[AW] Tokyo Smoke
The borderlands, afternoon
#1
Rango tugged absently at the kerchief looped around his neck, gazing out towards the cloud veil hanging low on the horizon. The gentle breeze wafting over the grassy stretch was saturated with rain, notes of freshly budding leaves and new places heavy on its profile. This was the furthest he had ever been from home, and the journey was painfully uneventful. He was ashamed to feel eager anticipation for troubles along the trade route, and disappointed when they had completed nearly the whole leg of trip without even so much as seeing signs of bandits along the way. Lucinda had confided to him that she was grateful for their good fortune, so the burly boy had left to allow her an hour or two to enjoy that feeling, without disturbing her with his own dark contemplation. Under the guise of scouting out the path ahead, he struck out with little more than a satchel at his side and a knife secured to his belt. In the distance, a raven croaked, and Rango swivled an ear towards the unseen creature.

With their camp set up behind the shadow of a collapsing farmhouse bordered by common forest, Rango was confident that his sibling would not be troubled by other travelers, or locals, in his absence. He pushed his luck with the impending storm in abeyance, prowling the route as it led to a sparse forest of thin trees of smooth, pale bark, shivering with a lack of foliage.

His gait was careful over the uneven terrain where tufts of grass intersect the ancient asphalt road that had buckled and cracked from relentless seasons of snow, rain, and heat. Equally prudent were his keen observations as he took note of anything which might indicate that other predators and prey had passed through recently, or could still be lurking nearby. Again, a raven called out from the forest, but Rango's attention was drawn to a curious sound coming up from behind him.

He had only a moment to process what was happening before he made the choice to step off to the side, peering down the flatlands as a horse barreled towards him. For an instant, he feared that one of his horses had gotten loose, and he tensed in preparation to try and catch it. As the grey coated steed approached, however, Rango could see that it was neither his, nor did anyone or anything appear to be chasing after. Squinting, his molten gaze becoming bright streaks against his dark coat, he decided that it would be in his best interest to let the beast of burden run past, for he no rope, and no one else to help him wrangle it.
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