Sanda trembled inside, her willful body refusing to remain stoic in the face of death. If only she were a braver woman, or perhaps a little more ignorant of what was coming for her.
Presently, she knelt in the grass clearing of the sacrificial place where she had been sent by her people. She had been trembling forever it seemed, almost since the decision had been made, the decision for her to be the Lycan’s sacrifice this year. Sanda knew it was an honor to be chosen.
Her death would stave off attack from the Lycans for another year. The circumstances, the result of cool bargain struck between humans and the Lycans hundreds of years ago. The Lycans have their high, cold mountains to the East and humans had the fertile valleys and temperate plains to the West. In exchange for annual sacrifices, the Lycan's blood thirsty temper remained in check.
She knew it was an honor. She felt happy to do it. Her family would receive congratulations, respect for their sacrifices. Even before she left, Sanda had noticed the change in way people treated them. Sanda serving as the sacrificed this year raised her family's standing in the eyes of the community. It would make things easier for her younger siblings when they sought work and families of their own. At the moment, the thought didn’t make her feel much better though.
She'd seen the same eyes extending unspoken sympathy along with congratulatory handshakes and gifts for her and them. The dark cloak she wore now was a gift from the town council. It served as a death shroud given to every sacrifice. Death at the hands of the Lycans was not pleasant.
She'd heard stories ever since her earliest years around the hearth fires about how bloodthirsty Lycans ripped, shredded and disemboweled their victims. Sanda wished she had accepted the potion offered by the town leader that would make her senses dulled. At the time, she was filled with bravado and turned him down.
Now it made her queasy to think of it, and the trembling increased tenfold. She could not stop shaking. She could not sit still in the misty rain while she waited for death. If only Sanda could get a hold of herself. It would make it easier to believe she was at peace and ready for this fate. Her body had other things in mind, betraying her fear with its incessant movement. If only they would hurry up and get here and end this torture.
Sanda’s eyes flitted towards every sound in the darkness. She did not want to see it coming. She thought about pressing their hands to her ears to hide the sounds of growling and snarling she imagined the Lycans made on approach to their prey. The fear made her twitch at every sound, made her strain to hear it. She could not cut herself off completely from awareness by blocking her ears.
She would sit there, and listen for it. That at least could be something brave she could do.
"Are you going to sit there all night?" A voice asked next to her ear. Sanda screamed, toppling to her side and kicking out instinctively she encountered solid calves attached to long, muscular legs.