Her breath came out as clouds, dissipating in the cold air while she shivered in her boots. Guard duty in the dead of winter was unnecessary, in her opinion. Who in their right mind would attempt to storm their northern fortress — armed with some of the country’s best archers and swordsmen — during a season ripe with blizzards?
She could just imagine her captain scolding her for thinking such thoughts.
“Our northern fortress is the strongest because we’re always prepared,” Aaron would say. “If our enemies think we’re slacking off at all, we’ll have already lost.”
The only thing I’ve lost, Gia thought, is the feeling in my toes.
She glanced over at the guard tower, hoping that it was nearly her turn for a break by the fire. Standing on the wall in the frigid air made Gia certain her nose would fall off due to frostbite, and the rest of her body would be too numb to notice.
Gia closed her eyes, imagining the warmth of the fireside. The crackles and pops of the flames snacking on logs and sticks, the heat rising to bring a healthy glow back to her cheeks…
She took a deep breath through the scarf tucked under her armor, actually being able to smell the smoke.
Gia’s eyes popped open, knowing her imagination wasn’t that powerful. Shadows pooled around her, darker than anything the blizzard clouds could cast. She looked up and shouted the alarm.
The dragons were here.