Exiting the tent Iohanna saw an impatient commander waiting for her. "Where are we going?" She asked.
"You'll see." The commander led her into the woods that their campsite sat up next to for coverage. He hadn't bothered to slow down for her to keep up; he kept on trudging with his large strides leaving Iohanna to half jog every few steps again just so she could stay close to the lit torch. She wasn’t afraid of the dark, but she was afraid of being lost in a dense forest in the dark. After a few minutes his pace started to slow down until he came to a halt, he turned to face her with his bright green eyes. "Shh." He placed his hand on her head forcing her to duck down. Iohanna obeyed his command, she wasn’t crazy enough to challenge him after having to experience personally what those eyes could do, once was enough for her.
"It's an ambush, hurry, run back to the campsite and tell the guards, I'll hold them off." He pushed her to go back, but she just stared at him with a dumbstruck expression. "I said go, go now!" He shouted at her before standing up. Iohanna stumbled to her feet catching herself after being pushed by the commander, no longer worried about the dark forest she was more afraid of what would happen if she stayed next to the devil commander. She ran as quickly as she could hoping that she was going back in the same direction, attempting to keep as straight as possible until she could see the dim lights of the camp through the trees exit.
"Ambush, ambush!" Iohanna shouted as she dodged through the trees as she neared the edge of the woods just outside the camp. “Ambush!” She waved her hands in a frantic manner at the posted guards.
A few of the men, who were still in their uniform, ran past her as they hurried towards the commander. Others had hopped on their horses to ride down to the troops, and the ones that remained in the camp started to prepare for battle. Everyone moved with speed and precision, and they did it while joking and teasing with each other as if this is what they have been waiting for.
With the soldiers focused on the upcoming attack no one was paying attention to the small girl standing amidst the chaos. Iohanna stood there looking around and realized this would be her only opportunity to escape. Searching among the hurried troops she finally found the face of the man that usually unlocks the slave cages. She watched him slowly moving closer to him, but he was too preoccupied to give a second thought to the slaves. Iohanna knew she would only have a moment to be able to get the keys, it would need to be done when he is putting his armor on. Patiently she waited for him to be distracted enough that she could grab them and run. Her chance appeared when he picked up his breastplate, his arms would soon be raised, and his face covered as he put it on. Iohanna ran towards him grabbing the string that held the keys tied to his belt, dropping them to the ground, she quickly swept them up and continued to run towards the cages.
Unlocking one of the cages, she reached her hand inside grabbing ahold of Kaniem’s wrist, before the others could rush out Iohanna pulled her friend outside the cage, they ran through the camp dodging soldiers until they made it out of camp. The two girls ran as fast as they could even though they were barefooted and half-starved. They ran in the direction they had been traveling from, without a thought of where or what they would do. Iohanna figured things would sort themselves out later once they were safe and free, right now the priority was to escape from their captors.
They barely made it out of camp when Iohanna felt something sting her back. She fell forward grasping at her shoulder, struggling to take a single breath as the burning sensation intensified. Kaniem looked at her friend in horror as an arrow protruded from her back. She bent down to help her up because they needed to keep moving, before she could get Iohanna up her entire body went numb. Iohanna felt the sudden change in her friend, her friend who she was leaning on started to press her weight into Iohanna. Iohanna couldn’t support Kaniem, the weight of her friend was crushing her. Kaniem broke free of the small support Iohanna was providing for her falling onto her stomach in the middle of the dirt road. Iohanna turned her head to her friend as she fell in front of her.
"Kaniem!" Iohanna yelled, reaching out to hold her friend, but only one arm would move.
Rustling noises came from the tree line catching Iohanna’s attention. She searched but she couldn't see anything, her vision was getting worse by the second even Kaniem was getting harder to see. In a last attempt Iohanna attempted to stand up, it was up to her now to get them to safety, and she needed to find the strength to keep going. Iohanna put all her effort into getting onto her feet, but she fell forward onto her hands and knees causing her to scream out in pain. The pain was too intense for her, she felt her body giving itself up to the darkness. "Kaniem!" Iohanna looked over to see her friend one last time, but when she turned her head, her eyes met with the commander’s bright green emeralds. Tears fell from her eyes as she drifted off into the nothingness that awaited her.
When the commander came out of the trees he watched as Iohanna and another girl ran away from the camp. He wondered if he should let them go, for now. It was another problem he would have to focus on in the middle of a battle if he were to get them back at that moment, and he knew he could always find them again after the battle was over. While he was contemplating his choices, he watched as an arrow left the tree line and pierced Iohanna in the back. With the fall of Iohanna he ran towards the girls yelling at them to get away, but another arrow flew into the other girls' abdomen, followed by another one in her chest. He could hear their screams radiating through the camp. Scavengers were coming out of the forest moving towards the girls with their daggers drawn. The commander knew he wouldn’t reach the girls before the scavengers would, so he came to a sudden halt. He had no other choice but to risk it all, scavengers were known for their disregard to life. With a deep breath the commander pushed his blood magic forth farther than he had ever done before. He slowly walked closer to the girls dropping the rat-like scavengers one by one. After the first dozen the commander couldn’t hold on much longer his body was starting to get weak, and the control over his powers were straining on his own organs causing him to cough up blood. He needed to get to Ioh’ quickly or he would end up dying with them.
When he reached her, the scavengers were still pressing on through the trees trying to get to them. He first checked Kaniem’s pulse, but she had already passed before he got to them. Turning to Ioh’ he reached out to grab her to carry her back to the camp's perimeter, but when he turned, he saw her eyes form a green outline around the iris. Startled by her appearance he fell backwards onto his hands. Iohanna stood up as if there was nothing wrong with her. The small child made the loudest noise he had ever heard before, and scavengers started to fall to the ground bleeding out of their eyes and ears. Thankfully the commander was immune to such magic because it didn’t take them long to fall. Slowly standing up he stood there watching her first transformation into a daughter of the Leraphron clan, but something was different, something went wrong, there wasn't supposed to be any green in her eyes they were supposed to be icy blue to the point of them almost turning white. Her blood was tainted, the commander brimming with curiosity made a mental note to look into her father's blood later.
Iohanna and the commander laid waste to the scavenger’s army, but it proved to be too much for her injured body to handle. She collapsed into the commander’s arms; he tapped her cheek a few times calling out her name. Iohanna’s life was now holding on by a thread and she was slipping before his own eyes. He gathered up what remaining strength he had and scooped her up in his arm, he carried her, stumbling over his own weakened body, all the way to the medical tent. The commander only took a day to get back to his normal routine, however, Iohanna slipped into a three-day coma.
Iohanna’s eyes slowly fluttered open, it took her a few minutes to remember what had happened. Once realization came crashing down, Iohanna panicked over Kaniem, remembrance of her lifeless body falling on her on their attempt to escape flooded her mind, and all she could think of was to find her to make sure she was okay. Pain coursed through her arm as she pushed herself up into a sitting position. Gripping at her shoulder she felt for something that wasn’t there. There was a small scar from where she had been shot by an arrow, it had been healed as if her injury had happened weeks ago.
"Commander she's awake!" The man who shouted for the commander startled Iohanna. “Careful, you have just healed from a pretty bad wound.”
"How long was I out for?" Iohanna was worried that she had been asleep for weeks judging by the scar left behind.
The commander came in before he could answer her question. "How are you feeling?" He said looking her over.
Iohanna turned her head from him. She didn’t want to talk to someone so cruel that he would try to kill them just for running away.
"Ioh?" The sound of his voice was making her even more mad.
“Don’t call me that, you have no right to call me as though we are on friendly terms.” She snapped back at him while glaring over her shoulder.
"Now is not the time to act like a child Ioh, do you remember what happened to you and your friend?" There was a hitch in his tone when he said the word friend.
"Kaniem? Where is she?" Iohanna turned to look at him. The commander held a straight face, quiet and reluctance to speak. “Where is Kaniem?” Iohanna raised her voice demanding an answer.
"Ioh, she didn't make it." The commander finally spoke, placing his hand on her shoulder.
Iohanna couldn’t think anything past the commander’s words. “No, you’re lying.” She brushed off his hand and fought the pain to get to her feet. She needed to see her friend, if she survived surely Kaniem did too. The commander gripped ahold of her wrist, pulling her back, into his embrace, keeping her from leaving. She was still weak and suffering from internal injuries, he couldn’t risk any more harm befalling her. Iohanna Kicked against the commander pulling at his arms that held onto her. “Let me go!” She screamed.
Releasing her before she could do more harm to herself, the commander decided to give in to her request. “I will take you once you calm down.” He stared down at the girl and cursed himself for giving into the brat’s tantrum. He bent down and swooped Iohanna up into his arms. She started to protest, but his grip got tighter sending a shock of pain through her body. Exiting the tent, he carried her over to a small ditch they had dug to put all the bodies in. Kaniem laid there in a mass of dead bodies all waiting to be burned. Thinking that Iohanna had seen enough to understand the commander turned and started to carry her back to the tent.
Memories flooded Iohanna’s mind, she was piecing together what she had seen before passing out. “Green,” she remembered, it was the commander’s doing. Iohanna turned towards the commander and bit down into his upper arm causing him to drop her. Iohanna ran towards Kaniem, with every step her anger grew, by the time she reached her body her icy blue eyes clashed against the green that once again outlined her pupils.
The commander watched as the people around him started to hold their throats and try to gasp for air. She was a daughter of the Leraphron’s, but she was also showing characteristics of the Paratroxin, his bloodline. He looked at the child again, horrified, he tried to figure out her age. If this was his child, she might be too dangerous to control. He thought back to his wedding night, they had attempted consummating their marriage, but they were interrupted by assassins who tried to kill him and had kidnapped his bride before he could fully seed her womb. It shouldn’t be possible that this child was his, but what he was seeing was she had his blood inside of her and powers that were only passed down in their bloodline.