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As the battle raged on, clouds of mist drifted slowly across the snow. Snowballs and insults were flying while each side waited for their secret mist weapon to force their enemies to surrender.

"We'll get you back getting us back getting you back getting us back getting you - us - getting back - you - you... OH! WE'LL GET YOU!"

Then, something happened that nobody had counted on. The wind suddenly changed! And then it changed again - and again - and again. The clouds of yellow and blue mist swirled all around in bands of blue and yellow - then blue, yellow and green - and then finally green as it mixed all together.

"CHARGE!" shouted Snort.

"ATTACK!" bellowed First Leader.

"WATCH OUT... PUDDLES FOR!" yelled Drizzle. "Huh? Puddles for?" He suddenly looked bewildered and confused! He was having trouble talking!

Throps and Squallhoots clashed into one another - thrashing about in the dense green fog. It was hard to see! Snowballs rained down from the castle wall, exploding on the ice and hitting both friend and foe alike. Worse still, everyone was becoming covered in snow, making it even harder to tell each other apart - EVERYBODY looked white and fluffy! Nobody could tell Throps from Squallhoots until it was too late. They all ran about bumping and falling into one another - each side pummeling and clubbing their own troops by mistake!

Confusion ruled the battlefield. Weak icicle clubs fell apart as they were swung. Throps and Squallhoots fell into puddles. Water sprayed everywhere as the wet Squallhoots, looking like skinny puppies - shook the water from their fur. First Leader and Snort tried everything they could think of to direct the troops and skulks, but suddenly - everyone was talking funny!

First Leader tried to shout his orders. "Squallhoots screaming those fight! Here be soon will night!"

"Huh? What?"

Snort bellowed at the skulks. "Away run can't you! Say I as do!"

"What? WHAT?"

Sara and Kevin looked down as the mist swirled and the battle raged on.

"There's - boo stuff - and - goo stuff - all over the place!"

"Listen! What are they shouting?" Sara asked Kevin.

"I don't know. It's like talking - backwards - and upside down!"

"But it's rhyming, too! It's - it's - BACKWARDS POETRY!"

Sara and Kevin could see Jason run out of the castle door and right into the midst of the fighting. They could hear him yell.

"STOP THE FIGHTING!" he shouted, before he took a deep breath. "Cough! Cough! Cough! FIGHTING THE STOP!" He stopped dead in his tracks. Bewildered, he tried to speak again. "Huh? FIGHTING STOP! Huh?" Snowballs hit him from all sides. POW! POW! POW!

Fourth Leader chased after him. "Get back! Cough! Cough! Back get! Back get! What?" He too, was bombarded with snowballs.

First Leader was very confused, but he tried to lead the troops anyway. "Afraid - not are we! Brave and strong - be!"

"What? What? Huh? What?"

The Throps tried to talk. "Squallhoot rotten that hit! Eye its in right spit!"


Jason concentrated very hard and tried to speak again. "B-b-b-b... T-t-t-t... D-d-d-d-d..."

Nobody knew what to do. Nobody could see in the fog - or understand what was being said! Finally, Throps and Squallhoots alike threw down their snowballs and icicle clubs in frustration, and wander back to their homes - covered in snow.

Suddenly, it became very quiet. Everybody was afraid to speak - they didn't know how it would come out!

The war had to be called off. After all, how can you have a proper war with everyone mumbling such gibberish?

Rhyming gibberish at that!

The sound of snoring blubbered out of the little blue heads. Battle worn Throps littered the castle floor. Those not already in a deep sleep were sprawled about, too tired to move. From time to time some Throps tried to speak, but the words were still coming out wrong.

Suddenly, the door swung open. First Leader stumbled into the room, followed by Jason and Fourth Leader.

"We luck were to - to lucky be..." First Leader was still having trouble talking. "Lucky to escape at all. It terrible was! The mist weapons... The flying snow and ice... The puddles... The smell of wet Squallhoot fur! Terrible was it!"

"Jason! Are you okay?" shouted Sara. Her shout did little to disturb the sleeping Throps.

"Okay I'm. I mean... I'm okay."

First Leader turned to Jason, his eyes showing his anger. "That was a thing foolish - uh - foolish thing - that you did. The Squallhoots could have dragged you into their caverns."


"We talk will again when the returns sun - when my works mouth - mouth works - again." First Leader took a deep breath, then stomped off, with Fourth Leader sulking behind him.

Fourth Leader muttered angrily to himself. "If it wasn't for the Jason creature, we could have beaten Squallhoots scruffy those. Phmuh! I mean - humph!"

"Jason, what are we going to do now?" asked Sara.

"I don't know. I just couldn't stop the fight - no matter how hard I tried."

"You did your best. That's all that you can do."

Jason had failed. He shook his head to clear it as he walked quietly through the sleeping Throps. He had to think of something! He just HAD to! If Athropolis wasn't saved - they were doomed for sure!

But what could they do? How could Athropolis be saved when the Throps and Squallhoots were at war? Jason tried to remember everything that he knew - and everything that he had ever heard. There was no one to help him now. He was on his own. He finally let out a deep breath. "Whew! I sure don't know a lot of things!" That was all that he was sure he really knew.

Jason stepped out onto the castle battlements. How peaceful it was now under the night sky - but a night sky that was getting lighter all the time! He could just see the Big Dipper and traced its pattern with his finger - down the handle to the bowl - then up the pointer stars - to the North Star. "That's our guide," he whispered to himself. "The North Star! That's the direction we have to go!"
Everything will melt away!

Soon the sun would stay in the sky all day. The midnight sun would hide the stars until the next long winter night - and hide their guide star, too! By the time the night returned - everything would be melted away!

The ice and snow around the castle was peaceful now - but not deserted. Lit only by the pale moonlight, ghostly shapes could be seen darting about down below.

A comet flashed through the sky. Jason took a deep breath and nodded his head decisively. He knew what he must do.

The moonlight cast a gentle glow - painting the ice an eerie blue.

Moonshadows played with the empty mist bottles, the broken clubs, and the forgotten helmets that still littered the snow. The silence was peaceful but the signs were very clear. This had been a battle zone.

In the night sky the stars twinkled. In the moon-washed snow - green spots blinked.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

The rhythm of distant footsteps on the ice was getting louder and louder. Nearer and nearer, closer and closer they came - crunching up the moonlit side of the ridge - over the top and into the dark shadows beyond.

The snow and ice exploded without warning! Squallhoots sprang out of trap doors, pounced from behind snowbanks, and leapt out of the snow. Shining green spots bounced through the darkness and fierce growls filled the air as the shapes struggled in the night.

Jason was caught off guard. "I've been looking... Hey! I need to... Stop that! You've got to listen to... Mmmphh."

A glint of moonlight caught an icicle club as it swung above the ridge and then came slashing down!


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Athropolis: Iceberg - the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots. Copyright 1994-2001 Athropolis Productions Limited.