A/N: I'm sorry. My chapters just keep getting shorter and shorter. The next ones are going to be a bit short too. - I just keep feeling like i reach a good chapter stopping point and also that if I make a chapter too long, it'll get too confusing and be all monotonous and crap. . I'm so sorry I haven't really updated lately...i've been really busy w/ school work and then there's NaNoWriMo...(which I'm WAY behind at) and then there's that terrible phrase that we all don't want to hear. Writers' Block. yes, i have it. that's mainly the reason why i decided to try writing something brand new for NaNoWriMo. Imean, i've written the next 4 chapters, but i'm updating slowly cuz 1) i don't have time to time them up and 2) when i've updated all of them...there won't be anything left. and then u won't have a chapter for AGES. cuz there's jsut soo much stuff i have to do. my dad wants me to paint a canvas...and this one is HUGE. it's width is longer than if i stretch out my arms (and i have long arms) and it's length is...well...if it's sitting up straight on the floor, it reaches my torso about. - and then he ALSO wants me to paint a much smaller (thank goodness) canvas for my stepmom. as if i don't already have enuf on my plate. (sry dad if u ever come across this, i'm just really overwhelmed right now). then i have history fair in...less than 3 weeks and we haven't even made our costumes, let alone settle on a script. and then there's orchestra! i've missed my cello lesson 3 weeks in a row due to...a lot of other htings, so my teacher is gonna be expecting me to have perfected my solo or sumthing by now. - and then i have to keep up w/ school music, work up enough courage to actually USE my sorry excuse for vibrato, perfect the cello choir that we've been assigned in sectionals, and learn two duets soon so my friend Shivani and I can pick one to play and work on perfecting that. and oh, did i mention Science fair? and then ON TOP OF IT ALL, my grandmother is coming for two months or so. so my dad wants me at his house. and i don't haev time for it! and then, as if i don't have enough on this humongous platter of my life, my zune isn't working. (mp3 player) and i depend on it for everything. i can't survive w/o it. and it says that there's a problem with EVRY SINGLE SONG ON the ones i got from a friggin cd. so I've been living off of the 3 mv's and some anime i have on it. which is really getting old. i mean, there's only so many times u can listen to the opening to Lucky Star and Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu and a crappy BoA song. (ok, so it's not crappy, but it sure makes u hate it when u've listened to it 30 times in the past day). i want my zune...

dang, that's long. ok, well...IMPORTANT NOTE. in the 1st chapter (not the prologue), when Kari has a dream and it says she has to find Liricaa. well, i changed it. now she has to find a guy named Arvod (thnx anehalia) at the Icegate of Lursicaa. mkay?

plz review, you have no clue how much it helps. (ok, so maybe you do, but still, i bet most of u have more reviews per chapter than i do) enjoy!

Chapter 10: Bad Luck

"We should just kill 'er," a gruff voice suggested.

"Naw, I say we 'old 'er fer random and then kill 'er," said another.

"She's an odd one, isn't she," a kinder-sounding one said. The voices echoed over and over in my mind. What were they talking about? More importantly, where the heck was I? What happened?

"Poor thing took a pretty bad fall," the kind one sympathized.

"You're giving her pity?!" shouted the other two. I decided that the kind one was female and the other two were male. I didn't dare open my eyes despite the curiosity burning within myself, wondering who these people were.

"Whatever. Tend to 'er wound, Brin. She had better be in good condition for the ransom," one of the men ordered. With that, I heard two heavy pairs of boots stalk out of the room. I felt a wet cloth being pushed on my forehead and had to stop myself from shivering.

"You can open you eyes now, young one," the women whispered. I decided it couldn't hurt too much to do what she said and obliged.

The room wasn't a room at all; it was a tent of some sort. There wasn't much else in the tent besides the bedroll I was lying on, a bow and towel, and a plait of berries and roots at which I eyed hungrily. I then remembered the voice. I looked to my right and face the kind woman.

She was neither fat nor thin, had a plumpish face, and her cheeks were so red that if I didn't know better, I'd call her a cherry. She wore the casual wear of the day; a brownish skirt, a crème blouse, a simple bodice, and a small smock over her skirt. She smiled again, causing two humongous dimples to appear on her motherly face.

"My name is Brin. I'm sorry about them, but there's nothing I can do to stop them," she apologized. "But," she continued, "I can help you escape. We'll have to send you by river. Maybe you'll meet nicer folks than us."

"I don't know how to thank you," I stuttered. "Had we met under better circumstances, I'm sure we would have become quite well acquainted with each other," I stated remorsefully.

"I'm sure. You'll have to leave soon. I know you're not exactly in the best condition, but I've done the best I could in such little time. I apologize again."

"There's nothing to apologize for. It is I who should be apologizing for having you help me out of this mess."

"We must leave now, while they're not paying attention and are away from camp. Come on! This way," she whispered urgently, gesturing for me to follow. We exited the tent and after a few minutes of maneuvering through the forest greenery, we made it to a moderately wide river. There were two canoes tied up on the banks. I chose the smaller one and Brin packed some food and a spare pair of clothes in with me.

"If we ever meet again, I will do my best to repay you, dear Brin."

"I only wish that I could do more…" she trailed off.

"You have done more than enough. Thank you."

"I wish you the best of luck on your way. I hope you make it back to Fai and Nikolas and that you find Tristan again! She called as I slowly pushed off.

"How did you know about them!?" I called back, stunned.

"You talk in your sleep!" she laughed. Oh dear.

"Thanks for the mention of it!"

"Don't worry about it!" She was slowly getting farther and farther away. "Hey! I didn't catch your name!" she shouted.

"Akari Verintor! Goodbye Brin!" I half screamed back before her voice was lost in the forest along with the birds chirping and the leaves rustling. I wiped the tears on my face away. I may have only just met this woman, but she was the closest I had had to a mother as I had met since…well, a long time. I wished her luck with those two brutes and prayed that the next people or beings that I met were more compassionate than Brin's two male companions...

The river continued for quite a while. I guessed about an hour or two had passed before it happened. The river began speeding up. A lot. Oh god, my luck was just getting worse and worse this past week. What was it with me and waterfalls? I searched around desperately for a branch or rock of some kind to grab onto. There were none. I paddled with all my might in an effort to reach the side but my attempts were in vain. It was getting closer and closer and I was too weak to do anything about it. I couldn't even bring out my wings, let alone fly or use magic. The waterfall was deafening, the sound of the water falling and hitting the bottom roaring in my over-sensitive ears. I used the last of my strength in a last attempt to save myself from the impending doom –to no avail. The edge was but a few seconds away; there was nothing I could do now but wait. Maybe if I had been in better shape, I might have made it, but the way I was now, there was no hope this time. I accepted my fate and tumbled off the edge of what would now be the cause of my death.

now press the pwettyful button and type some nice (or bad...i get enough of it at home and from not-so-friendly-friends at school)

do you guys find this story monotonous? im seriously starting to think that i should just stop this story for a while, finish my NaNoWriMo, and then edit it and change the whole thing. TT plz, be truthful. gimme flames if u want! jsut so long as i know what someone thinks! (constructive critisicm is preferred tho, lol) cuz my (very watchamacallit-straightforward) 'friend' says my story is crappy and monotonous. and i'm starting to think so too...

plz tell me