Wet ground gave way to squelching as step after step beat it below their frantic movements; boots decemated it far behind, though close enough to hear the defeaning thud thud thud of them hammering against soil ready to trip them up at the slightest chance it got. He barely kept himself from skidding to the ground as he swung around a tree, bare feet gathering mud as he did so. He couldn't keep running forever. They'd catch him and he wouldn't ever be free, but it was going to be a cold day in hell if he didn't go down without some semblence of a fight. It was what they wanted from him, right? Unwavering determination to fight. A soldier that wouldn't go down until he was dead; a tool more than a soldier, really. That's what he was to them. But not if he succeeded. Not if he finally got the freedom he wanted and deserved. He would be free to live how he wanted to - without tests and isolation and the training he so hated. He'd be free.. Free from everything. Free from the rules.
He barely had time to swerve away from the attack thrown his way, almost getting caught by the glowing red blade that embedded itself into the wood to his side. They were closer now, he realised, jumping up to grab at a low hanging branch of a tree nearby - just barely managing to reach it so he could pull himself up. Scrambling steps took him further up, trying to escape the threat of being impaled on brightly coloured magic sharp enough to break his bones to pieces. The first few attacks thrown his way were easily dodgable as they aimed below him and he could just
climb to a higher branch to avoid it. Until he got higher and couldn't go any further. Dancing from branch to branch lengthways was not a good idea. At all. The small creature barely caught himself before he was sent crashing down to the ground, narrowly escaping breaking more than a few bones - he'd probably have died from taking a fall that hard no matter how many branches caught him along the way. Even if it wasn't imminent death or debilitating injury to be found down there, the fall wasn't worth it; he just had to be careful in his escape.
Glancing about, he tried to exact a way to evade the tricky situation he was in. Dense packs of trees stood around him, some seemingly towering as high as the clouds. Arm-like branches stuck out in every way possible, searching for ways to bring light to the leaves they bore, desperate to survive in the cold, dark environment it so wanted to thrive within. They pushed through the darkness that shrouded every living being and suffocated them with their own regrets and desires - bringing ruin to those who were greatly flawed and, ultimately, those without defects. Searching arms that reached everywhere were what he needed. A leap of faith brought him grasping for the splintered wood, just barely able to cluch it as to avoid plumetting to a less than desired fate. He hauled himself onto the offshoot and began his dance from tree to tree; he narrowly eluded the luminescent blade threatening to fillet his bones should he get caught. Such a threat simply spurred him on to go faster, arms straining to pull him from tree to tree til he came to a still, swaying on weary and worn legs unable to support his decamp any longer. By then there was no chase to be heard, the predators seemingly forgetting their prey was even alive still. He gripped the trunk weakly, legs latching loosely to it so he could slide down, feet making contact with dryer ground when they reached it. When had the rain stopped abusing the earth in it's onslaught?
He blinked away the wandering thoughts, focusing on finding a place to spend the night. Even a dryer canopy of trees or patch of ground would be good enough - better than the cold concrete he'd spent his years sleeping on. Not like he'd ever been given a choice. But now he had that choice and he'd be damned if he didn't take it - given there was even anything but damp ground and tree trunks to rest on, but it'd have to do for now. He could always find something later. Right now, though? He needed nothing more than to settle down on the ground to recover the strength he'd lost. Nobody was around for miles upon miles, more than what the eye could even see; the eye could see very little in the crushing darkness of the forest, not that that was the point. The point was he was alone. Alone. He'd never been alone. Never experienced the peace in the absence of others, the crushing realisation that you were utterly and truly away from anyone and anything bar yourself. Never felt the greatest thing to feel yet the lowest point any person could reach.
Settling down by the trunk of a tree, he took no longer to dwell on it in favour for repose. His eyes slid shut as he surrendered his defences, breaths slowing with each slip further into a dreamless sleep. He needn't think about what awaited him ahead as for now, there were no eyes looking for the skeleton. Nobody would bother to look for him now that he'd escaped that hell of place. All that awaited him now was adventure and sleep, right?
There was nothing else for him, right?
Nothing else to distract him from a new life. To pull him away from what he'd worked so hard to find. To bring his ideal world crashing down around him as he yet again fled for the pitiful life he held onto so dearly.
Nothing that would ever destroy what he'd wanted and wished for for so long that it felt like millenia ago when he'd not even wished for something so simple and basic. So necessary.
There was nothing to take that away from him.