A breath of cold extinguishes my feet. The ashes the wind carries meet a silky layer of snow. I stand here between a gentle touch and a bitter gnawing, a borderline. My prideful words harden in my throat; a sign appears asking me where to. I clamp my teeth together as I step into the unknown icy realm.
The forest door of branches and vines wilts away revealing two intertwined trees. I walk around them. How? Is it a passage or something more? I touch the trees but I fall backwards. Stinging sorrow and ever consuming love overflows from them. I kneel down and try again. This time I focus on the emotions to bring the truth to the surface.
Frost cracks from the branches releasing two flurries. These flurries materialize into two elven children holding hands. The hands frostbitten and frozen together. They skip around in joy. Little laughs echo throughout the barren tundra. I look at them like they’re a happy photo beneath a broken frame. My heart aches at the sight creating a deep hole. A chasm, an innumerable amount of time between then and now.
I follow them with Daefyr wading in my shadow. Every step takes me closer into the despair that befell these two. I shiver from the cold but I couldn’t conjure up any fire. I hold myself with my own arms trying to stay warm. Freezing gusts of air and snow slice at me. No matter what I do the cold pierces me. I’m at its mercy.
The farther we go the thicker the snowfall gets. My eyes cannot see more than a few feet in front of me. Suddenly the elves stop dancing. I press my feet into the snow to gain enough traction to stop as well. They turn towards me then point forward and fade away with the wind. I slowly step forward until my toes reach the end of land. A steep cliff lays before me.
I sit down with my legs dangling over. My hands grip the ledge and trace the grooves of stone. Everything feels right except for two small holes. I begin shaking. What happened here? Those children died. But. . .why are they happy? Daefyr rubs his wet, cold nose against my chest. He pushes me into the snow. See the truth, young master.
In the distant a scream scrapes through the shivering cold. A voice more like rusty metal creaking in the wind. I squint to see further but only the scream becomes clearer. A cry for help that time now distorts. The pain is a singularity of emotion that nothing escapes from especially time. Suffering. I reach my hand out.
“How. . .no, why?” suddenly a thin tendril of ice flies pass me. Energy reverberates in the ice until it resonates a deafening tone. I cover my ears and roll away from it. The ice explodes into a cloud of shards.
“No. Nobody did. But that time is gone.”
“Because you choose to. You can move on now.”
“Only the living have that gift.”
“No. All things exist in cycles. That includes you. You’re lost. You don’t know where to go. Let me guide you.” I reach out my hand. The ghost grabs my hand but the bitterness and pain starts freezing my hand. I grit my teeth. When the ghost notices it tries to let go. I grab tighter.