The Girl in the Snow

Fan Content

Written on May 8th 2017 by Lo

It had been a good day. Nothing broken to fix. No threat on the horizon. No doubts crawling in the back of my mind. One day of peace. At my age, I tend to enjoy them when they happen and while they last. I don’t always manage to do so… but I try.

That evening a light snow had started to fall. A common occurrence in the north of Creation, to be sure, but this one had something peaceful about it. It had a feeling of closure, as if what that snow covered would never resurface again. An end, with no care as to if it was desired or not.

True endings are so rare a thing that they have the luxury of happening when they please, it would seem.

It is a hard thing to resist a suggestion from a god. Gods, by their very nature, by their role in Creation, compel to action, exaltation being a great powerful tool at their disposal. And yet, I feel that I must, for my own good at the very least, if not for those under my charge, and I feel there are many, resist the urge to comply without question.

Mortals have free will. It is the ultimate right one can have. The right to choose. And yet there are things we cannot choose. Things that… simply happen. Your choice resides in what you do about what happens. But even then, it is largely a reaction to some outside stimuli. The involvement of a true decision process, of a deliberate shift in momentum, is a matter of debate once the imposed turn of events has passed and one can think straight.

But what do I know. I’m no philosopher. I’m just a painter.

Again, I felt that itching sensation, that burn on my forehead. It came slowly, like a headache one would get because he didn’t drink enough water that day. But the pain had something familiar while also manifesting itself differently. I looked at the painting that stood above the fireplace. I had never removed it from that spot since the evening I had painted it. From it, Summer Blaze seemed to look at me with sad eyes and a gentle smile.

Yes, I was compelled to paint, again with a purpose that to this day I cannot fully comprehend, but I cling to the idea that on that evening, it was Summer Blaze who asked, and not the Unconquered Sun who ordered.
In a moment of intuition most artists would kill to experience at will, I carefully removed a previously worked on canvas from its oiled cloth wrappings. Delicately, I placed it on my favorite easel and for the longest moment simply looked at it. It was a snowy scene, much like one would see at this moment, looking at the window. Snowflakes, gently flying downwards, in between long, leafless dark brown trees. A dark, almost fully black background, light coming from the foreground in the light of snow on the ground and pale rays piercing through the winter woods.

There was something missing in that painting. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what it was, and rather than force a subject onto the image, I had opted to wait until the proper inspiration took me.

At this precise moment, I knew what was missing. It was not a what, but rather, a who.

My hand went for my brushes but my eyes closed. It was no longer a burning sensation that imposed itself upon my forehead but rather a warmth one would feel from the hand of a child, or a tear on a cheek.

Brush met paint, and paint met canvas. Slowly, gently. Summer Blaze had been born in an instant of mad passion, with a rush of love and wrath. The little girl who slowly appeared on this canvas, I welcomed with a tender smile, as a man would if he knew a child would soon depart this world.

She took form so naturally, so delicately, I could almost hear her footsteps in the snow, the wonder of her happy gasps as she caught snowflakes, hands raised palms up to reach for those unique treasures that are lost so quickly, either melting on skin or losing itself on a mass of its equals on the ground. She had never seen snow in her life. She was from the south, that was certain.

And she, too, I would never meet in this life. As I put down my brushes, I smiled while I looked at her. Perhaps I had managed to give her something of a parting gift.

This time, it was She Who Knows Ten Thousand Things who cried. She yelled to the sky “Call him Paints the Dead, why don’t you!”

A dead child is a promise broken, a future hope forcefully wrenched from life’s grasp, a brightly colored thread cut without rhyme or reason. It is an experience that doesn’t leave a wound, not even a scar, for that would be something to identify the loss. No… a child lost is simply a void stuck inside you. Even with memories and words and paintings, it is an immovable emptiness one must learn to live with, for it will never fill.

But it is an emptiness than can be shared.

For Sola had been very, very real.

To all of us.

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