“Be careful,” Karina whispered, her voice softer than the snow beneath her.
Ian nodded as he wrapped his hand around hers the best she could. “I will free you from this curse.”
“It is my fault,” he lamented. “I was chosen to guard Elurra and now my selfishness has trapped you.”
Seeing his anguish, Karina pressed a kiss to his fingers. It was the only comfort she could offer outside of her words. But neither reached him. Ian looked past her at the realm of eternal winter. Snow, ice, hail. They were all brutal elements that would soon take every shred of warmth from its newest prisoner. His gaze drifted to Karina, the very prisoner he tricked into taking his place.
“Mind the wraiths. They live in the blizzards.” Ian maintained the grief of leaving her behind as he let his fingers fall away from her.
Karina wrapped her arms around herself. She didn’t say a word for a while. She simply stood and stared at him as he backed away. He waited till she smiled before turning his back to her and his hollow promise to save her.