Shivering, Skeln awakens from a nightmare with trickles of cold sweat running down his spine. Shivering less from the cold and more from the dream, he clutched the worn blanket closer around his shoulders. The High Chancellor's grinning face and the red-hot brand still hovered before his eyes in the predawn dusk filtering in through cracks in the wall. Sleep is impossible so he decides to leave his father snoring softly and take a walk to settle his agitated thoughts. Black carriages, men in mail wearing the king's oak sigil, the High Chancellor revealing that he hunted people possessing outlawed Gifts, and other images refused to be subdued. A dream so real that he couldn't offhandedly dismiss it, even though he knew it to be insanity.
Skeln's doubts faltered when he sighted the black carriage manned by the dreaded men in mail wending its way up the valley towards his home. Flee before it is too late. Flee and never look back. Flee else nightmare becomes substance.