One dark and stormy winter night a stranger rode into the small town of Vasily. She was alone besides a small bundle in her arms, atop a dark chestnut mount. Veiled in the darkness of the night as well as the cloak covering her face, she traveled in absolute secrecy, unnoticed by the world.

Radnor's Inn was vacant except for the rooms held by Radnor and Petunia themselves. The town of Vasily had violent winters, and unpleasant weather was common. For about a two month span, the inn received no visitors.

Radnor himself was an honest bachelor who was approaching middle age. He had been forced to abandon his hopes for a family when his mother, Petunia, had grown sick a decade ago. Now she was on her death bed.

Radnor had enjoyed a peaceful evening, for he was sure that there would be no guests on an evening such as this. After tending to his mother he had drawn up a hot bath and then gone straight to bed. Sometime past midnight a loud crack of thunder shook him from his sound sleep. He was about to turn back over but he felt a strange compulsion to go downstairs. Although it wasn't in his nature to be impractical, he followed his impulses, wrapping himself in a cloak and light a candle before he made his way down the creaky stairs to the front desk.

By the dim light Radnor saw a cloaked woman holding a dark bundle in her arms.

"A thousand apologies my lady. We are some what unaccustomed to guests during this season. Have you been waiting for very long?"

He used the candle to light one of the gas lamps on the desk.

As the light in the dim room increased, the woman drew closer to Radnor until her veiled eyes were within an inch of the shy innkeeper. She slowly raised a gloved hand, and withdrew the dark veil covering her face.

Radnor stood transfixed, as a beautiful face emerged. Crimson lips, slightly flushed cheeks and lustrous black hair appeared from beneath the veil. Yet none of these things were what sparked Radnor's transfixion. It was her eyes.

Now, in many a story, women with deep blue colored irises are said to have violet eyes, but the lovely gems hidden beneath thick black eyelashes could truly be called nothing else.

Radnor had never seen a woman whose beauty compared to this one, and it took him a bit to recover his hospitality.

"Wou.. wooul.. would you like a room Madame?"

"No in fact my business is a bit more pressing than that. Now listen closely for I shall only say this once."

"My ears hunger for whatever wisdom you may bestow." answered the humble Innkeeper.

"What I am going to ask of you... It is no small favor. I shall require your absolute loyalty. You must swear that you will never violate my trust."

"I should rather die than betray the trust of such a noble guest." answered the slightly bewildered innkeeper.

"Very well then. Do you promise to do as I ask without wavering for a single day on pain of death or worse?"

"I swear my lady. I would cross deserts with a word from you."

The woman drew from her robes a small bundle which Radnor realized was a baby.

"Well that is good. For I have, in my care, an infant. My daughter. Her name I shall utter but once, for the sound of it shall bring great evil. You see Goodman Radnor, although she is just a babe, her life is in great danger. I fear that the only way to spare her life is to keep her hidden from the world. Will you still help me?"

"Your smallest desire is my life's work."

"Than this indeed is a trial for you, for my desire is great. The child's very life is forfeit. Swear by the stars to protect her and to never reveal her name."

"I swear by the stars to never endanger her." Radnor was astonished at the way his speech transformed in the presence of this great lady. He had never spoke so elegantly in his life.

"Then listen to me first, before I let slip her true name. You will take her in and raise her as a daughter. You must teach her both morals and culture. She must learn to read in many languages." The woman peered at him over the desk.

"I am sorry miss, but I speak just the one."

"I assure you other opportunities shall arise. You may call her as you will, but you must never utter her true name. Should her true name be uttered by another, you will act as if the name doth not exist."

The woman fixed her violet eyes upon the honest man. "Now a day will come when a minstrel will come to this inn. She will leave with him."

"Forgive me my lady, but a dozen or more minstrels visit my inn, how shall I know which one?

"Worry not, this minstrel shall order roast mutton and a beer but will come a bit short. He will offer to pay you with a song. You will accept his offer. He will sing a tune called the Ballad of the Tirien. You will know he is the man of whom I speak when the final verse of the song mentions the babe's true name. Do you understand?"

Radnor took a deep breath and nodded.

"The babe's name must never be uttered, for her life will be in great danger the moment it is. I can say it just once, so you must listen closely."

"My ears await your gift."

"Gift or curse has yet to prove. Her true name is Araviette."

At the sound of the word, the room seemed to darken and grow cold. Abruptly the woman thrust the babe into Radnor's arms. "I must go. Speak of this meeting to no one."

With those brief words she vanished into the night, never to be seen again by the eyes of the honest Innkeeper.

Radnor stood immobilized, staring into the two violet pinpricks visible from an opening in the tiny bundle.