Somewhere, between the unrelenting clouds that blew snow around the trees, and the horizon that rose into mountainous cascades, the moon shone through occasionally. Its gaze descended through the flakes of snow that whipped about the trees, refracting itself off of the falling powder, and kissed its glow off the incandescent surface that gradually deepened as the night wore on. Though the terrain was flat, and the trees tall, no matter of earth would protect the woodland creatures or the ground from which it harvested from the cold bite of winter. This reminder of Skimir’s journey was no less harsh than the last.

No woodland creature dare come out into this cold blight that had set itself upon the land. Even the castle village that lay up on the hills to the west, while glowing with fires, was as still as ice outside, spare the wind that would rouse whistles from cracks and corners. Through the weather, though, trudged a man who may have been discounted a fool by most. No other man would dare brave this weather; yet his leather cloak and boots, his giant sword carried on his back, and the gloves, all black, seemed to be animated by a force that held no regard for the elements that tried to punish him for coming out. He moved forward steadily, only slowed by having to pick his feet up out of the hole they had created in the snow to step forward. The snow– it seemed, was in agreeance with the wind. Each step it tried to trap this broad and tall man, and each step it groaned as he successfully wrestled his foot from its grasp.

The man, unseen beneath his cloak, came upon a timber line, clearing out enough for him to gaze castle-ward, peering briefly before adjusting the leather mask he had applied to protect his face. Even though the moon shone bright at him, the cloak of this man seemed to devour the light before it reached his face, leaving him almost unrecognizable to any other that may see him. Slowly he trudged onward towards the village, eventually making an ascent of several hundred feet up trails where the wind tried even harder to combat him. But the man held no attention to its efforts, his feet now less hindered on the mountainside where the snow simply swept away.

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