A redheaded woman scowled at the snow falling outside, emerald eyes flashing. She scowled at the invisible wind teasing and swirling the flakes, now horizontal, now diagonal, now twisting in an intricate dance. She scowled at the beautiful contrast between the pale flakes and inky sky, and scowled as she turned from the window to the boisterous sitting room of the inn. The proprietor, a portly (and happy because of the blizzard and forced prolonged customers) man also received his scowl; he was too engrossed in his celebratory wine to notice.

An idea struck her, and her fierce scowl faded to a frown. She strode across the room, up the stairs, and barged in on a door without knocking. Inside the cozy room, a tall figure sat at a desk, poring over some notes. "Lis! I-"

Without looking up, the figure stated, "No, Kirona, I cannot do anything about the blizzard. I've told you a hundred times, I can't tamper with nature on such a large scale. Change into something more comfortable, we'll be here for a while." When Alisabet did look up, fixing her claret eyes on the other woman, she saw that Kirona indeed still wore her traveling clothes: a calf-length blue skirt and matching cropped top, three green bands down her arms and cloth bracers of the same color, small purple stones accenting bracers, belt, and the two-handed sword strapped to her back. Before the door was shoved shut once more, Lis called as she turned once more to her work, "And take that damn sword off. You're intimidating the men."

The door slammed, and several jars of ink teetered on the edge of the desk. Alisabet reached out a hand to steady them, used to her fiery-haired companion's temper tantrums. Of course, she only referred to them as "tantrums" to herself; Kirona wouldn't have taken it too well to hear herself referred to in such a way. Alisabet idly brushed her honey-brown hair out of her eyes, tucking stray strands behind her ears and making a mental note to rebraid her hair. She had made the same mental note three times this afternoon at least, but in her translation her hair had slipped her mind. She tapped the point of her quill on an open bottle of green ink between translating phrases from the tattered journal onto her fresh sheet of parchment.

Lis had been working on the same document for several years. It was written in runic Tseran, the ancient tongue of the lands of Mirantalin. Though she was a self-styled expert, it was still a painstaking process, especially with the manuscript faded or torn in several places. From what she had translated, it was an old traveler's diary. Even if it had not contained what she was working on now, it would still have interested Alisabet; she was obsessed with all things from the past. It was how, in fact, she was beginning to be regarded as one of the top sorceresses in the kingdom and beyond.

Alisabet pushed up the sleeves of the baggy tan shirt she had changed into upon reaching the inn, and placed her head in her hands, peering through her fingers at the parchment in front of her. She checked and rechecked her work with the original, making sure she was not mistaken. If Kirona heard of this, she would be even more eager to leave the snowbound inn than she already was.