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When morning came, Lansal woke the party, and they set out. They grabbed up their packs, satchels, and duffels, then hurried for the exit from the cave. When they emerged from the darkness into the light of sunrise, after their eyes adjusted to the brightness, they discovered that the faces of those who had been on the wood gathering expedition the day before were burnt red by the sun.

“You shall regret your service to us a great deal by day’s end,” Lansal commented as he drew a pot of ointment from his pouch on his belt. “Use this. I will soothe you a little, but try and not let the sun shine on you if you can. We have the sunrise at our back, at least, but its rays will reflect off the snow and everything else, I’m afraid.”


They left the shelter of the cave and pressed toward the top of the pass. The sun shone bright in the clear blue sky, but the wind blew from the north and often swirled into their faces, clouding their eyes with tears.

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Copyright 2018, 2019, 2020  —  Bill Snodgrass