She had just returned from the frontline, physically as well as mentally exhausted and feeling much older than her thirty arcs. They had struck a peace bargain with the attackers, but it had been broken trials later. In the end they had won the war nevertheless, but at what cost? So many had died and those that had survived would forever bear the scars. The king had called it a great triumph, but to her it was nothing but a tragedy, born out of a perverted desire to betray, main and kill that seemed innate to most of mortalkind.
After having taken one look at her mistress‘ face, her servant had lit a fire in the fireplace. It was strangely cold outside, and it was getting a little colder with each passing bit, as if the Immortals had decided to ignore summer and immediately move on to winter. There she sat now, huddled in her armchair, a blanket wrapped around her body and a mug of hot tea in her hand, in a desperate attempt to get warm again, although she knew that the cold that she felt was not just physical. Her heart seemed to have turned to ice that trial.
He knocked on her door just as the sun was about to set, and the sky was darkening rapidly. He was a man of average height, lightly tanned, with brilliant eyes and long hair. "Will you let me in, Amaya?" he asked. "It’s cold outside." She thought it strange that he knew her name even though they had, as far as she knew, never met before and hesitated a bit, but then she saw that snow was beginning to fall. The stranger was only wearing a thin shirt that was woefully inadequate for the weather. Besides, there was something about him.
"Please do come in", she said. "My servant will give you something warm to drink and there is food as well. Do you come from far away? You look as if you have been on the road a while …"
The stranger smiled as he took a seat by the fireplace and gratefully accepted the cup of hot tea that Nell had brought him. "I have not travelled any further than you are going to travel a few arcs from now", he replied, and then added, "I know that you worry about Rynmere’s future, but there won't be another war like that for over a century."
"How do you know that?" she asked.
"I just do", he replied.
They spent the whole evening sitting there, in front of the fireplace, talking while snow was falling outside. She found herself growing unusually comfortable in his presence. It was as if she had known him all her life and had been waiting for that very moment, as if that was what she had been born for.
Finally, after the last cup of tea had been drunk and the fire had nearly stopped burning, the stranger rose to his feet and extended his hand for her to take it. "You are still cold. Come with me. Let me warm you." Together they walked up the stairs, into her bedroom. She wondered how he knew where it was when he had never been there before, but decided that it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that he was there, with her.
The sun was just about to rise again as the man next to her began to stir. She sat up in her bed, covering her chest with the blanket as she did so even though he had gotten to know her body intimately during the previous breaks. "Don’t go yet", she asked him and touched his arm. He smiled at her and kissed her once more. "I’m afraid that I have to, but I have left you a gift. I also have a warning for you. There will be a time where you’ll meet a man with eyes as pale as the moon above us in a place called Death’s Door. He will try to lure you into a false sense of security with sweet words. Do not trust him. Take my gift and run as fast as you can."