The cold whipped around the group of shadows huddled in furs against the storm. A flickering campfire rested at their feet and cast warm light upon their fronts, and elongating their shadows so that they wove into the forest around them.
One figure knelt by the fire, bundled in furs and holding their head low, white hair ragged as it plastered against the white pallor of skin, it's length cropped and the figure gagging as the odour of burning hair filled their nose. Furs bulked up their figure but it was fragile, shivering and finally shifting to look up at the rest of the figures, the face sculpted and thin, lips parted and eyes wide in panic.
"Y-You can't do this! I-I did nothing wrong!" The voice strong, their mother-tongue rolling off in a thick coil of fear, the pitch revealing the owner of it as a woman. She felt her heart leap into her throat as the brutish faces stared back.
"Aeldra of the wild village, you are accused of the murder of Erik the younger." The tallest man boomed, his voice startling crows that nested just in the light of the fire. Her eyes grew wider and panic only tightened her chest further.
"NO! H-He's my brother, I would never hurt him!" She screamed, swallowing hard, pulse quickening, though her body shook no longer as her pale slender fingers gripped the skirt of her dress tightly.
There was no reply, just the sound of metal scraping against leather as a sword was drawn, the crackle of the logs upon the flames and the woman's own heart beating as she was forced into the snow by large hands. She did not resist, her thoughts were cast on her brother, smiling Erik with his darker hair and harvest gold eyes and his laugh rang in her ears. Even as her furs were removed and dress ripped apart at the back.
The snow stung her skin, it burned itself into her very being and soaked into her bones. Cold metal bit into her back and she finally screamed. In anguish. In fear. In pain.
It seared through her like a branding iron, nothing had compared to this pain, not even the womanly cramps she experienced every lunar cycle. Part of her heard the snapping behind her, but her vision was blurring into black as the snow stained crimson and seemed to join the flames. Soon, it was too much and darkness took her away.
The last thing she felt was how cold it was, numbing everything and the final thing that ran through her head was a silent plea.
I don't want to die alone.... Somebody... Anybody... Save me... Please...