This is my first story here! Please review and let me know what you think! I'll be posting chapters periodically, but I don't have a set schedule, yet. Here's Child of the Wilderness...

These are defining moments. These are the moments when life changes for better or for worse.

He sighed angrily and stopped pacing, his hand running over the right side of his face subconsciously. Feeling the flawless skin there made him relax slightly, the tension in his shoulders ebbing minutely. There was nothing to be worried about, he reminded himself. The woman in the next room would be leaving soon enough and then he could continue with his life as it had been before she stumbled back into it. He'd be courteous but aloof, the perfect host. She'd leave and forget all about their chance encounter. That's what he was counting on. He wouldn't be able to resist her for long. He just prayed she'd leave quickly.

Sighing heavily he looked at the wall separating her from him. It wouldn't take much for his resolve to shatter, he thought ruefully. He wouldn't be able to let her go this time if anything happened to give him the slightest glimmer of hope. Running his hand through his hair, he forced his gaze away from the wall and resumed his pacing. This was going to be a long night.

She pushed her horse faster through the pounding torrent of water, barely able to see beyond the rain-soaked mane twisted between her fingers. With each pound of hooves on the ground she felt her heart grow lighter. It was the first time in too long the she felt any happiness, despite the dismal weather, and she charged ahead. She would not go back. She could not go back. She shut her eyes against the assaulting memories and the rain. She refused to return to the place that for so long had been a prison for her.

Squinting against the cascading water she attempted to see into the blurred grey before her. The fog that seemed to cocoon her was growing denser and darker by the minute. Night would soon fall and then she would be riding completely blind. Suppressing a shudder against the cold and wet, she fought to keep her mount in check. This was no time for a fall. As the hours pressed on she felt the relief that had entered her heart slowly ebbing away with each passing minute Any warmth she had within her was seeping out with each falling raindrop that splashed against her frame.

Her choice to leave this night now seemed like a foolish one. On one hand, the rain provided an excellent cover of her tracks, making her impossible to follow. The feeling of security, given that knowledge alone, was overwhelming. On the other, the rain was making her escape miserable and dangerous. She wasn't entirely sure where she was going. The muddied roads she had chosen were random and there was no telling which direction she was heading in. For all she knew she could be riding in circles. Before she could become overwhelmed, a small pinprick of light appeared in her vision. A small bud of hope blossomed in her chest. Light meant fire and fire meant warmth.

She urged her horse even faster through the downpour. She just needed to reach the light. Just reach the light, she thought, and you will be warm. She brought her hand up to wipe away some of the water in her eyes and in that moment she felt her mount lose his footing in the mud and stumble. Fear gripped her heart like a vice and a shriek scraped out of her throat as they fell into the mud.