She watches

Zanna noticed him weaving in and out through the lines of creatures. His gleaming black cloak seemed to shift and come alive around him as he moved. He drew her attention as he drew theirs. From her hiding place at the edge of the trees, she glimpsed him. She could not make out the color of his eyes from this distance, yet she could sense their brightness. She couldn’t hear his voice but she could tell that he was speaking. She immediately knew that he was different than the others.

The creatures waiting so patiently to answer the priestesses’ questions were waiting for an opportunity, yes. They were kind and loving to one another, yes. But they were following the rules, doing as was expected. The black-cloaked man moved purposefully, unexpectedly. He seemed powerful yet calm, even playful.

From where she was, Zanna could see how he energized the crowd. She could see him seducing them. She wanted to be among the group, listening, being seduced. She needed to hear him. With him as her guide, she would find the quickest path through this new world. The thought made her almost sad, as she wished she could know each of the fantastical creatures. Yet she felt that she must stay focused on her journey and pass as quickly as possible through each new world. The cloaked man would help her find her next death, she was sure of it.

She gathered up the fabric of her white gown around her and set off running from the bank of trees, the deep yellow leaves crunching under her feet and her long dark hair streaming behind her.

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Part one
Part two
Part three