Prologue

A winter wonderland enveloped Tirisfal Glade. The long winter of cold and snow had only just begun. Already the peacebloom and life root had frozen and withered, giving way for a thick blanket of glistening white snow. The fog no longer shrouded the sights to see, rather it added to the seclusion of the woods. Unable to see the edge of the trees, Arkerya fell backwards into the snow, staring up at the bare tree limbs through the fog and snow.

The sun was just starting to rise, though it would not be seen that day through the cloudy skies. Arkerya preferred it that way. With the sun hidden, the snow would last longer and the setting of winter would be more magical. To a little girl like Arkerya, winter was always the best time of year.

In the distance, Arkerya heard what she had been dreading since she purposely woke up early to play in the snowy woods. "Arkerya, he has arrived," her mother called. Arkerya hung her head, annoyed that she had to cut her play short to go and meet Uther the Light Bringer, who would be visiting her village today.

Why he'd come to a backwater little hillside bunch of hovels like this is beyond me. Why do I have to meet the stupid light bringer anyway. Maybe he's recruiting for his Silver Hand. What? Does he want to recruit me? Yeah right. "Arkerya!" came a louder voice than before.

"Coming Mom," Arkerya shouted back. Curses. Arkerya started walking back south to the hill where she lived. As she approached the edge of the woods and was able to see and hear her village again, the commotion quickly came into view.

In the village square, there was a large gathering of people. Little Arkerya couldn't see who was in the middle through the thick crowd of villagers. Whole heartedly uninterested, she turned and started back to the woods, only to be thwarted by her father who scooped her up into his arms.

"And where are you going little one? If you run off you won't get to meet the Light Bringer. He doesn't come around these parts often you know," said Arkerya's father. "I don't want to meet him! I just want to play in the woods!" Arkerya said loudly.

All at once, a hundred eyes turned to her. Some seemed surprised, some seemed indignant and others still seemed fearful. To the little redhead, all the eyes in the world must have been upon her to make her feel the way she did.

And what are you all looking at? He's just a person right? It isn't like not meeting some little boondocks village kid is going to ruin his day or anything. It was then that Arkerya noticed her father looking at her the same way. His eyes, and only his eyes, could scare Arkerya. Arkerya hung her head, frustrated that she had to be bothered with Uther.

Then, from the middle of the crowd, there came a tall figure of perfect build. The man was adorned in gorgeous silver armor with trim and decoration befitting royalty. Behind the bushy eyebrows and large, slightly red mustache, there were piercing, yet gentle, green eyes.

He strode gently toward Arkerya and stopped in front of her. Her father put her on the ground and stepped back. Arkerya looked back at him and then up at the imposing man. Uther neither smiled nor frowned. He just stood there, staring at Arkerya.

What did I do? Did I make him mad? Arkerya's spirits sank very quickly at the thought of offending Uther the Light Bringer. Her annoyance quickly turned to fear as the imposing man continued to stare.

To Arkerya's disbelief, Uther cocked his head to the side and smiled widely before dropping to his knee in front of her.

"And what is your name little one?" Uther asked kindly. Arkerya blinked and stepped back. "It's alright. I would just like to know your name," Uther pressed.

"I'm Arkerya sir," she said meekly. Uther smiled widely and reached into a pouch on his belt. "I have something for you here, Arkerya." He pulled from his pouch a tiny figurine of gold. The small statue had wide wings and a blindfold over its eyes. "What is it?" Arkerya asked.

"It's a good luck charm. I was going to use it myself to bring good fortune, but I'd like you to have it," he said cheerfully. He held it out to Arkerya who took it respectfully.

"How does it work?" she asked. "You burry it the ground outside your home and it will bring you luck one day," he replied.

"When?" Arkerya asked. "It's hard to be sure. It could happen tomorrow or in many years. But the think about luck is that you will never truly know. But if you keep faith in it, I'm sure it will be invaluable to you one day," Uther replied.

"Thanks," Arkerya smiled genuinely. "You're very welcome. Go on now. Go plant it in a good spot," Uther urged her.

Arkerya nodded and ran toward her house away from the crowd. She ran around the back of her house and stopped at a tree outside the back door. This looks like as good a place as any. She hastily dug a ways into the ground and then buried the figurine.

Well, nothing do now except wait for it to give me good luck.