It was early morning when Sand woke up from dreaming about the ocean, the smell of brine still seeming fresh in his nose. He blinked, then wriggled under his blanket, flexing first his fingers, then his toes, then his wrists. The night had been a cold one. There was a wet, decaying odour in the air, of dead things buried beneath drifts of leaves.
Still numb, Sand threw off his blanket and dug around in his satchel for a chunk of bread, tearing off pieces with his teeth and chewing quickly. He gathered his things into the satchel, which he flung across his shoulder. Since leaving the ocean, he had crossed sparse moor-grass fields, then richer, golden plains, which now gave way to trees. Sand made his way back to the path, his sandals clapping down against hard-packed earth. According to a wheat-planter he’d met the other night, these weed-trees would give way to denser forest soon.