A/N: Starts off pretty slowly, but DOES get a bit more fast-paced, I promise! The first few chapters are the most important because there are some real clues there :)

A girl sat silent, staring into the dancing souls of the flame before her. Snow was falling softly, in that eerily silent way that only snow does—that mutes the rest of the world momentarily as the flakes fall, slender dancers that bend and twirl to the wind. The flickering embers of the fire were now gradually dimming as yet more snow blanketed the logs, which bore it life, and yet the girl made no move to re-light the fire. In fact, if the girl had not been breathing, glimmering clouds of her breath appearing in the frosty air, she might have been a statue.

Hair the precise shade of the flames before her shielded the finer details of her face from view, and as the sun had long since set in these parts of the forest, the only source of light was currently the ever-dimming fire.

"Hazel!" A voice rang out, a piercing cry that shattered the stillness of the surrounding landscape. "Hazel!" The cry was lonely, desperate, and yet Hazel gave not even the slightest movement upon hearing it. "Hazel, please come back, please!" The voice seemed close to breaking, and it was growing louder, accompanied by the sound of footsteps.

It's owner, a girl of about the same age as Hazel whirled through the snow and thicket of trees, a long mane of hair as dark as the sky nearly invisible in the fading light. At last Hazel lifted her face to the light, and the remains of tears glistened on her pale cheeks.

"I'm sorry!" Hazel screamed spontaneously into the silence, and a fresh batch of tears sprung from her eyes and begun to race down her cheeks. In the light, it was notable that Hazel had been named for her eyes, for they were the exact color of her name. "Violet, I-I'm sorry…" Her voice was now a whisper, and she abruptly bent her head once more so that her hair shielded her face from whatever punishment she was due to receive for her outspokenness.

Violet however, only knelt in the snow where she stood and placed a tentative hand on the other girl's shoulder, her eyes flecked with fear. After Hazel had sobbed quietly into her hands for a long few moments, Violet spoke with urgency.

"It wasn't your fault-"

"Don't lie." It was a command, and order that was expected to be followed and clearly Hazel was accustomed to giving these orders regularly judging by her tone. But her voice was softer when she spoke again. "Everyone else only lies…not you, please, not you too…"

Pity filled the eyes of Violet, which were the precise shade of her name, as much as Hazel's were hers, and when she spoke again, her voice was so soft that it was barely audible.

"If you have to do it…I will not attempt to stop you. That is the least I can give." The scene was now entirely black, for the fire had at long last succumbed to the piercing chill, and the words of Hazel rang out alone, and were not challenged by her friend.

"Thank you."