It was cold in the tent. Dawn had not yet come and she wished for a fire to give her some final warmth. Her leather stank, everything stank of something in this cold place. She had thought that the jungles far to the South were full of offensive odours but this place was worse. She finished dressing and checked over her gear. Belted on the two swords, wrapped her thick wollen cloak around her neck. She had nothing left to show for her time here.
Smoke hung low in the pre dawn sky. When she would think back to her time spent in the tournament grounds she would think of smoke. The cooking fires, the great bonfires for warmth, the piles of slain undead burning in the frozen air. From the smell, they burnt this morning still. It began to snow, her instincts had been correct. Snow to muffle sound, snow to cover tracks. Eradicate all trace of me here. She had had a mount once, a young dragon. It’s frozen carcass lay far to the East. Others would have hunted another one down but she had felt it a sign. The snow fell in great flakes, streaming down from the sky in a curtain of soundless white. She began walking through the sleeping camp, skirting guards who would only ask problematic questions.
“Where are you going?”
She stopped. The voice came from her left. Unusual for her not to sense a presence. The snow swirled around the hunters great frame as he emerged from his hiding place. They stared at each other for some time.
Finally she said, “I did not know that I was a captive here. Am I required to log my movements for the betterment of the officers?”
He snorted with amusement. “I doubt that, seeing as you are one.” His eyes widened as she turned aside her cloak. Part of her leather tunic appeared to be darker, a small round mark were a disk or medallion would have once been attached. She let her cloak fall back into place. She stared at him once again.
“You will be missed.”
“This is not my fight anymore, it hasn’t been for some time.”
“Let them convene, it is their one talent.”
“I am surprised that you give them one. What shall I tell them?”
She thought for a moment. “Tell them that I do not like Hyppogryphs.”
A pause, then the old hunter nodded and smiled. He raised his hand in a soft salute as she disappeared into the snow.
“Hyppogryphs?” said a voice from darkness behind him. “What did that mean?”
“I do not know, druid,” he said.
“You lie. We can still stop her.”
“It is better that she goes alone. Would you lose any more at this time?”
My feet are placed one in front of the other. Wind snatches at my face, snow blinds my eyes. Yet I see for the first time in a very long while. At least the way is easier with something to lean on.
“My staff,” said the druid. “Where is my staff?”