The Countess of Cold was cross indeed. The Warbler had failed her again.
The girl was treading on her snow, drawing closer with each crunching step. Even sitting safe in her white spire, the Countess could feel her terrible warmth approaching, and feared it.
Her sing-song man sang empty excuses. His voice, once a pleasure, now grated. The Countess silenced him with an icy stare.
The Warbler’s head slid neatly off his neck, brushed past his collar and tumbled to the flagstone, where it shattered into thirty-two pieces. An eye skittered toward her, begging forgiveness, but she had already turned away.