in the endless winter day, on the crystal white plains... we trudge along the train tracks... themselves slowly snowed over, in the still hours since the last supply train. bell-like sounds of the blinding ground. rifles attached to our wrist, sharing in our bloodstream. my husky, my warm-coffee-in-cold-snow... the first five shots you can spend indisciminatory, they hurt but deal no long time damage to the wielder. the next five you must spend wisely, they will take days to heal. the next five you must not spend at all. weeks earlier, in the weak autumn dawn, in the blue-gray fog... something is burning with a deep crimson flame, untameable by water or wind.