Her feet ached, her muscles screamed, her breath was harsh and labored; yet she ran on. She had to.

There was nothing but snow all around her, nothing but the flat, dismal outlay of land that made her head throb with forthcoming blindness, seeing the same sights again and again. With the storm raging around her, she couldn't see where the flat land ended and the closest city began.

Even she was not much to look at. Her skin was pale, a tinge of blue and pink at the knuckles and fingertips of her hands, at the bridge of her nose, around the corners of her mouth, and under her eyes. Her hair was torn back in an angry gust, long red-brown tendrils making cracking noises as it whipped the air, clawing at her already swollen face, stinging her eyes. Eyes that were downcast, looking ahead through frozen eyelashes to see where she was placing her feet, not really caring where she was going. They were a dark brown coloration to her face, her fair skin.

The warmth spell that she had drawn for herself had long since faded away into the storm. She had hoped to redraw it before now but without the blood of a tree – its life-giving sap – she could not. Her only hope was to reach the closest town before nightfall set in, which it had already begun to do. There, she would be safe. There, she could stop running.

Although the wind whistled harshly in her ears, she could hear the furious bellow of the cat-beast that followed her. It was the real reason she was running instead of walking. It was the only thing that made her not wish to stop until she reached the city.

She had to hurry, or the cat-beast would be upon her, tearing large bloodied strips from her thin gown.

"I am the last. I must live. Who else can go on?"

The cat-beast's heavy steps could be heard now, loud crunching of large paws in the deepening snow. Thu-thump. Thu-thump. Thu-thump. Thu-thump. Its powerful strides carried it toward her with unhindered speed. A growl rose in its throat, which transformed into a yowl of fury.

She didn't chance a look back at the cat-beast. She couldn't remember how long it had been following her but she remembered that when she had heard a low, deep growl, she had known what it was that followed her and why. All her confidence had left her then, pure chaotic terror had been in her midst.

Her hands and feet were numb with cold – frostbitten.

"Soon to be cat-bitten," she thought wryly.

"I can not die. I am the last… the last dragon caller. I can not die."

She rammed her bare foot against a rock hidden in the snow and fell on her front, screaming in pain and fear.

The sound of the cat-beast's plundering paw prints halted abruptly.

She lay still (The snow had cushioned her fall and she was simply left out of breath, but without other injury), knowing the cat-beast was there and terrified to meet her own certain doom.

Her thoughts were wild with emotion, filled with great fear.

"No. Not me. The last. Not me. I can not die. The last. No. The last. The last. The last."

Her breath slowed and became a steady rhythm although her heart was still thundering a fast-paced drumbeat. She turned over on her back with a groan and looked up into the angry eyes of the livid cat-beast.

It was over nine feet tall with massive paws that were easily two of her skulls in size. It had trunks for legs, stiff and unmoving, leading up to a well-toned, muscular chest that only heaved slightly at the chase. The shoulders sloped delicately upward over and arched back and tucked underbelly. The back of the cat-beast was short, only twice its neck length it that, and angled down over powerful hindquarters to a thick, full-furred tail that twitched in agitation. It had a wide, almost oddly-diamond-shaped face and large green eyes with black slits of fury glaring down at her. Those sharp fangs bared at her dripped with an angry drool; its breath smelled of dead or rotting meat. Its tawny yellow pelt was thick, soft to the touch and nigh impossible to obtain. Many died trying to.

"No. Not me. The last. The last dragon caller. The last. Not me."

The cat-beast couldn't hear her thoughts, didn't know she was different from other humans. All it knew was that she was a waiting meal, and it was quickly tiring of her staring.

The angry cat-beast growled, snapped its teeth close to her face so that she flinched, and snarled. It opened its cruel jaws, the stench of its decaying breath rolling out at her in heated waves, making her nauseous. As the cat-beast leaned toward her, she screamed, throwing her arms up in a futile effort to protect herself.

There was a loud crunch of bones snapping, and a thick sheet of blood splattered the ground, staining the snow. The scream ended, cut off from the world. The cat-beast growled deep in its throat as it feasted, making odd, almost purr-like noises as it celebrated its victory and gorged itself.

Her spirit was gone from this world, but her thoughts repeated themselves in the chilling air.

The last dragon caller…

The last…