I closed the flap on my pack securely, pulling taut the leather straps that held it close before fastened it to my saddle. I stepped back and looked doubtfully at the heavy saddle before me.
I had always been one to travel light; everything I needed could fit into the pockets of my saddle. Even when I had first journeyed to Russia all my possessions, if not worn was light upon my back.
Now as I packed again with no intention of ever returning, I found my store of possessions had grown quiet a lot and weighed a good deal since everything in there was covered in gold.
I unstrapped the pack from my poor horse and slung it over my shoulder, damn this was heavy. Maybe I could take some things out.
The door to the stable opened. I froze, listening for the weight of the footsteps and the length of the stride.
"Lady Electron." I greeted fastening the heavy pack onto my back and taking the reins of my horse.
"Do you know the sound of everyone's footsteps or just mine?" she asked.
I turned to face her as she unhitched a latch to a stallion's stall.
"Just the steps of people I wish to avoid." I replied, watching as she lead the sliver stallion from its stall, the animal seemed afraid of her. I watched curiously as she tried to stroke away the horses fear but every time she touched him he flinched.
"He's afraid of your power." I said at last figuring it out.
Electron glanced at me briefly, her eyes silently scolding me for telling her something she clearly knew. She then turned back to the horse and whispered softly to it in Romanian, this did little to calm him.
I returned my attention to my horse, leading him out of the stables; the fresh midnight wind ruffled the fur on my wolf mask. I pulled my cloak over my shoulders and hooked it under my chin. I breathed in deeply, the smell of the Russian snow, so strong and clean. It smelled different than it had before. It smelled of the promise of freedom. Somewhere beyond those vast fields of snow was my home.
I climbed into my saddle, quickly jerking my head around as soft hoof steps came beside me.
Electron stood beside me mounted on the silver stallion that was trotting nervously in place beneath her.
"What are you doing?!" I demanded fearing I already knew the answer.
"I'm coming with you.” She said.
I could’ve laughed if I weren’t so sure that she meant it.
“My lady I don’t need you to make sure I do my job.” I said with every bit of forced politeness I could muster.
“I wouldn’t dare.” Electron cried indignantly. “I merely want to make sure that you actually find Dmitry."
I snarled under my breath, I wondered if lightening was the only power she possessed.
“I hunt alone.” I said pointedly.
She gave me a defiant look.
I could tell there was no way I could persuade her to stay here, and quite frankly I didn’t care; I just hoped she could find her way back once I'd left her.
“Try to keep up.” I said steering my horse into a gallop, we rushed across the snow and I proceeded to try and lose her.
The snow passed under us like a frozen sea of white, stretching out as far as the eye could see until it meet the starry night sky that marked the horizon. The only instrument that measured our distance in this unmarked wilderness was the fading of the purple midnight sky as it gave way to the pale orange of dawn. Still Lady Electron was at my side, her stallion keeping pace with my horse as we galloped further and further from the palace. Either she was a better rider than I had thought or the horse was more afraid of her than he was exhausted.
That was not so with my horse, he began to slow his pace as he grew tired. I pulled my horse to a halt, the poor beast wasn't used to riding this long, he normally walked beside me as I tracked and his load had always been lighter than the one he carried now. I would have to lose Lady Electron some other way.
"Tracking?" Lady Electron asked pulling up beside me as I dismounted.
"Sleeping." I corrected stabbing my dagger into the snow covered ground and tying my horses reins around it.
Electron looked at me rather blankly; she was not convinced of my sincerity. She soon would be. I unhitched my sleeping gear.
"You haven't even done one bit of tracking!" Lady Electron protested.
"If you don't like my habits, you can leave!" I offered.
I had known from the start she was going to be a hassle to travel with but I'd hoped to lose her before this point, however, it appeared I would have to endure her company until we reached the woods.
"I'll catch up." I promised.
Lady Electrons reply was the knowing look in her bronze eyes, she seemed well aware of the fact that I was trying to leave her. My impatience to get back to my homeland was somewhat hindering the stealth with which I normally behaved.
"I'll take first watch." I said and began to tend to my horse.
Electron unhitched her pack and rolled out her sleeping gear. She then busied herself with setting up a tent around her blanket. As I watched her successfully construct her tent without too much confusion, I could feel my curiosity towards who she was demanding it be satisfied.
The more time I spent with Lady Electron the less like a Lady she acted. No Lady would ride this far out in the night with a man, alone; no Lady could've kept up with me!
I wondered what had Dmitry brought to the kingdom, in this masquerade of a Lady? Knowing Dmitry, it couldn’t be anything pleasant.