Reign of Winter
Small, pale elf wearing the conspicuous garb of a Winter Witch
If anyone took the time to look past the garb of a Winter Witch, they would see an unusually short elf with a shock of white hair. Of course, until Katarina arrived in Helgen, not many people looked past the garb of the Winter Witch.
Of snowcaster elf descent, Katarina had the snow white hair of her people. Hailing from the frozen tundra of the north, she was shorter and more compact than one expected of an elf.
The insular elven town of Lightening’s End stood in a first age ruin near the human settlement of Waldsby. All the elves were on their guard as there had been an ominous feeling all day and with nightfall the appearance of strange blue lights in the sky. Whitethrone, the stronghold of the Winter Witches seemed to be the focal point of the strange blue lights.
The community had another reason to feel uneasy that night in 4613. The consort of their Twilight Speaker, the elven woman Ceraesolen, was close to giving birth to the first child born in many years. If she gave birth that night, the blue lights would be a powerful portent for the future of the unborn child. The snowcaster elves didn’t like portents. Their fear was realised during the small hours of the morning and a small pale infant with a fuzz of white blond hair was born when the lights were at their brightest. The realisation of the portent was sealed when the infant opened its eyes and they were bright blue, the colour of the lights in the sky.
40 years later_
Ceraeveretru, daughter of the Twilight Speaker and her father Vereosradin, packed the final items onto the sled. Vereosradin was the only member of the society who was willing to deal with the humans, and as his daughter Ceraeveretru had been training since birth to be his successor. With the winter approaching, the settlement needed to sell their skins and fish to buy supplies. This trip was something special. Vereosradin would for the first time leave Ceraeveretru in Waldsby to negotiate while he travelled on to the capital of Irrisen, Whitethrone. Once the sled was packed, they said goodbye to Ceraesolen and began their journey to Waldsby.
The sled made good time and they approached the town walls of Waldsby within three hours. Vereosradin helped Ceraeveretru move the trade goods onto the small hand-sled. He bid her farewell and wished her well in her dealings with the humans.
“I will return here in seven days, daughter. Learn from the humans until then. But be careful, humans cannot be trusted.” With that he prodded the reindeer into action and he sped away from the settlement. Ceraeveretru picked up the handcart and headed through the gate. Although only 40 years of age, not nearly an adult in normal elven society, she had been into the small human settlement several times with her father. Snowcaster elves lived in extremely harsh conditions and the children grew fast in order to survive.
During the past trips, Ceraeveretru and her father always stayed in the same inn and knew the tavern master and his family well enough. She dragged the little hand-sled up to the tavern, thinking how fun it would be seeing the friendly humans again, and especially sitting in the tavern’s main room at night and hearing the stories and songs.
Ceraeveretru pushed open the tavern door and walked into the smoky room. The tavern master recognised her and gestured her to a booth where one of his daughters brought a mug of warm tea and a bowl of stew. She handed the girl money for the food and then when the tavern master came to sit in the booth, handed him money for 7 nights stay in the inn.
With winter rapidly approaching, the people of Waldsby were happy to trade the warm skins and furs that Ceraeveretru brought with her. She had managed to trade all the goods and amass much grain, preserved vegetables and mead. She had enough to compensate for the elves diet of fish for the harsh winter. She had been in Waldsby for three days and her trading duties were done. She was planning on spending the remaining days talking with people and practicing her Skald language skills.
The day had been colder than usual for the time of year, and Ceraeveretru was looking forward to mulled wine and the warm fire of the inn. The snow had started to fall heavily on her return from the marketplace and a cold wind was blowing the snow into the doorways of houses. A sudden blast of cold air knocked her sprawling to the cold ground. Rough hands grabbed her shoulders and dragged her to a waiting carriage. She heard screams and smelled burning. As she was placed inside the carriage and bound, she saw blood on the snow and a number of fallen bodies. Then the door was shut and the carriage sped away.
The carriage ride seemed to take forever as she was lying bound on the floor with a three other citizens of Waldsby. One young girl was crying and another was in stunned silence in the corner. The carriage rolled to a halt and hooded figures pulled the girls out. Large sacks were placed over the girls and they were dragged inside a structure. They were roughly thrown to the floor and the sacks removed. Ceraeveretru looked up as a shadow passed over her. A human woman with white blonde hair and expensive looking fur trimmed clothing stood over her. The woman grasped Ceraeveretru’s face and said:” Oohh an elf. It is so very rare to get an elf. Usually I have to pay handsomely for them. What is your name elf?”
“My name is Ceraeveretru. I am the daughter of the Twilight Speaker. Why have you taken me? You must return me at once.”
“So impertinent” The white haired woman said, “My name is Nazhena Vasilliovna. I am a direct descendant of the great Queen Elvanna and master of the Pale Tower. You belong to me now little elf. Your name is irrelevant. I shall call you Katarina, and you shall be my personal servant.”
And so Ceraeveretru began to be known as Katarina, and her servitude began.