His teeth chattered. The frigid air felt to him like the breath of unseen, but watching ghosts.
He wrapped his arms across his body and gripped his elbows tightly as his eyes adjusted to the moonlight. Exploding all around him was an army of tall, sentinel-like, wintry trees. Their white branches were reminiscent of stripped, bleached bones, and their trunks shimmered with an iridescent pearliness. The ground beneath them glittered with fresh, pristine snow, and the roots of the trees crawled through it like ashy snakes.
And then he saw her. Sheathed in a white dress that sailed softly on the breeze, her hair fell to the ground in ribbons of heavy, black silk. Her face was pale, small and perfect, and she regarded him with unmoving, unwavering black eyes. Her hand, as white and elegant as a porcelain doll's, rested on the hilt of a sword that was easily as tall as a ten-year-old child.
His eyes fell to the reflection of the moon in the sword's blade, and he realised that had forgotten to breathe.