The weather was growing more and more pleasant by the hour – that is, colder and colder. She had begun to see snow along the ground, and secretly rejoiced. That joy was quickly overtaken by a small whine again. Shifting her dark blue eyes to the small bundle wrapped in furs, Tuija gave her daughter a wane smile. The girl hadn’t stopped complaining since they left Snowflood: she missed her friends, the wagon was hard, she was getting colder. That was to be expected, though. Children were never good travelers, especially at Lempi’s age. Once she saw the white huts and felt the cool breeze upon her cheek, she knew her daughter would understand why it was so important to return. The message that was brought to her from a trader, a note saying that Leikko of Sûri-kylä was willing to formally accept her daughter as his grandchild, it brought Tuija a joy she had almost forgotten.
Time warped, and much to her delight, she and Lempi arrived immediately. Her daughter, pink nosed and ill-equipped (Bree-blood was thin, she learned) to survive in this frigid weather, pulled the fur tighter around her. “Maaa, I’ve seen it, can we go n-”
Lempi’s current complaint was cut off by a raising of her mother’s palm, a gentle laying of fingers upon her lips. Tuija’s eyes filled with tears at the sight of her home once again, reverting back to the tongue of her people. “Shhh, love. Listen to the wind, it welcomes you home.” Lempi looked around, and Tuija watched with apprehensive joy. Just to see her daughter surrounded by fluffy white snow, dark blue eyes watering at a cold gust, filled her heart. When that little girl looked back up to her, still speaking in the Westron that she grew up hearing, and said that one awful sentence, her heart fell through the pit of her stomach.
“Ma, I want to go home to Snowflood and see my friends.”
Tears filled her eyes and Tuija turned away to hide them. As she did such, the ground fell from beneath her and she tumbled through the sky. She eventually landed on her feet, Lempi nowhere to be found. Slow, cold, horrible panic began to set in. Where did her baby go? Where’s her daughter? Running through what seemed to be thawing antarctic tundra, small dead pieces of grass littering the icy mud, Tuija screamed her daughter’s name until her throat was hoarse and her voice left her. Finally kneeling on the ground, her knees instantly being dampened with the thaw, she cried. Warm tears slid down from her face, dotting her pants with small dark splotches of liquid.
Tuija’s head snapped up so quickly, she was sure it would keep flying backward. Working her throat and finally finding the courage to scream her daughter’s name one more time, she pushed upon the ground and ran in the direction of her beloved child’s voice. She finally saw a small dot in the distance, pressed onward. Her baby came into view, but now she was an adult. Tuija’s eyes grew wide and she stared at the fully grown young woman, a mix of her mother’s eyes and hair, framing a face almost wholly her father’s. “Lempi?”
The young woman whipped off the traditional Lossoth garments she wore, and threw the fine hunting bow to the side. It lit on fire. Lempi, a righteous fire in her own eyes, stared back to her mother with a mixture of contempt and sadness. Her voice startled Tuija further, as her daughter spoke both in Westron and with the voice of Tuija’s father, deep and stern. “My father also named me Aimee. That is my name. I am leaving to go home. Do not try to stop me. I do not belong here.” The woman turned to leave and walked into the cave that had seemingly appeared while Tuija was focused on her daughter.
Screaming once more, barely a shrill sound that was more pain than words, Tuija tried to plead with her in Westron. She went to follow Lempi into the dark cave, sure she could convince her daughter to not leave her. She would go with her, anything; please don’t abandon me. The darkness of the cave was absolute – she no longer saw, and the cave swallowed her whole. The entrance was suddenly gone, and she was alone again. No daughter, no light, and no hope. Tuija wept bitterly.
Her eyes shot open, sitting up with a gasp. Tears were pouring down her face; tears that she immediately wiped away with the fine blanket on her bed. The dream was too real, too poignant to be anything short of the spirits trying to tell her something. Tuija shifted to rest on her elbow and lounged, still rather shaken by the dream. She softly murmured once again to her infant daughter in the language of her people. The baby was awake, her mother’s crying clearly had woken her. Tuija kissed her on the forehead, then sat again and held Lempi to her breast. Her voice cracked as she whispered in her native tongue, “I’m sorry.”