The days in the tundra are relatively calm, rarely does a day go by when the snow is even disturbed. Cold summers, even colder winters; not many inhabit this land. Vegetation is sparse besides the toughest of brush and trees. Most the remnants of previous attempts of colonization have been shrouded in snow. The tundra has lost its name to time, however it is part of a larger realm known as Arcadia, it dominates the northern reaches hiding behind many vast mountain peaks. Getting in and getting out is no easy feat.
A woman in a short dress made of the cold surroundings walks about, singing softly to herself, her eyes hide behind her soft hair distantly gazing into the snow. Her light blue skin stands out amongst the grey skies and the white snow. Her hooves leave tracks not unlike an animal as she walks lightly. She has horns of a ram, but shaded in other pigments of blue. No one, not even herself knows how long she has wandered here, as days have turned into years and years have turned into decades, she cannot even remember how she came to be; yet her skin is ageless and remains the youth of an adult in their prime.
Her graceful jaunt comes to a halt, she sees a frostbitten human hand struggle out of the snow, trying to escape the cold imprisonment. She hurries and hears a faint “help…” and she quickly begins to uncover the poor soul. She uses her mastery of the cold and shifts the snow off the person underneath it. She finds a human woman, frostbitten, scraps of clothing degraded off her and a large gash going from her navel to her chest, large enough to see through to the ground beneath her.
Coughing up shards of ice, the human asks in a weak tone, “where am I?” The demon, not knowing the answer that well herself, begins to help up the human. The human should be dead, there is no doubt about that.“I am Mero, and who are you?” The demon responds in a quiet, reserved voice gently cradling the human to help sit her up. Mero feels an odd twinge of familiarity with this woman, however to her dismay she cannot recall why.
The woman has a mostly shaved head except for the top which comes down to the left of her, her eyes are a green like the pines, and her exposed center seems to be cauterized and frozen. Her memory is a haze, nothing coming up, not even a name. Upon looking at Mero she still remembers nothing, no familiarity, everything is new. Her naked body has one still intact attire, a bracer. The bracer has etched in the still firm leather Lia. Taking a moment to process this, she says, “My” with a pause reassuring herself, “name is Lia.”
That name sounds familiar to Mero, but as before, just ends in frustration and disappointment. She helps Lia up off the ground, Mero tries to cure some of the frostbite with her magic, taking the ice away from her body. This allows her to move without pain, yet still feel the numbness of being cold. “How are you alive?” Mero asks as she finally gets Lia to stand on her own.
“Alive? Huh, should I be dead right now?” Lia asks; her memories are in fragments, so the concept of death currently evades her. Taking her first step, she stumbles but regains her balance. “I honestly don’t know if I am alive” she says in a inquisitive voice to herself. Mero cocks her head but decides not to question it anymore.
“You are most likely undead, a state of neither alive or dead.” Mero informs, but not fully sure of herself as the undead she has encountered seemed to be mindless drones made by an evil force. Mero’s demeanor is ice cold yet still has an optimistic sweetness to it. “Regardless of you being undead, we should get you some clothes, I know of a place that we can get you outfitted, can you walk well enough?” Lia nods, taking a few steps, snowflakes sticking to her skin as they fall.
“There have not been people here for a long while, some adventurers come and find nothing of value, most run from me.” Mero leads Lia into a path that weaves between the trees and brush, “yet, there was this one, they were an odd fellow, not sure if they were human, there with this stunning feel of strength while looking at them. They told me about the history of this place.” Mero explains, a few deer are grazing in the brush and notice them but do not react to the demon and undead.
“They told me that this land used to have many tribes of humans, they were some of the hardiest, able to survive the harshest of winters. Magic users and hunters, most weapons made from bone and ice, the tribes lived rather peacefully refusing to go any more south in fear of intruding onto others. Most had just campgrounds that decayed rather fast, however a few towns of wood did exist.” The two women arrive in a decayed town, most roofs caved in, however a few buildings are intact, “like this one,” Mero says as she raises her hand towards the most intact building.
“A force of monsters decided that this land should no longer hold those who inhabit it and came in with an army of steel. The army wiped everyone out with little effort, I’d say you’re potentially the last living native, however you do not seem like you are very alive at all.” Mero giggles as she opens the door for Lia to enter the house. The joke goes over Lia’s head, like a bird flying among the clouds, she enters the house in curiosity.
“Huh, I guess it is a shame that I do not remember anything then,” she says looking at the frozen corpses that remain in the building. Mero begins to strip one of the corpses of their clothing, Lia cringes at the sight, “shouldn’t we respect the dead?”
“Why? They do not need these, I’m sure they won’t mind after being here for so long.” Lia sighs and helps Mero strip the body, however she takes a moment to look at the face of the deceased. It seemed to be an elderly woman, one to tell stories and to take care of those who are without parents, however Lia’s memory still evades her.
She gets dressed well in furs, looking much like the corpses that litter the land, yet animate. “Am I even the last native if I can’t remember anything?” Lia asks her demoness friend, “I may have the blood of them, but if I cannot remember anything, am I really one of them?” Mero pats her head like a mother would to an upset child to comfort them, and smiles.
“Don’t worry, even if you are the last native, not much worry about now, we have all of eternity to figure this out, it’ll be nice to walk with someone from now on,” while being an embodiment of ice, she still has a warm enough smile and voice to cheer Lia up.
“Well, it’ll be nice to rest for a moment, all of this has been a lot to process,” she says as she begins to pick the corpses up, “let us give these folk some peace to be outside.” Mero nods and helps and they spend the next hour taking bodies out of the house and giving them what the demon calls a proper burial, which involves snow and more snow.
After cleaning the house up from the inanimate corpses, Lia and Mero sit on the fur covered section of the floor together. The snow muffling all sound outside and inside barely having any sound at all. The silence is nice for Lia to process and think about everything she knows, Mero appreciates a time to rest as she has been walking for so long. The silence is almost deafening but well appreciated by both parties.
Lia falls asleep leaning up against Mero. Mero feels responsible for this stray pet now and smiles as the undead just looks dead while she is sleeping. Something seems eerily familiar to this moment, she yearns to recall what feels so right. Just as Mero and Lia are relaxing, Mero hears something. Large boots break the snow’s ground outside in the village. A monstrous hand shrouded in steel turns the doorknob and opens the door forcefully. A metal figure larger than the entrance breaks through, startling and waking Lia, it wields a plank of steel on its back, sharp enough to cut flesh with ease. This thing seems humanoid, and speaks up in a muffled echoed voice, “Lia, is that you?”