To the Sea and From the North

Kenna Wood stumbles through the merciless forest for days. As she journeys, she thinks that oh, this must be what it would have been like, before! This babbling creek, these swaying trees... that's what it was like before. This water that she gulps down... it's precious. Men have fought wars for this water and yet... it's all hers.

The world is at her disposal.

She ventures away from the North, away from her life, in search of the world in the meadows. From the meadows, she will learn and grow and live and from there--from the meadows... she'll leave for the Sea.

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"One breath, it'll just break it"
-River, Bishop Briggs

Kenna rose long before dawn arrived. The sky was still colored with the darkness of night, a crushing blanket of indigo across the whole village. Maren, who used to sleep in the same cottage as her, was long dead. There was nobody to hear her leave. Nevertheless, Kenna made sure her actions were silent as the night. She sported her heavy, worn jeans and warm, long-sleeved shirt. To protect herself from the vicious cold, she pulled on her heavy coat that had been made from the skin of a deer. Maren had made it. In one large pocket, she stuffed a small bag of dried fruit; she thought she would enjoy it as a mid-morning snack. In the other, she stuffed all of her non-food necessities; extra string for her bow, flint and steel for fire, and another small coil of string that she could use for trapping. On the waistband of her jeans, she strapped her brother's sheath and knife. It was a beautiful blade; five inches long, and the handle had been intricately carved by their father long before she was born. Neither of the men had any use for it anymore; they wouldn't miss it. They wouldn't miss her, either, but that didn't matter. She tugged on her old boots, made of stiff leather but well worn in, tying the laces tightly. Over her shoulder, she slung her handsome bow and a quiver with two dozen of her arrows. She had designed them, herself. She had designed them to kill. 

As she left her small cottage, she left no note. The village was still asleep; they would rest for several hours longer. Kenna was typically awake much earlier than the rest, anyway... it was her duty to hunt in the dawn hours. They wouldn't discover she was missing until long after the sun had risen; by then, she'd be a fair ways away. She figured that in the five or so hours she had until her presence was missed, she could travel a fair dozen miles. Of course, she'd have to run some of it, but that wouldn't bother her. 

She shut the door softly behind her, took a quick glance around to make sure nobody was watching, and quickly jogged to the edge of the woods. Her feet made absolutely no noise as they hit the ground; one of the perks of her hunter status. Hunter... and soldier. As she stood between two trees at the edge of the forest, she could see every structure in the small village. There were the twenty cabins, the infirmary cabin, the dining cabin, and the cells. She stood for a minute, simply breathing in the cool night air. She wasn't worried she'd be seen; even if she were to be seen, they'd likely assume she had woken earlier than usual to hunt some seasonal prey. 

In her head, she ran through the memories of this village; everything since the day she was born to the day to the day she decided to leave. And she hadn't decided on that very night... it was a decision she'd been making over and over for the past three months, and would continue to make as she journeyed to the Meadows. It was when the Killings had started that she had first begin to question her position... was she, too, disposable? She had created her arrow in the hopes it would make her irreplaceable, intentionally making herself the only person who could disable the weapon. When they'd killed Maren, she decided that being valuable wouldn't necessarily save her, so she began planning for her departure. It wasn't until they killed Marcus, however, that she decided to leave. 

She took one last breath; a breath that hung heavy in the air like a cloud, before dissolving into the night. She turned around, stepping away from the village for her final time. As she parted, her steps made no noise, her breath came silently. She was simply a shadow in the night, silent as she walked. The forest itself wouldn't have been able to sense her presence. She moved like a ghost. 

A ghost, she truly was. 

She glided along the forest floor, her face pale in the moonlight. She was cold, vengeful, and seeking closure. 

She walked through the night, through the morning, through the day. It wasn't until seven hours after her departure that her lack of presence was noticed, and even then she wasn't missed. There were none who wanted her back simply for her... there were plenty who wanted her back so they could take part in her death. 

As her shadow fell beneath her and the sun was high in the sky, Kenna slowed her pace from a brisk walk to something of a leisurely stroll, pulling her dried fruit from her pocket. After she finished her snack, she pulled a long sip of water back from her jug of water, and walked slowly for another few minutes to allow her stomach to settle, and then brought her pace back up to a jog in order to compensate for lost mileage. She walked through the day and through much of the next night, walking until she could not bring her legs to walk any further. Seeking out a tree with low, sturdy branches, she walked another mile more before she found her resting place before scaling the tree, tying up her belongings, and resting for the night. 

She continued on this way for quite some time, walking and sleeping through the next seventeen days. 

As she trekked through the seemingly endless forest, she thought that this must be what the world had been like. It must have been like that; with the trees swaying above her, and the creek gurgling beside her... leaves crunching beneath her, cold air swirling around her. The cool water sliding down her throat... she didn't have to fight for that water. She simply took it when it was given to her. Nobody had to fight, nobody had to die for her to drink it. She wondered how rare that was; to drink without killing. Surely, not many others in the world could say they had experienced that. 

She continued on, wondering how many more days she would stay in the untouched wilderness before succumbing to merciless society once again, regardless of what society that would be. Hopefully, she would make it to the Meadow. Rumor had it there was a fortress there, a fortress hundreds of feet tall and protecting thousands of people. Rumor had it nothing could penetrate those metal walls; rumor had it that the people there were safe. Truly, entirely safe. That was something that Kenna had never experienced before, especially not in the past few months. Well... out there in the woods, she felt safe; it was simply for the lack of people around her, however. 

So she would go this fortress in the Meadow, and from there she would venture to the Sea. At the Sea, she would find the boy. 

That was her plan; to find the boy. That had always been her plan, her plan from the start.

Her plan was all that kept her feet moving; she was used to strenuous activity, but she was far from used to completely such activity on as little sleep as she had. She kept thinking of the boy; she knew he would be about her age, but in her mind she could picture him only as the helpless infant Marcus had described to her; a thick tuft of black hair on top of his otherwise hairless head, deep blue that were almost always squinted shut. Tiny, clammy baby hands curled into little fists, usually one with a thumb in the baby's mouth. The poor little thing; nameless. 

She thought of what he would look like, now. Likely skinny, from working in the plant, but with strong arms. She liked to imagine that he would like story telling, as his father did. She knew he could bear no mental resemblance to his father, considering he known him for such a short time, but she liked to think they would be similar nonetheless. She knew the baby would not look like his father; Marcus was blonde with brown eyes. The baby took after his mother, Marcus said. He would probably be lazy, Marcus always said. He did nothing but sleep, with his closed blue eyes and his thumb in his mouth. 

It was the thought of this tiny, helpless baby that brought Kenna all the way through the woods, across hundreds of miles of land, to the Meadow and its fortress. It was the thought of who he would be now that brought her from the North, and it was the thought of him that filled her mind as she finally broke through the trees into the clearing. 

 

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