Yes, this does have to do with the story. Go read.

~Wings of a diffrent sort~

An elf woke, on her back, in the snow. Frowning, quite surprised, and cold to boot, she got up. Shivering, and dusting her self off, she looked around. Snow to a human's knees, the elf walked lightly across. Trees, some close to 50 feet tall, towered above the elf, while a small stream stood frozen, threading it's way to her left. Turning, gray eyes blinked, and pale, slender finger pulled thick, dark green, hair back over pierced, dagger pointed ears. A small building stood by a some-what track, and clearly not of eleven construction. The elf blinked again, but the building stayed. The elf shrugged philasocily. She had expected to come out south, in the eleven town of Cicly, but this must have been a bit too far south. She would have to Gate back, later. It was a bit cold, even for an Elf of the Ileac Tribes. The building seemed deserted, so she walked right in, never noticing the crest on the door. It had a winged horse, breaking free of chains.

*** The building was one room. A small fireplace on the far side, with flint and steel on top of the mantel, a bed built into the left wall, rugs and a couple cupboards. Looking through the cupboards, the elf woman found an odd assortment of things. Immaculate white tunic uniforms, soap and towels, food that looked more like leather then any thing the elf had seen, some blue and white tack, and water. A few more oddments were in the other cupboards, but she could find no use for them. Sighing, the elf removed the least leatherish of the food, some blankets and a full water skin. She saw quite well in the dark, but cold none the less, she put the articles on the bed and went to light a fire. After much trouble with the fire, she got a small blaze going. Going to the bed, she slipped off her knee high boots, and curled up in the small cocoon of blankets, eating the food and sipping a bit from the skin. The leather turned out to be quite passable dried fruit.

Full and warm, a sleepy elf promptly fell asleep.

***

I know you're glad your sister married, but did you have to get it tattooed on you? asked the Companion Cili to her Chosen, Erin. Foreseer and Mage- gifted, she got very grumpy when cold and the Northern Circuit was the coldest of them all. She was from warm Azill, on the far side of the continent.

"Yes. I told you why too. When it was warmer." Erin said, almost snapping.

The current topic of non-debate was Erin's LifeMark. A LifeMark is the ever- growing tattoo on all Azilleins that could afford it. Every mark tattooed on the back or body meant an event in the life of that Azillen. Some had their whole bodies covered in the swirling multi-colored marks.

Leaving her grumpy friend to slip into a light trance, Cili plodded along the last half candle mark of trail until the Waystation where they would stay the night. The cold white snow eerily reminded Cili of fallen friends, human and spirit, on the fields of battles fought long ago...

But Erin was 28, and had never been in a war. Ever.

*** About half a candle mark later, they two found the Waystation. Rousing Erin from the deeper sleep-trance she had slipped into with a nudge, Cili yelped mentally. There's a fire going in there! WAKE UP!

Erin muttered about paranoid spirit horses, thinking it was her Companion's overactive imagination. But then she felt it. Lots, and lots of mage-energy had been used here, enough to set up a Gate.

Sitting up bolt straight, and loosening her sword in the sheath, Erin dismounted and led Cili to the door. Dropping the reigns, Erin opened the door.