Chapter one: The Ice Empire
The wind howled over the icy capes of the mountains. The snow blew swiftly over the deep footprints of an animal; that had dragged its feet over the untouched crystals that formed the snow. Beside them, biped ones; a symbol of life and harmony between animal and man. But as the wind picked up speed they were soon covered and to be forgotten.
The Empire of Ice was vast; it reached as far as the frozen ocean, Neva, and to the edges of the thick mountains that were capped with snow. But the city did not reach the mountains, instead the city kept to the ocean, Neva, where they could harvest the Sweet Fish that crawled to land in spring.
But spring in the Ice Empire was not spring at all. It was just a celebration the Ice people had made up. The King that sat upon the Ice throne was no king at all. Only a mere coward that feared one day, his great Empire would collapse. In this time of fear he sought out for a great leader to lead his troops through the mountains and kill off any enemy or traitor before he expanded his Empire. Here he would gain more power without fear, except he did not see the little problem that was going to happen.
The city was radiant in the sunlight. The snow crunched softly under my wolven hide boots. My dark hair billowed in the wind as my eyes scanned over the dazzling Ice city. I huffed out; the mist twisting up into the air to disappear. A soft purr followed close to me; the black silk coat waved gently in the slight wind that picked up over the scape. His deep blue eyes copied mine; watching the city then they adjusted to look at me.
"Come, Xcavis." I called to the Panther before pushing through the untouched snow. The sun was touching every area of the land; the crystals in the snow beamed their rainbows toward us. My sword hung against my thigh as we pushed on further into the rocks, away from the city.
Away from the city was more dangerous but as a nomad, I had grown immune to the eerie darkness. It was more soothing to know I was surrounded by pure untamed creatures and harsh elements. The city almost seemed to fake; with their ice carvings and structures.
Xcavis trailed behind me, his black paws pushing away snow before he stepped down. The frosted plants were frozen in their young stage till spring. The Ice people thought it was just a celebration but no, the spring brought new life; like the Sweet Fish and new plants to harvest.
The mountains were now coming into view; showing off their great size. The soft growl of Xcavis sent a smile to my lips as he pounced ahead through the thinning snow which was turning to rock. Laughing, I jogged after him; just in the rock was an opening to where our cave lain in wait. Xcavis was already ahead; bounding into the darkness. His tail disappearing after his body. Crouching low to my knees, I slid inside to find our fire still burning with a dim glow. The heat felt good on my chilled skin as Xcavis curled up on his wolven bed of furs. His blue eyes met mine as he watched me sit before the fire and add more Gale Stones.
Gale Stones weren't even stones at all. They are special crafted from the rocks near the ocean, Neva. If crafted right, they can easily keep a fire going for hours and even days. My fingers pushed back the dark strands of hair from my face as I leaned over for my Mandolin and pack. From my pack, I withdrew two Sweet Fish, one which I threw to Xcavis and one for myself.
Xcavis growled softly as he looked from me to the Mandolin that lay beside me. His paws casing in the dead Sweet Fish; waiting for me to begin. Rolling my eyes, I placed the Sweet Fish to the side and picked up the Mandolin. I softly cleared my throat and strummed the strings gently before singing:
"High above the battles' storm
There lies a kingdom with heaven's door
We tell you, we tell you there's peace at end
With power, oh, power the storm carries on
Oh, ohm, oohh, ohm, oh
High above the battles' storm raises a warrior who's fierce and strong
Oh hush little one Oh hush little one, there's peace at end
This is not the end
For this warrior we sing again
Give him strength for this is not...the end..."
A few good more strums and as my eyes lifted to look at Xcavis, he was asleep on the furs. I wiped a tear from my cheek and looked out the small slit of the rocky cave that surrounded me. My mother had once sung that song to me when my father went to war. She called it The Warrior's Song. While she sung that to me, the fate was set. My father would see an end and I would never see him again.
Shaking my head to rid the memories; I stood but as I stood it felt like the cave was collapsing. I fell back to the ground as everything shook around me. Xcavis was on his feet; trying to steady himself.
"Get out Xcavis! Run!" I screamed as rocks began to fall from above. In easy movements, he slipped out of the cave leaving me crawling to gather everything. Pulling everything into my bag, I stood and ran to the entrance; rocks smashing to the ground around me. I threw my bag out first then I crawled through, I flung myself into the snow. After a split second of lying there, I shot up and grabbed the pack and ran from the tumbling rocks. The snow was slipping off the rocks into a huge avalanche. Xcavis was running as fast as he could. Catching up to him, everything was nearly a blur but it all stopped when I felt the ground leave my feet. Cliff! My mind screamed as I shut my eyes and felt the air rushing past me.