Marauders at the gate
The rancors of their hemless robes rake havoc in the high couloirs. Nothing will pass this way tonight. Die Eisheiligen have their imprecise appointments to keep; pageless hours strewn scattered on flurries of tempest whip and black Lawine.
Doubleyews degrade to vees in the chattering mouth. One hears them at the window, the plaintive knock of glaced alms wickspent in trembling candles on the sill. Nothing will push this night to pass. Brew dreg tea then to steep your fear.
Even die Bäume call out in shriek, their needled limbs frantic and useless as tinder. Nothing can save them but the locked fire behind your door and you are not about the misventure of succor.
“This is the night of the ice saints,” you whisper to no one.
Burning to sit the hearth of your mortared dread, die Eisheiligen assail with alarm and persistence. You cup the cup tighter, wait for them to go away. They return some moments later, deeper in earnest, as if they have pressing business with you.
They may well be emissaries from ancient Helvetia with news of marauders at the gate. Forgive them their gifts of fruit-barren frost from fields of infertile snow. Theirs is a fury torn of sky, a windborne tale of holy woe. Nothing ever wishes to surrender its season.
This is March in the mountains and April has yet to accrue its armies. Leave nutmeg and marrow wine by the farthest fencepost and pray they see it on approach. It may serve to slow their bleak pilgrimage, dull the unsettled hungers they would bring to your table.
“This is the night of the ice saints,” you muffle yourself again. Their drifts may swallow a man to his eyes, lash him to the pall of his will to live. This is as it is with all things. In time you will grow accustomed to this rich uncertainty, share meat, have children.
March 9, 2007