Pale, bloody fingers hanging limply over the edge of a cot in a dark stone room. The only sound, a muffled voice from somewhere far off giving unknown instructions in short, angry sentences. The owner of the limp hand stirs briefly and lets out a soft moan, then goes silent again, the silence that only comes when one is near death. The darkness goes quiet again and nothing is heard but the soft splash of a drop of blood. Maskannai sits up, pulled from sleep by the horrors haunting her dreams. The elven woman has not slept well in a month, the same dream of a tortured soul lost in the depths of some darkness somewhere. She doesn't know where that somewhere might be, or who the nearly dead stranger is, she just knows that they are in desperate need of help. She also doesn't know what she can do about it, herself only a blacksmith living in a small elven village far from the heart of her people's kingdom. "If only I knew what I could do," she whispers to herself. She swings herself to the side and puts her feet on the cold wooden floor. Leaning forward she puts her head down in her hands and tries to think in the early hours of the approaching dawn. After several hours of hard thought she decides that she must travel to the palace and report her dreams to the King. Only then will she find some revelation that will make the nightmares cease. Once the sun is up she readies her horse, an old beast meant for hauling, but he will do for the three day ride that will take her to the palace. She saddles him and takes what provisions she needs, stopping by her friends house so that someone will know where she is headed and why. He doesn't think she should take this course of action, but his words do not sway her. As she mounts her horse the morning sunlight shines down on her white blonde hair and fair olive skin. Her forest green eyes say a farewell to her friend, then she gallops off into the forest. Three days alter she arrives at the capital, her horse and herself both weary from the ride. She stables him and finds lodging at a decent inn, then heads to the palace to see if she can get an audience with the King. She soon discovers that the wait to see the King, no matter the emergency, is going to take several days. She is frustrated, but does not allow it to hinder her resolve. She puts her name down on the waiting list, then retires back to the inn where she will wait until the King is available to see her. That night another nightmare comes to her, but this time it is different than before. In the darkness the pale figure groans in pain, then screams as he is tortured. No matter what tortures he is put through he never speaks. He is strapped, naked to a table of some kind, laying face down as his back is whipped, healed, and then whipped again, the cruel barbs laced with a slow, yet painful poison. His blonde hair covers most of his face, but in the dream one eye shines with strength that is slowly failing and a single tear runs down his cheek and becomes lost in the tangle of his hair. Once the sun is up that morning Maskannai makes her way down to the common room, more determined than ever to speak with the King. She has a deep gut feeling that if this stranger is not found and rescued soon that something horrible will happen to the elven kingdom. She sits down at a side table and breakfast is brought to her by a young boy wearing an apron. He can tell that she did not sleep well, and can see in her eyes that she does not want to be disturbed, so he serves her food to her and then leaves her alone. There are other figures in the common room besides elves since the capital city sees all kinds of travellers going many places. She is so absorbed in analyzing her last nightmare that she does not realize that anyone might be watching her.