A room. It is small. Stone walls and redwood floors do little to keep out the night’s chill. A simple table rests in the center of the space. The chair is pushed back. Loose papers and books litter the table’s surface. A single candle is the only proof against the darkness; the stars’ light is choked out by a thick veil of clouds.

A man paces back and forth before a large mirror on the wall. A very curious mirror. The fine craftsmanship of it seems out of place. The ornate mahogany frame is heavily weathered, while the silver is flawless. It looks like the unbroken surface of some forgotten lake.

The man stops for a moment, glimpsing his reflection. Deep set grooves and long bags under his eyes are the only things he can see in his face, framed by the flickering orange light. His thick black hair, angular features, and bright green eyes have been obscured and twisted. A souvenir from his long nights absent of sleep.

Stepping to the wide window, the man looks out at the slumbering, frozen village. He thinks that perhaps he is the only one awake at this hour. As he takes another heavy breath, he spots a small light making its way up the road. He can make out the faint likeness of a carriage coming up the road towards the estate. He is contained by the room only a few moments more before he hurries out to meet his midnight visitor.

A Dying Ember

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