There was no real reason to run away.
And yet, there seemed to be something off. There was something wrong with what he was being taught and everything he had grown up believing.
So Ewan ran.
In the middle of the night, when the corridor patrols were changing over and all the students were asleep. He packed a small bag of clothing and money. He slipped out the door and crept down the hallway.
Heart pounding in his ears and hands slick from sweat, he made his way towards his goal. If he could make it to the river, he would free.
He knew the patrols were all in the guard house by the back gate. He knew the grounds would be unguarded for the next hour as the dusk patrol went to bed and the moon patrol woke up. He knew all this and yet, every time he heard a noise, his heart would jump into his throat. Every shadow that moved made him wish there was someplace to hide.
Ewan had never been so relieved to see those front gates. Casting a quick look around the training yard, he bolted.
Legs aching from the fast pace, Ewan knew there would be plenty of marks for the trackers to follow. He could hear the twigs breaking with every foot fall. He could feel the branches tearing at his clothes.
He focused on his breathing. Short, quick breaths that matched his stride. In. Out. Left. Right. Eyes looking towards his goal. The goal he was beginning to hear but was not able to see.
Ewan tried to quiet his breathing. He wanted to hear if he was being followed. He wanted to know if they had found his empty bed.
All those thoughts left his head as he saw the first glimpse of moonlight off the dark water.
He was going to make it. Just a little bit further.
Wolves howled in the distance, warning each other of approaching danger. Owls contributed to the sounds of the night with their flapping wings and eery hoots.
Ewan could hear it all but none of it mattered because he had reached the banks of the river.
The sounds of rushing water assaulted his ears as Ewan jumped.