Winter Woman’s nostrils twitched at a drift of smoke. Heat: she needed heat, a crackling fire with bright tongues spiraling to shame the stars.
Drumbeats boomed through the forest, the reverberations throbbing through her bones. The beat of death and the living flame chilled her to the marrow. Magic dragged her frail limbs closer to the sound, and her trembling arms clutched at trees, begging for their strength. Memories had faded with the last leaf of autumn, dying in winter frost.
In a sacred clearing two fires flickered either side of a blue slab set into the dirt. Flames licked the flat surface, caressing each other, kissing–ready to crisp fresh fodder. She longed to run into the dark comfort of night, but magic forced her to the heat. Warriors holding torches ringed the glade. Drums boomed in her heart, in her soul. A scream died a-birthing in old flesh. The flames reached for her rags.
Rags blazed with fire-bright tongues. Rags stuck on melting flesh. Oily smoke stifled lungs; blood boiled to a cool of throbbing life. Flesh swelled with juices of youth. Golden hair cascaded in place of charred gray wisps.
Awe filled the warrior’s faces when she laughed from her golden cage of power. Earthsong filled the maiden in her gossamer white robe as she ran through the clutching hands of men. The maiden’s laugh of sent them wild with lust but she would not choose yet. The mother’s time would come, and then the hag.
Deep into the forest, rousing all life in her wake, Spring Maiden raced through the season.