A Change in the Weather

(A figure walks silently through the mist shrouded woods, tall, slim, pale. He is dressed as a normal traveller, in a long warm coat, travelling boots and a cloak. His hair is very short, spiky, and a blonde so pale as to be almost white. Despite the chill in the air, no cloud of white vapour comes from his thin-lipped mouth, no sound of breathing in the still air. He is as silent as a drifting ghost, apart from the air immediately around him, which stirs listlessly and whispers ‘ffffffffrrrrrosssssssssssst…’)

(A group of travellers rest by the roadside, weary from their journey through dangerous woods. A man returns from the nearby river with water for the horses. As he carries it, the water freezes solid, then melts again, but there is something wrong with it. It bubbles and seethes as if alive. The wagoneer doesn’t notice this change and sets the water down by the horses. They bend their neck to the trough, drink deep from the clear mountain water, and collapse in brief agony from the shock. The wagoneer starts forward in horror, tipping over the trough. He leaps back with a shriek as the water splashes his legs, the intense cold blistering his calfs. The slim man watches from some distance away, a gentle, almost tender smile on his face. As silently and as unnoticeably as he had come, he walked gently away, leaving the wagon party stranded in dangerous woods with no mode of transportation, and a wounded comrade. Far off in the distance, a wolf howled… The slim man paid no heed to the chilling sound, and walked on. Around him, the wind still whispered ‘ffffffffrrrrrrossssssssst…’ in warning.)

(Some distance away from the track, the slim man hears screams and howls from behind him, which eventually die out. He pays it no heed, and keeps on. Ten minutes later, minute skittering sounds come towards him through the mist. He may as well have no even heard them. The wolf pack was gaining, excited by the act of spilling blood. They would not usually attack humans, but the harsh winter had driven them to desperation and they had developed a taste for it. They gained with immense speed, running in near silence behind their prey. Who turned. The slim man looked around slowly, staring deep into the yellow eyes of the head wolf, its muzzle stained red, with eyes as cold and bleak as the sea under a midwinter sky. The head wolf let out a panicked ‘YIP!’ and ploughed to a halt, having its packmates crash into him as they slowed. The slim man stared at the head wolf for several more seconds with his bleak eyes, before turning away and walking off. The wolf pack broke and ran as soon as they were not held in the icy grip of his gaze. As they ran in terror back to their den, the wind whipped around, rasping ‘ffffffrrrrrrossssssst…’ and nipping at their heels…)

(It began to rain gently, and for a certain distance around the slim man, it fell and bounced as hail, melting as he moved away. The rustling of the leaves in the trees said ‘fffffrrrrrrossssssst…’ as the trees told each other, and spread the fear.)

(Atlas heard the dreading whisper of the trees, and wrapped his cloak around himself before looking at the sky.)

Atlas: *Muttering * As if that isnt all we need…

(Glitterspike nodded grimly)

Glitterspike: A storm is coming.

(He didn’t know how right he was… Above him, unheeded, the rustling leaves spread the alarm: ‘fffffrrrrrrrrossssssst…’)