Blythe jumped onto her mare’s back, arranging cumbersome skirts and sitting astride the black horse without a saddle. The first light of dawn peeked over the hills. Blythe’s heart ached as she looked back at her sleeping home. If she hadn’t mistakenly revealed her unique ability, she wouldn’t have to leave.

Riding Storm without a saddle made Blythe most happy, although what a rare opportunity with all of the restrictions placed upon her. Normally, her father forced her to ride side-saddle, which she loathed, but considered any riding better than none, so she obeyed. Until now.

“What are you?” her father had asked with fiery eyes.

That after her mother witnessed Blythe walking straight through her bedroom door, brushing her red hair up into its chignon, without opening the door first. Blythe would not have done this had she realized her mother stood in the hallway beyond. Genevieve fainted at the spectacle.

Blythe’s earliest memory consisted of tripping over a doll in the playroom, expecting to crash into the wall, but instead she fell through, finding herself amidst guests in the parlor. Frightened, stifling tears, two-year-old Blythe crouched behind the settle until everyone left. Since then, she hid her unusual talent, mastering its intricacies when she was alone, usually when the house slept.

Her misstep and the subsequent week with her family tortured her. Genevieve’s horrified stares left her breathless. Her father hadn’t spoken to her since accusing her of witchcraft. Blythe simply needed to escape—for her own sanity as well as theirs. And, Blythe thought, as she grabbed the rope from the well-laden horse she chose to accompany her, she needed to flee for her own safety. The vilification of witchcraft went a long way in this town and she wasn’t sticking around to find out whether her father would do something about his unbridled fear or not.

Gently tapping her horse, Storm set off at a trot, followed by all of Blythe’s worldly possessions on the trailing work-horse. Feeling Storm’s muscular movement beneath her gave Blythe courage. Wind beat against her as they flew down the lane.

Blythe had money, enough to allow safe distance where she could settle into a new life. She only halted to let the horses eat and drink, otherwise, they carried on well past midnight until they were five towns away. She patted Storm and they entered Clariston, the beginning of her freedom.