You slip and slide around the icy corner, your lungs aching from the cold air. A low wall blocks your path, and you fall attempting to avoid the unexpected barrier. A dull pain flares in your shoulder as you strike the frozen ground.
"There's the cur!" a man snarls. The peasants have found you again. The crowd presses closer, their faces twisted with anger.
"Murderer!" cries an old lady.
"I was framed!" you gasp. The peasants will not listen, even though what you say is true.
"Kill the swine," says a flat, even voice. The words are backed by the authority of the sheriff.
A man in front throws a fist-sized rock at you. Even though you try to dodge, the rock strikes your cheek. Your face is so cold you barely feel it strike, but a long trickle of blood soon runs down your face.
A man carrying a wooden club pushes through the crowd. You jump to your feet and kick the man in the stomach. Before he reacts, you turn around and scramble over the wall.
You find yourself in an alley leading to the town gate. The gate itself stands open several yards ahead.
You hear the peasants trying to climb over the wall. "Stop! Stop, murderer!" they cry.
You run toward the open gate. As you approach, a guard steps into the road. His hand rests on his sword.
"There's a murderer loose!" you shout. His mouth opens, but before he can say anything, you strike his jaw with your fist. His teeth snap together and his head flops back. He crashes to the icy ground.
As you run through the gate, a bowstring twangs and an arrow zips past your shoulder. Ahead, you see a strand of evergreen trees. You run full speed toward the trees, slipping and sliding along the icy road. The peasants howl and scream, following close behind.
You plunge into the strand of trees, snapping and tearing at the branches as you struggle through the deep snow. Soon, you hear the peasants yelling and screaming as they follow you into the forest.
After several minutes of struggle, you emerge from the trees. Much to your surprise, a merchant sledge travels along the edge of the forest. Without hesitating, you catch the back and pull yourself inside. You quickly burrow under its cargo of furs and cloth, hoping to hide until it carries you a safe distance from the village
After several minutes of slow movement, the sledge stops. You hear many muffled, angry voices, but you cannot understand all of the conversation.
”Did…murderer escaped…attacked town guard!”
”No…simple merchants…caravan over the pass.”
You lie as still as possible, scarcely daring to breath. Soon, the back of the sledge rattles and you hear someone pull the cover back.
You feel a man digging through the furs on top of the load, but he stops before reaching you. “Only furs and carpets in here!” he says gruffly. He throws the furs back and the voices fade away. You allow a sigh to escape your lungs.
At last, the sledge jerks and moves again. Soon, you are very drowsy, and allow the movement of the sledge to rock you to sleep.
When you awake, the caravan is still moving. You have no idea of how long you have slept. You are hungry, thirsty, and your muscles are cramped. By now, it must be late afternoon. Will you stay hidden until dusk (2), or jump out of the sledge now (3)?