A figure hurtled through the understory, head down as a precaution against the low hanging branches. The hood that concealed the figure's identity snagged on a limb, catching fast.
A girl was revealed. She couldn't have been more than sixteen. Her face was square, and out from it shone amber eyes. Her cheeks were rosy from the wind and exertion. Her breath turned into puffs of smoke in the early morning spring air.
The girl wriggled free and resumed her running. She ran a hand over the ginger stubble that passed for hair. She'd been nicked by a branch or two in the scuffle.
She didn't look behind her—she didn't want to risk losing a few precious seconds of her lead. Even though she couldn't hear anyone, she knew she was being pursued. The hunted know well when they are being chased.
She just had to get across the border. She'd be safe there. They couldn't catch her in the mountains. She had a good headstart-- but that could easily change. She was on foot. They'd have horses. Maybe even dogs...
The girl shuddered at the prospect of reliving that part of her life.
Get to the border. Get into the mountains.
She'd have the advantage there.
The passes might still be snowed in, but there were other ways. It would only take a rock scramble or two to get over the mountains. That would slow her pursuers down. They weren't used to a vertical climb. They were used to the rolling fields of the Lowlands.
The mountains were tough. They were territory she knew well. If they could find her trail that far in, they'd be doing it on foot.
Despite the circumstances, the girl managed a grin. She just might make it out.