The first thing she noticed was the wetness on her cheek.

Adrianna blinked her eyes open, and was greeted by gloom. Carefully raising on hand, she felt for the wetness, her head stinging as she ran her fingers over the jagged edges of her skin, and drew her fingers back. The blood was sticky, congealing. At least she wouldn’t be bleeding to death.

Slowly, to not hurt her head anymore, she sat up and looked around. The room that she was in was tiny, and made of stone. Cold penetrated the air, and the open doorway showed nothing but brilliant white.

She used the wall to stand up, and slowly walked over to the open doorway. The snow was bright and thick, even though the sun was hiding behind the clouds. There was a light wind, flicking flurries of snow up into the air, wiping away the hoof prints that she could see leading out into the snow. Three people on horses had come here, two people with three horses had left.

Adrianna carefully took out a handkerchief from her sleeve, crouched down to dip it in the snow, and held it between her hands until it was soggy. With the wet cloth, she wiped the blood off her face. Rinsing it out in the snow again, she wiped the rest of her face free of any dust that might have gathered there whilst she was lying on the floor.

It had been wholly unnecessary to lure her out here and then club her into unconsciousness. She had thought better of the King than that. If he wished her exiled, then all he had to do was pass the sentence and she would have left. Not willingly, but she would have. Times like this made her doubt humanity.

She looked down at the kerchief, and a pang went through her heart. It was one of the ones that Karise had given her, one of the many that the princess had. She sincerely hoped that her dear friend would not think she had abandoned her. For now, she could not go back home. There would come a time when they might ask her to come back, but not before then would she see her dear princess again.

Sighing, she hung the wet handkerchief over her belt, and then started walking through the snow. It was time to return to the home that her ancestors had abandoned.