The snows had fallen hard all through November, into the Yule season and beyond. Carilla shivered from the feel of thick snowdrifts pressing in against her hips and thighs. There had been a Christian king in Jerusalem the last time her heart had pumped warm blood through her veins, yet she felt the cold weigh upon her as heavily as a mortal woman might.
With the exception, of course, that a living woman could die of exposure while Carilla's freezing pain just went on and on; well past the threshold of mortal tolerance.
Her flesh, pale and soft as milk before, was now more akin to the pallor of old, moldering bones or tallow past its prime. Her hair, an endless series of flaming threads in life, was now brittle and crusted with ice. The shrill shriek of the wind cut through her heavy traveling cloak like it was tissue. Her leather boots, once fine and shiny and new, were now scuffed and worn beyond recognition. There was a hole, a big one, somewhere on her left foot the snow grou