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So cold it was silver
350 words
Actual count 476
Monday, Nov. 9

For those who don't know, I'm part of a group who write. The mod of our l'il corner of the web postes 'seeds' (see above) and we write accordin to the prompt. We've been away for a while, but we got a new prompt last week. So I'm posting it here, as well as to the writers community. below and behind the cut are the story and a bit of my comentary on the prompt. Read if you so choose.

First seed in a while. This one kicked my ass, and did *not* want to be written. It started as fantasy, tried to be horror, tried to go noir, tried to be sci-fi, and finally went back to fantasy. And I'm actually not sure that I like it,or even that it's good. But I leave the judgement on that to you, the readers.

He could hear their voices echoing harsh and guttural through the barren trees. It had been a harsh season, and the wolves and raiders (wolves on two legs, he thought grimly) had needed to be beaten back repeatedly. The human smallholders in this desolate, sparsely populated forest might never know it, but he and his had been busy all season keeping them safe ‘till spring would come. This moment was a beautiful example – a crystal clear sky, stars like diamonds, a perfect full moon - and air so cold it gleamed with its own silver light. Another clear frigid night meant another frozen patrol, and greater danger of death: from cold this time, as if there weren’t enough danger already! At least the coming skirmish held the prospect of warmth through action. He had caught the raiders’ trail a few miles back, and now, as they neared their target they were becoming careless – whether through cold, drink or foolishness only they knew.

The target this night was an isolated farmers steading; a small flock of sheep, a barn, and several fields fallow in the harsh winter, all surrounding a sturdy house. The farmer and his family likely were asleep; they’d not know the danger until too late, he guessed. His quarry stopped to ready themselves for their attack, and he ducked behind a tree, preparing himself and his weapons; helm on, hood off, blades drawn. Then, with a sudden burst, he rushed toward the first, feeling rather than hearing the snow crunch as his quarry turned, the grunted curse, and the thrum of the arrow launched at him - and hoping that his armor would stop it. The first went down easily enough – a ranged weapon is little use in close. The second had warning, though, and dropped his bow and oil-soaked arrows in favor of his sword. Still, even prepared, he went quickly. The last turned to face him, and he stopped, shock-still to see her again, even after the years gone past.

He could hear her parting words still, echoing harsh as a rasp in his heart, so cold they were silver as they spilled from her lips. Now the icy silver of her remembered words and the frost-rimed gold of her hair held him, lost in fury and the past. She closed, sword in hand, confident that he could no more harm her than he could will himself to stop breathing. Sure of her control of him, and the final outcome of the raid. She held her empty hand out to him, and he heard begin to whisper as she did so, and his skin began to tingle.

The farmer found her there; blade still in hand, a whisper of foul magic still on her lips. She was iced solid in the winter morning, as cold as words, so cold she was silver.

x-posted to bells-in-my-heart


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