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Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Ice (10 April)

[Continuing the theme of my Epic Fantasy, ‘The Daighacaer’ ("Day-gar-care"); Book I, Escape From Mount Vilipend]

I thought for a long time about what I was going to share in this post.  There are so many words which could be used.  However, as Mount Vilipend was an iced fortress from which my characters had to escape, I decided to give you a further glimpse into the story-line.  It's quite a long segment.

Preamble: In Chapter 10, everyone has been rescued from the pens and cages in which they were held; all the preparations have been made to ensure that everything possible is prepared and that everyone is clothed correctly for the conditions on the outer surface; and they now await their escape to freedom from Mount Vilipend. 

Icicles in Johannesburg winter 2007
...The evacuation started badly; very badly.

As the outer doors were slowly cranked open, storm winds surged into the interior of Mount Vilipend, driving before them sheets of ice and hoarfrost through the doorway.  The people using the crank had removed the face-coverings which had been pulled down over their heads and faces, and had removed their gloves to grip the crank handles more securely. 

The wind chills froze their exposed skin in seconds.  Their faces instantly iced over, with icicles forming on their eyes, their ears and, most severely, in their noses and mouths.  Their gasping breaths were testimony to the agonies they were suffering in merely trying to breathe.  In that instant their hands also froze fast on to the handles; and they would have lost their hands completely except that some of the men nearest them rushed to their aid and threw warmed water on to their hands to free them.  

Using a strength they didn't even know they had, all the men working together managed to close the doors again and then those whose faces and hands were exposed, collapsed from the exertion and the pain of trying to breathe.  Their lungs had nearly collapsed from the freezing wind and the healers who immediately rushed over to them very aware of the dangers of shock, or worse, ice bolt which would instantly freeze their blood.  In such a case, there was nothing the healers would be able to do to save them.

The healers began work almost immediately on the already blackening flesh of the men’s hands, using bandages soaked in herbs and tepid water to allow the blood to slowly circulate again.  They also covered the men with blankets which those nearest had urgently unfolded from their stores.  More than anything, they had to warm the men and keep them warm.

The shock of those who saw what happened rippled through the assembly.  Weda’Sel knew that if he didn't say something right away, he would have to leave a large number of people in Mount Vilipend to die slow deaths as their provisions inevitably ran out.

Weda’Sel’s voice carried to everyone as he spoke softly and compassionately.  “We have seen what happens if we do not remember to adhere to all the precautions we have been discussing since we first started organising ourselves.  The elements around Mount Vilipend are the harshest you will find anywhere.  Mount Vilipend is the coldest, highest, windiest, at times driest, at others wettest, and iciest land in the whole of the Realm of Faeré.  Caliginor designed it that way.”

“I don’t remember the elements being so bad.  How are we ever going to be able to leave?” called a voice from near the door.

“You’re right.  It has never been so bad and I agree that it is much worse than I anticipated it would be.  I expect that with the terrible battle which occurred between The Lighte and The Darke, the elements of the realm have been thrown into total confusion.”

“Shouldn’t we wait until it clears?” called another voice.

“In normal circumstances, yes, that would be the sensible thing to do, but there is no knowing how much worse these conditions can become.  I was instructed by The Lord Dayle to move everyone out of here as soon as possible.  That could mean that the elements may get even worse than they are at present.  It could also mean that Mount Vilipend itself could be in danger of collapsing or being overrun by the elements.”...

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