The white wind blew hard, moving back and forth the bare bodies of great alpine trees. From their jittering tops, leaves fell slowly onto the soft brittle heart of nature. Chains of rocky cold mountains traveled through the borders of Hastir, dividing its regions into the many realms of Earth. Its vast lands were covered by forests that stretched from the flatlands, up to the dead-looking highlands. Trees hid under their shadows the drowned skeletons of long-forgotten creatures, and the cold hiss of ever-winter sang its hymns through the natural hallways of the woodlands, cutting and tingling in between Earth’s bleeding gash.
Mother, — Gaia’s only child—, rested her waxen neck against the cold vertebrae of a tall wooden throne, located on the tip of the world (The grand graveyard of the dead). The throne stood on top of piles of stone and gravel, covered by black sheets of ashes, and towers of anthracite that reached the heavenly bodies of giant fat trees.
She lived with the bitter cold, inhaling dreams of spring, and exhaling puffs of icy smoke. It was during this lifeless season that the death exposed itself shamelessly in front of her. Many of her children didn’t even make it until the first snowfalls, sleeping their frigid bodies under the cold fragile soil. Thusly, her children escaped from the refuges mother built for them, placed on the ice-covered craggy mountains. They ran away to the flatlands, where living was more bearable. She felt abandoned; however, she understood the reasons for their leaving.
She despised Winter with all her heart. If she wanted it, she could’ve sent the cold far away, where it wouldn’t harm anything or anyone.
Still, her wishes didn’t matter. It just couldn’t be helped.
Ever since Chaos’s beasts burned Gaia’s divine spirit, Mother had to take away all warmth from the world, letting the eternal Winter reign over their lives. Chaos was fire, disturbance, unbalance and evilness. But more than that, Chaos was a child.
This is his defeat She had said more than a hundred times, trying to convince herself that every battle would be their last, and a hundred times she failed. She couldn’t defeat him, no matter the times she froze him and threw him deep into the depths of hell, he always came back. Thus, she kept and hid away the hot burning sun, letting many of her children die in the process.
Branches of trees shook gently above her head, dancing along with the northern breeze of winter. Grey Leaves landed on top of her green skull, flowing through her hair like rivers of glazed crystals. Her eyes were blue and small, like lit up stars during the night sky. Her skin was as pale as the moon, and her body was fragile and small – yet, incredibly powerful. Just with a snap of fingers, she could crumble oceans into dismal abysses; give life to the dead; burn rivers with her rage, and return the living to the dirt they originally came from. If she wasn’t the innocent creature she was born to be, the world would’ve already turned into the paradise she always dreamt of. But for that, much of nature needed to be changed, murdered and thrown away from the sights of existence, and she didn’t wish for that to happen. Almost all of Earth was created by Gaia, and she didn’t want to destroy what remained of her mother’s majestic legacy.
Whispered Ceres, Mother’s only friend. The voice of reasoning. The god she had listened to since the day she was born into the world, and the one that had always stayed by her side despite the odds, and the undesired changes she caused to the world he helped create.
“Death approaches…” He said, using the currents of the winds that wafted out of Mother’s pointy ears.
Mother widened her eyes, holding the edges of the throne’s arms tightly with her long silvery nails. She sat straighter, aligning her backbone with the back of the wooden seat. “From where?” she shivered, fear running through her spine like soft feather needles. Mother stood up and slowly knelt to the ground, waltzing her hands through the muddy soil, squeezing the veins of trees with her pale lanky fingers.
“They march from West to East.”
Mother squeezed her eyes shut, and hunted for the strangers that threatened to harm her, and her children. She looked in between the creases of the mountains, and the seas of snow; in between life and death. Their frangible bodies crackled with every step they took into the woods, screaming like the beats of war drums. Through her children’s roots, she traveled through the fabric of cloth covering their naked skin and ripped through it slowly and painlessly.
Mother gasped, petrified by the emotions she experienced, while the hands of her children traveled through the organic compounds of their bodies. She noticed the physicality of their limbs and hair, and the familiar smell of their bodies. They were dust, water, and fire melted together into bodies filled the essence of Gaia. She felt no fear, but rather some sort of unexpected comfort and hope of their coming. If there was indeed evil inside of them, she only paid attention to the feelings of love, and hope mingled within the innermost part of their souls. They felt warm, and pleasant like the aroma of blooming flowers.
They were not like chaos’s beasts and their magmatic bodies, dull and devoid of life. Instead, they seemed indistinguishable from her and her children.
They were also Gaia’s creations.
She listened to their saddened hearts bump out of their chests, looking for paradise. They wanted to break free from the chains detaining them from achieving happiness. They sought for the lands of summer; to the grainy sand of beaches; To the light beyond the darkness.
“I don’t understand, how can they be Death? It doesn’t feel like they are Ceres.” She questioned, doubting for the first time in her friend’s whispered warnings.
“Mother, I know. Still, you mustn’t trust. Death arrives in all ways, in many different forms.” He cried, growling from deep within his melting core.
“You must banish them. Make their devilish bodies drown to the depths of hell, just like you did with Chaos hundreds of years ago!”
She shook her head, pounding her bare fists to the ground. They felt like Gaia’s long-gone children, lost and deprived of their Mother’s precious love. Maybe they were the balance she needed in order to restore what was lost. They breathed salvation and exhaled mortality. It somehow felt like fate.
“Winter might not last long.”
She nodded; her fingers still deepened onto Cere’s clay-like skin. Tears fell off her blushed freckled skin, leaving trails of salt and water flowing down to the end of her chin. Slowly Lifting her arms to the sky, she opened a gap through the clouds, letting the light of the sun sink into the thirsty trembling Earth. She danced, screamed and splashed the ashes laying on the ground to the air, her pale hands and feet turning black like the coal.
“Mother, please don’t” Ceres pleaded, defeated by Mother’s hasty decision.
Listen to me.
But Mother was deaf to Ceres’s prayers. She had trusted her him since day one, and this time she believed he was wrong – or was wrong all along. Despite his wholeness and pure desire for protecting Mother and her children, Ceres had his own share of failures. He tended to guide himself through his own convictions on how the world should be. This sometimes led to irreparable mistakes that resulted in consequences that harmed her, and her children. Despite everything that happened, she never went against Ceres’s desires. Mother always thought there was no other solution for such problems, and maybe Ceres was right. Thus, she always listened and obeyed.
However, this time she wanted to listen and believe in herself, just like Gaia did when she was alive. She wanted to be and act like the true goddess she was born to be.