You choose to ignore the man. He seems fast asleep and you are used to the cold. You were born in the Mountain Tribes, and you are used to the bitterness. The teachers drilled it into you every time you misbehaved, remember?
You look at the snow, searching for any sign of a trail or boot prints. You see none. The snow is fresh, the white powder soft and untouched. You decide on a direction, and wander through the trees. There is no other sign of life. A deep thirst comes over you. You pick up some snow, cupping it in your hands. It melts quickly, and you drink it, a relief in the back of your throat. You are unsure as to how long you were out, but suspect that it was not too long. Your foot is becoming hard to move. The cold has turned it blue and you are well aware of the dangers of the cold. Your time at the school taught you all too well - you saw your best friend succumb to the frost. You search in your pockets. The shredded coat is unfamiliar to you, but it proves useful. There is a pair of thick socks in the left pocket. There is also a number of coins. They look strange, but the inscription on them reveals them to be from the Tume Lands. Whoever owned this coat before aligned themselves with dark forces, or perhaps was one.
You sit for a moment, to put the socks on. Your foot begins to warm up, and you decide that it is best to move on. The cold is bitter and you know that by stopping, you are only allowing yourself to get colder. Your stomach grumbles, but you ignore it. You need to find some form of civilisation, and fast.
Very soon, the trees all seem to merge into one, a green and white maze. You wander aimlessly through the landscape, but you slowly feel yourself slipping into madness. You halt for a second, and take a breath. ‘My name is Alvar Kivi. I was born in Nygaard, in the Mountain Tribes, to Outi and Sauli, in the year 45 PL’. As you walk, you tell yourself this over and over again, establishing a rhythm as you walk.
A dusky pink sets over the sky, slowly turning to a deep purple, then black. The dark sets in quickly, and from the shadows, a million pairs of glowing eyes gaze out at you. Or so you think.
You feel tired, and know you need to rest.
Sleep on the forest floor?
Continue to walk?
Climb a tree and sleep up there?