Chillblossom

An Espresso Tale

By

Accipiter G. Goshawk

There is an old legend, carved in the stones of the three high valleys that are the home of the Ukruli people, which tells of the end of time.

The ancestors of the mountain dwellers took great care in moving the giant monoliths to the entrance of their valleys, hoping to warn all strangers of the danger from above.

“In the world-before, there were many peoples. Some were like the Ukruli; others were like the mud-scrapers of the plains. All of them had lived in the world for countless generations and in their timeless dominance, they had grown arrogant to the rhythms of rock and tree.

They lost their way, and the ties that bound them to the mountains and rivers became tangled, or were severed altogether. They dug the hillsides and burned the forests to build metal towers that pierced the sky like needles. They ruined the soil to craft shiny toys and sullied the seas with their restless movement and pointless hunting.

Only in the valleys, the people remembered the old ways, and looked to the summits of Jaranak, Ikross and fell Zereni. They watched the snows fade and the ice melt, and they trembled in the sweltering summers.

On the hottest day of the last year, the three glaciers finally shrunk to nothingness, revealing a green soil dotted with small plants bearing leaves of pale scarlet.

That was when the people-like-the-Ukruli opened the holes in the mountain and left the world.

For the time of ending had come.

That night, the plants on the land of the glacier-that-was, put forth a pale blue flower with petals of wind and ice. This was the Chillblossom, and it brought with it the world’s end.

From the heart of these carnation-like growths came forth a gale of endless cold, which swept from the heights of Jaranak, Ikross and fell Zereni, and descended into the world.

Once, the valleys had been lost in a sea of sluggish heat. Upon awakening, the inhabitants of the metal towers found frost clawing at their windows and snow assaulting their roads.

The breath of the Chillblossoms invaded the world, imprisoning all life in its frozen grasp, until nothing moved on the surface and the fire had gone from the depths of the earth.

Slowly, the snow crept upwards into the mountains and through the three valleys of the Ukruli-like people. Ice and sleet piled higher and higher, until –after an eternity- they came to the Chillblossom fields, covering them anew.

The winds died down and the clouds lifted, revealing the forgotten sun.

Long was its toil to free the world from frost and the white nothingness of the Ever-winter.

Finally, our world was born, and the new Ukruli came from their holes, returning to the world and peopling it once more.

To you, in the world-that-shall-be, a warning: never forget the three valleys, and the three mountains, Jaranak, Ikross and fell Zereni. For they are the prison of the Chillblossom, the ending of our world.”

Of course, a thousand such legends exist and become laughable in the face of modern science.Could this have something to do with the recent abandonment of the ancestral Ukruli villages? So far, the government has refused to comment.-

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