Snow and Ice

The sky was dark blue with stars glowing softly in the light of Northern Lights. Ysvelt and Greyne sat outside their mount, closely together, sipping hot water from a cup.
"It's pretty. I'll miss it." Greyne sighed.
"Me too."
"So what did you guys gossip about? I saw you leaving the Main Mount together."
"Woman!" he said, sounding astonished and hurt, "men talk, they plan, they work out strategies...but never gossip."
"Sure, whatever." she laughed.
"We talked about you two gossiping about us." Ysvelt said.
"So we did. Lityan says Chaltyk's been a constant pain in her but the whole 2 weeks they were gone."
"He told me...but I'm vowed to secrecy about the plans and strategies we made."
"You are not! Maybe I can squeeze it out of you."
"You'd better squeeze hard then woman."
Greyne put her arms around him and kissed him. Soon his arms came up: "Yield!" he said.
"Chaltyk says it makes her look cute."
"Nooo." Greyen let out a cry of disbelief.
"hmmm, yes. Greyne, did I ever tell you you make the best cup of hot water?"
"What do you want?"
"Who says I want something?"
"The flattering words that just left your mouth..."
"You know they are perfect for each other."
"That's what you think..My thoughts are completely different."
They laughed some more when the snow finally started drifting down...


Chaltyk opened his bag again, he'd need to redo it again, the balance wasn't quite right.
"Having trouble?" Ysvelt asked.
"Yeah, I just can't get this to balance out." Chaltyk answered.
Ysvelt looked around and shouted: "Greyne!"
"Here dear, what is it?"
"We need your packing skills on pour Chaltyk. He's so sensitive he feels the one hair that's not laying straight on his furs in his pack."
"Poor man" Greyne smiled, "I don't know if I can help someone that sensitive."
Lityan came from the Main Mount, packed and ready to leave when she saw her friends standing together.
"Greyne? What are you doing?" she asked.
"Packing this baby's supplies."
Both women laughed wickedly at the insult. Chaltyk acted like he hadn't heard it and took up his pack.
"Thanks Greyne, say we should be going, we don't want to get stuck way back."

The Crossing

Ysvelt and Chaltyk took the lead, the two woman following closely behind. They were almost at the very beginning of the marching line. All around them mountains reached up to the sky and pinched through thick clouds, full of snow. Sometimes he thought they should leave sooner, even if first snow and ice guaranteed less problems at crossing rivers and less dangerous animals trying to hunt them. Suddenly he felt the ground beneath his feet give in. For a brieve moment he knew he was done for. Breaking his leg meant dieing.
"Watch were you're going!" Chaltyk said as he grabbed Ysvelt's arm.
"Damn snow makes me think." Ysvelt said, looking carefully at the ground before him.

Another two miles down they started on a tight pass between to mountains. They had to go round South to reach the East, because the plains leading to the Ocean were treacherous. Each year the pass seemed to have grown tighter. Each year they got through unharmed.
But not this year. Shouts from the back sounded, fear, anger maybe. The rumble of stone and snow came shortly after.
Ysvelt turned around and saw the avalanche had barred the pass.
"We should help them!" Greyne shouted.
"Yes, but you'll stay here where it is safe with Lityan, me and Chaltyk will see what we can do." Ysvelt answered.
They started walking towards the big pile of rocks when footsteps closed in.
"I'm coming too." Lityan shouted.
Chaltyk turned to tell her no when a second rumble grew louder all around them. Lityan was so astonished she looked up and froze as she saw the dreaded avalanche coming closer. She hardly felt Chaltyk grabbing her and laying her over his shoulder as he and Ysvelt ducked inside a small opening in the Mountain wall.

The Cave

Ysvelt woke up Chaltyk.
"I have to go look for her." Ysvelt said.
"Wh..." Chaltyk started when he suddenly knew and his eyes grew dim.
"Ok, I'll stay with Lityan." he finished.

Lityan woke up. Had she been sleeping?
"Welcome back." She heard Chaltyk say, "Ysvelt's looking for other survivors, but it looks bad."
"No-one?" she whispered.
"Not yet, we were out some time too, maybe they left already."
"They can't!"
"They would if they saw how it looked. We were very lucky to have that little cave so close."
Lityan huddled closer to the fire Chaltyk was tending. It was cold all of a sudden. Cold inside as well as outside.
"Greyne?" she asked.

Ysvelt returned, carrying Greyne, his face struggling with grieve and pain. Lityan bowed her head, she had loved Greyne, but Ysvelt had nearly worshipped her. She made room for him to pass deeper in the cave.
Around a bend or two a soft light shone through the transparent ice of a frozen waterfall, below was a rocky bench that was smooth enough to lay her on, it wasn't big, but neither was Greyne.
"Goodbye dear friend" Ysvelt said and bowed the head. "May you never be cold again."
He turned back and walked out with long strides, hoping no-one would see his tears. Lityan watched her friend go and felt sorry for him. None of them had expected Greyne to fall so soon. Ysvelt would be lost for several days...why them? she thought. Greyne and Ysvelt had been so right for each other...
She bent down to kiss Greyne's head when she noticed the flickering from behind.
"Chaltyk! There's something here." she yelled, her voice echoing on the cave walls.
Chaltyk came running, afraid the "something" might be a wild wolf or bear. He jumped the last corner and entered the dead chamber with his knife drawn. Lityan was holding something, smooth, soft and white as snow.
"Eggs Chaltyk! 3 of them!"

Continue to The Eggs

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Chaltyk, Ysvelt and Lityan are Candidates for the Ryslen Flurry 2002