: when you’ve got a pounding head... stab the trees.

He turned his head to the nearest tree, checking that it was the right kind, before he ripped off a piece of bark and stabbed his knife into the trunk. The yellow residue that seeped out was his goal. His mentor had taught him of it and how it soothed even the most intense of head pains. He ran his hand up the trunk, gathering the residue on his fingers, wrapped some of it in argas leaf from a plant nearby and forced himself to swallow.

He wasted a few minutes on his knees, retching and trying to keep the stuff down. That argas was going to make its way back up later, but eventually the pounding resided and he was able to think clearly once more. He turned his attention back to the bonfire. He made out figures, silhouettes of men surrounding it. From this angle he had no idea how many, but there were at least two on this side and more he could see across the plain.

Then his eyes rested upon a welcome sight. Not six feet from the men closest to him, she was there, standing against a tree to which she was bound. Blood was trickling from her nose and she seemed unconscious, but definitely alive. And not thirty metres from where Lan stood. He wasted no time, forming a plan in his head very quickly. He unsheathed his bone knife and made his way over to her.

He reached the tree unseen and unheard, even by Sorraru. He reached around and tapped her gently on the arm. She didn’t start, but slowly lifted her head and opened her eyes. Lan silently thanked her for her whit. He tapped again and this time she slowly turned her head to the side so Lan could see her right eye. The half of her expression he could see was not afraid, but nonchalant.

“Lan?” She whispered so softly he couldn’t be sure she’d actually spoken.

“Listen to me,” Lan saw Sorraru breathe a slight sigh of relief at the sound of his voice. “Take this.” He placed the bone knife in her hand. “Free yourself. There are more on the other side of the clearing. I’m going to head around there, then when you are free we’ll deal with the rest together.”

“I’m ready when you are.”

Lan positioned the knife in her hand for her so that all she had to do was cut through the rope. It was thick, so it would take time, but time was what he needed. He gripped her hand, closed around the knife, in a reassuring grasp.

“Do not fail me, Sorraru.”

“I won’t. Be careful.”

Lan closed his eyes, at war with himself. He wanted so much to free her himself and charge at those thugs with the unrequited fury of a warrior, but he knew this would only end in their deaths. If this was a test, he would defeat it. He and Sora would not be made puppets of today. He rested his head against the trunk of the tree, wanting so much to whisper the words on his lips. But instead, he pulled himself away and disappeared through the trees to begin the hunt.

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