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20020317 - run in forest Elhiana could feel the cool night air rush past her face and whir almost seductively in her opulent ears as she ran through the ancient forest. Her legs, unaccustomed to any more exercise than brief walks around her father's courtyard, ached horribly, and her silk dress was drenched with sweat by her lithe body. She felt as though she'd been running for hours upon hours in a blind flight of a seemingly inevitable fate, for her father's rule stretched both far and deep from the most noble of knights in faraway lands to the lowliest of peasants farming their fields, all had heard the name Ralhala, and all greatly feared his wrath. The greatest and eldest of trees seemed twisted and wrought with a forlorned disabandon as their wretched yet mighty shapes slipped from the shadow to the moonlight, then back to shadow as Elhiana's frantic eyes roamed the expanse of limitless deciduous repetition laying mockingly before her. It was said that strange creatures inhabited this land of perpetual trees, oft times in her younger years stories of ferocious beasts carrying unsuspecting farmers or hunters off to an untimely demise kept her up long past the rising of the third moon. But tonight it was only the thought of one ferocious beast which occupied her mind: Ralhala, and his great search party seeking her whereabouts as she ran. The forest was strange, sometimes Elhiana could hear the cries of masked creatures far away, she thought she could sometimes make out the faint cries of men as they led search-dogs through the jaded forest, but most of the time there existed only a deep and brooding silence, which seemed to absorb the sounds of her breath and give a gloomy stillness to the air. The ground gradually declined downward as Elhiana ran upon rock and shed leaf alike with bloodied bare feet, the clear night air giving way to a deep and hanging fog, which seemed to penetrate her anxious thoughts with a disquieting chill as the elevation fell and the terrain became slightly swampy. Still she ran

Elhiana Ralhala

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