Just the beginning to a novel I was thinking about starting. Tell me what you think.
| As the snow fell from the ever darkening sky, the endless jeers of the townsfolk were carried into the atmosphere. They filled the quiet valley like a thick, soft blanket of snow fills the empty wicker baskets of the eastern tradesmen. Tradesmen who come so hurriedly in the spring and autumn months, then make for the passes to their own lands before the breath of winter can halt them and their gold laden pockets. There were but a few occasions when a sound loud enough would assail the cliffs of the valley, and break the deadly silence that clutched the people so tightly in the winter months. Sometimes, even before the sun would peek out from beyond the mountains, this sound could be heard by every man in the village who had not frozen to death in his sleep. Every man who woke with life, even the smallest amount, desperately, timidly emerging from his eyes.
Like so many others of that morning, Aeomir awoke to the calls of his fellow townsfolk. Naturally, an event of this magnitude was not one missed lightly. So, after donning his coat, and tucking in the rest of his clothing ever so neatly, he braced himself for the cold he was so accustomed to. The weather was bitter. It stung his face as if God himself had forbid all sense of pleasure and warmth at that very moment. His arms quietly migrated until they fruitlessly attempted to clutch at every last bit of comfort that flowed from his body every second. The steps through the hard, icy snow were difficult at first, yet with each growing step, his feet grew more numb, and more capable. It was once said by an old man in a tavern that the best remedy against the cold was to embrace it, and abandon all hopes of warmth. For by the unforgiving winds, or the slow decay of time, warmth would surrender its self to the blistering cold. Eventually.
However, there was some warmth to be had as Aeomir found himself amongst a large crowd of people, all jeering and hollering. The way their breath met the cold air reminded him much of the ways of cows, goats and pigs. Each breath was worthless. They could care less that smoke plumed forth from their lips, just as long as their purpose for that breath was satisfied. Then, quickly, all remnants of that noble gasp of air would be carried away, to dissolve in the vastness of the sky above. Aeomir quickly tried to turn his gaze to the attention of the crowd. Snowflakes coated his vision and clung to his eyelashes, but he could make out the shape of a hooded figure on a high platform.
As Aeomir edged closer, he saw that what he believed to be a platform was a large pile of dry timber, doused with a thin coating of oil. The crowd continued to swirl and churn, and their jeers grew all the more louder. Yet Aeomir remained still. Motionless amongst the endless sea of discourse. The figure, shrouded in cloth, landed it's gaze squarely on the stillness in the storm. From beneath the tattered hood, Aeomir could see long, matted curls of golden hair, and a gaze so bright, it could pierce the very whiteness of the frozen wasteland. She was clutching a small bundle of rags close to her breast, and a single tear fell gently from her cheek to the dirty forehead of a tiny newborn.
Hypnotized by the sight, Aeomir scarcely realized the distant roaring of a torch amongst the howling of the wind. There was little time before a warm glow enveloped all sides of the mound, and encircled the woman and her child. The snow around the blaze quickly began to melt, as the oil that provided warmth to the townsfolk also provided a slow demise to the pair of innocents. The light illuminated her face from under her cloak, and a small, silvery cross dangled from a thin chain in one of her pale white hands.
And so, the warmth and light from the fire radiated and extinguished the cold smoke that billowed from the sea of hatred, as well as the darkness, and emptiness of Aeomir's eyes. Before the flames, Aeomir felt not warmth, but cold, creep into his heart.