In the Terminator movies, a nigh-unstoppable cyborg travels back in time from the future to the present day to relentlessly hunt down and kill the human protagonists. They primarily manage to evade it by stealing motor vehicles and driving away very quickly.
In the story I am writing, the protagonists are chased by a similar threat (which I'll continue to refer to as a terminator for the ease of understanding), but live in a low-tech, low-magic fantasy universe. I would like the technology level to be as low as possible and as close to historically accurate as possible, but I still need my protagonists to be able to actually stay ahead of their enemy for a significant period of time.
- Looks like a very physically fit human being.
- Is superhumanly strong and durable.
- Does not need to eat or sleep, and it never gets tired. It will keep chasing 24 hours a day.
- Moves at the speed of a brisk walk, but can and will use any faster travel method if one is available. It will break into a run if it spots its targets, but no sooner than that.
- Has a baseline understanding of the general location and era. You can assume it knows anything you could look up on Wikipedia, but wouldn't know things like where the local hotspots are, or the identities of anyone not reasonably famous. (It knows its targets though.) It can also speak any language fluently.
- Can't be reasoned with or bargained with, but can talk to people to gather information.
- Doesn't feel pity, remorse, or fear, but can imitate these emotions.
- Absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until the protagonists are dead.
In other words, for the purpose of making this question easier to answer, it is basically the T-800 from the first Terminator movie. Because the story is taking place earlier than the information age, in order to maintain suspense and prevent the protagonists from simply hiding instead of running, I'm also giving the terminator an extra ability to "ping" the protagonists once a day to determine what general direction they're in.
The protagonists are normal human beings who are physically fit. Their advantages are:
- They outnumber the terminator. That means they can do things like sleep in shifts to try to make up for the terminator's lack of a need for sleep. In the movies, some were able to rest while others drove, but that's obviously not possible without cars.
- They have local and cultural knowledge that any normal person living in the area would have, which the terminator doesn't necessarily have.
- They are forewarned about the terminator and have a head start of at least a day.
- They are willing to break the law. If they can't afford something they need, they can steal it. (Although the terminator can also do this.)
This question is not concerned with how they're going to deal with the terminator, but only what the tech level of the world needs to be in order for them to be physically capable of outrunning it for a significant length of time. (At least a week!) Nothing that uses an engine is allowed.
I've already considered horses, but the problem is that if the protagonists can obtain horses, the terminator can also obtain a horse, and ultimately both sets of horses will become tired after a day and need to rest, during which time both groups would be on foot, and the terminator could catch up during the night.
I am okay with writing some mild anachronisms to allow the protagonists to maintain an extended pursuit, or to use a touch of magic to bend the rules a little bit (it's a low-magic setting), but I would like to avoid it as much as possible to maintain at least a moderate sense of realism without too much handwaving.
So what is the lowest tech level needed to evade a tireless terminator for at least a week?