A young boy, scarfed and hooded, walked through the cold and barren landscape. He was doing his best not to slip on the frozen earth beneath him. 'I... must have taken the wrong route', he thought to himself. Stopping to glance at a map he removed from his coat he shivered violently. It was ridiculous for him to be out here alone, even if he did have a map. The freezing air blew against his face, making his nose run before frosting the fluids on his face.
His body was numb from the winters howl, and all he wanted to do was stop and sit down for a while. He needed to pray, to eat, to rest. His mind wouldn't let him though. Something just kept on pushing him. A mixture of dread and nostalgia was driving him, and he felt any halt in his pace right now would let them take over. That couldn't happen... not again.
'Stay calm... The sun will be at its highest soon, and I should be able to warm up... some.'
A couple hours passed by before the sun was directly overhead. Noon time.
The sunlight paled in comparison to the frigid environment, making it worse if anything. The tiny amount of warmth teased him.
'I can't eat like this... I need to warm myself.' He pulled out a scroll and hesitated to disturb it. The scroll contained a fire, fueled by a small log and a spark of fire sealed away. All he had to do was open the scroll and wipe his finger across the seal, but was it a wise choice? He had purchased three of these scrolls from one of the provinces a days walk back. It was warm there... somehow the snow and ice seemed to give way to the hard working residents there. He was lucky to have even stayed there as long as he did. The thought of returning there crossed his mind, but her could never do that.
Suppose his sensei had followed him to try and pursue him. If he went back and got caught, he would never be able to return home in a timely manner. He'd be pulling excessive training for weeks! No. He couldn't afford to collapse here either, not having gotten so far. Lighting one of the scrolls, regardless of how far he might need to go to reach his destination, was practical. Should he become ill, he would surely not out travel his possible pursuers. There was also the issue of smoke... These scrolls, regardless of their practicality, would surely create a plume of smoke for other beings to track him by. Maybe he should just tough it out a bit longer.
Another frigid burst of air passed by him.
"Nope! I need to warm up now. I don't care if I have to run the rest of the way."
He placed the scroll on the ground, inside up, removed his gloves, and wiped his thumb across the center of the scroll. Tshhhh. A sound similar to a match lighting was made, and the open scroll burst into flames against the frozen earth. 'Oh no! Wait, no!' Heishin dropped into a squat in front of the slowly building fire and began paying attention to the surrounding earth. 'If the ice melts too much it might put the fire out!' He sat there for a few minutes, tension high. Luckily for him, the ice on the ground surrounding the scroll didn't seem to be melting very quickly, and the ice under the scroll didn't seem to interfere with the fire too much.
His fire was safe, and he was warm for the time being.