This is the second short story in my "Awakening of the Gods" series.
|Far north, in a land of ice and snow, stood the Mountain. Legend had it that at the beginning of worlds, a mighty hand had taken a clear gem and had sculpted it into a ragged fortress. The hand had then placed the mountain on the northern wastes and had made it Its dwelling. Many wars had raged since then, and the jagged fortress had passed to other owners, shrewder and more cunning than the first creator was. They carved deep tunnels in the rock, and made a sumptuous dwelling for themselves. They lived there for many an age, thriving deep in the mountain. Until the breaking of vows and the separating of worlds. In that time, a new force came to the mountain, seeking refuge from the savage massacre that ravaged the lands. This power cared not for the company of the small people and they too, were hunted down and slaughtered. Soon after, there came the great sleep. And nothing stirred for many an aeon…till now.
A snowstorm had besieged the mountain for many days now, and it’s slopes were invisible to all the world. The wind howled around the mountain, scarping at the precipices and chasms, the rock and the pines, roaring, striking. Searching.
It scoured the mountainside for a long time, till chance led it to find the smallest hole, a mere chink in the rocky wall. Screaming with joy, the force of Air jumped into the opening and whistled through, into tunnels, carved many an age ago. Had there been eyes to bear witness and a torch to aid them, stories would have been told of the beauty of the carvings in the rock, of the stories they could tell, and of the incredible artistry that had wrought such things.
But the ethereal messenger cared not for such things, and so speedily did it race, through halls and chambers, kitchens and armories, till it came to a corridor, deep in the mountain. At the end of it, stood a door made of a rough stone, which no art had ever adorned. Evidence would have suggested that this place was a forgotten tomb of some long gone personage. And yet…the contours of the door glowed with an ice blue light.
No living thing of this day and age has ever felt the wind pause. But in the depths of the mountain fortress of Rosoinen Kivi (as it had been known in bygone ages) the wind stopped short. Its boisterous attitude had suddenly quieted as it felt the presence of something greater than itself. The wind felt no human emotion, so fear was unknown to it, but here, in this place, a pause was the very least it could do.
Finally whistling softly, it neared the stone slab and gently disappeared into a crack in its base.
Soon it emerged into a room, dimly lit by seven pale-blue flames. Here, the emissary paused again.
At the center of the chamber stood a long stone table, carved around the edges in semblance of icicles. At its head stood a tall block of black marble carved with scratchings of a language long lost to the world.
And on the table slept the Power it had come to wake up. Tall was she, and long her silver hair, woven into tresses. Her body was muscular and her face high-boned. In her slumber the Power smiled; and the smile was as cruel as the frozen wastes that stretched till the end of the world. At her side was a lance wrought of pinewood. The point was of jagged ice, and it glowed with cold light. All the room and the figure were encased in ice as transparent as diamond.
Slowly moved the wind, now merely a breath of air. Gently it neared the head of this incredible being and softly it finally whispered: “Flawed the stone, danger forgotten, power blooms again in the land of ice and bone”.
It had no sooner uttered the words that something rumbled in the mountain; in the deep, a bell rang. In the ice, the Powers’ eyes snapped open.
Effortlessly She punched straight out of the ice, sitting up as she did. Her eyes were a cold blue and glowed with power newly awakened.
With a sudden movement, She threw back her head and let loose an ear-piercing scream! The ice in the chamber exploded into a million pieces and with a thunderous crack, the stone broke in two, crumbling to dust a few seconds later. The scream reverberated through the corridor, ever outwards till it reached a dead end. And then it kept on going, destroying rock as it went. The mountainside broke, and cold air exploded into the lifeless corridors. She smelled snow.
A few seconds later, She was leaning against the opening She had created, spear held lightly in her right hand.
She surveyed the world around her, and her face distorted in rage at what she saw. Cold fury rushed into Her heart, and ice spread from her fingertips, encasing a side of the corridor in ice.
“So, they think they could forget me did they?” Her words were crisp as frost and sharp as ice.
“Well, the time has come to remind them, that the bear awoken is ferocious if it finds its cubs in jeopardy”. Her last words were screamed, and the wind grabbed them, bringing them far, until they came upon other ears.
Not much later, a second figure appeared on the mountainside.
“Always was it your way sister, to wreak vengeance before seeking knowledge” said a tall hooded figure. “And yet can’t you feel that this is not simply negligence? There has been much forgetting done. And can you blame the young for what the old have forgotten?” said the hooded figure gently.
“I would teach them a lesson O great one, a lesson in humility, brother. Have you not seen what they have done?” the last word was wrenched from Her body in a sobbing gasp. “Yes sister, I have seen. But we can fix it. That is why I arranged for you awakening. Will you join my cause?”
She said nothing, and only gripped her shining lance tighter.
Two eyes shone in the depths of the hood, as the figure placed a hand on her shoulder.
“I don’t think you would greatly enjoy another long sleep my dear sister” he said, and She shivered as His power was made known to her.
“You can count on me. But do not expect me to be gentle.”
“There is no need for that. Go now, I shall call you when I have found the rest.”
A second later he was gone, another second and she was clothed in furs as befitted her barbaric figure. Her face was now painted with black, and symbols adorned her forearms.
With a savage scream she leaped into the snowstorm, a feral smile adorning her face.
Much later, the snowstorm moved south, the wind flying ahead of it, whispering the name of the power that drove it.
The world had awoken from its dream and now a name had risen as well, a name of ice and snow. A name, which demanded profound respect: Skadi.