• Prologue

    Alice woke up, in a cold sweat shivering from head to toe.

    That hadn't been a good dream

    Still shivering she walked slowly out of her tent and looked around at her surroundings. Dense marshland covered almost everywhere, apart from the small bit of dry land her and her warriors were sleeping on, in their tents. They were all still asleep; the night was silent. They didn't get the nightmares like she did every single night, no, they slept peacefully. They didn't repeatedly see their houses burning to the ground, didn't hear the screams of the trapped and the moans of the dying...

    She shook her head and started to walk back to the tent, just in time to see a burning object come crashing from the sky. It landed with a soft plup in the middle of the marsh, on one of the many isolated parts of dry land, and she could hear some kind of human noise coming from it.

    Wondering what she was letting herself in for, she ran towards it, knowing that the slightest trip would drown her in the marsh...

    Chapter 1

    "Alec! Get down here NOW! It's 11a.m.mister!"

    Jolted awake by his mum's shrill screaming Alec reluctantly climbed out of bed. He slowly pulled on his jeans and t-shirt and padded downstairs,to his mum,who was standing in the kitchen tapping her foot on the tiled floor, and looking disdainful. "You do realise that today your aunts are coming to visit" bugger Alec had completely forgotten about his aunts coming round. He still thought that they were the mothers of the devil, and resented any time he had to spend with them.There had to be a way of getting out of this.

    "But mum, today's the day you said I could go out with my friends!" Yep, that'll do
    "Oh no, don't you try that again." damn "You are going to stay here. We don't often get to see your aunts, so you have to put up with them when we do"
    "Where's dad anyway?" Alec's dad was an explorer, apparently one of the best ones for miles around. Alec wasn't really into exploring but he knew his dad really liked it.
    "I honestly wish I knew,honey,I honestly wish I knew. Anyway. Grab some breakfast and then get some proper clothes on, we're going to get some more milk later."
    "Damn lazy cows. So there's no milk. What am I going to have for breakfast?"
    "Good point. Go and get changed and stuff breakfast, have a big lunch instead." His mum sighed.
    "OK mum" Alec went to go upstairs.

    Just as the doorbell rang, standing at the door was his dad.
    "Alec, Miranda, calm down! You're acting like you haven't seen me in a year!" He said with a big grin on his face
    "That's because we haven't, dad. So what did you bring home this time?" Alec's dad often brought back with him some strange jewels or crystals. These Alec did like. His dad unwrapped a little bundle he had in his hand.
    "This is called a time crystal,we found it in a mountain in the Himalayas. Apparently it's cursed so that whoever looks into it directly will be sent back in time, and into another dimension!"

    So Alec looked
    And looked
    And looked.

    Suddenly he felt sucked towards the crystal, and then there was fire everywhere and he was falling towards a marsh. It was too hot and he was falling too fast and he knew he was probably going to die.

    Chapter 2

    Alec woke up to a heavy punch across the jaw, and the first decision he made was that he preferred an alarm clock. The second decision, following closely on that one's heels was that he should get up. NOW.

    He sat up, not an easy feat when you've just crash landed in a fireball in the 800's in another dimension. "Who the hell are you?" asked the warrior stood over him. They were wearing some kind of plate armor that was over the top of what seemed to be a chain mail ve- he was punched again. "WHO THE HELL ARE YOU!?" the warrior asked again, irritation clearly in her voice, shaking himself Alec groggily replied,simply "Alec".
    "Ok then Alec would you mind telling me where the hell you came from?" He noticed four things in the time it took her to say that. One, she was a girl, Two, she didn't like him, Three, she liked to say 'hell' and Four, she wasn't alone - around ten other warriors had appeared behind her.
    "Hey Alice,looks like you've gotta thickie there!"
    "Look at his clothes"
    "Was he the one that came in the star?"
    "Quiet! Now then I'll ask you once more. Where did you come from?"
    And all Alec could say was "Home..."
    A sigh from Alice. "Well I guess we have to take you in. Get up and follow us directly. And RUN"
    One of the bigger warriors came over to give him a lift up.

    Then they turned and ran, and Alec took a second to register it before following. He had realised that, although he had no idea where he was, these people obviously did, and he would have to listen to them if he wanted to survive.

    Chapter 3 {Optional}

    Wide-eyed Alec looked around. The warriors had given him his own tent, which apparently had belonged to someone who "went out on the marsh at night".

    He wasn't amazingly impressed.

    All there was in the tent was a bed, that had a horsehair-stuffed mattress and a sheepskin blanket, a small table with a candle on, and a map on the floor. Nothing electric or plumbing, not even a toilet. Still, it was somewhere to stay so he tried to look happy about it. "Thanks, umm, Alice?"
    "Yes. My name is Alice, and I run this band of warriors. Now, if you're going to stay here, you listen to me. You do what I do. Ok?" She seemed very stern and bossy to Alec.
    "Fine..." He muttered "But, one thing. Going to the toilet..."
    "Outside. There's a hole in the ground over to the west that leads down into the marsh. Right then, get up tomorrow at dawn, and I'll get you sorted with all the rules and training we do." And she walked out, not waiting for an answer. Sighing, Alec lay down on the bed, pulled the sheepskin blanket over him, and slept.

    Chapter 4

    Alec woke with a throbbing headache. It was cold, and there was a girl stood over him looking very cross.

    Wait, there was a girl stood over him.

    Uh Oh.

    "FINALLY AWAKE ARE YOU??? ONLY TOOK THE FOUR BLOWS TO THE HEAD TO WAKE YOU UP!" it hadn't been a dream...he was still here...and that was the reason for his headache at least... "NOW GET UP" there was another punch in the face from her and Alec made a pretty quick decision to climb up from his bed. "We're doing training today. It should've started 5 minutes ago, but SOMEBODY didn't want to wake up. Throw this armour on and get out!" Alice stalked out of the tent. Alec sighed, and pulled the armour on. It smelt of sweat and weighed half a ton. He was greeted by laughter from the other warriors when he walked out.
    "Bit heavy is it?"
    "Sure you're okay with that?"
    "Why don't you just go back to sleep?"
    "SHUT UP GUYS, WE NEED TO START THIS TRAINING" Alice yelled over the top of them. She was met by a dozen groans from the other warriors gathered around her. "We'll start off with some practice sparring, Mike you go with me, Lenny, you take the new kid. The rest of you pair up.GO!"

    One of the smaller warriors wandered over to him. He was still much bigger than Alec, his arms and chest were heavily built up and stood at least a foot taller than Alec. "Right new kid. Let's get this sorted, so I can have some real opposition." He settled into a combat stance, with his sword held in front of him in a practised way.

    It was then Alec realised he didn't have a sword. Or a shield. Damn was his only thought, as Lenny raised the sword and brought it down, right into his midriff. The force of the blow made him stagger back a few meters...onto the edge of the marsh. He released where he was standing in the final moments, as Lenny's sword swung towards him he tried to duck below it, but it caught him fully in the chest and he went flying towards the massive expanse of the marsh behind him.

    Only it wasn't a marsh.

    He flew straight through the ground and smacked against the hard ground underneath. His neck snapped like a twig under the foot of a giant, and his spine quickly followed suit. As the world faded away, his last memories were of his home, the home that seemed so far away now. He'd never see it again, his parents would never see him again.

    And as he thought of those things, Alec died.