When there is no water left, we’ll leave. Until then, we ration what we pull from the well. Three-quarters of a bucket for drinking (a full one when the day gets above 90 degrees, which is... [+]
The sun crept over the horizon, allowing the mountains and the many foot hills to cast long shadows upon the nearby forest. The sun had a vibrant, golden hue and the morning skies were bright blue with a small hint of yellow. The trees were ever green with lush, lively tints of its never fading color, and the meadow was dappled with many varieties of flowers. The stream glistened in the soft glow of the morning sun and it sparkled like a million diamonds resting in the banks of the rivulet. Its shimmering waterfall poured forth gallon after gallon of fresh spring water and cascaded off of the precipice that overlooked the meadow, which was adorned with a crown of summer flowers. The stream was home to aquatic life, such as the fresh-water fish, that swam so gracefully through the water; and the frogs, that sang their song every evening, in rhythmical tunes. The birds, who took refuge in the trees, were singing in harmonic patterns; and the deer were grazing in the meadow with a peaceful sense about them. This was how Summer Meadow was before Autumn invaded the land with its intense chilling winds, which caused all of the flowers to be extracted of their joyous colors, and the air became a still, bitter atmosphere.
It was now Autumn; the air was chilly and filled with a cool mist, that loomed over this poor, wretched meadow. The once warm, vibrant sun was now a bitter yellow; the trees, that possessed unfading colors, were now a mere sickly green. The deer, that had grazed in the fields, were now settled far away in Spring Valley, a very distant land; the brook, which had run throughout the woods and across the valley, was now cold and unable to sustain life.
Who had done this? Who had changed Summer into Autumn? These were the questions, that were haunting the young mind of Malinda Bowheart.
"What do I do?" Malinda could hear her thoughts echoing, constantly nagging at her.
Malinda knew that she had to save her beloved season, that was cherished deeply among her people. Summer was gone and the natives were not accustomed to the type of weather that Autumn portrayed. Autumn had been present for several weeks now and Malinda's mother, along with everyone else in the Meadow, had become ill from result of the bleak temperatures, that were now the common choice among the days. Malinda worried for her mother and for the lives of her fellow brethren; realizing, that the only way to reverse the effects of Autumn was to restore Summer to Summer Meadow, she prepared herself for the journey. She recognized, that the journey would be long and perilous; but she had to save her home, it would require all of her strength and all of her well-being, as well as, an enormous amount of courage, to perform such a daring task. Malinda knew, that she was ready to take on the elements of the other Seasons, even though she herself was limited, due to the cold fevers of the illness, but she was determined; so she packed up her things and began her expedition through the rugged mountains, that surrounded Summer Meadow.
The road seemed endless, as Malinda trudged on through the freezing temperatures. Malinda was now entering the domain of the Winter Peaks; a frigid, ghastly environment, where life was scarcely seen by any, who dared venture into the unforgiving, glacial winds. Malinda was starting to be drained of her stamina as she hiked on the ice-lain path, that seemed to stretch on past the horizon. She journeyed, as far as, the serpentine road would take her, over the Ice Valley, through the Tundra Forests, and among the many Snow Sprinkled Hills. Malinda was unwavering in the fact that only she could rescue her mother and the others from this cold spell and also to renew the season of Summer to its Meadow.
The sun was commencing into dawn and the trees were casting ugly shadows across the lightly tread path, which laid by the frozen river, that shined in the dawning light of the sun. After many hours of travel in the rugged terrain of Winter Peaks, Malinda was becoming drowsy from result of the illness, and she knew that she needed to find a place to rest for the night, somewhere where it was safe. She spotted a pocket in the ground under an ice draped evergreen tree, where she knew that she would be safe from the elements and possibly from any hungry Mountain Loomers; so she slipped under the blanketed branches and laid her head on her cold, bare arms and slowly drifted off into a deep sleep.
The rising sun crawled over the horizon, causing all of the Ice Finches to begin their morning routine of vocalizing their melodies upon the tranquil, morning air. Malinda woke up to the sound of the birds' rhythmical notes, that permeated the encompassing area with a soothing aura. Malinda scooted out from under the tree, back onto the snow hidden road and continued her perilous journey.
Towards noon day, Malinda came upon a small, slightly battered village, that appeared to be abandoned (for the most part), but there was something about this village that caught her eye as she passed through the rusty, old gates, that were encased in a frozen ice capsule. A small, frozen sign lay in the snow untouched; and on its aged and worn boards, one could find the words "Welcome to the kingdom of Icey Crag".
"Icey Crag!" Malinda gasped under her breath in utter disbelief; she could recall being told stories about this ancient kingdom and the battles that they had fought to save their people.
Malinda glanced around, looking for someone who could answer the questions that were constantly spinning around in her mind, like a savage ice blizzard.
"Where should she look?" she wondered hesitantly. "Hello! Is anybody here?" Malinda shouted into the forsaken air.
Surprisingly someone answered, "Yes. I'm here!" the voice echoed emptily throughout the village.
"Who are you?" Malinda responded to the mysterious voice.
"I'm Gloria. What are you doing here?" Gloria questioned wonderingly.
"I'm here to save Summer Meadow and my people." Malinda said confidently.
"Summer Meadow! I heard about what happened to Summer Meadow, but I never thought that I'd meet one of the Summer folk." Gloria stated.
"Well, can you help me save my Season? It would mean everything to me." Malinda begged Gloria to assist her in her efforts.
"Of course I will!" once Gloria had said this, she stepped out from behind the corner of a deserted house and started walking towards Malinda. Gloria shortly arrived at her appointed destination and without further hesitation she opened her mouth and began speaking again, “Do you know what you have to do to save your Season?"
"No, not exactly." Malinda sounded sad and unsure.
"Oh, that's quite alright, then I guess I'm coming with you. Is that alright?" Gloria asked expectantly.
"Yeah, that's fine with me, but what do we need to do to save my Season?" Malinda asked hastily.
"Well, it's kind of hard to explain, so I'll tell you on the way there. That way we don't waste any time." Gloria reassured Malinda.
The twosome set off for the mountains, that were arrayed with four specific summits, which bore the name of the Winter Peaks. They trudged on through the ghastly winds and the brittle temperatures, that caused both of the girls to shiver underneath their thick, fur coats and fuzzy, wool boots. The weary sojourners were reaching the end of their path, when Malinda noticed something moving through the blinding blizzard winds.
"Gloria, are there any creatures that live up here in the mountains?" Malinda asked cautiously.
"Yes, there are. I believe they're called Windwalkers, known for their aggressive behavior and their taste for meat, my people do their best to avoid these dangerous creatures." Gloria said with a smile.
It was but a mere moment, when suddenly the icy blizzard air began to stir and both of the girls lost their consciousness and collapsed into the dense snow drifts, that lay beneath their feet.