“I can never give you myself.” The words of the huntsman ran through her head on repeat with every step she took away from the man.
“I still love her.” It was joined by the other words, the ones that would chip away at the armor upon her heart until there was none left.
She made it outside of the Cathedral before her world crumbled, but it was a near thing.
She had no idea where she was going. She’d told him she would return in a few days, that she needed to clear her head.
The house? No. Not after the nights they’d shared there.
Ashbrooke? No… Even there, his ghost would wander the woods and the keep. They’d spent too much time there together.
Her feet made the decision that her mind could not. They carried her outside of the city.
She found her horse in the stables, already saddled and waiting. The stable hands had seen her coming.
She took the dapple grey stallion without a word and left. The direction was still undecided. Her eyes desperately scanned the horizon, but no source of comfort came.
So she hoisted herself into the saddle and let the horse decide.
He carried her North, through human and dwarven lands alike. He carried her through the mountainous reaches of Arathor, the desolate Plaguelands, the haunted forests of the Ghostlands.
She remembered none of it.
Her first truly coherent thought came when she opened her eyes and saw the beautiful springtime woods of Eversong.
She was confused, but for the first time in days the weight on her chest had eased. She could breathe.
Her horse rested nearby, looking haggard and worn from the journey. Her armor, such as it was, looked dusty and mud-flecked from the desperate rush to escape.
To be free of the memory of him. Of their nights together, of her head on his chest in the mornings. The way she always knew what he needed, even before he knew it himself.
The bond ran deep, and so the cracks from it being broken threatened to shatter her.
“I cannot love you.” His voice echoed through her mind, and the memories flooded back.
The world around her shattered.