Miranda awoke in twilight, surrounded by evergreen trees. She lay still beneath a canopy of trees, her black hair framing her face. The tattered clothes that covered her seemed out of place with her fair face. Her breath came slowly, and her heart beat rapidly. She tried to remember where she'd been last, but it was like wading into knee deep mud. Her memory was ethereal as fog, blown about by what seemed a stormy tempest. She struggled in vain to remember, but nothing came. Eventually, trickles of pictures and images came slowly fading in and out of her mind. At once, her mind was overpowered by a need for something. She knew it was urgent, but the thought was just beyond her reach. A painful image filled her senses, as she tried to fight back the thoughts flowing like water through herself. Image after image of senseless information exploded through her mind, with no time at all to absorb them.
Suddenly, it was all over before it had even really begun. Her head was spinning, and a throbbing headache had already started. She slowly stood up, slightly dizzy with the effort. Where ever she was, she'd best find a way out of the maze of trees. Just then, an overwhelming and urgent fear coursed through her. Turning, she saw a dark wall of mist slowly coming towards her. Without further thought, she began to run, almost tripping on several roots beneath her feet. It not longer mattered where, but she knew that the darkness was full of an evil strength. She crashed through branches, and tore through limbs that blocked her way. Still, no matter how fast she ran, it seemed the darkened mist would overtake her.
A whisper of sound filled the air, and suddenly Miranda's blood turned ice cold. It ceased to flow through her veins, and her screaming muscles faltered. Pain ripped through her heart, as it fought to pump the blood. She flew face first into the dirt, and skidded to a halt. Her clothes were ripped and torn in several places, leaving her to shiver in the cold. Patches of long black hair had already torn from her head. The cold dark mist overcame, and covered her. She tried to stand, but it was like moving through a dreamworld. Nothing made sense. All she could sense was darkness everywhere. A withered wisp of a a voice echoed through the dark mist. The shear power behind the words made Miranda quake with fear. "Miranda..." The cold voice whispered slowly, drawling every syllable.
Miranda felt her mouth begin to speak, and words uttered forth from her lips though she did not wish them. "You'll die a thousand deaths, Athindur!"
"Silent!" The dark mist responded, still whispering. The moment she heard his words, her tongue ceased. She could make no sound, for that was the power of Athindur's words. "Foolish girl! You do not understand what you say." With those words, a black shadow appeared, darker than the mist she stood in. A blade of pure darkness swung towards her, but just before it sliced, instinct pulled her away. A torrent of memory stormed through her mind. Instinct guided her movements, as she began to sing. Echoes of a perfect melody slowly slided through the bubbles of Athindur's power. The dark creature swung again, but was met by a blade crafted of fire. The light cast from the blade drove back the pool of darkness, and Miranda felt strength seep into her bones and through her limbs. With renewed vigor, she parried the stroke of the black thing before her.
The two danced in step, circling one another, striking only to be repelled. Miranda swirled with a skill barely matched by the creature spawned from Athindur's darkness. Slowly, but surely, she pushed the creature back. With a final blow, she drove the blade straight through the beasts heart, twisting the flames. The creature dissipated into the mist, leaving no trace behind. Immediately, Miranda was struck by a ball of darkness. Already tired, she staggered forward, and turned to face the attacker. Again, this time from behind, came another shot. She fell over, as the pain seeped into her bones. Athindur spoke once again. "You see, foolish girl? You are no match for my powers."
As he spoke the words, Miranda began to laugh. Her voice struck pure and true despite the thickening shadows. She remembered. The Gates of Time! It was so simple. How could she have forgotten? She began to sing, her voice ringing true, as the Song responded to her tune. The ethereal world began to form around her, as she felt the powers flowing from the ether into her guided course. The gate opened up before her, and she stepped through. Athindur realized what was happening, but was too late. He moved to strike the final blow, but sliced only his own dark energy.