It was cold. Shreena wrapped the blankets tight around herself. She was not used to the cold. She had almost forgotten how cold this world could be. She opened one eye and glanced around.
The sun was rising through the trees. She could see her breath on the cold air, rising from where she lay. She wanted, more than anything, to stay where she was and wait for it to get warm again.
No, that was wrong.
She threw off the blankets and grabbed at her clothes, struggling with the unfamiliarity of them and the unfamiliarity of how the cold made her fingers clumsy and hopeless. For a moment, she wondered who’s idea the cold had been and whether she should have a word with him. She had a pretty good idea of who had the cruel sense of humour for something like this.
She stopped, still shivering, her thick leather belt unfastened in her hands. She couldn’t change things, not anymore.
She was no longer a god.
Now she walked the earth like a mortal.
She looked around at the cold, bleak landscape, at the bare trees and the white frost that covered everything and the few desultory flakes of snow that fell as though they too were reluctant to land here.
It was certainly no heaven.
She had to move. Somewhere in this world, there would still be worshippers, her worshippers. There would be followers of the White Goddess waiting out there for her to answer their prayers and entreaties and petitions.
Shreena wondered what they would say and do when they found the goddess they worshipped and longed to meet, there walking alongside them, living alongside them, shivering alongside them.
She wondered too what they would do when they found out she was no longer a god.
She still had some powers, though. She was still an immortal. No matter what the other gods did, no matter that they’d exiled her from their realm. She was not helpless; she was not a mere mortal.
She was still cold, though.
She pulled the belt tight and, checked the sword in the scabbard at her side. It was a big sword, almost reaching the ground, but she was a tall woman, taller than mortal women and stronger than most mortal men. Even so, this was a strange, almost an alien world to her and, therefore, dangerous.
She stopped as she strode across the small clearing where she’d made her camp. She knew her exile was complete and she could not return to the realm of the gods. It was an alien world to her, she knew that too. She and the mortals were not the same species and the heaven they imagined was far different from the one she had been exiled from.
However, she was here now and she would have to make the best of it. The white horse, its breath clouding around it too, turned its head when it saw her approaching with the bundled blankets in her arms. She packed the blankets away in the travelling bag on the horse’s saddle and mounted up.
Today, she was going in search of her followers, her worshippers. With their help, one day she would be back in heaven and all those other gods who had put here would be the ones lost out in the cold world instead.