Chapter 1- Fear
Abbie’s tall, strong, figure raced over the barren landscape, her heart pounding was almost as loud as her hooves. Her bay figure raced against the sun, hoping to beat the sunrise before the dangerous world around her began to stir. She could hear the men waking up and smiled. She was close. Only a few more minutes until she was in the safety of the camp. She glanced up at the sky, the sun starting to peak through.
“No, no, no!” She exclaimed in a loud whisper, increasing her pace. Her cover would soon be blown. The general told her not to allow herself to be late, and she feared that she wouldn’t be able to fallow orders.
She could see the black flag in the distance and she slowed, almost there. Her ears pricked and she hid her smile. Only a few more feet…
Safe! She almost neighed for joy, but she stopped herself. The general had told her to show up as a human, so she shrank down to her tiny, young figure. Her tattered clothes and skinny fame made her look like a vulnerable tiny girl, but she was told not to fear. She took a deep breath and strode into the camp, looking around for the commander she saw in the picture she was shown.
She received strange looks and glances from the men and women, but no one said a thing to her, almost as if they had been told about her arrival. She was met by a tall man around 28 years old with black hair and war paint on his body. The leather vest he wore was open and a tattoo that said “Outlaw” was visible across his stomach.
“Who runs in the night?” He asked, his dark eyes staring straight into Abbie’s. He didn’t look like the commander, but she replied with the message she was told to say anyway.
“The dark mare, longing for love,” She replied, feeling rather young and naïve. The man smiled.
“Fallow me. I’m second in command here, basically the general. The Commander is waiting,” The man said, walking in deeper to the camp. Abbie hesitated, but the man motioned for her to fallow him. She took a deep breath and fallowed him, trying her best to hide how nervous she was. She never really liked war, so her agreeing to help the general in the first place was out of her comfort zone, let alone volunteering to help the Black Army defeat the Wretched.
“I’m General Ashley Purdy, but everyone calls me Ashley. We’re very relaxed her,” Ashley said, trying to create conversation. Abbie nodded. If she was in a witty mood, she probably would have snickered at his name, but she kept serious and quite.
“You don’t have to be so up tight. Relax,” Ashley said, turning back to Abbie and flashing her a perfect smile, “What’s you’re name? You know mine, and we were only told that a very… special soldier was coming, one with extraordinary powers.”
Abbie looked down at her feet. She wasn’t really use to getting compliments and she wasn’t well with taking them. She just blushed. “My name is Abbie,” She whispered, looking up at him with big, blue eyes. Ashley laughed.
“It’s very nice to meet you, Abbie. I don’t suppose you’d want to share what that power is, would you?” He said, glancing at her eagerly.
“Oh, it’s nothing much,” She said with a shrug, unsure of whether she was allowed to share her power with anyone or not. Ashley was about to say something, but we came to a big tent that stood out among the rest. It had a huge, black flag with the Black Army symbol on top of it, and was a deep, jet black that would surely blend in with the night, instead of the plain, off-white color the other tents had.
“Wait here,” Ashley said, his tone changing to become very serious. He disappeared between the two tent flaps. Abbie took the chance to look around. The sun was half way to the sky already, lighting the area and warming it. Abbie figured it was about 6:30 in the morning. She was early. That was a good thing.
Abbie jumped when Ashley came out of the tent. She didn’t expect him to interrupt her thoughts. He didn’t speak, but held one of the tent flaps back and motioned for her to enter. She looked at his face, a serious expression painted across it. She took a deep breath and entered the dark tent. The flap closed behind her.
She looked around. There were a few maps hung around the room, and in the far right hand side had a mattress with a blanket and pillows messily sprawled across it, she figured it was meant to be a bed. The tent was dimly lit with candles, which gave it an eerie setting. Across the room in the back of the tent had a chair with what she inferred was the commander sitting in it. His black hair was shaved on one side from what she could see, and fell on the other side of his head in waves. He stood up and turned around to look at her. He had a black line painted across his nose and he was much taller than he looked in the picture. But, what surprised her the most was how vibrant and beautiful his crystal blue eyes were.
“You’re her?” He said in his deep, dark voice that gave Abbie chills. He looked her up and down, a thoughtful expression on his face. She nodded and he smiled a surprisingly warm and welcome smile.
“Good. Let me see you,” He added. Abbie knew exactly what he meant, but she hesitated.
“Don’t worry, I’m the commander, Andy,” He added, nodding eagerly, but reassuringly. She grew into a horse and held her head tall and proud. Andy smiled even more and walked around her. He laughed, as if they had already won the war. Abbie shrank back down to a human and looked at him.
“You are the key to winning this war!” He exclaimed. Abbie took a step back, feeling intimidated. She was the only one of her kind and the only shape shifter at all in the General’s army, how could he have asked for a volunteer, when she was the only one that was any different from his soldiers?
“I’m sorry, I just got a little excited,” Andy said, interrupting Abbie’s thoughts.
“It’s ok, Commander,” Abbie replied, standing tall like she was taught to do.
“Andy. My name is Andy, not Commander,” He said, looking down at her, “Though I do not know yours,” He added, glancing at her.
“Abbie,” She whispered, looking at the ground. She wasn’t used to being the center of attention, and she preferred to blend in the crowd away from everyone’s interest.
“Andy,” Ashley’s voice could be heard calling from the other side of the tent, “The rest of the guys are eager to meet our new arrival.” Abbie heard murmurs from men outside. She figured they were the rest of the leaders. Andy sighed, as if he was disappointed to share Abbie with the rest of the world.
“Bring them in,” He said, after thinking for a few minutes. Almost immediately after he spoke, Ashley and three other man barged through the tent flaps, all grinning at Abbie. Two of them had war paint on . One had a diamond around his eye, one had an upside down raindrop on his cheek, and they all had black hair.
“Abbie, this is Jinxx, CC, and Jake,” Ashley said, first pointing to the man with the diamond, then the one with the raindrop, and then the one without war paint on. They all waved and smiled to her. Andy nodded to Abbie, and again, she knew what that meant. She sighed and once again shifted into a tall, strong horse. She held her head tall and proud, her ears perked forward and alert, and her now brown eyes determined. They all looked at her in astonishment.
“If she isn’t the best war horse ever, I don’t know who is,” CC exclaimed. Abbie blushed, making all of them laugh. She blushed even more.
“She’s so innocent,” Andy chimed in.
“I’m not innocent!” Abbie exclaimed in a huff. They just laughed.
“You look pretty innocent to me,” Jinxx said with a shrug.
“Either way, she looks like she can kick ass,” Jake said, patting Abbie on the back. Abbie wasn’t sure what to say, so she kept quiet.
“She’s going to be in the front line next to me, with you four behind us, and the rest of our soldiers behind you during battle,” He told the other four, then turned to Abbie and said, “This isn’t anything like you’ve seen before. These enemies, they’re strong and hard to defeat. It takes the entire army to take down on of them. Granted we aren’t the biggest army, so every casualty is fatal to our victory. They tend to prefer taking prisoners over killing, which makes me weary. I’m not afraid of dying in the end, but I don’t want them near me unless my weapon is piercing through their hearts. But, I’m sure with the right training we might be able to rid the world of these evil demons!”