Only a vision left in my memory of the place where I was born, but it was the most important time in my life that lead to the name that I carry to this day. It was a little village, called Cold Valley. It has been situated near the rocky coastline for centuries, where winds always wept and you could hear from far away how waves desperately fought with invincible cliffs. Our village was placed between the Northern Ocean and a Cold Peak (from top to bottom this mountain was at least two giants in height, at least that is what I heard from elders) and vast fields were scattered around our village. It was a sunrise from the ocean’s side and dusk from the mountain’s. People in Cold Valley determined time by sun’s position between the ocean and the mountain. It was always time for us to head towards the home when the sun hid behind the Peak, otherwise mountain witches would have torn away our ears (that is how mothers in this village made children obey them). I was afraid to never hear the ocean again and always got back before witches could get me.
I remember standing on the Rocky Edge with my arms spread open wide and feeling how the might of nature’s power was pushing me back. Salt was gathering in my nose starting to itch, but I couldn’t scratch it, because my hands were not free. Two of my friends were holding my hands and I felt like a huge bird with enormous wings with an itchy nose.
Left wing’s name was Senka. I remember that he didn’t want to go to the ocean that evening. He was a quiet boy and lived two houses down the road from me. I could say we were forced to meet each other as our fathers worked on neighbouring fields and exchanged bulls for breeding stronger offspring. It was difficult to raise crops in this weather, so most of the villagers were forced to raise cattle or practiced in craftsmanship to sell their goods to neighbouring settlements. It was obvious that they would introduce us to each other so when we grow up, we could continue their job. Our relationship developed slowly, as Senka was very shy and never had friends before. Neither can I boast of having a lot of them, but somehow through our silent meetings we felt close to each other. Now I think that we both felt equally uncomfortable and that lead to our bonding. We started exploring fields that were near our houses. Before we would never do it on our own, now we had more courage to go further from our houses. There was nothing particularly interesting in those fields, yet we found it exciting. Being farther away from our houses than we have ever been before thrilled blood in our veins. Back then we would not tell each other about our dreams, but we were fantasizing about adventures beyond the Cold Peak. The future of being a farmer did not please us so we decided to at least become blacksmiths to travel around the world and gather knowledge about casting every metal possible in any weapon we could imagine.
But our fathers weren’t travellers and had no clue in how to cast metals or work with a forge. Bull’s semen was more interesting for them than us. They knew that big and strong bull can make a lot of money. Wandering merchants would visit our village from time to time. They were choosing the strongest cattle and buying it with bags filled with various crops and vegetables. My parents had 3 children including me (I was the youngest son), so our family could live half a year from one bag filled with goods. My father’s goal was to keep the quality of our cattle high and sell at least one bull every half a year to sustain the family.
Having Senka as a friend helped me to avoid spending time with my elder brothers. Before Senka I was used as a servant by my brothers. They would send me to the village when mother told them to bring crops or water for the kitchen. Elder brothers used to tease me with scary tales about Cold Peak and goblins that were living inside of the mountains. But with Senka I could run away from home and leave my brothers to entertain themselves by milking cows and gaining my father’s appreciation. I was still too young to be allowed to handle cows, but grown enough to run around green fields and think about how fascinating it would be to cross the Peak and reach the unknown lands.
Right wing’s name was Hina. Her long sweet chestnut colour hair was waving in the wind. Her palm was warm and soft in comparison to Senka‘s. We could see fire in her eyes, she was brave and adventurous. We met her during one of our wanderings towards the Peak. She was all alone and had no fear in the eye when we approach her and we asked her what she was doing there. She only smiled as an answer and had her own question ready. When she asked who we are in return, we pointed our fingers towards the Cold Valley and told her that me and Senka are children of local farmers. She bursted with laughter, because we were stuttering as we never introduced ourselves to others. Immediately she pointed her finger towards the Cold Peak and told us that she lives there and that her parents are travellers. Then I inspected her more thoroughly and realized that her clothes looked like those that wandering merchants were wearing. So, we trusted her and she became our friend. From that day, she called us to stroll almost every evening. Frankly saying I was afraid of her and couldn’t go without Senka accompanying me. We were showing her our favourite spots in Cold Valley and in return she would tell us scary tales about the world behind the Peak. Those stories were even more scary than my brothers were telling me, but somehow, they sounded believable. I think it is because she didn’t want to scare us and just wanted to share what she has seen or heard during her adventures with parents. We were amazed how much she had seen at her age and we on other hand were only exploring fields around the village. She invited us to visit her place at the root of the mountain sometime, but it was too far from our houses, so she had to obey our rules and play with us in our safe zone.
We were happy to have each other. We were free and light minded same as the wind that blew in our faces. Me and Senka were thrilled to see what future lies behind the Cold Peak and Hina was our little lantern that could lead us there. Now I realize how small that world have been. Rocky Coastline, Village, cattle fields, root of the mountain… and our fears seem so hilarious. If witches and goblins were our biggest trouble, then there would be no reason to write this book.
After that day on the cliff we started preparing for our adventure.