A PRIORY PROJECT Supplement
In the time before the Ancients, twins were born to the Spirit Bear. Their names were Alsalda and Ulmelden.
Every summer the two bears played, chasing each other through the woodlands of the Highlands, splashing through the rivers of the Wetlands. But at every summer’s end they returned to Bear Hill, to their mother’s den where they would sleep the winter through.
But Alsalda and Ulmelden didn’t remain young for long. And mature now, they no longer wanted to play together, but each wanted to spend the summer alone. Off they went their separate ways. Ulmelden went to the Highlands where he hunted the fawn, and picked at the berries that there grew sweet and plentiful. Alsalda went to the Wetlands to feast on eggs and fish that were found in plenty in those fens. Yet come the summer’s end Alsalda and Ulmelden returned to Bear Hill, there to sleep together the winter through.
Seasons came, and seasons went, and the two bears continued the same. Until one summer’s end.
Alsalda returned to Bear Hill, there to wait for her brother Ulmelden to join with her. But the days passed and Ulmelden didn’t come.
The days grew shorter and the nights grew longer, but still Ulmelden didn’t return.
The cold of the winter crisped the leaves that now lay thick on the woodland floor, but still Ulmelden did not return.
Alsalda grew tired and sleepy. Desperately she wanted to sleep for the winter. But how could she without first her brother joined her? And Ulmelden had not yet returned.
She waited the winter through atop Bear Hill, pacing back and forth, back and forth, trying to warm her chilled feet, trying to keep her eyes from closing, waiting, watching, hoping for her brother’s return. But Ulmelden did not return.
As winter ended Alsalda finally admitted: Something untoward had happened to Ulmelden. She must go in search of him.
She went to the Highlands where he always had hunted the fawn, and had feasted on the honey gathered there. But despite she looked in every leaf-filled hollow, still she couldn’t find Ulmelden.
She went to the Wetlands, where they had chased each other when still young cubs. She searched the streams and rills, the swamps and the fens. But still there was no sign of Ulmelden.
Come that summer’s end, having searched the season through, Alsalda returned again to Bear Hill—where once Ulmelden had joined with her to sleep out the winter. But Ulmelden returned to her no more. Where had happened to him? Where had he gone?
It was with sadness and in sorrow that Alsalda lay down to sleep—alone.
She did not wake that next winter’s end, and no winter’s end after. She sleeps there still. Alsalda, the Alisime Mother Bear, sleeps while she waits for her brother.