The Last Stake of Winter
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Long ago, in a time remembered only in fossil, there lived man and beast, and the four deities that dictated their lives. The world revolved around the four seasons of Spring, the nurturing caregiver, Summer, the fiery tempest, Fall, the weak-willed sycophant, and Winter, the unforgiving bloodsucker.

Spring was the most beneficial to man, for he cared for nature and all the land and sowed the seeds of prosperity. Without his influence, the beasts that man hunted and the berries and fruit which woman picked for their survival would not have been full of such life-giving nectar. Spring was a time to rejoice, for it meant that the struggles of Winter were now over until the next year.

Summer did what she could for the world, but her temper often got the best of her. Despite the assistance of her husband Spring, Summer would often bring death to the crop and beast that Spring had spent so long cultivating. Summer in her anger would often give up on futile efforts to continue the work of her husband, who was now resting after a tireless season, and would instead opt to create her own assortment of crop and beast, which she would cultivate to the best of her ability. Summer was feared yet respected, and the people never lost hope in her.

Fall marked the beginning of the end. He was nothing more than a servant of Winter, who worked to tear down the establishments of both Spring and Summer. Fall issued his own crop and beast in return, though it was never understood whether this was done to trick man or out of some last shred of sympathy he held.

Winter's time would come at last, and she would annihilate all the work of those seasons who came before her. Her cold heart held no sympathy for the toils of man and thought the work of her associates to be stupid and meaningless, thus she tore it down. Winter wanted nothing to do with man or beast, and wanted the deities to worry not with living things and allow the Earth to become the frozen wasteland she believed it was meant to be. The other seasons did not agree with her view, but in order to abate her fury they allowed her a stake at the end of each year.

Things remained this way for a while, but like all things, it was not to last.

Once upon a time, Winter declared war upon the other seasons of the year. She had won before, much longer ago in the past, but her reign was cut short. Winter however, was not disheartened, and continued to attempt to seize the world for her own forever onward. Each time, Winter would win, and plunge the Earth into eternal frost and darkness, and each time, the other three seasons would overthrow her, restoring the balance for a while.

At the end of Winter's so called "Ice Ages," the seasons would implore her what they could offer her in order to get her to agree to cease this mindless conflict. Winter requested that she be given a permanent stake in the world where it should always be frozen and dark, and this request she was granted. The other three seasons gave Winter the land of Antarctica, but it was not enough for her.

As she continued to wage war, she requested more lands, until eventually the seasons had given her the entirety of both the Antarctic and Arctic Oceans. Winter now held claim over the top and bottom of the world, and this she was satisfied with.

Things remained this way, until humans began to explore the world they had been born upon and sought to stake a claim in every land they came across. Summer, Spring, and Fall all willingly gave up their lands to man, but Winter's fortresses remained ever as frozen and harsh.

Mankind would not be satisfied with this result, however, and would move into Winter's lands regardless. Constantly, she attempted to drive them out with snowstorms and blizzards that blocked out the sun, and recruited the aid of beasts to menace the areas. But man would not falter, and would instead strike back.

The final and most damaging blow man ever did was the introduction of massive amounts of chemicals into the air. The seasons all were concerned, but Spring and Summer saw it as a chance to cultivate the year for longer than they had previously been able. Fall cared not either which way. But Winter however, grew fearful. The advents of man were warming the very atmosphere of the planet the seasons ruled over, and throwing off the balance in Summer's favor ever further.

The lands that Winter had claimed began to melt and vanish, slowly but surely. Winter was outraged at this outcome, and her heart grew more icy than ever before. She fought back against the heat, but despite all her efforts, man would not falter. Even so, Winter would not resign to her fate.

Winter channeled every last bit of her power into a land that man could never destroy — a place so cold and unforgiving that it would not harbor life in any form and heat would become nonexistent.

Nothing would ever again threaten Winter's stake on this Earth.

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