High in the upper airs, beyond the clouds that paint the welkin and the firmament, at the heart of ten thousand crystal palaces and myriad celestial courts, there is the SKY THRONE. Who sits upon the SKY THRONE reigns over sun and wind and earth by her decree, speaking the seasons by fiat. It is claimed by four queens, sisters and lovers and nemeses, and there names are thus:
Youngest but first among the queens is VERDANT SPRING EMPRESS. She wields the Thousand Petals Sword in her good right hand, and the Mighty Wakings Drum in the other, which rouses the seed to sprouting and the pup to birth. Her harbinger is the Groundhog and its dread Shadow. From the SKY THRONE, she wrestles the Celestial Lion of March until it assumes a lambish aspect. She shears the wool from it with one stroke of the Thousand Petals Sword, then rends the fluffy clouds to call down the mighty rains of April, and breed the flowers of May from the earth. Thanks, VERDANT SPRING EMPRESS! Your gardening skills are totally rad.
The next claimant in the cycle of succession is FEROCIOUS WARRIOR-QUEEN SUMMER. She hones the rays of the sun against the mirrored edge of her terrible sword Heat’s Stroke, and unleashes the baying Dog Days to hunt the chill shades and capricious breezes that offend against her reign. She speaks the skies to burn, and the earth to ripple like a mirror’s face. She’s ruthless, and even a little scary. People die in her fires, make no bones about it. That’s what an older sister’s work is is like.
When the world can bear FEROCIOUS SUMMER’s blaze no longer, it is FALLING LEAVES PRINCESS who steps in to intercede. She raises high the scythe of her station, and makes her sign against the burning sun, making it to fall before the auspice of the harvest moon. It’s a scary-looking thing, the scythe named Harrower, but the edge is dull. It’s a reminder that it’s time to gather things, not of death. That comes later! The FALLING LEAVES PRINCESS gives you something good to remember, even in the bad days, because she knows exactly how bad it’s going to get. Also, she makes the leaves turn red and fall! That’s her favorite part of the job. Deep down, she’d much rather be an artist than sit on the SKY THRONE.
HEARTLESS WINTER QUEEN is cold as ice, and just as beautiful. Her deft hands on the loom of shadow weave the longest night of the year. Her deft hands on the knife that none dare name cuts the throat of the dying year, bleeding it dry so that there can be a future at all. She’s lethal, and she revels in it, but that’s not why she’s dangerous. She’s be a pretty bad HEARTLESS WINTER QUEEN if she wasn’t at least a little scary. It’s a practical job skill! Really, the problem is that she has too much of a heart. She doesn’t want to give up the SKY THRONE. She doesn’t want her time to end. So she clings to it with the strength of awful ice, wishing herself to become the ETERNAL FIMBULWINTER TYRANT, clinging until the flesh melts away and all that’s left of her is skeleton, and VERDANT SPRING EMPRESS has to snap her bones to clear out the seat. It’s awful, but inevitable. You can’t be heartless, and not grab at something to fill that void. It’s shitty. But it still happens.
That’s why it sometimes snows in April!