ZIMA the ZIMMER
An EXPLICATION of the BEGINNING of SORROW
A PRELUDE to ALL SUFFERING
A PRELUDE to ALL SUFFERING
The chirping of songbirds, a warm sun, and the roar of a high river across the northern bounds of the world could signify one thing only: Spring was coming North. As the sun’s conquering rays marched ever more northward and subdued plain after plain and forest after forest and lake after lake, the days had started growing longer. The sun-kissed air was blowing a good and pleasant breeze, and greenery was beginning to emerge from the melting snow - which was now in full and open rout. True, the nights were still chilly and often froze any still water, but a change was coming; the land and animals could feel it and so did those that walked on two legs.
Soon the Voirans would be moving off to new lands as the Council of the Nine decreed. Winter had taken its toll on many and with that came restless feet and legs in need of long rambles across the earth. It was the Voiran way, after all. So there was indeed a growing murmur amongst those nomadic people, who waited each day with patience and anticipation. Many of the things they murmured were trivial. Would Haana bear twins? Could enough furs be found to replace old clothing? Would they be heading south or south-east when the time came?
That naturally gave rise more generally to the matter of moving on, lamenting those who had not made it through the winter, and talk of the celestial debris and strange moonfalls - as those were called. Many of them had witnessed the way the moon had shed itself and sent great clouds of dust and rock in every which way. The Council of Nine had deliberated on the strange happenings but ultimately declared that all things were as the gods decreed and that the world would go on whether the moon exploded or did not, and life too and all things.
“But what about us?” Juirga asked, holding her latest child on her shoulder (her fifth, and one of three who yet lived).
“Yes, Juirga,” councillor Rhinan said, “life and all things will go on even if we don’t.”
“Not very comforting,” the mother winced.
“That’s how it is,” Rhinan shrugged, and everyone had dispersed.
Along with all that, many also wondered if Aeron would ever get to work and stop playing with his nasnook. Others wondered, more seriously, when his more diligent sister would return. Though she had not stayed with the Voirans for very long, Mair had become immediately popular with her people and something of an authority. She was renowned for better reasons than her brother, who was more infamous than famous, and was praised for her hard work, respect for their Maker’s wishes and was, above all else, idolised for being a true Voiran explorer. Oh the tales she might bring when she returned! The words from Voi she would bring! Not like Aeron, who sat lazing about all day… Oh but none could deny his tricks with Voia were a delight, and he did make everyone laugh, so he was tolerated. And, of course, he was an eye of the Maker, just like his superior sister, so they had to tolerate him regardless of his usefulness.
Mair did not return with the coming of Spring and did not return on that day. Instead, a pair of siblings - gone out for a walk earlier in the day - came trudging home. Night had already approached and their worried parents had gone to the Council for aid. It had not been needed, ultimately, for little Von guided the now sickly Vare into camp, much to the relief of their parents and kin. Yet, even as she was fussed over and helped to a bed, Vare seemed different. It was not her hand or their furs or the story she told of an evil spirit that had attacked them. No- it was her eyes. Lifeless eyes. The sort that marked something truly terrible. And so, as gossip spread like wildfire through the camp, many remarked how the chill had turned colder. The promise of spring seemed to fade away as quickly as it had come and there was an inexplicable feeling that something had gone terribly wrong.
Aeron felt it too, and Voia curled on his head and covered herself in his long white hair as he sat by a fire with some six others to ward off the sudden cold. “You seen lil Vare’s eyes, Ron?” Petors asked him.
“Oh, she back?” The performer asked. “I told her not to go off all on her own. Feisty that one.”
“Wait, you knew where she was all along?” Petors frowned.
“Uh…” Aeron glanced at the bigger voiran, then at the others who looked equally unamused, “sort… of? I mean, well, in theory. Uh. Allegedly.” He kissed his lips. “So it is said… I have heard that claim made of late. Uh. I can neither confirm nor den-”
“You’re a real twat sometimes, you know that? She’s not in a good way at all. What did she even go off for?” Another, Poilina, asked.
“Well, I’ve heard it through the tree-vine tha-” Aeron began, but swiftly ducked away from a slap Petors sent his way. He righted himself after that and grinned. “My, so violent, these big fellas. Typical brainless sort, y’know?”
“Where were they?” Poilina asked, ignoring his antics.
“Well, like I was saying before I was set upon by this giant mammoth spawn thing, I heard it through the tree-vine that she and good little Von were rather impressed by the many heroic - and entirely truthful - exploits of a certain fella and his nasnook-”
“Oh for crying out-” Poilina got up and trudged off, “you should watch those stories of yours, Aeron!” She shouted, turning around. “Watch them or you’ll have more than Petors’ slaps to worry about!”
Aeron watched her go off and then glanced awkwardly at the others, then frowned indignantly. “Look now, my stories are important. How are these kids going to grow up into the fine brave sort without good stories, eh? How will they know what goodness looks like if they don’t have any proper models of goodness? Don’t blame my stories if Vare is in a bad way. Going off and exploring is our way - what she did was good, heroic, courageous. What? Would you have us coddle them? You have only one of me today, but if you start coddling them you might as well kiss your ways of bravery and hunting and exploration goodbye.” He stood up and flashed them an affronted look. “That’s how it is.” They were all silent.
“Well, no one’s blaming your stories, Ron, sit down.” Petors muttered.
“Vare is a good kid,” Aeron insisted, not sitting, “in fact, Vare is the best kid. She’s helpful, she hunts better than anyone, she’s not afraid of the dark, she’s protected her brother from more things than I care to count. If my stories made her like that, then I’m proud of it. You all go off hunting and doing your stuff, but my stories are creating our future - my stories made Vare what she is.” No one said anything. “What, am I wrong?” He asked.
“No no, you’re right.” Setven declared. “Just sit man.”
Aeron complied at last and sat down. “If I grew up listening to the stories I tell - if the Maker hadn’t just, I don’t know, snapped his fingers and made us as we are - I would have been the bravest, the most dashing, the noblest, the cleverest (in fact, I’m still the cleverest, Mair has nothing on me) voiran in existence. But hey, things just didn’t work out that way, and so I tell stories to make sure no one turns out like me. Is it so bad of me? I don’t think so. You don’t think so, Petors, I know you don’t you big oafish mammoth thing.”
“Well, Vare’s been talking about some evil spirit.” Setven said, returning the conversation to more important matters. “Apparently attacked them or something, I don’t know. I’ve never heard of a spirit that attacks people.” The others murmured in agreement and frowns spread around the fire.
Aeron scratched his head and shrugged. “Maybe she, uh… was exaggerating a little? Exaggerations always makes a heroic tale better. I’m all for exaggeration. In the name of good stories and morals, of course.”
Petors gave him an icy stare before saying, “Vare doesn’t lie, because she’s a good kid.” Aeron shrugged and nodded in agreement. “Still, I’ve a bad feeling. Everyone has a bad feeling. It’s weird.”
“There’s this heaviness in the air, I’ve never known anything like it.” Setvens added, and the others whispered words of agreement. That was the sentiment everyone echoed for days afterwards.
When Vare was well enough, Aeron decided to take Voia and cheer her up a little, since everyone who saw her noted that she looked especially sad. He found her parents, Baella and Mirtan, sat sullenly by their tent with young Von lying lethargically at their feet. “Well aren’t you a cheerful lot.” Aeron grinned, getting only a long sigh from Mirtan in response.
“What d’you want Aer? Haven’t you someone else to wind up?” Baella managed after a few moments of silence.
“Thought you’d be happier to see me, little man,” Aeron said to Von, ignoring the miserable grown-ups.
“I’m booored.” The boy said, rolling over, “Vare just sits inside and won’t go exploring again with me.” Both Baella and Mirtan perked up at this, and stared daggers at Aeron, who smiled awkwardly.
“Exploring… can be done anytime.” The entertainer enunciated. “You, uh, have better things to do. Like cheering your mum up. Look at her face, I could make a speartip just from the point in her eyes!” Baella’s gaze softened and she looked down at Von after that. “Anyway, I’m going in to see Vare.” He walked past them.
“None of those ridiculous stories, Aer,” Mirtan said warningly.
“Me? Ridiculous? Rats would sooner talk, Mirty!” Aeron laughed, then ducked into the homely tent.
It was dimly lit inside, with the only light sources coming from under the entrance flap and faint traces underneath the furs covering the tent’s structure along the ground. The structure was as small as could be, just enough to house Baella and Mirtan’s family. Vare sat at the back of the tent, where only the faintest of light touched. In fact the only thing that could really be seen, and so marked her presence, was her pale skin. It seemed far paler than it ought to have been, and her expression was one fixed in the muck of depression. Her silver eyes fared no better as they bore into his soul.
“Hello… Aer.” The girl said slowly, if not perhaps deliberately. Her voice was of loss, nothing at all like she had sounded before. “What brings you…” She began to ask but her words faded as her eyes snapped up, past his face, to look at the nasnook sitting on his head and blanketed in his long white hair. Voia had been moving around tensely the moment Aeron entered the tent, but he had not seemed to notice until Vare’s eyes grew fixated on the nasnook.
The spirit, having taken on the earthy form of a polecat, leapt down and approached Vare with tail raised in alarm, hissing and baring its icy fangs. “There now Voia, there’s no need for that.” Aeron said, bending down and scooping the nasnook up. She twisted easily out of his grasp and leapt up, shedding her physical form and sending the furs and tent flying as she screeched and unleashed a small blizzard within herself. Raising a hand and backing away with a frown, Aeron shouted for the nasnook to be calm, but it was to no avail.
Vare shrieked, eyes never leaving Voia as the wind whipped at her air. “Don't let that Nisshi hurt me, Aer!” She cried out, backing away on her hands and legs, and even in the face of the wind Aeron cocked his head in confusion at her words.
“Nisshi?” He muttered bemusedly, running around Voia and looking at Vare. “What the hell’s a nisshi?” He looked from Vare to Voia a few times, and then something seemed to click in his mind. His eyes began to glow a faint blue as he looked at Vare, and he saw beyond the veil of life and death, spirit and flesh, what is known and what is unknown. In seeing what he saw, he understood. “Voia! Calm yourself Voia!” He hurled himself between the nasnook and the girl, then brought Vare to him roughly, his brows furrowed. “Hey, look at me.” He pinched her chin and turned her face side to side as if trying to understand what he was seeing. “Who are you? How did you get in here? Is that even possible? What do you want?”
Vare’s demeanor morphed into something else. Where once there had been a scared girl, there was now something else, something darker. She stood straighter, arms dangling lifelessly at her side as she forced her chin out of Aeron’s grasp. Her lips curled into a frown as she looked up at him, eyes beginning to flicker from silver to crimson. “How stupid of me.” She said in a quiet voice full of spite as the wind whipped at her hair. “Of course you wouldn't call them Nisshiniek. A pity.” She spoke to herself even though she looked at Aeron still, veins of black spreading from her eyes. “The girl did that trick before with her eyes but what did you see in the space between spaces?” She asked, unwavering in her gaze as her eyes became engulfed in red.
Aeron did not answer, but backed away. Their breath became visible as a chill air descended, spreading an unnatural darkness that began to creep into the corner of Aeron’s eyes and his surroundings. With the tent now fully blown away by Voia’s blizzard, Vare’s family stared at them with a mix of confusion and horror. Others stopped to look at the spectacle, curious to see what was going on. Baella called her daughter’s name, but she did not answer. Aeron made to speak, but paused and frowned. Voia raged behind him for a few seconds more, and then was at his shoulder, beneath his chin, and distance simply grew between Aeron and Vare as Voia expanded there and engulfed the girl utterly. Baella screamed out behind Aeron, but everything seemed oddly silent and slow, and Aeron watched as though he was merely a passing bird - mostly because the entire affair was so bizarre that he could not really comprehend it.
Vare was flung at him from inside the maelstrom that was Voia, and he just about managed to catch her, but the nasnook never turned her attention to the girl and kept fighting something else. Vare gasped and groaned and when she opened her eyes, they were silver and full of fear. Her lips quivered as she held tight to Aeron. “R-Run…” She said in the weakest voice he had ever heard uttered, before her eyes spasmed and closed.
“Voi’s head, Vare,” he muttered, and in front of him the maelstrom of blue and white became tainted with darkness. How quickly it spread to subsume Voia entirely as the two forces whipped up a mighty and terrible wind. They collided with nearby tents and people screamed as they were thrown about or hit with flying debris. Then the forces halted as the darkness took over completely and hovered before them for a split second… and then Voia was flung out. She was now naught but a tiny, wispy thing that fell before Aeron. A shade began to form from the coalesced mist, revealing a woman wreathed in a gray flame that ate at the light, and her face seemed centred around two horrible, crimson eyes that bored down into him. All grew breathtakingly quiet as the woman raised a hand into the air.
Ignoring the crimson-eyed demon, Baella was immediately above Aeron, dragging her daughter up out of his arms and rushing off. Mirtan grabbed Von and followed her, and all about the camp the people grabbed what little things they held precious and got to putting as much distance between them and the demon. Aeron sat where he was, Voia rolling about by him. Grabbing her, he shot to his feet and stared right into the demon’s eyes. He opened his mouth to speak, paused, glanced around at the chaos all around, then chuckled awkwardly. “You- uh- you’ve got a great look going. Except for maybe those eyes, I think your pretty face would frame them just right if you toned down the whole red look.” He grinned with as much confidence as he could muster. “And I would be happy to offer my services if you so desi-” halting abruptly mid-sentence, he leapt to his left and bounded off as fast as he could. “What the fuck what the fuck what the fuck what the fuck-” he mumbled to himself as he put every ounce of strength into his legs.
The demon watched him go. An inverted flame grew in her outstretched hand, calling to itself in a deathly song. Flame’s extinguished, then the land buckled- crumpled like a dry leaf. Its life force yielded itself to the unflame, the nonlight, like streams of smoke. Yet it was not smoke that was ripped from the earth and the trees, and plants and the animals; it was their souls. And as they lost their souls, their very being, they withered and died. It was worse for the Voirans, especially those closest to catastrophe, for their souls were cut so clean from the vessel that the body imploded from the pressure, bathing the ground in red. And when the unlight of the demon grew to twice her height, she threw it at the earth beneath her feet.
Thus did day become night; sorrow become suffering.
The explosion of deathly forces tore apart any that lingered, those that ran were flung or outright eaten, turned to but an after-image of what they once had been. Most faces were of agony, others only fear, all showed the final desperate moments of a confused people. Those further out were hit with the shockwave of the blast, cut to pieces or torn apart by debris. Only the lucky would escape that bloody and blackened field of sorrow. Only so few would they be.
Something strange happened, however, in the aftermath of the terrible death she unleashed on those nomadic voirans. Driven to insanity by her dark powers, or to grief-driven fury and madness by the sudden death of so many loved ones, the voirans rallied en masse and returned in small groups wielding spears and stone axes and daggers - and more lethal still, wielding blue murder in their eyes. The first such group was led by an enormous man hefting a great wooden club, and he came charging ahead of the others towards the demon while roaring murder and death and fury.
She sat unmoving, eyes shut in the center of that broken ground. Even when he swung his club down upon the demon, she was unmoving. The club struck the earth where she sat, cracking apart as her decay took root in it. It went through her, as did the next swing and the next until there was no more club and the others arrived to see the same. But their anger was great and so too were their fists. It was only then did they learn that the demon could not be harmed, but they could. Her red eyes opened and her hand tore through the enormous man, leaving him hollow with blackened eyes as he fell over dead.
Many fought on. Many fled in panic, but it did not matter. The demon caught them all and ate upon their souls. Only one escaped her, a woman who she had nearly killed but whose face now held her mark. It was not luck or strength that saved her, but an act of love. For a man threw himself into the demon and as he withered away the demon let go of the woman to focus on her lover. Thus she was saved and the shrill crying of the baby she held faded into the distance as more voirans came, fewer now. Most tried to run at that point, their rage broken as they looked upon the hollowed out eyes of their kin around the demon’s feet.
In the heavens above, a single white raven - grasping a wispy creature in its talons - circled and bore witness to it all. Its eyes shimmered with blue light and what dripped from them was neither blood nor rain - and could not be tears, for ravens did not cry. It watched until everything below had died - the greenery that had thought spring was come, the trees, the soil, the air; all things - and yes, the voirans too.
The last thing the raven saw was the demon, kneeling amidst a field of white and black, with her hands covering her face.
- Spring is coming to the voirans. The voirans, by the way, are a nomadic people. So they wintered in this place and are now getting ready to move with the spring. They’re kinda freaked out by the moon imploding somewhat, but the council reassures everyone that everything is fine since life and everything will go on even if they all die. It’s not very comforting, but you know, these voirans are the stoic sort.
Vare and Von, the siblings who had a run-in with Zima last time, come back to camp. Vare, the older sister, is in a weird way. Misery and all kinds of bad vibes descend on the voirans. Aeron, our storyteller guy and hero of Voi (brother to the more competent Mair, currently suffering from a broken bone among the firekeepers of the childans) goes to cheer her up. His nisshiniek, Voia, immediately recognises that something is off about Vare and does aggressive stuff. Zima is busted and goes berserk, taking on a crimson-eyed feminine humanoid form. Aeron says something really smart and witty and makes his escape.
So. Zima kills them. She kills them all. They’re dead. Every single one of them (except fifty or something). And not just the men, but the women and children too. They’re like animals, and she slaughtered them like animals.
So anyway, there is one particular mother and her child who Zima marks. Important things will happen to them, so stay alert and keep an eye out for mention of them soon in a post near you.
Aeron, in raven form and carrying Voia, watches the extermination of his people from above and is obviously quite disturbed. Zima kneels in the aftermath of her crime and holds her face in her hands.
- Zima = 22-15 to create and imbue with power, The Field of Sorrow. The final resting place of the Voiran people, a place they once called their home and camp, now infested with dark and heinous power by Zima. An unnaturally dark place, even in the light of a full sun. Nothing will ever grow there again and to wander in those fields is to feel every pain and sorrow that the Voiran’s felt as they died. You can still see their after images, final moments of despair etched forever on their faces. It empowers death and all its foul spawn. Be wary for your soul.
+1 for post
+1 for collab
+1 RISE OF THE EVIL REAL MAIN ANTAGONIST PHELENIA WAS JUST FILLER
+1 for medium length
+1 for long length
= 12 Spirit for Zimzim
Aeron = 3+1 for post
+1 for collab
+1 for medium length
+1 for long length
= 7 Spirit for Ronnyboi