“Chosen.” This was all the voice said. Alexia felt herself being pulled deeper into sleep, literally. Half falling, half being pulled. It felt terrifying and surreal, the wind making a whistling noise as she fell. She swore she could feel each digit on the hands that pulled her down faster and they burned into her skin. Thou painful, strangely enough, they calmed her like a sedative would. Visions flashed in her mind and she felt that she’d hit bottom soon. The water seeming to rise up to meet and swallow her body in one of the flickering visions that followed. The sky growing dark just before she hit. And…then…white. It was all around her. Walking forward a few steps, panic rising back into her chest, she looked about herself…and…She knew. She understood somehow, that she could walk forward forever. Never coming to a end. Wait, she hadn’t hit the water. What was going on? Why… Each second dragged on and Alexia was about to scream when her body felt it was being torn in pieces. The scream came out silent as she fell to her knees…and woke. Sitting above the pond in the old oak had been a mistake and Alexia scrambled to grab hold of a branch, missing and falling the short way to the ground with a UMPH! Standing, looking quite annoyed with a twig stuck in her hair, she dusted herself off. The hairs on the back of her neck were standing from her dream and with a sick feeling in her stomach she realized that it wasn’t just her backside that hurt… She looked down to find large bruises covered a good part of her lower arms, finger shapes being barely discernable in the marks. Her eyes began to tear up as she bent over the water to dunk her hands into the cool pond, trying to ease the burn of the marks. Trying to hide their existence from view to spare her panicking mind. Her breathing came out in a shudder and she closed her eyes shut against everything. The ripples stilled on the waters surface while she took a deep breath to calm herself, opening her eyes to see if the marks were still on her hands…and she saw her forehead. _________________________________ Every hundred years. The chosen is marked and they must make the journey to make a sacrifice. A sacrifice to renew the land. Doing so by jumping off the edge of the world and into the unknown that lies below. This is the year…the day…the chosen has been marked and the kings men are in search of her, determined to carry out the cycle. A sacrifice hasn’t been skipped yet and no one knows what will happen if its skipped. The king will not tempt fate and the chosen will be taken with force if needed. His men look, knowing nothing of what she looks like or where she is or even that it’s a woman…just knowing that the time is now.