She whisked along the frog-torn path, long dress clanking against the leaves. Her shrouded shoulders heaved with the sighing bag of logs, her fingers scrambling to hold the straps. Any moment now she felt like she would fall and her intrepid journey would cease to be. So she continued on steadily, not halting for a moments fragment, lest she never start again. The hard wear of material pushed against her back, hiding the callous logs from her feeling.
Suddenly she came to a drop in the cliff face she had been climbing, a suspended bridge holding the only way across. She could see the rocky outcrop playing different from the forest surroundings behind her. In the stories her mother used to speak, the bridge would break and the heroine would be left hanging, flaming arrows flying around them. But this wasn't a story, there was no one chasing her and fire was all but non-existent in her dire world.
Fearlessly she pushed on, stepping with subtle caution over the rigid planks of wood. They held her easily, only one daring to creak in her footing. She didn't pause, as she had been told, though fear gripped her heart and almost suspended her in the spot. The edge came with a sigh from her, her feet finding ground on the uneven surface.
Behind her the bridge did not sway in the wind, though she did not turn to see. To look back would be to go back.
She pushed on up the winding path, feet twisting over the rock. She didn't dare think about slipping, only about gaining height.
Warily she rose, her breath drawing tighter, gasps coming quick. Clouds danced above her head, signalling the end was still far off. Many times she almost moved her eyes to see the travels she had paced. Many times she almost surrendered and let her foot slip in the moulds. But she continued on, retelling herself stories of times once gone. She listed over the ones that spoke of strength and bravery, slipping past those that spoke of death and torment.
In this way, with lions prancing through her head, and eagles flying to the sun, she reached the crest. No heights could be further reached 'cept in the clouds, and the clouds were not to welcome her yet.
She did not smile, for times were not yet done. Drawing a small jar from her pocket, she held it up, watching as clouds wafted around its wrath. Pulling on the lid, it opened, clouds slinking into its open reach.
One, two, three.
She snapped the lid closed, hearing no sound be made. Holding the jar aloft she watched as wavering puffs floated in its captor. Returning the jar to her pocket, she prepared herself for the new task at hand.
Slowly, so slowly, she looked back. Her eyes fell calmly over the heights she had reached, the rises and falls of her journey.
In an instant, she was drawn back through the perils she had faced, flying past everything she had covered. In a silent moment she was standing at the crossroads of her start. Taking the straight without a moment's thought, she began to walk, her feet almost tripping over the even surface. Her bag deep with logs, now felt like a feather on her back.
It didn't take long for her to see the thatched hut of her belonging. Nor did it take long for a person deep in cloth to come walking out. Neither muttered to the other, nor touched, though each longed to hear the others voice.
The person stood back as the logs were arrayed on the ground. The clouds then came. Cascading in their prison they swirled mindlessly, yearning to be free. With delicate care the lid was prised and the clouds came pouring out onto the tumbled logs.
One, two, three.
In a burst of flame fire broke, quickly sending up the smell of burning splendour.
Only at this sign did the two woman embrace, smiling to each other. Much time apart had done little to the two women, their smiles bringing back their years of youth.
As they moved she thought about the journey she had just traversed, the journey which had ended where it began. She had seen much wonders as she had walked, seen much glory over the world. But none were more welcoming than the little door of the hut and she realised, that although there were many places in the world, there were none she would rather be than here.
As her head knelt in the frame, she almost looked back over where she had just come, but to look back would be to go back, and that story must be saved for another day.