Beyond the bounds of land, and miles away, Across the ink-black sea whose sullen waves rise and fall in brief silver, Beneath celestial lamps set in unbroken Night, A storm blots the sky. Billowing purple clouds coalesce, and hide away the stars as though a growing void had been torn into the frayed fabric of what is familiar and recognizable. Rolling flashes of white chasing along the flattened bottom hanging just above the churning waters. Arahim stood quietly, and still, and watched. The winds sent expectant whispers through the trees and shrubs at his back. Answered by soft sibilant hissing of dead, dry leaves that had yet refused to fall to the kiss of Winter. Words sang through his thoughts. The refrains ever shifting, yet the chorus remained the same to a note. A steady cadence unchanging. The repetition calming. He wondered if the song was truly his own, untainted by outside influences, and not for the first time. The lantern at his feet had long since sputtered out and died, allowing the dark to claim its due. Leaving Arahim as anonymous, as faceless, as the long shadows of slowly swaying branches of his garden that stretched and scratched at the grass and stone around him. The cold lay trailing, intimate fingers across his skin. Tugging with languid insistence upon his coat and cloak like the pull of a lover drowsily cooing, "Come back to bed." The icy air finding its way through his clothing with a nonchalant ease and gifting his vigil with sudden shivers, and gooseflesh. Breathing the promise of more to come. The first clash of thunder found his ear, low and rumbling. A baritone harbinger. An electric call to arms. And while the sleeping world waited with stilled breath, and dreams of tomorrow, Arahim stood quietly, and still, and watched.