Sorry I missed last week! I’d originally wanted to expand this next section, but I’m swamped with school right now and didn’t get around to it. I guess I’ll save it for the next draft. 😉 Back to Amber:
Just… one… more… step. Cheery morning sunlight filtered through the leafy canopy as Amber staggered off the road and into the forest. Small stones turned under her foot; she tripped over a mischievously-placed root and landed on her hands and knees.
Rest. Sleep. Amber crawled to the nearest tree and curled herself into a ball at its base. The trunk was reassuringly solid against her back. Overhead, a bird trilled.
Amber tilted her head against the bark and squinted up at the light dapples. The plan had come to her in a moment of clarity as she’d walked, unnoticed in her mist cloak, down Hopeswell’s main street.
There was no way she could go back to her rented rooms. It was too dangerous to stay in Hopeswell. The combat mages she’d left behind were strong, numerous, and resourceful. If they wanted to talk to her, they’d find a way to track her down. Equally worrying was Waleem’s client, the shadowy figure behind her midnight expedition. She knew nothing about him, but he knew plenty about her.
Her name. Her whereabouts. Her abilities.
He’d devised a test for her, a test that most mages wouldn’t have had a hope of passing. But she’d been so wrapped up in her desire to show her cleverness, she’d played right into his hands. She’d revealed herself to be a pattern mage who could find things. Not just any things. She could find magical artifacts.
Amber had stood still in the street as salt-flecked drizzle pattered down upon her. She thought of that warehouse stuffed full with war constructs, magical items, and powerful spells. This was the lawless frontier after all—who knew what sort of nefarious elements were arming themselves and for what purpose?
I have to get out. Before either party found her. Rapidly, Amber had run through her options.
Not the ferry, nor the train. They’d expect that. No. I need to walk to another town and catch the train south. Go down into the peninsula, catch a boat from the very foot of Pangyria.
And so she’d gone. Didn’t stop by her rooms, left all her belongings, ignored the fact she had no supplies. She’d taken the main street all the way out of Hopeswell, and continued on it when it became just another cart-track. Dawn had brought her to the tiny village of Camarilla, but she skirted it. No, further south. Just keep walking, one foot after another.
Except this land wasn’t anything like she’d expected. The very air breathed of vastness, the forests spread out for miles, the stones and trees felt ancient. The patterns of life and magic indented the land deeply, as if carved by a knife.
This wasn’t anything like home. Not like the tiny, tidy city of Oakstown nor in any place in her home island of Ravin or any of its smaller satellites that made up the archipelago of her home country.
This was the mainland, and the wind brought snatches of unrecognized scents and never-before-seen patterns. The air tingled with the taste of wild magic.
No wonder those combat mages are so strong, if this is the land they live on, the air they breathe. I thought I’d seen the mainland when I stepped on Hopeswell, but I was so wrong. Hopeswell is just another transplanted part of Ravin, whereas this—
Another bird called out, its song fierce and harsh and beautiful.
This is the real thing.
Her eyes fluttered shut. She slept.
Author’s Note: It’ll take me some time to get the hang of writing in episodes! I could’ve done more with this short scene, probably in terms of world building and exploring the wild magic. Something to think about for the future!