Thank you all for yesterday’s comments on G is for Gnarl. I continue the A-Z today with;
H is for Hoarfrosts
[Author’s note: Sorry for the lateness of this post. Once again, I came up with an idea when planning the A-Z that didn’t fit when I came to the actual writing, which is one of the reasons I’m just getting this up now.]
Hoarfrosts derive their name from the white ice crystals, loosely deposited on the ground or exposed objects, which form on cold clear nights when heat is lost into the open sky causing objects to become colder than the surrounding air.
|Art by Bethesda Game Studios concept artist Ray Lederer|
Like the Spriggan that resides in forests, Hoarfrosts, are spirits of nature in the form of ice wraiths. Found frequently in the Alps, Himalayas and other mountain ranges – and in the company of Yetis - they often take on the appearance of beautiful women to seduce unsuspecting travellers.
Their presence is announced by unseasonal cold temperatures, and the appearance of frost and ice on the ground, even in areas it would not normally be found; such as in doors.
Working together with Yetis, they freeze victims for the abominable snowmen to feed upon, and then feast on the remaining blood.
Cases of Hoarfrosts in warmer countries are rare, and usually only occur when spirits travel with Yetis or their remains.
The following in an Ancile Scientist’s account of an encounter with a hoarfrost.
Narrated and transcribed by: Bethany Mayweather, West Midlands Unit Scientist, July 31st, 2010.
I wake up in the middle of the night suddenly freezing cold, which is odd given its almost August. I reach for the covers I’ve kicked off, but even once they’re pulled over me, I’m still shivering.
Clambering out of bed carefully, I pad across the barracks towards Sarah’s bunk to see if she’s awake and has sensed anything out of the ordinary.
When I find her, she’s sitting bolt upright in bed, her hazel eyes wide and searching. She puts a finger to her lips when she sees me.
“Something doesn’t smell right,” she whispers. “Wake the others.”
Tip-toeing carefully I visit the beds of Bernard, Sol and Mike first; rousing them and alerting them to the change in temperature. Then I wake Graham and finally Mum.
When we’re all out of bed, Bernard calls a meeting in the briefing room.
“Mike, are you sure you properly disposed of the remains from that yeti, like you were told to?”
“Yes, Boss. Burnt it like you said.”
A few days earlier we’d been clearing out the scientific stores at the Ancile base; disposing of anything that no longer needed keeping for our records. Among the things being discarded were the remains of a yeti that had been sent down from the Scottish HQ ten years ago for Graham to study. As the sample was no longer needed, Bernard had Mike burn the remains to save room in the freezer.
Under Bernard’s orders, Me, Graham and Mum retreated to Mum’s library; the furthest location in the base, while he and the others did an armed sweep of the perimeter to see what had caused the unseasonal chill.
Locked in Mum’s study, she got out the biscuits and made a pot of tea for me, her and Graham.
I was just starting to warm up when I heard a strange noise, like the tinkling of broken glass. I stepped out of the study and edged towards the lab, concerned one of the sample jars could have fallen and smashed.
As I got closer to the laboratory, the coldness intensified, as did the strange sound. Looking all around me, I saw a light sheen of frost coating every surface.
“Mum, Graham,” I called. “Come quick.”
They rushed into the lab, and as Mum skidded to a halt on the ice floor she cried, “Quick, Bethany, get out of there. It’s a hoarfrost.”
For a moment I wasn’t sure what she meant. Was she referring to radiation frost that’s caused when objects become colder than the surrounding air? Before I had chance to question what she meant, something shimmered into existence besides me.
At first glance, it looked almost like a Banshee, but was incorporeal and wraith-like. The female figure turned to me with icy, unnatural blue eyes, and I both felt and saw the frost on the ground spread across the floor from her to me.
The white ice crystals crept up my legs, turning them to blocks of ice and holding me to the spot. I could feel my body temperature lowering, and my heart rate slowing.
I was past the point of shivering now, as my fingers turned blue and I could feel the ice forming on my nose and lips. I looked desperately at Mum and Graham, not understanding why they hadn’t helped me, and saw the reason.
A wall of ice had formed, cutting the lab off from the corridor that led to mum’s study and they were trapped on the other side.
Mum hammered helplessly on the ice, but no amount of force she applied could break it. This was prenatural ice.
Slowly the figure advanced on me, and I couldn’t tear my gaze away from it, as it pinned me in place with its icy blue eyes. My whole body was frozen now, and my breathing shallow. I knew I didn’t have long to live.
“Come with me child,” it whispered its voice cold inside my mind.
I was powerless to resist, my eyelids drooping shut, when something smashed through the door.
Sol shoulder barged through, followed by Mike, Bernard and Sarah. All three were brandishing beams of wood that’d been set on fire. The waved it at the figure, pushing the flames right up against her and the room exploded with warmth and a shrill cry.
Before I knew what was happening, the room was back to normal, though there was a huge puddle of water at my feet.
Shaking, I collapsed to the ground, and Mum rushed forwards, covering me in a thick blanket and trusts a cup of tea into my hands.
Check back tomorrow for I is for Incubus (and Succubus), and if you're interested please check out my personal blog's entry H is for Harry Potter.