Fun with Freewriting is here once again. I quite enjoyed writing this one, although as it went along I was very aware of influence from a particular trilogy of novels. I wonder if it’s obvious to anyone else …
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It would soon be time, but Rachel really wasn’t sure if she was ready. She’d been building up to this moment for months now, and as it finally approached, the last few hours ticking away, all those doubts from the first few days came flooding back.
How could she be good enough? She was a nobody, born into an unknown family and abandoned in the first days of her precious life. She had no sense of who she was, where she came from, and no way to find out either. Standing at the top of the stairs, waiting to be called, waiting for her turn, she could see Brayden in the doorway at the bottom.
She couldn’t let him down now, he’d given her so much just to be here. He glanced up at her and held her gaze. His clear blue eyes were full of hope, knowing how much this day could change their lives. The corners of his mouth twitched, offering the subtlest of smiles, his excitement yearning to burst out from within.
Rachel lowered her gaze as the dread began to build inside her. She could feel it deep within, bubbling away with rising intensity, threatening to consume her and prevent her from succeeding. Her palms were sweating, she had to resist wiping them on her gown. It may only be for show until she changed into her battle dress, but she’d had few things in her life anywhere near as beautiful and she wanted to keep it sparkling.
From out of nowhere a guard came into view and stood at the bottom of the stairs. He raised his hand up to her and held it there, waiting for her to join him. His head and face were covered by his helm, and all she could see were a pair of unfriendly eyes transfixed on her as she descended.
She concentrated on the stairs before her as she began to descend, her efforts focusing on taking one step at a time in her uncomfortable footwear. If she fell now, she hoped it would be hard enough to smash a hole in the ground large enough to swallow her whole. Successfully reaching the bottom, she held out her own gloved hand to meet the guards at the bottom. Her gloves were well lined but she could still feel the coldness of his touch through them.
He led her through the open doors to the waiting night where she would finally meet her opponent. She looked straight ahead as she passed by Brayden, willing herself to be strong if only for his sake. Her resolve fluttered though as she saw for the first time who she would be facing. It was all she could do to stop her knees from buckling as she came face to face with him, the stranger from her dreams.
Just who was he, and how did she end up meeting him like this?