Her features were soft and peaceful, even now.
Her raven black dress; the same color as her hair was strewn around her and the sapphire necklace that she never took off was broken. The gem had slid from the three metal brackets that were on a silver chain and was lying beside her.
The contrast of red on the white snow was startling, and it was everywhere. His mother’s, their friend’s and their enemies, their blood stained the snow, painting a horrific picture of deadly invasion he did not prevent.
He reached out a helpless hand to pull the remains of his mother’s necklace from around her cold neck.
A yell broke the quiet sobs of the survivors, and he jolted upright, startled by the noise. Before he could turn to see what was happening he was on his back several feet from where his mother’s body lie.
“YOU!” The voice boomed.
His father was marching toward him, hatred and madness in his brown eyes.
Snow was swirling around the boy, and the wind had become so strong it was knocking him back and forth like a rag doll, he choked as the cold air bit at him. The snow flew in circles around him, encasing him in a frozen cocoon. He strained to see through the frozen web, hoping to make eye contact with his father, believing he could bring him back to reality; but the frosted wind continued to throw him side to side, and snow whipped him in the face, strangled him as it slammed into his gagging mouth and he was certain the pain of the frost bitten air would not subside.
“Maren!” several voices screamed, the boy could hear a man to his left talking to his father, but the air around him was so thick he could not make out a single word.
He slammed onto his back as the snow abruptly separated. He gasped, willing himself upright, slowly moving his frozen limbs. Two men were holding his father’s hands at his sides, they were both much shorter and frailer looking than him, but his father seemed too weak to fight against their restraint. The boy could not make out any of the words they whispered to the man, who didn’t much look like his father any longer.
The kindness behind his brown eyes was now replaced with bitterness and his well-groomed hair was wild, sticking out in all directions. His clothes that were always meticulously looked over before leaving the house were now ripped and dirty, cloth hung from his body revealing bloodied wounds. The pride he took in his appearance was at all costs absent and replaced with a sloppy wrinkled shadow of who his father had been on that morning.
He could see the longer he stayed the stronger his father’s anger grew, his intentions to harm the boy were blatant in his contorted facial features. A man nearest the boy shot him a reassuring look as he opened his mouth to speak. “This is no one’s fault boy, but...” He stopped speaking as he glanced at the bodies around him, he made sure not to regain eye contact with the boy.
He made his final statement to the two men standing with him, “We will mourn our lost ones and then we will restore order to our village.” He nodded to the men who were now visibly having much more trouble holding on to his enraged father, and the three of them began to pull him slowly back toward a dilapidated home.
The boy stood for a moment staring at his mother’s body, wanting more than he had ever wanted in the past thirteen years of his life to hear her voice.
Her calm, voice telling him his fears would not come to pass, but she lay there, frozen and just as beautiful as she had been before he left the house that day.
He walked back toward her and pulled the sapphire gem from the snow beside her. He knew these men and this village his whole life, and he knew the look on the mans face when he could not bring himself to look back in to his eyes meant ‘Go.’
He clutched the stone close to his heart as he turned and left the village of Oberet.