SWORD-DANCER #8

SWORD-BEARER

(In progress; not yet scheduled)

         

                                                   PROLOGUE

 

 

 

 

 

          When I walked outside to tend morning chores, it was snowing.

          In the South. 

 

          In the desert.

          I’d been north across the border, so I knew what snow was.  In fact, my mind, all on its own,  instantly registered what it was.  It then instantly registered that this was an utter impossibility.  It doesn’t do that here.

          Except it was.

          Falling out of the sky.  Fat, heavy flakes. 

          More than a trace upon the ground.  Maybe two inches.

          And demonstrably cold when one is barefoot.

          I stood before my door, completely flummoxed.  The world was white.  Oh, structures still showed dark against the pallor of the morning, but roofs were covered.  The east side of Alric’s and Lena’s four-room house, facing me, was snow-furred.  And everything of the day was quiet.

          Too quiet. 

          It occurred to me that I was dreaming.  But a review of my actions upon climbing out of  bed assured me I was not.  I mean, how often, in dreams, do you pee?

Except, well—maybe?

          And then Del stepped into the doorway behind me and said in shock akin to my own,  “It’s snowing!”

          So.  Not dreaming.

          “Ummm,” was all I managed.  I turned to face her and found a question.  “It is, isn’t it?  I mean, you should know.  You grew up in the North where it does this kind of thing all the time.”

          Del stepped out into the morning as I moved aside.  Her face was turned up to the sky.  She squinted and blinked as flakes landed in her eyes, then lowered her startled gaze to me.  “This is impossible.”

          I nodded vigorously.

          And then we heard a call, turned as one, and saw Alric walking toward us from his own house.  Like Del, a Northerner.  

          “It’s snowing!”  he exclaimed, nearly upon us.

          And so the three of us, having established that it was indeed snowing, stood there together looking out onto the whitened world and into the gray, shedding skies, and discussed reasons and causes.  But arrived at no answers.

          “Maybe,”  I said at last,  “it’s simply one of those very, very, very strange, weird, utterly inexplicable, impossible-to-believe things that actually are real.  Sometimes they just happen, after all.  No reason or explanation.  They just—are.  You know?”

          Snow had gathered upon the crowns of two pale blond heads.   Two sets of Northern-blue eyes met one another briefly, exchanged some kind of realization, a  message  to which I was not privy.

          “What?”  I asked aggrievedly, feeling left out.

          Del and Alric chorused,  “Magic.”

          Oh, hoolies.