The sun was rising further and further and it was getting warm out. At least Epp could see what he was doing. It took a full three weeks before he was done with this long building, having ten different roof openings and being sturdy enough to withstand the winds and any other disturbances. Now he could speak to Aleka.
“Now maybe I can find my little brother,” she exclaimed excitedly. “I will bring the bears and they will all come. They have been waiting a long time.”
And the bears came one by one or multiples of one, bowing down to Epp’s greeting. Soon the Longhouse was almost filled with the steaming bears, each emitting a flow of steam straight up through the flue above. They all lay there unmoving, four under each of the roof openings, seemingly relieved at the evaporation of frost from their bodies.
Outside you could see the steam streaming profusely from each of the openings in the roof. They were heavy billows of moisture, soon caught up in the wind and dissipated over the land. Epp casually thought about the four hundred year old steam wafting over present day Greenland. How strange it seemed for moisture from the last Ice Age to be released into contemporary air. It rose straight up until the wind caught it and sent it scattering throughout the east in a dense fog.
Epp was a little concerned at what this might do to the climate here. It was a little late to do anything about it so he let it go out of his mind. One thing was certain. This would take a very long time to complete. Gorilja had, as Epp had seen, tried to take a shortcut with his powerful glue. It hadn’t worked of course, as evidenced by the pile of broken body parts on the floor in the corner. No, it seemed this must take its natural course, however long that might take and there was nothing to do but wait.
Waiting was not something that Epp did well. He was wandering around the area trying to figure out what else he might do that was productive. About the only thing he could manage was to dig up the roots of the trees he had cut down. It would certainly provide an outlet for the tension he felt by sitting there waiting and would keep him occupied. Anything was better than just sitting on his hands. Unfortunately it was all done too soon and he was again without an activity. He would go back to the lab to see if he could find some seeds to plant. That was familiar enough and who knows what Gorilja might have left behind.
On the walk back to the lab Epp observed the wind coming off the ocean. It was a stiff breeze that blew over the huts he had built and straight to the east. The steam coming from the buildings was as strong as ever, blowing up into the wind and being carried away in a rolling cloud. It seemed a little darker, hazier than it had been. That, thought Epp, was due to the clouds of steam generated by the Square Bears. Strangely enough, it was a little cooler too. That probably had something to do with the clouds masking the sun. Epp walked on, paying little attention to the weather. But as he got closer to the lab, he noticed the tremendous amount of steam still emanating from the huts. He’d have to go in and check the bears before anything else.
It was amazing what Gorilja had brought with him in his venture to Greenland. In a corner of the lab Epp found some various seeds of grain, each marked as to its kind. Packages of wheat, barley, oats, were all marked in the German language. This was good. Now he’d have something to do that he was familiar with, provided that the weather would allow.
It was starting to snow. That seemed strange at this time of year. It should be warming, not cooling. The only thing Epp could think of was the cooling effect of the escaping steam from the bears that was still strong as ever. Of course with one or two bears it wouldn’t have made a difference but with nearly a hundred, it was another story. Epp walked over to the first hut he had built. Aleka was still sitting there, calling for her brother. The Square Bear was lying there, emitting a strong amount of steam, probably stronger than before. When Epp went over to touch the bear’s head, the fur was somewhat softer. He felt for the division in the bodies and noticed some softening there too, though not much. He put his hand up into the steam and it was cold, ice cold. This wasn’t steam at all. It was cold air – four hundred year old cold air embodied within the bears and now being expelled. That explained the snow. What in heaven’s name had he started? By huddling together the bears had trapped the ice-age cold air within their bodies and by some great miracle, held it there. Well, the expulsion of it had begun now and there was no stopping it other than removing them from the huts. But Epp wasn’t willing to do that just yet. He’d wait and see what developed.
Going outside, he didn’t have long to wait. Snow was swirling all around. There was so much cold air emanating from the bears it was causing a change in the climate. As soon as it hit the free air it turned into snow which came down around them. As the wind picked up it was turning into a storm. The weather cooled as the sky darkened as the snow began whipping around, especially toward the east. Looking toward the ocean in the west it was relatively bright but very windy. The whole storm was blowing eastward into the mainland.