Kayeen continued pushing himself forward in shock. He had killed a man. Even if the stranger who had confronted him was still alive when he left, there was no chance the man would ever be able to survive the elements. Leaving him there felt worse than throwing the rock itself. That had been hurled in the heat of the moment but just abandoning the man… Guilt gnawed away at his thoughts as Kayeen felt himself being compelled forward.
He had passed through Trappers Point stopping only long enough for a meal with the last of the inhabitants before passing on. Many who came to work these inhospitable lands did so to get away from civilization so none of the others closing up home and shop bothered to pry. They must have been curious as to where the new stranger had come from but between his growing guilt and the fact that, for the first time in his life he was among strangers, Kayeen was not inclined to talk. Every look of curiosity he received, the young man interpreted as a glare of accusation. Kayeen was sure, somehow, everyone would know what he had done as sure as if it were branded to his forehead.
Once beyond the Point, Kayeen turned east towards the ocean. He had seen his father’s map enough to know that the only way he could get south of the Great North Range was to get directly to the coast and then board a ship into Kazani territory. Both Kazan and Kyev claimed this part of the range as well as the patch of barren ice and scraggly forest above but, apart from a small amount of fur trading that took place, there was nothing to make either nation waste resources to make good on that claim.
Kayeen spent the last of his coin at the port in securing his passage south. He overpaid but the captain was suspicious enough of this reclusive young man who was out of place to gouge him for everything he could. Thus Kayeen, tormented and alone, left the far north behind him forever.
To read the remainder of this chapter, click here.
To read the story from the beginning, click here.
Also, be on the lookout for the audio versions of chapters 1 and 2 to be posted soon. They’ve been recorded, but not yet edited. The audio for the prelude is below…