A man galloped over the icy white snowfield.
Three people chased him.
An arrow, with a string dangling off the end, pierced deep into the running man’s leg.
He hit the ground rolling, tumbling, and only just barely managed to push himself back up to his feet.
But it was already too late, and his pursuers would soon overtake him.
Ragil, the senior ranger of the Algor Kingdom, could sense their long pursuit over the past few days nearing its end.
The fugitive raced through the snow-covered northern forests for three days at a speed comparable to that of a Northern Kingdom Ranger, barely sleeping.
Ragil looked at the fallen fugitive and drew the long sword he was wearing around his waist.
An eerie cry rang out soon after.
The man was a fugitive who stole the sacred relics of the Flame Church.
The instructions from their superiors were to cut off the man’s head and retrieve the sacred relics.
Because in the cold north, the warmth of the fire was more important than anything else.
Red blood splattered across pure white snow.
The fugitive’s head rolled into the snow.
Ragil wiped the blood off his sword and jerked his head.
The rangers moved forward to search the man’s pockets.
They found a dried woman’s hand and a shard of blue glass.
Some money too.
Ragil, taking the blue glass and money, turned away without hesitation.
“Let’s go back.”
The rangers left behind the corpse in the snowfield.
Soon after they left, the sun began to trek across the horizon, and darkness fell.
The hand on the fugitive’s body began to wriggle, and the woman’s dried hand climbed up the corpse and touched his neck.
It grabbed the fugitive’s collar and started shaking him.
“Don’t be upset, Mother of Corruption.”
The headless body slowly rose from the snow field, removed the dried hand from its neck, and put it in a pocket inside its cloak.
“I needed to die here once.”
The headless body picked up the head that was talking to itself and put it back atop his bare neck.
The now-healed fugitive, no, Marnak, the priest of corruption, grinned.
“If you’re concerned about the divinity contained in the holy relic, haven’t you already recovered it Now there’s no reason for them to tail us.”