Title: The Shadowed Snow by Paula Cas
Fandom: Original Fiction
Summary: What do you see? Picture Prompt – Beginning the journey.
Standing before the Council of Sages, it was hard to hide my nerves. These were my teachers, mentors … My family. There was no need to be nervous, but ever since the moon hid her face there had been an air of anticipation permeating the pile of rocks … Uhm, the Keep, I called home. I pulled my attention back to Council as the leader of the Council began to speak.
“The time has come for you to begin the journey into your future.” I felt my eyes widen with surprise, but I held my silence. “You will be given all you need to survive your journey.” A page to the Council moved in front of me, her arms holding a staff topped with a beautiful crystal and a cloak.
“Where am I going?” I asked while fastening the cloak around my shoulders. From what seemed like a far distance I heard a gasp escape when I took hold of the staff. It automatically adjusted to my height and felt as though it had always been in my hand.
“You will go North until the moon shows the entirety of her face. There you will find your home until it is time to continue your journey. You will depart when the day overcomes the night.” The Council disappeared from my sight.
When I stepped from the Council chamber, the first thing I noticed was the first rays of the sun dancing across the beveled crystalline windows of the Keep. Tears pricked my eyes at the thought of my few possessions I would have no time to collect for one did not disobey when told to leave, so I vanquished the tears and with my back ramrod straight, I stepped out to greet the new day.
~ • ~ • ~
As I walked, I found a water skin with a broken strap that was easily fixed, and a traveler’s pack found hanging from a broken limb. The ability to carry water and food found along the trail eased many of my worries. Living out in the temperate climate of my childhood home held little anxiety for me, but I worried about what I would find as I entered the northern climes, for they were not known for their hospitality. Puzzling on the words spoken by the Head of the Sage Council, I still had no answers when my boots first crunched in the snow.
The staff provided the spark for my fires, my cloak warmth from the sharpest cold. As I held to true North, water was plentiful, and there always seemed to be a rabbit or partridge that willingly sacrificed itself for my supper accompanied by tender shoots along the streams or winter berries the birds were willing to share.
Using what I had learned, I was able to keep my fears for the future grounded until I could feel them flow into the earth with each step taking me closer to my new home. With my body hardened to the trail and my mind armored against my anxieties, I watched the clouds part to show me the full face of the moon. Between the light of my staff, and the light of the moon, I felt no need to stop for the night. I continued to follow the small stream that had provided my water throughout the day. Seeing a hedgerow at the edge of the trees, I squeezed through the opening as the hedge grew around the flowing water.
Gaining my feet, I picked up my staff and shook the snow from my cloak. Looking up to see where next my path would lead, I saw the moon shining upon a Keep sitting atop a rocky isle rising from the frozen lake and knew I was home.
~ finis ~