Quaeryt shivered. He opened his eyes to find himself looking up into a white sky, a sky from which flakes like icy needles jabbed at his exposed face. The low moaning of a deep winter wind filled his ears. Yet, for all that the icy needles fell upon his face, each one freezing, then burning, before penetrating his skin with a thread of chill that combined into a web that bled all warmth from his body … there was no wind.
Standing around and above him, in a circle like pillars, looming out of the icy mist drifting down over him, were troopers in the blue-gray uniforms of Bovaria. Each Bovarian was coated in ice, and each stared down at him, as if to demand a reason why they stood there, frozen and immobile … why he still lived and breathed.
Quaeryt tried, but his body was so chill, with the ice creeping up from the pure white fingernails of his immobile hands and from his equally white and unmoving toenails, that his chest did not move. Nor could he utter even a sound, his words as frozen as his body.
As he froze in the whiteness, the complete and utter stillness behind which moaned the winter wind of devastation, the dead troopers reproached him with their unmoving eyes and their silence …
Copyright © 2013 by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.