The lynx jumped awake, flipping onto their four paws and yanking a long knife from their belt. The door stood still for a moment, before rattling again as the knock-


-repeated itself even louder. The lynx did not move. A raspy voice called from outside the door. "Knocky-knock! Good morning in there! Care for a visit?"

Rising gently off the floor, the lynx stepped forward toward the door and flipped the knife in their hand so the tip pointed down. They took hold of the door's small slot handle and pulled inward, turning rapidly to face the visitor.

A frost covered snout of emerald green scales with a large toothy grin just below greeted them. A tall dragonborn stood in the doorway beaming at the lynx. With each one of her heavy breaths a cloud of steam rose from her nostrils like smoke. Her figure, large and imposing, seemed to occupy the entire doorway. She did not move, but after a second she spoke again. "Howdy, stranger. What brings you out into the Frost all on your lonesome? Mind if I step inside to share in your fire?"

The lynx continued to stand in the doorway. "How did you know I was here."

The visitor glanced inside the room. "Oh, just the massive plume of smoke you're pushing out of that hole there," she said gesturing at a sliver opening in the crook of the roof. "Sticks out like a drake in heat against this snow." A pause. "May I come in?" she repeated, stepping inward and pushing the lynx out of the way. Their knife lowered as they stepped aside.

With a good view of the visitor's back, the lynx clocked the massive blade mounted there. A brazen gold hilt protruded from an oiled leather scabbard that ran from the dragonborn's right shoulder down to the middle of her left calf. It looked expensive to the lynx. They had an eye for that sort of thing.

"Are you trying to let the cold in?" the visitor asked, turning back to face the lynx. They wordlessly closed the door, and sheathed their knife. If the dragonborn saw, she did not say anything. Instead, she unhooked the sword from her back and set it on the ground in front of the smoldering fire, where she then sat cross-legged next to it.

"Care to introduce yourself?" the lynx asked, circling around the fire to stare down at her from the other side.

She looked up at him, still grinning. "Kala," she said. "Kala Stormbrow, in Centerrian You?" she returned the question.

The lynx continued to stare. Eventually, they spoke. "Oak. Oak Talonborne."

"Oak? That's not the sort of name I've ever heard stuck to a cat."

Oak disregarded the callous language. "I was named after my godfather," they explained.

"Very nice to meet you, Oak," Kala finished. "Say, take a seat."

And Oak did.