William wondered where he would settle down. He couldn’t keep running forever. He had a good knowledge of geography and other nations so it was conceivable that he could leave the country if he wished. One man slipping past the boarder was hardly a great task. But where would he go?
Florais was one option, though not much of one. The only people that flourished there was the nobles – most of the lower class were serfs and the few merchants that existed there were treated as outcasts. Albion was another option, it was a fairly easy going place and it wasn’t too much different from the Viimarch aside from the terrain. Then there was Eraine – but William doubted he could even reach the island let alone land on its shores. He didn’t fancy his chances in any nations further afield than that.
His thoughts came back to him as he reached Hemmal’s town wall. The guards let him pass without incident. It wasn’t like he had enough room to smuggle anything and he wasn’t carrying any contraband weapons – most of which would have been perfectly visible no matter how he would have tried to hide them.
Soon he was out on the open road again. He liked it when he was on the move. There was always more to see. It was lonesome but there was always more to see. He felt freedom with the movement of his slightly ponderous mount and the slight breeze in his face. He laughed – he could say goodbye to that if he ever fled to Albion, its coastal position guaranteeing that it would instead be an icy sleet.
Two days passed as he rode out from Hemmal and he’d camped for both of them. It would be another two before he cleared the outskirts of the Drachwald. The massive forest was the setting of many fantasies and some much darker tales. It stretched for just over two thousand miles and it was impossible to navigate through. It stopped any trade between Viimarch and Nisice, the nation on the other side.
On the morning of the third day he stopped in the middle of the road, paralyzed. His normally unshakable mount also stood stock still with fear. There was a wolf. A singular wolf... but this one was huge. If it had stood shoulder to shoulder with his pony it would have been bigger. Its pelt was the colour of an early winter frost on granite. Its icy eyes were fixed upon them.
It took a moment for William to realise that there was a young girl sat upon it. Her blonde hair was a mess, entangled with twigs and leaves. Her clothes were woven from leaves and vines. William was still with fear as she approached them, though through the numbness of his mind he still found he could question things... like why hadn’t his pony bolted on sight from the wolf alone?
On closer inspection the little pony seemed entirely unafraid, with not even the slightest hesitation of approaching the giant wolf. William’s fear ebbed away as it gave way to confusion and then to curiosity. From the look of the girl she was waiting for them. Her eyes were fixed on him as he moved closer and closer until he could see her amber eyes fixed on him.