As heavy grey clouds rolled up across the horizon Irmelin leaned against the railing keeping the horses penned in, her mood and eyes matching the sky, her mind was in an uproar just like the weather. Only difference was that after a massive downpour and some thunder the sky would be clear again, the air fresh and sweet. She would have to live all her life with all these feelings of anger and resignation bottled up and just keep a good face. Sweeping back her copper red hair that had broken loose from her braid in the strong wind Irmelin swept her eyes across the herd of horses that gazed peacefully, they had an easy life compared to her. Why would just her village have to be so damn traditional and set in its ways? There as electricity that worked most of the time, as long as it didn't snow too much, some simple machines were owned by the biggest farmer and the general store but otherwise the village was determined to stay old fashioned. The elders convinced that new technology wouldn't last and would only cause laziness and problems. But that she could accept, being used to a life without much technology it wasn't something she strictly missed, but why was the culture never changing. Since she was fourteen Irmelin had been promised to a man of her parents choosing, he was seven years older than her and sure he was nice and she had nothing against him personally. It was just that her very being refused being sent off into marriage without any choice whatsoever. Her dark red hair actually did show a flaring soul, she was raised to be obedient and kind and she did what she could to please her parents because she loved them. Couldn't they just see that she wasn't happy and would never be happy like this. Sighing Irmelin rubbed her temples where a headache threatened to blossom, she had been pondering this the entire month. Thank all higher powers that the harvest had been very bad this year so that the marriage had been pushed back till next summer, it gave her an extra year of freedom and anxiety. A part of her that only grew larger wanted to run, run far away and be relieved of her duties but the other part of her wanted the safe option of staying and accepting her chosen role. Every day that went those parts of her battled but so far neither ever won. Here was safety, tradition, the horses and her family but outside was freedom. Heaving another sigh Irmelin straightened up and headed back to the house, her father and brothers were out tending to the fields and her mother had taken her little sisters to the village tailor to get them some new clothes that they would probably out grow in a week. A rare occasion when she had the quaint little house to herself, and her thoughts. Inside her small room that kept her bed, a closet and a it of free space for a rag rug Irmelin studied the dress that hung behind her door hidden under a protecting cover. It was for her wedding, bought for this year but now it hung unused for another couple of seasons. It was very elaborate compared to her other clothes, a mix of browns, greens and white in a seemingly random pattern and decorated with beads and a intricate seams. Her hand fell to her side allowing the cover to hide the dress again, the sight of it almost choked her. A glance outside pressed the air from her lungs, a black bird with a white pattern similar to stars on a night sky and a pale chest landed briefly on her windowsill before ruffling its feathers and taking off again. Irmelin had not seen that kind of bird since she was a child, it was rare and many believed it had left this area years ago. The so called Omen Bird, it was an old nickname and the bird had always been connected with omens, good or bad. Life, death, decisions, the future, the past all had once been tied to sightings of the Omen Bird. A sign. It must be a sign. What else could it be? Irmelin was schooled in the old superstitious ways and though not every lesson had stuck with her some had, and her old grandmother would have instantly told her the same she was thinking now. Having made up her mind Irmelin set into motion, grabbing a simple but sturdy bag and stuffed it with some food, bread, dried meat and some cheese, it was enough for awhile at least. In her brothers room she grabbed a set of clothes that was a bit too big for her small frame but they were easier to move around in than her dress. Pulling up her leather boots over the cotton pants and stuffed the too big off white shirt inside, finishing it with a leather vest that she tied as hard as much was possible to make it fit better. It was not an outfit that would win her any points with any of the villagers but it was comfortable and reminded her a bit about home. Just as she was about to leave she remembered her gift, a green silk dress that her parents had paid a lot of money for as her wedding gift, she didn't see herself as a girly girl but she hadn't the heart to leave it behind unused. Stuffing it deep down in the bag as she jogged down the stairs and towards the kitchen, stopping at the last moment to put a knife that had been left in its scabbard on the table. If she remembered correctly there would be a traders wagon in town today and she was almost certain he was going to take the western route when he left. She didn't want to take a horse that her family depended on for survival so she intended to hitch a ride with the trader to wherever he was going. It hit her that she really hadn't any idea of how the world outside the village looked like or where things was. Excitement and fear filled her as Irmelin walked with quick steps along the forest edge in a curve to avoid detection and that would eventually land her right on the main road out of town.