Fiora blew out a breath as the wind dried her tears before they fell. The man behind her followed without a word and she tried to keep a pace that would give him no reason to speak. Easier to mourn in silence. She missed her father fiercely and the last seven years without his encouragement had been very trying. What would he think of her now? Floating through the forest with… a man who might as well be a stranger tromping behind. But quickly she shoved thoughts of her father aside. She had already mourned his passing and made peace with his death. Dwelling on his memory would not change things.
The fact remained she was floating through the forest… with a stranger tromping behind. The morning had proved it to her. Not when he woke her or when she chided him for ignoring her warning about the fire. No, she had not been listening then.
When she had asked for a few private moments before packing, he had not made a fuss and even seemed relieved. Out of sight and down the bank, she had walked straight into the water gasping as the chill woke all her senses. The deepest part of the brook only came up to her knees but it was more than enough to dunk herself under. She held her breath for a few minutes letting the water flow over her limbs and cleanse her for the upcoming day. Fiora wondered if the water would carry news of her passing to the Lady in her Sanctuary – home – which now felt so very far away.
Rising from the water, it clung to her weighing down both hair and dress as if asking her to tarry longer, but there was no more time to enjoy the luxury of the water's caress. She found a rock to stand atop and lifted her arms. A whirlwind of air rushed about drying her off and Fiora closed her eyes. This was her favorite part of the day; when she could just listen.