The Will of the Four, the god-speaker said.
In a violent storm far to the north Drusilla and Javan are struggling through a flash snowstorm.
Their clan's keep feels farther with every step.
A wendigo is tracking them. An old, hoary killer from the days when the campfire shadows drew longer and shaman spilled blood to appease hungry, feral spirits embodied in ancient totems.
As they fall against each other, weary to the bone, it strikes from the darkness, it's tusks snapping through Javan's spear with cruel cunning.
The darkness becomes a thrashing riot of plunging knives and cracking bones, panicked screaming and basso bellows of triumph.
The beast has pinned Drusilla beneath it, and has seized Javan's calve.
And it's dining in grunting delight.
Javan is stabbing furiously, but his skinning knife only grooves it's leathery scalp, only shaves off dry strips of the mossy white fur thick on it's parchment hide.
Drusilla is fairing no better, suffocating in the snow, it's surprisingly powerful legs crushing her down into a beautiful, pale death. She's beyond struggling, and instead is groping around it's torso, shoving and pulling at it in a fading hope at shifting it's weight even a few inches.
She can just start to hear her father's fathers shouting out for her to struggle on when....
*Squinch*, sudden pain, and an annoyed grunt followed by the beast resettling it's weight mid-bite.
She has simultaneously A) roughly thumbed the wendigo someplace intimate, and B) cut herself on Javan's spear.
Given only a moment's reprieve and a single deep breath to work with, Drusilla does the only thing to come to mind.
She stabs her hand with the spear as hard as she can.
Quite what the wendigo's exclamation of pain sounds like evades her to her last day. It's so sudden and loud Drusilla can't clearly recall more then the ringing in her ears that followed.
But Javan does, and with grim relish describes breaking his knife in the beast's snout as it froze in shock at the tearing pain interrupting it's much savored meal.
The last thing they can remember of it is it shriek-yipping away into the abruptly clear night, it's bloody hindquarters shoved squarely into the snowpack as it scoots away with alarming speed, a pink ribbon of blood marking it's escape.
Then torchlight, and voices, dogs barking and alarmed calls for the god-speaker.
Javan survives, though his days of hunting are over without legs beneath either knee.
Drusilla survives, though in turn she lacks the fingers she needed to weave and she's forever bent over by the muscles cut by the wendigo's talons.
A few months later the fruit of that formerly cold, but sunny morning blooms within Drusilla.
And it's like a cold stone turning within her.
Every month's growth brings a growing chill.
Jett the child is called, for the sparse, scraggly wisp of black hair clinging to her otherwise entirely white body, her hair as black as her skin is white and her eyes dull red.
Jett the Cold she is, and numb as a stone, too. She doesn't run, she lumbers. She can't walk, but she stumbles forward persistently, ever behind the other children in every game and every sport.
In the spring of her majority as a maiden the Jarl comes for his tithe of soldiers, and with them she goes.
There isn't much emotion to the parting, and in her distant way she understands.
Her life had wrung her parents dry of tears, had forced them to face that they did all they could and that had to accept being unable to do any more.
No friends bid her goodbye.
This too is acceptable, none could love a stone.
Numb, she is.
Jett the Cold, the winter-cursed she is.
Forever walking the crossroads of the world.