Chapter 2:

Nix

A Snowed Abode


It was the frigid frost of icy waters that first clashed with Pax's senses upon journeying outside his home. Not quite the most pleasant of temperate climes, but it was where one had rested, for if life does not stay anywhere, where will it? It was a wide world, larger than any mental explorations could even attempt, but Pax had mostly, so far, resided where he happened to be thrown at - that could always change, through necessity or gradual progression, and today he happened to need to meet this seer.Bookmark here

Not that Pons - the name he is usually called by, as a sort of symbol for the guidance of this forsaken, frozen abode named Nix - was typically unreachable; this was not some oracle at Delphi, this seer was but another of NIx's citizens, but as opposed to Pax's occasional joviality, Pons was indeed preternaturally serious, for would not one be if the future could be perceived but, like Kassandra (if one were to extend the mythological metaphor), everyone around ignores the possibilities? Why, one barely even needs to be in such a position... Pax was, at any rate, going to meet him, but not before the very essence of this place was upended, for why would a procrastinator do anything else? (Well, there was a hint of urgency when one was told a visit was requested, but only a hint, so why not err on the side of the everlasting optimism for those who need an excuse to delay until no longer possible? Pessimism then comes, of course, when all hell breaks loose...)Bookmark here

Now, the initial impression that could be had upon exiting, for some reason, similarly to the potted plants, as if everything was full to the brim with life... were the flames that radiated like a single candle in an eternal, hopeless darkness with no end in sight except for an atom of a flicker. These flames then, not quite uttered, but appeared to imprint upon consciousness, the words...Bookmark here

"Touching a fiery element...
...while the cold snaps...
...might be not clement..."Bookmark here

Now Pax had seen and talked to many people in the past, and maybe the cold was getting to his brain... perhaps one could not quite figure out anymore what one heard or not, but those words appeared to be said, and since it did not seem to matter anyway... and he would probably have a better conversation with the few people around, Pax thought he would leave the matter alone for now, although he did quietly grumble to himself that the rhyme was ever so slightly strange, though stranger still that it had come from blazing rivulets... somehow.Bookmark here

Below in the distance, opposite his own home, there was an old lady, seemingly a permanent fixture for most of his life (due to the age difference, mind, one could make a reasonable guess that she was not there before her own birth, or that would indeed present a small problem for the continuum of time itself). She was quite homely in appearance, and one would think that she, being probably the oldest villager (in other places one assumes the ideal candidate for seer-age, but here age is not quite the main issue in contention, rather it was... something else that fitted in the context of Nix being in the far north near another village that hinged on the mood of one solitary individual) - was probably also the wisest, or at least the most knowledgeable, but she might also be humble.Bookmark here

"This olde fortress is but a bastion in the north of the world, just would not be if the last kingdom to the south willed itself." She proclaimed, having not quite yet adapted to a more modern usage of the language; of course, it is ever-evolving, never constant, but the brain is not as plastic with age, and so one adds that as more of a feature than a defect usually, especially as, just as with old books, time usually reserves interest in the possibilities.Bookmark here

Pax replied, thereafter, to clarify... "Do you mean we might be overtaken by them if we are not careful enough?"Bookmark here

"Likely. Possibly. But with Pons around we could forestall all such possibilities. Well, perhaps all... so far, at least." She clearly seems to believe in the seer, despite there being, shall we say, quite the difference in age, but it could also be actually her advanced years relying on the hopefulness of patterns seemingly foretold by some hidden order. This has always seemed to be what people throughout the millennia thought like, and in this instance there might indeed be elements of that, especially in this person's mind; a cerebral desire to be comforted by an illusory structure, and although the name Pons might conjure up such an image, Pax knew that he was not really some cryptid, or a relic who makes virtually no sense. He might not entirely call him a friend, but they were on friendly terms, and he was certainly still more comprehensible than some ancient oracle, or a random method to divine the future. No, Pons more likely derived sense from multiple viable sources and made them cohesive, something that even the person Pax was talking with could do if only neurons did not overly rely on what could be.Bookmark here

"I have lived here for decades, and in that time he has always managed to see through the façade of history... well, nearly all..." She suddenly showed some doubt, not something that seemed usual...Bookmark here

"Not all? There was a time?" Pax enquired.Bookmark here

"Yes, once, but... I would prefer if I did not have to venture to that point in my mind again..." This cognitive avoidance may possibly stem from the same source as the aforementioned reliance, but then again if trauma occurs why would one necessarily want to have anything to do with it again if one is not subjected to it again? Perhaps, if it is absolutely needed, but in this instance Pax thought that it might be better if a secondary source was questioned instead, one who in turn got it possibly from someone who does not mind recalling, or a text. Either way, it did not seem urgent to know.Bookmark here

"Sure, understandable... but wait! Pons did this for decades?! He does not look that old!" Pax exclaimed.Bookmark here

"Ah, but looks may deceive... I myself feel as sprightly as ever! Also, Pons is not quite the same as us..." The old lady seemed jolly, and not quite understandable at the end, once again...Bookmark here

"Pax, I think you might want to go forth and speak with Pons for the way..."Bookmark here

So, despite the desire to talk with everyone due to an inherent spirit of procrastination, it seems even these others simply suggest that the seer is somehow the only inevitability in this strange existence. Perhaps the old age wants the young to rely on possibly hidden structures too? Or perhaps determinism is the only option? One knows not, but then again Pax is likely merely thinking about how Pons certainly does not look decades old, despite it being virtually irrelevant to either this specific incident, or the perception that even if one were to take away the image of a seer, Pons really makes slightly more sense than most others historically, as one might possibly soon attest to.Bookmark here

Now, in the other corner of Nix rested some middle-aged man, not quite as retired seeming as the previous old lady, but more, how shall one say, apparently 'available' to tackle practical issues... possibly? Or perhaps that was the supposedly dignified stubble he happened to have? Either way, he opined...Bookmark here

"These streams are the veins of hope to this abode... without them, we would have been overrun by the monarchy down below, for we would not have had resources to counteract..." He seemed fairly metaphorical, as water can, one guesses, seem like veins keeping a place alive, except it certainly was not the same hue...Bookmark here

"Where do they lead, I wonder?" Asked Pax.Bookmark here

"Nowhere but the frozen glaciers of interminable ice... from which water still flows. A fitting metaphor for the world's difficulties, perhaps? For our hope against the monarchy, perchance?" He speculated; one feels the necessity to point out that many years had passed without this apparent problem down south, as nothing had stirred, but recently it seemed inexorable... for some reason.Bookmark here

Pax continued, "hm, maybe... I've known nothing for all my life except this feud between these two places... it gets tiring after a while... now if only we could resolve this problem once and for all..." - it is, to be clear, that he was merely referring to his relative timespan, as this was not exactly an everlasting conflict, and if anything was indeed brewing it was mainly recent, but Pons should be able to clarify that.Bookmark here

The serious man concurred, "I wonder indeed if we could, and if its inhabitants even support the monarchy's downfall? They did, after all, never decide on having one... surely, then, could this region find peace."Bookmark here

He finished with... "speak with Pons on the lofty airs first, then... it could be useful if you interceded on our behalf against this aggression... possibly... if, ever, it could be extinguished..." - and with a stroke of the pen any possibility to procrastinate without distraction was made incalculable, but perhaps this could be... fate? Or that would be what the romantics would think...Bookmark here

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