A young woman stands at the centre of an almost deserted village square. She sways with the storm, which has suddenly descended, as it starts to rage and tear at her. In her right hand, she is reverently holding a shoulder high, and ornately carved wooden staff. She leans all her weight on this staff for support. Her usual proud and graceful posture is no more, as she looks to the ground, her shoulders dropping. To the casual onlooker she looks weary beyond her years. Her hood has fallen back and as the early winter’s blizzard swirls in spirals of anger all around, her long, off blond hair is blowing wild and unkempt in the snow filled wind.
“Why?” asks the young woman.
There is no reply.
She shudders with sudden, intense pain.
“Why?” she asks again. “I loved you.”
Again, there was no reply.
The temperature has drastically plummeted with the onset of this, the first real snowfall of winter. But she is no longer able to feel the icy chill of the worst that the seasonal storm is throwing at her. She is no longer able to feel anything, apart from a creeping, painful, warmth that radiates from a deep savage wound in her upper abdomen, a wound from where a dagger now protrudes. Accompanying this is another pain that burns to her core. The painful realisation of the fact that she had been so totally and utterly betrayed stabs at her heart. It had been a betrayal by someone that she had both loved and trusted. By someone that had been such a pivotal part of her life.
It had not been a frenzied attack or a foolish slash. Instead, it had been a single deadly, upwards thrust that drove the blade home. She had been stabbed by someone who knew what they were doing and had experience with a blade. It had been premeditated murder.
Had her assailant said something to her as they had stepped forward to drive the blade home? Or had it just been their warm, traitorous, breath upon her face? It had only just happened and already she could not recall.
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