Primal Fears
by Silk

Fears so deep
running like water
through my veins

primal as the world
as dark as the night
the fear drowns me

The group of travelers worked quietly to set up their camp. By agreement, there would be no fire this night, but a scant shelter was quickly built to get them out of the bitter cold wet. They huddled together to keep warm and to ease their fears of the night. They knew raiders were near, but to go on in the darkness would be risking injury or being lost.

The forest was ancient, filled with trees that were giants even among their own kind. Under them thrived plants, bushes, and younger trees, making a thick dense cover. Along with the cold that night came rain, the kind of slow heavy dripping rain that soaked through their meager shelter in moments and made the travelers shiver more, as even their heavy peasant clothing got wet. The foliage, cold, rain, and the night, all of these together brought an eerie silence apon the forest and the camp. The only sounds to be heard were the constant rain and the chattering of teeth.

It was ,beyond those sounds, a silence that fed on fears so primal, that even in a group the people felt alone and afraid. Deep inside each one, a dark festering coil unwound, feeding apon the terror and helplessness they felt. Surrounded even by loved ones, each could only see the darkness outside, and imagine the horrors that were lurking just out of sight. The sound of a twig snapping was surely a raider coming so close to their camp that with only a turn of his head, he would find their camp. The sound of the wind between the woven branches could only be the cries of the dead. These were the primal fears of the shivering travelers and many more, fears that drove all sense of mind away, and left only the darkest of illusions.

Suddenly a sound broke through the night. A real noise that drenched them all in sweat, as they knew the darkness harbored a fear that was more than just a trick on their minds. The sound of trees and bushes snapping loudly could be clearly heard. It seemingly came from all around them, and the coils fed greedily on the thick dark emotions.

Then like a nightmare from the furthest depths of Tartarus, a huge pale shape plunged through the undergrowth towards them, it's eyes flashing and great bursts of steam exploding from it's snout.

The travelers knew they were doomed, but like scared children they could not flee, but automatically cling to each other, cringing in terror.

The creature came close enough that a dark figure could be seen upon it's back. Surely this was one of Hades' demons, escaped to the world above to wreck havoc apon the living.

Then a long slim hand emerged from the deep folds of the cloak and pulled back the dark hood.

"I'm not going to hurt you. It's cold and it's really wet out tonight, and there are raiders near. How about you come to my camp and I'll escort you to the nearest village tomorrow?" came the low voice.

With those words the traveler's eyes widened. Some even recognized the rider, but kept silent.

Here was someone that would drive away their darkest demons and their fears for the night and shelter them. As one they stood and gathered their belongings.

The rider smiled slightly and led the small group through the dark woods, but where they had seen monsters and demons, she saw only trees and animals. She sighed and shivered a bit in the cold. "I hope Gabrielle has the fire going by now," the rider thought silently, as her senses keenly listened to her surroundings for danger. "Because I could really use some hot tea."

And so the rider, on her pale horse led the men and women through the ancient woods, step by step driving away the black numbness of fear in each of them, by her presence alone.

The End

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