An imperialistic kingdom expanding its borders is locked in a bloody stalemate. In the turmoil an ancient force of evil re-emerges with designs to complete the conquest it started millenia ago.Alex moved swiftly through the undergrowth, dodging between the stout trunks of pines, his footfalls muffled by the thick blanket of dead needles covering the ground.
Bursting out into a clearing he paused, looking all around him while trying to stay as still as possible.He tried to slow his ragged breathing listening to the forest. Almost all he could hear was his own thundering pulse as his heart beat against his ribs, seeming unnaturally loud in the quiet, but just underneath he could hear rustling in the bushes.It seemed to be coming from all around him. Just an animal? Or something else? Something watching? Waiting?It was the lack of noise that was strange, he realised only too late.
No birdsong, almost as if they had been scared away by something. Even before he could look up there came a piercing, inarticulate yell from above.Alex barely had time to move, dropping with a gasp and rolling to safety, he raised the stick he carried, blocking a crashing blow as his opponent landed beside him, scattering pine needles.
Alex leaped back, opening a gap and buying time to size up the threat. Marcus Crescend. Hed always been short and skinny, but for a boy of ten he was suprisingly strong when he wanted to show it.