In the Presence of the King Excerpt

The only thing keeping the wounded rider conscious was the loud,
steady gallop of her muscled steed, racing through the silence of
the darkened forest. Between waves of pain, the rider noted with
concern the unusual silence of this night. The normal bustle of the forest
had been stifled. She could hear only the pounding of hoofbeats and her
own labored breathing. As the horse bolted down the forest path, the rider,
maintaining just the slightest grip on the reins, was slowly drooping deeper
on the saddle, feeling her body weakening with each gush of blood from her
body. She tried to readjust her seat, but the pain was too much. She had to
get to the Kingdom fast.
The horse’s hooves struck like lightning against the muddy path that
snaked through towering trees, which shaded their path from the light of
the full moon. The maze of branches above offered only an occasional peek
at the full moon and the stars, allowing just enough light to penetrate to
guide the weary and wounded rider. This was an ancient forest that had
stood here since the world’s creation, its trees as big around as a hut from the
meager village where she had grown up and triple the height of the western
desert trolls. As the horse galloped on, every rise and fall sent a wave of pain
through the rider’s body. The cut to her lower abdomen was as wide as it
was deep, and with each passing moment her face turned paler, as pale as
the obscured moon above her.

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