Keane sat before a deep silver basin filled with water, which reflected the perfect orb of the moon. A circle of sunstones cast a dim glow on both storyteller and crowd. Keane’s beard was white and glittered with frost, the length lost beneath the many folds of his heavy coat.
“Gather near for the story of the realm.”
The storyteller’s voice boomed, and his hands moved in broad gestures to draw the crowd closer. Rough-hewn herders and merchants, bundled against the cold, sat still. Children fidgeted beneath blankets. A few outsiders huddled around the edges of the crowd, shivering. Keane thought he caught a glimpse of a Shadow’s cloak and a soldier’s face, but he did not spot the man again. He felt uneasy, and resolved to say nothing ambiguous about the greatness of the Magna, long live the Magna.
“When the world was young, the sun shone bright and warm. The land was peaceful and green, and water flowed freely from the white peaks of the mountains.”
Keane pushed back his sleeves, exposing thin forearms to the night air. He dipped gnarled fingers into the water of the basin, and raised them up. The water followed his hands, and solidified into a cold peak of ice, bright with moonlight, that slowly melted as his story continued.