A long time or a short time…
Vast plains, solid white snow below and opaque white fog above, ever lingering either side of the horizon. The vast, empty, snowy plains, treeless, windswept, desolate. And then, a gusting, frigid wind blows across the sky, pushing aside the fog and revealing the endless vast black. And then the night sky billows as if it were a cloak. And then, at this motion, stars suddenly speckle as the dust being shaken out of the cloak. A distant dark manlike shape, nearly indistinguishable, strides through the sky, pausing here and there. Where the figure pauses, the stars shift slowly into new places.
It’s easy to find the silvery glow of moonlight in this endless night, lighting up the fog nearly as bright as day. It’s a comforting sight, the very sight of it making the cold seem less biting and more brisk, less hungry and more playfully nipping. At the very center of this glow is the unmistakable Chors, her long hair tucked back behind an ear. She’s kneeling in the snow beside a little boy with white-blond hair, the both of them rolling what’s looking like the base of a snowman out of the fine powder, pausing occasionally to pack it tighter with vigorous pats.
The slight, almost inaudible crunch of snow under a boot. As soft as it is, Ken freezes at the sound of his own footsteps. But he breathes again, and takes another step into the circle of light with a smile that is only somewhat forced. “Chors. Good evening.” Ken’s Russian is heavily accented but manageably polite. He nods to the lady and her boy.
“Þjóðvarður.” She looks over to him, and her expression warms but she doesn’t quite smile, and she offers him a nod of greeting. “How can I help you?” She continues working on the one-third-of-a-snowman, however.
“D’you think this is big enough yet?” asks the boy.
She sits back on her heels and makes a show of looking over the sizeable snowball. “Not yet, Unchka. It looks big now, but when it’s far enough away it’ll be very small.”
“But won’t it be reeeaaally heavy?”
“Don’t worry, I’ll help you roll it across the sky.”
There is a calmness about the goddess, and a sense of comfort. A vast difference from the shyness she’d displayed before, on the semi.
Ken watches for a few moments, then takes a deep, calming breath. He’s shaking from the… cold. Yes, definitely the cold. “I have not seen Lena since we came here.” He leaves the question gently unsaid.
A pause. The cold air bites a little more briefly as Chors draws into herself a little. She stops patting the snowboulder for a bit, then turns to Ken. But she doesn’t quite look at him.
“It should have a face,” says the boy. “Like the old one did.”
Chors looks over to the boy and smiles—though it’s an affectionate smile, it’s dulled a little. “You’re right!” She looks over the snowboulder and adds, “Once we get it big enough, though.”
“Well… I mean… yeah, I guess.”
She looks again to Ken and offers an apologetic press of the lips (another one of those not-quite-smiles that the Bogovi all seem to do well), which fades a little in concern. “Dovile and Sasha are watching over her.” That is perhaps the firmest she’s spoken in the time that Ken’s known her—which isn’t saying much, but it’s clear that she won’t speak more on that matter.
Ken nods, quietly. He leaves the topic of Lena behind. But… “I have not seen Sasha, either.”
Chors merely nods. But she pauses again, then assesses Ken. A little something gives, and she says, carefully, “He’s been very busy.” There’s a lot being unsaid here. She offers another apologetic look to Ken, brows and lips pressed further still with sympathy. “He’ll be back.”
“Is it time to roll it yet?” asks the boy.
Chors gives the snowboulder a few test pats. “Yes.” She rises and moves to the boy’s side, and braces herself. “Ready?”
“I want to do it!” he exclaims.
The goddess obliges, pulling away. “Of course, Myesyats.”
The boy braces himself and with a grunt dislodges it, eventually pushing it to a steady roll so it’ll collect more snow.
As he goes off to do this, she looks again at Ken, her expression twisting with concern as she reads his own concern, and his discomfiture, and his shivering. Her lips part slightly to speak, but then she closes them, sighs, and says instead, “I’m so sorry, Þjóðvarður. I wish I could offer you more.”
Ken nods, choosing not to see her concern. “Of course. Thank you, Chors.” His eyes follow the boy and the trails of snow, then he gives Chors a parting nod and slips away.
Campaign of the Month: February 2017
Lady Moon Points to the West
In which Ken seeks Chors