The only soul within the keep that didn't seem to mind the bitter cold was a tall man with a golden eagle perched on his left arm and a letter clenched his right hand.
A servant stood behind him shivering in the intense cold as they both watched the messenger who delievered the message trudge away into the night to complete his run.
"What is the news, m'lord?" the servant asked through chattering teeth.
Fax Anderaine turned and sighed deeply, "Its my niece. Lets get out of this wind, Thomas, it is easy for me to forget that you have not undergone the training I have and this can make you ill."
With that Fax turned and entered the Keep with the eagle protesting at being forced to rebalance her weight and Thomas following, grateful for the heat of the Keep's hearths.
"M'lord, you were saying?" Thomas prompted.
"She's been wounded and is in the City of Ceri. She's safe at the moment and among friends. But still, prepare my horse, I ride to her before Redfern has another chance to hide one more member of my family." Fax replied as he turned to Thomas.
Thomas didn't need to be told twice as he bowed briefly and ran to the stables.
Fax sighed deeply and followed his servant.
Too much has happened to his family over the past hundred years and now they stood upon the edge of being no more.
He could not and would not allow the capture of Star.
If she was captured, then House Anderaine would forever be slaves to Redfern.
First my brother, he thought, but never Star.
He entered the stable and his horse stood fully tacked and his sword hung at its side along with a weeks worth of travel rations.
Thomas bowed to him as he offered him the reins.
Good man, he thought, as he mounted and wheeled the animal around and spurred him into a gallop and he plunged out of the stable's open doors into the blizzard.
Thomas stood watching and then closed the doors.
A shiver ran up his spine at the thought of the cold journey ahead of Lord Fax Anderaine.
* * *
The battle was a miserable sight to see as Andrea rode up to the battle with her army following her lead as she lead them to this horrible place of struggle.
They where still hundreds of leagues away from the actual battle, but on this particular rise, all could see the battle as it rolled across the land.
Both sides struggled and neither seemed able to force their way through.
This conflict is pointless, she thought as she observed the sight below her, Father could not have let things escalate to this point. Good soldiers and warriors are dying in vain! Their lives and deaths count for nothing, not even my men, in the overall scheme, won't matter to my father in the end.
The question startled her.
If that was true, what of Star?
What piece of the puzzle between Star and her father was she not seeing?
Was this what Star foresaw as a outcome and why she never seemed to trust or care for him?
Or was there something deeper to this than she realized?
On the heels of that thought, she called a halt to her army.
She rode to the rear of the massive column and headed back for the palace.
It was high time for her father to explain a few things to her.
"Lady Andrea! Why are we turning away from the battle?" a soldier near her called.
"Before we go off into a massacre, I want to know why some things haven't been done to prevent this. We are going back!" she replied.
Mixed cheers and gasps of surprise meet her answer, but all followed her, without further question.