Introduction to a Shiverling — Timmou's Spotlight
Author's Note: Well, the Pet and Petpet Spotlights are down, and with them, my spirits. Let’s all say a prayer that TNT brings them back someday soon! Until then, I will be continuing to inflict the snippets I write for said contests on the Neopian Times readership... especially when I have one in my store that fits a collab theme, like this one!
Happy Legends and Folklore week, everyone! And thank you very much for reading Timmou’s story. We both appreciate it. :)
You probably don't know this. The vast majority of the Neopian population doesn't. Fret not if you don't know, for I am here to enlighten you. If you wish to grab a jacket first, allow me to pause and wait for you. For the temperature is about to go sub-zero.
Snow. The topic we are about to delve into is snow. Snow. The cold stuff, the wet stuff, the back-breaking, heart-attack-causing heavy stuff we all dread shovelling. Snow whence comes ice that settles on sidewalks and streets, makes the journey slippery, freezes your door shut so you can't even risk it, whether you want to or not. Snow that melts into slush that's brown from dirty boots, sets a dirty root, cursed by dirty mouths.
Snow! Bitter, biting, glorious, beautiful snow! Snow that falls softly like faerie dust, lands like a whisper, causes children everywhere to squeal in delight. Snow you can play in, build castles and snowmen, snow that makes a lighted window so much cozier than in spring. Snow that waters the earth, promotes life, ensures it. Snow that's pure like Heaven, cleansing, ethereal. White and fluffy, and cold, and sparkly, and fun!
That snow. Well! The vast majority of the Neopian population doesn't know this, but this snow that some despise, some adore, and some poor sleepwalkers manage to stroll through a winter's day without even noticing, is created and bestowed upon us by spirits — Snow Angels, to be precise, or Snowglies as they sometimes affectionately call themselves. There are many ranks of Snowglies, ranging from the baby Shiverling who can only summon light flurries, to the mighty Tempest, who can conjure up the storm of storms.
Our story today is about a Shiverling, a brand new Snow Angel only 307 years old, a baby in the grand scheme of existence, which, from a carnal Neopian perspective, bears a remarkable physical resemblance to a JubJub.
Timmou remembers the day he received his first assignment like it was yesterday; orders issued directly from the One on Top, the Angels' highest authority and the overseer of every spirit's missions. He sent Timmou to Kiko Lake, to a little above-water neighbourhood that loved snow but didn't require much, for the lake water was more than enough to sustain them.
Timmou carefully recalled all the steps he had been taught in Snowglie school. First he had to bring down the air's temperature. It wasn't hard, for it was nighttime and the temperature had voluntarily dropped itself. He needed to help it along though. Every particle in the atmosphere, every molecule he infused with his icy magic — all the magic he could muster.
Then he gathered the clouds together. He danced around beneath them, gaze fixed on the sky, pulling them closer, directing them where to go. Now came the tricky part. With a single blast, a stream of radiant frosty blue power, he permeated the clouds, freezing each and every water droplet inside... And then he held his breath.
"Snow," the little Shiverling encouraged the clouds softly. "Snow. Come on, you can do it."
When the first tiny white snowflake made its grand appearance, Timmou let out his breath. His smile grew, and grew and grew, as one snowflake after another after another fell slowly from his silver-lined clouds.
Timmou cheered. He yelped, he laughed! He began his dance again, but this time it was lighter, blither, freer, clumsier, and as he danced the snow fell faster. He bounced and twirled, and his feet didn't know where his heart would take them next! He could barely contain his excitement! He couldn’t contain it! Naturally Timmou tripped a few times. "Oof!"
When he landed on a ground that was lightly covered in white — just a sprinkling, a very thin blanket, but a blanket nonetheless — he quietened. He sighed. And he stared up at the sky as the snowflakes, his snowflakes, continued to fall, continued to fall...
He had done it. His first snowfall. Pride, contentment, ecstasy.
Oh yes, this was Timmou's first time making snow. The little Kikos, when they woke up in the morning, oh, you had better believe they were excited! The way a fresh snowfall reflects the light of a rising winter sun... there's no more wondrous sight in all Neopia, so the Kikos say.
The simple fact that Timmou's first snow stayed on the ground for a period of time was enough to catch the attention of the One on Top. You see, the work of most Shiverlings will only remain frozen for a few minutes at best, but with Timmou's snow the sun was already high in the sky before it melted completely away...
It was that day that the One on Top resolved to keep an eye on young Snow Angel Timmou.
Like his smile on that enchanted night of his first assignment, Timmou's power just grew and grew. At the age of a Shiverling he possessed the magical energy of a Brisker, or even a Frostee, which was two Snowglie life stages higher than he!
It could have been that Timmou was so eager to please, so wanting to do well in the eyes of his superiors and fellow Snowglies, so hoping to bring joy to the winters of Neopians everywhere... or maybe it was just that Timmou loved his job that much. He would stand in a grove of evergreens in Happy Valley and summon flurries, just so he could dance beneath them in his graceless, childish way. The wind would blow, his magic would swirl about him, and Timmou would be quite literally in his element. It was said that his icy abilities seemed to take on a life of their own.
One time they really did. It was a sunny Wednesday or Thursday afternoon, somewhere around the Snowglies' home base (which may or may not be located in Terror Mountain... No fleshly Neopian knows). A group of Timmou's Brisker friends had just been sent out on a mission. The other Shiverlings had gone skating on the pond, and Timmou wasn't very good at skating. His feet were always trying to go off their separate ways.
Timmou had been doing a bit of exploring of a place he knew like the back of his foot, feeling just a tad bit lonely — just a tad bit lonely, mind you, but lonely nonetheless — when he came to the sudden realization that he needed a companion: a close friend, somebody who would be with him and stay with him through blizzards and through squalls.
A Petpet is what he needed. Timmou went through in his mind all the Petpet species he could recall. He had seen many on his travels, but what kind would make the perfect Snowglie companion?
Suddenly Timmou had an idea, and it was a good idea at that! All he had to do was think of the word 'perfect'. He'd close his eyes and think about it over and over again — think of the best, bravest, cutest, smartest, most loyal companion he could possibly have, and there would be his new Petpet! Timmou closed his eyes. "Perfect. Perfect, perfect..." he muttered, as the snow began to swirl up before him. "Perfect, perfeeeeec--" Then the snow barked. "...t."
Timmou opened his eyes, and there, there was his perfect Petpet. "Umm..."
It had four sticks jutting out the sides of its head, two on the right side and two on the left. On top of its head were what appeared to be baby carrots for horns, and he had a bigger, longer carrot for a tail. His snow fur dripped in some places and stuck up in others as if he had mange. And his right eye was bigger than his left eye. Quite a lot bigger.
"Hello." The Shiverling approached his new Petpet slowly, careful not to startle. The Petpet took one look at him and ran away.
Don't you fret, though, dear reader! Timmou did catch up with his perfect companion eventually! And after asking around among the other members of his Snowglie family, a Frigidor (one of the elder, higher ranking members) was able to identify it as a Zomutt. A Snow Zomutt, of course. Timmou must have come in contact with the species somewhere down the line.
As eternity went on, Timmou found that he and his Zomutt buddy were actually remarkably compatible. Timmou's greatest pleasure in life was to bring snow to Neopians who loved it as much as he did; and, as Timmou would later discover, the Zomutt, whom he called Scout, had an uncanny talent for sniffing out Neopians who were longing for a white winter!
Timmou's greatest adventure ever would start just like this, with Scout hot on the trail of a little girl wishing it were cold...
"What are you scouting, Scouty?" Timmou asked his 'mutt one day, who stood sniffing with his nose in the air, poised for the hunt.
"Mmmrgh, woo woo!"
"It's coming from the south?" queried Timmou, who was, of course, fluent in Snow Zomuttese. "That's weird." Timmou quirked a frost-fringed eyebrow. "Let's go check it out."
Now, Snow Angels have wings. While some choose to keep their wings out at all times, others prefer to go wingless and summon them as needed. Timmou personally found it easier to move without wings, and so presently he summoned them. He crouched and leapt into the boreal wind and, with Scout tucked safely between his feet, took off in the direction of the call.
The farther Timmou flew, the warmer and thicker the air became. It felt sticky on his skin, heavy in his lungs, and it was getting harder and harder to flap his wings. It was a good thing they were made of magic snow — it was a good thing Scout was made of magic snow! — for if they weren't both Timmou's wings and his 'mutt would have melted.
When he finally touched down at his destination, the Shiverling heaved a sigh of relief and shook out his fur. He felt like a wet rag, or a drenched mop. He had never sweat before.
Timmou's ice-blue gaze wandered his new surroundings. Palm trees danced in a hot breeze, yellow sand burned his feet, turquoise waves rolled in the distance and stretched out as far as Timmou could see.
He was in Mystery Island.
And alone at an ocean cabana sat a little girl, a red Acara with dark brown hair. "Please... if it isn't too much trouble, give us just a little bit of snow. Please, show us snow, just this once. Please..."
This was strange, Timmou thought. He had never heard of an islander praying for snow... Didn't islanders hate snow? Timmou had never been to Mystery Island because he had never had the need to go. Neopians went to Mystery Island to escape snow, to escape he and his people!
Timmou had never thought a friendship with an islander could be possible. Nor did he think the other Snowglies would ever find out about his 'side missions', the places where he used his icy powers without being assigned to do so.
Timmou watched the little island girl intently; intrigued, empathetic...
Nobody! Nobody, Neopian or Snowglie or spirit of any sort, ever thought there could be a blizzard on Mystery Island.
But that is a story for another time.