The moon was bright. Too bright. A cloaked figure hesitated in the bushes, wanting to remain hidden until the time was right. If it were up to her, the time would never come. But it must.
Clouds crept toward the moon, taking their time. Taking the girl’s time, too. Nevertheless, they reached their destination and the earth below went dark. The time was almost right. She slid out of the bushes and slithered to the edge of the cliff.
She pulled her cloak tighter and stood up straight, studying the valley below her. Most of it was utterly black, but an occasional tall tree or jutting boulder could be seen through the mist. Commotion erupted behind her.
She took in a shaky breath and moved forward another inch. Her bare toes gripped the last possible place to stand. She latched her fingers around the crystal chain about her neck and stared at the red gem in the center. There was still time to take it out. But she would not, could not, do it.
She glanced over her shoulder. Flames, torches, came closer and shouts grew louder. In just a moment, the time would be right. The strong trees kept out the intruders for only a few more precious minutes, but they gave way and the army swept forward. With a bloodcurdling scream, the girl flung herself from the cliff, disappearing through the mists.
The time was right.