The next morning was not a particularly cheery time for any of us. Sarin was hollow-eyed and grumpy, as if she'd spent the whole night awake and brooding. Jared was still behaving like an invalid, Larn had discovered his axe was rusting and I was just plain irritable. Of all of us, only Elorie seemed to be her usual self. And by her usual self, I mean she was fussing over Jared, as usual. Honestly, you'd think the boy'd nearly died for the amount of attention she was paying to him.
Never mind that I'd been mashed into the ground while they were still snoring. There's gratitude for you.
My lip had swollen up considerably by now, and new bruises were beginning to form in places I never knew I had. What was worse, I was still expected to keep pace with the others. Easier said than done when you feel like you've been put through a meat grinder. Only Larn seemed remotely sympathetic, but I didn't think empathy was a strong point of his.
"You alright?" he'd grumble every now and again, always illiciting some sort of sarcastic remark from me. Evidently the sarcasm was lost on Larn, as he seemed to take my caustic remarks for genuine expressions of how wonderful I was feeling and would go back to staring into the distance like a thick-skulled bloodhound on a hunt.
On and on and on we went, the temperature gradually dropping as we wound our way towards the Stormpeaks. The craggy mountains grew ever clearer on the horizon with every day, and maybe it was just my imagination, but did the wind seem to be biting just a little bit more, and the air smell just a little bit sharper.
Remind me why I'm doing this again? I thought for the thousandth time. If I was honest, I was beginning to think that I had been even more stupid than I thought in joining in this mad chase. Nothing remotely prophetic had happened since I'd come back to life, and so far it looked like my companions were wandering pointlessly towards an icy death for no reason at all. Storm season was closing in and, apart from Sarin's ill temperedness, there was no reason to suggest we should be hurrying at all. What was this, some elaborate joke? This was no quest, it was a bloody trek! Shouldn't there at least have been some sign that we were going the right way, or that there really was some urgency to our task?
Oh, if only I had known what was coming next, maybe then I wouldn't have complained so much. Believe you me, if I had known what was coming then I would have simply stopped complaining and been happy with mundane plodding. If I wanted havoc, I was about to get it.