Spring would usually have come by now, everyone would feel it. Though the tribe had no clocks or calendars, they could feel the frost was not melting fast enough.
This forced many members of the tribe to stop hunting and worship the earth. If they earth was not worshipped enough, they thought, the Gods would not melt the snow in time before the food supplies for the winter ran out.
As a group of men danced on the freezing ground, bending and jerking their bodies to worship and love the earth and the Gods above them, an older man collecting firewood jumped and danced around the groups, though he was old and feeble. As he did so, he asked the younger men what they thought of this oncoming misfortune.
Many were positive, certain that if they were just faithful enough to their Gods that spring would soon come. Others were more worried, wondering if they should take desperate measures to bring spring closer.
There was one villager who was there, but in his mind he was somewhere else. He was in one of the cosy village homes, the furs and sticks that made the roof kindly sheltered him from the bitter snowfalls of the season. One of the "mysterious maidens", a group of young girls who had developed a cult of white clothing that would not make them too hot in summer and camouflage them in snow from bears and wolves, was warming some bread stored for the winter. The villager, whose name was Mikail, calmly watched the maiden, Silvana, observing how absorbed she was in her activity. Turning around briefly, she noticed that Mikail was watching her and she nearly jumped with surprise. Mikail apologized, commenting that he was looking forward to the bread she was preparing so wonderfully. She blushed awkwardly and then thanked him. He smiled so warmly that the mainly solitary and unsociable Silvana smiled back. She felt it polite to make conversation, about the success of last autumn's crop, then about the severity of the winter, then she talked about how much more time she should spend on worshipping and praying if the season proceeded on any worse.
Mikail was impressed by her practicality and faith in the tribe's religion. He himself secretly questioned how much the Gods played a part in what happened in this world. Why would they want human sacrifices, babies dying of horrible fevers and good, innocent people being ill-treated by horrible people? Silvana did not seem to question this, yet she still seemed to be a contented, quite happy young woman.
Silvana generally did not like people. Her father had bossed her about, never saying a kind word to her and her mother was always too busy looking after Silvana's older and younger siblings to pay much attention to her. However, this Mikail seemed very interested in her, he was gentle, slow and most of all, kind. Without even realizing, she was developing very strong feelings for him.
Sadly, after that time, Mikail and Silvana found very little time together, she was involved in "woman" chores and he desperately tried to capture and kill deeer for the tribe, after all their goats and cows and bulls had perished in the snow.
Remembering wonderful Silvana briefly, Mikail had to return to his ritual. It was his duty, even though he was sure it would not make much different. Maybe the Gods did exist and would fulfil their hopes?
Just then, a few of the wives came outside, also dancing for the earth, making chants in respect for the earth. They moved more in line than the men had done, it seemed as if they had planned their own dance before coming out. The chant, at first smooth, grew more and more hurried and frantic, as the women danced slower. Suddenly, almost as if they had risen from under the ground., five mysterious maidens sprung up and quickly danced to the womens' chant, stamping on the ground to symbolise how much they disliked it in its current state.
Mikail had not noticed the mysterious maidens before, as he danced and prayed he had not been able to notice them. He was disappointed that none of them were Silvana and supposed she must be inside, helping the tribe in some way or another.
Eventually, after having stopped to watch the women dance for a minute or so, the men began to join in with them.