It’s going to be a late evening, Veghnas thought to himself with a very audible sigh. Already the sun had disappeared behind the forested hills to the west, and what light remained would diminish quickly.
Already, even in the late summer, Veghnas’s breath burst before him in visible foggy plumes. He lit the charcloth firestarter and touched it to the oil lantern at his belt, surveying what he could in the last parts of the sunset light. Three plots–half an acre– still needed plowing. He’d be more than happy to get only one done.
If the damn ox didn’t slip in the mud...break its damned leg…
Veghnas began to shiver as the sky turned to blushed violet. His hand-plowing would not be efficient in darkness, nor would it be safe, but he worked quickly to make any progress he could. Already he was a few days behind seeding schedule.
Gotta be careful… Veghnas murmured between fells of his plow. Can’t sweat too much, else I’ll freeze.
By all accounts the cold summer twilight splashed splendidly on the Desemis farmstead, the southernmost in all of Coghan. The Desemis family, Veghnas included, were a proud, rough, red people. Used to the cold, used to hard work. As the last light of the sun disappeared and the light of the stars–the tears of the heavens–laid upon the field, Veghnas tired out. Cold and panting, he threw down his plow where he stood and swiped a sweat-frozen sleeve across his brow.
Eighth of a plot, not bad…
Veghnas’s gaze turned towards the lit windows of his homestead and smiled. There would be a warm fire, a warm meal, and a warm wife there for him. He could almost hear the humming of his beloved on the wind, carried as she worked at the stove, dancing on tiptoe as she would often do when she thought Veghnas wasn’t watching.
A cold gale blew, not from the west, but from the south. Veghnas’s face dissolved into a grimace. He circled back to his plow, stooping to collect the tool. Patterns of frost had caked the metal, dew or vapor from the winds crystallizing there. It was cold, alright. Even for summer.
Veghnas plodded towards the homestead. The Wights had been seen near the Zerces farm the other day, but the cold winds this early in the year weren’t by any means a good sign.
Something caught his eye, then. Bright and white, drifting silently about. Whatever it was, it noticed him right as he noticed it. A specter, a ghost-pallid entity adrift just above the soil, an expansive white dress drifting, fluttering like a dream.
Veghnas seals his lips, tries frantically to snuff the lantern. The specter looks curiously at him, then sets towards him. As it glides, it leaves ice and frozen, sundered land in its wake.
Veghnas would not see the inside of his home, nor his wife, again.
When the dawn set in properly, the fields of the Desemis farm were entirely ruined. The remnants of a late crop from early sumer sat frozen and wasted, and the tilled soil was frozen harder than permafrost. The malice was methodical, and time was taken to ensure the land would remain unusable.
Veghnas’s body would be found frozen solid, chipped and broken apart like chalk.
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