Fill: The One Who Cools

This fill was inspired by a prompt from Dreamwidth user Siliconshaman and fills the “Fog,” “Gothic,” “Wild Card – Wind,” “Regency,” and “Gods/Goddesses” squares in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo challenge. 567 words – this counts as a “Straight Line” Extra for the bingo challenge since it uses 5 prompts in one fill!

The One Who Cools

The carriage horses’ hooves sounded a muffled beat against the cobblestones as dank fog twined between their fetlocks and blanketed all of New Street. Through the leaded windows of a private gallery the grooms and drivers could watch as the Birmingham Society of Artists laughed and toasted one another in high spirits, the golden glitter of recently acquired Egyptian antiquities on display in the background. Prize of place among the artifacts was the mummified remains of an influential pharaoh’s adviser complete with canopic jars and other funerary paraphernalia. A stable hand coughed, wet and thick, the sound traveling strangely within the growing bank of mist.

The swirls eddied and flowed higher around the horses knees and hocks, as a wind picked up, blowing from the North through the streets of Birmingham. As the night wore on guests inside the gallery began departing, women in their regency finery glittering in the light of newly installed gas lamps that clung to the Gothic architecture of the gallery on New Street, and men in their suit coats and top hats opening the carriage doors politely.  An amulet, set upon a low table strewn with several other priceless pieces, silently slipped itself into a giddy ladies reticule as she passed on the way towards the door.

Chatter among the guests was animated as they left the gallery, their spirits alight with the passion of inquiry and the fever for ancient Egypt that had grasped their imaginations. As they wound their way through the evening streets they paid little attention to the howl of the rising North wind, or the fog that was now as high as their horse’s withers and thick like a suffocating shroud. The amulet of fine sardonyx and jasper rattled in the bottom of Ms. Clarke’s handbag, the fine emblem of Qebui seeming to shine in the dim light of a home bound carriage.

The fog had swollen upwards, now smothering even the gas lights that marched along the arches of cast iron lamp posts. The wind had become savage and the horses feared to continue on their journey towards the Clarke estate. Something massive moved within the wind and fog, something old striding through the streets of Birmingham. And as the strange storm enclosed the carriage of Ms. Clarke, the driver swore that directly before his team of horses stood a massive Ram, with upraised wings and upon its neck four fearsome heads. The driver tells a tale of how this beast stood as if frozen in the fog and wind, with waters raging below his hooves, and right as he clambered down from his box to flee in terror into the mists that night, the Ram struck his hooves upon the cobbles, releasing a raging river that overturned the carriage and pulled under the horses.

The following morning dawn arrived bright and clear over Birmingham. A bright new day except for the discovery of Ms. Clarke’s carriage overturned in a puddle of brackish water just blocks from her home, the four horse team all drowned without signs of any further wounds, and Ms. Clarke herself asphyxiated and soaked through as if submerged many hours in her bath. As investigators begin the hunt for her missing driver, another seemingly unrelated complaint is received from the curator for the Birmingham Society of Artists; that of a missing Egyptian amulet believed stolen from their gallery opening just the night before.

qebui

~~~Notes~~~

Qebui – the Egyptian God of the North Wind whose name means “The One Who Cools.”

Researching this God brought me to the incredible amulet pictured above created by Deviant Art user warboar, and I knew I had to find a way to work it into a story.
 

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