Hello everyone, Kris here
This is just another silly short story. This week revolves around a supporting character from the actual novel I’m attempting to finish someday whom I wanted to flesh out a bit more.
Starting a garden in Winter’s Edge
Lesa’s body was frozen.
Well not entirely frozen, not yet at least. The small woman dropped her flint multiple times trying to catch this damnable tinder though. After multiple tries, she was fed up with her useless fingers and decided to cheat, whether or not it spelled her own doom.
“Burn you stupid wood!” Screaming at the small fire pit, the kindling inside was incinerated instantly.
She glared at the glowing pit. Then she punched it!
The spike of searing pain brought her back a little from her flirt with insanity. Damn this cold and snow and stupid forest. Damn the shades. Especially damn the members of her order, who sent her on this fool’s errand in the first place. She could almost feel the pollution sliding against her from the other side of the planar barrier. Disgusting.
Mellesanna took several, steadying breaths and focused her mind inward. A little fall in the snow was irritating, but there was no use being angry at the snow. The sharp air bit her nose, she accepted it as punishment for losing her temper.
“Ooooh a kavve tree!” She delightedly peeled the bark from a tree across the small clearing and inhaled its beautifully earthy aroma. “Well if this isn’t motivation for that fire then I don’t know what is.”
Twenty minutes later, the slender floran was sitting next to a cheery fire. It snapped and popped at her, releasing the delicious fragrance of the kavve bark. Sipping from a steaming mug, Lesa smiled to herself and let her muscles relax.
“I suppose any place I can make coffee won’t be all that bad. I hope.”
Lesa camped with her fire overnight, using the opportunity to stock up on the roots and bark with which to make coffee. She’d considered getting an early start to cleaning up the spirits, but prior experience held her back. She’d released her own soul into the middle of too many hairy situations to want to risk that anytime again.
Bags and pockets bursting with seeds and now roots and bark, she set off toward the smell of. Well, the city. She’d managed to cross the mountains without major incident, but the real anxiety was always in anticipating her introduction to a new town.
Well, Winter’s Edge was a big city, she would presumably not be the first floran to show up. The characteristic green tint of her skin wouldn’t be apparent during the winter anyway.
A howling gust of wind ran up her spine with a shiver.
Was it windy a moment ago?
An unnatural chill slowly crept all the way up inside her. Maybe she’d been a bit too careless yesterday.
Mellesanna chewed the acrid edge of a soultrap blossom from her emergency pack and angled her body this way and that, trying to pinpoint the direction the chill was emanating from. It was definitely behind her.
Lesa strained her eyes to catch a glimpse of the sun through the forest canopy for some sense of direction. The trees whispered at her to run, but winter made them weak. She whirled about face from the distant mountain and bolted through the rough undergrowth. Her spine was radiating pins and needles across every surface of her skin, a screaming alert that she wasn’t running fast enough.
Switching tactics, she dragged a stick of incense on the run and then halted in her tracks. Lighting the small stick, she wafted the smoke up and down in a circle to encase herself in it. Lesa kicked her bedroll open while unlashing a secret pocket in her backpack and setting it next to the bedding. The slender woman slid into the sleeping bag and sealed it tightly, incense and all. Forcing deep, slow breaths, the lock around her soul weakened immediately.
Slowly, her eyes closed.
Pitch black silence greeted Lesa as she opened her eyes.
She felt the telltale lightness of her body. She tried to inhale. Nothing. Perfect.
The spiritwalker took a few minutes to calm herself; she needed to assess quickly and get to her bag immediately.
Breath in. Breathe out. In.
Inky blackness swallowed her as she ripped aside the cover and dove to her bags. Lesa’s hand instinctively closed around the small, glassy sphere. Then vicious claws raked across her back like icicles, and she froze from shock for a split second.
A split second too long.
She wailed as knife-like teeth pierced her shoulder, soundlessly screeching into the nothingness. Mellesanna’s mind blanked as she fought her consciousness, trying to swim out of the venom-induced haze enveloping her. Finally coming to, she whirled to face her assailant.
Towering over her, the hulking shadow stared hungrily through her with glowing, rage filled embers for eyes.
She choked down the rising panic threatening to chase out the shred of sanity she clung to. The monster dragged her formless spirit over its head and wrapped its black hole of a mouth around her being. The feeling of her own soul being dissolved imprinted itself into the memory of her soul.
Inch by agonizing inch, Lesa reached her hand into the pit of the shade’s heart. Squeezing with every ounce of strength left, the grenade shattered and shredded the beast from within. It wasn’t possible for sound to carry through this realm, but the silent roars of pain and hatred released in that moment nearly blew her to pieces. Relentlessly the clawed fingers tore through her in its death throws.
An eternity helplessly flailing through the quiet night.
Slowly, it became agonizingly clear that she’d survived the encounter. Damn.
Mellesanna started into the void of a sky for a long time. How long was she out? Hours? Days? She cursed her physical body’s weakness. Slowly but surely, Lesa dragged her lifeless form back to her bag. She wriggled into place and re-sealed the barrier, and her world disappeared.
Breathe in. Breathe out. In. Out. How long she lay awake counting her breaths, it was impossible to tell.
The exhaustion in her arms and gnawing pain in her stomache hinted that she’d been asleep for several days. Judging by the burning throat and eyes, she was probably close to dying.
Should have slept a bit longer.
Lesa reached feebly for her water skin outside the sleeping bag. Frozen. Damn.
She let her hand fall to the ground. With monumental effort, Lesa managed to slap herself in the face with a handful of cold snow. Delightful.
Mellesanna’s drooping eyes watched the sun peek over the edge of the world through the treetops. She wasn’t thrilled. Nor did she enjoy how weak she was going to be for the next week. The supplies she needed to restock. Hopefully no more bastards of that magnititude were hanging around.
She accidentally let a yawn slip through her guard and winced.
She sighed again. This was a splendid start to her secret gardening career and she could not WAIT to get started.