She ran.

She tended to.

In the innocence of youth, she had raced with gleeful freedom along the shores of her homeland. In the fervor of the blossoming, she had pursued knowledge relentlessly within the halls of the Academy. In the thrill of the hunt, she had harried the bloodsoaked streets of the Prison District.

And so it was that in this unfamiliar place she set to her familiar ways. It felt good to move again; the weightless rush of the chill air against her skin, the crunch of fallen leaves and branches beneath her bare feet. The moon had begun to peek through the clouds and dappled silver touched the leaves in places to light the forming dew drops like small liquid stars.

Her flickering gaze caught each glimmering orb as she passed, each glint or shine from a myriad of surfaces sparking her cautious nature. What dangers haunted this place? How long had it been? Where was she now? Where was her Family? Where was He? She rushed on, as if the answers merely awaited patiently wherever her feet came to rest.

A gleam caught her eye, out of place amongst the baubles of starlight. She came to a halt, the tattered remnants of her dress and mat of red hair rushing forward and straining against the abrupt stop. As the red strands cleared from her view, the brilliant green of her eyes reflected off the flat surface of an axe embedded deep within the trunk of a tree.

She looked around, listening, but heard nothing beyond the ambient sounds of the forest. She looked back to the axe. Its wound seemed fresh, sticky sap still marring the surface of the bark. Not far now. With a loud crack she jerked the axe free of its place, sending splinters of bark to scatter the shadows that had begun to creep like snakes from just as many nooks and cranies as the starlight had seemed to possess.

They had been there, distant in the corners of her eyes. They dipped behind every tree, shied from every glint of moonlight, skittered out from under her approaching steps. At times they pulsed and shifted as if they would spill onto her path and then in the next moment leave the world empty as if they had never existed at all. But all the while, they were silent.

She frowned down as the last black finger of darkness receeded from the bright gaze upon it. She did not know what awaited her in this new land, but she knew enough to be prepared. And so she gripped the axe tight in her hand, a blur against the landscape as she set to her running again.

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