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FROM THE TALES OF MOON MOUNTAIN • CRYO BLAST

The gelid wasteland of Celedus was known as a home to savage creatures and ruthless vagabonds seeking warmth and refuge. Security forces in the system had long stopped attempting to police the failed settlements that were lost to the brutal Celedian ice storms. It was the only rocky planet in the system that refused to be called ‘Home’.

The Man and The Woman shambled through the biting ice wind as it tore through their equipment. Any moisture that made it out into the atmosphere froze in place and licked at their bodies like an iron maiden. The only bulwark against the freezing cold was the vapor they fed into their lungs. The Cryo Blast—the iciest flavor in the known universe—acclimatized them to the unforgiving wasteland. The menthol provided a small, fleeting relief from the hardening and inflamed cells in their lungs.

Several days gave way to the deadly nights as they trudged on, searching shelter after shelter. Each time they stopped at night to examine the bodies, each time growing more hopeless as the faces were found foreign. Tired and near dawn, The Man struck a fire inside the shelter. The little oxygen left provided for a dull flame, a rare luxury on Celedus. The Woman—only inches away—huddled close to The Man, her body desperate to forget the sting of the Celedian night for a few moments... and whatever else lurked outside. 

The smaller figure looked up to the man - wiping a crusted frost from her lip. 

"We're never going to find her are we?"

The Man slid away from The Woman.

He reached over and filled The Woman’s tank without a single word, then his. They both take long drags, staring into the dance of the diminutive flame. He never responded, losing himself in happier memories. He briefly considered looking at the picture in his locket around his neck. Best not, he thought to himself, worried relying on the image would cause him to lose the contours of her face he had so desperately committed to memory. He exhaled and stared with The Woman long into the ivory mist that was their only lifeline in the frozen Celedian hellscape.

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