The girl lay half submerged in broken ice, barely conscious. Her breath, ragged and raspy, was faint, and her eyes fluttered, as though she were attempting to force herself awake to cease dreaming. Her thoughts trailed into an endless abyss of fear, no matter her efforts to steer them away.
I wasn’t strong enough.
Memories flashed before her ice blue eyes, repeating her failures. She had been running toward her past, held over water, and then thrown into the depths.
She gasped, then broke into a fit of uncontrollable coughing, sending echoes spinning around the silence. A black crossbow, resting at the bottom of the lake, was her second choice weapon. Her blue robes and cape weighed her down, and she realized with exhaustion that the nearest shore awaited her a few dragon wingspans away. Weakly, she paddled toward the snow-covered beach, feeling her emotions become as numb as her feet.
The half-one staggered onto the shore and willed herself not to collapse. Wind grew in numbers, daring each other to stop the girl’s trek. Shivering violently, she shielded her face with one arm and headed for the forest just up the shore.
Quiet clicks did not alert the girl of the danger hidden in the trees. A dozen soldiers with the Efousiam seal stamped into the armor raised their crossbows.
They knew who this girl was and why she had come here.