Frozen Beginnings

                                     By Lisa  (c) 2002



The white cold had fallen early on the Wolfrider tribe. TOo early. The food supplies were already down to less than half...and the whitecold had really only started. Reed moved out of the den she sometimes shared with Breeze and Greenleaf. Tucking her hair into the hood of her ravvit lined tunic. Pulling the fabric up around her nose, she gathered up her pole and basket, and headed out into the cold winter day.
  The holt was very quiet as she made her way towards the river. Most were inside, sleeping, cuddling next to those lovemates and children. She glanced at one den in particular. She knew Skylark was within. Heavy with bearing.....and hungry. Reed frowned. She and Darkbow, her father, had tried to bring what extra meat they could to her. As little as that was. Dawngreeter...Reed's own mother, was bearing as well. Not as heavy as Skylark...but with cub none the less. And, the more food they could find, the better. Though, with the heavy snows and cold weather, game was scarce. Reed looked up as another set of footsteps came to her muffled ears. She glanced to her left...seeing Lonewolf head into the forest. Probably to hunt.
She sighed. A wisp of warm air that could be seen on the brisk wind. Reed watched Lonewolf disappear. Her heart beating a bit faster at the sight of him. She had been bothering him to teach her to hunt...and had been spending a lot of time with the lone hunter. Enough time for her heart to start to have feelings for the male. She shook her head. Lonewolf wasn't interested in her. Reed could still dream. Moving quickly, she headed to do her own hunting.   The river was frozen over with ice. Reed set her things on her belt, reaching for her dagger. Moving carefully along the ice, stopping frequently to test the thickness of the ice covering over the bitter cold waters below. Getting out a far distance, she knelt. Cutting a hole in the ice, she carefully pushed the hole free. Revealing the water below. Lowering her pole and string into the hole, Reed began to fish.
  Many fish later, and starting to now feel her toes, Reed looked up. Deciding it was time to go in. Her fingers were turning white, and the sun was beginning to go down. Which meant it would get colder still. Putting the fish in the basket she had brought, she stood to quickly make her way back to the shore. A sound from the shore surprised her, and she looked up to see Whitetip yelping at her from the shore. She smiled, about to call to her wolfbond, when a loud crack ripped through the still dead air. And the ice below Reeds feet cracked, sending her crashing through the ice into the freezing waters below.
  Whitetip barked, running along the edge of the snow. Taking a step onto the shifting ice, then jumping back.   Reed struggled to get up onto the ice. But everything was slippery as a waterdancer...and she couldn't get a grip to pull herself under. She kept being pushed back under the water. Her leathers dragging her down, entangling her feet and legs, making it impossible for her to climb out.
Too shocked, she didn't even think to send for help. Everything happened too quickly. She couldn't gasp for breathe, before the freezing water covered her head again. Seeping into her very bones, making her body tense up. Freeze.
  Reed closed her eyes, beginning to go limp, when a hand reached out and grabbed her. Pulling her up to the icy shore. Slowly dragging her back to solid ground.Breathing air into her lungs, forcing her to breath again.
  Coughing, shivering, Reed opened her eyes slowly. Lonewolf leaned over her. His face a mask of worried concern. His eyes took in her blue skin, her trembling lip, and her nearly frozen body. Quickly, he picked her up. Striding to his den. **Foolish water head.** he muttered to her in a relieved gruff sending.
  Reed smiled, closing her eyes. **At least...I got the fish.** she whispered.