The Highlands

Everyn knew the forests like the back of her hand. She knew where there was a good place to hide, to seek a quick drink at the stream, to hunt for small game and even where she could dress and bathe without intrusion. She scrubbed her hair and sun soaked skin thoroughly as was routine after leaving her enemies camp. Being among them and pretending to share their ideals made her feel grimy. Sometimes she felt as if the water could renew her and relieve her from her sin by association with the treacherous Highlanders.

She felt the nerves tingle in the her hands as she cast a circle in the water with her arms. She was sure to set her focus on only the small ripples about her waste. The water instantly heated. Steam rose up around her. She inhaled deeply and allowed the steam to soothe her chakra. After a couple minutes she released the hold on her water magic and the water cooled instantly.

Eve wrung the water from her copper tresses. She winced recalling the exuberance and celebration in Neuridian. As she stood in the corners, acting the role of a lowly serving wench in the Citadel, she observed the high spirits of the warriors. Their high spirits usually meant bad news for someone else. Eve could not wait to race home and figure out what the cause of this excitement was. Growing anxious she pulled on a simple pair of boy's slacks; hemmed and altered to fit her thin frame. Over her corset she pulled on a simple white peasant tunic and paired the outfit with a tall pair of warm deer hide boots. It was far from the latest fashion but Eve could not wear a dress lest she wanted to ride side saddle and there was no way that was going to happen. Under her shirt on a long chain she wore her late fiance's ring; delicately carved with a miniscule wolf. It was the crest of his family; a family that was meant to be her own as they would have been wed by now had it not been for the raid on Fregurd last summertime. Perhaps she would have even given Madox an heir by now.

Her chest ached when she thought of all that she had lost and all that could have been. Asburro, the leader of the Fregurd clan and Madox's brother offered to have Everyn married off to one of his finest men but Eve would take no other. She would live independently if she could not live her life with Maddox. Only two fortnights ago Asburro had given her a new proposition; She could marry and he would match her dowry or she could serve him in another way. And that began her turbulent career in espionage.

Eve never envisioned herself living the life of a spy. She wasn't overly stealthy, though Asburro thought differently as he said her face was a hard one to read and that her demeanor left no inkling as to what she was truly feeling. That may have been so, but it was shock and grief that buried Everyn's true passion and emotions. Alone in the woods, with Madox's horse Rhys, she sometimes allowed herself to feel the way she had before Madox's death; alive and free.

Now Eve was burdened with an overpowering feeling of anxiety. It was the most she had felt in months. She didn't even bother combing her hair. Hastily she ran a splayed and dampened piece of bark along her teeth. Just because she was nearly a nomad now didn't mean she would abandon her hygiene.

She saddled Rhys and pressed her heels into his belly to rally him into a faster trott. They carefully made their way outside of the sloped forest that separated the Highlands from the lowlands and hours later ended up back in Fregurd.

The End

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