Rian knew they were coming for her. She had tried, in small ways, to help the village. Avoiding overt displays of magic, she provided salves and poultices that seemed to win her the affection of her new neighbors.
But the Terrgat had her scent. They were coming for her, and the village would hand her over. Her assistance was genuinely appreciated, she knew, but the Terrgat were feared. And so, ultimately, was she. They had to know she used magic. Disguised as it was, they villagers were willing to pretend not to notice. But with the Terrgat coming, none of that mattered.
Despite her attempts to avoid being tied down, she had accumulated many things since coming here, and had even become attached to some of them. Ignoring the danger, she had begun to lay down roots. Deep enough to make leaving hard, but not deep enough to keep her safe. She only grabbed her book inside its case, a few coins she had on hand, and the pouch she had made for this eventuality. All her tools would have to be abandoned.
Just before she opened the door to leave, there was a knock. Her heart skipped a beat before she realized it was at the house next to hers. It was nearly too late, but she left via the back door.
Unfortunately, one of the Terrgat had circled around behind the row of houses. He spotted her immediately.
She began to run. There was no point in trying to talk her way out of this.
She heard his heavy footsteps behind her. Ducking between two of the houses, she saw a group of villagers on the street. As they caught sight of her, one of them pointed.
“There she is!”
And that was it. The village had turned on her. She could wait no longer. Drawing a small gem out of her pouch, she threw it down and stepped on it. Instantly, a heavy, dense fog enveloped the area. It would spread over half a mile from this point. No one could see more than two feet in front of themselves.
She began to run again, thankful she had memorized her path. Ducking between buildings several more times to confuse her pursuers, she trusted that memory. However, someone had left a cellar door open that she didn’t see through the fog until it was too late. Tripping, she landed heavily on the dirt floor of the cellar five feet below.
When she looked up, she saw a girl, maybe ten, in front of her. Rian recognized her right away. Her name was Mayn, and she had come to Rian for medicine to help her mother. One scream from the girl, and the Terrgat would have her. All of her hopes died here.
But Mayn smiled and placed her fingers against her lips. The girl would not give her away? The relief she felt was tempered by the sounds of pursuit getting louder. It did not matter if the girl did not draw them to her; they would still find her.
Then she remembered her pouch. She drew out another gem and quickly crushed it between her fingers. Then she threw the pieces out of the door. An image of her sprang from them and began running away. Soon, the sounds of pursuit receded after it.
Mayn walked over to Rian and hugged her.
“Thank you for my mother. Now run.”
Rian squeezed her back and quickly stole away.