Where you end in life has much to do with how you begin...
The words of her master came back to haunt her. After all she had endured, this was hardly the way she had imagined a warrior of her calibre would meet her end. Perhaps in the heat of battle, yes; but alone, succumbing to the freezing elements at the top of the world? It was not supposed to end this way.
Her teeth chattered uncontrollably as her body shivered with the ferocity of the cold. Drawing her cloak tightly around her small frame, she ploughed through the calf-deep snow. The cruel north wind howled unmercifully as it whipped the white flakes around her in a swirling, blinding flurry as she ventured on. Its cold breath chilled her through to the bones, freezing her inside out with each sharp lungful of air she struggled to gulp down.
Behind her to the east lay her war-ravaged country of Orien. As her eyes squinted through the blowing snow, gazing to the west she could make out the distant lands. Either way she turned, the smells of war were carried high on the inhospitable winds. Pursued by enemy soldiers to the east, there was a very likely chance that, as she ventured deeper into the Dark Lord’s stronghold – into the dreaded land of Talibarr, other soldiers were advancing toward her.
The prospects were not good. In fact, they were downright dismal. And now that she had come so far, breaching these mountains, she was trapped by a freak blizzard engulfing the summit.
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