Ellyn trod a long, tiring path through the broad valleys of her uncle’s kingdom. A troop of the king’s shieldmen walked with her, long axes held ready lest any brigands were about.
Among the green hills she almost forgot how famine gripped her people in its deathly embrace.
They climbed the side of a steep vale and reached a scarred face of rock torn from the mountainside. There she left her guardians and scrambled up alone onto a sharp ledge.
She pulled aside creepers and tangled gorse to reveal a narrow, shadowed opening in the rock-face. The cave seemed to shrink upon itself as light entered for the first time in many centuries. Ellyn stepped inside the grotto.