The fire bearers were deep in winter country. Here in the cold crags of the highest peak lay the Vale of Morning and its miraculous flowering slopes. From there the fire bearers would drive out the barren winter and bring the fertile spring.
Skon raced into the darkness ahead of the fire bearers. She cringed as the torches flared to light her way. Somewhere in the velvet night was her unspoken. The unspoken was a dark twin, grey of skin with jagged teeth and torn mouths, who thrived only in the long nights and could not bear the light. Everyone had one and should the sacred torches go out, the unspoken would overrun those who walked in the light. Or so the elders said. The elders also warned that the unspoken were always nearby, waiting to snatch the unsuspecting into their bleak world.
Skon was not so sure. She felt the presence of the other woman. There was despair and fear, but no loathing or evil in the unspoken’s being. Skon sped up, but there was no outrunning the light. She was an innate fire bearer and the light of the sacred torches found her no matter how far afield she wandered.
“Can you feel me, too?” she whispered into the frosty air. The rasp of hardy evergreens swaying in the bitter wind all but drowned out the faint ‘yes.’ Skon looked around for her unspoken, but the shadows were too deep. Suddenly, the sacred fire flared in a halo around her. Her dark twin stood inches away, weapon in hand.