The light from the lantern lit the heavy snowflakes falling from the sky creating sharp contrast with the darkness beyond. Will trodded through the calf-deep fresh snow creating a trail of deep impressions in the otherwise untouched canvas. A drop of sweat formed on his brow creating a warm trail as it descended down his face ending in up on his lips. He licked his chapped lips, knowing fully well that it would only make them worse. His once wet gloves had started stiffening and moving his fingers to keep them warm seemed futile.
Will had left the village Liinsbur hours earlier headed for the capital city of Naarim, Naarima, for the royal castle. For the king himself. Naarima, meaning the center of Naarim, the Hub as it was also known, lay a fourth of a days ride from Liinsbur. However, crossing a stream only three ours ride out from the village, his horse had trodden wrong and it's front leg had snapped like a twig, throwing Will facedown onto sharp rocks in the shallow stream. He had not been badly hurt, but walking through the cold winter night in wet clothes was not something a sane man would wish. Will regretted that he had cut straight through the forest rather than take the longer road around, not because of his current condition, but riding the long way was much faster than trodding through increasingly deep snow from where he was now. However, he did not chide himself, for there was no way he would have taken the longer ride around knowing the importance of the message he carried.
He could his breeches sticking to his knee tugging at his wound sending spikes of pain up his leg for every step. The rocks had been sharp, indeed, but will could handle the pain. He had felt worse. Much worse. He only hoped that it was only a sprained knee and nothing serious. It was vital that his message reached the king. He knew not what the message entailed, but he had seen the fear and the urgence in the High-Priests face. The High-Priest had not had to tell him to hurry and to deliver it at all cost, so Will plodded on through the forest. He praised the gods that his lantern was still whole, for without it he would have been lost in darkness. Discovering his pace slacking he steeled himself and picked it up again.
Hourse went by, or so Will thought, for there was no way to tell the time. Alle trees looked alike, had it not been for the constant position of the stars above he might as well have been walking in circles. When will this end? Where will this endless forest open and turn into frozen meadows? However, he could only see a few feet ahead of himself, and there was no end in sight.
A wolf's howl shattered the silence of the night. A bad omen. Another answered it from somewhere in front of will. Will stopped and listened, taking care to stay as silent as possible waiting for another howl to discern the wolves positions. The night was still as the deepest pits of oblivion. Will shrugged and brushed the snow out of his dark hair. He had not realized before, but it had stopped snowing. It's getting colder.