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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Review Chain
Experimental: taking a more fantasy route this time.

Submitted: April 12, 2017

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Submitted: April 12, 2017



As the howling winds grew louder, hardly muffled even by the thick furred hood covering his head, Denzin wondered if he shouldn’t just stop for the night, and let the weather take him as it would.

No,’ He gently chastised these fleeting thoughts. ‘You have not come this far, just to take the easy way out.

It had been months of work to get here today. Days and nights spent scouring over old books, following up every rumor, making his way across some of the coldest tundras he had ever come to known.

And yet, none could compare to the frosty chill he felt now. The wind seemed to seep through his many layers of clothing, nipping at his skin and sending shivers up and down his spine. The thick mask he wore upon his face did nothing to stop the ever-constant chapping of his lips, the tenacious numbing of his cheeks. Only the thick goggles wrapped around his head protected the light fluid of his eyes from freezing them shut, and even they felt chilled beyond reason.

His gloved fingers tightened and loosened, over and over. Keep the blood pumping, that’s what the man who sold him the clothing had told him. This area was not like the others – if he stopped to rest, even for a moment, even under the protection of a tent, he would die. The frozen snowbanks would absorb him as one of their own, never to be found again.

Right foot. Left foot. Keep trudging through the snow, feeling the melting slush starting to soak into the legs of his outer pants. He really should have taken the shopkeeper’s advice, gotten some that were a bit more waterproof.

Too late now.

After what seemed like hours of travelling on foot, just as he began to feel that the next heavy snowbank was to become his grave, the winds began to die down. The chill on the air became no less cold, but seemed to bite less harshly – he was suddenly reminded of jumping into the river in the midst of a balmy summer, how the cool temperature soothed rather than hurt.

The world had become unnaturally silent, as if Denzin had been placed into a snow globe of white.  The crunch of his boots on the firming ground echoed in his mind as much as his ears.

Slowly, the snow gave way to hardened cobblestone, dark grey and dusted with flurries. Where there had once been nothing, walls and pillars of smooth, hardened ice suddenly appeared, surrounding him to form hallways. Sconces bore flickering blue flames, and yet when Denzin reached out a hand toward one, he felt no warmth.

He had made it. He was now within the home of the Winter Enchantress. Hands shaking with both nerves and cold, Denzin pushed back the heavy hood of his coat, and pushed up his goggles. Though the brisk air still nipped at his newly exposed skin, he felt safe enough to do so.

Besides, he would have no use of them, soon enough.

The Winter Enchantress – known as both the Ice Queen and Frostyra to others – was a woman of myth and legend. It was said that she ruled over a realm of ice and snow in solitude, for anyone to bear her touch would be transformed into a sculpture of solid ice, never to melt, and left to serve as a new decoration in the sanctuary of her lair.

Some claimed this to be a story made to stop adventurous-minded youths from travelling alone into the tundra lands. Others claimed it to be a tale to provide comfort for those who had lost those types, and so many others, to the cold, unforgiving embrace of Mother Nature.

Denzin was one of the very few people to believe in the truth of the tale, and the only one known to have openly sought her out.

Icy hallways gave way to a beautiful, open courtyard. Patches of dark evergreen grass bloomed amongst piles of snow, and crystal-like flowers seemed to somehow grow from them, bright shades of blue and white that stood out amongst the dark. Denzin crouched down to look closer, but resisted the urge to touch one, certain it would fall apart in his fingers.

“Mortal,” A voice called out, carrying with it the chilled ambiance of the first Winter’s breeze. Denzin straightened up, turning to face the figure who had suddenly appeared. Skin as dark as dying trees, yet hair as pale as new fallen snow, the Enchantress moved with all the careful elegance of a noblewoman. Her fair white gown trailed against the stone behind her, leaving a frosted path. Her pale blue eyes never looked away from his own dark ones.

“You have traversed a long and dangerous path, and in the end shown your tenacity to be quite great. As is custom in these lands, I offer you one request – anything you desire, if it is in my power, it shall be yours.”

Denzin lowered his head, bowing in respect. “My lady, I have need of only one thing in this world, if you so incline: a single kiss is all that I desire.”

He could sense the surprise coming from the other, though her eyes betrayed no such thing.

“You realize that if I fulfill this bargain, you will no longer be able to walk the world of Man. Instead you will become a statue, amongst so many others within my garden.”

“My Lady…” Denzin at last raised his head, meeting her eyes with a forlorn gaze. “I did not seek out your presence, nor make this request recklessly. I am dying, and have little time left in this life. To end my days in a place as beautiful as this, frozen in a time in which I am still healthy, is far better than to pass on while I am without dignity, surrounded by machines.”

The Enchantress said nothing for a long moment, then gestured with a long fingered hand. Denzin followed her across the courtyard, to an area surrounded by sculptures – figures of fearsome warriors, baffled travelers, and awe-filled folk, all positioned in different ways. Some had their hands outstretched, as if still trying to touch that which had doomed them.

Denzin was sat upon a lone, stone bench, surrounded by flowers. With simple gestures he was properly positioned – reclining comfortably, looking all for as if he had stopped to rest and enjoy the garden. He took in a slow, deep breath, and quietly exhaled, feeling a sense of peace which had been missing for a very long time.

The Enchantress leaned over before him, and Denzin found himself surprised, a final thought slipping into his mind as he felt the final chills rising through his body.

For an Enchantress of ice, her lips are quite warm.’ 

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