In this excerpt from The Crown of Anavrea, the travelers, Labren and Eve, have been caught by a snow storm on their way to shelter.
The shelter of trees ended abruptly. Ice flecks masquerading as snowflakes bit into Eve’s face while the wind froze her already cold nose. The violent gusts blew across the road, blinding them with a sheet of white.
“Almost there. This is the property line. Only another mile to the house,” Labren yelled above the screaming wind.
Eve raised her head and peered ahead. Snow whipped sideways in the frigid wind. The horses’ tails disappeared in the haze of heaving white. She ducked her face back down into her scarf. A rush of fear carried her stomach into her throat.
A castle-like manor, an exclusive school for the nobility and future leaders of the world, the images summoned by Labren’s partial descriptions did not comfort her. The storm interrupted their conversation hours ago. Now he devoted all of his attentions and waning energy keeping them on the road. Eve struggled to dwell on encouraging thoughts of a warm fire, hot food, and dry clothes. A lump formed in her throat.
A huge gray-black structure loomed vaguely through the constantly changing mass of the snow. Even when they pulled to a stop near the door, Eve could not make out much of the building beyond the meager shelter of the porch.
She glanced over at Labren and all fears of who might be inside vanished. He clumsily wrapped the reins around their hook and began a slow climb down. Eve rushed to beat him to the ground, but she was late reaching his side. He rested for a moment leaning against the side of the wagon.
“I can knock,” she offered.
Waving her away, he hobbled toward the door. He pulled on the cord to announce their arrival and then sagged against the wall beyond. Eve moved quickly to his side. He welcomed her offered support with a grimace of pain when she moved his arm to her shoulders.
She looked up at his face. “What hurts?”
He had not answered when the door opened. Immediately a woman drew them inside and closed the door firmly behind them. Eve began to gather her bearings when someone exclaimed, “Trahern!”
Labren’s leg gave out and Eve put all her effort to keeping him off the floor.
Why did someone call him Trahern?
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