CW: Violence, Eye Trauma
It was a familiar dream, seen a hundred times and to be seen a hundred times more. He knew this, but still fear filled his gut like glowing lead. Hot, heavy, toxic, and lethal.
Snow swirled around him, burying him up to his ribs, and biting deep into the sopping wet cloths we wore. Yet still he ran. One foot in front of the other, he ran. Stillness was death, by cold or by blade, he knew that if he stopped, he would die.
And so a much younger Rosto ran, through thick drifts of snow and howling wind. Though freezing rain and ice capped streams. He ran from the images that would haunt him forever, he ran from the sounds of battle and bloodshed, he ran from the bodies of his family piled high like cords of firewood, he ran into the ice and snow and cold. He runs into Her arms.
Time passes and a young boy wrestles in the snow with a older man, a splintered bow and shattered ax littering the ice around them. The older man bleeds from an arrow ruining his left eye and the young boys face is marred from cheek to cheek by an horizontal ax wound that nearby bisects his nose. The boy is dying, he knows it in his bones, the cold bites deep into his flesh and he cant breath through his ruined nose and broken jaw. The older warrior is trying to squeeze the life from him, two hands wrapped around his throat. The boy does the only think he can, with his last breath, he screams into the cold void of death. A raw, ragged, primal scream, the last sound of despite life flinging it’s self into the frozen void.
The storm churns around them, and She watches on.
Rosto awakes from his nap, still nestled in the crook of the branch he had found a hour before, bow across his lap, and arrow knocked. The snow piled up on his skin and cloths not bothering him as he takes stock of what awoke him form his nightmare. Below him, a stag moves in the snow, silent as stalking cat. Rosto draws the nock to his cheek, sights down the shaft, and exhales a heatless breath.
Sticks and String, Ice and Cold, Simple things that separate the living from the dead.