The Story of MIRIAMA – part 2 - On the Mountain.
In order to reach the land of Limeria, Miriama had to cross the mountain known as ‘Winter Bite’ which had claimed the lives of all but the most fortunate or blessed who had tried to cross it. Winter Bite was not the highest of mountains in Glacia but it was the most dangerous: with powerful winds,landslides, strange fiercesome animals,savage tribes and murderous bandits. The narrow path or ledge that wound up and over the southern side was the only safe way to cross and so Miriama was forced to take this route.
All seemed to go well upon the first day of Miriamas journey across the mountain. Only a sudden and powerful snow storm slowed her down and,to escape this,she took refuge within a cave,wrapping herself in fur.
THE SNOW SERPENT
On the next day,however,Miriama encountered one of the deadliest creatures that lived on that sorrowful mountain. The horrendous snow serpent – a huge and, bizarrely, warm blooded reptile covered in white fur with red eyes and a venomous spit that turned all things that it coated into solid ice.
The beast had been lying still,perfectly camouflaged by the snow,awaiting some
poor traveller to pounce upon but luckilly for Miriama,her diamond armour protected her from its venom.Only her bull Nangy was at risk and so Miriama set upon the giant serpent with her diamond sword. Making red gashes in its
white fur covered coils. “You will find me most indigestible,you hideous monster”, yelled Miriama,although her shouts were almost drowned out by the mountain wind and the beasts terrible hissing.
The Serpent was slightly stunned. It had never really encountered a prey that had fought back so fiercely against it ,and that had a bite as deep as Miriama's diamond sword. Camouflaging itself within the snow the beast tried to vanish
from sight,but Miriama saw patches of red where it’s blood stained the snow and she saw its red eyes glowing like rubies so it could not hide from her wrath.
With a Glacian battle yell the woman warrior charged,stabbing her diamond sword point into the great snakes gruesome face. Unfortunately, in her
over eagerness, Miriama tripped over one of the serpents snow submerged coils and fell head first. Now the Serpent tried to grip her and crush her in its enormous body. It was at this moment that,Nangy, a bull with loyalty and courage even greater than its amazing speed and power, charged into the body of the beast, knocking it partly over the edge of the mountainside. While attempting to stabilize itself the gargantuan snake released its grip upon Miriama and this was all that she needed
to strike a fatal blow. With the strength of twenty men, she plunged her solid diamond sword down though the snakes head,piercing its skull
and brain all the way through and pinning it to the rocky slope of the mountain.
Convulsing,the beast attempted in vain,to free itself. It only managed to knock Miriama and Nangy down with a swipe of its long tail – like body but Miriama got up again and moved her faithful bull back a safe distance. The blade of
Miriamas sword must have penetrated some vital artery because the snow around the serpents head,and its white fur got redder and redder until
atlast its body gave in and it ceased to struggle against the stronger grip of death.
Miriama caught her breath,weary from her frenzied fight with the snow serpent. The need for survival,of her and her faithful friend Nangy,had brought out the killer in her but she was not naturally a blood-thirsty person and had a lot
of sympathy and respect for the defeated creature whose corpse lay in the snow. “God forgive my killing”,she prayed,kneeling with her sword pointed downwards infront of her, “but,as you witnessed,I had no choice in the matter. It was kill or be killed but,please, god, I pray for the soul of the vanquished creature. May its spirit be reborn and live as happy a life as your will allows”.
Suddenly the mountain wind rose up and, out of it, the voice of God spoke to Miriama. “You are a hero among heros,Miriama. As kind as you are courageous and that,and that alone,is the sign that you are guided by my hand. Have faith,
Miriama,listen to your heart and you can do no wrong”.
Then God told Miriama that ahead of her lay a ravine that was too large to cross but that,if she waited for the giant snow serpent to stiffen with rigor- mortis and she used her strength to drag the serpent there then she could lay it across the ravine like a bridge and her and Nangy would be able to cross over to the other side.
Trusting in God’s word,Miriama waited some time for the great snake to stiffen and then,dragging it by the tail end,she rode upon Nangy until,
just as God had said,she did see a large ravine that would normally have been impossible to cross and she did,using her enormous natural
strength,lay the serpent across the ravine and then her and her faithful bull,Nangy, charging swiftly, were able to cross safely over to the other side.
“Thank you,God”,she said, as the snow serpent bridge collapsed behind her, crashing into the deep ravine and,though God gave no answer, she knew that the all-righteous
MIRIAMA AND THE WIND-WORSHIPPERS
Once Miriama had crossed over the ravine,
however,she was greeted by a terrible surprise. She was suddenly accosted by men of that wind-worshipping, savage tribe called The Owras, rushing at her from every side with flint spears and axes. They dressed in white animal fur which made them almost invisible against the mountain snow and they roared and howled in imitation of their God – The Northern Wind.
Miriama tried to fight them off but there were far too many of them and they were much more adept at fighting upon the snow and ice of the
Mountain than she.
Submitting to them,Miriama was stripped of her sword and shield and was taken to their village where,she saw,they had carved a gigantic idol of their wind god out of ice with the face of a snowy eagle and the arms of a polar bear.
They locked Miriama in an igloo like prison of ice blocks with their other prisoners which was terribly cramped and cold.
The other prisoners were two friends called Gotto and Fost,who came from the land of Senuris on the other side of the mountain. They were both traders
who had been looking to sell salt from the seas of Eastern Senuria to the people of Glacia.
They told Miriama that they had planned to use their salt to escape from the ice prison but were afraid of having to fight off the savage Wind-Worshippers. However,now that Miriama (whom they thought to be a man) had arrived with his diamond armour and strength of many men,they felt sure that they could manage to escape with their lives.
“We know a safe short-cut through the mountain to the other side,back to where we come from”,said Gotto,the oldest of the two friends. If you defend us from the Savages we will guide you across the mountain”.
Miriama agreed to this and so Gotto and Fost used what salt they had upon them to melt a hole through the ice wall of their prison which was just big enough for them to slip out,one at a time.
When they had emerged from the ice prison, Miriama knocked the guard,who was watching over it, on the head with a large rock and took his spear. They then went to the centre of the Wind-Worshippers Village where they saw the witch-doctor of the Owra tribe offering Miriama's sword
and shield to the ice statue of the wind – god.
In order to escape,thought Miriama,she would have to take a hostage and so, looking to where the tribes people were gathered,watching their witch doctor in awe,she saw a young man wearing a head –dress of eagle feathers who looked like someone of high status within the tribe and creeping close to them she grabbed hold of the young man,pulling him off of his feet.
The young man turned out to be the only son of the tribes chief who would eventually inherit the chiefs title.
All the tribes people formed a circle around Miriama and her hostage but were too afraid to attack.
In the meantime Gotto had crept up behind the witch doctor and the moment that the Witch doctor laid down Miriama's sword and shield before the idol of the Wind-god, Gotto pounced upon him,knocking him to the ground before
Seizing the sword and shield.
Elsewhere Fost had untied Miriamas bull,Nangy, and their own horses,from where they had been tethered.
Once Miriama was united once again with her armaments and her bull,she told the Owra people,whose language was not so different from her own, that she would let the Chief's son go once they had ridden a mile away from their village but that if anyone dared to follow them then the chiefs son would be killed.
Once they had gone a mile beyond the Owra village,then Miriama,keeping her word,did let the chiefs son go before riding on,accompanied by the two friends Gotto and Fost,to Senuris.
Gotto asked “Why did you keep your word,after what those savages did to us?”.
Miriama replied, “They behaved as I expect savages to behave. I behave as I expect myself,as a person of god and a crowned prince,to behave”.