|Pindar the Lizard King
Joined: 29 Aug 2016
Location: Newport, Wales
|Posted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:21 pm Post subject: Alone in the Snow
|The snow fell silently between the trees, the wind whipped it up into swirls of white before it could settle. In some places, the drifts were up to my knees. The cold pressed itself tight against me, making my arms and legs shiver and tremble. The only sounds I could make out over the howling of the wind, was my pounding heart and ragged breaths. No moonlight was able to push through the canopy of leaves above me, leaving me in a land of pitch blackness. In the darkness and ice, I was as a single ember, sputtering and dying in a bed of ash.
I lifted my head and brushed my drenched hair out of my eyes, casting them through the trees about me. Nothing. I dipped my head, took in a lungful of air so cold it hurt, and moved forwards again. I stopped as quickly as I had started. I heard it, over the wind, voices and laughter. I turned as if driven by instinct to my right. The wind tugged the trees in the perfect direction at the perfect moment. There, between the trees I saw a light. It was nothing more than a small lantern, but to me it was like seeing the sun after a year of night, like biting into a berry after a decade of bread. I cried out into the darkness, my voice bouncing and echoing off the forest around me before becoming lost to the wind. I turned and ran, as best I could, through the snow towards the glimmer of orange. I fell and struggled through the snow, feeling my feet and legs getting wetter and colder. A number of times I lost the glow as trees obscured my vision and panic rose in my chest, only to spot it again. I was certain it was moving, jumping to different spots between the trees. I recalled tales of spirits of the forest leading travelers to their doom and reached out with my mind, opening my senses. I heard nothing. It both worried and calmed me somewhat, it only left me one option. I pushed on towards the glimmer.
I trudged for what seemed like hours, not getting any closer to the light until suddenly I was upon it. I stopped, looked up and gasped. It was a lantern, though it was hung over the door of a Fenrisian Longhouse. The structure was squat, made of a dark ruby wood and curled up into elegantly carved dragon's heads at either end. I could hear the voices and laughter I'd heard earlier more clearly now. There were people inside. I could feel warmth coming off the building even from here, and see light escaping from the cracks around the door. I took a step closer and jumped as the door swung open violently. Light spilled out and stung my eyes, casting orange and yellows against the blues and purples of the night. A figure appeared in the doorway and took a few steps out into the snow. A man, about a decade older than me, his long blonde hair was pulled back over his head in an tightly coiled braid, his beard was cut neatly. He squinted his eyes into the darkness, looking at me. My gaze met his for a second before he flashed his teeth at me, his lips curling into a grin. He called my name, his voice rich and deep and accented with Fenrsian. He ran out into the snow wrapped his arm around my shoulder, clasping me like you would an old friend. I didn't know him, I know I didn't. I hadn't seem him before in my life. At the same time though, as I looked into his face, as he embraced me like a brother, I felt I did. I felt a familiarity, a kinship, and couldn't help but grin despite myself. He slapped me on the arms, laughing, and steered me towards the door of the long house.
I stepped over the threshold and entered a furnace of heat and light. The ice in my hair and beard turned to water immediately and cascaded off of me. I blinked as my eyes adjusted to the golden light and realised I was being watched. Faces and eyes were turned to me. Dozens of people stood silently in the room. I heard the door slam shut behind me and the blond haired man stood next to me again. He spoke, a single word, my name.
The crowd of people erupted in cheers, mead and ale being thrown into the air as mugs and tankards were tossed aside or clashed together. The noise hit me like a physical blow, thundering in my chest. The next minutes and hours were a blur. I was guided from table to table being introduced and receiving introductions. I met so many of them, young and old, men and women. Warriors, Archers, Mages, Mystics. Humans, Fae, Beastkin – men and women from all corners of the shards. Drink after drink was thrust in my hands, tankards full of deliciously sweet honey mead, metal cups filled to the brim with fruit concoctions that burnt as they went down my throat. The wind and the cold was forgotten now. My chest burnt with fire, my face hurt from smiling and talking and raising my voice in song.
After some time, how long I don't know. I found myself in the company of the blonde haired man again. He smiled and gripped my shoulders, looking directly into my eyes. He stared at me for a second before nodding. I heard another song begin to start, one I didn't recognise. The blonde haired man spoke, the quiet words in the language of my homeland.
“Já, ţú ert rödd okkar.”
The room went dark. The voices and laughter fell silent. I was alone again in the snow. The storm had stopped and I was on the edge of the forest I'd been trudging through. The moon cast its light onto fields of pure, white, untouched snow. I stepped forwards.
Sigvard woke with a start. Someone was hammering at the door.
“'ere Fenrisian, breakfast in 10 minutes” came a voice, muffled by the wooden door. Sigvard sat up in bed, he could hear the sound of a Tavern waking up. Voices, footsteps, the distant sound of crackling logs and the scent of cooking meat.
He'd been dreaming of something, but he couldn't remember what. He recalled cold and snow, then sudden warmth. The taste of mead on his lips and tongue. He frowned as he swung himself out of bed, crossing the room to a basin filled with water. He splashed the cold liquid on his face and examined his twisted reflection in the water's rippling surface. He struggled in vain to remember the dream, it'd been a good one, but it was like trying to pin down a shadow, to grasp water in a fist. It kept slipping away. Suddenly though, a thought stuck in his head. Something someone had said to him, in a language he barely heard anymore. He whispered the words to himself as the water's surface became still, his reflection staring back at him with confusion.
“Já, ţú ert rödd okkar.”
IC: Siegvard Ulrichsson: Fenrisian Skald and Mystic
Viktor Stephanovich Rykov: Union Free Company Mercenary