The Death of Winter

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Saren, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. "Keiran Hir-Morana, Prince of the High Spirits of Winter. You have been chosen to walk among the mortals of Earth. You know as well as we do that our season is dying. The Summer Spirits are strong with beliefs and happiness as the mortals relish the sunlight. Without the worships of the mortals, we are dying. You are still a young spirit compared to us. This is why we have chosen you to find a mortal who will believe in the Spirits of Winter. If you cannot garner the worships of the mortals by the next snowfall, we will die.

    Go, Keiran Hir-Morana. Save us."

    Spirits didn't dream, and then Keiran woke up and remembered that he was no longer a spirit. The High Spirits of Winter had granted him morality for the duration of his time on Earth. His task to find a human had been for nothing for the past six months. Summer was ending, even if he didn't feel like it was soon enough. It was the middle of July, and the heat that bore down on the beaches of southern California was awful. Keiran hated that he'd been picked to do this. But, if he didn't, no one could, and they would all die.

    The thought made him roll from his bed in his temporary home. After landing work at a local bookstore, Keiran was able to pay for the single room apartment near the beach. The room was run down with peeling paint and old furniture, but it served his purpose.

    Dressing in a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and a pair of boots, wondering how humans didn't find clothing cumbersome, he left his room, padding down the stairs and walking to his job. It was far, and he was one of the few people in pants on the sidewalk, but it didn't bother him. What bothered him was the heat bearing down on his pale skin. When he'd been changed into a solid human, his hair was white and skin mostly void of color and warmth. It was the lack of heat in his body that ultimately drove people away. "No normal person was that cold," they said, "what kind of freak are you?"

    And so he'd wandered, looking for someone who wouldn't see him that. He needed someone, anyone, to find that cold wasn't all that bad.

    Screams of happiness made him look across the street as young children played in a sprinkler jetting across a lawn. They wanted to cool off, but they wanted the heat to crash down so they had a reason to run through the cooling water. A cold sigh escaped his lips as he pushed the door open to the bookstore. Another day was likely to pass without finding someone who wanted winter to live.
  2. "God damn it, the heat's horrible..." Elizabeth, or rather Liz as she preferred to be called, muttered as she walked through the streets. Coming from Minnesota to California was a hard change for her, but a needed one. She had landed a job in a large corporation which let her make enough money to support her family, even if she'd rather be writing in her room. She had a sweatshirt wrapped around her waist and jeans on, of course they had holes in them from overuse but she didn't care. She just needed to find somewhere to cool off. She saw a bookstore and quickly walked in. Maybe she could find a good book while enjoying the air conditioning.
  3. The small bell hit the wall as the door opened, signalling the entrance of a customer. It was much colder than the air conditioning unit should have allowed, and it was perfect for Keiran. "Welcome," he recited, voice low as he read his book. He didn't bother to look up. Humans, he found, were strangely unnerved by the storm cloud grey of his eyes. Many assumed he was blind, since there was a slight haze in the irises, and it took some convincing to tell them he wasn't. He was reading a book after all.

    Keiran didn't ask the newcomer if she wanted anything. He was too engrossed in his book on snow. It was all about the scientific process of how snow was formed, even if he thought it was wrong. He and his fellow Winter Spirits did the work, even if there was a process to it. However, it was comforting to read something familiar, which is why he didn't bother inquiring about his customer. It wasn't a big store, and they didn't have a lot, so books were fairly easy to find.
  4. Liz walked through the place before noticing Keiran. She walked up to him, putting her sweatshirt back on. "Whatcha reading?" She asked, leaning against the counter to try and read the book's title. She noticed his hair color and wondered if he dyed it. Most people didn't have white hair like that unless they were as old as her grandmother. Of course, he didn't look that old so she assumed it was dyed. She pushed up her glasses, blue eyes scanning over the title of the book.
  5. Keiran looked up to find his customer, a young woman, peering at his book. She was asking him what he was reading, so he held his finger on his page before he closed the book and set it on the counter. "Schnee- und Gletscherkunde. It means 'Snow and Glaciers,'" he said, pronouncing the German to perfection. As a spirit, he was imbued with the knowledge of the world, as he and the other High Spirits facilitated winter around the globe. Doing so for a long time allowed him to learn the world's languages, even if there were many variants.

    Now that the ice was broken, Keiran finally looked at her. "May I help you with something?" he asked, glancing down before finding a small slip of paper to hold his place in the book so he could set it aside. "If you are looking for something in particular, I may know where it is."
  6. "No, I'm just trying to escape the heat for a bit." Liz said, shrugging as she looked over the book. "Snow and glaciers, huh... Have you ever read a book called The Ancient Days?" She bit her lip as she tried to remember some of the details. "It's got a lot to do with snow and ice if that's what you're interested in. It also has a fantasy element to it so I think it's pretty cool." She smiled before looking around the empty shop. "You don't get many customers here, huh? Shame."
  7. Keiran quirked an eyebrow at her admission. She wasn't here to purchase anything, but she had mentioned escaping the unbearable heat. He allowed himself a hint of a smile. "I keep it quite cold in here, though I do not see why more mort--...people do not come inside." His slip-up was saved from questioning as a group of kids raced inside, one nearly knocking over the used book shelf.

    "Holy crap, it's freezing in here! It's like ice!" one breathed, and Keiran resisted the urge to nod and agree. It felt perfect to him. However, his happiness faltered as the other kids started shaking their heads.

    "Man, let's get out of here! It's way better outside. Let's go melt and get some ice cream from the old truck!" They whooped and ran back outside, leaving Keiran to sit back down. He was going to go back to reading when he remembered her suggestion. "We may have such a novel here," he said, lifting himself from his seat. When he was standing, he was just past six feet tall with a lean build. He had the same build as a skinnier basketball player, but it was simply the transition from spirit to human.

    "Do you know the author?" he asked, slipping between the shelves into the fantasy section in the corner.
  8. "Yeah. Carrie Mesrobian. She actually used to be a writing teacher." She said, leaning against the counter. She shook her head at the kids. "Kids these days... they don't appreciate the cold anymore." She pulled her sweater closer to her body, enjoying the warmth it gave her. Her long brown hair was tied up in a braid so it didn't help her much with warmth. She shivered a bit, but the cold store was better than the heat outside. She looked around the store, wishing she could work in a place like this rather than in a stupid office building.
  9. "It would appear so."

    Keiran didn't really know why. All he knew was that it was killing his kind. He distracted himself from the thoughts of death by scanning the books by the author's last name. Several times, he stopped to switch places on books that were not in the correct spot. Finally, he came upon a withered, bent, paperback copy of the book. "Well, it would seem like this is the last copy we have, but it is not entirely fit to sell. Perhaps I will keep it for myself to read for now." He dusted the tops of the pages off before he gave her a small smile, one that held just a tint of cold, as if he wasn't used to the motion.

    "Thank you for the suggestion. I'm afraid we did not introduce ourselves. I am called Keiran Hir-Morana."
  10. "It's nice to meet you Keiran." Liz said, holding her hand out. "My name is Elizabeth Dohrn. Feel free to call me Liz though." She pushed up her glasses as they seemed to love falling down on her. She looked over the man she was introducing herself to. He seemed... different. It was almost as if he had jumped out of one of her stories. At least someone had skin paler than her own.
  11. Keiran, after a second of hesitation, took and shook her hand, as it was a human custom. His hands were like ice, as was the Spirit custom. He released her fingers and gave her another passively cold smile. "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Liz," he said. The bell chimed and an older woman strode into the store.

    "Pardon me for a moment," Keiran said to Liz before moving away. He exchanged a few words with her before leading her to another bookshelf. Padding back to the counter, he pushed the German snow book under the shelf and set the Ancient Days book on top. There was already a stack there, all ones about snow, cold, and weather patterns.

    Once the woman set three books on the counter, Keiran rang them up. He was much slower than a normally trained cashier, but the woman didn't seem to mind his reduced speed. Bagging her books, he dipped his head in a farewell and watched her depart. It was mostly older folk that entered the store, but they always were eager to purchase books they couldn't find online.
  12. Liz waited for him to finish with the customer before speaking again. "Why do you keep it so cold in here? I mean, with how cold you felt, I'm sure you'd want something warmer. Though, I do appreciate the cold store..." She looked around, starting to move through the shelves. She looked through the books, hoping to find one she hadn't read yet that peaked her interest.
  13. "I do not like the heat," he said simply, settling back into his chair. He grabbed the piece of paper and opened his German book again, glancing up on occasion at Liz as she weaved through the shelves. "It does not feel... right on my skin."

    Keiran didn't say that being exposed to heat for prolonged periods would kill him, or that when he was too hot, he felt like he was melting. No, he kept his feelings simple for her, because she was a human and would not yet understand what he was. However, she enjoyed the cold as he did, and she hadn't left for saying his store was too cold.

    "Many other... people do not enjoy the cold. Why do you?"
  14. "Well, I sort of grew up in the cold. See, I come from Minnesota. We have super cold winters, but we get a lot of snow so as I kid I used to go out with my friends and make snowmen and snowangles." Liz said, running a hand through her hair. She smiled as she looked around and picked up a book. She flipped through it, having already read all of it.
  15. Keiran knew of the state Minnesota. He'd been in charge of the Northern Hemisphere's winter before, making sure the snow fell and the blizzards were in place. He couldn't help the accidents that often occurred during his season, as caring for the winter was his only purpose. Now, it changed to save winter instead of make sure it arrived.

    Instead of saying anything about his real work, he only smiled into the pages of his book. "Well, I am glad that you chose to enter the store, seeing as it is to your liking. You are welcome any time you like, as long as we are open." It was the same greeting extended to all customers, but not one that he said often.
  16. Liz smiled and put the book back. "I'll be sure to come back soon then." She said, grabbing a fantasy book and putting it on the counter. She pulled out her wallet and gave him the money needed for the book. "I'll be done with it by tomorrow so you'll see me soon." She said as she waited for him to print a receipt.
  17. Keiran took her money and set the book in a paper bag for her to take home. A few taps on the register, and the receipt popped out of the top. He tore it off with a deft movement, setting in on top of the bag. "Thank you," he said, for the purchase and for the chat. "I look forward to speaking with you again."

    Another customer came in behind Liz, but Keiran kept his mouth from uttering a greeting and instead focused his words at Liz. "Hopefully you will find another escape from the heat," he said, the hint of his icy smile playing at his lips.
  18. Liz smiled and nodded. "I'm sure I will." She grabbed the book and nodded to the customer that came in. Such a strange man... she was looking forward to talking to him again. As she walked home, she held the book close to her chest. She looked down. It was a book about a forbidden romance between a faerie of the snow and a faerie of summer.
  19. The rest of the day passed without any events (or fires). Once night fell, Keiran was free to go. Released from his job, he walked into the cooling night, relishing in the fact that the sun was no longer in sight. The beach was free of tourists and Californians alike, and Keiran stood in the chilly sand, staring up at the stars. As a Spirit, he was drawn to such things that seemed unattainable for humans.

    His eyes closed, a breeze ruffling the white hair. They reopened, glowing white instead of grey. And in the presence of the stars, Keiran conversed with the High Spirits, such as he did every night. Because it was summer, they were on the other side of the globe, planning winter for the other places of the world. He spoke of Liz, the woman who liked the cold, and how he was going to continue talking with her.

    "You have only found one human? Autumn draws near, and the Summer Spirits will be anxious about their arrival. They will not take kindly to you treading on their territory. Caution yourself, Keiran Hir-Morana, for the High Spirits of Summer are stronger than us. To remove a Winter Spirit will bode ill for us."

    "I understand. I will take the necessary precaution."

    With a sigh, Keiran returned to his home, undressing and laying in his bed. He hardly slept, seeing as he didn't need it. He also didn't require food or water, since he was technically immortal. However, he still did get some kind of substance in his body in order to keep up appearances.

    When the time came, Keiran walked to the store again, going earlier this time as he was required to on the weekends. Immediately turning the air conditioning dial down lower, he flicked the lights on and sat in his chair. The day was just starting, and with the Winter Spirit's warning in his head, Keiran knew it was going to be a long day.
  20. The bell ran later that afternoon with an agitated Liz walking into the store. She was still in her work clothes which consisted of a nice blouse, a cardigan and a black pencil skirt. "No, I told you he... You aren't even listening! You keep cutting me... Are you serious? You know I can't work then! But I... You're fucking with me aren't you? It was his...! ... Yes. Yes. Yes, I know... Alright. Alright, I get it. I'll fix the damn mess... Alright bye." She hung up, putting her cellphone away. She sighed, annoyed with her boss at the moment. When she saw Keiran she smiled. "Hey, got anything new today?"