The snow was drifting against the window as Karise sat down in the large armchair, arms wrapped around herself, shivering gently. Adrianna lifted up a large fur from the end of the bed, and draped it round her shoulders, tucking the fabric round the shivering princess.

“Do you not normally lit the fire?” Karise was looking over at the empty grate.

“No one who lives in this castle needs it,” Adrianna said, but crouched down by it and started to fill it with wood and small twigs. Soon, there was a small fire going, bathing the room in warm orange tones rather then the chill greys of the outside sky.

Adrianna took the other seat, pleased to see that a hint of colour was coming back into Karise’s cheeks, “You know, it was slightly foolish of you to come here. It would have been very easy for you to get lost and die in the wilderness.”

“I wanted to see you Adri. I need you. The kingdom needs you.”

“Unfortunately, the King does not, and I have no desire to go back to a place that wants me dead.”

“So you’re just going to give up on them?”


Karise looked shocked, and then hurt, curling up small in the fur. “But, that’s my home, my family, my life.”

“And if the King should change his mind and wish for my help, then all he has to do is ask. However, I do not expect it to happen. This is not the first time that other humans have disappointed me, nor the first time that I have given up on them.”

“You’d give up, on me?”

Adrianna sighed, “Oh Karise. In this whole world, you and Vesper are the things that I can never give up. I hate being up here away from you two, but I will get nothing accomplished if I am dead.”

“Come back down with me. I’ll talk with father, and if I can’t make him see reason, we’ll do it anyway.”

“I have no desire to fight two armies at once Karise.”

“Then I’ll stay here, with you. And I’ll tell father that I won’t come home until he changes his mind.”

“That’s called emotional blackmail dear.”

“I don’t care,” the fur fell off her shoulder as she made a gesture with one arm, “He’s wrong, and I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do everything I could to protect my kingdom.”

Adrianna looked over at the princess, then smiled, “Do whatever you think is right Karise, that’s all we can ask for in this world.”

“You promise not to give up? Not just yet.”

“I will never give up on you. So as long as you don’t give up on others, I’ll follow you.”