Winterborn


“The last snowslide before we have to move north, Essel.” The snow gnome shivered, her icicled fur standing up from excitement, oblivious to the alpine climate. She tapped her long, wide foot on top of the ice column, testing it.

Essel nodded, examining the crevasses with a pounding heart. “It’s ready.” He looked over the edge, held up a hand. “Humans. I’ll warn them first, wait’ll they clear.”

She nodded and bent down, tracing a finger along the biggest crack.

His voice loud and clear, he hooted down the mountains, echoes carrying to those below. The echoes hadn’t faded before she squatted and jumped, bringing all of her weight down on the tip of the column.

“Gigi! The humans don’t have enough time.” Essel’s voice was now a harsh whisper so as not to initiate the avalanche.

She jumped again, squinty eyes gleaming. “They are warned. We owe them nothing. They know the risk here.”

Essel could feel tiny vibrations in the ice below his feet. And even as he worried for those below, his body raged in excitement. He grabbed her arm. “Please. We needn’t cause harm.”

Gigi laughed, shoving his hand back. She pulled the strongest, shrillest laugh out of her chest that he had ever heard and forced it down into the heart of the ice and snow. She leapt again, attacking the cracking ice with all her might.

The rupture sent shockwaves down Essel’s spine. His skin prickled, sending his fur on end.

He glanced over at Gigi who crouched looking down at the fleeing humans, her teeth glinting from the sunlight reflecting from the whiteness that surrounded them.

He could do nothing but give into the impending rush. Essel closed his eyes and with each pop and snap his smile grew bigger. He knew exactly which crack was the final devastating blow.

And then the solid ground was no longer beneath him. For several heartbeats he kept his eyes closed as his broad forefeet rode the crests of sharp ice mixed with powder.

He was made for this!

Gigi squealed in delight somewhere ahead.

For several moments, Essel tumbled down the mountain, enjoying the impact against muscle and bone, his thick fur absorbing the worst. He righted himself, then spent the rest of the time using his feet to navigate the flowing avalanche. He slid down the final slopes on top of the snowpack, crashing into the plateau nearest to where the humans had been, allowing himself to be buried as the mountain calmed.

Using his feet, he shoveled his way free. Essel found Gigi half-buried, chuckling, her small eyes coquettish. He ignored her and examined the small cluster of humans that had made it out from under the avalanche.

One woman was hunched over in tears, nearly strangled by the man with fear in his eyes who fought to hold her back from danger. “My son! My son!”

Essel took a deep breath. He felt for vibrations in the snow then started digging.





Follow the Author:
blogEmailFacebookTwitterGoogle+

Genre: Traditional Fantasy
Wordage: ice, strangle
Wordcount: 499


Image: Eltouristo

3 comments:

  1. wow, good story. First time I've read about a snow gnome. very cool

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loved this! For some reason it reminded me of R.A. Salvatore's Icewind Dale trilogy and my geek meter went off the charts, haha. The names Essel and Gigi are wonderful for them. The personalities of the snow gnomes are really well done and the ending reflects it perfectly. Very good! Hopefully I'll write one as good as this one day :)

    ReplyDelete

Copyright © 2012 The Word Wood.