The princess obeyed this time. Her horse galloped at a good clip until she reached the dock and climbed down from her steed. A wooden boat tied to the dock garnered her attention. Cassandra untied the rope and pushed the boat into the heavy current. Climbing into the vessel, she grabbed the paddles and maneuvered the boat into the darkness. The shouts of the Delmirths drew closer. They laughed and shouted something she didn't understand.
She paddled hard and managed to get far enough away, certain they could never catch her except by air. Cassandra rowed with all her might and watched the angry Delmirths gather on the beach. They shouted obscenities at her. A dart sailed in her direction and pierced her upper arm. A cry of pain filled the air as she tried to pull the wretched thing from her skin. The sharp edge was deep and the blood made it slick. Cassandra gripped it tight and yanked it free. After a few good tugs, the dart let go, except for the end of the tip that was still trapped inside her arm. Blood oozed from the wound, its flow hindered only by the embedded tip.
It wasn't until the moon shone through the clouds that she got a good look at the poisonous dart. Cassandra had used these darts to defeat many of her enemies. She knew in order to survive she needed medicine soon. There wasn't much time, four hours at the most. With a deep breath, she forced herself to remain calm. If she panicked, the poison would work its way through her body that much sooner.
Through the shadows, Cassandra saw the apparent new leader shout orders to his army. She had visions of them pursuing her through the sky and braced herself for what was yet to come.
Picking up the paddles, she remained strong and concentrated on her mission, to find land as soon as possible. As the hour wore on, she felt herself weaken. Her arms wouldn't cooperate. The strength left her body. She touched her sweaty forehead and closed her eyes to the consuming dizziness. The dark waves that lapped against the boat had made her seasick. Cassandra leaned over the side of the craft and retched. The world spun around faster. She tried to pick up the oars, determined to find land. The oars fell from her hands. She leaned back in her seat and held her head. The boat rocked unsteadily in the wind. Clouds obscured the moon and Cassandra found herself in total darkness.
A strong gust of wind blew across the lake. Cassandra screamed in terror as the boat rocked dangerously back and forth. She held on tight to the edges as the waves increased with force. From out of the darkness, the sound of dragon's wings soared above her.
Thankful its sight was poor, she swallowed nervously and watched as the wind and waves grew stronger. Fearful of losing it, Cassandra placed her knapsack around her shoulders.
The dragons fought against the wind in their attempt to fly across the water, only to be pulled back by the forces of nature. Flashes of lightning appeared in the distance, accompanied by rolling thunder. Tiny droplets of rain fell. Within minutes, the storm intensified and the rain became a torrential downpour. The waves pitched the boat precariously.
A large wave came out of nowhere and headed straight for the boat. It hit head-on. The wooden craft flipped over. Cassandra struggled to the surface and gripped what she soon realized was the boat seat.
She felt along the length of the wooden boat, made her way to the edge and dipped under only long enough to surface. She held onto the overturned boat with all of her strength. Her arms tired and her head spun as the storm pounded around her. The vessel hit a rock and splintered. With the last remnant of her sanctuary disappearing below the surface, she gave up.