The rain started an hour before dark, and three hours out of camp. Krynia and Engot had shared a look, then another, and then they’d spurred their goats into a run up the side of the mountain.
There was no going back, not for either of them. He was a deserter, now, and she – well, they’d call her worse than that, if they found her. Losing her commission in the priesthood would be only her first problem.
So they ran, on stolen goats, into the storm, seeking a shelter, anything, anywhere. “Look at it in this light.” Engot’s Bitrani was not the best, but it was clearer, still, than the Callenian Krynia could manage without divine intervention. “The storm this bad, our tracks covered. Nobody will search.”
“Nobody will find our bodies.” She muttered her answer into her cloak, in hopes that he wouldn’t hear her. The storm provided, cracking thunder across their path. “Your country is wet.”
“So is yours.” Then there was nothing at all to say for a while, just the steady thumping of their goats’ hooves on the dirt road and the loud cracks of the lightning. Night fell with little change, the sky already black with clouds. Krynia risked a tiny pull on the sira, enough to make a small globe of luminescence to light their path. She hoped the gods would forgive her. She could not worship them if they died here. She could not worship them if she was killed for heresy.
“Here.” Here, in the deep back hills of Callenia, Engot was as much a stranger as she was. But in every corner of this land, you could find the sturdy wayfarer’s cabins of those who had come first. And this one, though the roof was beginning to fall, was still mostly intact. “This will be enough for tonight.”
“Tonight.” She knew he couldn’t see her smile, not through the gloom, the rain, and her hood and veil. “And then…?”
“Once we go through this pass, we’re out of land that the Emperor’s Army patrols. Then…” she couldn’t see his smile, either, but she could hear it. “Then we do as we please, Krynia.”
“As we please.” It was a new thought, but a nice one.
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