At first she thought it was just a drop in temperature, normal under the clear starlit sky. When she realised it wasn’t, couldn’t be natural, her throat was too cold for speech so she had to shake him awake.
Tarrascotti woke to being shaken by Edita, her skin, like the ground and his bedding, covered in frost. “Bennoli!” He bellowed the fighter’s name as he whipped his warm bedding around the freezing woman.
The other man was awake in moments, bringing his blankets over to wrap around the foggy breathed Edita. “Aren’t your wards were supposed to protect us from this sort of attack?” he remarked to Tarascotti.
“They have,” was the grim rejoinder. Outside those wards the snow was two feet deep and still floating down out of a clear sky. “Who are you?” He shouted, no point beating about the bush, “What do you want?”
“You have the Chasrubdel.” She coalesced out of the falling snow and walked into the encampment. “Give me the goblet and your companion will live. I will return it and be rewarded by the Three Sisters.”
“Its exchange has already been arranged for an agreed price,” Tarascotti replied, “We are but paid agents. We have taken coin and are under obligation.”
“Very well,” the icy beauty nodded her head, “But I demand a toll or your companion dies.”
“What is she?” It was Bennoli who asked.
“An ice maiden, daughter of the old Winter King.” Then to her, “What do you want?”
“I will tell the woman, for it is she who will pay.” The ice maiden stepped forward and whispered in Edita’s ear.
“Why would you want that?” Edita’s blue lips moved but no sound came out.
“To understand. To be closer to being a god. To bind winter again.”