The muffled screams of her captive did not dissuade her from her task. In fact, it only encouraged her more: each scream from the old woman was an epithet, a curse, a promise of pain. They echoed nicely in the winds of the icy realm, and when the final spell was uttered, the screams stopped. She smiled, at the sudden silence, looking upon her companions. In particular, she smiled upon the man in heavy robes - the one holding a bloody sacrificial dagger. He was tall, but thin. His hair hung off his head in thin and messy clumps, as did his beard. He reminded her a little of a willow tree in winter, a comparison he rather enjoyed. His eyes betrayed the power his frail body held, and has he gazed upon her, he gave her a yellowed smile. "Ah," he said in the foreign accent, "Then it is done. Good. I would return to my own world as quickly as possible." She feigned sorrow at his words, "Oh? But we were to be having such fun..." He snorts, "Perhaps you might. Me? I'd rather not be around when you decide I'm a threat and do me in like this old bat." "Ah. You are a lot wiser than you look." She gives him a cold look, dismissing him with a wave. In a flash of snow, he was gone. She, however, rose from the throne to step across her icy floor - the fresh blood of the sacrifice already starting to freeze. She speaks to the corpse: "Even the fresh life-blood that you have given us begins to freeze... how delightful." She caresses the cheek of the old woman's corpse: "Do not worry. You will not be the last... The time has come." She turns from the altar, throwing open the doors to the balcony with a blast of magical wind that threatened to shatter the icy doors. She looked out upon the dark snow... threw her head back, and began to laugh. "I will rule henceforth, and for all eternity! Let my realm grow infinitely - cover all of Golarion... "My reign... has begun!" The Snows of Summer Soon after, in the far-off country of Taldor... Knights, fair maidens, heroic adventures, and righteous quests—these are the legends of old Taldor. But the once-powerful empire has fallen from its former glory. Now rival nobles battle each other with bitter knights and proxy armies for personal power rather than honor. A smoldering truce with Qadira, the desert nation to the south, again threatens to ignite into war, and Taldor's daughter states - Cheliax and Andoran to the west - look down upon her with contempt. Yet there is still greatness in Taldor; a stone foundation under the flaking gold adornments. Sons and daughters of forgotten royal bloodlines hear change on the wind—but is it the whisper of greatness to come, or the death rattle of an empire long past its prime? The sun shines proudly upon a village surrounded by trees and forest. The village is Bellis, within the Verudran Forest. Situated at the fork of a river leading down from the elven kingdom of Kyonin and the dwarven Five Kings Mountains - as well as it's close proximity to the country of Andoran - made this village very prosperous indeed. Great wealth flows freely through the bustling town, which has made a name for itself for it's high-quality wooden items, created from trees harvested in the forest. On one side of the river, in the forest, stands Ayollo. The warm waters would be fine for a swim, perhaps, and he stands there - so close to his destination of Taldor. Though the riverside town of Bellis was not the town where his letter was to be delivered (the town of Heldren was, further down the coast), it was one more step on the already-long journey from the far northern reaches. The fishermen on the river appear to double-take at his appearance: they have never seen someone so hairy! However, in the typical politeness of the nation, the Taldan people offer a smile and a wave if he notices them staring, before returning quickly to whatever they were doing - most of them a little red with embarrassment at being caught staring. Their children, however, are not so quick to turn away - laughing and waving for as long as he stands to wave back. A raft and its owner rests nearby, a sign proclaiming 'Eddy's Ferry' propped up against the side of it. Resting against a nearby tree, the owner's hat rests over his face. A fishing pole is gripped loosely in one hand... his faint blue, webbed hand. He wore no shirt, revealing that the light blue tone of his skin appeared to cover the entirety of him. Gills flutter under his arms, on both sides of his ribcage, it seemed. He is very lightly muscled, with an icon worn upon a necklace: a green leaf with water dripping from it. He wore shorts, his webbed feet likewise bare. His face could not be seen under the hat, but beyond his humanoid body type: he probably isn't human. His toes flex in tune with the song he hums - enjoying the sun he's resting in, one arm propped behind his head. Also tapping in tune with the music: a powerful frilled tail, tipped in the fins of a fish.