The storm blew in from the ocean; pushing wave after wave which pounded against the rock. The gray sky rapidly turned white. She needed to find cover. She wouldn’t make it back to the village before the blizzard hit.

The ledge curved up and around the rock column. She found one handhold, then a foothold and hefted herself up. Slipping for a moment, she caught her balance. Ahead was a small flat area. This was as close as she could get.

Frejya untucked the small earthenware cup from her bulky coat. She held it out at arm’s length and said, “Please, Goddess. Please, take the ashes of my baby brother. Please, let Mother stay with us.” She unwrapped the leather surrounding it, placed her precious bear claw inside, wrapped it again and threw the pot as far out onto the sea as possible.

She hoped it would work. Her other younger brother and sisters couldn’t live without Mother. And Frejya was only sixteen winters, too young to take care of all six. Father would never return from the sea. It had been too long. She stayed silent a moment, in prayer, then began to climb again.

The wind whipped around her, bringing ice pellets which slashed at her cheeks and stuck to her white hair. She pulled her hood tighter and continued on, hoping the lynx had sought shelter somewhere else.

The air smelled like the salty kelp which Mother stirred into their stew at night. Frejya clenched her jaw and kept moving. She must get off this rock and back onto flatland or find a cave or crevice to wait out the storm.

The ledge took her to the top of the rock column. There was no other way back down, only the route she came. The wind swirled around in circles, chilling her face even further as ice smashed to the ground. A sea eagle winged off to one side, floating on the incoming storm. It rasped a klee--kik--kik--kik at her as it passed. The clouds streaming in from the sea looked black.

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