© 2012 Rigel Ailur
Published by Bluetrix Books, Smashwords edition.
Copyrighted material. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without the express prior written consent of the author.
All characters and events in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental.
Chapter 1 – Zin
A wondrous gale scoured the last of autumn's fallen leaves from the mountainsides and swept them into the nearly deserted valley below. Sheltered by the mouth of a cave, a woman watched the leaves flutter by, as numerous as the snowflakes which would soon dance down from above. Dense gray-black clouds had not yet overrun the clear cerulean sky. Snow would come, she knew, but as yet only the howling wind heralded winter’s impending arrival.
Wrapping a heavy woolen blanket more tightly around her broad shoulders, Zin (the first syllable of a preposterously long royal name which stretched for an additional nine) stepped further out onto the ledge, the beginning of the path leading from the cave to the valley floor twenty five meters lower.