Petpet Adventures: Let It Snow - Part Nine
The sounds of metal clashing against crystal rang through the Happy Valley, which at the moment did not seem to reflect its merry name. Three petpets could be seen trudging towards the sound, a Polarchuck at their head.
Tvarla could feel light flakes of snow whip against her ragged coat, but she pressed onwards, determined to finish the task she had set out to do. Her companions were in the same state of mind; defiant, tired, but not stopping.
Houses were smashed around them; some had been dismantled completely, while some were missing a roof or a few walls. The sounds were becoming clearer, and Tvarla picked up the pace. Nestled in her antlers the negg glinted its pale blue.
Around the next corner she could see a number of Valley pets, many armed with swords that looked like they had been left hanging in a cupboard for many decades, as they were covered in a coat of rust. All the pets surrounded what looked like a mountain of ice, and indeed the Snowager was as unmoving as a mountain.
No matter what the pets tried to stop him from smashing their homes, he would gain ground, sweeping his tail with great force and disarming half a dozen at a time. As they watched, the great creature swept his tail around again, and Tvarla watched in horror as one pet went flying.
"Stop," she shouted as loud as she could, but amongst the commotion she was unheard.
She felt frustration inside her, and growled. Then an idea hit her, and she plucked the negg from her antlers. Last time the negg had cracked it had created a huge force of wind, which surely the Snowager would notice. She quickly scanned the landscape until she found what she was seeking: a jagged black rock.
Emari's shocked cry echoed behind her as Tvarla swept her leg in an arch, throwing the negg high into the air. It reached its peak, then seemed to fall slow motion down onto the rock. Instantly there was a huge rush of air and a loud cracking noise, as the rock shattered. Across the Valley the Snowager's head snapped up.
His eyes found the pale blue negg and almost instantly he was coiled around it, the tip of his nose gently pressed to the glassy surface. The pets who had been trying to fight him before, held back, wondering.
The crack had became even wider, and smaller cracks like those of a Spyder's web now covered its surface. Then with another blast of icy air the sides exploded outwards, and a creature resembling a Snowickle was revealed. Except that it had no legs, and it was an exact copy of the creature looming over it..
The two creatures stared at each other for a long time, until the Snowager blew a puff of cold air over it.. Then the Snowager turned and his eyes caught Tvarla's, who backed away nervously. He smiled, and she relaxed.
"Thank you, little Raindorf," he rumbled clearly. Then he turned to Askar and Emari. "And to you, Polarchuck and Gwalla. Thank you for returning my child."
Tvarla spoke up. "Do you mean that we were looking for an egg all this time?" she asked indignantly. "Why didn't you tell us?"
The Snowager chuckled. "Because anything could have happened, little Raindorf, and I did not want to risk something so precious."
"Every thousand years the negg shall crack and the power of the Snowager will be released," Emari whispered.
The Snowager turned his gaze on her, surprise on his face. "That is an old legend, one that I had thought would have been forgotten." He chuckled. "But it should be 'the Snowager will be released', because that is exactly what happens."
"But if it's been a thousand years...' Emari began.
"I have but one year to teach my daughter the lore of the Snowager," the Snowager rumbled. "You see, there has always been a Snowager on Terror Mountain. We have prevented it from reflecting its namesake. We stop the worst blizzards and try to prevent fights between the pets here, but even we cannot things that are against nature, and our power to deal with them. Like the Bringer." He shook his head sadly. "As one Snowager is created another negg appears in the cavern. It a mystery that even I, who has lived a thousand years, cannot fully understand."
Tvarla saw the Snowager's daughter twine herself up his neck to perch on his head. The pets surrounding them were all staring up in awe, makeshift weapons forgotten at their sides.
The Snowager smiled. "I must leave now," he rumbled. "Time is precious, and even more so now that I have a child to protect."
Without any other sound her turned his majestic body and slithered away, leaving a stunned silence. At last Emari spoke.
"What do we do now?" He voice sent an eerie echo through the chilled silence, and Tvarla shivered.
"I want to do one last thing."
She led the way through the streets, past the stunned pets who parted to let them through, past the ruins of houses and shops, and towards the towering cliff. It seemed to mock her, looming above her. But she was not intimidated, and strode directly to where it met the ground below. There she paused, unsure of what to do.
A movement near the bottom of the cliff caught her attention, and she stilled, watching cautiously. Her eyes widened in shock as a small white head emerged from the snow, followed by a pair of black claws. The Bori heaved herself out of the snow and sat there, dazed, staring around her in wonder.
"Kliaod!" Emari rushed past Tvarla, nuzzling the white Bori's arm. "We thought you were... gone."
Kliaod winced. "I used my Bori defence technique," she muttered. "Not that it did me much good."
"I would beg to differ," Askar said, bounding up to her. "If you are still alive, I would say that it served you greatly."
Tvarla was still gaping in disbelief until that moment, but then she rushed forward and embraced her friend - which was rather awkward with her being less than half her size - but she tried. Kliaod laughed and then pricked up her ears, gazing around curiously.
"What happened here?"
Eleven months later...
Tvarla skidded on ice and snow, like she had done all those months ago. But she was not thinking of that. Instead her mind was set on beating the petpet behind her to their destination: the Ice Caves.
Her fur was thick against the cold, and her hooves a glossy black. Her eyes sparkled with a fiery brilliance as she glanced behind her and caught sight of the swiftly approaching Polarchuck. Further back a small Bori was trudging through the snow, sunlight reflecting off her white coat. Perched on her shoulder was a Gwalla, and the two were chatting amiably.
Tvarla increased her speed, but already Askar had caught up with her. She smiled. They were on their way to visit the Snowager. Even though it had been eleven months, they had only visited him twice since, the main reason being that they had no need to; they had plenty of adventures without him.
Memories of tobogganing down steep slopes and the inevitable snow fights that followed crept into Tvarla's mind, and her smile became wider. This reverie was interrupted by Askar, who was waving a paw in her face.
"What's with the goofy smile?" he teased, dancing away.
Tvarla let out a mock growl and proceeded to chase him. Kliaod and Emari had by now fallen far behind. She glanced at Kliaod again.
The Bori's injuries had healed, leaving only thin white scars that were invisible under her shaggy fur. The Bori now spent her days as the 'Valley Guardian', though all four of them knew who the real guardian was. She owned a cottage as far away as possible from a certain cliff whilst still being in the Valley, but spent most of her time roaming the slopes.
The cliff itself had been collapsed at their request by the Snowager, and so Vrailli had been buried forever beneath pristine white snow. All three petpets lived with Kliaod, and Tvarla was happy not to be a stray anymore.
Her race to the caves was abruptly ruined when she and Askar began a small scuffle, ending up with them both rolling around in the snow, trying to gain the upper hand. When Tvarla finally regained her breath she saw that Kliaod and Emari had overtaken them, both of them looking back with infuriating smiles as they waved lazily.
Immediately all the rivalry between each other was forgotten, and the two petpets picked themselves up and launched themselves into a run once again. They ran abreast, legs working wildly as they tried to catch up in vain. Kliaod and Emari were waiting casually by the entrance by the time Tvarla came puffing up.
After almost a year the activity in the Ice Caves was finally beginning to pick up again, and Tvarla was gratified to see that new icicles were forming on the roof and walls. But the caves had lost most of their grandeur, and it would take many years to be returned to its former glory. She felt a pang of loss.
Askar skated ahead of her, carving intricate patterns on the ice with his claws, an expression of bliss on his face. Tvarla watched him for a few minutes, then she too stepped on the ice. She grinned as she slid smoothly across the glassy surface, gliding with a grace that was impossible for a land creature.
She noticed that all the other pets in the cave hung back, watching them warily, though whether it was from fear or respect she couldn't tell, nor did she really care. Somehow wherever they went, they were recognised; they were the only quartet of such variety on all of Terror Mountain, after all.
She stopped and grinned as she saw what looked like a mini Snowager approaching them. The Snowager's daughter was already half the size of her father, and she had a mischievous glint in her eyes.
"Hello, Varlee," she said.
Tvarla shook her head at the mispronunciation of her name, but let it slide. "Hello," she answered.
"Follow," the young guardian answered, doing a very good impression of the commanding tone the Snowager had used long ago.
Tvarla followed her and saw that Kliaod had already beat them to the cavern, where the Snowager was waiting., coils draped carefully over his scattered treasures. Tvarla looked over the piles of goods carefully, one eyebrow slightly raised. It seemed that they had almost doubled in size since she had last visited. It looked like the Snowager had taken advantage of having a double to guard his hoard. The giant serpent had a look on his face that Tvarla would have described as exasperation.
"How many times have I told you not to stray from our cave?" he berated. "One day you must protect everything in here, including the negg."
His daughter paid him no heed and slipped past him, with Tvarla on her trail. She tripped over a red squishy thing that looked like a red Lenny, and kicked it away with a scowl. How Kliaod could be interested in such useless junk, she would never be able to fathom. Excluding the negg, of course. Casting a discreet look around the cavern she couldn't see any trace of it. It was understandable; the Snowager probably wouldn't be too ecstatic if it was stolen again.
She smiled at the Snowager, whose frown had vanished when he finally spotted all four of them huddled in the cave. He breathed a cloud of icy air and bent down.
"So we meet again," he rumbled. "And probably for the last time, for I must soon leave."
Tvarla nodded and spoke. "Where are you going?"
The Snowager chuckled. "Deep into the mountain," he said. "More than that I can't tell you, for I don't really know myself. But it will hopefully be peaceful." He paused a moment before continuing. "I would like that you kept visiting my daughter, as she is only new, and there's no chance of you stealing anything here." This was accompanied with a stern look at the only pet present, who nodded in quick agreement.
"It would be an honour," Kliaod murmured. The Snowager laid part of his tail over her shoulder.
"You helped me, so it is my honour to give you these, as a token before I must leave."
He shook his magnificent head, and four crystalline scales drifted to the ground, landing as lightly as feathers. Then he slithered away into the shadows of the cave to watch and observe. He left in his wake him a small negg, opaque and pale blue in colour, which his daughter sniffed curiously.
Tvarla picked up one of the scales, feeling the smooth coldness, then her face broke out into a grin. "Thank you," she whispered.