This is a story of legend and myth; gods and glory. This is a story of the power to change and the inability to control; the desperation of survival but the hope that drives it.
This is the story of the snow maker’s revenge.
The fog of his icy exhale drifted miles above the green earth. The land was blurry through the distance below. He leaned over the side of his mountainous balcony and peered towards the edge of land where it touched the sky. With a quick turn over his shoulder, in a rapid spin, he vanished with a howling gust of wind.
Far in the distance, smoke rose from a field near the horizon. It had turned from a grassy green to a burnt orange and black.
War was in the air.
The battle was becoming brutal, with no side able to gain an advantage. The toll of wounded seemed as if to double with each passing moment.
Despite the horror of battle, no one had been prepared for the maelstrom of terror that then fell upon them. As another wave of torched arrows flew into the air and began to sail down towards their targets, the arrows wobbled mid flight, hovered as if in paralyzed fear, and then exploded and dispersed in all directions. The wayward arrows darted, striking friend and foe a like.
It was the wind.
The oxen snorted as they dragged along the muddy road a cart carrying many wounded. The scenes of battle stretched far and wide. Puffs of dark smoke rose from various sites where torched arrows had landed. Swords and javelins stood like crooked obelisks and monuments placed in some thick mud. They pointed jaggedly to the heavens in respect to all whom were lost.
Suddenly, the oxen stoped. The land before them began to harden and the mud began to freeze. The cracks that had formed between the wagon’s tracks quickly filled with white ice. The oxen breathed out plumes of mist in fearful anticipation of what was to come. The snow was returning.
The two beasts made a final heave, but the rigidity of the cart’s wheels exposed the dire situation. Not even the wounded would make it this time. Their new mission, to warn the others, would be lost.
He paused. He paused for a moment that he then quickly wished had not been for too long. There was not much time.
A thrashing of wind could be heard bellowing towards them. “Hurry!” he shouted. “Everyone get under the cart!”
The huddled mass of wounded scooted and shifted towards the edges of the cart, and those who were able, stretched their legs to stand, and, with what ever hands could, the wounded held each other and together transported themselves to the shelter of the cart. There were grunts and cries of pain, but the mission of shared survival pushed them forward.
The least wounded one, the one who had shouted for everyone to take cover, hobbled to a storage box nailed to the front of the cart. Tearing it open, he pulled out the cover for the oxen.
The wind howled again. The sky had become opaque above. Time was nearly out. He threw the cover in the air so it would quickly unfurl as it landed covering the animals.
It landed, but covered only one Ox, leaving the other bare and unprotected. One ox would not be strong enough to pull the cart alone. Both oxen had to survive.
Hobbling around the cart, the least wounded one dragged off a cloak of wool that a few wounded soldiers had been lying on before hurrying below. In a desperate heave, he flung the cloak over the second ox, landing it to cover its face and barely hide its rear end.
“That will have to do,” the least wounded one said out loud. “Stay strong!” he then commanded, as if uplifted and mournful at the same time.
He did not have time to look up. He hurled himself under the cart, colliding with the others into a heap of safety and warmth.
The first snow flake that hit the surface of the cart above them sounded like an arrow made of glass shattering against a gladiator’s wooden shield. Then came several more. They sounded as if tiny spear tips crashing, cracking, and breaking upon impact with the wooden surface. The snow flakes began whistling in collision above the wounded.
Then came the blizzard. Countless ice crystals all shaped into identical razor blades cascaded down onto the sheltering soldiers. Thin and tiny daggers made of frozen water crashed towards the ground and onto tree branches, covering the scene in a white blanket of fear. The wounded knew they had to hurry if they were to make it in time to complete their mission, to warn the others, but for now, they had to exercise patience and stay safe from the storm.
High in the mountain where the cold air was born, the wind blew into a chamber of ice. Traveling with the wind was a shadow that echoed with angry laughter.