Since the retrieval of her family's heirloom, Mítrei had shut herself away from her thoughts. All throughout the hunt she'd had doubts, but they'd been small, minor frets hardly worth the time of day that could be pushed aside easily enough. But now she'd completed her task, more doubts had formed in their place, and they'd grown so large so fast that a voice had been dragged up along with them. It questioned what she felt she'd achieved, what she intended to do next - whether recovering the amulet was truly enough. It was a hateful voice, one that seemed to loathe her as much as it loathed itself, and yet loved itself at the same time. It relished in the torment it caused them both.
She'd grown hateful with it. She didn't allow herself to think on anything, to feel anything. She just kept moving, putting distance between herself and the attacking fire tribe without any care as to where she was going. She had nothing to return home to, so she saw little point in bothering, and she'd realised with dry humour that she also sought to escape herself - her mind and her identity, even after what had driven her out there. And while she knew it was impossible, she tried anyway.
Something had changed within her. Perhaps it had happened when she'd found her family slaughtered for a trinket, but turning her focus onto retrieving the amulet had suppressed it, delayed it. Or maybe it had happened when she'd achieved her pitiful goal and surfaced with a feeling of emptiness.
Because retrieving the amulet wasn't enough.
But she continued to hide from that fact, to silence her mind, and the past few days had passed in a haze. Just the day before she'd crossed the path of a group of abductors, though it felt far longer, and while fighting them off with cold precision and chasing down those who decided she was too much trouble, she'd absently wondered if Tarui still tried to fight them or if he'd given up or been captured by them yet.
She hoped he was all right, but even that train of thought felt distant and lacking emotion, as though it belonged to someone else and she was only eavesdropping on it. The only thing she felt - or allowed herself to feel - was anger, and she channelled that into her fight for existance, but even that she wondered at the purpose of.
But that was another thought she actively suppressed. She would not be beaten by the weaknesses of her own mind.
She stopped that following night only once darkness had truly taken hold and the night's chill chased away the unseasonal warmth. She didn't think to offer a prayer to Tída, just as food was a neglected thought, and she slipped quickly into furious, restless dreams of fire, jewels and an oppressive sense of responsibility she couldn't identify, let alone answer. But despite the paralysis of sleep and the persistent clamour that overshadowed the cascading images, the slightest rustle of leaves tore her eyes open, and she stared into blackness, already searching for who or whatever was approaching.