Orion stares at Ariel, a loving lust blaring within his eyes. Deep, age-old sadness, caged within hers. His faded blue skin, flashes orange with the reflection of the gargantuan pyre, towering before him, and she feels that same sadness well up within her. Knowing that she must leave her fey kindred, abandon them in their weakest times, to accompany her love, on his journey to the ancient and respected, oak of ages. And knowing that she must see this very same love, burn, wither and die before her. While the elves around her, smile and laugh and celebrate the completion of the eternal natural cycle, her splendid white wings, droop in sadness. As he steps within the flames, her resplendance shatters. Her eyes glaze over, imitating that her of her handmaidens surrounding her. a single tear drips down her cheek.

The flames surround him, leaping jumping and dancing up his body, rippling through his hair, curving round his face.

And she weeps.

And she waits.

As the fey folk around her, one-by-one, gradually leave, she stays. Even her handmaidens, used to the ritual, fade away.

As the fire dies, and the heat is snatched by the cold, and even the embers themselves are still, and non-existent. The sudden cracks of the fire are gone. The silence of the forest descends, and not even the smallest creature stirs, she moves towards the ashes.

With her magic, she draws the ashes together, lifts them, and starts her slow journey towards the oak of ages.

Her soft treads through the snow barley make a ripple throughout the immense stillness of the forest.

The cracks of deadwood, and groaning of bowing moving branches grows, the closer she gets to the mighty oak. She realises that the celebration has already begun, elves laughing and dancing. The wardancer kindred providing an entertaining dance circle, leaping, swirling, dancing and twirling.

Blinking away those tears to put on a brave front for her kin, she draws a smile from nowhere, and buries herself in the jovialities.

All grows silent as she approaches her resting place for the winter. Within the silence radiates extreme appreciation for her task. For guarding the remains of Orion, the spirit of Kurnous throughout his most fragile of times. She enters the tree, happier of the fact that her people are behind her, and avidly await her return. Before she disappears altogether, she wishes her people luck within these months, and gives her kin a final blessing. Round she turns, for, what feels like the hundredth time, settles her beloved ashes, lies down herself. And sleeps.