I ventured into the domain of winter regardless of the storm, in search of those beasts of ice. I knew that they were to be found in the worst of it, so as the burning cold and the freezing wind kept growing in strength, I knew I was nearing my destination. My helmet was invaluable in its ability to grant me sight under these conditions, and the godly axe by my side was giving me much needed confidence. However, sight and confidence were not enough as the cold kept gnawing on my skin and flesh, oh how I craved the searing pain of my initiation warpaint to protect me from the elements. It was unbearable, and even with all my strength, I couldn’t bare it any longer. I fell to my knees, unable to move. I tried to force myself to go on, but to no avail; this was the end of my journey, and how anticlimactic it was. Then I saw them, wolf-like shapes emerging from the winter mist around me. There were at least 8 of them, encircling me and looking at me with a look of indifference; as if I was a mere ant they were watching, for there was nothing else for them to do. In my current state, I had a hard time staying conscious; fighting them wasn’t in consideration, so I tried to negotiate; ” Please, stop this storm you spirits of winter, I have come to end the cycle once and for all, let me break the curse.” Their indifference turned into a mild curiosity, and perhaps amusement. Then a deep husky, voice started resonating inside my mind. “We are the warning, the harbingers. We announce his coming, so that there will be no more slaughter than needed. Yet here you stand, telling us to deny your people such salvation. Why?” “I shall kill the King of Winter!” The voice laughed. “There were many before you who tried; faster, stronger, wiser, yet they all failed. How are you any different, why shouldn’t we leave you here to die? It would be the most merciful outcome.” This statement hit me like a horse. How am I to defeat the King if so many others had failed? Yet I had to try, I had to stop the bloodshed once and for all. It was a risk; many might die because of my choice, but If I wouldn’t try, the next chosen would eventually face the same decision, I was not going to let that happen. No, I will defeat the King, I will break the curse, now only to convince the wolves; “You might not think much of me, but I will defeat the king, no matter the cost. If I am to die in doing so, so be it. If I am to sacrifice everything I have, so be it, But I will end this cycle.” This caused quite a stir among the spirits, laying down their masks of indifference, their appearance quickly changing into that of a hungry ravenous beast. The voice resonated inside my head once more, but much more snarly and breathy now; “You have got spirit, warrior. You are either very brave or very confident. But words are nothing. You say you are willing to sacrifice; so show us. But beware, that sacrifice you speak of must be great indeed to back up those word. Those magical items of yours won’t do. It must be something that will scar you for life, something that cannot be healed, something you shall crave for the rest of your life.” The wolfs were shaking with excitement now, waiting for my offering. I don’t how, but I knew what the gods wanted me to give in return for their favour, I knew… and I was afraid. I had taken off my helmet, and I grabbed a small dagger that was hanging from my belt. I raised it, my body almost paralyzed with hesitation and fear, but It had to be done. I raised the dagger towards my face and put its point to my one remaining eye… and then I pushed. My vision turned into a single red point. The pain was enormous, and I felt blood running down my face, but I couldn’t see it. As I was trembling with pain, the voice spoke to me with a tone of respect now. “Very good young warrior, perhaps you are indeed the one.” the cold around me started to go away, and I felt a slight warm breeze caressing me. The pain was leaving my body, and the sound of the storm seemed to faint. “Your sacrifice was great indeed. We will uphold our end of the bargain, but there is one more thing. Take on your helmet so you may see what it is.” I did so, and was amazed that the magic of the helmet allowed me to see, even though very faintly and blurry. The storm was gone, and before me lied a horn from one of the wolves. “This is our gift to you, It will allow you to bypass the king’s defences, and fight him on equal ground; Use it well.” I picked the horn up and tried to examine it further, but I was unable to focus on the details with my limited borrowed vision. Regardless, I raised the horn to my mouth and sounded it from the bottom of my lungs. After doing so, my lungs started burning, but I had no regrets. This was my challenge to the King of Winter, this was the point of no return, only death or glory awaited me now.