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Crimson Snow

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16th Day of Regon, Year 455 of the First Dawn

I could feel the cold as we climbed higher, the chill reaching into my bones. The wind whispered across the grassland, flapping my black hair over my face. I wanted to lie down. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to dream. But I couldn’t. Not with the King’s Guard after me. I was going to have to push on…

19th Day of Regon, Year 455 of the First Dawn

The sky was clear, but the air was no less cold. I had never ventured so far north before. If I weren’t in such a hurry to get out I would have nicked warmer clothes.

Some old lady gave me a little bit of food today. She asked for nothing in return, but I gave her some gold anyway. I had too much. Even now it wore me down.

Her eyes glazed over when I asked her where are husband was, and her smile seemed to curdle like sour milk. “Off to war,” she said. That was all I needed to know. I finished the stew and took my leave. I just hope she didn’t see the rune carved into my palm. The last thing I need is for an old woman to be boasting about how she had a mage in her very kitchen, eating out of her bowl. Gods, if I do that again I’ll get caught for sure.

26th Day of Regon, Year 455 of the First Dawn

I came across a town today. Despite the cold wind half of the huts were ablaze. I could see it for miles. My guess was that it was just another unfortunate town caught up in the war. I’ve seen it all before. But I’ll never get those screams out of my head. The sounds of the dying. Burning, burning, burning….

2nd Day of Farreach, Year 455 of the First Dawn

My mare died today. She fell on a slippery rock, grazing her skin and twisting her ankle. Hours later I could still hear her dying screams as they bounced around in my head. Even after the stain of hot blood was gone from my hands her suffering refused to leave my head. Maybe that’s a good thing. I don’t know. All I know is that I’m on my own now.

8th Day of Farreach, Year 455 of the First Dawn

The snow covered the grasslands and hills like a white blanket. An icy, cold blanket. I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I tried to make a fire, but I couldn’t find a single piece of dry wood. My boots are soaked, and it won’t be long before my clothes are so wet I won’t be able to wear them. Godsdammit, why didn’t I bring more clothes?

9th Day of Farreach, Year 455 of the First Dawn

The wolves came out of nowhere. I was trudging through the thick, white mush when I heard an ominous growl behind me. Next thing I knew I was surrounded by the ugly bastards. I was too tired to use magic, so my steel sword came to my aid once again. The first wolf leaped at me, filthy claws stretched out to tear my throat apart. But I cleaved him in half right in the middle of the air like a hot knife through butter.

His brethren refused to retreat. I was fine with that. My sword shimmered in the dying light, bathing in wolf’s blood as they died, died, died.

By the time I was finished at least a dozen corpses surrounded me, their blood soaking into the snow. There was my dinner. If I told myself that if I couldn’t make a fire I wouldn’t eat. Mages were forbidden to eat raw meat. But my stomach and mouth betrayed me. Gods forgive me. If anyone else is reading this, forgive me as well….

15th Day of Farreach, Year 455 of the First Dawn

It was the first town I’d seen in almost a month. According to the map it was Luven. I don’t know where I am anymore. All I knew that was I was tired. And hungry. Tired…so tired.

I gave them my coin and collapsed on the bed. It was hard and the feathers were mouldy, but I slept soundly anyway. Too soundly, for when I awoke all my possessions were gone. I’m just thankful they couldn’t find my sword that I had hidden under the bed.

Now I’m starving and I don’t have a single coin to my name.

16th Day of Farreach, Year 455 of the First Dawn

I found the thieves. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would have been. It just took a few questions and me threatening to castrate an innkeeper to get my answer.

They were holed up at The Ragged Tavern, drinking away from cups of fine wine with whores on their laps.

To my credit I gave them a few seconds to give my possessions back, and a few more seconds to allow the whores to get out of harm’s way. It was a brisk but bloody fight, leaving three of the five thieves dead and the other two with severed limbs, shuddering in their own pool of blood. One of them was desperately trying to shove his entrails back into a gaping hole in his stomach, quietly crying for his mother. After taking back my possessions I left. Too late I noticed my clothes were stained with blood.

19th Day of Farreach, Year 455 of the First Dawn

I came to Riverend, looking for a place to sleep and eat. Before I took one step in the town bounty hunters were at the ready. Apparently I have a price on my head that is double the usual bounty rate for mages. I casted poison and summoned a spectral wolf to tear them apart. In the confusion I escaped. I wonder how long this can go on for…

25th Day of Farreach, Year 455 of the First Dawn

There’s nothing around me but a frozen wasteland. Gods, does it ever end? I had a sudden urge to head south, but that would be foolish. I have to head to Markrim in the northwest where mages are welcomed. I just hope I can make it…..

3rd Day of Cray, Year 455 of the First Dawn

I didn’t think it would be possible to get any colder. But it did. Now entire lakes are frozen and my piss freezes halfway in the air. I’m just thankful that I have my clothes. I’d be dead without them….

7th Day of Cray, Year 455 of the First Dawn

Just when I wanted to give up I found a cave. A warm cave. It was occupied by an angry bear, but that bear is now being roasted over a spit. Just the smell makes my stomach growl…

14th Day of Cray, Year 455 of the First Dawn

I’m nearly there. Markrim is a mere few days away. As I bought some supplies from a miserable looking innkeeper I asked him why the inn was empty. He just laughed. “Only the mad venture this far north,” he said. I guess he was right.

19th Day of Cray, Year 455 of the First Dawn

I can see Markrim in the distance, coated in a white blanket of snow and ice. My feet were almost stuck fast in the ice, and it’s a miracle I could take one more step. I can’t bring myself to leave the tiny fire I made, but I have to get there. The snow is smothering the flames as I pen these words. It’s cold. So, so, so cold…

End

I'm a university student with far too much time on my hands, residing in Sydney, Australia. Between university lectures and numerous lunch breaks, I'm reading far too many books or writing my own short stories that cover the genres of fantasy, science-fiction, horror and steampunk. Some of these stories have been published in Tharunka, Blitz and Author's Promoter, where I came first in a short story competition. I hope to one day become a published author and die with a computer keyboard in my hands.

 

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