What The Eastern Wind Brings

This third memory is quite a leap back in time. We are talking about the youth of the White Realm, before its current borders were established. The map bellow shows the territory of the White Realm at the time of the 3rd memory.

The blue border shows the "heartland" of the White Realm. It is populous, wealthy and well-defended militarily. The cities are not as big as they are now (so the map is misleading in that sense), but it gives an overall idea of the territory.

The red borders show the well-structured "colonies". These regions are still under construction, but are developing quickly and have moderate military defences.

The yellow borders show the more recent colony and settlement projects. They are thinly populated, have little military pressence and develop slower than other parts of the Realm.

I know it is a terrible "edit" of the map, but it gives the right idea of the Realm's size.


Memory Three – What the eastern wind brings

The wind was biting. Peter could not take it anymore. He went inside the small shack.

“What the Oblivion are you doing inside, you fool!?” his father yelled as soon as he heard someone enter through the door. He had his club in his hands. He wore an extreme amount of wool clothes. The shack protected from the wind, but it was still incredibly cold. The air leaving his mouth could be seen as light, white smoke. Peter wondered how it did not freeze as soon as it lost contact with his father’s dry lips. It was that cold.

“Father, the wind is fierce. I am freezing to death out there!”

The excuse did not satisfy Ruslan Bere – Peter Bere’s father. Ruslan stepped forward, put the club down and grabbed his son by the young man’s shoulders. He spoke slowly:

“I told you to keep an eye on the road, did I not? It is your shift now. It is your duty, Pete!”

“But it’s cold and –“

“Shut up,” his father interrupted, spitting involuntarily, “get out there now! Be responsible, damn it! Do not be weak! Realmers are not weak! Northern Realmers are not weak!”

Peter had had enough. No other twelve-year old boy in the Realm had to take care of an adult’s duty, he was sure. What had he done to deserve this?

“I don’t want to! It is not my fault I was born in this God-forsaken part of the Realm – born to snow, ice and wind – and a father who hates me!”

He was shouting, but tears scrolled down his face. They almost froze on his cheek. Ruslan did not know what to say. He let go of his son. A tear trickled down his cheek too. He became pale, took the bow from Peter’s hands, grabbed the quiver from the floor and exited the shack. Peter just stood there as his father quietly closed the door behind him. He sat down on the wooden chair and started crying.

Thirty minutes later, Peter dried his face, calmed himself down and decided to apologize to his father. He did not wish to hurt him. It had just come out of his mouth. Those nasty words – that bit his father much worse than the blistering, cold wind out there. How could he be so heartless to his own father? Peter just hoped Ruslan would accept the apology. He exited the small house and said, without even looking:

“Sorry, dad I didn’t mean to –“

Peter stopped dead in his tracks. His mouth remained open as Peter saw his father’s body lie lifeless in the snow. The wind blew even harder and after half a minute of complete shock, Peter started crying again and ran toward his father.

“Father! I am sorry! FATHER!”

When he closed in on Ruslan, Peter stopped once again. An arrow stuck out from his father’s corpse. The snow underneath him was coloured red with blood. Peter fell on his knees and stared at his father’s motionless face. Ruslan still held the bow tight with his left hand, but as Peter carefully embraced his dead father, he could only think of one thing: I killed him.

One minute of deep sorrow later, Peter let go of his father and closed the lifeless eyelids. Just as he started planning his own suicide, the young boy looked at the arrow that had killed his father. At first, Peter had, naively, thought that Ruslan had killed himself by sticking the arrow in his heart manually. As the twelve-year old Realmer slowly removed the arrow from his father’s chest, he looked closer at it. The wind almost ripped it out of his hands, which were slippery with blood. The feather pattern and the arrow tip were completely new to Peter. He had never seen it before. And it was definitely not from Ruslan’s quiver.

Fear, instincts and training now commanded Peter. He stood up and hastily looked around in all directions. Someone else had killed his father. Peter was petrified as he saw four figures leap from the nearby pine trees. Two of them held bows, ready to fire and two carried large spears. Those were the first features that Peter discovered. Only then did he realize the attackers were not humans. At least not anymore. They were skeletons. Peter had only heard rumours about them until now. They were disgusting and vicious, but there was no time to look at their bony features as two arrows barely missed Peter’s stationary body. He rolled at once, grabbed his father’s bow and an arrow from the quiver. He fired at the skeletons, but missed. He was trembling. The skeletons with spears ran towards him. They were about fifty metres away. Peter’s fear took hold of him and he began to run away from the evil creatures.

He ran at an impressive pace. His father had trained him well – to be a survivor and a warrior – from a young age. He dashed towards the shack, but as he looked over his shoulder to spot the pursuers, he changed his mind. He could see a large skeleton army approach from the road about a mile away. They marched between the tall mountain peeks in the blistering wind. There had to be at least a thousand of them. They were headed for the settlements. Peter decided to run all the way to town and warn the settlers. An attack was imminent. He ran and saw that the four skeleton scouts gave up the chase and remained at Peter’s house. Peter ran on, tears running down his face. He looked over his shoulder again, spotting the large skeleton army. Would he be fast enough? He saw a dozen large rocks roll downhill toward the narrow road. The boulders crashed in the front of the army. An avalanche followed. Peter felt hope fill his body as he ran on. The town was some seventeen kilometres from his father’s shack. The sun was setting. Maybe there was time?

Peter Bere ran on, different thoughts racing through his head:

If he had been outside on watch out duty, he might have spotted the skeleton scouts. His father had probably been too sad to be truly concentrated on the task. He had not seen them, his eyes probably clouded by tears. It was all Peter’s fault. He had not truly meant the last words he had said to Ruslan Bere. The truth was, Peter knew, that Ruslan loved Peter more than anything else. Rusland had been tough on Peter, because Peter had to be tough. Ruslan had raised Peter the way a father should do out on the very frontier of the Realm. In this tough environment, you had to be hardened. His father had been wise and he had loved his son.

It was not Ruslan’s fault that the North was cold. It was not Ruslan’s fault that Peter’s mother had died when she gave birth to their son. None of it was Ruslan’s fault. He was a brave and strong man, who believed in the idea of the White Realm. He had helped establish the Northern Settlements as they were called. All that Peter had helped with was to kill his great father.
The White Realm had expanded quickly, but life was hard for the people who settled on the borders, claiming new land in the name of the Lord. Expansions to the south happened much faster and easier than in the north. Mainly because of the landscape and climate of the north was unforgiving, but also because the supply lines were fewer and longer than in the south. It took a lot of courage and endurance to move to the Northern Settlements, Peter knew, and even the promises of large pieces of land were not enough to bring many men to these cold, mountainous regions.
Peter’s father was one of these few, brave men. Not only did he help build Pristhton. He also moved to the small shack in which he and Peter lived. They were the very outpost of the Realm to the East. Now Ruslan was dead. Peter felt nothing but guilt.

Peter wanted to die, but then another thought struck him: He could still redeem his honour. He could make it up to his father. Not by committing suicide, but by being strong. That is what Ruslan would have expected of his son. To be strong and unselfish. Peter had to warn the other settlers. They had to prepare the defences. Peter would fight for what his father had helped build. He would not let him down. And he would be on the frontline! Yes! Hope to save his father’s work filled all of Peter and he ran even faster. Ruslan had made his son into a fine warrior and Peter would honour his father by showing that he had turned out exactly the way he should!
He ran as the sun bathed his back in red light. The eastern wind that bit his cheeks one hour ago was now his tailwind. It carried him towards Pristhton. The skeletons would pay for what they had done. They would not ravage the lands of the Realm. Peter ran the back of his hand across his face. No time for tears. No time for weakness. That is what his father had told him.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License