By the time the guard at the entrance to their cell wakes up and realizes what has happened, Ash is far away.
The people of the settlement are free to come and go, so the guards at the mouth of their mine paid her no attention when she appeared, wrapped head-to-toe in rags, and slipped away into the midnight sun.
She totes her pack with the map Odile had shown her in the book, which she carefully and quietly tore out of the book before she left. She also hauls as much water as her pack can hold; at night, most of the torches that illuminate the mine are extinguished, so she crept down the tunnels by touch to where the water was stored in ancient jugs and filled her carrier from that.
She also took as much food as she could find in their cell; she was certain Odile would understand. She is hopeful she will be able to find more food on her journey.
Hopeful. Not a word Ash would have used, she thinks, prior to her enforced imprisonment with Odile. But in all the time she spent with the chief elder (and Ash cannot think of the old woman in any other way), Odile has changed how she looks at their situation—not as a series of events that could never change, but as a circumstance that they might be able to influence, if they only knew how.
There might be some hope, Odile had said the night before.
And there was only one way to know for sure.
So Ash walks.
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