[P] it was a great big world, with lots of places to run to
Fort Cumberland. Mid-afternoon, overcast and breezy.

She rode north, away from the looming gate and the mountains. The city emerged from the greenery bit by bit and then at all once. In the center it was still very much concrete, asphalt, and rubble. Pockets of what had once been yards and parks formed weedy patches, while trees bunched and did their best to grow in cracks and crevices. This provided some shade, but by and large she stuck to the taller swaths of forest that ringed the old city.

Had the city been her destination, Whisper would still have followed the route she now took. Part of leaving Salsola was ensuring that no one who wasn't part of the pack realized who she was. Efforts had gone into masking her scent and the scent of Laurel's gear as best she could – using a bundle of herbs to rub the smell on herself and the horse each time they stopped to rest. Eventually the little brush was beyond use and discarded in the brush along the way. She had borrowed a pair of old leather clothes from the storage unit and kept them bundled up in smelly herbs (mostly lavender and mint). Satisfied by the result and pleased with her cleverness, Whisper felt confident that her little adventure would be a simple one.

For the most part, it was. She rode a good portion of the trail at a slow pace, but pushed her borrowed mount on flat open ground when it became clear. Caution kept her from going too fast in unknown territory. If anything happened to the horse, they'd both be in a great deal of danger.

After a few hours, she stopped to rest at a peculiar, open area that afforded her a wide view of the oncoming landscape. Though it lacked shade, the day had become overcast and the worst of the sun was blocked out. Whisper was glad for this, and took her lunch on the peak of a rolling, artificial hill that overlooked several stone walls and an old building in disrepair. While she considered exploring the place, doing so alone was too risky. She was already throwing some caution to the wind by coming out here on her own.

Laurel was a good horse, though, and her regular use and temperament made the travel easier for both of them. The wolfdog let her horse graze while she ate her travel food, determined to go a little further before turning back and heading home. Daylight was long still, but it was beginning to give more and more time away even as the season reached grueling levels of heat.

The wind felt good. When it came up from the water, Whisper breathed in the salty smell and noted the subtle differences between this shore and the ones surrounding her home. She turned her focus towards where the thick forest she had traveled through began. Maybe she'd turn east and follow the coast. There were ways to get back over the mountain, especially if she still had daylight.

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it was a great big world, with lots of places to run to - by Whisper Eternity - 23 August 2021, 06:36 PM

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