Where Only Darkness Dares Tread
Broken and worn, they kept on in the moonlight. The crunch of virgin snow under the boots of these two-dozen refugees dictated a once-determined pace run haggard from brutal persistence. The snow shining under the light of the full moon pierced the eyes of these weary wanderers. Those with goggles kept them adorned, even though it was the dead of night. Those without them would feel their sight dissolve slowly into a washed conflict of brightness and shadow.
121-1 had caused an exodus in the people who couldn’t afford the danger of the south. With the removal of trained militiamen and guards, the threats of crime–and, even worse, monsters–rose steeply. A people ousted from their homes with no place left to go but further into the deadly, algid wilds.
How ironic. The frontiersmen and colonizers of the Coghanese Isle, the people once thought to push the bounds of civilization back into the inhospitable, the unknown–reduced to shameful refugees, rebels, and for a select few, terrorists.
Snow hadn’t fallen in Coghan for months, but it didn’t matter. The highest summer temperatures ever recorded, even in Ighodia, barely crept up above freezing. It didn’t matter that no snow fell, because what already was here was certainly not going anywhere.
A bitter seed rested in the hearts of these people. They were certainly going to die out in this place, this cruel world where even foxes don’t live and the only flesh to eat is what ice-laden chunks can be wrested from the bones of the darkness-infected dead. The hope lie in the fortresses–no more than a myth at this point, but a myth that may come with a granule of truth. After all, the scouting expeditions had indeed turned up some unusual architectural finds, ones that indicated complete–and therefore, potentially safe–shelters.
No snow had fallen. No hope had risen. But still, cold and death remained.
All that was left to do? Walk, and hope.