A familiar mountain range. A familiar peak. A familiar snowstorm. Sights she had experienced a countless number of times before, sights that, no matter how many times she found her golden eyes fall upon them, would remind her of the first time she had set foot on this land that would later be called "home" by her. Times were simpler back then. A girl on the run and without means she had been, certainly, but not without the will to persevere. And that, she had, against all the odds that this world had raised against her. She still stood. By her own merits, her own power, she still stood, albeit not as tall as she once did.
Aspen, a name that she had come to be known under here, made her way through the snow, following a path up the mountain she had taken many, so many times, the soft, fresh snow crunching under her every step. Dense patches of pine trees broke the monochrome of white as they stretched skyward. The occasional patch of grey and brown rock poked through the enchantingly ethereal blanket of dull, blank hues. An environment that, now as it had back then when she had first come here, reminded her of winter in her childhood. She had come to cherish it over the two years she had spent here.
Would this really be the right path for her?
It had been two years since she had been here last. A lot had happened, and she had never explained the circumstances surrounding her sudden disappearance. It had been an emergency, certainly, her life had been in danger, true, but that did not excuse her behavior. She had done it to guarantee her own safety, as well as the safety of her comrades. All they had found back then was a thoroughly trashed room, broken and demolished furniture, and deeply crimson stains covering the floor and walls. She wouldn't blame them if they had written her off as dead, perished in some freak research accident. The thought that some might actually have assumed that was amusing to her, though her characteristically stoic, frozen expression of complete emotionlessness portrayed no such thing. It was a mask that the woman had come to wear as a default.
It wouldn't be far off now. Only a few more minutes, a short distance across the wintery mountain, and she would be back. Back at the guild hall of Silver Wolf, where it had all began. What should she even tell them? Would anyone be there to actually remember her? Was this the right course of action to take?
She shook her head. She had no other option.
She hated to get them involved, but she simply had no other choice. She needed their help. Without the guild, there was a good chance that she didn't have much more time here in Fiore, or on this planet. Not if her brother, not if the Empire of Pergrande could help it. Emboldened by the flames of war, the intelligentsia of the Imperium had become particularly active, worryingly so, much to the woman's own detriment. Her personal safety was no longer guaranteed. She hated to admit it, but she needed the protection of the guild. She had always been a fugitive, but ever since that incident two years ago, she was actively hunted. Hunted for her transgressions against a regime that tolerated no such thing. She would certainly be made an example by Commissar Azarov, should he get his filthy loyalist hands on his sister. She was certain of that.
Begrudgingly, with purpose, with direction, something she had lacked when she had come to this for the first time, she made her way to the barrier that surrounded the guild hall. She was home.
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