A tower by the sea...

You have been wandering down the coast for days with only your small provisions to keep you alive. Now those privisions are gone, and still you see nothing but an endless stretch of wilderness. A light, chilled rain stings your face, and the cloud cover is so thick you cannot even tell where the sun is. You stumble onward, and finally a massive dark shape looms up in your vision. A tower, perched on the cliff, waves crashing far below it. You move now with purpose, making your way to the only shelter you have seen in days.

The tower is massive and dark, but a door at the base is open, and you find a sense of calm is working its way through your tired mind, urging you forward. Torches are flaring in the interior, lighting carpeted hallways and walls covered in beautiful paintings and ancient tapestries. That feeling of peace becomes stronger the further and higher you go in the tower. A sound comes to your ears, a woman's voice, humming, very faint. You follow it through the winding passageways, past fine porcelain vases and finely sculpted statues, and find yourself looking at a woman sitting in a huge, cushioned chair, a book propped in her lap. She stops her humming, looks up. Her eyes are green, the brightest, purest green you've ever seen, and her hair has a hint of red in it. She marks her place in the book and places it on the floor beside the chair. Her smile is warm as she rises, displaying a dress so white it makes snow look dingy. "That's three visitors this month. The most I've had yet," she says in a voice of crystal chimes. "I am Manja."

You take a breath. "I'm sorry to trouble you, but can you spare a room for the night?"

Manja's light laughter rings in the air. "I have hundreds of rooms in this tower. And plenty of food. Worry not. After you bathe and get a meal in you you'll feel much better."

You allow yourself to be led from the library. Manja was right. After a warm bath and some of the best food you have had in your life, you have no trouble sinking into sleep on a soft feather mattress.

wake up

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