Winter in the Land of Ath-o’Lea

Winter, or as they call it in the Land of Ath-o’Lea Forstig and Wintertide, is a rough time to be travelling The Trail. The group wakes up covered in snow on more than one occasion, and the wind whips into their face while they’re riding.

While writing a scene, I always have to be aware of the weather. The big question is: Is there snow on the ground? It can change everything.

For example, a scene in Revelation Stones, book 3, has Isla wearing a cape that makes her invisible. She arrives through a portal and steps outside to learn where she is. The snow complicates things:

The room she entered was more spacious and had a large window, a door and a set of spiral stairs going to the upper level. She crept to the window and looked out. Mountains surrounded the building and thick snow covered the ground. Curious to learn her location, she opened the door a crack and peeked out. The small yard lay empty, so she continued and found a path. When she looked back, she saw the upper floor of the structure was open to the air. Was it a watch tower? Her eyes fell upon a set of lone footprints in the newly-fallen snow – her footprints. Reluctantly, she ducked near an evergreen and removed her cloak.

Winter horses travellingIn a scene from Healing Stones, book 4, tracks in the snow can be helpful when someone attacks and they’re looking for all the members of a group:

“There are tracks everywhere made by previous campers,” said one of the returning men. The dark-haired dwarf wore a cap that covered his ears. “We can’t determine which direction they went.”

Lyneth thinks about the advantages of snow but also the disadvantages:

Lyneth led the group through the forest, following the clear path the assailant had left when he abducted Liam. Hiding one’s tracks with a foot of snow on the ground was impossible when travelling through virgin terrain untouched by other travellers. While fortunate for the revealed route, travelling through an uncut trail was challenging for the horses and riders. Each time she brushed an evergreen branch, snow fell upon her lap or shoulder, making her wet and cold.

Shortly after they had gotten underway, the sun set, leaving them in shimmering darkness with the stars and half moon in the clear, crisp sky to illuminate the snow-covered land.

Winter horseWe’re experiencing winter right now where I live, so it’s easy to recall the advantages and disadvantages of cold weather, along with what humans endure: runny nose, red nose and cheeks, frozen fingers, frozen clips, frosted zippers, cloudy breath and watery eyes.

Clothing is also a concern. They’re wearing lined pants, maybe two pair, singlets, thick shirts, scarfs, jackets, hats, gloves and boots. Some of them have capes to fend off the cold.


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