Chapter Fourty-Two: The Inanimate Guide

The boy was trussed up like a pig, a rope tied around his right leg and the other end tied to Ellnar's saddle. As much as Jonrah resented the idea of killing him, it was probably easiest for everybody if the boy remained unconscious. His armour would protect him, anyway.

As the dusty road changed from sand to slush, Jonrah realised he was approaching the mountains, which were only about twice the height of the Raggen Pass' highest peak, but still perilous in the snowy conditions.

Ellnar slowed down to a trot, wary of the likelihood of losing her grip on the ground, and Jonrah looked over his shoulder for the second time in the entirity of their journey to ensure the boy was still firmly attached.

His leg did not look very good, and there was a large risk of infection, but little Jonrah could do. If it required amputation, so be it. He was not going to let the boy slow him down, as much as he was required.

It was late afternoon, and the sun was starting to dip in the sky. Anywhere else in the World it would still be as bright as day, but the jagged peaks of the Frice Range loomed above, blocking out any light or warmth that was streaming through the thick layer of cloud that always billowed above.

As the snow got thicker and more solid, changing from simply slush to a foot-high white blanket, the snow falling from the sky grew heavier, gathering in Jonrah's hair and catching on the tip of his tongue every time he took a breath. He was surrounded by white, a blank canvas that The Eden had painted with their own sick piece of art.

Visibility grew poorer as they trudged on through the snow, and Jonrah grew worried that they would get lost before they reached any mountains. All that could be seen on the boy was the trench he was digging as he was dragged backwards through the snow, and Jonrah could tell that Ellnar was finding it tricky to get through. They would need to stop, shelter themselves from the blizzard and wait until morning when it would hopefully be lighter.

The snow was several feet deep now, and Ellnar had been doing very well to get this far and not kick up a fuss. But Jonrah knew not to push her, and so he slid off his saddle, letting the snow catch him up to his waist. He trudged through to the boy, and untied him from the rope, heaving him over to where he had just been standing.

As he racked his brains for an idea, one emerged. He picked up the boy like a groom picks up his new wife, but without the romantic undertone, and threw him beneath Ellnar, trusting her to keep him warm with her own body-temperature. He was safe for now, as was Ellnar. Eastern horses were built for all conditions, due to the varying terrain of the realm. Western horses however were simply built for speed. It was common knowledge that an Eastern horse could survive most weather conditions. Although this blizzard was extreme Jonrah felt confident that Ellnar would last the night.

As he searched through her saddle-bags for the first time since stealing her, he found a multitude of useful equipment. He had found the rope in here, and it was stashed away with a small spade, some matches, some kindling and a tiny knife.

Jonrah thought back to the previous night, rubbing sticks together for fire, when there were matches right here.

But there was no time nor the conditions for a fire now, and so Jonrah took out the spade and dug a small tunnel in the snow, only a few feet away from Ellnar. It took him a few minutes, but the snow held well, being so thick, and Jonrah hoped it would keep him insulated.

Crawling in head first, he willed the morning to come and melt the snow away, leaving the path clear for a quick ascent into the mountains...

The End

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