The thick clouds finally parted, allowing the light from the large, full moon to illuminate the frozen landscape, revealing the path forward for the weary wanderer toward the isolated castle. She shielded the flame on her staff from the cold, brisk wind before pushing forward.
Step by step, she pressed on, bound and determined to reach her destination before she succumbed to hunger and the elements.
About two hours later, desperately fighting exhaustion, she approached the gates of the castle. There was a large, brass bell overhead, with a thick rope hanging down. With her last bit of strength, she reached up and pulled down on the rope. And then she passed out.
Light from a bright sun came streaming through the windows of the large bedroom, waking the wanderer up from a deep sleep. She opened her eyes to see a man standing beside her bed holding a tray. He asked her to sit up and placed a tray of food on her lap.
“I trust you’re well rested, m’lady,” he said.
“How long have I been asleep?” she asked.
“About a day and a half, m’lady,” he responded.
At that point, another man walked into the room. “Leave us,” he said to the man who had brought in the tray. The tray-bearer bowed and departed.
Once they were alone, the remaining man said to the woman, “You have passed the penultimate challenge, albeit just barely. Now it’s time for your final challenge. Are you ready?”
“I am, sire,” she said.