Cold was the only thing occupying the lynx's mind as they trudged through the snow-covered forest. The howling wind threw frost into their face, leaving ice to accumulate onto their whiskers and freezing the very tip of their nose. Their hindpaws, even beneath layers of wrapping, had long gone numb as each step sunk them nearly an entire foot into the snow.

Cold was the only thing on their mind, but this was not unfamiliar. For months now cold had been the only thing on this lynx's mind; tonight marked the two-hundred and eighty-second night of consecutive snowfall they had seen. Word had it the Long Winter was hitting everyone in Argolia, but it had been especially unkind to northern Westrim. Cold was a fact of life at this point, and one the lynx was determined to outlast.

So they continued, one step in front of the next, paws plunging into frosty embrace with consistent and unfaltering rhythm. Before long a shape emerged from the fog of the winter storm; nothing more than a distant shadow on a hill, but distinctly boxlike and with a slanted roof. If there were any windows they did not emit any light. The lynx altered their course within a moment and marched toward the shed.


The thick door scraped against years of dust as it creaked in protest against being opened. Ignorant of its pleas, the lynx forced their way into the darkened hut before slamming the door back into its frame. They glanced around. There were indeed no windows in this shack, which made the interior a challenge to perceive even for feline eyes. The lynx unshouldered their pack and set it on the ground to rummage around for a match, then carefully lit the lamp that hung from their hip. At once the small room flared up in flickering yellow-orange light, the warmth of color already seeming to expel some cold from the room.

The light didn't reveal much, however. Not more than a grubby flagstone floor, a rickety shelf up against one wall, and a discarded pelt to one side of the room. The lynx unhooked the lamp from their hip and set it on the floor, then got to work on breaking the shelf down into serviceable firestarters. They would still need proper fuel from the trees outside, but the dry wood of the shelf would be a good help.


The lynx now sits cross-legged on the flagstone floor in front of a crackling fire, in a spot they have swept free of debris. They have shed a majority of their winter clothing, revealing a fluffy mass of grey spotted fur that is quickly drying in the presence of the flame's welcome heat. Their hindpaws are unwrapped as well, and also basking in the warmth.

After a moment, the lynx shifts and tugs a small brass compass out of their breast pocket and glance at its face. Four symbolic needles: one in the shape of a sword, one in the shape of a scarf, one in the shape of a Celtic knot, and one in the shape of loose threads all point in different directions. They pull out another, regular, compass and compare the two- the sword, their focus, still points north and slightly east. With that confirmation, the lynx puts both compasses away and curls up on the stone floor. They close their eyes, and drift off into a deep slumber.