The Winter Child

The Kingdom of Ardelos is divided into four Dynasties; Ash, Mycra, Valgaris and Vail. After being captured and imprisoned in the Dynasty of Vail, the Winter Child must learn to control her merciless powers before destruction catches up with her.

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1. Prologue ~ Imprisoned

 

         They were coming for her. She sensed the presence of the General, the leader of the King’s guards. The sound of their heavy footsteps echoed through the tower as they rushed up the winding staircase of ice.

         The sharp air made her shaky breath visible in the moonlight, its chill scratching and clawing at her skin. She’d lost count of the numbered days she had been trapped in this prison of ice, with no way to escape other than plunging to her death from a tower that touched the clouds. Only a single window framed her view of the outside world – the corrupted Dynasty of Vail - and the blackness beyond it. There were four Dynasties within the Kingdom of Ardelos; Ash, Mycra, Valgaris and Vail. She could see the distant lights of the other Dynasties sparkling from within the darkness like stars in an infinite cosmos.

         Walls of crystalized water rose upwards, closing in on her from all sides. She hated being inside small spaces, being confined to one thing, being defined as one thing. Anger arose from the depths of her heart, spreading like a wild fire through her soul.

        Do not try to define me.

        The unyielding frozen bricks reflected her grave face across its surface, as if mocking her anger and persistence. She feared she did not have long before her untimely death, for she was a menace to the Kingdom's people. This kind of magic was a threat to them and the King. Her powers came from deep within her soul and the ice could only be shattered through her destruction. She was the Winter child. Her sisters, Autumn, Spring and Summer were dead - kidnapped and killed by the King’s guards. Winter was next. They don’t understand, she cried out helplessly, without at least one of the Seasons, the world will be crushed by the elements. But they were blinded by Winter’s devilish endowment, as if she were conspiring with the Devil himself, his fiery red eyes burning like embers in her own.

         Outside, lanterns shimmered in the mist down in the cobblestone square. People were gathering in the night around the sacred fountain, a midnight ritual to honour the lost heroes of Vail. Snow rested atop the slate roofs of houses and market shops as the soft glow of the lanterns reflected off the glassy skin of the icicles. The Imperial Fortress stood at the acropolis looking over its city with pride. In this Kingdom, everybody knew where they belonged. Except for the girl imprisoned in a dark tower of ice.

        Muffled voices approached the door. She could hear an inferior guard protesting against the General. It did not work. The girl scrambled to her feet, desperately searching for an escape. They always did terrible things when they came. Ruined. Tortured. Beaten. She couldn't tell them what she was really capable of, or who she really was. What she really was. It would destroy her. She possessed a dangerous destiny of fire and ice. Danger and destruction. Swirling rage would consume her but make her stronger all at once. She would fall at the foot of the Devil. No! I won’t give in.

        She stared at the open window, its icy frame mirroring the moonlight in her eyes. Click, click. The lock mechanism set to work unlocking the door. They were coming for her. She needed an escape.

        The girl was already on the frozen window ledge when the guards swept in. Her long slivery hair whipped her face when the wind blew its arctic air towards her. Hundreds of meters separated her from the icy ground far below. She did not dare look back. She did not dare look down. A sound she never wished to hear echoed through the icy walls of her prison. A blade. Only one choice remained. At the last second she surged into the night, falling down into the dark void below.

 

* * *

 

        Daylight filtered through the trees as my eyes flickered open. My head spun as the frozen fractals of my unyielding power spread across my hands. The powers of Winter I’d inherited were getting stronger. I was already losing control, losing my grip on reality.

        I began running through the infernal forest of Vail, icicles clinging to the branches of the oaks as the first of the daylight reflected off their surface. An expanse of sky above me imitated a Kaleidoscope; the light of dawn amidst the vivid glow of the Northern Lights as a thick mantle of icy snow covered the ground and made the trees appear as angels with misty white veils.

        My legs began to tire quickly as I felt the ice consume my soul. I couldn’t hold on much longer, the power was too strong. If I could not control it, destruction would be imminent. Branches scratched across my cheeks as I sprinted passed like the wind was carrying my every step. Freedom was all I wanted. I had to escape from Vail, but even the other Dynasties were not safe for me anymore.

        Shadows caught my eye from behind me, like ghosts haunting me from the past. I twisted my head, looking Eastwards towards the tower in which I was imprisoned, the tower that touched the clouds.

        Fire raged in the city, lighting up the sky with its devilish glow. The wind whistled passed my ears. No! I screamed, my knees buckling as I fell into the chill of the snow. Vail was consumed in fire and ruin. Everything I’d ever known was now burning in front me, flames enraged in a cosmic dance and the air saturated with lost hopes and shattered dreams. Scarlet hues coalesced with the indigoes of the Northern Lights. As I watched my people perish, I could feel the ice crystalizing inside my heart. What have I done?! I screamed. Now wrought of fire and ice, my eyes were laced with danger and the shadowy laughter of the Devil echoed through the desolated land of Vail.

 

 

 

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