Flight of the Scions 39: Regret
> Tachìra sees everywhere the sunlight touches, be it on his lover Mifúno or in the dead lands surrounding the oceans. --- Wamyudeso Tsúba, The Clans of Sun and Night.
An hour later, Kanéko sat on the shore, glaring out over the rolling river and the sheer cliffs on the opposite side. The water lapped up on the rounded pebbles at her feet and she considered throwing another one into the water. Her hands grabbed the nearest rock, digging into the sandy soil with her fingernails. She sighed as she rolled it in her palm. It left a smear of wetness from the brief rain after the others left her.
"I just damned myself, didn't I?"
With a lurch, she flung the rock as far as she could. It sailed into a low arc to plop into the water. Kanéko watched the ripples that spread out from the impact until they quickly disappeared from sight.
She sighed again and thought about her options: she could wait for Maris to return, wait for a boat to come down river, wait for one of the mercenaries to kidnap her, or she could start walking. At least the route along the river wasn't on Cobin's map. She hoped there wouldn't be any posted rewards at any of the villages along the shore.
"Better get going...." She grumbled. "Just keep moving."
Standing up, she brushed leaves from her hair and pulled it into a pony tail. Using her bit of wire that survived her entire trip, she tied it back. Grabbing the bow Ruben rescued from the river and Cobin's bag, she looked over the shore one last time. Turning away from the river, she inspected the steep sides.
She mapped out a way to climb it before she moved. Taking a running start, she jumped and grabbed a ledge. Pulling herself up, she leaped to the next. She swung over and landed on the edge of a bulge before jumping up to the next one. It only took her a few minutes to reach the top and she smiled at the realization that she would have never been able to climb that easily before her trip. She found a tiny joy in her ability to move quickly along the rocks.
At the top, she shielded her eyes from the midday sun and scanned the rocky terrain to the east. The rolling hills were broken by sharp ridges and tufts of grasses. Most of the ridges followed the river, which gave her at least some relief from climbing. In the distance, to the east, she saw a flash of light.
A moment later, an itch tickled the back of her mind, like Damagar or Ruben trying to communicate. Holding her breath, she looked across the sky for Maris and Ruben, but didn't see the signs of Maris's flight. She lowered her gaze to the surrounding lands, looking for Damagar hopping toward her, but there was nothing for dozens of leagues in all directions.
The itch became a pulsating headache. Clutching her head, she concentrated on the pain. It felt like telepathy to her, but it was raw and unfocused. She remembered how she thought of Ruben when he was looking for her and pictured him, but the image wouldn't stick. She hesitated but then imagined Damagar, but the headache only grew worse. She guessed it wasn't Damagar looking for her but she couldn't imagine anyone else scanning for her presence.
She guessed that picturing the person searching for her would help identify the source and tell her if she needed to get ready for rescue or defense. With a bit of concentration, she let her mind grow unfocused and then began to dredge through her memories, picturing man after woman in rapid succession. None of them stuck or remained in her head.
Until she pictured Garèo fighting with Ojinkomàsu. Instantly, the image solidified into startling sharpness and the headache faded instantly.
Kanéko froze. Garèo wasn't a telepath. She shook her head and tried more images but there was nothing left, the pulsating discomfort had faded completely away. After a few more seconds of trying, she gave up and repeated to herself, "Just keep walking."