Zhenais started to stir as the cold light of dawn crept over the horizon, its sickly yellow light revealed yet another slate grey day. Her night in the long sea grass and chill had left her joints screaming their displeasure. What little sleep she had got could hardly be called restful as it was haunted by dreams that were filled with disturbing images that are even now were slipping into the back of her mind like a harbinger of things to come. Even so, a night without night sweats where she woke chocking back a scream of being impaled upon a tree was a vast improvement.
As she wrapped her cloak around her she noticed that her nails were a blue grey like the cold ocean as it jealously clawed at the shore. Shaking her head she looked to her companions.
Lakota stood a little ways apart, keeping watch. The deep shadows under her eyes were a testament to the toll that this adventure was taking upon her. She knew that the archer was haunted by the whispered shudders and convulsive movements that haunted what naps she could get. Mako was sleeping relatively comfortably a ways away. Perhaps that was just his being Silvarrin or perhaps his capacity and (almost compulsive) tendency to set things aflame brought him comfort. Wylie was laying stiff as a corpse, tightly grasping his spell book to his chest. A cold sweat was clearly visible across his brow and his eyes twitched back and forth beneath his lids.
Finally her eyes settled upon Cyric Varn. Like everyone else he is gaunt and thin, showing the signs of starvation and malnutrition. His hair seems thinner and in the half light it seems to be showing touches of grey. His breathing was labored with a rattle that seemed to shake his frame with each gasp. How long had he been here she wondered. What had he been through? What had he seen?
Taking a minute she scanned the bleak, lifeless landscape they occupied. To the east lay the ridge where the remains of the deserted fishing village. Half of it had been consumed in flames leaving only charred and blackened fingers to point accusingly at the dismal sky above. To the south she could make out the where tumorous growth at the end of the ridge where the barrow lay. As terrifying as the wandering skeletons had been, the guardians of that ancient tomb were far worse.
Shaking off the chill that ran down her spine, she rose to her feet and looked to the west at the bone dry forest that stood like a wall trapping them along the coast. Somewhere amongst the brambles and the broken boughs were the Syrzach and Dyrg, no doubt licking their wounds and plotting revenge.
It was only by force will that Zhenais kept her eyes from seeking out the tree.
Were the aches in her hands and feet echoes of spikes that had held her while the elements had stripped her flesh from the bone? Was the ache in her chest a memory of the broken ribs? The image of the skull transforming into a beak that so resembled her own flash behind her eyes and she had to look away.
To the north she could see a circle of standing stones and the hills that stood as a barrier between them and the view of the Grey Sea from which they had been cast out. None of it was encouraging. She had come to Pelenhar seeking new colors and instead had found herself trapped in a grey world with accents of crimson.