"It's morning my moonbeam, come...let's get you up and ready to go." Her mother cooed softly towards the young pup, eyes gleaming with pride at her daughter. A very strange reaction in the society they were living as pale fur was almost impossible for the region. Her mother took such as a sign that her child was chosen for a path beyond that of the common hounds that surrounded them in this small, poverty-stricken town.
The small pup rose from her slumber, pale eyes rimmed with a tiredness of restless sleep and unending dreams. A strand of her slate colored mane fell before those very eyes as she shuffled her way towards the edge of the bed, tiny paws dangling over. Her mother urged her to come along as breakfast was being made. Warm hearty scents wafted in from the other room and soon the young pup was wide eyed.
"Come along Snowflake, deary. It'll get cold." Her mother called from the kitchen as the little pup hopped from her nighttime perch and shook herself slightly to try and wake her tired bones. She padded out towards the kitchen and looked at her mother. Such a beautiful creature she was. Every bit the picture of what their kind would look to be. Rich deep colored fur with piercing eyes and the perfect curve to her devilish smile; it was no wonder her mother was so very adored in their town. It was that, or her gift of intuition that they loved as it was a great asset to the town itself. Snow had made it to the table and struggled to get her small self up into one of the chairs as her mother began plating and serving food. There was a soft rumble down the hall, not a roar, but not quite a growl either and not much longer afterwards, her father lazily appeared at the end of the hall.
Snow's father was a beast of sorts. He was a machinist who's fur had an iridescent glimmer to it as if it were made of oil, not covered but each strand of fur had the very colors woven into it like some strange affinity to his craft. He was burly and thick shouldered, which many of the working males were in this town and as he sat at the table a large paw, nearly the size of Snow's head, ruffled the small pup's mane. She beamed back at him with a grin and her stubby spade tail swayed with joy. Never was there a family with such happiness...so it seemed.
"Dear, today is the day I plan to take Snow to the Temple of Caelestra..." Her mother kept her head down as she laid the plates before them both before seating herself across the table. Her gaze was averted as she awaited a response from her husband. His manner grew tense all of a sudden and he shot her a look before glancing down at the plate. A few bites in and still not a word was said between the two. It wasn't until Snow piped up that the silence was broken, though the tension remained.
"Father...do you think I will be gifted like mother is? I want to be able to help too." Her soft voice trembled as she looked to her mother for comfort before reaching a tiny paw towards her father for approval. His face softened as he saw the light in his daughter's eyes. The thought of her being blessed with a gift frightened him because he knew all to well how the war had brought out the worst in people. He didn't want to lose her because she was seen as a commodity.
"My child, you are gifted. To what we do not quite know, but all of us are gifted in some way." He lifted her chin slightly and smiled. "I know that you will find the answer you seek...and maybe it will explain the dreams, yes?" His knowing gaze turned to his wife who now was also staring down at her plate with worry. They both knew that what transpired today would change the course of her life forever. Either she would be gifted with a skill that would better her life from here on out, or not. there was not real middle ground. They hoped that she would be normal...just so she would not be put at risk but the thought of a gift would make her odd appearance easier to handle by others.
They continued their meal with a less somber tone before Snow skipped back to her room, eager to dress up for her day at the temple. Most pups wore dark items better suited to their colors but Snow, being so very light had little options in this realm. Her mother did her best to craft items best suited for the occasion and Snow smiled greatly when she emerged, glittering and shimmering in the light that peeked in through the windows. She hugged her father tightly and her mother stood by and smiled. Another round of good luck and soon she and her mother were on their way. The temple was a few towns over, maybe three...or was it four? It took them longer than Snow had thought to get there and the young pup's eagerness soon grew to exhaustion. She closed her eyes and drifted off into another fitful bought of rest as they carried on, the night's rest not nearly enough.
The abrupt stop jolted Snow awake as she gazed out onto the large city before her. Hundreds walked the streets in front of her and her eyes glimmered with wonder. She'd never once seen so many in one place at one time. Her little town was merely a few hundred in of itself. Her mother's kind gaze grew cold as she scanned the crowds. There was little she trusted in large towns such as this and she did well to take the hooded cape she had brought for her daughter and drape it over the pup's shoulders. She wanted to hide her daughter from wandering eyes for sake of sparing herself the questions of what went wrong. As a mother there was no harsher judgement. She took Snow's paw and maneuvered quickly, jerking her child away from the vendors and such that tried to appeal to the small one's wonder and excitement. The temple laid near the center of the city and it was still a few blocks from where they had stopped.
"Mother....Mother please can't we enjoy it here for even a moment?" Snow's plea was turned away by her mother's low growl. She had no intention of coming to see the sights, only to know if her child was important. The Moon Goddess was her only chance at redemption for having such a strange looking child. She knew that all too well. If Snow ended up just being a case of mutated genes then the blame would rest solely on her shoulders but if it were a sign of a gift from the Moon Goddess then she was spared the ridicule of her peers. The pillars became taller and taller as the two approached and once within a block's distance her mother slowed her pace. She stopped a moment and looked her child over, smoothing back bits of fur and examining her maw for any bits. She wanted her daughter to be the picture of perfection in presentation to the Goddess.
"You must not speak unless spoken to, and if She appears you are not to look Her in the eyes, am I clear? And if you are given a gift you must pledge to follow Her command. You will not disappoint me Snow...." Her voice was sharp and completely different from how it sounded this morning. She was almost like a second personality had overcome her body and she stopped before the steps of the temple and waved a hand for her daughter to go ahead. She was on hr own from here on forward, as the path to finding one's gift was a personal journey, not to be shared with others until it was completed.
A voice from within her head beckoned her closer: a soft voice of melodies long since lost to the hands of time. It was soothing and comforting, much unlike the words from her mother. This voice was that of someone Snow felt she had know for years though the child could be no more than 5. It was as if a voice from a life before was speaking to her, calling to her and welcoming her back home. In one fell swoop the cape that covered the pale fur of the pup slipped from her shoulders as she ascended the steps towards the large marble doors. Intricate designs were engraved in each step, every one a depiction of the Goddess's gifts to her children and each step caused a light inside Snow to grow. From a dim ember within she rose higher and higher, closer to the doors that separated her from this calming voice. Her small paws reached out as she neared closer and in an instance very seldom seen, the doors opened of their own accord, shocking the guards that stood watch on either side. They lowered their heads in respect as this was a sign of the Goddess herself answering the call of one of her own.
There were dimly lit candles scattered around the floor, sitting in enclaves in the walls and resting in chandeliers that glimmered up above. The glow they gave off mimicked the soft reddish light cast against the clouds as the sun set over the horizon. A pinkish red glow overcame the room as the small one moved deeper and deeper into the chamber. Snow glanced upwards to see a staircase lined with candles that seemed to light themselves the closer she came forward. With a glance backwards she saw the ones she had first seen were now snuffed out as if the candles were her guides into the inner workings of the temple. They flickered and called her forward and she leaned down to run her hand above one and felt no heat rise from them. Curious she leaned closer and it did not burn her paws, only wrapped around them as if holding them gently. Her childlike wonder grew as she proceeded onward, a melodic humming off in the distance before her.
"Come my child, I've been waiting for the day you'd come to see me." The voice echoed against the cool stone walls and resonated like the bells of a chapel on a Sunday morn. There was a soft billowing smoke that licked the top steps of the stairs that dissipated as Snow took the final step onto the landing. There before her laid a large room decorated in rich linens and plush velvet. There were pillows along the edges of the walls and tapestries covering the walls and it was almost like a dark haven from the harsh light outside. Snow slowly crept forwards with a lowered gaze as her mother had told but no sooner did she reach the foot of the Goddess than her attention was caught by a glimmer that was off to the side of her maw.
A tender paw brushed the soft, thin fur beside her eyes and Snow felt compelled to gaze up at she who had beckoned her in. She was met with calm eyes filled with wisdom and love yet also with sorrow. The comsos seemed to glint in the shimmer of her fur as the light faded even more. Snow felt no fear in the presence of Her, only an overwhelming calmness as if she belonged here and nowhere else. Without prompting, Snow inhaled slowly before speaking softly.
"I have come to seek the path you see fit for my future." Snow murmured softly, as if asking forgiveness from her mother after being scorned. She felt that she had spoken out of turn and guilt washed over the small child. She had done what her mother had told her not to do...she had spoken out of line, but rather than be punished for her actions the Goddess giggled gently. It was like listening to the glissando of a harp as the joyous sound slipped from Her ethereal self. She did not say much at first, but took Snow's face in both of her warm, comforting paws and gently nuzzled against her forehead much as any mother would do to a newborn for comfort. Snow felt a twinge in the mark upon her fur that distinguished her from the others and she winced slightly.
Caelestra pulled away for a moment and looked at her with eyes filled with sadness before pulling her close and holding her tight to her chest. Snow was taken aback at the love and understanding she was being shown and she truly felt this was one of the few genuine interactions she'd had in her short life. It wasn't until she had lifted her small paws and wrapped them around the Goddess that She exhales and responded to the small creature in her arms.
"I have waited a great deal of time for you to come. I have hoped you would come, my dear sweet child, and you have....you have." Her voice washed over the room in calm waves. For one so powerful she was so gentle and soothing and Snow buried into her more as she spoke again. "My dear, what i have given you is a sight beyond sight. Eyes that can lead you forward where others can only see the moment right before them. You can help them...you can help the others, my children...my poor, heartbroken children." At that moment an icy chill ran along the Goddess's face as it slipped from her eyes, landing gently on the back of Snow's shoulder. The small child could feel the agony of the Goddess billowing through her and through the room and she only held tighter with a tinge of fear running through her small frame.
"I....I don't understand. Sight beyond sight....but does that mean...?" Snow looked up at her with bright glimmering eyes. They room was dim now and the glow of Snow's marks and the glints of sparkle from within the Goddess were all that could be seen. It was silent for a moment before the words truly settled into the child's mind and she spoke once more. "You mean...I can see the future....?" Caelestra nodded slowly and watched the astonishment wash over the pup's face. Once the fear had washed away and the joy of such a gift was realized the room began to glow brighter. Snow hugged the Goddess tightly and nuzzled into her with joyful little tears from her small eyes. "Oh thank you Moon Mother! Thank you! Thank you!"
"My child, this is a gift beyond what others will deem.....fair. I will guide you the best I can but you must be careful. Be wary who searches for you, for not all will wish to use your gifts for the betterment of our cause." Snow nodded, still beaming from ear to ear with her maw glimmering in the light. "There are others whom I have given this gift but very very few. You must promise me, my child, that you will not let others use this gift of yours to harm others, and you must not do so either." Her voice was deeper now, mimicking the hum of cello strings as she gazed deep into the pup's eyes. Snow nodded slowly and a feeling came over her knowing that it was time for her to return to her mother. The small pup bowed her head gently and with a gentle wave of her paw, Caelestra faded into a glimmering smoke, returning from the place she had come from leaving Snow to follow the path she took to this room back down to the marble doors.
This time, the guards hauled the heavy stone doors open, but instead of being greeted by the blinding light of the sun, the moon beamed overhead. She did not realize how late it had gotten, how long she had really been in there and she saw her mother pacing back and forth before the base of the palace steps, kneading her paws together in a frenzy. She nearly didn't notice as Snow stepped up beside her. Snow reached up and took her mother's hand and glanced up meeting her mother's frantic gaze. Snow nodded silently and her mother let out a sigh. There was no words as they took the path down the few blocks where they would make their way back home. The streets were calmer now, but still bustling with creatures. Lanterns glowed softly over the streets giving an eerie feel to the night, as if something had happened that Snow just did not see. Her mother's gaze stayed averted and nothing was said as they traveled home, and an uneasy feeling washed over the young pup.
Upon returning home, Snow was sent to rest as the day had taken its toll. She wasn't very hungry and just wanted nothing more than to lay down her weary head and hopefully have a calm night with dreams that did not stir her, but lulled her instead. Though the door was closed she could hear the muffled grumbles of her parents under the door. Her mothers quick snippy statements could only mean something had happened. Snow laid her ears back against her skull and remembered how she had spoken out of turn with the Moon Goddess and felt her mother may have found out but as she listened closer, it seemed it was something else entirely.
"The guards told the General of how it happened. Those two have been there for years. I mean they should have seen something else before. I spoke to them. I did. And they said they've never seen that happen...so they called up the General." Her mother's voice was quick and frantic and the tap of her claws against the table was sharp against the still silence of the night in such a small town. She huffed and growled slightly with almost a sound of jealousy in her tone. "The General wishes to speak with her. A child. My child....if she screws this up we could be done for." Snow curled up under her covers and her expression grew to one of worry. She felt she had done something to really mess up if the General himself was wishing to see her. After all, her mother was right; she was only a child. And yes, their race was ahead in learning than many others but still she was clearly not old enough to be called upon. Her thoughts quieted as her father spoke.
"This is a sign of great things, dear. For such an occurrence, its a once in a million lifetimes thing. He may just want to see that greatness for himself. You should be proud that you raised a child so very special. She was never like the others and she never will be. She's different but this time its in a good way." Her father lowered his tone to almost a raspy whisper as he coaxed his wife to bed to rest her rattled nerves. Snow smiled knowing her father always thought her to be so very unique. She laid her head back down upon the pillow and attempted to sleep but yet again it was a night of terrors, this time not of her own fears but vivid images of sights never before seen.
Snow tossed and turned as the pictures played across her mind's eye. Her marks burned with a dim glow and she kicked the covers off onto the floor. Sparks burst across her visions as flashed of red and gold as cries echoed through her ears. Wails of pain and sorrow drowned out the shouting and items flew across her thoughts shattering at the edges of her mind. She moved forwards into the image untouched by the events around her and saw a young male with a paw raised to the sky, cursing the heavens it seemed with tears streaming down along his fur. She moved closer to see his face and it was none other than the son of the General, knelt beside the cold body of his father, blood tainting his fur and matting it into disheveled clumps along his waist. There was a pause in his cries against the sun before his gaze dropped and met with hers before she jolted awake.
The sun peered over the very furthest outreaches of the horizon, not quite breaking its barrier but just hinting the subtle glow of morning light. Snow sat up in her bed and looked about seeing that not a single thing was out of place and yet the image was so vividly burned into the edge of her mind. She glanced to the sky and nodded knowing that this must have been what the Moon Goddess meant about her sight. Snow had to tell him and save him and with that thought she rose from her bed and shuffled to the dresser where she chose something acceptable to wear before the General. She did not fear the meeting of the General as she knew as a strong warrior for her people, he would not fear such things. Snow's mother came to wake the small child only to see her picking out fairly nice items and laying them on her bed.
"Ah, seems you must have a bit of my intuition in you child. You must have sensed there would be a good day ahead!" Her voice was sticky sweet and still shaky from the night before but it was calmed ever so slightly. She came forward and laid her paw over her favorite of the items Snow had chosen, helping to put the rest away. "I have wonderful news, moonbeam. We are to meet the General today. He heard of your grand entrance into the temple and he said he'd love to hear all about it." She did not make eye contact with her daughter as she tidied up, Snow wriggling into what she was wearing for the day. Her mother explained that they were meeting the General and his son for brunch to the north and hurried her along to meet with their ride there. She chattered along the ride about how very proud she was of her little pup and spoke quite loudly at the driver, who politely as he could ignored her.
As they neared, her mother primped her much as she did before she walked into the temple and walked her through what was expected of her. Snow shied away slightly and murmured that she could straighten up herself and her mother's grin faltered for a moment. A large uniformed male came to open the door, one of the military, she assumed by the ribbons on his jacket and escorted them inside. The building was a dark granite and felt cold and unwelcoming. A very chilly and unfeeling place and it resonated in Snow's mind as a bad sign. She didn't pay great attention to the details as she had kept her head low and her lips tightly shut as to not upset her mother. They were escorted into a large parlor room to which the General and his son rose from their chairs. They both greeted the ladies before all had taken their seat.
The common small talk was made and her mother gushed over how grateful she was to be in his presence and such yadda yadda. Snow glanced outside as the sky was just now turning light over the trees. Their dark silhouettes cast an eerie feeling over Snow as she glanced back towards the table. Something in her mind told her that this was not a safe place. Something didn't feel quite right but her thoughts were cut off once the General spoke up over her blathering mother.
"So, child. I hear you made quite a scene at the temple yesterday. Care to tell us what you learned?" He mused softly as if to finally change the subject to the point of the meeting today. Snow glanced at her mother who's eyes seemed to bore into her as if saying 'Speak.' But Snow glanced down with a slight sigh and averted her gaze. "Come now, little one. You needn't be ashamed. Why My son here has received his gift as well, there is nothing you need be ashamed of." His son grinned sheepishly with a large paw placed on his shoulder. The General beamed with pride as she spoke of his son and it eased Snow's worried mind slightly.
"Our Lady Goddess Caelestra spoke to me sir. The gift of sight beyond sight but I feel I have already seen terrible things." Snow looked at her mother who's soft expression grew tense. "Sir, I saw terrible things of reds and golds. Cries of maidens and angered shouts of grown men. I saw the sorrow run from your son's eyes." The General's expression grew colder as her words grew darker. "There is someone coming who wishes to do you harm, sir. I have seen it. I was told to warn others of these things!" She sat up and her voice grew almost panicked before the general stood and slammed a fisted paw against the table. His voice was low and he looked at the child in the eyes.
"What you saw child was darkness twisted in your mind to make you say such wretched threats to one such as I. You must leave now....and I wish to never hear or see of you or your family within my jurisdiction again!" The General's son stood and tried to console his father only to be tossed aside with a snarl. Snow's mother violently grabbed her wrist and yanked the child towards the door despite her cries. Snow fought and struggled to break free but it was to no avail. They had gotten down to where their ride awaited only to hear gunshots ring out through the stone walls. Screeches bounced through the cold halls as maids ran in panic towards the door. Uniformed men grabbed rifles and made their way back to the parlor where there were other already waiting to strike. More shots rang out and flashes of red and gold danced within the windows. Snow tore away from her mother to run back inside following the path she had taken in her dream.
She watched the General's son crawl from out under the table his gaze focused on the shadows receding into the treeline as the bodies of the soldiers laid strewn across the floor. He called over and over to hear where his father had gone in the mass of confusion and found him laid across the icy stone floor. His breath was ragged and weak and it was clear he was hit one to many times to make it out of there. He pulled his son closer and spoke in a raspy voice. It almost sounded as if his voice was trapped under water and he was drowning, sadly it wasn't water that made his voice sound like the gasps of a man caught in the current.
"The child......war......she knows...." with a few words he had coughed, blood trickling down the edge of his lips as his son softly cooed trying to soothe his father's final moments. There was blood strewn across the floor and it stained the young male's fur and he leaned over and held his father for the last time before crying out to the sky, the sun just breaking over the top of the building casting light through the windows and glinted over the sea of red. He wailed as Snow stepped further forwards, trying her best to not startle him. His gaze dropped to meet the small child and the boy screamed. Shrieks of hatred and agony slipped from his maw before words had a chance to escape.
"Get out of here! Get out of here! This is your fault! You knew about this!" He snarled and his maw snapped viciously at the young child as her eyes welled up trying to apologize. "Get out of here! If I even see you near here or anywhere again, I will slaughter you for what you have caused to my father! You! You are a bringer of death! You are a monster!" He curled back in to hold his father as Snow turned and ran. She made her way towards another door avoiding her mother at all costs. She knew she couldn't put her family at risk. She ran and ran until her legs gave out and even then the small child crawled. She did everything she could to get as far from that building as she could, sticking to the edges of the town. When she reached the edge of the river it was dark once more and she collapsed along the bank, tears in her eyes.
"You did this! You made me this monster! Someone is dead now because of me! How could you do this to me?!" For a small child she felt stronger than she had in ages and she took her anger out on the trees surrounding her. Clawing, biting, hitting, kicking, anything that would cause damage. It was then that she knew she never wanted to share her gift with others again, for the pain she felt in that moment was too much to bear. She knew she couldn't let anyone know. She had not seen it but she knew in her soul that if others knew, the late General's son would come for her because of it. She could feel his hatred deep in her soul, and she knew that the only way to keep everyone safe...was to run away and never...return.