A lone Blackbird scratches around on the frosty ground, fruitlessly searching for some meagre sustenance, insects are extremely scarce as the winter has been long and hard, he has not eaten well for weeks and will not survive much longer.
He hops across the clearing and finds a warm place next to the remains of a fire and a man lying on the frozen ground.
The man stirs image flash through his head, the mission, sneaking into the camp, the alarm and guards chasing them down with vicious dogs. He remembers his companions being tied up with coarse rope, their wrists and ankles slick with blood as it is tightened remorselessly.
He remembers trying to fight, tries to rescue his friends but the odds are too much and he is defeated and left for dead. He knows he is dead if he does not get food and warmth soon, he tries to rise but pain blossoms through his body and as he blacks out he sees figures reaching down and feels soft hands bringing warmth and comfort to his cold pain wracked body.
His eyes open and this time he feels warm, he is propped in an upright position, his wounds expertly bandaged with strips of clean, soft cloth and lying next to him on the crude table that stands next to the comfy but simple bed a tray of warm food.
He reaches for the food and starts eating the simple but nourishing broth and crusty bread, slowly at first and then with increasing gusto. As he is picking up the crumbs with a moistened finger the door to his room clicks open and a young woman enters .
He inspects the girl as closely as his senses permit trying to ascertain where he is and who his rescuers are . She is one of the most beautiful girls he has ever seen her hair is the colour of of finest ebony and her eyes are as blue as the most clear and sparkling tropical lagoon. She tells him not to be afraid and that no harm shall come to him, that her master will be in to answer all his questions then she takes the tray and leaves.
Scarcely a minute goes by before a tall slender man enters the room. Dressed in a robe of purest white he approaches the bed sits and starts to speak quietly.
" Well Trest, for that is your name although i don't expect you to remember even that, you were very close to death when we found you, my name is Valorian High Priest of Thor and i have come to give you a choice."
Valorian stands and places his hands on Trest, there is a soft glowing light, warmth and life travel through Trests body, he feels good.
" And now to the choice, Valorian starts in your previous life you were a petty criminal who graduated to murder, you have committed many crimes and are a wanted man, as i just gave you your final healing you are now fit and healthy enough to leave our abbey , but as i said there is a choice to be made. You may leave the abbey under arrest for your heinous acts escorted by the city guard, or you may take a new name, enter the ranks of our warrior priests, and atone for your many wrongs. The decision is yours alone but know this, we do not offer anyone this chance we think you have great potential."
Trests mind is reeling he starts to panic but a strange calming sensation of wellbeing starts to emanate from his chest opening his shirt he sees a small silver hammer glowing gently resting on his skin. The door creaks open once more, Valorian enters again and says.
" Well "