As Sayvel looked down at her hands, she wondered if the cracks at bruises that covered her skin would remain there permanently. The insects were even worse, though thankfully she had picked up a few remedies from Creya, otherwise all of the bites and stings would have been unbearable. She had regretted fleeing into the denser parts of the forest before the first day of her traveling had even ended. But when one was in danger, the only thing that mattered was finding somewhere that was safe. And while these conditions were harsh, at least she was not being burned alive by a dragon. It had been less than three days since Noror was reduced to little more than ashes, ruins, and corpses. Sayvel was not sure if anyone else had escaped. She felt guilty knowing that it was possible she might be the lone survivor, and she was not even Halanese. Had she even had an ounce of courage, she might have turned back to see if she could help anyone else escape. But all she did was run. That's all she had ever done when faced with such disasters. She fled Makkan after her family was killed by the rebellion, and she fled Noror after it was destroyed by some force she did not know. Her brothers Aldrec and Dondis would have known exactly what to do in situations like this. They had traveled plenty of times and knew how to live off the land easily enough. They would not have been afraid to help others escape from the attack either. But they were dead, and not a day went by she did not miss them. Aldrec had been slain by Ser Robyyn Vancen during the war. And less than three months later, Dondis was killed defending the capital, as was her father. Both were killed by Presebal Himarath. And where had she been? When the war broke out she was spending time in Verisa, a small city on the west coast of Makkan just a few leagues south of Rhayne. By the time the rebels had reached the capital, she had already been safely smuggled into Halan. It was then that she had changed her name to Sayvel. Her true name was no longer safe to use. But just as she had changed her own name, the rebel victors had changed the name of the capital from Rukyma to Darmon. Sayvel easily recalled how enraged she had been when word had reached her of this, and she wanted nothing more than to see all of them killed for their atrocities. Her home, her family, her life... all of it was gone. And now it was happening again. She had enjoyed her time in Noror. They had welcomed her openly, and they taught her many things in such a short time. She learned how to cook over an open fire, how to distinguish between certain plant types, some customary healing techniques, and even had a few lessons in wielding a knife. That would have been unacceptable in Rukyma. And she was more than willing to learn more of their language. At home she had been taught many of the basic and intermediate levels of Old Halanese, but now it was like a second language to her. It was all gone now. The new family and home she had found was gone. She was on her own now. Why she even continued at this point was a mystery. It was a miracle that she had even survived for almost three full days, though it felt like weeks. She was sensible enough to stay close to the river, but food was hard to come by. She had learned quite a lot about plants during the past few years, but there were so many in these parts of the forest that she had never seen before. Few were familiar to her. She had tried her hand at fishing and hunting as well, but one could only go so far when armed with nothing but a knife and a small dagger. Sayvel sat lazily against a tree trunk, still looking at her hands. There was a long cut on the back of her left hand and similar one on her left leg, but luckily she had found some loringes leaves to treat them both. She knew she could not rest here for long, but the prospect of continuing a trek in this brutal forest did little to motivate any movement.