It was the 2nd worse winter in history, for many seasons in so much cold and lack of food, this time it was the snow, yes they were use to it but this winter seemed to bring double the amount of snow and a blizzard hit as well.
Zork watched out the window of the Snow Dragon Inn.."But Ozzy is out thar..as well as Northstar and me little buddy Cole"
Suddenly a cane hit him on the head and a rather grumpy older badger appeared behind him "Insane young whipper snapper.I am sure they will be coming along shortly"
"Ow...Uncle Zee why ya do that fer?" Zork rubbed the top of his head and glared at the floor, he knew better than to glare at the old badger.
Meanwhile the storm raged on through the night and only slowed and came to a stop in the morning. That was when a decision was made, one he would soon regret making "Let's go, my brother is likely going insane with worry"
"Your brother always worrys about you love"Northstar smiled at her mate and gave him a kiss, "But your right and it's only half a mile up the path to the village."
Oz smiles at the kiss and nods as he gets his staff and leads the way letting Northstar tend to Cole.
All went well but half way...a sound he didn't want to hear, he didn't need to see to know what it was, he could also tell the direction the sound was heading to...
Northstar screamed and her grip tightened on Cole, the path was narrow and made it hard to move and who could move out o the way of...
Oz held the staff so tightly his knuckles hurt, his first thoughts of course was Northstar and her scream and the sound of Cole crying was too much for him. He backed up and felt for a tree he knew was there, an old strong tree that been there for like forever with low branches, he had even climbed it as a dibbun so he knew the tree as if he could see it. A paw reached out and grabbed Northstar's "Don't...let...go..."
On the edge of Send Village was Zork, the path could clearly be seen...the tons of snow racing down the path could clearly be seen as his eyes widened and he raced forwards fearing the worse.
Northstar managed to hold on to Cole with one arm and Oz's paw with her free paw but she was slipping."Oz...Oz!" Her grip was lost and she tumbled down with the snow, ice,rocks, trees and bits of the path, towards a very steep drop off, a drop off of 200 feet below,To make matters worse the small edge she could of landed on was torn apart adding another 500 foot drop into an ice covered valley of sharp rocks.
Neither her or Cole survived
Oz scream sounded horrible, he held onto the tree limb and let tears fall down her face, tears that just turned to trails of ice on his fur, to him his whole world was gone in an instant. He didn't care when the weight of the snow weaken the old tree and it creaked and started to slide, he managed to move just slightly so it didn't crush him but it still was breaking and making that cracking breaking sound, but he seemed to care less.
Zork did care! He scanned the area as the flood of ice,snow,rocks and all slowed, it was slippery and the path was half gone as he heard the screams, he knew he was too late for Northstar but he would NOT be too late for Oz..he refused to be to too late as he slide down and almost fell himself, the area was far too dangerous for this and he knew added weight would be bad.."Ozzy...Ozzy!" His voice had fear, Zork was NEVER one to show fear but he clearly showed it now as his paw brushed Oz's..."Take my paw...please..take it!"
Oz sobbed openly and half listened to Zork as he seemed to finally reach out to get Zork's paw.
Zork had made sure to use a rope, one end tied to the Send Valley sign, there was no way this would ever fall and the poles so far down, it was curious as how strong it was...the other end of the rope was tied around grunted and tried to pull Oz up.
Oz spoke and sounded so broken "They are gone..gone forever..."He then gasped as the tree snapped the rest of the way from the trunk, panic filled him
His foot paw was stuck!
Zork frowned and did his best to hold on, he might be strong but not that strong, the fact Oz was now scared didn't help at all.
"Zork...help me! My foot is stuck.." He tried to get it loose..it came half way loose when the day got worse for both of them.
A lot happen in the space of a few seconds.
The tree slide away and over the ledge with Oz still on it!
Zork felt the grip be ripped from his paw as he errked when the rope jerked and he stared in horror and shock at the empty paw and a torn sleeve of Oz's cloak
Towns beasts racing over to help get Zork back up
Zork starting to kick and scream as tears went down his face! "No no NOOOOOOO! Ozzy!"
Silverfangs had to knock Zork out when the badger untied himself and tried to freaking race down the sloop to what would of been his death as well.
Zork cried himself to sleep that night, he had promised he would always be there for little Ozzy, he would always protect him no matter what and it was clear he just failed!
Unknown to them, to anyone in the village Oz by some sheer miracle survived the wild ride down the sloop as he held onto the broken tree,He shivered and passed out, to wake up in some old hut, on a bed it seemed and the smell of some sort of stew, his foot paw was broken, his arm was broken and he likely had a couple cracked ribs as he tried to get up.
"Lay down...not every day I see a stripedog ride a tree down a freaking mountain side and live to tell the tell."
"Northstar...Cole..."He weakly asked.
A quiet and then "I'm sorry...if ya mean the badger maid and..cub...their dead"
Oz had his turn to sob and cry himself to sleep. He would stay with this hermit like beast for about 4 weeks before he left, but not to go home...no Send was not home,not anymore...he was given a new staff and his journey into unknown lands begun.
Meanwhile in Send Village there was a funeral for Cole and Northstar...
There was also one for Oz as it was assumed he was dead as well as who survives something like that.
It was soon to become clear Oz winters survived for a reason, but that reason had yet to be found out...