A clearing is visible up ahead and as you continue down the forest path, you notice a figure in the glade. Not many know of this hidden path you find yourself upon, so it’s curious to find there is someone else ahead. As you approach, you realize it is not one figure but two; a beautiful maiden and her horse. The horse lies nestled within the glade, its silken cream coat shining in the high summer sun. The maiden is striking, her auburn hair bright in the sunlight and her milky skin a clue that she is no mere servant. With skin so untouched by the sun, she is sure to be royalty of some kind.
The closer you walk, the more you realize the maiden is frightened, tears streaking down her face as she finally notices you. Huddling on the ground near her horse, her wide sky-blue eyes watch you intently. As you signal you mean no harm, she lets out a gentle sigh of relief though she remains close to her horse, leaning upon the great muscled shoulders of the beast.
“Oh kind and gentle soul… please help me,” she pleas as she reaches in your direction. “I seem to have lost my way and I fear I have fallen from my steed. Will you help me?” Her voice seems to rub through your mind like velvet, so soft and enticing. The maiden looks harmless and as though she really needs assistance and so you decide to help.
“Come help me up and upon my steed so that you may show me the way from here, kind soul,” she says, her words seeming to pull you towards her. Walking to her side, you reach down to help her to her feet, her lips curling into a smile as you pull her to her feet. “Thank you… you are so very generous,” this time her words hold a note they hadn’t before, it edging on malice, cruelty even. The tone incites fright within you and you feel the need to get away from this maiden, out of her reach.
As you try to pull your hand from her, she tightens her grip, her grins widening to show the sharp teeth as a throaty laugh pools from her throat. “Oh dear mortal, do you think it so easy to get away? You belong to me now.” The hiss in her voice crawls down your skin, sending a shiver down your spine. Her eyes bleed to the darkest black, skin molting to a sickly grey that you have only seen upon the shells of rotting corpses. The more you struggle, the more she laughs, swinging her hoofed leg over the steed’s back and taking you upon the horse with her.
“There is no use in struggling, little mortal. Deinos! Ride!” Spurring the steed on, a gateway you hadn’t noticed before belches upon the land, spoiling its serenity. The swirling darkness seems to steal away the sunlight and pleasant scents, shadows crawling across the glade and killing off the lush green expanse. The steed runs full tilt for the gateway, its twisting darkness waiting to swallow you. It is then you realize what it is; it is the gateway to the underworld, the passage between life and death, the separation of blissful existence and painful demise. And before you can cry out for help, the darkness takes you, stealing your breath and very life from you.
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♥️ BG image found here
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