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Princess of Frozen Flowers, Book 2: Origin of Frost

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Bloodkin, Aug 18, 2022.

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  1. Threadmarks: 1 - Clash of Sparks
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    BOOK 1 HERE IF YOU HAVENT READ IT: https://forum.questionablequesting....rs-an-original-medieval-fantasy-series.18038/

    Synopsis:
    Princess Snow only cared for one thing; being good enough in her mother's eyes, but the key to gaining her mother's favor was always one thing; unlocking her frostblood. In a desperate search to find information about her dormant frostblood, Snow discovered a terrifying secret that her mother has kept hidden for the past fifteen years: the origin of frost. This discovery led Snow to be trapped in a frozen hell, and it didn't take long to learn that she wasn't alone. Nightmarish creatures of darkness are also trapped here, blackblooded monsters capable of consuming frostblooded people and their souls. Luckily, Snow finds an ally: one of her mother's frost veterans, who teaches Snow how to survive this harsh world and explains the imminent threat that can no longer be contained. Snow must endure and ensure these beings do not escape their prison, or the world's fate will be that of darkness.



    ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ ONE ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆

    Clash of Sparks

    Two swords met in a clash of sparks that ended in the mockery of a parry.

    “Again… and backstep quicker this time.” A robed insect instructed.

    “Again… and raise your stance!” The insect stated as his frustration grew.

    “Again! And stop overextending your sword arm!”

    A mistake was made, and the routine stumbled.

    The instructor shut his eyes and let out a heavy growl filled with clicks. The pincers on his face tightened as the sparring continued on in front of him. Clashing echoed in the royal training hall while two young girls with bright white hair swung steel at one another. Both bore the lotus symbol on their backs. The only visible difference between them was their ages. One was a little girl with pigtails, no older than ten, barely fitting into the oversized black dyed cloth armor. The other, a few years her senior. The tall instructor wore a red hood and was hunched over on the sidelines, watching them closely.

    The repeating song of dancing steel ended with a loud thump.

    “To think you were called ‘The Hero of Vulcas.’ Snow, get up!” The instructor scolded her with even more conviction.

    “What do you want me to do?! She’s stronger than me; she’s using her frostblood!” Snow yelled out on the ground between heavy, panting breaths.

    “Adapt, use the techniques I taught you, use your own power!” The instructor’s claws tightened.

    “Master Keine, I can’t compete with that power. That’s all it is….” Snow muttered.

    “Oh?” A brief pause followed. “Okay. Lily, would you do me a favor and not call upon the frost this time? Snow believes she can win if you don’t use it.” The Master insect was merciless when it came to any excuse given on the training grounds.

    “Pfft, sure thing Master Keine!” Lily giggled, spinning around before offering Snow a hand, “Come on, big sis, don’t be a wuss. I was holding back too.”

    “I’m not a wuss. You’re just stronger.” Snow grabbed Lily’s hand and pulled herself up.

    “Give me… one second!” The mist radiating off Lily’s skin stopped as her joints cracked back into place. Lily concentrated hard as her bright blue eyes flickered and strained for a few seconds before fully reverting to silver. “Okay, I’m ready!”

    The girls took their stances.

    “Again!” Master Keine yelled.

    Snow made the first move. She swung at Lily from the left. The blades clashed and locked, the force behind them now evenly matched. Snow had the advantage of strength now that Lily wasn’t using her frostblood. She shoved Lily back and kept swinging with increasingly more force to keep her younger sister on the defensive: up, down, left, right. Snow came in striking from multiple angles.

    (“I’m gaining ground this time.”) Snow thought as she maintained her aggressive assault.

    Lily’s frostblood gave her the power to unlock her joints. The snakelike movement, on top of using muscles she couldn’t normally use, gave Lily the ability to dodge and pressure at any angle. Now, without the frostblood, Lily was restricted, and Snow’s pressure was working. Snow was gaining ground with each attack. Each strike pressured Lily further and further until Snow would find what she was looking for; an opening. Lily’s sword swung too high for her to properly block the next attack. Snow stomped her foot on the ground and swung up, knocking Lily’s sword out of her hand and straight up into the air. (“I knew it!”) Snow thought. (“I’m finally going to win!”)

    Snow directed the blade at Lily, to which Lily responded with a peculiar face.

    “That’s match!” Snow thrusted forward, right at the center of Lily’s chest.

    Snow, too focused on hitting her target, didn’t see the smile form on her sister’s face. The winning thrust, targeted at self-validation and approval, hit nothing but air. Lily slipped to the side in a wave-like dance, avoiding the match-ending blow and catching her airborne sword as well. Each movement flowed into the next before Lily disappeared from Snow’s view.

    Lily was behind Snow now.

    In reaction, Snow sprinted forward to avoid the backstab, but something caught her foot, tripping her. It was Lily, who went for her feet instead of striking at her back. When Snow tried to get back up, Lily tackled her from behind and placed the steel sword across her throat.

    “Haha, that one was fun!” Lily exclaimed before pulling away the blade, bending backward, and flipping off of Snow.

    “I can’t believe it, even without the power, you managed to-”

    “So. What’s the excuse now, Snow?” Master Keine cut her off, limping onto the grounds. “Perhaps you think Lily cheated, or that you made some type of error, or were you simply just tired?”

    “No, I… just lost that one…but….” Snow’s voice trailed off, unable to put into words what she was thinking.

    “So, you can’t use your frost. Even still, your slow, weak, and swordsmanship is novice at best.” The robed Master continued in a condescending tone.

    “Please let me go again. That was a fairer fight. I’ll show you I can do it,” Snow begged.

    Master Keine pushed back his hood, revealing a head of long red hair, a pincered mouth that was dark with razor teeth, and a face that was mostly plated bone and slitted eyes.

    “Do you expect the opponent to simply ‘turn off their power’ or not give it their all in a serious fight? Life is not fair, and if you can’t take on the unfairness of life, then your life will be very short-lived or lived in misery.” Master Keine continued as if she hadn’t said anything.

    “One more go.” Snow gritted her teeth.

    The instructor’s voice of anger began morphing into dark clicks. “I’ve given you-click-countless chances-click, endless lessons-click, and still-click-you amount to nothing! Look at today, you’ve-click-been sparring for six hours and have-click-gotten nowhere! You wouldn’t last two seconds out there. Your-click-weakness is a disgrace, a pathetic display, and not-click-representative of the woman who bore you.” Master Keine glared down at Snow with a look of what could only be described as revulsion on his insect face.

    “I can still fight!” Snow shouted back against the bombardment of insults.

    “No, you’re done, and I am done teaching you. If it was not for the respect I have for your mother-click, I would have stopped teaching you-click-long ago.” The instructor now turned his gaze to Lily, who was busy cartwheeling around, humming to herself. “Good job today, Lily, even though your opponent was no better than a training dummy.”

    “Thank you, Master Keine!” said her little sister enthusiastically.

    “Make sure you keep doing the exercises I showed you. We are done for today, and I will see you, and only you, tomorrow at the same time.”

    “Okie-dokie,” Lily replied, now laying down with her hands crossed behind her head with her legs kicking in the air. The instructor nodded, satisfied that he had said all that he needed to, threw his hood back on, and hunched his way to the exit.

    “Instructor…” Snow began once more, still on the ground.

    “I am no longer your instructor.” The doors of the training hall opened and slammed shut. Master Keine was gone, leaving the two girls alone.

    “Now, Master Keine won’t teach me. It’s not fair. Why can’t I use this stupid power everyone else has? I’m sick of it!” Snow shouted in frustration before dropping her gaze to the ground, her hair dropping over her face.

    Lily, noticing Snow’s state, skipped up to her and sat down in front of her. “Don’t worry big sis, I know you will get it! Don’t be sad!” Lily said with a big smile.

    Snow wiped her eyes.

    “Thanks, Lily. You’re right. Who needs that bug anyways.” Snow rose off the ground. “Now, come on, let’s go see how Lussuria and Gravis are doing.”



    In the High Queen’s throne room, a tall throne of ice sat on top of an icy dais. The ice from the dais appeared to be alive and had spread to the back of the room, slowly creeping up the walls. There were four smaller, empty chairs at the bottom of the dais. The room itself was an open hall draped by lotus banners, the center was paved by a dark blue rug mended with gold, and the east side had protruding balconies that gave a view of a portion of the Regalian Kingdom. Royal knights, dressed in armor that was a mix between leather and gold plates, lined the edges of the room. “Your Majesty, I am sorry, but she’s… she’s unteachable! No offense to you, but she is too weak, she shows no potential, and she hasn’t had any growth. I can not instruct her any longer, for it would be a waste of time on my part and payment on yours.” Master Keine explained, head bowed towards the presence at the end of the throne room.

    Cold, bright blue eyes opened as the woman lounging on the throne of ice shifted. The frozen throne shifted to match her posture.

    “Is that so?” The High Queen said, her voice calm but thrumming with power.

    The insect in the red robes, who was a master of swords, rose.

    “Y-yes,” shuddered Master Keine, the gaze of the Queen nearly freezing him in place. The Queen spoke again after observing him for a moment.

    “It’s a shame. I hoped you, out of all mentors, would have a different result with Snow. Still, disregarding that for the moment, I do hope my other daughters are showing better results.”

    “Why yes, the other ones are wonderful!” to that, Master Keine happily replied, “They have exceeded my expectations in the best of ways; even taking into account the fact that they are your daughters, they can still be called prodigies.”

    “Excellent. I think I will enroll them all in the Nobles’ Skirmish this year.” The High Queen gave a subtle smirk.

    “Well, they are strong, but they do lack real combat experience. Gravis, I can see joining but Lussuria and Lily? I don’t recommend it.” Master Keine’s slitted eyes gave off a cautious gaze.

    “But how else will they get the experience? They will be enrolled. My decision is final. I will give word to Quartermaster Balruff to roster them in.” The High Queen’s smirk now turned into a smile that was mostly teeth and little else.

    Master Keine looked out towards the balcony of the throne room as his thoughts grew aloud, “This year will be packed with intensity: three of the High Queen’s daughters, all enrolling into the Nobles’ Skirmish at once? The other kingdoms won’t take too kindly to what they will no doubt perceive as an act of arrogance. For they will take the challenge and enroll their successors backed by the finest teachers. This is going to be the most competitive tournament to date. I can’t wait to see the various techniques the other masters have developed over the years manifest themselves in their students. Haha, yes, this is going to be great.” The robed insect rubbed his clawed hands in glee, a low wasp-like vibration coming out of his throat.

    “You’re right,” the Queen commented as she stood from her throne and made her way over to him. The floor frosted over wherever her feet touched down. “It will be a competitive tournament, but I believe you misheard me when I said I want “all” of my daughters to be enrolled.”

    “What?! You’re going to enroll Snow too?! Master Keine turned to the High Queen. “She won’t last two seconds in there. Please, your majesty, I beg that you reconsider and spare yourself the embarrassment and her the shame. She doesn’t learn anything in sparring. What makes you think she will pick anything up from getting put down in the blink of an eye in front of not one but all the major kingdoms? This will also destroy the reputation she has built with the mountaineer republic.”

    The Queen, now standing on the balcony, took a look out into the eastern Regalian frontier. The horizon of the once endless snowy tundra was once again lined with trees.

    “You are wrong, Kel’. She has potential. I just have to drag it out of her. She will be ready, whether she wants to be or not.”



    Snow and Lily reached the west courtyard. The courtyard was a large outer section on the second level of the castle estate. It was lightly snowing. Two sides of the courtyard were backed by the castle, and the other two sides were wrapped by a stone pathway guttered by a clean waterway. The westmost side of the path held a statue of Goddess Regalia. The statue of the warrior goddess faced away from the courtyard, looking towards the icy lakes of Regalia’s western frontier. Within the snow-blanketed courtyard itself, Gravis and Lussuria should have been sparring. “I wonder if they are finished already.” Lily innocently thought aloud.

    “I doubt it.” Snow knew those two had a thing for fighting each other. Lussuria specifically loved to tease Gravis, even though Gravis was the oldest and strongest among them.

    As Snow and Lily traversed the path around the courtyard, they could see their eldest sister. Gravis wielded a large claymore. Her muscles could be seen through her sparring outfit. Gravis was incredibly strong for her age, strong enough that she was even matching some of the knights. The eldest sister stormed through a white hedge bush in a fit of anger while her head swiveled left and right.

    “Stop hiding!” Gravis demanded.

    To answer her demand, Lussuria dashed through a nearby hedge bush, right by her. Gravis swung at her, and Lussuria ducked it before twirling and skipping away.

    “Why? I am having so much fun!”

    “Get over here, you punk!”

    Lussuria wore a fancy training uniform with sleek purple designs. She was a runic mage, carrying just a mage tome and a small sword. Both were sheathed on her sides as she wasn’t even attempting to fight.

    “You must capture me first!”

    “Stop playing games and fight me, dammit!”

    Snow and Lily laughed at the high-speed chase as they made their way over to the statue of goddess Regalia. There was a boy that was sleeping on its base. The boy appeared not much older than them. He was very short, had rounded green hair, and wore a silk shirt that was one size too big and silver pants that were one size too small. The clothes had designs that were uniquely from the angelic race.

    “I smell a flower and an angel….” The boy said with his eyes closed while Snow and Lily approached him.

    “Hi, Master Helrin.” The girls chorused.

    “I told you girls already; you can just call me Helrin.” The lazy Master sat up with a light laugh.

    “How long have they been running around like this?” Snow questioned, watching as her sisters played the game of extreme tag, which Gravis appeared to be losing.

    Helrin pulled out his pocket watch instinctively, spinning it around before flipping it open. The watch hands were frozen in time behind the cracked glass.

    “Oh right, silly me. This thing’s been broken forever.” Helrin looked to the sky and observed the position of the sun. “Hm, I don’t know for certain, but I took a nice nap, I’d say probably twenty minutes or so.”

    “That’s it. I’m going to squash you, Lussuria!” Gravis’ patience during this game had run its course.

    “Maybe a little longer than that, hehe,” Master Helrin corrected, scratching his head. “It was a pretty long nap.” he yawned.

    “Don’t you think you should stop them?” Snow questioned, fueling the question of ‘if there was any instruction at all going on.’

    “Hm, it seems like the fight is already over; Lussuria wins again,” Helrin shrugged before resuming his sleeping position on the statue. Snow and Lily looked over at their sisters in confusion because Gravis was the one who looked like she was going to end this game. Gravis raised her claymore above her head as frost energy began pulsing from her body and as her eyes turned bright blue. She was prepping for what seemed like a massive attack.

    “Uh oh,” Snow noted, and Lily gasped. They both knew that Lussuria couldn’t run from what Gravis was about to do. They all felt the powerful energy that was building up in Gravis’ claymore. Helrin was right; this fight is over, but why would Lussuria be the winner then?

    “EMERG-!” Gravis’s shout was halted. Before she was able to slam her blade into the ground, her arms got caught in a web of wires. Gravis looked to Lussuria in confusion to see that Lussuria had stopped running away and was reaching at the ground, making a pulling gesture with both of her hands. A bunch of near-invisible ice-coated strings revealed themselves, strung from everywhere, being held by several runes in the air. Lussuria’s eyes were blue, and her mage book glowing as magical energy fed into the strings turning them alive. The strings snapped taut, cutting into Gravis and pulling the burly muscled girl in every direction. Gravis stood with her claymore in her hands above her head, but she couldn’t move a muscle.

    “What the?! You mean this whole time, that’s what you were doing?!” Gravis was in shock and then tried to pull herself out. “You think these puny lines can hold me?!” she shouted, trying to struggle free, but the effort was futile.

    “Yeah, now let’s play another little game.” Lussuria put a finger to her chin, “How about if you can guess what color I’m thinking! A promise of one favor.” Lussuria skipped up behind Gravis, shifting the countless number of strings in her hands. The frost-coated strings gripped Gravis’s every muscle.

    “Rrg, Lussuria, I’ll crush you!” Gravis shouted again as she tried to struggle against the strings.

    “Nu-uh, you have to play the game!” Lussuria rebuked as she pulled the strings tighter, causing Gravis to grunt.

    “Damn you..” Gravis struggled harder, enough so that Lussuria had to hold her ground and pull back. The strings got tighter as the stinging sensation turned into a sharp pain causing Gravis to grit her teeth.

    “The more you struggle, the stronger the binds get. Now follow the rules, my dear sister. Please, take a guess.” Lussuria was now standing in front of Gravis.

    Gravis looked at her and saw the purple design on her. (“Just you wait, you will be begging for my mercy when I’m done with you”) “Fine, Purple.” Gravis smiled. Lussuria paused for a moment.

    “Wow, good guess! But even though purple is my favorite color...Wrong!” She made a dramatic motion with her hands, and the strings pulled harder than Gravis thought they would, cutting into her skin and causing blood to flow down her arms and legs.

    “Ugf,” Gravis heaved in pain. Lussuria just gave a wicked smile and tilted her head, “Hm, you look like you’re enjoying this. See, I always took you for a masochist, But you still need to guess my color. But because you look so adorable, I’ll give you a hint. Hmm, well, I guess I already did in a way. Hehe, last guess before I really get forceful.” Lussuria chuckled darkly, enjoying this way too much.

    “You sadist, Just wait until I get my hands on you.” Gravis made another guess, seeing no other way out of the binds. “White.”

    Lussuria ticked her teeth.

    “Gravis, Gravis, Gravis, you are as dense as ever.” Lussuria walked up to her big sister and examined the scratches and cuts on her body as if it was some work of art. “I told u, I️ already gave u a hint!” Lussuria’s fingers dripped blood as she pulled them with weight.

    “Ahh! Lussuria!” Gravis finally let out a voice in pain as more blood flowed out of her arms and legs.

    Lussuria’s mouth opened wide as her eyes quivered in pleasure at her elder sister’s pained response.

    “I think this is my new favorite game! Tick tock, Gravis.” Lussuria teased by lightly tugging on the strings.

    “I didn’t even guess yet. Stop pulling!” That’s when Gravis realized what the color was; it was all over the ground now, the color of her blood. “Red, the color is red!” Lussuria got closer and started wrapping the strings around her sword hand and prepared to pull with all her might. “I’ll owe you a damn favor! Just stop! Don’t pull!” Gravis cried out.

    Nothing happened for a moment.

    “Haha, just kidding! Yes! The color is red! See? That was fun!” Lussuria spun around while the strings began melting into water.

    “YOUR MINE NOW!” Gravis shouted as she moved to strike Lussuria. Her blade swung down, aimed right for Lussuria’s head. The blade stopped mere inches away, slamming into what felt like stone.

    The small green-haired Master stood underneath her blade. Helrin was clasping the claymore in between his hands.

    “You already lost, Gravis.” Helrin motioned his head down. Gravis followed his eyes; on the ground, underneath them was a purple rune that was flickering on and off. Helrin’s feet flashed yellow before the rune fully faded away. “I don’t think your mother would be too happy if I let you two kill each other.”

    Snow and Lily looked back at the base of the goddess statue; Helrin wasn’t there anymore. They didn’t notice or even hear him move. It was like he appeared on the grounds instantly.

    Master Helrin turned to Lussuria.

    “And Lussuria, just because you may think you are three steps ahead of your opponent, you must never underestimate them. You would have still taken that fatal blow.”

    “I suppose I got a little carried away, but Gravis looked so cute all tied up. I honestly couldn’t help myself!” Lussuria giddily teased, hugging her own body and turning left and right.

    “Lussuria!” Lily shouted as she ran onto the courtyard and tackled her older sister in a hug. Lussuria’s eyes reverted to silver as they greeted each other. Lussuria and Lily shared a special bond; they were like best friends.

    “Your rage is your bane again, Gravis,” Helrin commented. “You’ve got to control it. Not to mention, that was an illegal strike. You could have killed your sister.”

    “I know, I’m sorry. It’s just that when I activate the frost, it’s hard for me to control my anger. It feels like my anger is a lot greater when I am using it.” Gravis stabbed her claymore on the ground and put one knee to the ground as all her cuts and scratches began to slowly close simultaneously. Her eyes reverted to silver after.

    “Controlling your emotions is imperative in battle. Trust me, I would know.” The green-haired Master sleepily looked around at all the girls, “Well, since you girls are here, I assume your training is done, so I guess that will be it for us too. That’s enough training for the day. I’m sooo tired.” Master Helrin said as he stretched. Gravis and Lussuria both raised an eyebrow and shouted nearly at the same time: “But you were sleeping the past six hours!”

    “Now, now that’s not true. I did “instruct” you girls for ‘most’ of the time today.” Both girls wore matching looks of disbelief on their faces.

    “Why are you our instructor?” Gravis asked in defeat.

    “Now, now, Gravis, don’t let my looks fool you. I am Helrin, the Master of speed!” he boasted just as he took Gravis’s claymore and started spinning around with it.

    “Hey, give that back!” Gravis shouted.

    “You gotta find me first!” Helrin shouted back as he jumped into a nearby pile of snow. Gravis gave chase. “Over here! Nope, over here! Whoops, now I’m here!” Helrin continued popping in and out of the snow piles some yards away from his last location.

    “How is he doing that?”

    “Gravis is getting mad again, haha.”

    Snow, Lussuria, and Lily watched as Gravis continued to chase her instructor like a cat who had been robbed by a mouse. All the servants or guards that day would only remember hearing the cries of an outraged girl and the laughter of a young man.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2022
    Bohnenpflanzer likes this.
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter 2 A simple Bet
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ Two ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆

    A Simple Bet

    The majestic estate, candled with icy spires, was the grandstanding backpiece of the Regalian Kingdom. The Lotus castle was engulfed in noise: noise from the construction going on outside and noise from the babbling royal court within. Snow found herself engulfed in the saws of wood, picking of stone, and ramblings of people just below the study room window.

    Clack!

    A stick slapped at the wood of Snow’s desk, startling her and making her nearly fall from the seat. An aging man with a book of texts hovered over her.

    “Snow, dozing off again, are we? How about you give us the answer to the question then?” The mentor questioned.

    The royal children were being mentored on nobilic politics and logistics. Mentor Ruba, a retired banker and family friend, led the monotonous teachings. Each student had their own desk, with Snow in the back left, Lussuria in the back right, Gravis in the front left, and Lilly in the front right. These lessons have served as the foundation of their political knowledge. So it was of great importance. But, As usual, everyone looked dreadfully bored.

    “I already know the flags of all the major holds and kingdoms….” Snow rolled her eyes.

    “Knowing a kingdom’s flag is not the only necessity for a high noble. You must know how each of the five realms operates: politically, culturally, and morally. That leads me to your question Snow. How are the five realms governed, and who leads them?”

    Snow sighed, “Well, first, you have our kingdom, run by Queen Deamonia, our mother. Next, you got the Elves in the great forest up north, a non-hereditary monarchy headed by Elf Queen Lourissa. Third, you got the council of the mountaineer kingdom in the east, run by a republic integrated with King Raden. Fourth is the angelic dictatorship of the west, led by Archangel Michael. Fifth and lastly, the villages and tribes of the insects and moths, located in the southern marshes, each with their own separate rules: from anarchy to war chiefs. All realms yield to Mom’s decrees, policies, and taxes.

    “hm.. very good... But still, don’t doze off in here!” Mentor Ruba scoffed before he started flipping through the pages of his book of texts.

    “Why is the insect swamplands even considered a country if they aren’t unified, they are just a bunch of barbaric clans.” Gravis leaned back, arms crossed.

    “Gravis, watch what you say! The insect peoples are a competent race who became our greatest ally in the war. They may be small and composed of separate groups, but their ability to unify together when the time calls is astonishing. Also, their battle prowess is respected by even your mother. So have respect.” Mentor Ruba very much disliked Gravis’ comment.

    “These lectures are so boring. I’m sorry, mentor, but I think we should learn more interesting things.” Lussuria chimed in, leaning against her palm while watching the ticking clock in the front of the room.

    Mentor Ruba shook his head, “Knowing everything about every kingdom, how everything operates, is a basic necessity of a noble and an heir. Swinging a sword may give you power, but being able to hold onto it is a different story.” The mentor flipped through more pages of the large text before stopping near the end of the book. “Let’s move on to the next topic; guilds.”


    A collective sigh filled the room.

    The mentor sucked his teeth at the ‘elated’ response.

    “Fine,” The book was shut. “How about we speak about the wardens.”

    “Wardens?” Snow repeated; the memory of how Warden Isabella rounded up those mercenaries during the Vulcas rebellion came to mind, on top of the fact that she had that incredible strange power to read memories.

    “Ah, so that has gotten your attention, Snow. Let us speak about the strongest tool your mother has at her disposal; The Wardens.”

    “Yaay! Wardens! Pow pow! Better listen, or the big bad warden will punish you!” Lilly exclaimed as she punched the air.

    The mentor looked to Gravis, “Gravis, this question is for you; can you please share everything you know about the uses of the wardens.”


    Gravis grew jittery before giving her answer.

    “Well, wardens are mom’s way of enforcing her laws in places that are not under her direct control. They are the strongest frostblooded warriors alive, and each realm has one. Not only are they veteran warriors, but each has unique frostblood abilities honed over a decade of training and-” Gravis was cut off when icy pellets bounced off her shoulder.

    “Pow Pow, you break the rules, then I break you! Pow!” Lilly declared as she started her icy assault on Gravis from her chair.

    “Stop playing around, Lilly. Mom said no shooting ice indoors!” Gravis shouted while swatting away Lilly’s ice pellets.

    “I’m a big bad warden. I’m going to get you!” Lilly hopped out of her seat and launched icy shells with each stomp forward.

    “No, you won’t….” Lussuria muttered. Lilly’s advance was stopped when two feint strings hooked into her clothes and began dragging her back.

    “Oh no, she got me! Please, Ms. Warden, I’ll follow the rules, don’t freeze me!” Lilly got pulled up to Lussuria’s desk before Lussuria smothered her head. “Noo! Ah, I’m frozen!” Lilly gave off a playful cry before lying still on the ground. Then, she and Lussuria started laughing.

    “Make all the fun you want. Any warrior strives to be at the level of a warden. They are an inspiration to anyone picking up the sword. I will be just as strong one day, and you won’t be laughing!” Gravis stood up in anger.

    The mentor hit the leg of Lilly’s empty desk with his trusty stick. “Back to your seat Lilly!” Lilly hopped up and scurried back to her seat. Once order had been returned to the study room, Mentor Ruba continued, “Now, some of what Gravis said is true. The Ring of Wardens are notably the strongest warriors your mother has; their strength is unparalleled. However, their job as such force is merely a last resort. There are more than five of them, and when dealing with the holds they are assigned, their primary jobs are investigating and guarding essential assets. They are not meant to enforce laws as everyone thinks. Suppose your decrees and guidances are not culturally accepted or highly unpopular. In that case, they most likely won’t be implemented; therefore, having knowledge of the country is vital, hence these lessons.


    After lessons ended, Snow was summoned to the throne room. She descended the curved steps into the snowflake hall. The guards that dotted the pillars stood at attention as she passed them. Upon reaching the regal doors, the guards opened them for her. The High Queen’s room of command was long and elegant. There were huge glass windows on the east side and a beautiful dark blue rug mended with real gold that rolled atop the pristine floor up to the icy throne.

    “Clear the room until called….” High Queen Deamonia motioned her hand once Snow was halfway to the throne.

    The guards turned in sync and marched out from the sides of the room.

    Once the room was cleared, her mother’s confident and proud demeanor melted into that of a serious one.

    “What’s the issue, Snow?” The Queen began her questioning when Snow was at the bottom of the icy dais.

    “Good question; what is the issue? You did summon me after all.”

    There was a pause, then the Queen shook her head.

    “I was informed about your last training with master Keine and was told it went less than satisfactory.”

    “Mom, I don’t know what to tell you. I am trying.” Snow took stock of the empty room as her nostrils flared in anger. “Mom, I’ve been trying! Really, punishment is unfair!”

    “Who said anything about punishment?” Her mother said innocently. The Queen of Frost opened her palm, and tiny flakes descended upon it, rapidly growing into an elegant dagger that radiated an intense cold. “Come here.”

    Snow bit her lip. Any excuse she could have come up with immediately dissolved when faced with her mother. Her heart began to beat faster and faster at her mother’s cold face.

    “What are you waiting for? Come here, dear.” Those words, spoken softly and clearly but overly intimidating.

    Snow’s legs moved on their own. As she stepped up the icy dais, right up to her mother, she tried to strengthen herself for what would happen.

    “Give me your hand.” Her mother demanded.

    Snow did as she was told. Her mother grabbed her hand and lifted it up to the blade.

    Snow didn’t know what felt colder, her mother or the blade. She winced as the sharp dagger ran across her skin for an inch before her mother pulled it away.

    The cut only stung for a moment.

    “Look.” Her mother wiped away the blood with her finger. The cut was just a standard small cut, then suddenly, the blood within turned white. “Do you feel it growing in you or changing you?”

    Snow tried, but she felt nothing.

    The cut formed an icy scab before dissolving away like nothing had happened.

    “I don’t know, not really.”

    “Maybe, we should make a bigger cut.” Her mother said thoughtfully, the dagger growing much, much longer

    “uh no, no, I think it’s alright!” Snow quickly retorted.

    Snow’s mother chuckled a little bit. “I’m just kidding. It’s clear you have the frost. You are just unable to command it for some reason. I have my suspicions, but to be completely honest, I hope you wouldn’t have to resort to using our blessing.

    Snow’s mother got up and sat at the topmost throne stair, beckoning Snow to sit next to her. The sharp dagger she was holding melted into water that clung and disappeared into her arm.

    “Listen, Snow, I’m hard on you because I don’t want anything bad to happen to you.”

    Snow raised an eyebrow at the sudden change in her mother’s softened tone.

    “The fact that you have it but can’t use it is probably a blessing in disguise, and perhaps best that the frost stays that way… But, I don’t want to sound selfish by saying if your weakness affects my rule, like if someone kidnaps you for ransom or gain, that would be a significant problem for me. It could also be even more sinister, just being who you are will put you in great danger. Since you are a frostborn, it is hard to kill you. But, I don’t want the worst to happen, that you end up in a situation where you wish for death, but your body won’t allow it. There have been frost veterans who were tortured for years on end only because their bodies were strong enough to live through it. I don’t want you to ever experience something like that just for someone to get back at me. “Her mother hunched over in exhaustion.

    “I see what you’re saying, mom. I do. That’s why I’m asking for help.” Her mother wasn’t angry but genuinely worried.

    But this conversation wasn’t over just yet.

    “Snow, I’ve run out of mentors to teach you. I can show you how to use the frost, but bringing it out is an obstacle everyone needs to pass on their own.”

    “I’ll figure it out. I just need more time.”

    The Queen shook her head.

    “Snow, threats are growing every day, it’s only a matter of time until something happens, and you need to be ready. We are at a crucial time, and I can’t have you like this here. It’s too much of a risk.”

    Snow was confused. What was her mom trying to say? Risk?

    “What are you trying to say, mom?” Snow said aggressively.

    “I have received several arrangements for you. Of course, I don’t believe in arrangements because of how unbecoming they are. But I’ve received one for which I have decided to make an exception.”

    “Arrangement?”

    “Now, it may seem like a cause for alarm, but trust me. I looked into this for close to a year now.”

    Snow stood up, nearly slipping off the steps.

    “No…”

    “Not even to the Mountaineer king himself?”

    Snow stumbled to the bottom of the stairs, looking back up at her mother. Who responded to the gaze by continuing.

    “Snow, you have an opportunity here to do more good than any of your sisters with absolutely no effort at all. You have worked well with Vulcas. After saving King Raden, you managed to clean up a lot of their corruption, set their finances straight, and exponentially increased their trust in us. Even getting laws passed through their consul seems to be something you are very competent in managing. Marrying Raden would practically assimilate that country into our society. It is a ginormous deal.”

    “I’m not going to be married off!” Snow shouted, “How could you even consider that!”

    “Snow, I’m not ‘marrying you off’ to some nobody here. We are speaking about the mountaineer king; he holds the largest realm, is around your age, and has a kind heart. Not to mention, you would become Queen of the mountaineer kingdom.”

    “That’s not what I want.”

    “You will be safe, well taken care of, respected, and loved. This is in your favor completely!”

    “Why? Because I am none of those things here?! Do you really think I am in better hands in the mountaineer kingdom?” Snow could feel the blood rushing to her face. She squeezed her fist and stomped back up the throne’s steps, leveling with her mother’s face. “My answer is no!”

    The Frost Queen slowly rose and returned to her seat.

    “You will be mad at me, and I will accept that, but you will marry King Raden.”

    “All you care about is me activating my frostblood. It has nothing to do with anything else!”

    “It is, as I said, you are not safe.”

    “I can handle myself.”

    “Maybe against the common folk. But as a frostblood, you need to be even stronger. You need to be better.”

    “I am! Just give me a chance to prove it!”

    “And how will you do that? Win the nobles skirmish?” The Queen sarcastically inquired.

    “Yes, actually. How about that? I bet I could win the whole damn thing!”

    “Snow, come on, let’s be realistic here.”

    “I’ve made you bow once before; did you forget? Let me fight in the skirmish, and when I win it, you can’t tell me what to do anymore!”

    There was a long silence as mother and daughter locked eyes.

    “Very well, Snow, I will enroll you in the nobles skirmish. If you somehow win, then I will rescind your engagement. If not, you will fully accept and marry the mountaineer king without complaints. Agreed?”

    “Agreed.”
     
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  3. Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ Three ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆
    Princess of Commoners

    The circular tower in which her room was located made Snow feel like she was some trapped fairytale princess. The only difference was there was no prince to save her. Technically there was, but the whole point was that she didn’t need to be saved. Snow rifled through her drawers and stuck her hands to the back, pulling out some ‘commoner’ clothing and a grey cloak. She held up the outfit. She smiled at the worn stitches on the white ruffled shirt and faded leather pants. The symbol of impoverished mischief was her solace from this insufferable estate. After slipping it on, she cracked her door open, looking out into the hallway. When the coast cleared, she hurried through the hall.

    The royal guard that ensured the safety of the estate and their family stood guard downstairs and at all the major entrances. Snow skipped the downstairs main staircase, continued to the end of the bedroom wing, and exited using different stairs. This staircase wasn’t curved, grand, or led to the snowflake hall. It was dark, ridged, and steep. The servant passageway was more like a gutter between the primary castle chambers, acting as the perfect way to get around without being seen. Snow already knew the way out. Like a rat escaping a maze, snow maneuvered through the servant passageway, keeping a close eye and ear out. Snow hurried her pace when she could see her goal; The garden supply door, the door after the kitchen, which led to an unguarded section of the west courtyard and subsequently the way out of the estate. Upon reaching the metal exit door, Snow paused. She could hear the chattering of two knights.

    “Did you get assigned to the caravan?”

    “No, you?”

    “Yeah”

    “Ha, unlucky you.”

    “What do you mean? While you’re standing around staring at nothing, I get to see some elven beauties. I hear they make great food too.”

    “Great food? Yeah sure. Have fun eating bowls of vegetables.”

    This wasn’t good. This exit was not supposed to be guarded. Snow’s concerns were amplified when a sharp creak echoed from three doors behind her; a servant entered the passageway. Snow quickly jumped into the nearest door, which was the kitchen.

    The kitchen was glowing red from the crackling hearth fire, supplemented by the soothing sound of flowing water. The freshwater passage that ran through the baths and courtyards also partially ran through this kitchen. The kitchen had a prep table, topped with the usual cooking utensils and greens, in the center and plenty of barrels and boxes stacked around. Snow approached the flowing waterway in the corner of the room.

    “I can get to the west courtyard from here.”

    “Well, well, well.” Someone spoke up behind her.

    Snow spun around in fear.

    “I was just hungry-” Her sentence cut off once she realized who had caught her.

    It was the only servant with an elongated neck and pointed ears; Lamille, her primary caretaker. Lamille’s green-as-grass hair was loose, and her violet eyes curiously scrutinized her.

    “You look about ready to go for a swim, dear.” Lamille approached and pinched Snow’s ruffled shirt, “I see those newly assigned guards outside were placed for a reason..”

    “Lamille, I’m sorry. I just needed some air. Please don’t tell my mom.”

    Lamille looked up at the cobblestone ceiling in thought before exhaling. She gave her back to Snow. A knife was drawn from a holster on the table, and the sounds of vegetables were heard being sliced.

    “I wonder what that noise was?” Lamille shrugged, “probably my imagination...”

    Snow smiled, “Thanks Lamille.”

    “Don’t be late for dinner.” Lamille tailed her message with a slam of the blade, finishing the beat off.

    Snow nodded before crawling into the waterway like a spider.

    The city of Regalia was filled with merchant stands, ground waterways, and substantial heat runes that melted any accumulating snow into said waterways. Once Snow was out of the castle estate and in the city with her disguise, she was free to walk wherever she pleased. Snow went directly south, passing through the once dirty and poor ‘old district.’ The old district was now the newer one, minus the advertently designed waterways and gathering centers. The sky was sprinkling lightly today, and children ran about as most work and mentoring sessions had ended. Snow’s shoulders lightened the more distance she put between her and the castle.

    Snow crossed the southern gate without trouble, and she found herself outside the city walls, on the border of the frontier. Rows of farmland were in the process of being just outside the kingdom’s wall. Snow turned to the southeast; a lone white house stood farther away from the outer wall.

    The white three-story house stood alongside a huge barn surrounded by a short cobble wall. Animalistic shrieking and deep hisses sang from the beast-holding barn. The noise was nothing new, but something did catch her eye. A new section had been built, surrounded by a tall silver gate. Within the shiny pen was a huge furry bat three times her size. The sight of the exotic beast drew her in. Its chest had a flair of yellow fur, and its wings were darker than night. The bat noticed her presence and immediately grew hostile, flapping its wings and causing them to flash magnificent shades of yellow. The nocturnal beast tried to take flight, but a chain was revealed as it snapped taut, holding the bat from flying more than a few feet off the ground.

    “Hey, Snow, that you?!” a man emerged from the nearby barn. He had a dry voice, red checkered clothes, and a rugged face with scars and greying hair.

    “Hi, Mr. Windram!” Snow met his approach with a solid hug. Mr. Windram wore a few straps that hung tools like metal braces, claws, and hammers.

    “Did you say hi to our new friend?” The bat screeched in angrily before its voice cracked.

    “What kind of creature is that, Mr. Windram? It looks like a giant bat.

    “It’s a demogation bat. Handful this one, but in truth, he’s a big baby.” Windram unlocked the gate and approached the bat.

    “Demogation bat?”

    “Haha, no. It’s a term breeders use when they try to recreate an extinct animal or ancestor of an animal. For our furry friend here, the breeders crossed a normal bat with a pure anagalid. Not only is that hard to do, but the odds of conception and birth survivability are astronomically low.”

    “Anagalid?”

    “A giant rat.”

    Snow grew confused, curious, and disgusted about the possibility of that interaction.

    “Ew.”

    “The result is that our little friend here is an extremely close representation of what the original bats looked like before they evolved down. This one even has conductivity abilities; it can generate electricity with its fur. Windram slipped on a metal gauntlet before approaching the bat with an apple. To which the bat snarled at the fruity sight.

    “Let it be known here that I called the fact that they evolved to eating fruit. All this one wants is meat, specifically pork.” Windram held up the apple to the bat’s face, to which it turned its neck away left and right, like a baby dodging a spoon of greens. “He can eat it. He just very much dislikes it.”

    “Why don’t you just give him meat?”

    “I’ve taught him to not target cattle or horses, but if he’s hungry, he wouldn’t care. So he needs to gain the pallet for fruit.”

    “I see.”

    The beast tamer grabbed the bat’s jaw, and the bat snapped at him, biting into his arm.

    “Mr. Windram!” Snow began to rush in.

    “It’s fine, do not enter.” Windram hissed at the creature before grabbing its ears and twisting them harshly. The bat, in response, released him and wined, but Windram didn’t let go until the bat lowered itself to the ground in surrender. Windram offered the apple again, and the bat ate it, to which Windram gave him a gentle pat. Demonstration given, the beast tamer returned to the gate. Snow saw his steel arm guard; the arm guard had a massive dent on it from what seemed like repeated bites.

    “That seems like dangerous work.”

    “he’s already falling in line. I’ve tamed much worse. This little guy is just loud.” Windram removed the saliva-dripping arm guard.

    “Bah, even considering, he’s got a strong bite. Janette gave him pork once, and now he’s hooked on it.”

    “Mrs. Windram’s pork is good....” The bat curled up into a little ball before snoozing. “It really does sound like a big baby.” Snow chuckled.

    “I’m assuming you’re here to pick up the other baby, though.” Windram eyed Snow.

    “Mhm.” Snow nodded.

    “I was starting to worry that you wouldn’t come around anymore with how he’s been acting….” Mr. Windram opened and locked the silver gate behind him before shouting towards the stable. “OI RANDAL GET OUT HERE,” he yelled in the direction of the stable next door.

    “yeah, get him out of here, please,” he told snow, looking slightly defeated.

    A bunch of noise rattled from inside the stable building,

    “Uh, coming, dad!” Randal shouted from inside.

    A few moments later, Randal appeared. He froze at the sight of Snow.

    “Snow!” Randal ran up to her. He still had his work outfit, mimicking his father.

    Randal had brown hair and blue eyes; he looked very clumsy. He grew into a spitting image of his father, with his mother’s brown hair.

    “Hey.” Snow greeted Randal.

    Randal looked dumbfounded. He latched onto her and bursted into tears. “That’s what you say after almost a year?! I haven’t seen you in forever!”

    “I’m not dead. I’ve still been here the whole time….”

    He was still hugging her, whining.

    “Alright, let go of me, stupid!” Snow complained

    Randal let go and pulled himself together.

    “Sorry, sorry.” He sniffed

    “Let’s go.” Snow started to walk off.

    The day was filled with play in the cisterns and the sneaky visitation of friends. Once the pair was tired, they ended their day in the main square, encircled by waterways and heating runes, centered by the goddess of their kingdom.

    Snow threw some seeds on the ground, and doves descended upon them.

    Randal was swinging his legs under the bench.

    “I’m glad we were able to hang out today, Snow,” Randal said, looking at the seeds.

    “Sorry, I should have told you. My mom has me and my sisters training like mad.”

    “Training? You mean like fighting?” Randal asked, surprised.

    “Yes.”

    “What? But you’re a princess. You shouldn’t be the one fighting!” he exclaimed

    “That’s precisely the reason. Since we are frostborn, we must learn how to use our powers properly. It’s just the way things are.” Snow recited while lightly petting a dove.

    “Well… can I see then?” Randal grew excited.

    “See what?” Snow asked

    “Your powers! All frostborn have special ice powers that rival even the strongest magics! Let me see, let me see!”

    The life of a commoner was simple. Nevertheless, Snow couldn’t help but envy Randal. Something as simple as a frostblooded display was a rarity and awestriking for someone like him. Snow didn’t want to go back. The temporary detachment from the life of royalty now only worsened the feeling. Snow and Randal sat only a few inches apart, but those inches felt like a growing chasm.

    “Well, the thing is, I can’t ‘use’ my power. I haven’t figured out how to yet.” Snow said, scratching her head in embarrassment.

    “Oh… well, it’s alright. I’m sure you’ll get it! your super smart after all!” Randal said in full support.

    Snow leaned back, and a dove flew and landed on her forehead.

    “What about you, Randal? What have you been up to?”

    “Mh, well, my dad is really passionate about taming and keeps trying to get me to tame everything that can eat me in one bite, besides almost getting killed from that.. oh yea, I forgot to tell you! Can you believe... I am driving your mom to the Elven capitol tomorrow!”

    Snow picked her head up, and the doves flew away. “What? I didn’t even know she was leaving?”

    “Yeah, it’s supposed to be a super secret mission! I can’t believe it either. I was so surprised when her butler asked me. Of course, my dad vouched for me, but I’m not as good as he claims I am. I’ve been training hard this past month. I thought that if I did a good job, then maybe I could be your driver in the future! That would be a dream come true!” Randal was happy just thinking about it.

    “My driver? Well, that would certainly be something.” Snow smirked.

    Randal jumped off the bench and kneeled on one knee with his hand extended out.

    “My Princess, are you ready to depart?”

    Snow laughed and took his hand.

    “Sure, let us depart.-“ Snow held his hand for a moment before pulling it back.

    “Snow, something the matter?” Randal asked worryingly.

    “I must have pulled my shoulder in training today; yeah, no worries..” Suddenly she couldn’t stand to look at Randal’s face anymore.

    “Oh.. ok, sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Randal quickly apologized.

    Snow got up

    “How about we get some sugar crystals on me today, on me...again.” Snow jumped off the bench.

    “Hey, I can pay my own way this time!” Randal retorted.

    “Shut it.”

    Snow and Randal spent the day walking around the city eating candy. The castle was coming up as the sun was drawing a close to the day. “Well, see you, Randal. Good luck with driving tomorrow. I’m certain you’ll do a great job.”

    “Your mom’s butler said he will teach me all the communication signs and show me the route tomorrow, but I won’t get any sleep if that warden doesn’t pick up that screeching nightmare from our stables,” Randal said, complaining about the demogation bat.

    “Warden?” Snow’s eyes opened as her steps paused.

    “Yea, a warden is supposed to come to pick up that bat today. Some lady with two color hair.”

    Snow darted past Randal, away from the castle.

    “Snow, where are you going?!” Randal yelled out.

    “Your house!”

    “Um, ok?!” he chased after her.



    It was nearly dark by the time they got to Randal’s house.

    Snow looked through the silver gates, and the bat was gone.

    “Finally, you guys are back. Randal, why didn’t you walk snow to the castle?” Randal’s father, Mr. Windram, was outside closing the gate.”

    “Where is the warden that took the bat?” Snow quickly asked.

    “Pardon?” Windram was confused at the quick question.

    “The warden, where is she!?” Snow yelled in demand.

    “Flora? She walked off with the demogation not even an hour ago.” Randal’s father pointed towards the open frontier, snowy fields away from the kingdom.

    Snow ran off in that direction.

    “Snow, it’s getting dark, and the snowfall is worsening! Windram shouted behind her; his voice was already falling from the distance.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2022
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  4. Threadmarks: Chapter 4 Warden Flora
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ Four ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆

    Warden Flora

    “Dammit, which way?” Snow ran until she found prints in the snow from what she assumed was the demogation bat. Snow found herself leaning closer and closer to the ground to keep track of the quickly filling prints.

    The white tundra under Regalia’s domain quickly darkened by the minute as the sun merged with the horizon. The night brought with it a wintery storm. Snow could only see a few feet ahead as the raging snowstorm worsened.

    The footprints all of a sudden stopped. Snow looked up and saw a lake right in front of her. The tracks went to the water, which was strange considering that the lake was not frozen. Snow squinted her eyes and stared into the far distance. The beast was walking on water, along with the figure next to it.

    “HEY! HEY!!” Snow shouted out over the windy storm.

    The two shapes grew smaller as they continued on into the distance.

    “COME BACK!!!” Snow shouted as loud as she could.

    The figures disappeared across the lake. Snow looked at the water, put one foot into the lake, and got ready to swim.

    Screech!

    Snow stopped and looked at the sky; the bat was swooping toward her. Snow waved before realizing two things; no one was flying on the bat, and the bat looked very hostile. It was swooping down to attack her.

    The bat crashed onto the ground just in front of her and flicked its wings wide open, knocking Snow to the ground.

    SCREECH!

    The demogation bat screeched into the air, revealing its huge fangs.

    “No, get away!” Snow held her hands up. She could only imagine the force of its bite from when it dented Mr. Windrams armguard.

    That bat lunged at her.

    Watery tendrils shot out of the river, coiling around the bat before violently yanking the creature to the ground. The tendrils froze into icy chains, locking the creature to the bank of the lake. A chilling mist rolled over the lake’s water as a woman appeared on the water. The strange woman was stepping over the water. No, at a closer look, the water was freezing at her feet.

    “What do we have here?” The woman wore a dress-like armor that was a soothing mix of blue and green, along with black stockings. Her hair was black on one side and white on the other. She was alluringly gorgeous and did not look like a warrior in the slightest. The most noticeable thing besides her bi-color hair was a wiggling blue flower on the black side of her hair; the flower was clearly alive, and it had roots that wrapped around pieces of her body and even fed into one of her eyes.

    This power, the frostblooded eyes. It was a real warden. Her strength wasn’t exaggerated; she controlled the very water and subdued that giant bat in less than a second. Snow could feel the power radiating off the frost chains. There was no mistaking it; this woman was Warden Flora.

    “Who is this pretty little thing?” Warden Flora repeated.

    “Thank you for saving me. Are you really warden Flora?” Snow questioned while still on the ground.

    The warden swayed up to Snow and gave off a recognizable look before quickly turning around.

    “Sorry, but I can’t say, sweetheart.” Flora shrugged, “You should head back if you don’t want to get killed by whitestalkers.” Flora hovered her hand over the ground as a leash made of water wiggled out from the earth and fed into her palm, connecting to the chain holding the bat.

    “I just wanted to ask you a few questions.”

    “Sorry, sweetheart, I must be leaving.” Flora strutted towards the water.

    Snow squeezed her fist and jumped up.

    “I am Princess Snow, daughter of Queen Deamonia, and I demand you to stop!” Snow ordered.

    Flora continued her flaunting walk, completely ignoring the demand.

    Snow ran up and grabbed flora’s arm just before the lake. Suddenly, Snow’s hand burned as golden lines flashed on her arm. A golden runic symbol with a dozen astrological shapes revealed itself on flora’s arm. The symbol made a snapping noise before Snow quickly let go.

    “What is this-” Snow was confused.

    Snow glanced up at Flora’s face. Flora’s eyes were glaring at her with pure malice.

    Snow fell back to the ground.

    “P…please, I just wanted to ask.”

    Flora was clearly someone not to be taken lightly. The warden hunched over Snow..

    “Look how you came out, little Snow.” Flora gave a big smile, and her monstrous aura disappeared. Flora offered Snow a hand. “Sorry if I startled you, sweety. I’m not having the best of days right now. However, I do appreciate the assistance.”

    “You know me? And, what just happened, what were those gold lines, and that symbol on you?”

    “Why, of course, I know you. I was the one who pulled you from your mother. And I’m afraid I don’t know what lines you are talking about.” Flora smiled. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Flora, warden of the southern marshlands.” Flora put her hand over her heart and bowed with elegance. Her behavior had flipped to the complete opposite.

    “Is that where you’re headed now?”

    “Yes.”

    “Well, Warden Flora, I wanted to ask; I needed advice activating my frostblood.” Snow finally asked her a question, ignoring the obvious magical question.

    Finally, the blizzard had stopped, and the weather was calming.

    “Why are you asking me? Your mother would be most qualified to help you.”

    “She said it’s an obstacle I need to overcome myself.”

    Flora thought to herself for a moment.

    “Well, yeah, that sounds like a correct assessment,” Flora shrugged.

    “Please, I need some advice. I refuse to be married off! Snow stomped her foot on the ground.

    Flora squinted her eyes. the vines that spread across pieces of her body wiggled a bit. “She’s going to marry you off if you don’t activate your power, damn talk about incentive, Dea.”

    “Well, the deal was if I don’t win the nobles skirmish, I would be, and everyone in the nobles skirmish is frost born for the most part, so I need to activate my power.”

    Flora laughed.

    “So, just beat them without the blood then,” Flora said nonchalantly.

    “What? But my technique is horrible, and my skills are bad. There’s no way I can compete with that power!”

    “I think you’re worrying too much about yourself. Just worry about your opponent.”

    Flora adjusted her hair, returning the strands to their elegant shape, similar to how Lussuria cared for her hair.

    “But it’s not that easy-”

    “I never said it was.”

    “SNOW!” Randal called out for her in the distance. He was on horseback.

    “Ok, listen here,” Flora whispered in her ear.

    There may be a lead for you underneath your mother’s prized possession.

    “Prized Possession?” Snow looked to flora, who only spared her a wink.

    “It's not that hard to figure out. Now your boyfriend is looking for you, don’t be rude.” She teased.

    “Boyfriend?! It’s not like that between us!” Snow shouted.

    “Oh really? Then why is your face red, dear?” Flora laughed before running off, grabbing the demogation bat’s icy leash and jumping into the lake, the water shaped around her feet forming small water waves that carried her across the river.

    Randal and Snow were on horseback on the way back to the castle.

    “So, your mom will arrange your marriage to the mountaineer king if you don’t bring out your frostblood?”

    “Yeah…” Snow practically whispered in shame as the horse trotted through the streets.

    “I see… So, thats why you were so bent on getting Flora’s help.”

    “Randal, I... I don’t know if I can sneak out further.”

    “I understand, Snow.” Randal’s voice was that of understanding, but his hunched posture said otherwise. “At tha’ end of the day, you are royalty. We can’t be friends, no. We shouldn’t be friends. You have an entire Kingdom to run.”

    “I just want to run away from it all. I’m getting tired of trying again and again and getting nowhere. It feels so pointless.” Snow hugged his sides tightly, not letting go. “I should have seen you more this year. I should not have wasted my time.”

    The horse stopped. The castle was in view.

    “Snow,” Randal said.

    “Yes?”

    “For as long as I’ve known you, you’ve been a troublemaker. A troublemaker who has outsmarted anyone that gets in the way.” Randal took a look back, giving her an eye. “You can do it. I believe in you. Plus, knowing you. You wouldn’t even show up to the wedding.”

    Snow was left in silence. Randal rode up towards the left side of the castle entrance, where a blind spot also contained a waterway to the west garden.

    “We are here, your highness.” Randal hopped off the horse and then offered her a hand.

    Snow looked down at him; he had a confident grin. That stupid grin Randal would make right before they would do something stupid but it somehow always worked out. Snow’s frown was deterred.

    “A little late, I may have to find a new driver.”

    “Hey! I got here fast!” Randal instinctively retorted, breaking the theatrical display.

    “Ha!” Snow jumped off the horse at Randal. Randal clumsily tried to catch her before they both crashed into the waterway.
     
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  5. Threadmarks: Chapter 5 The Last Supper
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ Five ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆

    The Last Supper

    The family dining room had a plethora of servers whose trays of steaming food danced and swirled around the table. Everything from chicken, vegetables, greens, and potatoes was served. The elegant table was set and was ready to seat up to twenty chairs. However, only five chairs were arranged. Gravis, Lussuria, and Lilly were sitting. The head chair, as well as Snow’s seat, was empty.

    “Where is Snow at?” Lilly innocently questioned, looking at the empty chair, nearest the head.

    Gravis shrugged, “Maybe she’s training or something.”

    “That is very much unlike Snow,” Lussuria commented.

    “What do you mean? She’s been trying hard recently. She’s just fed up with having no luck with the frost.”

    “Snow is not a fighter. I learned the sword faster, and I am a mage. Combat isn’t her thing; it’s like putting a block in a circular hole.” Lussuria joked.

    “Like my puzzle toy?!” Lilly asked.

    “Yes, Lilly.”

    “You are wrong, Lussuria,” Gravis said in Snow’s defense. “Snow is incredibly clever. She even picks up other weapons quickly. The issue is that she has no discipline or the will to fight people. I bet she would beat you if she put her heart into it. You should know firsthand what Snow is capable of, considering she saved your hide in Vulcas.”

    “I suppose you may have a point.”

    A tea cart rolled in, being pushed by Lamille.

    “Snow will be here soon,” Lamille answered for Snow’s empty chair, not before muttering something under her breath.

    The doors of the dining room opened. The Queen entered, backed by her butler Brutus. Their mother approached the head chair of the table, to which Brutus pulled out the seat for her. All the girls rose from their seats and allowed their mother to sit first.

    “Where is Snow?” The Queen looked to Lamille. Lamille looked nervous.

    “She should be in her room. I will fetch her-”

    “I’m here.” Snow entered with her formal outfit and quickly slipped into her seat, “Sorry I’m late. I was just… meditating.” Snow gave her mother a smile.

    “I understand. After weighing the gravity of our conversation, I suppose meditation would be required.”

    “What conversation?” Lilly asked.

    “A private one. Now, moving on. I have to tell you girls something.”

    Lamille began serving everyone’s personal plates, starting with the Queen.

    “I am leaving on a trip tomorrow.”

    Snow’s eyes flicked towards her mother’s lips. This ‘trip’ must be the thing Randal mentioned about going to the elven capitol. Snow wondered why.

    “A trip, where?” Snow asked.

    “The elven capitol. Elf Queen Lourissa has declared a regional emergency.”

    “Regional emergency?” Lamille questioned instinctively as she served Lilly her plate. The sudden outburst was unlike Lamille, “Sorry, Your highness.” She resumed her serving duties and returned to the cart.

    “It’s okay, Lamille. You can speak freely.” Queen Deamonia leaned back against her chair, looking right at Lamille. “You are the main person that I am speaking to. I don’t know why but Queen Lourissa has called forth every leader of Lucredia to make attendance. She claims that the great forest is in imminent danger. Do you have any idea why that is? None of my Mages can figure out what the problem is. Albeit we can’t go into their deeper forests without a guide.”

    Lamille turned her head in thought, her violet eyes focused on the space in front of her.

    “The only issue that would merit such a call would be if a sage tree was in danger or the great tree itself.”

    A subtle smirk appeared on the Queen’s face.

    “Do you believe that is the case? You used to be a guardian of a sage tree.”

    “Hard to say. I no longer have a connection to my sage tree anymore. So telling from here is impossible. Dea, please, let me go with you.”

    “No.”

    “I used to be a sage. I can help!” Lamille’s concern with her homeland was reasonable but dismissed by the Queen.

    “Taking you with me is unnecessary.”

    “But!”

    “Warden Flora will come and cover my absence, but there will be a window of time before she arrives back from her duties. So, I need you here, on watch for that period of time.” The Queen took a sip of wine before sparring Lamille a pressing glance, to which Lamille surrendered.

    “Very well, I understand…So, do you think Lourissa is lying?”

    “I don’t know. I will learn once I arrive.”

    Once the grand meal had been served and eaten, their mother looked upon her four daughters.

    “When I am gone, there are new rules.”

    The sisters all looked at each other and then at their mother.

    “Rule, number one. Do not call upon the frost while I am absent.”

    Lussuria and Gravis nearly jumped at the same time.

    “What?!” They harmoniously said together.

    “Mom, that is unfair. How will I be able to practice my new spells?” Lussuria questioned in objection.

    “Yeah, Mom, I’m getting a good handle on mine. I will be delaying good practice!” Gravis piggybacked off Lussuria’s point.

    Snow glanced at her two standing sisters. Gravis and Lussuria seemed to agree on something for once.

    “Do not question why. Just do not use it while I’m gone. I will not repeat myself.”

    Lussuria and Gravis sighed.

    “Well, what of Lilly, mother. Lilly can not control her activation.” Lussuria questioned with her arms open. Lilly was already playing with her cup of juice, which was freezing with each swirl.

    “Lilly is fine. That rule was for you and Gravis.”

    Lussuria and Gravis sat back down in sullen harmony.

    “Fine.” - “Fine.”

    Their mother looked at Snow.

    “Snow. You may continue to train on yours. However, no sneaking out from the castle grounds. I can not guarantee your safety when I am not present during your cloaked adventures.”

    Snow gave a surprised look that she only ended up shaking her head.

    “Alright, mother.”

    “I would like each of you to look out for each other, and don’t forget our values. Lastly, assume the order of the crown’s succession is that of age.” The Queen said while spinning her fork against the plate.

    “Succession? Mom, where is this coming from?” Gravis questioned.

    “Just a precaution, that’s all.” The Queen looked away for a moment.

    Snow caught it, her mother’s eyes, eyes that had more to tell but no voice to do so. Then, finally, the Queen finished her topic with:

    “That’s all I have to say. The trip will last just a few days.”
     
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  6. Threadmarks: Chapter 6 The Queen's Gambit
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    Six

    The Queen's Gambit

    The next morning.

    High Queen Deamonia stood on the main road just outside the castle alongside her shadow, lotus agent Arthur. The street held dozens of soldiers, mages, and royal guardsmen. The blocked-off citizens yelled greetings and blessings to the Queen of Regalia.

    A carriage pulled up, trailed by about two dozen knights on black destrier horses bearing her lotus banners. The caravan also held some of the noblemen and servants of her court. The driver of the lead carriage was Randal, a young horse handler whose father was a known beastmaster. The lead carriage opened, revealing a butler who wore an old fashion gothic long coat. The butler had a sharp, white beard along with greying hair.

    “Your highness, are you ready to depart?” Brutus held the door open for Deamonia.

    The regional emergency meeting, which also played the part of a glorified ambassador meeting, brought the queen discomfort and distrust. Deamonia was a warrior, politics was not her preferred suit, but she was smart enough to know that fighting with words would always be better than fighting with swords. However, the Queen must handle this meeting delicately as it will be a battle of discussions.

    “Yes. Let us go.” The Queen of frost stepped into the carriage, followed by Brutus. Arthur hopped onto the driver’s bench and sat next to Randal.

    Brutus peeked his head out the window, motioning to go, and the caravan took off. The sounds of powerful horse hooves echoed off the road as the High Queen’s caravan departed Regalia.

    High Queen Deamonia gave the appearance of impatience,

    “How long until we get there, Brutus?”

    The butler sat across from her, sitting upright and statue-like, replied:

    “Please, your highness, the trip to the Valsayan ancient grove is two days from the Regalia kingdom by caravan. Furthermore, It has only been twenty minutes.”

    “I should have taken a horse there myself. I would have been there in less than a day.” The Queen remarked.

    “Yes, you could, but you need to show the people who are leading them, and coming here with your entourage establishes the awe-inspiring presence that we will need.” The butler smiled.

    Deamonia pouted like a child.

    Brutus analyzed her mood.

    “Besides, the insect kingdom needs extra time to get there since they live on the opposite end of the country. So please use this time to relax and let us go over the inevitable topics that will be discussed during the meeting.”

    “Fine, whatever.” Deamonia kicked off her shoes and leaned back, throwing her feet up on the opposite bench. She unhooked her armored bust and chest garment, gaining some much-needed slack. “That’s much better. Gods, I despise dresses.”

    Brutis shut his eyes for a moment before he responded, “you cannot look brutish, or they will take you for a brute, your highness. Now then, let us begin with the main topic...”

    The caravan had ridden west on the main travelers’ road for almost a day with few stops until breaking north towards the forest’s edge. The Elven Forest appeared in the distance just past the icy hills.

    Brutus looked at the frost queen; she was asleep. They had a long history together. It felt like yesterday when she had just started leading her group of warriors and rescued him from his old master’s yoke.

    She was the only guardian figure he had in his life. He stared at her face. Deamonia did not age; besides the scars and white hair, she looked the same. She used to be his caretaker. Now, it is time for him to watch over her. The only reason he pushed for the caravan was not for the image or any other silly reason than protection. Brutus knew the state of affairs of every kingdom. He knew nothing good could come out of this meeting and something was amiss. He would not see her come alone.

    Brutus’ finger inched towards one of Deamonia’s out-of-place hairs when suddenly-

    “WATCH OUT!” Randal yelled as Brutus and the sleeping frost queen were thrown to the side of the carriage. The carriage made Almost a ninety-degree turn, and a massive explosion rang behind them.

    They were not stopping. The carriage kept riding, speeding up as more explosions went off while the carriage shifted left and right violently. Some knights yelled as if they got caught in the explosion. The Queen had woken up confused. Brutus put his head out the window to see what the hell was going on. He looked back to see huge boulders three times the size of their carriage littering the road; some had blood splatters underneath. The culprits were wild giants; there were a lot, about twelve of them on the upper hill overlooking the highway. Randal yelled, commanding the caravan following his reigns: “Keep riding toward the trees!”

    Lotus agent Arthur was shooting fireballs toward the giants towering over them up the hills.

    “I did not expect her to be this bold. Unfortunately, it looks like you were right, Brutus.” Deamonia leaned back with her arms crossed. “Gods damnit. She will have the perfect excuse if I use my power here.”

    The carriage shifted and dodged more until they reached the forest’s edge at the end of the highway; fallen trees completely blocked the entrance to the great forest. Randal had no choice but to turn off the road down the steep hill.

    “Hang on!” Randal yelled. The carriage was bouncing and breaking, almost flipping over with each swerve. Brutus and Deamonia had to hang on to keep from flying around, the carriage barely dodging spiked trees and rocks, all while the barrage of meteoric boulders was not seizing. The carriage came inches to flipping over with each turn.

    There was a river below. Randal tried his best to pull control of the panicked horses. When control was yielded back to Randal, one of the horses tripped, and the carriage flipped over, breaking off the horse yokes. The Queen’s carriage tumbled down the hill and crashed into the icy river below.

    When Brutus came to, he was at the bottom of the river. The river floor felt like gravel, fishes swimming past him. It was dark but peaceful. Then, the floor started getting farther and farther away, he looked to his side, and the Queen was holding him and Randal. Randal was unconscious. Brutus found it hard to move from the impact of that crash. The Queen appeared to be unscathed. Her grip was cold, and her blue eyes pierced through the darkness. Deamonia kicked off effortlessly as she swam them up to the surface with inhuman speed.

    They emerged from the water to see about half of the knights ready to jump in after them. “THEY’RE OVER HERE! the knights ran to them and helped pull them out of the water. “Are u ok, your majesty?” they questioned the Queen.

    “I’m fine!” Deamonia replied in anger.

    The rest of the knights and mages were fighting the giants, and some were getting eaten by them. The giants were seemingly immune to magic. Whatever magic attack they got hit with seemed to just get absorbed. These knights were specially trained in both magicry and swordsmanship and still seemed to be losing terribly. The biggest of the giants picked up the carriage horse that had tripped and broken its leg and bit its head off, munching loudly. Daemonia laid Randal down on dry land next to Brutus and called for Arthur.

    “Arthur!”

    A mirage manifested next to her, revealing Arthur.

    “What is your order?” The lotus agent awaited an order.

    The Queen looked to Randal, who was still unconscious, and then to the giant swatting her knights away like flies. She had to make a choice.

    “My daughter would never let me hear the end of it if the boy dies.”

    “Got it.” Arthur summoned a large flame in his palm and began to strip the soaked clothes off Randal’s body.

    Deamonia looked to one of the knights that were on standby.

    “Give me your sword.” Deamonia commanded the knight. He obediently handed it over as she yelled, “everyone on me!” She charged uphill at the giant, trailed by all her knights.
     
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  7. Threadmarks: Chapter 7 The Frostblade
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ Seven ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆

    The Frostblade


    Snow entered her mother’s bedroom. The empty room still brought a looming sense of authority with its luxurious crimson bed, ornate decree-topped desk, and huge woodland-stained glass windows.

    In the corner of the room was a magical work desk of which her mother was an obsessive user. A blade of pure ice laid upon it. The weapon glowed in subtle harmonizing pulses as Snow approached the table. This Frostblade was supposed to be a gift for Gravis. However, to Snow’s understanding, this weapon did not work properly; when wielded by anyone that wasn’t their mother, the blade would react violently. Snow was mesmerized by the unusable weapon that was no different from a glorified shard of ice. Snow reached out to touch it before her hand paused. She pulled her hand back and moved it to the drawer underneath.

    Snow grabbed the drawer handle, staring at it. This was the moment she had been waiting for. Snow had no idea what would be in this drawer, but if there was a chance that it could unlock her power, then she had to look inside.

    The wood screeched open as her eyes dove in. Inside the drawer was a stack of papers. On the very top was a list.

    Candidates
    Snow Regalia (?)
    Gravis Regalia (C)
    Lillith Regalia (Em)
    Lussuria Regalia (E)
    Flora Alburn (Me)
    Aela Rikheart (Cm)
    Genesis Sylvian (Ce)
    Genevea Sylvian (E)
    Isabella Drakos (Me)
    Yami Steelbinder (E)
    Sarah Ptahil (M)
    Underneath the list was a large brown book. It was heavy and worn. On the very first page, there was a massive symbol.



    [​IMG]

    Snow began flipping through the book.

    1539 c6 6new seal maintenance, ring 3.
    1540 c1 2tuned seal ring 4, good condition.
    1541 c7 9maintenance check, good condition, no action required.
    It appeared to be a logbook. The rest of the logs were similar entries. Snow flipped to the newest page; a recent entry was written one week ago.

    1545 c5 12magic hemorrhaging noted, seal is weakening, no explanation upon further investigation, the seal seems to be losing power. Cause may be directly related to the sporadic decline of magic in regalia’s magika ley lines. May be connected to the increased growth to several sage trees in the great forest. Will question Elf Queen Lourissa on the matter.
    Snow had no clue what this seal was supposed to be, but the fact that her mother felt that making the journey to the elven providence to find out information about it amplified its mystery.

    Snow went to put the stuff back when she heard a creak from the drawer. Snow paused, lifted the log book, and placed it down again. The drawer creaked again. Snow put the log book on the bench and shoved her hands into the drawer, digging her fingernails in the bottom corners. The bottom of the drawer shifted before popping up, revealing a false bottom. Hidden underneath was a black leather book.

    The book gave Snow a bad feeling. It felt evil in every sense of the word, tempting Snow to leave it alone. However, If flora was right, this should tell her how to unlock her frostblood.

    “Screw it.”

    Snow grabbed the Black book. She held the book only for a second before her fingers grew paralyzed. The book dropped to the floor as the world started to spin. Snow nearly collapsed to the ground. Her stomach curled as she felt a deep sickness that made her want to throw up. After a moment, she recovered, but it still was not pleasant.

    When Snow looked at the ground, the book was open. She cautiously tapped the book with a finger to see if it would make her sick again. Nothing happened, Seems she was in the clear. Snow examined the book. It had diagrams of the human body, and each diagram had a different part of the body coated in crystal. At first, the sketches had cool-looking features; some had muscles, and others had icelike armor.

    “Wow. This is amazing.” Frost abilities filled this book.

    Then, Snow’s expression slowly morphed into horror with each page flip. The diagrams eventually replaced the crystalline ice with blood, bones, and flesh. The enhanced humans were now inhuman monsters.

    “What is this?”

    The evolution of the monstrous drawings eventually devolved into a featureless black figure. The figure oozed black substance and was chained at the depths of the page. The imprisoned being was clawing at a rune towards the top of the page.

    Snow immediately recognized the rune. She grabbed the log book and opened it to the first page, placing the two books side by side. The rune was the same.

    What did this all mean?; The rune that matched both books. The monstrous depiction of those with their power. The fact that her mother was hellbent on her activating her frostblood. Snow had more questions than ever before.

    “Formation! We are under attack!” Snow heard a yell from the hall.

    Snow dropped everything before running to the doorway. She took a peep and saw the guards fighting black figures, the exact black figures from the book she had just read. She quickly closed the door and locked it.

    Snow needed to find a place to hide. She ran to the bed and was about to slip under it when she felt a chill hit the back of her neck. Snow spun around to see the frostblade glowing. Icy weapon shrank into a shortsword, forming its own scabbard and everything. Snow ran up to the blade. The blade’s handle smoothed out as if inviting her to grab it.

    The door of the room banged repeatedly. Snow did not have time to lag around. She needed a weapon, so she decided to risk it. Snow wrapped her fingers around the blade handle, bracing to be skewered. But, after a moment, nothing happened. In fact, the blade’s handle felt more comfortable the longer she held it, as if the blade was shaping for her fingers.

    Snow heard inhuman noises outside the bedroom door and ran to her mother’s bed to hide underneath it with the frostblade. Snow settled underneath and waited for what seemed like an eternity before feeling a draft underneath her.

    A hatch was underneath her.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2022
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  8. Threadmarks: Chapter 8 The Secret of the Regalian Kingdom
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ Eight ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆

    The Secret of the Regalian Kingdom

    It was pitch black. After feeling the walls, Snow came up to what felt like an iron door. She put all her body weight into pushing it. Finally, the door screeched open just wide enough where she could fit through it.

    Now, Snow found herself in a strange tunnel. A streak of blue light came from the end of the passage. The corridor itself looked nothing like a castle hall. Wooden support beams held up the walls and ceiling. Rusted swords and abandoned ballistas littered the floor. Snow cautiously stepped through this abandoned tunnel towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

    The corridor led Snow to a large chamber with massive silver pillars that formed a swirl around its center. The center of the chamber was indented and had a magnificent floating rune. The rune was ginormous, and at a closer look, Snow’s ears began to ring slightly from its humming energy. The rune had multiple rings, each with a different pattern of lines and symbols. Snow immediately recognized its similarity to the picture she saw in her mother’s log book and that monstrous black book.

    For all Snow’s uncertainty, one thing was sure; she did not belong here, and this rune was not to be touched.

    A door screeched open on the other end of the chamber.

    Snow hid behind one of the silver pillars.

    “Do you feel it? It is here.” A deep voice echoed from the other end of the chamber.

    Cloaked figures walked into the runes’ light and began to surround it. Their cloaks were unordinary; the light caused the veils to change to an iridescent color.

    “This is it—the world seal. Left guarded by mere sentries. The queen is a fool.”

    “Keeper, how long will this take?”

    Snow peeked from behind her pillar. A tall knight in black armor spoke to an old, frail-looking man wearing one of the colorful cloaks.

    The old man observed the rune.

    “This… far surpassed my expectations. This seal is by far the strongest seal I’ve ever seen. It uses a combination of multiple ancient formulae, each ring with a more complex algorithm than the last. I thought it would simply hold a simple pocket of energy, but no, it’s sealing an astronomical amount of frost magic! If we open this, the sheer pressure would probably kill us all. Amazing!”

    The sheer power of the seal gave the old man more happiness and curiosity than fear. Did they really intend on opening such a thing?

    “Get it done. Break the seal.”

    Not good.

    A bright red light formed under each mage as a runic symbol materialized underneath each of them. The old man pulled out a stone sphere and began to levitate. The orb shot a magic beam into the rune.

    “Key is already overheating. Increase support input by thirty percent! We can not let the key break, or the seal will reform!” The small, frail man yelled at the casters in an old strained voice.

    The ‘key’ looked like a simple stone orb.

    “Internal temperature lowering. The key has stabilized.” The floating old man said in strained satisfaction.

    The humming from the rune increased in intensity before the outer ring of the seal shattered.

    “First seal is destroyed!” The old man proudly declared.

    A distortion formed underneath the rune, and a white mist began to seep out.

    “Keep going.” The tall black knight demanded.

    “Frost energy is leaking. Make sure you stay stabilized on the chosen frequency.” One of the support mages added.

    After a minute, a deafening screech started rippling out from the rune; this one cracked the ground. Snow covered her ears. She felt like her head was going to explode. All heard the sound of shattering glass; The mages destroyed the next ring.

    The distortion turned into a small rift. A snowy wasteland faded in and out as a freezing cold from the rift. The temperature in the room dropped drastically, even making Snow shiver.

    “Air essence leaking from the rift. It seems you were right. The anti-magic cloaks work.”

    “The golden one would never lie.” The black knight commented back.

    Snow didn’t know what to do. If these people took out the royal sentries, how would she stand a chance against them? There must be some way to stop them.

    Footsteps echoed into the chamber. Everybody immediately grew quiet.

    It was Lamille.

    The knight in the black armor drew his weapon and pointed it at Lamille, who was barely standing in the light.

    “Do you truly wish the world to end? What is the goal of this plan of insanity?!” Lamille yelled.

    The black knight only reacted with a calm declaration.

    “That answer is simple. Freedom.”

    “Wait…You are a black knight? How did you escape?!” Lamille radiated with both shock and fear.

    “The gold one has blessed me with freedom.” Black tar dripped from the knight’s armor, and his neck and limbs grew inhumanely. He was quickly forming into a horrific figure. “I long for frostblood, but I guess yours will do, elf.”

    “Third seal is about to break! Once the third ring breaks, the rune will no longer be able to self-sustain!” Everyone in the chamber heard the status update from the floating old man.

    Lamille glared at the old man and then at the black knight. It was now or never.

    The black knight charged at Lamille like a dog, dragging his sword behind him.

    Lamille’s green hair extended to her feet, brown lines formed all over her body, and a crown of wood grew from her head.

    “You face a sage, dog!”

    The black knight pounced at her.

    Lamille slid to the right, aided by a gust of wind. The black knight’s blade smashed at the ground a foot away, missing Lamille. The knight turned to his left. Lamille had her palm up inches away from his face. A swirl of wind ran down her arm before she blasted the knight towards the left side of the room. The knight smashed into the wall, breaking his neck, and fell to the ground motionless. Lamille then turned her attention to the mages around the rune, pointing both her hands up at them.

    “Protect me!” The old man commanded. All the mages surrounding the seal ran past the old man and put up a line of defensive runes. “She’s an elven sage. Use counter runes for her wind magic.” The old man commanded, and all the defensive runes turned near transparent.

    “Stop your ritual now, or I will kill you all.” Lamille gave them a single warning.

    “And how would you do that? You are far from your little tree, sage. All you have is magic.”

    Lamille’s face scrunched further in anger.

    “Fatally incorrect.”

    All the mages heard a burrowing noise underneath them.

    Multiple roots shot out of the ground, stabbing the mages through their runes and impaling them to the ceiling.

    The only one left was the old man, who was still floating. The third ring was brought to a deafening hum.

    “So close, damnit!” The old man turned his attention back to the seal to finish it.

    Lamille stepped forward and began summoning another root under the old man. The root shot up and paused just before hitting him.

    Lamille was interrupted by the black knight. The black knight was back on her and had his sword impaled in her gut. It all happened in an instant.

    “Delicious.” The black knight was absorbing Lamille’s blood through his sword. His body grew slightly larger. The crown of wood began to darken and crack, and the lines on her body faded. Finally, Lamille fell to her knees. The knight leaned up to her face. “Your strength merits your guardianship of this seal. However, defeating a black blood would take a lot more than a sage.”

    “I... don’t need... to defeat you,” Lamille uttered before she reached forward and grabbed his chest. “Sothra Sil, save those hearts who are fleeting, at the cost of my own beating!”

    The fading lines on Lamille’s body flashed green as a new root exploded from the ground around the black knight, wrapping around him tightly like a cacoon, forming a miniature tree. Lamille ripped her hand from the bark and stumbled towards the old man. Beads of sweat dripped from her face as her skin began to pale. Lamille fell to the ground.

    “That didn’t go too well for you, did it? I, Runic Master Targhon, will still break this world seal!” The old man shouted over the deafening screech.

    A blue flash flew past the old man, severing his hands off.

    “Ahhhhhhhh!” He cried in pain and fell to the ground. Snow was just in front of him, holding the frost sword. She bent down and picked up the orb key.

    “You’re right. It’s over.” Snow declared as the old man balled up on the floor, cradling his hands.

    “Good... Job... Snow.” Lamille uttered, barely able to hold up her head.

    “Lamille!” Snow began running to Lamille when suddenly, the wooden prison exploded, and the black knight emerged out, stepping in between them.

    The knight’s tar-like substance oozed over his wounds, closing them.

    “My senses have deceived me. You are the threat which I smelled.”

    The key was no longer channeling, but it began glowing gold. The black knight reacted with slow and menacing laughter. “I never knew such a child was possible. You are more abomination than me!”

    Snow looked at the glowing key and then back at the knight

    “I will not allow you to destroy the seal.” Snow pointed the frost blade at the black knight. The knight stopped at the display of it.

    “Can you slay me?” The knight hung its neck to the side, far past the breaking point of a normal human body.

    Snow could sense the gaping abyss that was his hunger growing larger and larger. This ‘knight’ was not human in the slightest; not just because it was beyond human form, her body sensed a level of dread that her mind refuted was possible.

    “No, I’ll just settle for saving my Kingdom.” Snow looked to Lamille, Who was watching from the ground. “Goodbye, Lamille. Thank you for everything.”

    Upon hearing that the black knight reacted violently, he dashed forward, leaving a tar path behind him. Snow leaped backward, avoiding its crutches by mere inches, and disappeared into the rift. The rift closed immediately after.

    “NO!” The knight cursed in anger.

    The seal regained most of its third ring back. The room was dead silent, leaving only the trickling corpses, a crying old man, Lamille, and the black knight.

    The black knight turned to Lamille.

    “You will pay.”
     
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  9. Threadmarks: Chapter 9 The Frost Realm
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆ Nine ❆ ❆ ❆ ❆

    The Frost Realm

    This cold was unlike anything Snow had ever felt. Frostblood are naturally resistant to the coldest temperatures, but this? This cold was biting, and she found herself shaking uncontrollably. A frostblood’s blood was incapable of freezing, or at least that’s what she was told. That fact was now under scrutiny. The worst came when a gust of wind blew, which felt like millions of tiny razors gliding across her face and hands.

    This place was strange; besides the obvious issue of the temperature, there was no sun, and the sky was more white than blue. A forest was in the far distance ahead and an endless plot of ice rolled behind.

    Snow began her journey towards the forest.

    As Snow cautiously stepped, trying not to slip on the ice, she could feel a slight vibration with her feet.

    Snow had an unending amount of questions, questions that were forcefully pushed to the back of her mind as her main goal was finding shelter against the elements.

    Snow continued on until the vibrations slowly increased in intensity. The vibrations shook the ground like a slow heartbeat. Snow looked around once more and saw in the very far in the distance behind her, a figure. It was way too far to discern any features from it.

    Snow shrugged it off and continued onward.

    The closer the forest, the less of a barren wasteland this place was. The landscape became more natural the closer she got. However, the thudding vibrations on the ground were still growing stronger. Snow glanced back again and saw that the figure was slightly taller, but it was still a pin when put against the horizon.

    After a few more minutes, the ice she was steadily walking on was now coated in a light layer of snow, allowing her footing to have more grip. The frostblade she had at her side began to vibrate too, causing her to stop.

    “What is going on?” Snow turned back around and peeled her eyes at the figure behind her. She needed to know if that figure was really getting bigger. After twenty seconds of watching, Snow saw it was getting bigger.

    “What is that?” Snow tried to discern what it was before a realization caused her eyes to widen. The figure was not getting bigger…

    It was getting closer.

    Snow turned heel and began to run towards the forest. The forest, which should have been a ten-minute walk, now had to be a one-minute sprint. Every time she glanced over her shoulder, the figure behind her doubled in size. She was still partially on the ice, and with every other step, she nearly slipped.

    The ground boomed with ferocity with each step. The thing behind her was catching up fast.

    Puffy piles of snow were scattered around on the border of the forest. Snow ran past them before swerving around, jumping inside one of them.

    The ground boomed as the giant monstrosity exploded through one of the piles. It was thirty feet tall. It’s flesh was mostly ice with a few patches of skin. It looked horrific, It’s bones and organs could be seen through the icy flesh. Even half its face was gone revealing a part of its skull. The only describable word was: an abomination.

    “EEEEEHHHHLLLLLAAAAAAAAAA!” The thing roared.

    Lucky for Snow, she blended in perfectly in her white pile. The giant wandered around for a second, and just when it looked to lose interest, it turned and slapped its hand down on a pile. The pile exploded as a flower of crystalline ice erupted from it.

    The giant walked up to the next pile and did the same thing.

    The giant was looking for her.

    With each slam, Snow flinched. It was only a matter of time before the giant would find her. She had the frostblade from her mother’s room, but that thing was a giant monster. The only option was to flee. However, Snow found that she couldn’t move.

    The giant slammed down on the next pile. There were two left in between them.

    (“Why can’t I move!”) Snow gritted her teeth, trying to move, and she couldn’t.

    The giant slammed on the next pile. Snow could feel her bones shake from the vibration.

    Only one pile was between them now.

    Was it fear? The cold? The crystalline ice tore through each of the piles in what would be a painfully efficient way.

    The giant stood right in front of Snow’s pile now. The giant held its hand in the air, casting a shadow over Snow.

    Then, nothing happened.

    The giant screamed before crying in pain. Snow could hear a tearing noise. The giant turned around, revealing bones growing from its back. The bones were engulfed in ice and were tearing through it’s flesh, leaking blue blood. The giant tried desperately to reach at its own back, spinning around repeatedly before stomping away.

    After some struggle, Snow finally got up off the ground.

    The forest was just in front of her.



    The trees here were more prominent than the ones back home, and there was a surprising amount of wildlife here. “How is this possible?” Snow looked up from the base of a tree. The birds that sat in its branches had blue eyes, similar to those of a frostblood.

    The strange forest had now grown into a thicket. The trees were very close together, and a sea of bushes made seeing around her nearly impossible.

    As Snow treaded through the sea of brush, noise rattled around her. She came to an immediate pause.

    (“Great… what now.”)

    Snow lowered herself to not be seen. Multiple bushes shook all around her. Growls followed; it was a pack of wolves.

    When trying to be quiet, you tend to notice the small details, the environment, where the noises are coming from, and each step you take. For Snow, she noticed that each step she took was a challenge; sticks and twigs littered the ground. If she wanted to build a fire, this place had all the wood she needed, but she couldn’t be here at a worse time. Watching her every step, she moved through the area away from the sounds of the wolves. She was nearly in the clear when one of the noises started moving fast towards her. She braced herself for what it was.

    The creature popped out of the bush towards her left side. What sprang from the bushes wasn’t a wolf but a fawn, probably what the wolves were hunting. The fawn was frightened and sprinted, stepping on every single stick and bush it could possibly step on. Snow cursed to herself as the wolves started barking, and she could see lines of bushes move in her direction.

    It was time to run again.

    The forest started running downhill into a dark section. The only indication of daytime was the few rays of light that eluded the branches and leaves. Snow left the thicket and got behind a tree watching the area she just came from.

    A dark wolf emerged from the bushes in search of her. The sniffing canine came close to picking up her trail, but it turned and went another direction.

    Snow breathed a sigh of relief. Another close call. This place was no joke; there was danger around every corner. She continued her journey downhill until red eyes appeared in front of her, then to her left and right. The eyes growled and circled around her.

    Snow pulled out the frostblade from its sheath. The frostblade began growing; it grew more extended, and the blade’s tip was slightly curved. The sword didn’t feel any heavier. In fact, it felt a lot more balanced. So how was it able to transform on its own? Perhaps because it was her mother’s own creation.

    The wolves were almost her size, she had to be ready for the attack, or she could die here.

    Snow started to freeze up again; she couldn’t move her body. Fear took over.

    (“What is wrong with me?!”)

    The wolf in front charged at her first.

    Snow finally snapped out of it and readied herself.

    The wolf jumped at her, and Snow threw herself to the right, swinging widely. The ice blade cut into the wolf’s side. Upon landing on the ground, the wolf whimpered and did not get back up.

    “Yes!” Snow celebrated her hit but not a moment later, she turned her neck to see the other wolf mid-air with its fangs aimed at her face. She dropped the sword and put her arms up to protect her neck as the wolf crashed into her. Both she and the wolf tumbled down the hill together. The world spun around and around until they hit the bottom. She wrestled the wolf in her dizziness while it snapped its jaw repeatedly at her face. The sharp canine teeth snapped inches away from her face every half second. Its breath smelled like death, and its saliva was dripping all over her.

    Snow’s adrenaline kicked in, and she found new strength. Finally, after some struggle, she managed to kick the wolf off her.

    Snow only had a second to find her sword; it had slid down the hill with them and landed a few feet away. Snow quickly crawled towards the weapon sticking out of the ground when the third wolf sunk its teeth into her boot, pulling her back and tugging her away.

    “Ah! Get off me!” she rolled on her back and pulled her leg back against the wolf. Unfortunately, the wolf was stronger, and she felt herself being dragged. Snow threw a few kicks at the wolf’s face, which resulted in the third wolf releasing her.

    Snow turned to back to her weapon and crawled to it again. But unfortunately, the weapon was still too far, and the second wolf was already about to be back on her.

    In one desperate stretch, snow threw her hand out to reach for the sword.

    The sword vibrated in response and flew to her hand.

    It surprised her at first, but Snow wasn’t going to question it. Instead, she turned to the side and held the blade up like a pike. The wolf pounced at her, and while the canine was mid-air, the blade grew into a new shape, a long spear, to which the wolf took a mouthful. Blood splattered on Snow’s face and clothes as the weapon poked out the back of its head.

    The third wolf she had kicked in the face came around and bit into her arm. Snow cried out and began to punch the wolf in the nose repeatedly while it gnawed on her arm, refusing to let go.

    “Let go, bastard!” The wolf yanked her arm, trying to rip it off like a hunk of meat, dragging her with each pull. As she was trying to punch it off, Snow felt a strong urge from something. The urge was so overwhelming she couldn’t ignore it.

    (“The sword”)

    Snow looked at the frostblade that was in the form of a spear. The other wolf was skewered through it, so the weapon appeared unusable. But when Snow’s fingers wrapped around the handle, the blade snapped off, and ice grew from it, forming a new weapon; a small dagger. She drove the dagger into the other wolf’s neck. It whimpered before going down and releasing her.

    That was the last wolf.

    The battle was over. She survived.

    Snow laid her head down and caught her breath before pushing the wolf carcasses off her. She heard movement above her on the upper end of the hill. The first wolf with the wide slash across its side was still alive. It growled at her before running away, leaving a trail of blood.

    Snow got up, limped to a nearby tree, and rested her back on its trunk. She looked at her bloody forearm. The wolf got her good.

    “oww,” The wound was exposed to the cold air. Snow could see that her frost blood was trying to heal it, but it was struggling too, and it was painful. Something about this place was slowing her healing considerably. She didn’t have the knowledge or materials to stitch her arm close.

    She did what she could, using a makeshift bandage with her arm sleeve, and followed the blood trail. The torn shirt was already saturated with blood. “There’s gotta be shelter somewhere,” Snow figured while trailing the wolf.

    It was starting to get dark, and nightfall was approaching. Snow was feeling woozy, she needed to rest, but she needed to find a safer place. She followed the blood for what seemed like hours. The birds were no longer chirping, and the critters were nowhere in sight anymore. It seemed like she was all alone and there was a very ominous feeling. It was like the day was disappearing and taking all life with it. As the sky got darker, there was faint screaming she could hear, it was so soft enough that she didn’t know where it was coming from, but it started getting louder.

    As it got darker, the land started changing. The trees were getting darker, and the soil was becoming black. Something was clearly wrong as the land was submerged in darkness that wasn’t just from the lack of sunlight. The frigid cold was turning into a blistering force that felt like it was eating away at her skin. She quickened her pace.

    The darkness was all around her, and unlike the wolf’s presence, she felt she was being watched from every direction. Horrifying screaming was heard from beyond her vision as whispers fillied her ears.

    Just what the hell was going on.

    She finally caught up to the wolf she was following; it was dead. This was bad; it didn’t make it back to its den. Snow tried to calm herself down because this was not the time to panic. Where was it going? What is she going to do? Snow examined the carcass and saw the wolf dragging itself in a specific direction. She noticed a suspicious hole around some rocks in the distance that must have been its den. The wolf dragged itself to death, attempting to make it to shelter; that must of meant staying out here was certain death.

    Snow rushed towards it. The screams were getting louder and louder. The whispers in her ear were now understandable. They were saying:

    “Run…”

    “Run…”

    “Run…”

    The cold was actually hurting her now. Tears that dripped down her eye started to freeze before they dropped off her cheek. She felt her frozen hair tapping against her back as she pushed herself to move. The leaves and the tree trunks around her started to freeze into solid ice. Snow pushed her legs as fast as they would let her. The freezing ice encroached on her from all sides. The entrance to the cave was right in front of her. Death was closing in all around her.

    A few more steps and she would make it.

    A few more steps, and she would be able to jump inside.

    A few more steps and she would be safe.

    A few more steps and she would live.

    Snow dove towards the cave opening.

    She hovered in the air for a moment, frozen in time.

    Something grabbed her leg.

    Snow hit the ground, and everything went black.
     
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  10. Threadmarks: Chapter 10 The Death of Snow Regalia
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    ❆❆❆❆Ten❆❆❆❆​


    The Death of Snow Regalia​


    [Snow]
    Snow couldn’t open her eyes anymore. If she did, she could see nothing. She felt as if she was encased in lava, her body, locked into place. Breath escaped her. All she could do was lay there and writhe until the rhythmic count of time paused into nothingness. Snow was floating in space with nothing but her last thoughts.

    Gravis, Lussuria, Lilly, Randal and Lamille. Her sisters, close friend, and caretaker came into her thoughts. No doubt they would miss her, and she would as well. But, the calming memory of their past turned her last moments into that of peace.

    “She is dragging this family down.”

    Then, her mother came to mind.

    “You contribute nothing.”

    Her mother, even now, refused to let her be.

    “I do not love you.”

    Snow’s peace was shattered. She grew angry, not at the fact that she was about to lose everything but that her last memory would be of her mother.

    The anger converted itself into energy. Snow commanded her legs to push and her arms to pull. She didn’t even know if she was moving. Her sensory feelings were all unreadable, but still, she forced herself. Expending everything she had into trying to crawl forward. Her sense of direction was lost, orientation scrambled, she didn’t know which way was forward, but forward she pushed.

    She had to live, if not for love, then for spite.

    The suffocating grasp of death was dragging her towards the abyss. She scoffed and pulled back against it.

    “Forward.”

    Her thoughts fizzled.

    “Forward.”

    Her body made a corpse.

    “Forward.”

    A corpse that only knew one thing.

    “Forward!”

    Then, her body actually felt like it was actually moving.. around.. really fast.. She started rolling downward. The pain was succeeding a lot, so she could finally think again. The spinning feeling ended with a big crash as Snow’s head slammed against a hard wall.

    “Oww.”

    Snow could now separate pain from reality. Breath filled her lungs, and she could open her eyes. Something wet swiped at her face, and air could be felt.

    Was she being licked?

    Snow’s eyes were open, but she couldn’t see. Her vision was black. When she tried to move, it took all her energy just to shift an inch. She was forced to lay there as whatever was licking her began pushing her.

    (“Great, all that effort, and now I’m going to die to some animal in a cave.”) Snow thought to herself.

    Snow couldn’t resist or move; she was at the complete mercy of whatever this thing was. While she was being pushed, she heard the scraping of stone. It was then that she realized most of her body had been encased in ice as whatever pushed her was now lying on top of her. The ice on her slowly melted, and the searing cold receded. Then shockingly, Snow felt something she had never felt before, it felt like a mild burning sensation, but it wasn’t hurting her. On the contrary, it felt nice.

    Her thoughts soothed, her eyelids shut, and she drifted asleep.




    It was a beautiful day in the brand-new garden. The sun was shining, construction noise filled the air, and the whole area was full of life. A new kingdom was being built under the garden view. The new Kingdom of Regalia, being built by several races under one lotus banner. Doves were unafraid as they ate the feed on the ground. Snow sat on the fancy garden bench, swinging her legs and watching the beautiful birds gather, only to fly away when a small Gravis jumped on top of them.

    “YAA, I got you now!” The doves flew away as Gravis tried to reach out and grab them from the air as the birds slipped out of her reach.

    “Come now, Gravis, let the birds eat.” A white-haired woman holding their newborn sister chuckled. Their mother had tired eyes but was happy.

    “But I want to hold one!” Gravis stomped her feet, watching them fly away.

    “You must be patient. Here, observe.” The mother said before motioning to Snow. “Snow, open your hands.”

    Snow opened her hands as her mother poured some seeds into her palms.

    “Good. Now, hold it out and wait.”

    It took less than a minute for the doves to flock around her. Snow’s eyes widened as the doves landed on her hands and arms as they ate some of the seeds.

    “Wow, mommy, look!” Snow said as the doves were landing on her. Even when no more seeds were in her hands, the doves didn’t fly away. It was like she was a part of nature.

    “Give me some seeds. Let me try!” Gravis cried out.

    “Ok, ok, here, open your hands.”

    Gravis impatiently held her hands to the air, but no doves flew to her, only flocking to the feed that spilled on the ground.

    “Why aren’t they coming to me!” Gravis pouted in anger.

    “Dear, you just have to be calm. Here, sit in between Snow and I.” The mother replied,

    Gravis squeezed in between them on the bench.

    “Here like this.” Snow said with a dove on her head, motioning at Gravis. Gravis held her hand out, and one by one, doves came to her hand. “Woowww, this is so neat!” Gravis squeaked out.

    The mother leaned back and closed her eyes for a moment, and just like a switch, the baby started to cry, seemingly waking up from its sleep. She held the baby closer to her bosom and fixed the thick blanket that wrapped around it in an attempt to warm the infant.

    “Mommy, why is Lilly always crying,” Gravis asked.

    “It’s because she’s cold.” The mom looking down at her baby, said

    “Why is she cold, mommy? It’s not cold at all.” Gravis, confused, said

    “You and Snow are used to it, but Little Lilly isn’t yet. I wish she could be warm, but I could only make her warm for so long, she will get used to it, though, and when she does, she won’t cry anymore.” The mother, with tired eyes, spoke with a kind voice.

    “What does it feel like to be warm? Brutus says its the opposite of cold, but I never felt it.” Snow innocently questioned.

    Gravis jumped off the bench.

    “I heard being warm feels like your body is on fire! But not a painful fire.”

    “Well, Brutus told me warmth is in the heart. Mommy, try putting her closer to your heart!” Snow suggested.

    The mother smiled at her innocent children.

    “Well, you’re both right.” The mother smiled, humming, while rocking the crying newborn in her arms.

    “Mommy, why aren’t we normal like the servant’s kids?” Snow asked.

    “It’s because we are special, dear. When you are older you will understand.” her mother’s smile turned into a frown.

    The infant started crying louder and louder as their mother rocked her, with increasing motions.

    “But mommy, why can’t Lilly be warm even though she’s special. It’s not right to let her cry like that. We should do something!” Snow declared.

    “Lilly is lucky to have sisters as caring as you both. Yes, you're right, Snow, how about this? You and Gravis get some more blankets and baby food from Brutus and meet me at the living quarters. Let’s see if we can make her more comfortable.”

    Gravis grew excited and agreed, “Yeah, Snow! We got to help little Lilly stop crying! Come on, let’s go find Brutus!” Gravis pulled on Snow’s hand, and they both ran off towards the hall to begin their mission. Snow glanced back at her mother one last time before entering the castle. Her mother smiled, but her appearance was contradicted by the tears falling from her eyes.




    When Snow came to, she rubbed her eyes, and vision returned to her. The walls of the cave were coated in gold-glowing moss. A stream of light fluttered in from the entrance, and her body was… a playground for several small fawns and cubs? They were jumping all over her.

    “Hehee, hey!” Snow recognized one of the fawns that would have been wolf game if it wasn’t for her. It must have followed her all the way back here, she reasoned.

    Snow could feel the breathing of a larger animal lying down right behind her, almost spooning her. After realizing she was awake, the animal got up, stepped around the fawns and cubs, and sat next to them. The animal was a large majestic deer with gold markings all over its body. It seemed to be the protector of the small animals - and of her, apparently.

    “So, it was you who was warming me last night.” The elegant deer, seemingly understanding, bowed its head in response. The fawns and cubs were still playing on her, craving attention, and she couldn’t help but laugh as she gave them what they wanted. While Snow was playing with them, she noticed her arm was completely healed.

    “Okay, okay.” Snow got up and stretched, cracking almost every bone in her body satisfyingly. “Ahhh yeah, that’s so good.”

    Snow saw her frostblade in the corner where she crashed into coming in here. Looking down at it she remembered how the magical weapon came to her during the battle. There was no way it actually did that, she thought. But… just to be sure, Snow held her hand out.

    “Come!”

    The sword rattled and flew to her hand. She gasped before shouting with excitement.

    “I knew it was me!”

    After a short celebratory jump, Snow sheathed the weapon. Even though she still couldnt activate her frostblood, she was able to call the frostblade. She looked up the tunnel, at the fluttering light, and made her exit.

    Snow emerged out into the blinding sunlight. She paused to let her eyes adjust, and in doing so, the sounds of nature rushed into her ears. Birds sang their cheery songs, creaks flowed freely, and critters scurried about. It seemed so peaceful. The trees, leaves, and rocks were no longer iced over as if the previous night had never happened.

    Snow felt different; she no longer felt cold, and even the stress of being here had withered away in her mind. She looked at herself. Her hands and fingertips had very faint golden lines that slowly faded away. She reached down and grabbed a handful of snow. She weighed it in her hands and was surprised that it didn’t feel cold or harmful at all.

    “What happened to me?” Snow didn’t feel the same. Instead, she felt calm and, more importantly, stronger. Her body had changed, and so did her mind. Something in her mind that felt like a constant weight was no longer there.

    The cold of this place was no longer a problem for her, at least the daytime cold. She had a plan of action: first, she would look and see if there were any civilizations or people here. Then, she could see if there was a portal or something to return home. Reassured that she wasn’t just floundering about, she set off, full of vim and vigor.

    As Snow was exploring the forest, she was piecing together what she knew about this place. “So, at night, the temperature drops abnormally, and then suddenly it’s normal in the morning?” The temperature change was too abnormal to be natural. There had to be some magic involved. The lines on her body were another thing she had no clue about. It didn’t look anything like frost power. She remembered the same lines that appeared on her when she touched Warden Flora back in Regalia.

    After some exploring, Snow saw a small rocky mountain in the distance. That was the perfect place to get a good view of the landscape. That was her destination. She could survey the land from there and see if there are any towns nearby.
     
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  11. Threadmarks: Chapter 11 The Sacred Grove
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    Eleven​


    The Sacred Grove​


    [Deamonia]
    The vast ancient grove was both surrounded and centered by the roots of the great elven sage tree. The roots served as walkways, waterways, and bridges. The sky of the grove was filtered by green leaves that extended far beyond the grove. The ground was carpeted with lush grass, diverse vegetation, and flora of all types. The bundle of natural diversity that was the sacred grove represented the protection and natural affinity that the elves stood for.

    Elven workers took buckets of water from the streams, and others worked in the fruit patches in various areas around the grove. Deeper in the grove, higher-status elves and scholars were shuffling about.

    Deamonia’s entourage trotted in and was received by many elven servants and some ambassadors awaiting them. The soldiers were decimated, their armor worn and bloodied, their horses shared between each other, and their faces covered in mud and fatigue. Elven servants swarmed all the knights, greeting them and helping them off their horses.

    Queen Deamonia was seated on the lead horse and was greeted by a familiar face. “It’s good to see you commander- I mean.. My Queen! Apologies, My Grace,” the girl bowed her head.

    The frost queen dismounted her horse and greeted her shy friend. “I’m glad to see you look well, Geneve. I haven’t changed. You may still refer to me by name.”

    Geneve smiled with relief. “Well, I’m glad you feel that way Dea. But I can see your caravan doesn’t look too good. What happened out there? Where you attacked?”

    The frost queen glanced at her entourage of soldiers and nobles. “Yes, giants attacked us on the border pass, and a few of my knights met an avoidable end.”

    Geneve looked surprised. “Oh... I’m sorry... I don’t know how that’s possible. The giants are usually passive.”

    The Queen stepped closer to her friend and started whispering to her. “Listen, Geneve, I put you as warden of this zone for a reason. I need to trust you. You have to tell me everything you know. I will keep my promise; I’m working on it. I just can’t do it when issues like these blow up in my face.”

    Just then, A very mannerful gentleman appeared in front of them, speaking clearly and precisely. “Lady Deamonia, I’m glad you could accept our request and come with such swiftness.” The man looked toward the caravan. “Run into a little trouble, did we? I will have the healers look into them at once.”

    “Don’t worry, we have mage healers... And you are?”

    The man looked surprised and then adjusted himself. “Apologies, I realize you don’t visit very often and, therefore, don’t know who I am. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Hescor, Queen Lourissa’s loyal advisor and first ear.”

    Deamonia eyed him up and down, then replied, “Very well. Yes, thank you, my men are weary. Where can we set up camp?”

    “We have already prepared quarters for your group; the west side of the grove just before the sage tree behind me. There is also food and refreshments there,” the advisor replied politely, “Anything else they may require, they can request from any of the servants there. As for you, Lady Deamonia, you may rest in the sage tree’s royal quarters as a gesture of goodwill from Queen Lourissa.”

    “That’s ‘Your Highness’ to you.” Brutus stormed up to him. “Better show your queen some respect, Hescor, or you might lose that tongue.”

    Hescor gave a simple smile.

    “Why, of course. My apologies. Please, forgive me, Your Grace! Why it felt as if it was only yesterday when you were galloping up here to unite us all. Hard to forget that day. Isn’t that right, Brutus? I remember you were such a weed lad, always sneaking about gossiping to your former master. How is he these days? I forget which master had claimed your ownership before you disappeared all those years ago.”

    “Are you speaking of Master Heldagaurd, whose head was fed to the crows? Or, perhaps, Master Kreal, who died in the mountaineer siege? Oh... I think you mean Master Hescor Forwood, who is currency serving as Queen Lourissa’s Loyal Advisor and first ear who otherwise would have faced trial if not for the protections bestowed upon him.”

    “I forget Kreal left you in my charge right before he ran off to support Radan. Our time was brief but fun, to my memory. I still wonder who sprung you from your cage.” Hescor smiled devilishly.

    “You conniving little-”

    The frost queen cut them off. “Brutus, you can have a chat with your friend later. I have a camp to set and business to discuss.”

    “Right. Of course, Your Highness. Apologies.”

    Brutus glared at Hescor, who only appeared amused.




    The Frost Queen’s group settled into their camp. The knights were either sleeping in their tents or gathering around the fires talking with the elven servants. The human nobles spoke to the elven natives, and some of the mages were paired with the local mages sharing their work. It seems the frost queen’s group was the first to arrive. There were three other groups on the way: the angelic, insect, and mountaineer.

    The Queen was alone in the camp’s main tent with Warden Geneve and Brutus.

    “So, Geneve, mind telling us how the hell wild giants came to attack us on the border along with them having magical resistance?”

    The direct question caused Geneve to stutter and scratch her ear nervously. “Well- that’s.. cuz.. maybe.. I don’t know! I’ll have to investigate further. But I do know they’ve exhibited some… rather suspicious activity. That’s all I can say-for now,” Geneve looked nervous as she bowed, her eyes fixed on the frost queen, but her mind clearly somewhere else.

    “What’s the problem, Geneve?” the frost queen pressed.

    Brutus interrupted with a cough.

    “My Queen, maybe some of this will come to light at the meeting. It’s the safest bet. We just got in, let’s relax a bit; I think that would be for the best.” He motioned with his eyes, and the frost queen caught on.

    “Very well, you may take your leave Geneve. You can relax in our camp if you like. I bet some soldiers would love to talk to you again.”

    “As... As you wish, my Queen.” She bowed once again before leaving the tent.

    Brutus quickly picked up on Geneve’s dialogue, and now the Queen knew too. They were being watched.

    At the entrance to the grove, servants were shuffling around to receive the next entourage, “Let’s go, let’s go, get those refreshments ready! Greeting girls, move it!” The head servant was yelling orders. The servants were ready to receive the next group. A single angel with green eyes was walking into the grove. His face was straight, his posture was perfect, and he walked slow and with a sense of nobility. He radiated what looked like white magic that almost distorted vision. He had a slight smug look about him. He looked around before being received by Hescor, who went to introduce himself.

    “Hello, allow me to introduce myself; I am-”

    “Hescor, Queen Lourissa’s hand, or dog, yes, we know. Why wouldn’t we when you stamped the letter yourself.”

    Hescor was caught by surprise by that remark.

    “Ah, yes, of course! Someone of the angel race would fully assess the situation and be prepared.” He smiled devilishly. Hescor then looked behind the angel, seeing where the rest of his group was.

    “Are you scouting for your group? Rest assured that it is safe several kilometers from the sage tree,” the angel said with his chin up.

    “My name is Michael; I am the representative of the Angelic Civilisation.”

    “You are a representative? Forgive me, but it’s just that this meeting was for the leaders-”

    “This meeting is a meeting, and I am all that’s needed to see our wishes voiced. If anybody else were to accompany me, it would have been a waste of valuable resources for us. Therefore, the first angel entrusts me with his word, and so shall you.”

    “Yes, of course, forgive me, Sir Micheal-”

    “You may address me as Angel Micheal, ‘Sir’ is a lower life form title and would have been insulting had I not been aware of your ignorance.”

    “Forgive my ignorance, Angel Micheal,” Hescor bowed, “We have prepared quarters for your entourage, but seeing as it is just you representing the leadership, you may stay in the royal quarters.”

    “I expect nothing less.”




    Daemonia sneezed. Brutus looked up at her before giving her his handkerchief, “Pollen? My Queen.”

    “No, more like angel dust.”




    Hescor kneeled before the great sage tree, at the elven throne and the Queen sitting upon it. He gave his report.

    “Twelve magic immune giants, and still she lives without disrupting the forest?! How is that possible?! Did she not use her power?!!” she slammed her hand on the rooted throne’s armrest.

    “My Queen, based on the stories the knights told, she led them perfectly, spearheading all the giants and changing their formations just before every attack. As a result, they defeated the giants without the use of the frost.”

    “This just goes to show that, even without her power, she is a huge threat, a threat you severely underestimated, Hescor. Now, I hope you’re taking steps to cut the loose ends out of your failed plan.”

    “I’ve already dispatched the bone hunters to locate and kill the only surviving giant.”

    Queen Lourissa leaned back and looked up, her eyes staring carelessly at the branches of the sage tree.

    “See it done because if she finds the giant before we do, it will ruin everything.”

    “On my life, my queen, I swear it.”

    Queen Lourissa tapped her fingers on her throne.

    “Deamonia, Deamonia, what are we going to do with you?” she whispered, “You’re keeping a close eye on the warden, correct?”

    Hescor opened his hand; a misty green light showing Geneve appeared.

    “Yes.. very close. Thanks to that spell from the golden mage, we have her under control. Don’t worry, she won’t utter a word against us.”




    Randal, the young driver, was lying down on a cot, wrapped in several blankets in the medical tent. Still recovering from slight hypothermia after the ambush on the border. Deamonia entered the tent looking for him. “Randal.” Randal shifted himself, trying to get up.

    “Your majesty-”

    “Stay down.” She halted him as she took a seat at the foot of his cot.

    “Listen, Randal, I know from experience that couldn’t have been easy.”

    “Yeah, But it was no excuse for failing. You could have died. I’m a failure of a driver, I’m sorry.”

    Deamonia smiled and patted his leg,

    “Oh, Randal, it was quite the opposite in my eyes. I’m here to thank you, any other driver would have gotten us killed before we got to the water. You have special talent. Your reining skills already echoes your father’s. I even thought he was the one driving us for a moment.”

    “Also,” she leaned into his ear to whisper something, “Brutus is also putting on a few pounds, so driving would be more difficult, right?”

    Randal’s grim face cracked into a smile.

    They both began to laugh.

    Deamonia decided to sleep in her camp instead of the royal quarters; she already distrusted Lourissa. The grove then fell into quiet darkness and went to sleep. The only things heard were the various wildlife of animals and birds.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2022
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  12. Threadmarks: Chapter 12 Wolf Hill
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    ❆❆❆❆Chapter Twelve❆❆❆❆
    Wolf Hill​

    [Snow]
    Getting to the rocky hill proved more difficult than Snow anticipated. Danger revealed itself once again as a cacophony of demonic howls emanated from all directions. So she proceeded with caution, careful not to make too much noise, and kept her hand on the handle of the frostblade.

    Heightened attention turned to anxious alert when the howling turned into growls. The quick padding of canine paws and shifting snow came in from behind and fast. Snow jumped behind a tree. She was not confident in her ability to hide against these beasts. If she simply stood here, they would probably find her again like the previous day. There had to be a better place to hide. Her eyes scanned the ground, around her, and then at the tree in front of her. Her eyes traveled up the tree in front of her as an idea formulated itself in her head. Without delay, she grabbed hold of its low branches and climbed up to hide.

    A group of black wolves ran under her tree. There were far more than she would have imagined - at least thirty. A miniature army of teeth and claws rushed by. All of them were black wolves of the same kind that attacked her yesterday. The sea of wolves was supplemented with the surrounding noise of even more charging past from the trees left and right. All running in the same direction - uphill - followed by the sounds of barking and fighting.

    Getting to that rocky hill suddenly seemed exponentially more dangerous than it was worth. However, if Snow didn’t find a town or village before the next nightfall, she would be in trouble again. Snow considered returning to the cave.

    No.

    Snow needed to press onward. She couldn’t waste any time, and who’s to say that wolves wouldn’t come to the cave.

    She continued to wait in the branches, watching as wave after wave of dark wolves ran by. This was no good. She would be sitting here all day at this rate. Snow shifted around and looked at the area ahead. There was a slim creak followed by patches of brush. There were fifteen seconds between each wave of wolves. She reasoned that if she was quick enough, she should be able to make it to the creak in time…

    Snow planned her route and waited for an opening.

    Okay, after this one…

    The next wave of dark wolves sprinted by. Snow dropped from the tree and darted towards the creak.

    She slid into the creak and laid in its bed.

    The next wave of wolves ran by. The wolves jumped over the creak and her, subsequently. After the wave, Snow scrambled to the patches of brush a couple of yards up. She sat and waited as the next wave ran by.

    This forest felt like a huge hunting ground. But it was the only place she could go through. So she planned her path and maneuvered again to another patch of brush.

    The edge of the woods came into view, and Snow could now see the problem. White wolves were sprinting downhill, charging into the black wolves. These two packs were fighting each other on the forest’s edge. It was like a miniature war: the white wolves were running down from the rocky hill ahead, trying to stop the dark wolves from entering the area. But, these dark wolves were very ferocious. A single black wolf was taking on two to three white wolves. Soon the white wolves were losing ground and being pushed uphill.

    Snow stood low, trying to slip in between the wolves fighting each other. She made a lot of progress and grew confident enough to dart from tree to tree. She could get closer than she realized. The wolves were wholly focused on battling each other. Snow stopped on one of the last trees when she heard a snap. She inched to the right, taking a peek ahead. A huge white direwolf was slowly moving around, sniffing the ground. It was so close to her that she could almost reach out and touch it. The only reason it didn’t see her was that its right eye appeared blind from a large scar. The wolf had to be at least four times her size. It was sniffing closer and closer to her, picking up a scent. The dire wolf then pounced into the bush right behind her, ripping a black wolf out from the brush and flinging it into a tree. The grey direwolf howled and then charged into the fighting. The white wolves rallied around the direwolf and pushed back against the dark wolves.

    This was a sight to see, an organized battle between animals.

    The direwolf changed the tide of battle. The white wolves advanced forward and began killing the dark wolves, mercilessly ripping them apart. It wasn’t long until the dark wolves initiated a retreat. A retreat that was made folly for most. The white wolves were now picking them off and hunting each down one by one. Even the wolves that were submitting were being killed on the spot.

    Snow was able to advance as the battle got pushed downhill.

    The rocky hill was actually a miniature gorge with a frozen river at the bottom and stone-level-like steps on the sides. Each of the steps had cave-like openings, revealing a bunch of tunnels. After a few minutes, Snow realized she was being watched. On every level of the gorge, on the left and the right, white wolves were watching her traverse by. Snow’s steps came to a halt when a shadow loomed behind her. She turned and found herself face to face with the same direwolf from before. The direwolf was backed by several of its pack, giving her a menacing growl. Snow realized where she ended up: she had stumbled into the center of their home, and she was, most definitely, unwelcome.

    Snow was livid. Not just at the direwolf, but at every damned thing that had happened. The constant chastisement she received at the hands of everyone - death included - angered her. Her inability to protect Lamille, her world and herself infuriated her. Now, being stared down by a wolf? That was the final straw. She returned a glare right back at the wolf, issuing challenge to it. This direbeast was clearly the head of the pack, and its gaze only seemed to get meaner. It snarled, revealing more of its teeth.

    “Do something, then!” Snow stormed right up to the direwolf, nearly touching faces. The smaller wolves surrounding her paused at the sudden reaction. Even the direwolf did not expect that; it shifted back a step in reflex.

    Snow maintained her fix of anger on the aggressive direwolf. The direwolf’s growl came to an end as it sniffed her. Its primary focus was the bloody cloth still wrapped around her elbow from yesterday. After that, it sniffed her clothes around the bloodstained areas. Then, the wolf turned back to its pack, giving them a low bark before running to the hill where the battle had been taking place. The other wolves followed suit.

    Snow couldn’t believe that had just happened. She shrugged it off and began to climb the steps of this short rocky gorge. Each step had caves where she could see wolves resting inside. None of the wolves appeared aggressive to her. They casually watched as she climbed to the top.

    At the top level of the hill, there was a small patch of about three small trees and a stone pen indented into the ground that had a small tunnel. Snow stepped into the pen before taking in the view of the land.

    This place was huge.

    Forests took over most of the land, but there were distinct natural landmarks. There was a deadened black forest to the west, tall plateaus to the east, and many interweaving rivers to the north. The southern area where she first appeared was a ginormous unnatural patch of ice, with tall ice-capped mountains just past it.

    Perhaps the most obvious thing that stood out was magical tornados that centered on each of these landmarks. Based on the pulsating color and dance of the winds, they were clearly the result of magic. Snow figured if she came in through a portal, then perhaps one of these magical tornados may give her a clue or just outright allow her to escape back to her world.

    *bark* *bark*

    Something nibbled at her ankle. It was a small wolf pup with white fur.

    “Aw, hey, little guy.” Another pup came out of the hole to assist its sibling with the assault. Snow reached down to pet it as it tried to take a snap at her. She quickly retracted her hand. “I guess you’re mad I was standing in your pen, my bad.”

    Its mother was probably out hunting or fighting. Snow stepped out of the pen, and the pups kept barking from inside.

    Snow’s new goal was now to check out that mystical tornado. That may be the key to her escape. The nearest one wasn’t too far from here; it was northeast, near the center of all the landmarks.
     
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  13. Threadmarks: Chapter 13 The Thrill of Battle
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    ❆❆❆❆Chapter Thirteen❆❆❆❆
    The Thrill of Battle​

    [Snow]
    The ground around the tornado was coated in ice, similar to the area she entered this world from. The air from the typhoon was intense, and its temperature was freezing. As Snow stared at the dancing winds, its blue light reflected off her face, and the frostblade at her side vibrated stronger and stronger.

    Snow approached the tornado wall and saw someone on the other side, her mother.

    “Mom!?”

    The figure of her mother just stood watching her from behind the tornado wall. Snow ran up to the wind wall and touched it with her hands. When her fingers made contact with the wind, golden lines flashed across her arms. The wind of the tornado felt like a solid wall, but Snow was able to push into it.

    The wind wall was a few feet thick with shards of ice, and debris flew along, slicing past her the further she went in.

    “Mom! You came for me! I’m coming!” The tears on her face were being supplemented with more and more blood. The image of her mother was the only thing in her mind as the debris scraped over her clothes and skin.

    Snow’s head emerged on the other side of the wall, and the rest of her body followed suit.

    She crossed over.

    Now past the whirlwind of death, Snow’s collapsed to the ground. Her body was cut up, her hair was uneven, and her clothes were tattered. Her fingers squeezed the ground. She felt soft grass.

    When she looked up, she saw where she was at. She was in the eye of the tornado, but it was beautiful. Flowers were growing all over; it smelled like spring.

    “Mom?!” Snow called out. But, There was no one else here. Only her.

    Snow pulled herself together and stood up. She noticed a rock formation in the middle of this tornado’s eye with a faint light streaming down it. The light fed into a small rift in the sky that contained stars and darkness. The rock formation itself was weirdly shaped and rather large. Around the rock formation was a ring of symbols on the ground, similar to that secret seal in regalia.

    If the two were similar, perhaps this could be a way back?!

    Snow quickly ran up to the glowing symbols indented onto the ground. When she got close, the rock formation began to shake violently. The pile of rocks was combining into something big. Snow backed up and watched as it constructed itself into a new form.

    It was a stone golem.

    This golem must have been the source or protector of the tornado’s power. It had two legs, two arms and towered over her. Golems, to her memory, harbor a rune somewhere on their body that acts as a control mechanism. It might shut off the tornado if she turned it off or broke the rune. Snow examined the tall golem and wondered if it was hostile.

    The golem slammed both its arms down in her direction, but she jumped away in the nick of time.

    It was hostile.

    Snow drew the frostblade.

    “Alright, I can do this.”

    The golem unleashed a magical screech as it started to stomp toward her.

    Snow could feel the frostblade’s power as it was growing into a new shape. She wondered which form it would take. The blade shortened and thickened into a…

    Simple shortsword?

    Snow’s thoughts were interrupted when the golem launched itself at her. She rolled to the right as the arm slammed the space she was just standing in.

    Snow took off and ran around the golem while examining it. It had to have some weakness, and she already knew what it was; Between its joints were ball bearings that blatantly radiated frost magic. If Snow stabbed into them, she had the feeling they would break. So that was her plan of attack.

    Snow stood in wait as the golem rushed towards her again. She kept her nerve and stood still. The golem made a similar attack as she predicted, and Snow hopped to the side, avoiding the slam of its arm. She yelled as she lunged at the golem, thrusting the frostblade into its arm joint.

    When the sword made contact, it got about an inch in, as far as snow could physically push. Then the sword blade exploded in length, penetrating deeper into the joint.

    “Woah!”

    Snow twisted and ripped the sword downward as hard as she could. Finally, the ball bearing broke, dropping half of the golem’s arm to the ground.

    “Yes!” She celebrated.

    The golem, in response, screeched lower as it swung at her. Snow scrambled backward, avoiding it. The golem continued its assault as Snow continued to dart back and forth like a roach, trying not to be smashed.

    Soon, its attacks began to repeat, and Snow immediately noticed. She no longer darted back. Instead, she charged forward and dodged with close calls: Left, Right, then under. Her heart was pounding. She didn’t know if it was adrenaline or a death wish. On the contrary, there was somewhat of a thrill that had formed inside of her heart. She didn’t know why but she didn’t feel fear of this enemy. It was, in fact, the opposite. She daresay she was having fun. The thought that any attack from this giant could kill her only increased her focus instead of diminishing it.

    Snow knew she was capable of beating it. She felt like a child poking a lion with a stick. The challenge of defeating an opponent five times her size and a hundred times her weight only made her want to conquer it more. She didn’t need frost power to dodge the attacks, and the sword did all the work. She had everything she needed to win. She focused up. She stood dangerously calm, dangerously focused.

    “After this spell of three attacks, it’s going to go for that overhead slam." One good thing about fighting this massive golem was that she didn’t have to worry about swordplay. She literally just needed to dodge and stab the weak points. She held the sword like a dagger and jumped away, spinning. When the golem’s arm hit the ground for the overhead attack as she predicted, Snow was already mid-air and drove her sword into its joint. The blade made contact by an inch and then exploded in length, just like before. She ripped the joint off and its second arm fell.

    “Is this what battle is?” A grin formed on her face.

    The fact that she was only a tiny figure compared to this golem, and yet she was capable of maiming it to this extent, exhilarated her.

    The golem had two half arms now. Now it was time to disable its legs. With explosive confidence, Snow yelled at the golem.

    “Come on, is that all you got?!”

    She was never weak. She was just fighting the wrong way the entire time. Trying to rely on a power or technique was the wrong way to go about things. If she knew the extent of her opponent, she could use whatever attack she wished to get the job done, power or no power.

    The golem fell back and rolled upside down before standing again. Its half arms were now half legs. A horizontal line cracked across its stomach as it spun like a spinner toy.

    “Woah, you can do that?”

    The spinning death came her way. This was new, Snow didn’t know how to dodge this yet, and it came at her incredibly fast. She crossed her arms in a block as it slammed into her, sending her flying into the tornado wall.

    The wind wall felt solid when she crashed into it. The shards in the wind cut into her back. It felt like she was getting slashed by countless whips before it flung her back in. Snow fell to the ground panting.

    “That.. was nothing.” She gritted her teeth and replied, more to comfort herself than to declare a fact.

    Stomping boomed, and when she looked up, the golem ran right at her. Snow prepared herself, and the golem used the spinning attack again. Snow was in the same predicament. If she couldn’t avoid it, then... She looked at his spinning arms and tried to jump.

    She mistimed it and got sent flying into the wind wall on the other side of the area. Whatever advantage she thought she had quickly got reality checked. She couldn’t feel pain anymore, but she knew there was a lot of damage, another hit, and she might die. She counted herself lucky; nothing was broken.

    “Come again, you big idiot!” Snow yelled out in anger.

    The golem did the spinning attack again as if to answer her taunt.

    Snow gritted her teeth. She couldn’t lose focus. She couldn’t track its arms anymore as they were moving too fast, maybe its chest? Her eyes ignored the arms and looked to the chest. The upper half of the chest spun. It was a lot more trackable than the arms. She counted on it.

    “3..2..” Snow jumped,

    and got hit.

    But, she didn’t let go. She was holding onto the golem’s arm, slowly crawling up to the joint while it continued to spin. When the golem realized she was on it, it stopped and began slamming its arm on the ground in an attempt to get her off, but it was too late. Snow stabbed the frostblade into the joint and swung off, breaking off the third limb. The golem collapsed into a crawling state.

    Snow was proud of her work.

    The golem started throwing what looked like a tantrum, rolling all over the ground and rampaging about. Snow thought about how she should finish this thing off.

    She still hasn’t seen its control rune.

    While Snow watched the convulsing golem, something happened. First, the runes on the ground in the center lit up. Next, the golem began to glow blue, and then a dozen fat tentacles started flopping from its chest, swishing around.

    “What in the hells is that?”

    The tentacles all began slamming the ground repeatedly, and ice spikes shot up wherever they slammed down...

    This thing was not going to let her get close.

    “How fun...”

    Getting near it was near impossible now. Eventually, the tentacles started growing more prominent, adding a larger and larger radius to their attacks.

    The exploding ice was too large to dodge, too quick to get past, and there were no openings. The tentacles were causing a mini earthquake at this point. Spikes of ice kept getting summoned and destroyed around itself. She didn’t need the frost power before, but now it seems impossible to get close without it. The waves were getting bigger and bigger. She was forced to back up. Soon, there would be no room inside this tornado to stand.

    Snow tried to think of a plan. She took a closer look at the rampaging golem and noticed a light flicker on the top of its head. It shined for only a moment, but that told her everything she needed to know.

    “There it is.”

    The control rune, it was on top of its head. That was the vital point, but knowing that doesn’t solve the obvious issue of getting past the rampaging tentacles. Snow didn’t want to throw away all the effort she put into this fight. But maybe living to fight another day was the play here.

    Snow glanced at the wind wall and back at the golem. Her eyes calculated the distance between the wind wall and the golem and then concluded.

    “I will win.”

    Snow backed into the wind wall but didn’t leave the tornado nor come back in. She stood in the wind wall. After a moment, she started getting pulled by it. Rising with it Going higher and higher. Before it flung her back twenty feet off the ground in the direction of the golem.

    “Raaa!” Snow landed right on top of the golem’s head, slamming her blade down on the rune on its head. The sword didn’t even have to pierce it. The second the sword touched, it exploded into the golem’s head. Lightning came down from the sky, striking the sword, throwing Snow off to the side as the golem began losing all its color. Snow looked on from the ground. The blade was sticking out of the golem’s head as its futility tried to remove it. Seeing its removal futile, it looked at Snow before deciding to pursue her one final time.

    The golem limped in her direction, determined to kill her. Snow gripped the grass and tried to push herself up, but she found she couldn’t move. There were easily enough bloody flowers around to signify that her heavy blood loss rendered her immobility. Snow watched as the golem got closer and closer. Its light was turning off, powering down with each step until finally, one step away from her, it shut off. The tornado around her died out, revealing a beautiful, spring-like landscape. All the snow had dissipated. And the land around the tornado was freed from its winter coat. She looked up at the golem; its husk was moving closer?

    No, it was tipping over in her direction.

    “Oh, no.”

    Snow held her hand out instinctively to shield herself, but she noticed the sword sticking from its head was in view. If she could summon the sword to her, perhaps she could push it away?!

    Snow focused on the sword. The sword came to her last time. This time she was trying to push it away.

    The golem began to descend towards her. Snow could feel the blood in her arms pulling to her hands as she thought, “push!” Then, the golem slowed to nearly a halt. Snow’s arm was shaking. She could feel the tremendous force; It felt like she was holding up the golem’s weight.

    “Argh!” Snow held it up just long enough to roll out of the way. The golem fell, crashing into the grass a few inches next to her.

    Snow sat on the husk of the golem and focused on healing her wounds. She was healing a lot faster than yesterday. Maybe it had something to do with the tornado being gone. “Well, I won.” She padded the golem husk.

    She tried to pull her sword out, but it was stuck fast into the golem’s head.

    “Nrgg.. give me… my… sword!” Snow pulled as hard as she could on the sword, and it wouldn’t come out. The frostblade wouldn’t break off, either.

    She held her hand and focused on the sword.

    “To me.”

    The sword didn’t budge.

    “Well. This sucks.”

    Wolf howling came in from the distance. The wolves were back.

    “Alright, magic sword, I kinda need you right now.” She started pulling on the sword repeatedly.

    The wolves were running towards her from the tree line. It was the white pack.

    The wolves encroached on her very slowly. First, they started to sniff the destroyed golem’s remains. Then, some began to roll around in the grass and play in it. The direwolf approached. It didn’t look hostile, so she let it walk up to her. Not that she had a choice.

    “What are you-“ The wolf started licking her as more snuck up behind her and began licking the cuts on her back and arms.

    She felt her wounds starting to close a little faster. But she was getting covered in wolf saliva. “Ugh, gross.” She complained. The wolves decided to help her; she didn’t know why, but she definitely wasn't going to turn them down. She looked at the direwolf.

    “Umm, thank you?”

    The ground suddenly boomed.

    She heard loud, familiar stomps. The giant was back.

    “Oh no, not that thing.”

    All the small wolves got startled and started running away towards their home. The direwolf ran a few feet towards the source and started barking loudly at it.

    Snow tried to retrieve her sword again, but she had no luck. She had to leave it behind. The giant came into view and began stomping toward them. The ground boomed with each step. Suddenly, the direwolf ran up to her and laid on the ground in front of her.

    “You want me to get on?”

    Snow grabbed its pelt and pulled herself on top of the direwolf.

    “Ok… go!” They took off.

    “RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!” The giant gave chase. With each step, Snow was almost thrown off the wolf. That, combined with the fact that the direwolf was going nearly full speed, she could barely hold on.

    A weird feeling had formed in Snow’s gut; something wasn’t right. She looked back, and the giant was losing ground. A small line of shadow appeared under them, growing larger and larger. Snow looked to the sky and saw a colossal javelin plummeting down, aimed ahead of them. She tried to get the wolf to stop, but it wouldn’t. She had to get its attention somehow. She grabbed its right ear and pulled hard, forcing the wolf to veer to the right. The wolf growled in anger just before the ice javelin exploded a few feet to their left. The wolf realized what had just happened and gave Snow an eye of appreciation as they rode into the wolf forest, towards the rocky gorge. The wolf forest suddenly went from looking like it was in the middle of summer back to winter. It seemed the summer-like transformation only affected the area around where the tornado was.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2022
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  14. Bohnenpflanzer

    Bohnenpflanzer Getting sticky.

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    -> Your Grace!

    -> Hescor smiled devilishly.

    -> "Nrrgh.. give me...my...sword!"
     
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  15. Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    Thanks for those catches. I added the suggestions.
     
  16. Threadmarks: Chapter 14 An Unforgettable Companion
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    ❆❆❆❆Chapter Fourteen❆❆❆❆​

    An Unforgettable Companion​

    [Snow]
    The dire wolf took them to the top of the rocky gorge. Snow was dropped off next to the pen at the small group of trees. She took a seat on a flat rock with her back against one of the trees.

    “Thank you.”

    The wolf paced off. Snow shut her eyes, nodding off and relishing in the memory of her defeating that big golem. Her dream ended with the voice of a woman.

    “What the hell are you doing here?”

    Snow was startled awake, A woman with a dark complexion, wearing furs and a hood, had spoken. A big butcher cleaver was holstered on her back.

    Snow couldn’t believe her eyes, a living person in this frozen wasteland.

    “A person?! Thank the deities, you got to help me!” Snow pleaded.

    The woman said nothing. Only silently walked past to the pup pen and dropped some meat in it. The small white-furred pups came out and tried nibbling at it.

    “Hello?! Who are you? What is this place?” Snow had so many questions.

    The woman glanced at the direction of the tornado site and then back at Snow, shaking her head in disbelief.

    “What… what is it?!” Snow questioned the silent woman.

    “You were the one who destroyed my seal defense. I find that real hard to believe.” her eyes scanned Snow head to toe. “But, you did cross the wind barrier. Clearly.” The woman pulled out an icy blade from underneath her furs. It was the frostblade.

    “My sword!” Snow reacted to seeing her weapon.

    The woman tossed the frostblade at the ground, the weapon hit the ground before spinning to Snow’s side.

    “So, it was you.”

    Being reunited with the blade made Snow feel happy. It formed its own sheath as Snow fixed it against her waist. “Defense seal? Are you talking about that golem? Why would someone not destroy it, that tornado was destroying the land! Not to mention I didn't really have a choice…” Snow explained herself.

    “Just when I finally catch up on my work, Deamonia’s kid has to come and ruin it. Gods dammit, this is so much more work now.” she mumbled under her breath before walking off.

    “W-wait! How do you know who I am? And I still need help! Please, I just want to go home!” Snow yelled.

    The woman kept walking away.

    “I don’t even know how to get out of here!” Snow begged.

    The woman continued ignoring her. Snow’s pleads turned to that of anger.

    “Hey idiot! Don’t walk away from me! I need help!” Snow grabbed a handful of snow, squeezing it tightly before throwing it at the woman.

    The snowball hit the woman in the back of the head causing her to stop.

    She disappeared.

    Suddenly, A huge butcher blade slammed into the side of the tree right next to Snow's face. The lady standing over her had rageful look on her face. Her hood was off revealing white braids and sliver eyes.

    “You better watch yourself, brat, I have no issue killing children. Even if you're Dea’s kid.” This lady was clearly not having a good day.

    Seeing the woman’s eyes and hair color. Snow grew surprised, “You’re a frost blood!”

    The woman said nothing.

    “Just help me get out of here. You have to know a way I can get back home if you're able to make seals like that!”

    The woman pulled her butcher blade out from the bark and sheathed it, followed by a deep exhale.

    “Fine. I’ll tell you where the exit is.”

    Finally, an exit out of this hell. Snow's eyes widened in excitement, at the thought of leaving.

    “There is no exit to this place, only rifts that occasionally break out, there's one rift that's just appeared east of here in the plateaus. A rift that conveniently opened up as a result of you breaking my seal defence. Once you can walk you need to leave as soon as possible, within the day.”

    “I can walk just fine?” Snow rose up to a dizzy spell before falling back on the rock. “Guess not."

    “Tired? I’ve seen your little bloody arena around my golem. You’ve lost alot, way too much actually, you should consider yourself lucky you didnt turn. Losing blood is very dangerous for a frostblood.”

    Snow hunched over. “I’m fine, I just need a couple of minutes.”

    “Nightfall will come in approximately five hours, best get a move on soon. Take a rest for twenty minutes and then head east, to the plateaus. The rift will be obvious, just jump inside of it.” The woman walked to the outer side of the gorge like she was about to jump off.

    “Well…Thank you lady, can you atleast tell me your name?”

    “No. Goodbye.” The woman slid down the steep incline out of sight.

    Keeping track of time was a guess but Snow would say she rested for probably half an hour. She got up very slowly, she didn’t know why she still felt like dirt. That woman with the huge butcher sword wasn't kidding about the blood thing. All her cuts had closed up, and she felt exhausted. Snow looked over the inner edge of the gorge, at all the steps before smiling with a whistle. Good thing the direwolf listened. It began running up to her. Looks like her furry friend would help her out again. Snow motioned her hand down and the wolf obediently laid on the ground, allowing her to get on. They descended the gorge and headed west, toward the plateaus.





    Snow rode for some time. Until she made it to the base of the plato, where there was an actual town.


    “A town?”

    A more accurate depiction would've been to call it a ghost town. Snow continued down the road through this small settlement. There was not a single soul present. Seemed like these people really liked the angels, each house was headed by an angelic statue or ornament. The very last building was a small church, as Snow rode by she could see someone standing in the window looking at her. It was a young girl who looked just like her.

    “Woah, hold up, Mr. wolfie!” She tried to stop the wolf but it wasn’t listening. Snow lighty pulled both of its ears and it responded to that. Coming to a halt. She dismounted the direwolf and went to check out the church. She knocked on the door and it opened by itself.

    “Hello?!” Snow entered. The church was empty with nothing abnormal about it. The area behind the window was dusty, as was everything else. If anyone was standing there, they definitely would have displaced the dust or left footprints. She must have been seeing things. Snow went to leave and the double doors slammed in her face.

    “What the!? Hello!” She tried pulling the door and it wouldn't budge. The direwolf started barking outside. “Let me out!”

    Snow went up to one of the windows to get a view outside and she didn't see anyone.

    “Snow.” Someone spoke her name, Snow spun around drawing the frostblade. The sword wasn’t reacting. Which she found strange.

    The figure was standing on the altar, now in the darkness from the doors shutting.

    “Who are you!” Snow yelled at the darkness.

    “You can't save everyone, no matter how hard you try. Damnation is the foundation of salvation. One can not exist without the other. Attempt to save all and you yourself will be made to pay the price. Still, that price is too high for one person. It is an impossibility. You will be forced to wade through hell, over and over again, to find the answers you seek. It is a task not fit for the greatest hero, but the greatest fool. Save yourself. The sins of this realm are not yours.”

    “I will do whatever the hell I want! Now, reveal yourself!”

    There was a long pause.

    “I was going to kill you. But, I’ve changed my mind. Do what you want.”

    The doors creaked opened. Snow spun around at the noise, then, back at the altar, which was now in the light. No one was there.

    Snow left the church. Was that her imagination? With all the strange absurdities of the past two days, combined with her exhaustion, it had to be her imagination. This town was abandoned, there was no sign of anyone. It was best not to stick around any longer. She needed to leave.

    The direwolf seemed to be excited at her presence.

    Snow looked up at the plateau, she was going to have to climb it. She looked at the wolf who gave a hearty bark.

    “Well. I guess this is goodbye. Thanks for everything.” She hugged the wolf running her hand through its rough fur.

    The direwolf was ferocious but incredibly gentle at the same time.

    “Alright.. GO!” Snow pointed back where she came from and yelled at the wolf to leave. The wolf surprisingly listened and started running back.

    “Now to get out of here.” Snow started scaling the plateau wall, the wall wasn’t exactly vertical. It was more like a very steep slope. She used her sword as a grip and stabbed it into the steep incline every few steps.

    The sky flickered at the top of the plateau. There was definitely a rift up there, that frostblooded woman was right. The plateau shook and there was a partial landslide, dirt and rock slid past her left and right. She needed to get up there before this plateau was no longer climbable.

    “Not making this any easier are you.'' She held her arm up as a guard for some of the debris.

    Snow reached the top. The rift looked like a portal. The portal gave an image of the kingdom of Regalia. Snow couldnt believe it. This really was the way out. She could even smell it.

    What tales she could tell from her experience here! This nightmare was finally over! Hopefully Lamille and her family were ok. The thought of a bed, and bath excited her. She never thought simple things like that could be coveted so badly. Snow was about to enter when a massive explosion echoed behind her in the distance.

    She turned and saw the area where she destroyed the golem; There was a battle going on. The giant had reappeared and was fighting a person, probably that woman. The giant swung and the tiny figure exploded into trees. The woman clearly needed help. Snow looked back at the rift, back at her home.

    If she left there was no way this rift would still be open.

    (“Save yourself. The sins of this realm are not yours.”)

    The message that figure gave resonated in her mind.

    This place was hell, and she was one step away from leaving it. Her home, her bed, her family, that’s all she could think about. They must have been missing her and as much as she hated to say, she missed them too. So why was this such a hard decision, that woman told her to leave. If she didn’t leave now who knows when the next rift would open if any. If she stayed there was a good chance that she would never return.

    “Ah! I wanna go home.” Snow whined before turning around, “But I can’t let that woman fight that giant on her own.

    Snow put her fingers in her mouth and whistled as loud as she could. Then, she descended the slope, sliding down. It was pretty fun. When she got back to the bottom. The wolf was already seen coming back.

    She mounted the direwolf and rode towards the battle.





    When Snow reached the site, the newly exposed green grass and summerlike image had already been coated in winter again. The giant was laid out on the ground and the frostblooded woman was channeling a spell. The golem that was destroyed slowly began reassembling itself.


    The woman eyed her, “What are you doing? Once I finish this spell, the rift will close. So hurry and get the hell out of here!”

    “EEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!” the scream was followed by the giant getting back up.

    The woman sucked her teeth and mumbled under her breath “Dammit, If i stop now the damage will be irreversible.”

    “Don't worry, I'll help.” Snow hastily replied as she rode up on the direwolf.

    Seeing no other choice the woman sighed “Fine. Just don't get yourself killed. Distract it with Mina until I finish the spell.”

    “Mina?”

    “The direwolf, her name is Mina. Now hurry!”

    “You got it. Mina, let's go!” The wolf barked in response.

    Snow rode off on Mina to intercept the giant.

    The giant looked even more revolting than the last time she saw it. A few patches of its flesh had dropped off its body. Snow stopped just before the giant's path, Mina barked at it to get its attention.

    “Hey ugly! Down here!” The giant had been tunneling its sights on that woman until it noticed Snow.

    “EEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAA!” It's roar was deafening. Even Mina whimpered for a moment.

    “Go girl!” Snow padded Mina’s back and they rode in the other direction.

    The giant gave chase.

    “Alright, just like last time. This should be easy. Just got to dodge the spears…”

    Snow glanced back when the giant’s eyes turned blue.

    “Its eyes are blue?” The giant drove its heel into the ground and Snow felt her stomach drop, she frantically looked everywhere but didnt know what was happening. Not taking a chance, Snow reached for Mina’s right ear and they turned to the right. A ginormous ice pillar shot up just in front of them. They barely swerved around it.

    (“It’s just like Gravis’ emerge ability?!”) Snow was aghast.

    The giant stomped again. Snow clasped her legs tightly around Mina and lightly took both her ears, focusing intently on the ground. She pulled left and right and Mina responded quickly. Pillar after pillar shot up from the ground in front of them as they swerved left and right to avoid them.

    “How can it control ice like this and how can I feel it?” Snow thoughts came aloud as the never ending pillars shot up from the ground. The pillars started emerging in twos, closer and closer until they were riding through an ice passageway.

    “Almost there girl!” A wall was coming up from the end of the passage that was going to block them in.

    Snow had an idea but she wasn’t sure if it would work. She pulled out her frostblade and grinded it on the wall as they rode towards the dead end, The sword started growing like expected until the blade grew into a spear. At the dead end, they stopped. Snow turned mina around and aimed the spear at the towering giant. The giant was now rushing at them.

    “Here is some ice for you!” Snow flung the spear as hard as she could.

    The spear flew in a perfect arc before piercing the giant in the ankle. The giant tripped and slew through the ice pillars right past them, opening the passage.

    Snow held her hand out.

    The spear ripped itself out of the giant and flew back to her hand.

    “This sword is awesome!” Snow gave her appreciation to the weapon.

    The giant was down on the ground.

    “Time to finish it off! Go Mina!” They started riding right at the downed giant.

    The giant’s head was in clear view, it was the perfect shot. Snow aimed the spear, she would finish this thing off here and now. The sword-turned spear was coated in the giant’s blood, the blood was being absorbed by the weapon, forming a new shape; the spear grew longer and had flower-like designs. Snow could feel the power of the weapon. For some reason the weapon was even stronger. When Snow went to aim, it felt more natural than breathing.

    This sword and her were destined to be together, destined to be one. The sword was excited for the kill, and so was she. They were in range now. Even while moving this was a perfect shot. Snow leaned back, took aim, and threw it.

    Or at least she tried too.

    Snow felt her spine tingle, as her body paralyzed. All her senses felt like they got turned off and suddenly Mina crashed into the ground throwing her off.





    Snow stumbled to her feet and found herself in a dark pit full of tar. Thousands of indistinguishable people were trying to crawl on one another to reach the top where a faint golden light shone.


    "What is this?" she looked around, apprehensive and confused. Wherever she was a horrific and unsightly place. Something grabbed at her ankles, pulling her down. Her vision was fading in and out; her body felt heavier. Every few seconds, the giant and the battlefield reappeared in her view, and each time it did, its eyes carried the constant, unyielding threat of pain and suffering.

    The giant picked itself up and roared, raising both its fists into the air before slamming the ground. A wave of crystalline ice, taller than trees, was summoned and roared towards Snow and Mina. Every time Snow tried to move, she found herself paralyzed on top of seeing this nightmarish vision.

    “What the hell!? Why can't I move, what is this?!” Snow tried struggling, but she couldn't break this spell. The wave was going to hit her and Mina.

    A figure flew right over her, straight at the wave of ice. It was the frostblooded woman. The woman slashed her butcher blade straight down the center of the wave, creating an opening as the wave split in two and rushed past the left and right.

    “You ok?” The woman turned to her.

    Snow still couldn't move.

    “I can't move!”

    The woman looked at the giant.

    “I need to disable it,” The woman said as she ran toward the giant.

    The giant took a swipe at her. The woman leaped over the swing and ran up the giant’s body until reaching its back. She took her long butcher blade and slammed it down onto the bones protruding from its back, prying some of them off. The giant screamed as it tried to grab her, but she was too fast. The woman jumped high into the air to avoid the grab. While she was airborn, the giant’s eyes flashed blue again as thin spires of ice shot up from the ground, aimed to skewer the woman. The woman twisted and spun mid air shredding the ice as she fell.

    The woman ended her fall with a slash across the giant’s face, landing with a roll next to Snow.

    “Mina, fetch!” Mina, now up, grabbed the spear-form frostblade and ran up to them. “Down!” Mina got down.

    The woman threw Snow on Mina before getting on herself.

    “Tut tut!”

    They rode off, the echoes of the crying giant getting further and further behind them. Along with the newly formed roaring tornado.







    The lady took them to the top of the wolf mountain where they first met and set the still paralyzed Snow on the flat rock.

    “Am I going to be alright?” Snow asked.

    The woman’s eyes were blue, perhaps she activated the frostblood to be able to challenge the giant? The woman snapped a finger, and Snow gained control of her legs again. The lady’s eyes then reverted back to silver.

    “Thank you” Snow gratefully said.

    Mina calmly walked up to the wolf pen and sat inside of it, the wolf pups came out the hole and laid against her.

    “Oh, so those are her pups?”

    “Yeah.” The woman picked up the frostblade, it was still in its spear form and handed it to Snow this time. “Impressive work, How long have you been using Icebreaker?”

    “Icebreaker? What's that?”

    “That sword, it was made by your mother. It’s called icebreaker.”

    “Icebreaker.. I just started using it yesterday…” The spear slowly transformed back into its sword form. “It just does it automatically, like it has a mind of its own.”

    “Unfortunate.” The woman shook her head.

    “What do you mean 'unfortunate’! This sword is great, it's powerful!”

    The woman turned her head back to Snow, “That was stupid of you. You should have left when you had the chance, now you'll probably be trapped here.”

    “What!? Are you talking about me coming back and saving you?”

    “Saving? I believe it was the other way around.”

    “If I didn’t come back you wouldn’t be able to put up the seal in the first place.”

    “Are you talking about the seal defense that you destroyed?"

    "... I guess, but cut me some slack here! How was I supposed to know that was important?!”

    “All I am saying is that, that was stupid of you not to take the opportunity and leave. That rift is closed and I don’t intend on sabotaging another seal to get you out. So you’ll be staying with me for a long time.”

    Snow smirked.

    “Sounds fun, can we…”

    “Stop. First of all, rules. This is not a game. You will be putting in the work. I am not your caretaker, nor your mother, no crying and no slacking off.”

    The woman looked like she hated the fact that she had to watch her but Snow felt under those tough words a sense of gratitude.

    “Well, sorry. I just didn’t want to leave you alone like that. Would you mind telling me your name?”

    “My name is Aela.” The woman finally gave her name.

    “Nice to meet you, Aela. As you know, my name is Snow.” Snow formally greeted Aela.

    “Whatever kid. Maybe if you're lucky, a way out would magically open without you screwing me over.”

    “I will put in the work Aela, you have already seen what I can do.”

    “Let me not see it again, yeah? Now follow.” Alea started descending the gorge.

    “Where are we going?” Snow hurried to catch up with her.





    They had walked north for almost a mile and Aela hadn’t said a word or answered any questions.


    “So… are you going to tell me where we are going?”

    After they made a clearing Snow saw a small shack hidden under an incline. The weaving northern rivers could be heard nearby.

    “My place.”

    It was a small but cozy shack consisting of one room that was the combination of a kitchen, bedroom and dining room. There was a stove, bed, and dining room table all packed into this one wooden room. It was tight, but efficient. It was also messy, clothes, leathers, boxes and supplies littered the place.

    Snow was sitting in a wooden chair while Aela was taking off all her gear

    “Don’t make a mess.” Aela said.

    Snow looked around, the shack looked pretty messy to begin with.

    “Sure you should be telling me that?” she asked, her voice oozing with sarcasm. Aela ignored the sally.

    “I’m going to start a broth, why don’t you be productive and gather some wood.”





    Snow was exploring the nearby forest next to Aela's shack while gathering some sticks. As Snow looked from tree to tree for something usable, she wondered, just how long Aela has been living here. Seemingly alone too. Snow stopped after passing a dozen trees, there was no branches she could easily cut.


    “Like where am I supposed to find wood, I can't cut any of this stuff down,.”

    Snow looked at Icebreaker.

    “Can you turn into an axe? Icebreaker?”

    Icebreaker gave no response.

    “Welp, guess I'm collecting sticks.”

    As Snow was walking back with an armful of sticks, she saw Aela pull out a decent sized piece of wood from under a tarp on the side of the house.

    “Wait, if you already got wood then why did you send me to get these?”

    “If I say go fetch wood I don’t care if I have two months stock in the back, you will fetch it. Anyway, give it here. I knew you'd grab small pieces, those are what I need.”

    Aela slid those pieces under the stove, as extra kindling. She appeared to be cooking.

    Snow was waiting at the table while Aela was going through some of the top cabinets for stuff to put in the pot, she looked like she was unsure on what to add.

    “Do you need help?” Snow offered her assistance.

    Aela just threw some spice in the pot without giving it any thought.

    “Shud’ be enough.” Aela shrugged. It looked like way too much

    “Aela, I think that’s too much.”

    “So you’re a seal breaker and a cooking expert? You are really the jack of all trades kid. I know what I’m doing, relax.” She didn’t look like she had ever cooked before, but Snow decided to let her be anyways.

    “So, Aela, are there any other frostblood or people here?”

    “No, I work alone.”

    “Is this place really as dangerous as they say? I understand it's freezing but…”

    “Yes, this place needs to be contained, there are a great many seals set to stop this place from leaking into our world. I am responsible for guarding and maintaining said seals. There are no other people here. You're lucky you found me when you did. The night cycle here is deadly.”

    “I've been here since yesterday.”

    “You survived the night cycle on the first day you were here?”

    “Yeah I found a cave to hide in.”

    Aela scoffed.

    “You are extraordinarily lucky.”







    The broth was finished. A bowl was dropped on the table in front of Snow.

    “Eat.”

    Snow ate a spoonful and it almost made her gag. It didn't taste good at all. She almost spit it back out.

    “What is it?” Aela quickly questioned.

    “This tastes unsavory. To put it lightly.” It had way too much seasoning and the meat was very tough

    “Well… this isn’t the royal castle, ‘princess’. Welcome to the wilds. Next time, cook it yourself if you don’t like it.”

    “But, I offered you my help…”

    “Just eat the damn food. You will need the energy for when we start tomorrow.”

    “Start what?”

    “Your training.”

    “Training?”

    “You're joking right? Of course you need training. I'm not going to be doing all the hunting and gathering out here, I already told you there will be no slacking off.”

    “But I killed your golem, do I really need training?”

    “Can you hunt for food? Can you scale a mountain? Can you stay hidden against a stalker wave? Just because you got lucky against my golem doesn’t mean you don’t need any training. Ego is the worst thing you can possibly have here and the quickest way to die.”

    “I don’t have an ego, I worked hard to win that fight!”

    “Good. Now work hard tomorrow when we go to the owl’s nest,” she said unsympathetically.

    “Owls nest?”

    “It’s a tall spire, you can see all the seals from there. You will need to go there everyday to help me track the faulty ones.”
     
    Bohnenpflanzer likes this.
  17. Threadmarks: Chapter 15 The Mountaneer Calvary
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    Chapter Fifteen
    The Mountaneer Calvary

    [Deamonia]
    The next day at sunrise, they were awoken by the rumbling sound of armoured cavalry. The clinking of armour, cracking of horses and yells of men came from what appeared to be the forefront of a massive cavalry. They rode in, most of them ignoring the - quite obvious - bridge in favour of wading through rivers and trampling on vegetation. The entire Mountaneer Cavalry came to a halt at the entrance of the grove as the captain ordered a halt.

    ”Ho! This is it men! I told you! Who is paying me first now!” The mountaineer captain boasted, atop of a grand white-maned horse. “Estrelle never loses her way! Right girl?” The horse neighed.

    Hescor rolled his eyes and stormed up to the group.

    “Could you not trample our food source please!”

    General Harper and Mountaneeir King Radan strolled up alongside Captain Deus on their mountaineer steeds before addressing Hescor.

    “You must be that Hescor fellow from the letter,” King Radan said as he looked around, the servants were scrambling trying to salvage what was left of the fruits and vegetables. The mountaineer horses were bigger than normal ones, so they did twice the damage on the land. “Forgive my men, they tend to be a bit… temerarious while riding the cavalry.”


    The mountaineer group was camped on the east side of the grove. Which became the loud side.

    “Eh! Come here beautiful, I’ll take you for a ride, comeres!” Their men were actively trying to flirt with the servant girls.

    High Queen Deamonia walked across the grove, accompanied by Arthur. She stopped at the edge of the mountaineer camp. All the mountaneeir soldiers looked her way and saluted her.

    Mountaineer Captain Deus noticed her and stumbled up to her. “Hey, what's happenin' General?” His arms were wide open as he was already drunk.

    “Deus. You look like you're doing well.” High Queen Deamonia said.

    “Oh, trust me, I am! You see these boys!” Deus flexed at her then pulled his sword,the large great sword had a crescent shaped tip. He spun it around before swinging forward.

    Deamonia felt the pressure from the attack hit her. She brushed it off and almost didn’t even notice Arthur got blasted to the ground, with a dent in his armor.

    “Meh, could be better.” She shrugged.

    “I heard about that giant attack, if only you were riding with us, we woulda killed those giants without a single casualty. That’s right, our riders are stronger then they ever where!”

    “Is that right, Deus.” The frost queen didn’t like that drunken remark.

    “Damn right. My warriors… are the strongest… this age… has ever had!” he proudly declared between hiccups.

    “Then, how about a wager?” She looked at him in the eyes

    “Wager?” Deus was interested, “I like where this is going, what's the wage, my Queen?”

    “Although it is true that mountaineer soldiers are naturally stronger from living and training in the mountains, strength isn’t limited to brute force.”

    “Aah.. What's your point?”

    “My knight here verses two of your strongest warriors, and to make it fair, no weapons.”

    “HA! You really think your leash knight could beat two of my best warriors?!” He turned to his men, “You men hearing this?” All were gathering around as things were heating up. “And what would the wager for this ludicrous bet be?”

    “Your horse.” The majestical horse standing in the back, near Deau’s tent was deus’ most prized possession.

    “My Estrella!? And what are you going to bet that’s equal value!?”

    “Gold, land, favor, name your price.” She said straightly.

    He eyed her up and down

    “My price? Are you sure about that, because you won't find a liking to my wager.” As he grinned with a laugh.

    “It's fine by me.”

    “Very well, Deamonia, when I win you shall bestow forth your honour to me. If I lose, you will take my legendary Estrella.”

    “Deus, how dare you disrespect High Queen Deamonia?! Would you like further demotion?” King Radan had stormed from his tent with his guards. He looked at her Majesty.

    “Your Majesty, I apologise for my drunken captain's behavior.” The young King apologized.

    “It's alright, Radan, as intolerable as it sounds, Deus and I know each other well, we’ve scraped knuckles a few times in the great war. I'll accept his bet.” Deamonia said over the crowd.

    Deus turned to his men, “Alright! Men, who amongst you wishes to fight for my pride, Estrella?!”

    The men raised their fists and cheered.

    Deus looked around and made his choice. “Ursif… and Deek, you two will fight.” The two men stepped up, they were bigger than the rest, they were extremely muscular, and had veins exploding on the surface of their skin.

    “Arthur, you will fight on my behalf.”

    “Of course, Your Majesty. Arthur stepped up and began removing his armor pieces. Revealing a skinny and lean body.

    Deus was taken aghast, “This is the knight that fights for your honor? If you really want to lose, why wager in the first place? You could have pulled me to the side and asked!”

    “Well see about that.”

    Arthur removed his armor until he was just in greaves, chain linked pants and a leather shirt. He said nothing as he stepped up and raised his fist towards the two men. The area was surrounded with spectators from all sides; they were all in a big circle around the fighters. Deamonia backed up and so did Deus and the fight began.

    Ursif and Deek put up their fists and approached Arthur on both sides.

    Ursif threw a punch at Arthur, who promptly and easily blocked said punch. Ursif pushed, and Arthur gave a little ground.

    Deek went to attack and the same thing happened. Athur blocked it and slid back another inch.

    Deek jabbed at Arthur a few times and Arthur maintained his defence. Arthur made no attempts to dodge or counter attack, he simply maintained his defense while Ursif and Deek took turns slamming their fists into his forearms.

    “You scared to fight, kid!?” Not like you can do anything against these steel bodies of ours!” The pair kept pounding his block one after another.

    “Looks like you’ll be bowing to me tonight, My Queen!" he burst out laughing, "I told you this was insanity!”

    Deus taunted her from the other side of the Arena. The fight continued, it was even becoming boring. For only one side was attempting to fight. Boredom ended when Ursif lost patience.

    “Better watch out before you break those weak arms of yours!” Ursif flexed back his arm for a powerful enough blow to break Arthur’s block.

    Arthur finally made a move. With unmatchable speed, Arthur dropped his block, grabbed Ursif’s arm mid punch and used the extra force to lean back and throw Ursif over his back. Ursif’s body slammed into the ground and Arthur gave one swift blow to the side of his head, knocking him out instantly.

    Daemonia’s knights cheered as the mountaineer group was still in shock about what happened, then they started to scold Deek.

    “Finish him off, Deek! Stop messing around!” The Mountaineer knights cried out, stunned at this sudden turn of events.

    Deek regarded Arthur with a serious respect now. He switched his pace, moving faster and not over extending on any attacks. That was not enough. Arthur, having switched from a defensive style to an offensive one, began pushing Derek back. He attacked, dodged, and countered, making sure that he was in perfect rhythm. Deek was no better than a punching bag.

    “Don’t you dare lose to him, Deek!” Captain Deus shouted and bit his lip.

    The pressure was getting to Deek.

    Was he really going to lose to this skinny knight?

    Deek waited for his own opening and found it. When Arthur went for a powerful blow to Deek’s gut, Deek blew air out of his nose and Arthur’s fist slammed into what felt like rock, a tiny crack was heard as his hand exploded In pain he backed up holding onto it.

    “What’s wrong, little knight?” Deek’s body looked darker as he went on his own offensive now. Deek’s abdomen was rock solid, and his arms looked like boulders. With this newfound strength, Deek went on the offensive. It was now Arthur's turn for a beating.

    Arthur was already slowing down and Deek pummeled him with raw power. Arthur couldn’t trade blows and when he attempted to block, Deek’s fist broke through his guard and hit him in the face. The Mountaineer knights responded with roars and cheers as Deek seemed to gain the upper hand.

    Arthur slid back a few feet next to Deamonia. There was blood on the ground Coming from Arthur’s nose.

    “Damn earth magic.. not even Ares would result to using that in a fist fight.” Arthur complained.

    “He’s not invincible, Arthur. That magic only works on his muscles.” Deamonia noted.

    Arthur glanced at Deek and knew what to do.

    “Understood, my Queen.”

    “That hand looks a little shaky there, kid," Deek sneered before continuing, before boasting once more,"What are you gunna do, now? You can’t fight no more!”

    Arthur flexed his left arm and air began swirling around it.

    “A magic attack? How cute.” Deek looked at the arm.

    “If you want to use magic, then so will I.” Arthur scoffed at him.

    All Deek had to do was block. Even if it was magic, his muscles would stop it and then, after the attack hit, that was when he would finish Arthur off in one blow. Deek prepared for his big counter attack; the muscles in his arms hardened to match steel.

    Arthur finished flexing his arm and ran at Deek, this attack looked big, the wind was growing larger and larger as he ran.

    “Theres no way a weak knight like him can break through this unbeatable block!” Deek slammed his arms together. Everyone heard the power of the resounding earthly block. If Arthur’s attack failed to break through it. It would be over for him.

    Arthur yelled loudly, air now violently swirling around his left arm.

    Everyone watched closely, the cheers died down as all wanted to see the climax of this magical fistfight.

    Arthur’s fist slammed into Deek’s block.

    Silence followed,

    No magic shot out. The wind died. The attack was feeble and Deek absorbed the blow like nothing.

    “Finish him!” Deus yelled.

    Deek was going to ram Arthur with a devastating counter attack. But, Deek wasn't moving. Something else had hit him.

    Deek’s eyes teared up and his voice went up a few notches. Arthur’s knee was connected against his groin. The running start wasn’t for his fist; it was for his knee. Deek sank to his knees while holding his manhood to assure its existence. Arthur then upercutted him, the magic went off this time; a huge explosion shot out from his fist, blasting Deek up into the air before he fell back to the ground, got knocked out by the impact.

    The Regalian knights all exploded in cheers.

    “Rrgg dirty tactics!” Deus yelled.

    “Nobody told you that you could use magic.” Deamonia uttered as half the crowd was cheering, “I'll be taking that horse now.”

    Deus was mad and about to cry, “No.. My Estrella, my baby.” A warrior brought her out to him.

    “A wager is a wager, or are you not going to own up to it?”

    “Aye, I know the damn wager and I intend on keeping it just give me a moment.” he looked at Estrella and whispered to the horse wiping her mane before walking her to Deamonia.”

    “I want another wager after the meeting, double or nothing you don’t even have to bet anything.”

    The queen took the horse. And handed the leash to her other knight

    “Hmph, maybe if i'm in the mood. We’ll see,” She was satisfied with this.

    The horse was legendary. Twice the size of a normal horse, it was covered with muscle and had a dazzlingly white mane, she would almost be tempted to keep it at the end of the day.

    Arthur picked his armor back up and returned to the Queen's side once again, holding the armor in his arms.

    “Good work, Arthur, I knew you could pull it off.”

    “Thank you my Queen, I would fight for you no matter the odds- OW!" he winced in pain.

    She looked at his hand.

    “Here give me the armor, then we can take a look at that hand.”

    “Your Majesty, I cannot allow you to sink so low as to carry my armor.”

    “Don’t be stupid, I know your hand is broken and putting pressure on it will make it worse! Tch, and a broken nose. Would you like to carry the armor yourself, and lose that hand or give it to me and be able to fight again.”

    “Alright, fine.”

    Deamonia took the armor.

    “The title of High Queen does not bar me from assisting you.”

    The legendary horse Estrella jumped up, getting scared of something, something that appeared to be all around them.

    “Woah girl!” Deamonia settled the horse.

    Invisible insects appeared from camouflage and were all around the area, the ones around the frost queen was kneeling to her.

    “So it seems the insects are here now.” Deamonia noted, “Hello, Chief Elder Ulthaz’d, I see your stealth warriors have improved greatly.”

    A big insect with a crown made of bone appeared, bowing his head, his wings glittered and adjusted before going into his body, his mouth changed and clicked until he spoke their language.

    “Czerec-click-Hih Queen-click..click.. no need for the compliments You're not fooling anybody, it is obvious. You are suppressing your power to prevent any problems in the grove. Otherwise you would have sensed us a mile away.”

    “How flattering. How are the chieftains fairing?”

    “About that, I'll need to speak to you about them later.” The chief moved closer and nearly whispered, “I hear your daughters are receiving special training, from a certain sect. I'm interested in seeing the results.” He cackled at her as if knowing some hidden secret.

    “Sorry to call in favors of your family. But, the nobles' skirmish will be rough, nothing but the best will have to do.”

    “I understand, no hard feelings.” The chief said, “They will need all the help they can get because our little warriors will be undefeatable.”

    “How about your daughter, will she be participating as well.” The queen followed up with her own question.

    “Depends on her mother. She doesn’t want Lunari to clip any wings. Sensitive, that one.”

    “I understand, wings are important to the moth race’s magics.”

    Everyone has arrived in the grove and were in their own camps, Hescor told them the meeting will take place at high noon.
     
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  18. Threadmarks: Chapter 16 The Owl's Nest
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    ❆ ❆ ❆ Chapter Sixteen❆ ❆ ❆
    The Owl’s Nest
    [Snow]
    “Aela, I don’t…think… I can.. make it!” Snow’s grip was loosening, only to tighten at the view of the ground, hundreds of feet below. Her body reassured her that it would be best to hang on.
    Aela and Snow were climbing the owl’s nest spire, which was located north, at the top of the interweaving rivers.
    “As much as i'd like to tell you to go on and quit, there's no easy way down from here. It would be easier to climb to the top, than try and go down now… Well, I guess there is an easier way; you can always fall. You'll probably break a couple of bones if you don’t smash your head against a rock or somethin',” Aela said nonchalantly as she climbed with ease.
    Snow’s arms began to tremble, she was nearing her limit, not to mention the terrible grip the spire face had.
    “Aela, I can't! I need gloves or something! If I even inch up, I'll slip!”
    “Nah, your fingers got the best grip. It'll let you get a good feel on what's grabbable too. If it's really that slippery then push up with your feet and leap to the next ledge.”
    “Leap?!” They were near the top and Snow was really afraid.
    “Yeah. Just leap. What's the big deal? You miss, you die. Just stop being scared.”
    Aela was already at the top sitting on the ledge, looking down at Snow’s progress.
    “I'd rather not die?! Just help me up, I can’t make that!”
    “Nope, ya gotta leap.”
    Snow eyed the next ledge. With her trembling arms and legs she got ready and counted in her mind.
    “One…Two…Three!”
    Snow jumped.
    Her hand felt the crack of the ledge. The solid feeling of the spire was replaced with air. Snow’s stomach turned as she realized she was now falling.
    “Ahh!” Snow started to scream, while she began plunging towards her death.
    “For gods' sakes.” Aela rolled her eyes, before pushing herself off the ledge.
    Snow was too busy watching the rapidly approaching ground that she didn't notice Aela had already caught up with her. Aela grabbed Snow’s arm, stabbed her butcher blade into the spire, and flung Snow up into the air and onto the top of the spire.
    “That.. was.. close.” Snow rolled over on her back breathing heavily.
    “You’ll grab the ledge next time. That was your one free pass.” Aela was already at the top of the spire again.
    Snow sat up, she could see the whole landscape. It was beautiful. The southern area she first came from had a pattern of icy mountains, the western plateaus were backed by a bunch of flatlands, the eastern black forest ran up to a cliff that led down into swampland, and the north contained several waterfalls from which all the interweaving rivers stemmed from. Lastly, she could see Mina’s hill, Aela’s shack, and even more mystial tornados that danced around every corner of the land.
    “Wow, this view is amazing! I can see everything.” Snow appreciated the beauty of the foreign world.
    “If you’re going to be sticking with me, you need to know how this place works and what I do.” Aela said.
    “Alright. I’m listening.”
    “As you probably are aware, the day and night cycles are very different here in this frozen realm.”
    “You mean how at night everything literally freezes. Yeah, I'm familiar with that.”
    “Yes. During the Day, the seals are at their strongest. That’s when wildlife is out, and that’s when it's safe for us to go out. Night however is a different story. During every night cycle a deathly wind emerges and the land gets sunk in sub-zero temperatures. That night cycle you’ve seen is what I am trying to prevent from reaching our world. Every single night, the seals that are scattered throughout the land get damaged and I have to repair them. That's why destroying one set me back so much. I had a good system. I was repairing them faster than the night cycle could wear on them. Now, I'm a few weeks behind, thanks to you.”
    “Well, if you say it like that, then I completely screwed you over.”
    “Yup.”
    “I said I was sorry..”
    “Don’t worry, Snow. You will help me get back on track. I may be set back, but with the two of us, we may just be able to repair them even faster.”
    “Don’t worry Aela, just tell me what to do! I’ll be a great help.” Snow said confidently.
    Aela turned to the view of the landscape, after a few seconds of her eyes scanning she stopped and pointed to the plateaus. “There, look.”
    Snow looked towards the plateaus and didnt see anything in particular.
    “What?”
    Aela pulled out a wooden telescope and held it out.
    Snow took the telescope and looked in the direction aela was looking. At the plateaus.
    “What am I looking at?”
    “Behind the Plateus, in the flatland. Do you see the tornado defense?”
    Snow brought her sight to the tornado. The tornado was flashing.
    “Yeah.. its… flashing? Is that bad?”
    “Yes, the flashing means, it's becoming unstable. Now that you can see that, you will head to it and prime for me.”
    “Prime it?”
    “Everyday, I make rounds on every tornado. It will save me a lot of time if I don't have to prime it myself. So take these.” Aela held out a sack, to which Snow took.
    Inside there were colorful marbles.
    “Those are priming stones, throw them at the tornado and they will burst, releasing the condensed energy they hold. That energy will mold with the tornado after a while and make it a lot easier for me to stabilise it.”
    Snow changed her sights with the telescope looking around,
    “And what if any others?”
    “Today just the one. Also, see that black forest in the west?”
    “Yes.”
    “Never, ever, ever go in there. There are killer spiders amongst other monsters, that would kill you on the spot in there. I will prime the tornadoes there myself.”
    “Okay..”
    “Lucky for you, the flatlands behind the plateaus, are safe for the most part, with one exception.”
    “What?”
    “White stalkers.”
    “Great.”
    After nearly two hours Snow was nearing the flatlands, she was descending the plateau slope like a huge slide. While she was sliding down she looked at the upcoming landscape, and the threat that was beholden to it, the white stalkers.

    “If you don’t step on them they wont detect you. If they do detect you, just wait in a tree or something.”
    “Just wait in a tree or something, yeah…” Snow looked around the flatlands, more specifically, the tree-less flatlands. “Plenty of trees! Thanks Aela!”
    Snow reached the bottom of the plateau and the tornado was seen in a field in front of her. She had new gear with her: Icebreaker, a dagger, the telescope, some food and Aela’s magic crystals. Once she entered the flatlands, her pace slowed as her eyes shifted to the ground. Scanning her step, each and every inch.
    Eventually a large trenchlike hole came up in between her and the tornado. The there was a clear path around it but it stretched pretty far.
    “That’s a long way around.” Snow looked at the path around the trench, then looked into the trench. If she went inside the trench she could most definitely climb up the other side.
    “I hope I don’t regret this.”
    She slid down into the trench.
    Snow didn’t stop sliding down until the snow was at her knees. She took a step forward, And then heard something to her right. Snow snapped her head to the noise and saw it; A tail peaking out of the snow.
    “A whitestalker’s tail has venom powerful enough to instantly paralyze anyone it stings. So, if you get stung, you will be made an easy meal.” Snow recalled Aela’s words.
    The tail waved left and right as the whitestalker crossed right in front of her, hidden beneath the ground.
    Snow didn’t move. She stood as still as possible, watching as the shifting snow in front of her kept moving until it was away from her vicinity.
    Snow didnt expect this pit to be so deep. She looked at the wall behind her, and the area in front of her. The observation of only the single whitestalker gave her comfort. Knowing that it was the only one. She pressed on, going deeper in. All was well until she reached the center of the pit, the ground started rolling deeper and deeper until the snow was at her waist.
    Snow heard more movement, but didnt see any tails.
    It was because the snow was too high. The comfort of not seeing any tails now turned to fear. There were far more than one swimming around. The shallow area near the area she dropped in from had three tails swishing around.
    Unlike Aela’s golem, she couldn’t see these things. Every step forward was a risk. Her heart beated faster and faster. In response the noise of shifting snow became more pronounced.
    (“Can they sense me?”)
    All the shifting sounds moved towards her from all directions.
    Icebreaker began to vibrate in response to what Snow could only guess was an incoming attack. Snow drew Icebreaker, but then got an idea. She leaned back and flung icebreaker a few yards. The sword spun around before stabbing into the ground.
    Suddenly, two whitestalkers exploded out from Snow’s left and right, aimed at the location of the sword. The creatures had flat bodies, long barbed tails and an underside of razor sharp teeth. The two beasts circled around the weapon accompanied by even more tails all swaying around Icebreaker.
    That was a close call. That could have been her. But now, Snow needed to get out. Maybe, she shouldn't have thrown the sword where the exit was... Snow knew how to push and pull the blade, but could she control it from a distance? She held out her hand, calling and pushing away the blade.
    The sword seemed confused until it began following her repeating commands. Once Snow got the back and forth motions down she tried a new motion: left and right. As a result, the blade followed her will; it began skitting across the ground at the direction she commanded. All the white stalkers chased after it. A dozen tails all raced to follow the sword.
    Snow used the distraction to tread to the end of the pit and climb out.
    Looking back inside, she could see the countless swirls of stalkers pathing around the area she treaded on. It was a miracle she wasn't noticed.
    “To me.” Snow threw her hand out and Icebreaker flew out of the pit and into her hand.
    Once again, this blade and her synergised incredibly well. It was amazing.
    “Thank you, Icebreaker.”
    She got to the first tornado. she could feel the cold air radiating off of it the closer she got. She stood just in front of it.
    ---
    “Throw three marbles into the wind wall. That will prime the magic by the time I get there” Snow pulled out three of priming stones from the sack.
    “Here goes nothing!”
    Snow threw the marbles at the tornado wall. The marbles popped against it and a swirl of gold and white formed on the tornado. The flashing lights stopped and the tornado was slowly returning to its stable form. The magical balls were already doing the trick.
    “That was easy!” Snow thought that would be a lot harder. Seems like the hard part was just getting here. Snow turned to depart and almost bumped into someone. The person startled her as she fell to the ground.
    “Who are you!” Snow yelled. She drew Icebreaker, while still on the ground.
    The figure was of a woman. A woman had blonde hair, wore steel armor, with a crescent insignia. She stared into the tornado. Her gaze was dead and unmoving.
    “Well? Can you hear me? How did you get there so fast? Where did you come from!
    There was no response.
    "I asked you a question! Answer me!" Snow held her hand over Icebreaker, poised to attack. Icebreaker didn't respond. The lady faded away leaving Snow alone with the swirling tornado.
     
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  19. Threadmarks: Chapter 17 The Legendary Estrella
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    Chapter Seventeen

    The Legendary Estrella

    [Deamonia]
    High Queen Deamonia sat in the Regalian royal tent alone, absentmindedly sipping a cup of water in deep thought.

    “Your Majesty,” The tent entrance flapped as Brutus entered.

    “What do you have for me, Brutus?” Deamonia shifted her attention to her close butler.

    “Perhaps we should've brought Lamille.” Brutus said as he examined each corner of the tent, “I’ve finished checking the camp. I can confirm we are not being watched at the moment.” Brutus defaulted to his position in the middle of the tent, looking down at her.

    “And let the seal be unguarded until Flora arrives? Of course not!” Deamonia replied.

    “Our scouts cannot navigate the terrain. If Lourissa sent a party to kill the only surviving giant, we may be too late.”

    Deamonia put one arm over the back of her chair.

    “Brutus, do you remember, after we defeated the Mountaineer Kingdom, our early campaign into the Elven territory?”

    “You mean the invasion attempts that would snatch up scores of men, never to be seen again? Yes, I remember.”

    “If I didn't make that deal for the frostblood, I would have burned this forest to ashes. For the longest time, the elven race has dominated the state of the world because of the trees they hide behind. The same trees that give them power, give them protection. It's true, the forest is damn near impossible to navigate. That doesn't mean it's impossible. Tell me Brutus, why do men get lost in the elven forest? Why specifically is it unnavigable?”

    “There are plenty of reasons: the shapeshifting landscape, dangerous creatures, and the fact that all compasses are rendered useless. You know this well.”

    “While those things contribute, none of them are the main reason why men get lost,” Deamonia smiled.

    “What is it, then?”

    “The Sun.” Deamonia pointed up.

    “The Sun?”

    “If you go into the forest and look up, the position of the sun will change.”

    “I’ve never heard of such a deterrent!”

    “It's their great secret, only known by the queen and her sage keepers. The overwhelming amount of natural energy that seeps up into the air, bends the sunlight. Sage keepers can manipulate this magic to bend light into areas that need it. That little fact, combined with all the previous mentioned variables, is the reason men cannot navigate it. One wrong turn and suddenly, the sun is behind you. All a keeper has to do is play a few tricks on you and you are instantly lost - or led into the jaws of a vicious predator.

    “If that's the case, what man in our ranks can navigate through such light trickery?”

    “Not a man, a beast.”

    Brutus was confused momentarily until he reaised.

    “Deus’ horse!”

    Deamonia returned a smirk.

    “Time to get to the bottom of this.”



    Inside the medical tent, Arthur was playing cards with Randal. Randal held his cards up to his face in thought before he placed two aces.

    “Two aces this early? Quite bold.”

    “A little trick. I learned.”

    “Very well, take your queen.”

    “Nope, I’ll be taking this.” Randal took the low card.

    The remainder of the cards went into the graveyard pile and the next round began.

    Randal placed three low cards on the table for his defense.

    “Randal, are you sure you understand this game?” Arthur questioned.

    “He’s filling your hand with junk while getting information. At this rate, you will lose on the final turn.” Deamonia spoke, her and Brutus had been watching the game, “Quite a complex strategy for a kid to know. Where did you learn it?”

    Both Randal and Arthur rose from their seats.

    “Your Majesty.”

    Deamonia stepped up to the table and fan-spread the pile of graveyard cards.

    “Randal, what cards does Arthur currently have?” Deamonia asked him.

    “Uh, well. My memory is really bad, but I guess that he has a ‘three’, ‘seven’, ‘ten’, and ‘ace’.” Randal said nervously.

    Arthur flipped his hand over on the table, it was almost exactly what Randal guessed, except the ‘ten’ was a ‘j’.

    “Yeah I'm still not that good yet…” Randal scratched his head, upon seeing the hand.

    “Where did you learn that?”Arthur was surprised.

    “I used to play this game a lot with Snow, she loves doing tha- ” Randal casually said before pausing at the slip up. “Uh.. I mean.. my friend-and-I… usually play out, in the snow, this game. Yeah that's it!”

    “I am aware of my daughter's city expeditions, Randal. No need for secrets. So, she is good at this game?”

    Randal exhaled at the exposed secret.

    “Yeah… She's really good. I could never beat her. Every time we play a card game she always does stuff like that. She’s really good at guessing what's in your hand. Her logic seems backwards but then she explains the numbers, then it just makes sense ya know?”

    “I see, Snow tends to be smart at things she deems fun, If life were a game, she would have won already.” Deamonia looked to Arthur, “Arthur, I see your wrist and nose are already healed, did Warden Geneve pay you a visit?”

    Arthurs flexed his wrist, “Yes. Geneve is an amazing healer. That nature magic is something else. She was acting a bit strange though.”

    “We know, your mission is related to her behavior. You will be tracking the giant that got away during the ambush we suffered. You will learn why the giant attacked us, and why they were blessed with magical resistance.”

    “Understood, but I don't know if I can navigate the elven forest. I may well get lost.”

    “We have taken that into consideration. Which is why you will be riding on Estrella.”

    “Deus’ horse?”

    “Yes, the horse is fearless against beasts, has the endurance to trek through all terrains, and, most importantly, knows true north.”



    Deamonia, Arthur, and Brutus were outside the medical tent, Estrelle was brought by two knights. The horse however would refuse to allow Arthur to mount it. Whenever Arthur got close, Estrella would turn and attempt to kick him.

    “Come on girl!” Arthur dodged its kick and hopped on its back. Estrella in response stood on both her hind legs, forcing Arthur to get off, or fall off.

    “I thought that beast was tamed.” Brutus complained.

    “Hm, strange, Why is the horse acting this way?” Deamonia wondered.

    The horse was about to run, until Deamonia grabbed its lead from the two knights who were nearly getting dragged around at this point. The horse calmed at the tight pull she gave it. She laughed.

    “Don't tell me that whole bit about Mountaineer horses sensing weakness is true.” Deamonia glanced at Arthur and chuckled, “Looks like I may need to find a new guardsman.”

    “I'm glad this is funny to you, your highness…” Arthur attempted to approach again, to which Estrella responded with a kick to his abdomen.

    “It's a horse, not a bull!” Randal sprinted from the tent and approached the horse, “Back off for a sec Arthur, I think I can calm her down.” Randal told Arthur.

    Randal slowly approached Estrella. Estrella looked unsure about the kid’s presence but did not attack. Randal ran his hand down her mane and under her chin. Then, he examined the horse.

    “The saddle is too high. Probably because the last rider was really heavy.” Randal adjusted the saddle. After that, he backed up, examining the horse further. “Your Majesty, please walk her around for me.”

    Everyone was surprised at Randal’s sudden tone of authority. The nervous and submissive child was now emitting a tone of experience, and specialty. The health of the animal, evidently, was his first priority.

    “As the expert commands...” Deamonia sighed and walked Estrella for a few steps.

    “See how her neck turns to the left a tad, every time that front left hoof comes down?” Randal spoke while revealing the motion, they all looked, “She probably has a pinched nerve. Somewhere on her neck. Randal approached and began feeling her neck. His hand stopped just over the shoulder blade.

    “Right here.” She has a lot of muscle, so can you adjust her neck for me?

    “Just tell me what to do.” Deamonia said,

    After precise instruction. Deamonia gave a quick push into Estrella’s lower neck, causing a loud pop to be heard by the group.

    “Now, let her go.” Randal said quickly.

    Estrella lowered and raised her neck several times before shaking her head and licking her lips happily.

    “She definitely felt that. Now for the test. Randal approached the side of Estrella. Estrella did not move while Randal climbed on top of her. “There you go!” Randal said atop the great horse as he strutted her around.

    “Nice work Randal, I would have never noticed that.” Deamonia complimented him.

    “When you're around horses all day, they tend to be very telling.” Randal stopped her and dismounted.

    “Now you should be able to mount her, Arthur.”

    “Alright.” Arthur apprehensively approached the horse, fearing another kick. The horse didn't act irate and stood still when Arthur mounted it. Soon, however, another problem revealed itself: Estrella allowed Arthur to get on, moving her was a different story. Estrella refused to move.

    “She moved with Randal...” Arthur tried to adjust the lead and tapped her sides with his heels. Nothing. The horse did not follow his command.

    “Ugh, we don't have time for this! I can't be the one that leaves.” Deamonia complained, before looking at Randal. An idea formed in her head, and after a quick and ‘generous’ risk assessment, she gave him a scheming smile. “Randal, would you be up for a little mission with Arthur?”
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2022
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  20. Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    ❆ ❆ ❆Chapter Eighteen❆ ❆ ❆

    Aela’s “Training”

    [Snow]
    “I'm ready!” Snow radiated confidence. Aela said this ‘special’ training would be difficult, but how difficult could it really be compared to killer wolves, huge golems and killer frost blooded giants. Snow was ready for anything and was confident she could handle whatever Aela could throw at her.

    “Alright, first, hold this.” Aela pulled an icy spear out from the ground, the spear was more like a crystalline shaft that barely resembled the shape of a sword, and tossed it at Snow.

    “Easy!”

    She spoke too soon.

    Snow caught it and immediately crashed into the ground… After a moment, she popped her head up from the snow and shouted, “Why is this so damn heavy!” Snow struggled to lift herself up, let alone the blade.

    “It's condensed. Get it off the ground so we can begin.”

    Snow heaved for about five minutes until she was finally able to bring the sword up to her waist level.

    “Ok.. I.. got it!” Snow exclaimed.

    “The first thing we will do is movement. I want you to dodge all my attacks for the next ten seconds without dropping that sword. You drop the sword, we start again. You get hit, we start again. Got it?”

    Being taught by a frost veteran was the top dream of her eldest sister, Gravis. But after holding this world-weighted blade, Snow thought, Perhaps Lussuria was right - maybe Gravis was a masochist after all.

    “Got it!” Snow prepared herself.

    Aela’s eyes flashed blue and she raised her hands. Six frost chains emerged from the ground behind her. The chains all hunched over portraying the image of aggressive snakes.

    “Woah, those chains look like Warden Flora’s chains.” Snow watched as each snake swayed back and forth. Was Aela going to notify her when the attack was coming? “So, are you going to tell me when-” Snow’s question was already answered when one of the chains silently lunged itself at her.

    Snow tried to move but the sword was so heavy she almost fell over. The chain slammed into her right thigh. It didn’t peirce but it felt like she got hit by a brick.

    Snow fell to one knee.

    “Hit!” Aela declared. The chain pulled back to Aela rejoining the rest.“Get back up!” Aela shouted with a disciplined tone. It was like she was a different person, like an actual soldier. “I said UP! And don’t drop the sword!”

    “Rgh. Alright!” Snow gritted her teeth, forcing herself up. She could already feel the bruise in her thigh.

    Once Snow was fully back on her feet, she continued watching the dancing chains. This time the leftmost chain lunged at her. Snow put all her weight in shifting to the right. Snow looked down at her side to see the chain barely graze her. “That counts as a dodge right?! See Aela, I can easily do this-” Snow looked up to see two more chains flying right at her. One slammed into her chest and another slammed into her right arm, knocking her clean to the ground along with the sword.

    “Hit aaaaand hit!”

    “That was dirty!” Snow cried out.

    “You lost focus. I said ten seconds, that was two. Now UP!”

    The training went on for hours. The most Snow could get up to was four seconds, and Aela didn't even release all six chains. Ten seconds seemed outright impossible. It was the sword’s fault. Bearing this amount of weight made dodging so much more difficult. Snow was exhausted. She didn't know how many hours had passed but it had to have been several by now.

    “Aela can we stop for the day? I could barely manage to stand, let alone hold this thing any longer.”

    “No, we go until I am satisfied.”

    Aela started again, this time she initiated with two chains and Snow barely dodged them.

    “You are finally getting it. See, not impossible.”

    Snow was panting. She didn’t want to get hit because she didn’t think she would be able to get back up. One thing Aela made sure to lay on early was to never celebrate. Snow didn't smile or pat herself on the back from the compliment. Her eyes stood focused on the chains.

    “Two…Three…”Aela was counting.

    The next wave of attacks came, two more chains launched themselves one after the next. Snow imagined a small box around herself, or rather, the sword. If she focused on keeping the sword static in one spot, she could move her body around it and dodge much easier. Snow dodged both chains with ease.

    “Four…”

    Finally, Snow had developed a strategy that was working. She passed her record of four seconds. Confidence beamed from her face once again and Snow couldn't help but taunt. “That was easy!”

    “Five…”

    Three chains shot out all aimed at the center, specifically, the sword handle. Snow tried to shift the sword to the right. That's when the fourth chain launched itself aimed at her right foot. Snow gasped, Aela must have caught onto her strategy and was attacking the weakness of her structure. Now, since Snow was forced to move the blade, her feet were predictable since she had to use them to hold up the new position. The fourth chain was destined to hit her leading foot.

    Snow was too far in to give up though.

    Just before the fourth chain made contact, her leg continued its movement into a slide. Snow stopped when she was in a squatting position. The fourth chain flew right under her, missing its mark. A successful dodge.

    “Six.”

    The next chain shot out, aimed at her left foot now. Snow slid her left leg in the opposite direction, forcing her into an even lower squatting position. The chain flew under her. Another successful dodge.

    There was one more chain poised to be released, but Snow was stuck. She was too low and had to fight against gravity just to stay standing. Aela had moved her like a puppet, using her own strategy against her.

    “Seven.”

    The last chain flew out, right at her center.

    “Damnit!” Snow was doomed, she couldn't adjust herself anymore. If she couldn't move her body, maybe she could block? Snow tried with all her might to raise the sword in a blocking position. The sword inched up.. And up.. And up…

    The sword met the oncoming chain, but it was off by an inch. The sword grinded against the side of the chain as it slammed into her chest, knocking her on her butt.

    “Hit.” All the chains retracted to Aela before swirling back into the ground. “Good effort. We are done for today.”

    At the sound of those words Snow fully collapsed onto the ground. She never thought that training would ever end. Her shoulders were on fire and her fingers were sore. Her arms felt like they were being lifted up by clouds after dropping that weapon.

    “Thank the goddess, that’s over…”

    “We resume at first light tomorrow.” Aela said as she grabbed the training sword and stabbed it into the ground, her eyes reverted to silver afterwards.

    "Gods damn it…"
     
  21. Bohnenpflanzer

    Bohnenpflanzer Getting sticky.

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    -> Why specifically is it unnavigable?

    -> Deamonia spoke, her and Brutus had been watching the game,
     
    Bloodkin likes this.
  22. Threadmarks: Chapters 19 & 20 & 21
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    Chapter Nineteen
    Disturbance​
    [Snow]
    Snow slowly pulled herself up onto the top of the owl’s nest.
    She took out the pocket telescope and performed her routine seal check; examining the landscape as well as the dancing seal tornados. As Snow glanced over the forests, plateaus and rivers, she wondered; how was Aela able to manage this many seals by herself? There were so many, and if Aela was traveling on foot, it didn't seem possible to cover them all in one day. Not to mention, the training sessions they had been doing took up a lot of time. It seemed like an uphill battle.
    Snow yawned. Luckily for her, no tornadoes were in need of priming today.

    Just as she figured that, one of the tornadoes stared bending back and forth very weirdly at wolf hill, around where mina’s pack was living. To think of it, that might have been the same tornado she destroyed when she first got here. Snow brought up the telescope. She could see several black figures momentarily surrounding the tornado before disappearing into the landscape. “What was that?” She only caught glances of the figures but she couldn’t be certain. Maybe it was her imagination? Either way, she needed to mark that seal for Aela.

    Snow got up and stretched. Then, began climbing down the mountain.

    Snow arrived at the area fairly quickly. She was starting to get good knowledge of the landscape. The center easily connected to all the parts and held no significant dangers. It's when you go into the actual biomes that you must caution for white stalkers or that frost giant. For this tornado, the best route was through the wolf gorge. When she entered the area where Mina’s pack lived, the white wolves appeared hostile at her presence. Snow didn’t understand why were they so agitated. Some began to follow her.

    “Mina!” Snow tried calling mina’s name but got no response.. Mina was the alpha of the pack surely that would calm these wolves down.

    The wolves got closer. They were priming to attack her at any moment. Snow still stayed her hand from drawing icebreaker. Instead, looking up towards the top of the hill, she could partially see Mina, moving around.

    “Mina!” She yelled much louder this time.

    Mina finally noticed her and came down to meet her. Mina strutted up to her and licked her hand. Mina appeared very stressed and distracted. The boiling hostility from the rest of the pack was diffused at the interaction. The smaller wolves disbanded back to their coves.

    “What is it girl?” Snow gave Mina a soft pat on the head.

    Mina turned and began jumping up the natural steps to the top of the gorge. Snow followed.

    Once at the top Snow could see Mina pacing and sniffing around the small rocky pen that her pups stayed at. Snow looked into the pen and saw the issue.

    The pups were missing.

    Mina was whimpering as if asking for her help.

    Snow rubbed mina’s pelt for a second to calm her down before investigating the pen. Snow noticed some brushes located a few feet behind the pen were broken. She went to check behind them and to her surprise there was a footprint..

    The foot prints went in the opposite direction of the tornado, off the gorge. Snow looked towards the tornado in the other direction. “I might not have time to prime the tornado for Aela.” She looked at the tracks. “but if I wait until nightfall those pups wont survive, and ill lose the tracks.”

    Snow needed to make a decision.

    “That tornado should hold out.”

    Snow started followed the direction of the footprint and began to climb down the backside of the rocky gorge where there was a steep drop. Mina couldn’t follow so she just barked.

    “I'll try to find your babies mina, don't worry.” Snow descended the mountain and found some more tracks.

    The tracks led straight to Aela’s shack. Where crying pups were heard inside. Snow entered with her sword drawn and saw something she never thought she would see.

    Aela was holding the cubs and feeding them with a bottle.

    “Aela?!” Snow questioned the sight, sheathing her weapon.

    “Yo.” Aela just said nonchalantly.

    “What are you doing?”

    “The pups lost some weight, which means Mina hasn’t been lactating.” Aela looked as if she was a little nervous holding them. Like a kid holding a baby for the first time.

    “I didn’t know you were monitoring them that closely.”

    “Yeah.” She looked too focused on them.

    “Shouldn’t you be running seals right now? I’m glad you are feeding them but, you could have told me to do it. Mina is freaking out right now”

    “I finished my run early today. I thought this would be quick but I ain’t hot off the iron, if ya get my drift. Anyways how about you? Did you find more tornados to prime?”

    “Theres a tornado by mina’s hill that needs to be primed. I didn’t get to do it because I was looking for the pups.”

    “What? The seals take priority over anything else. Period. You need to go and prime it before nightfall. There's little time left so go.”

    “Alright, I’ll go now.” Snow was about to leave.

    “Oh by the way. Why did you think to check here?”

    “I just followed your tracks here.”

    “Tracks? There's no thick snow on the top of that mountain and I jumped off the back of it.”

    “There were brushes that were displaced. One footprint and then the tracks at the bottom?”

    “hm, impressive observation. Guess I got to stop being careless.”





    Snow got to the tornado and primed it. As she was heading back to the shack she had some time to think.


    Aela has been acting very strange. First thing, was that she said she “needed to be less careless.” Like who was she hiding her tracks from? The frost giant? Then, the whole interaction with her stealing Mina's pups to feed them. Mina wouldn’t act like that if it was a normal occurrence. Clearly, that is the first time something like that happened. Another thing was that it looked like it was Aela’s first time handling the cubs. She thought back to when they first met.

    “Didn’t she throw some meat in the pup's pen? Pups don’t eat meat.. I guess she just realized that.”

    Snow arrived at the shack and Aela was gone along with the pups. Aela probably went to bring them back to Mina but it was starting to get dark. She would be returning soon. Snow decided to try and find out more information about Aela. Aela claimed to live here ten years and yet she seemed like she didn’t know things she should. Snow started to snoop around to find more information. She went through the chest at the foot of the bed which housed most of aela’s gear. She went through various pouches and pockets, there was a lot of magic items that she had no clue of what they did. She should probably have Lussuria teach her some more about this type of stuff if she ever got back home.

    Besides the random magic items nothing seemed too suspicious.

    She started searching the cabinets, they held the usual food. However most of the food was still fresh, yet aela never used the ingredients when she cooked.

    Snow tried to piece it together.

    “Is Aela actually a friend? Or an enemy?”

    Snow looked under the bed and saw a very uninteresting wooden box. It barely fit under the bed. She pulled it out and opened it. Inside the box were special looking clothes. Snow felt them, they were very high quality. These fabrics would give even Lazarus a run for his money. Why didn't Aela wear these? A medallion fell from in between the folds, clinging onto the floor. The medallion was a red and gold ring of fire. The same medallion Warden Flora was wore. It was the medallion of a warden.

    “A warden?”

    “What. Are. You . doing.” She heard Aela standing right behind her. She didn’t even hear the door open.

    Snow quickly turned around.

    “Are these yours?”

    Aela didn’t look happy, rightfully so. Aela just caught her digging through her personal belongings.

    “Put it back where you found it. Now.”

    Snow put it back and backed up into the wall while Aela got closer.

    “Look through my stuff again and you will lose those hands.” She said with full seriousness.

    “Sorry Aela, you're so secretive about everything. I just wanted to find out some more information about you.”

    “You know what they say, curiosity killed the nosy princess that decided to look through my stuff.”

    “That’s not how the saying.. ok whatever, sorry.”

    “I will not discuss my past with you, I just met you and next time I catch you snooping around you will be sleeping in a hole outside.”

    Snow decided not to press for any more information. Aela a warden though? She didn’t look like one even though she was very powerful.”






    Chapter Twenty
    Staring into the Abyss​
    [Snow]
    A repetitive crackling slash painted the tree bark with a splatter of blood.

    “I told you, to back off.”

    Three dark wolves laid dead at Snow’s feet. Blood dripped from the near transparent frost blade. The callous nature of this place had hardened her, but no matter how many predator lives she was forced to take, it never felt “natural” or “good.” Snow had already lost track of the amount of days, shes been here. “Calendars will drive you insane,”Aela said. The only timely orientation Snow had was that before she had entered this world, her birthday was the following fortmonth, based on the length of her hair and “other” indicators, today may as well been the day.

    “Happy fifteenth birthday for me I guess..” Snow said as she wiped the blood off her blade using the carcass of the wolf she killed. She didn’t like killing wolves because she felt a close connection to them. Wolves never lie, and their intent was easy to understand. At least Snow found solace in knowing these wolves wouldn't be a threat to Mina’s pack. Mina’s pack had grown in number considerably, but so has the feral dark wolves. There was just something different about them that radiated evil. Once Icebreaker was clean she let it go and the blade slid up her hand and latched itself underneath her forearm, shortening to match her arm length.

    Snow arrived at her destination. The swirling wind was clearly disturbed, indicated by its depressive dance and discolouration. Snow flicked a magic marble into the tornado. The marble popped releasing a swirl of blue restorative magic into the tornado. The tornado stopped flashing indicating the effects of the priming magic.

    “Well that’s the last one, time to head back.” Snow left the site and stopped at the three wolf carcasses, “Might as well not waste this kill.” She figured she would skin some of this wolf meat and then head back to the house.

    Snow took out her skinning knife, but after a few cuts she was dissatisfied. She raised the blade into the air, examining the edge. The edge was dulled, and warped with some small bends. “Aela really needs to find a new sharpening stone already.” The skinning knife went back into its sheath and Snow held her hand out. Icebreaker slid out from her forearm, into her hand and transformed into a sword. Snow focused on the blade and it began transforming into a skinning knife, but it was even more dull.

    Snow sucked her teeth and rolled her eyes. “Come on Icebreaker. I know skinning is beneath you but I don't want to waste more time than I have to.” Icebreaker did not respond. “Hey, I’m supposed to be the higher up here! Stop playing around and sharpen up!”

    At that command the blade actually began to sharpen and lengthen, but icebreaker didn't stop lengthening until it became a full sword. Snow looked at the new shape with concern.

    “What is it, Icebreaker?”

    Then Snow felt it, a strange but familiar presence. It was as if the air tasted sour and everything felt heavier. Whispers filled her ears. Snow turned to the direction of the tornado and saw something in the distance. She squinted her eyes trying to get a better view, once the shape was perceivable Snow got up and hid behind a tree.

    It was one of those knights in black armor. The same one that attacked her and Lamille back in Regalia. The whole reason why she was stuck here.

    Snow could feel the approach of the knight. He felt like a fire that was growing hotter and hotter the closer he approached. Until she actually started sweating.

    The knight stopped at the triad of slain wolves and examined them.

    A disgusting bodily tear was heard followed by the crunching of organic matter. When the crunching stopped, heavy footsteps were heard coming her way, supplemented by the feeling of scorching hot heat. Snow didn’t have to peek to know he was approaching her.

    Was she discovered?

    Snow gripped icebreaker tightly. She remembered vividly the speed, power and regeneration the knight who fought Lamille. This overwhelming feeling of crushing presence was the real deal. If she was spotted, there was little chance she could win.

    The footsteps stopped. She could feel him, the knight was just behind her tree, unmoving. She heard his breathing, behind the slimy noise that was just heard from under his helm, there was a real nasty wheeze like someone who had an asphyxiation.

    “Re…ga…li…a.”

    She put her left hand over her mouth as this thing inched closer and closer to her hiding place. Sweat dripped from her chin as she prepared herself to burst out with an attack.

    Suddenly, a loud explosion was heard. The ice giant was throwing a tantrum nearby.

    The knight turned in response and began marching towards the noise.

    Snow breathed a sigh of relief. That annoying tantrum-throwing giant actually helped her out for once. Once Snow left her hiding spot she saw that all the wolf carcasses were gone, no doubt consumed by that monster.






    Snow returned to their small humble abode. Aela was seen chopping some wood. Aela didn’t even turn her way but still greeted her presence.


    “You are late, I hope you weren’t slacking off to avoid training time.” Aela chopped the next piece of wood.

    “Aela, remember when I first got here, to this world. Do you remember those attackers that tried to break the seal from the other side?”

    “Yeah, and you jumped in to escape them. What does that have to do with your slow route today?” She readied the next wood to be chopped.

    “I saw one of those guys in black armor, a black knight. I barely managed to hide from him.”

    Aela brought the axe down, completely missing the piece of wood nearly splitting the stump itself.

    Snow couldn’t see but Aela’s face grew angry, and not just Aela’s usual anger, It was an anger of pure hatred that could not be described with any assortment of words.

    “Impossible. They can only come out during the night cycle.” She responded as if it was a fact.

    “So you know about them? Wait? There's more than one here? Why didn’t you tell me?!”

    Aela turned to look her right in the eyes as if reading her.

    “You remember what I said about the weather wearing my seals down during the night?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Well that wasn’t the whole truth, the black knights are mainly responsible. I figured you destroying a seal weakened all the other ones. But what is actually happening is that the black knights have been weakening them and at this rate it will be impossible to catch up.”

    “There are more than one? Can we do anything about it?”

    “No, we are boned. The day time restriction was the only reason I was able to stay on top of them. Now if they aren’t restricted at all they have free reign on my defenses. Actually all they would have to do is camp around one and its game over for me. But why now out of all times? First someone tries to break the seal in Lucredia, you appear, and now they have day time immunity. It is too convenient. There is something happening, they are plotting something.”

    “Can't we just fight them? I doubt they can hold a candle up to you.”

    “Good joke. Fighting them is impossible. We lose. You might get your wish of going home, but there wont be a home to go back to if they break the seals.”

    “Why is it impossible? Are they really stronger than you?”

    “I can't fight them, their black blood eats any frost magic I can throw at them including myself. They are almost impossible to kill with their regeneration.

    “So what can we do about it?”

    “I need some time to think.

    “Sounds like we don’t have a lot of time if they are walking around now.”

    “That's correct, now it's time to resume your training.”






    Chapter 21
    Seeing Ghosts​
    [Snow]
    Snow was exhausted. She had a bigger route today with seal scouting and she came back straight back to Aela’s training regime.
    “Aela can we stop for the day? I could barely manage to stand.”
    “No, we go until nightfall approaches.” Aela was relentless

    Aela launched five chains forward and Snow barely dodged them.

    “Aela, I'm really tired. Can we please call it a day?”

    “No, you will dodge and dodge and dodge until nightfall approaches. Think of this as endurance training.” The chains readied themselves again and this time all six shot forward at once.

    Aela didn’t care one bit about her exhaustion. Aela only cared about squeezing every single minute of sunlight available for this brain numbing dodge exercise, which Snow could easily complete if Aela didn't start counting in fractions from nine to ten.

    Nightfall finally started approaching.

    “We are done for today.” Aela looked unsatisfied.

    Snow couldn’t even feel her body anymore; she was afraid of what she was going to feel in the morning.

    “Eat, bath, sleep. We will continue tomorrow after your route.” Aela went inside.

    Snow was surprised she even made it to the house. Her legs felt like mush. That night's sleep felt like a flip of a page. She had just closed her eyes and now Aela was standing over her.

    “Get up.”

    The covers were ripped off against her clutches.

    “Ten more minutes...” Snow mumbled and rolled on her side.

    “No, we can't waste any daylight. Get dressed, eat and get a move on.”

    You would figure that being a frostblood made you less tired in the morning, but it doesn’t. Snow wanted to sleep like anyone else. She rubbed her eyes and dragged herself up.






    Snow returned and wasnt even able to go rest in the shack. Aela was standing in wait for her. “Pick up the sword and we can begin.” Aela summoned the training chains. Training was immediate upon return.

    It's been a couple of days since the start of this strict training regime and Snow’s body was in permanent hurt.

    “Aela, when are we moving on to offense. I am tired of just dodging attacks.” As the training went on Snow was getting impatient. Aela was diversifying her attacks each day but she's only been teaching her how to dodge and nothing else.

    “So you are tired of living? Defense is more important than offense. You can't even hold the sword above your head yet, and you want to start learning attacks? No, we continue evasion training.”

    Snow tried to lift the sword higher, she managed to bring the handle up to her chin before letting it fall back down to waist level.

    “You are not ready yet.” Aela reiterated.




    The next day they were in the middle of training and Snow had a face.


    “What's with that face?” Aela questioned.

    “I am not making any progress! I'm tired of the same old dodging, I want to fight back! And this stupid sword sword, I still cant raise it above my head! Rggg!” Snow tried but still couldn't get it past her chin, “I should be way stronger by now. This is ridiculous! Just like when I was training back home. Why do I need to put in twice as much effort just for negligible results!” Snow’s morale was pretty low.

    “Don’t compare those posh fraudulent exercises you were doing back at home with my training. Training is exactly that, training. If you don’t put in the work you won't get results. Do you want to stop? You won't get stronger by sitting there and crying, this progress doesn’t happen overnight.”

    “How many nights has it been though, Aela? I've been doing this for months!”

    “Too bad, we will continue evasion training until you do it perfectly.” Aela really was unmoving when it came to this exercise. It was the pinnacle of her belief: evasion above all else.

    At the end of Aela’s point, a magical noise was heard. The noise sounded like it was powering down. Snow was trying to remember where she had heard that familiar noise before. Then, it came to her, it was the same sound the seal golemn made when shut down. If that was truly the same noise, that would mean one of aela’s tornado defenses were severely compromised. Snow was going to question the sound, but Aela’s face confirmed the suspicion.

    “We are done for today. Go back inside.” Aela began sprinting towards the direction of the noise.

    “I am coming with you!”

    “It’s dangerous. Just stay.”

    “I can take care of myself.”

    “Ugh, just keep up and keep quiet then!” They both sprinted into the forest, towards the source of the noise.

    Aela and Snow reached an incline that gave view of the seal site. The fact that the area was still plunged in winter meant that the seal was still functional which was good. However, they discovered the source of the disturbance, Three black knights were surrounding the magical tornado. They began channeling their black blood into the winds. The wind began to darken and slow down. The winds wobbled, mirroring the unstable state Snow was familiar with.

    “This is what they've been doing?” Snow whispered, Aela reached for her weapon handle and began to get up from the cover they were prone behind.“Wait Aela.” Snow grabbed Aela’s sleeve.

    In front of them was that ghostly woman, her eyes were dead as night and she was staring right at them.

    “That thing, I've seen it before!”

    Aela looked at her. “What thing?”

    “You don’t see it standing right there, that lady?” Snow pointed straight ahead

    “Stop playing games. There's nothing in front of us.” Aela harshly whispered back.

    The black knights ended their channel and began to walk away. Aela lowered herself back into cover.

    “I don’t understand, if they want to break it why don’t they just do it? Maybe they aren’t strong enough yet?”

    Snow’s eyes weren’t deceiving her, that woman was real, Snow knew now for sure. Was that an actual ghost though? The lady was staring at Aela and approaching her with one hand up.

    “Aela she's coming! She's trying to get you!” Snow got closer to Aela and drew icebreaker.

    “Snow what the hell are you on right now?! there's nothing there! God, I told you you shouldn’t have come!”

    The lady disappeared.

    Aela stabilized the tornado and they went back to her shack.

    “Tomorrow I want you to stay here. I’ve been pushing you too hard, you need to rest.”

    “Aela, I’m fine.” Snow reiterated.

    “Yeah, says the person seeing things.” Aela shook her head.

    “I saw that lady before! Back around when I first got here in front of another seal tornado.”

    “There are no such things as ghosts. Just stop. Rest up. I'll cover your seals tomorrow. Plus since there were three black knights out now. It is way too dangerous for you to be going out right now.”

    “I can sense when they are close. I will be fine Aela!”

    “Yeah and if they sense you, it's over. So no way. Just rest up.”






    The next day, Snow awoke, surprisingly not at the command of Aela. She sat up in bed and looked around. Aela was gone, Aela really was serious when she said to rest up today. Snow slipped off the bed and yawned. Today was the first day she slept in in a long time.
    Snow slipped on her clothes, grabbed an apple, and went up to the kitchen cabinets. After opening each door she took stock of the ingredients they had left.

    “Since I have today off, I might as well make something good. Aela would appreciate that.” Snow began prepping the vegetables and tenderizing the wolf meat for a big dinner.


    After she finished setting potatoes to boil, the flame began dying down. Snow lowered herself to look under the cooking stove. The cooking stove needed more wood.

    Snow went outside to the side of the shack to where all the wood was. She set up a log to be chopped.
    The axe was stuck into the cracked stump. Snow gripped it and tried pulling it out. After some tension the axe came loose and nearly flew out of her hand.

    “What the?” Snow was confused. Why was the axe so light? It felt like it weighed literally nothing. She then turned towards the training sword that was sticking out of the ground and then back at the axe.

    “She played me!” Snow grit her teeth. No wonder the sword felt like it was the same weight every day. Now that she thought about it, the sword was starting to feel heavier. Aela’s been making it heavier each day!

    After about an hour Aela returned.

    “Wow, that smells good.” Aela said, taking a seat, and lounging back.

    “When I was cooking, the stove was running out of wood so I chopped some.” Snow served Aela a plate of wolf steak topped with onions and spicy sauce sided with sliced potatoes sprinkled with seasoning.

    “Did you now, shame, I forgot to put more yesterday.” Aela said with a smirk, knowing the game was up.

    “Why did you trick me!? Why didn’t you say the sword was getting heavier?”

    “Why would I do that?”

    “Because, you said you that you would start teaching me how to attack if I could raise the sword above my head while dodging and you’ve made that impossible by making it heavier and heavier every day!”

    “If I told you the sword was getting heavier you would be more worried about that then dodging my attacks.” She cut and took a bite of the steak.

    “Damn Snow, maybe you should have taken that housewife deal. This is great.” Aela joked. Snow just eyed her. She didn’t find that funny. “Kidding! Wow, relax kid. It was a joke.” Aela spoke in between her chews.

    “Like your cooking.”

    “I guess I deserved that, sorry but I don’t like cooking. I just make the essentials and keep on moving. I'll tell you what, cook like this from now on and I’ll let you sleep in twenty extra minutes.”







    The following day, Snow and Aela were outside of the shack. In the usual training area.

    “Alright Snow, since the jig is up. I’ll actually give you a chance to pass the dodge test, no more fractions, I’ll count straight to ten and I took off the added weight of the training sword, the sword weighs as much as the first day.”

    Snow grew excited, “Alright, I’ll prove it to you Aela, I can do it.” This was the first time in a while she grew excited but she was also nervous.

    “Be warned though. I will not hold back.” Aela raised both her hands and ten chains emerged from the ground. The chains were alot bigger than normal too.

    Snow focused up and pulled the training sword from the ground. The sword felt weightless in her grip, to the point of being able to wield with one hand.

    “Wow, I can hold it with one hand now!” Snow was shocked.

    “Stay focused.” Aela threw one hand forward, “One.”

    Snow bended her knees and turned her body to the side as two chains flew past her. A successful dodge.

    “Two!”

    Two more chains flew out and arced downard, towards her legs, to which Snow slid to the left. A successful dodge.

    “Three!”

    Three chains fired forward. Snow began to run to the side. Each chain was met with a duck and dodge.

    Snow tuned out Aela’s voice, it was a destraction. Snow's only focus was the chains. Snow didn't just wait for the lunges, she anticipated them. She was so used to dodging that she wasn't worried about the initial attacks, Snow was solely trying to predict what kind of follow up each chain was sequenced with. With that in mind, she would never put herself in a position to be comboed or puppeteered by Aela’s direction of attacks. The size and speed of these chains increased Snow’s focus. The lost exhilaration that were prodded from the danger of combat returned to her. She was avoiding attacks from a frostblood veteran. She had made progress. Aela wasn't just teaching her how to dodge. She was teaching her to maintain her focus in the heat of the moment.

    “Eight.”

    The barrage of chains swirled in the air and began moving in an unreadable erratic fashion. This attack appeared undodgeable. However, Snow didn't believe that. Aela’s trainings were backboned with trickery, making things appear mountainous that were not. Snow shifted her perception from the chains to Aela. Then, a grand enlightenment revealed itself upon Snow. The missing piece of the puzzle, a secret that was so obvious that it hid itself. Snow slid to a halt and began twirling in a dance while not taking her eyes off Aela. Each chain, one after the next, slammed into the ground around her. Soon, all ten of Aela’s chains were impaled into the ground, all missing their mark. Snow was standing on one foot, like a dancer. She had dodged all of them. But it was not over yet.

    “Nine.”

    One final secretive chain bursted up from behind Snow. Snow simply shifed her head three inches to the left as the chain flew past the empty space.

    “Ten.”

    “. . .” Snow was silent, her chest expanded as she took in a long winded breath, “YES!” Snow shouted in exhilerated celebration, she was so immersed with the achievement she didnt notice her step and tripped over one of the chains crashing into the ground. She rolled over and laughed. “I got it Aela!” “So you figured it out.” Aela stood over her..

    “Your fingers telegraphed it. All this time I was so focused on guessing where the next chain was going to hit when your fingers gave it away.”

    Snow took Aela’s hand and Aela pulled her up on her feet.

    “Frostblood and Black knights operate like this. You must see their attack before it happens. Whether it be fingers, shoulders, arms or legs. The body tells a lot. Once you are physically capable of dodging, then you need to develop a focused mind, the ability to think while fighting. For example the ability to stay dangerously calm while in the heat of battle is invaluable.”

    Snow breathed a huge sigh of relief.

    “Thank god that's over.”

    “Congratulations, Now we move on to deflecting.”

    “I thought you said Attacking!”

    “I lied, too bad.”

    “Awwwwwww” Snow whined.
     
    Bohnenpflanzer likes this.
  23. Threadmarks: Chapters 22, 23, 24
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    Chapter Twenty Two
    The Golden One
    [Snow]
    Snow was back on her usual routine, she was scaling the owl nest to start her day. As She leapt and climbed, one of the rocks broke underneath her grasp. Her heart dropped before she re-grabbed onto the face of the spire, dangling momentarily before recovering her footing. “Woah, close one.” Snow quickly scrambled up the rest of the spire and reached the top.

    Snow drew Icebreaker upon reaching the top and directed it at a stranger who was also up here.

    “Who are you?” Snow didn't like the feeling this guy gave her, he wasn't a black knight, but he gave off the same oppressive feeling like her mother.

    The nameless man turned her way. He was wearing a gold robe that draped over his face, hiding all of his facial features.

    “You made it this time.” He said.

    “This spire is easy to climb. Now tell me, who are you!?”

    The man turned back towards the landscape.

    “I’d figure that I take a more direct approach to see my vision done. There is a town hidden ten kilometers to the north, where the river system begins. Go there, and find the answers you seek.”

    “The only answer I seek is knowing who you are!” Snow demanded.

    “I am the one trying to resolve the sins of this world, caused by the one who gave you that curse running through your veins.” The man flickered gold before disappearing.






    After Snow finished her route, she picked up Mina from wolf gorge. She rode Mina north, following the interweaving rivers that were shaped like spirals. It is hard to believe that there are any other living people in this world. Snow needed to find out though. Also, she just wanted to sate her own sanity and see another person in this world. She has been trapped in this world for two months and the only other person she's interacted with was Aela. Aela wasn’t the social type either.


    The base of the northern mountains had small lakes, forming from the crashing waterfalls.

    Snow hopped off Mina and took a look at one of the lakes, at her reflection. It felt like a lifetime ago from when she cared about the image it returned, or was forced to care. In her previous life, activating her frostblood was made priority, her performance for nobility was made priority, her contributions to the crown that was built upon war was made priority. None of that mattered here, Aela only cared for her completing her tasks. Nothing else mattered. Even though Snow found solace in that, confliction grew in her heart. Her indifference to her mother, never having a father, living in the shadow of her sisters, the awful tasks of orchestrating masks of facade in the name of public relations, even after all that, Snow found a tear forming in her eye.

    “Why am I crying? Why would I want to go back home? There's nothing for me there.” She wiped away the tear, “Nothing...” She sniffled.

    A wet tongue lapped the side of her face. Mina began licking her. Snow looked at the direwolf. Even across species, there was a sense of understanding between them. Suffering and sadness is something nobody should be alone for and Mina made her presence clear and close. Snow hugged her friend tightly.

    “Thank you, Mina.”

    During their warm embrace Snow noticed one of the waterfalls behind them glittering.

    “Come on girl.” They went around the lake to the base of the sparkling waterfall. Upon close inspection of its loud curtain of water, Snow did not see her reflection, which was strange. She reached out and touched it, when she did, gold lines appeared on her hand. The entire waterfall flashed gold before completely disappearing, revealing a huge crevasse in the mountain.

    When Snow entered the crevasse she heard Mina bark behind her. Mina kept bumping into a gold barrier wall. It appeared Mina couldn't cross it.

    “It's okay girl, stay here. I'll be right back.”

    Lines of angelic statues framed the mountain walls as Snow traversed through the crevasse. Snow continued on until she reached the inside.

    “That man was right.” A huge town was inside, in an open space, surrounded by mountains. The town appeared angelic in design. There were marble buildings, strange architecture, and waterways that wrapped around the outskirts gave off the indication of advanced architectural technology.

    Snow explored the town, but she couldn't shake this strange overlooming sense of dread. The town was completely empty and void of any life. Why was a place this alien and beautiful abandoned? Snow kept investigating the town until she reached its center. There was a ginormous metal fountain, whose elegance surpassed her very imagination. Above the fountain was a floating brass sphere. Surrounded by hundreds of gold floating runes. It was truly a magical wonder. When she got closer to the strange object she began to feel heavier. Then, a strange force began pulling her in.

    “What.. is going on?”

    Snow passed out.

    Screaming and fire woke her up. Snow found herself in a different place, the buildings around her were the same but the foreground of the town went all the way up into the mountains, this small town was the center of a kingdom. A hellish one. It was the middle of the night and screams of agony echoed out from the fountain in front of her. The metal fountain emitted fire and a naked woman hovered above it as if some barbaric witch-cleansing ritual had been taking place. The woman had ginormous angelic wings that stretched up into the air and wrapped around the brass floating sphere. The sphere was glowing red hot and huge stakes kept the wings pinned to it, causing her to hang over the fire.

    “Come closer, child.”

    Snow didn't even know what to respond with.

    “Wh-what is this!?” Snow stepped closer and could see within the fountain. She put both hands over her mouth. It was the vision she had, inside the fountain was a dark pit filled with bodies of people trying to climb over each other to get out. They all raised their hands at her presence.

    “You are the ray of light, that gives them hope.” The woman on the pyre said.

    Snow looked up at the woman. She was an angel. Her nude body had no imperfections contrary to her wings that would have been gloriously magnificent if they were not partially melted by the tar that leaked from the impaled stakes. The most noticeable trait, even above the giant wings, were her astronomically beautiful glowing blue eyes.

    “You… You…”

    “I am the one, you know as, Goddess Regalia.”

    The image of the Lotus Family, the giver of their powerful frostblood, the instrument of their peace, Goddess Regalia herself.

    “Goddess Regalia! What is all this suffering?!” Snow glanced down into the fountain and back at her.

    The Goddess just gave a warm smile.

    “Our people are being used as fuel. Snow, you must save us. The things you call seals. You must destroy them to release these poor souls to the afterlife. I am doing the best I can to ease their suffering but it is not enough.”

    “But, what about the winter catastrophe?”

    “The price of our suffering is too high. As you can see, this wretched existence is hell beyond belief. What you are looking at is a furnace. A furnace whose purpose has been lost long ago. Snow, you can enter and exit the angelic domain because of the blood that runs through your veins. I am not speaking of my gift either. You have something even greater, you have my actual body and soul. You are the spawn of my spawn.”

    “Goddess..Regalia.. Is my?”

    “Yes… Questions you may have, but time you do not. The furnace is hungry and it is trying to pull you in as we speak. Ask quickly, before I send you back.”

    Snow had an innumerable amount of questions. Suddenly thrown into an audience with the Goddess in this hell only served to create an infinite amount of questions. Questions? What wasn't a question? Where to even begin?

    “Is there a way to save both souls here and protect my world?”

    “No. A choice must be made. Fate can not be defied, freezing time is not a suitable solution. We only delayed the expiration of our immortality with suffering and pain. You must destroy the seals.”

    Snow wasn't prepared for something like this. The seals she had been keeping up, was at the cost of this? This is what fueled them?

    “Ask, quickly.” Goddess Regalia responded to her silence.

    Snow looked back up at the hanging Goddess, her impaled wings on the deathly sphere.

    “Why-why can’t I use your power, Goddess!? If we are truly related then why!”

    “The thing you know as frostblood activation is a form of angelic magic. The cost is a piece of one’s soul. Humans can only regenerate a small portion of their souls, that is the ‘limit’ you have seen in the ones you call ‘sisters’. You Snow, are unable to use it because your soul is too strong, it refuses to be divided. Not even the sharpest blade can divide an ocean. Your mother’s soul is unfathomably strong, as well as my own spawn. Unfortunately, I don't have a suitable answer for you. I hope you find solace in knowing your perceived weakness is due to a strength. You have taken advantage of its passive usage, I can see some of your memories.”

    Snow looked at her hands, the gold lines were appearing again.

    “My father, who is he?”

    “A very powerful Angel. But, we are out of time. These are your people too Snow. You must save them.”

    Snow's body flashed gold and she disappeared.







    Snow woke up covered in a light layer of snow. The grand magical sphere of death floated silently above the fountain. To think there was suffering of this magnitude here, right under her nose. Goddess Regalia? Asking her to break the seals? The frostblood being related to the soul? Her, half angel? This was too much for her. Maybe Aela could make sense of it all. Then again, Aela was absolutely adamant about maintaining the seals. She had no idea how Aela would react to this news. It was time to head back.

    Snow left the town the same way she came, through the mountain crevasse. The waterfall illusion reappeared after her exit. Mina was nowhere to be found. She gave a sharp whistle and Mina came running back after a minute. Mina rushed her, licking her frantically and whimpering.

    “What's up girl? What's the matter?” Mina was acting strange, “Ok let's go. Down!” Snow commanded, Mina lowered herself and Snow mounted her. They took off back to the shack.

    They got to the shack, Aela was standing on the pathway right before their home.

    “Snow where the hell have you been?! It's been two days!” Aela's shout of anger was underlined by deep worry.

    “Two days? What are you talking about? I was only gone for like two hours.” Snow dismounted Mina and began to approach. “Aela, I need to ask you a question.”

    “Question? No! You tell me what the hell happened?!”

    “What exactly are we sealing with those seals you are protecting?”

    “You’ve seen the flash freezing weather during the night, you want your whole world filled with that and black knights hunting your kin down?”

    “If they were destroyed, theoretically, what would really happen?”

    Aela cut her off with a draw of her butcher blade. Snow noticed Icebreaker began growing in its sheath.

    “I knew you smelled of black knight, so tell me, when and where did you kill her?!” Aela rushed Snow, knocking her to the ground pressing the thick blade across her neck. Mina began barking at the altercation.

    “Aela what has gotten into you! Get off of me!” Snow yelled.

    “Where the hell did you run off to then? Answer!” Aela put pressure onto the blade.

    “I went-to the owl’s nest. I saw-a man there in golden robes. He told me to go to this angelic town!”

    “A man in golden robes and a town I never heard of before. Yeah, you are real suspicious right now. What is this man's name? And where is this fictional town?”

    “Ten kilometers north-of the nest in-the mountain where the interweaving rivers start! There’s a secret passage through a waterfall. I saw Goddess Regalia, bound to some object, and people melting in a pit. Aela, those seals are-”

    “Sounds like a bunch of nonsense to me, imposter! You are not very convincing! Say your last words because you die here!” Icebreaker was reacting violently on her hip, which told Snow Aela was not kidding. Aela really was about to kill her.

    “I didn’t survive-months of your training-just to die by your hands, stop messing around Aela!” Snow cried out.

    Mina’s barks turned into a loud growl. The canine revealed her large fangs and was about to pounce any moment. Aela glanced at Mina and then back to her. Aela’s glaring eyes that were ready to kill, now had a shred of doubt. Snow could feel a shallow horizontal cut across her neck as the butcher blade was taken off. Mina’s growl ended as a result.

    “That is the first time Mina has ever growled at me.” Aela finally accepted that it was really her.

    “Seriously, what the hell Aela! Why would you think I am not me?!” Snow sat up while cusping her neck.

    “You reek of black knight essence. Wherever you went, never go there again.”

    “Aela, I saw the Goddess-“

    “I don’t care about what you saw, it's obviously an illusion by the black knights since you are absolutely lathered in their essence, whatever you claim you saw is not real.”

    Aela began to walk away.

    “It was! Aela, she explained that-”

    Aela stopped just short of the house, still giving her back,“If those seals are broken then the world as you know it will be doomed. They must be maintained, we just saw black knights trying to destroy one and then you suddenly get fever visions, it’s a trap, a lie, don’t believe it. The seals must be maintained, do you want everyone on Lucredia to die?!”

    “What about those souls suffering here!”

    “Stop talking.” Aela finally turned her way again, but Aela’s casted a gaze of spite onto Snow, shattering any comfort Snow thought they had together. “I did not spend ten years of my life to have my work unraveled by Dea’s kid. On top of the fact that I had to stop, train, and care for her like I'm some gods-damn grandmother. Based on what you're saying, it seems I am the only one that gives a damn. I don't care about some goddess, and I don't care about the fact that your mother has yet to send me any support! I will not falter and I will die before a single one of those seals are broken. So recommend to abolish a seal again and it will be your head fed to the black knights.”







    Chapter Twenty Three
    Tracking the Black Knights

    [Snow]
    Snow was sitting at the table in the shack. Alone. Aela took away her priming stones and reduced her to housework, aka cooking. Even her training had come to an end. Aela was so hell bent on keeping the seals functioning that she was not even willing to investigate a solution. Snow considered all she knew about this place. The only imminent threat to the seals were the black knights. If she could somehow learn why or how they are weakening the seals. Perhaps she could find some solution to the problem.

    Snow took Icebreaker and a piece of parchment and left the shack.







    Snow was on the owls nest. Her intentions were not priming, it was watching. Aela took away her telescope so she had to watch with the naked eye. Good thing she knew the location of all of the tornados and could tell if one was destabilized. Soon enough, a tornado in the distance began flickering.

    “There it is.” Snow scratched down on the parchment, time and coordinates. After most of the day had passed, Snow examined the list of entries she had. Based on the time and distance of each entry, the knights were clearly walking to each seal. It was also just a single group, there were never two tornados being afflicted within a certain window of time.

    “It's only one group doing this.”

    It didn’t take too long to reach the tornado seal of Snow’s estimate. It was the closest one to the infamous spider forest Aela warned her to never enter. Snow was rereading the log she scratched down within one of the trees. According to her calculations, they should be arriving here in a few minutes.

    A few minutes passed and the familiar feeling of scorching heat was felt. She was right. Three black knights came into view. They surrounded the tornado and began channeling their black blood into it. As they were doing it, Snow felt the same sense of dread from the angelic town. There was definitely some sort of connection here. When the tornado appeared too unstable the knights stopped their channel and departed into the spider forest.

    Snow wasn’t sure if she should follow them in.

    “Never, ever, ever go in there. There are killer spiders amongst other monsters that would kill you on the spot lurking in there.” She remembered Aela’s warning about this specific area.

    Snow stopped but ultimately decided to enter the creepy forest.

    The forest looked like something out of a childrens scary story. There were spider webs all over the tops of the tree branches and spiders crawling up the tree trunks. When she got further in, she heard spider noises and small screeches all around her but saw nothing. She didn’t want to lose the knight’s trail but at the same time she didn’t want to go running blindly throughout this wicked forest. She kept her hand on her sword and her eyes and ears open. Snow cautiously continued her path through the spider forest until she saw the first big spider.

    It was the size of a small person. She's never seen or heard of a spider being that big before, it startled her and almost dettered her from continuing onward. She waited and it disappeared from view then regretfully continued on. The deeper she got into the forest the more webs were on the ground until there were actual baby spiders she was stepping over. Snow really had to strengthen her resolve to continue.

    “Why does it always have to be spiders…” Snow sighed.

    “Why, someone seems lost.” A voice was heard from above.

    A massive spider the size of Aela’s shack hovered right above her.

    It was a massive spider queen. Her upper body was partially human, with huge fangs protruding from her mouth and eyes all over her body. A member of the insect race? Nonetheless she looked extremely dangerous.

    “Hi, my name is snow. I'm not looking for trouble. I am just seeking passage through this forest.”

    The brood queen thought for a moment, peering into Snow.

    “Hello Snow, It is very lovely to meet you.” She said with a soothing motherly voice. Her presence gave off a serene feeling. The feeling made Snow guilty for keeping her guard up.

    But still, Snow did not drop her tension.

    “Snow, why so tense, you don't trust me? You believe me to be some monster?” The spider queen picked up on her distrust.

    Snow put her hands up.

    “No, no! I've just never seen a half spider half human before. Sorry if I seem a little tense. Everything attacks me on sight here. I am just on edge, I have to be.”

    The spider queen dropped from her web and landed on the ground with some grace before arching her body up, her human body, emerging more out of her spider counterpart, glistening before she skittered up to Snow.

    Snow instinctively reached for her weapon but quickly stopped the motion. She didn't want to spark an avoidable fight, especially against this huge spider queen.

    The spider queen lowered her spider body to the ground and her human body leaned in close to Snow.

    “Wow, you look just like her.” The spider queen smiled in remembrance.

    A friend of her mother maybe? If so, then maybe this would finally be a stroke of good fortune for her.

    “Do you know my mother?”

    The spider queen nodded her head. “Yes, I do. However it's been a while before I’ve last seen her….Do you mind if I?” The spider queen was reaching towards Snow’s face with long, sharp nails. The motion also brought forth a small wave of small spiderlings that were approaching from all directions.

    This was “danger” in every sense of the word. What was she just doing standing here? This spider was clearly trying to eat her. Snow didn't know what to do. She was about to just quickly slash out, she couldn't take a chance. The spider queen seemed genuinely nice but her body was telling her the opposite. Snow was frozen like a statue. She didnt know what to do.

    Snow forced a smile while the spider queen’s fingers ran through her long white hair.

    “Such beautiful hair too, I'm jealous… Lovely, Yes.” The spider queen’s fingers slid across her face, “Ah, also cold. Just like her.”

    “You never told me your name, spider queen.” Snow asked, rather uncomfortably.

    The spider queen seemed to just be enjoying the moment before revealing her name,“My name is Alliria.”

    “Nice to meet you Alliria.”

    They both made deep eye contact for what seemed like an eternity.

    Alliria’s face became serious like the facade was up.

    “You should leave, only despair lies beyond my domain. However, if you still wish to proceed, be wary of my sister, Xilla. She lives on the other side of the forest. She will kill you. Without a doubt.”

    Alliria crawled away before ascending one of the trees.

    The spiderlings that had been bolstering around Snow were still approaching until a loud hiss was heard from the queen and they all scattered away.

    With Alliria’s granted passage, Snow fortunately did not have to deal with any spiders. She arrived at the end of the spider forest and discovered what was on the other side; a huge dark castle. The castle looked ancient and was positioned on the edge of a huge cliff leading into the swamp biome. On the castle walls she saw two black knights standing guard. As she was watching them someone came out the brushes behind her and grabbed her, pulling her back into the spider forest while covering her mouth.

    “What are you doing here!?” Aela whispered while holding her down.

    “mhmg!” Snow couldn’t breathe or talk, until Aela let her go. “I was following them-”

    “Shush! Lets go, now!” Aela commanded and dragged Snow away.







    Snow was back in the shack, sitting in a chair while Aela was scolding her.

    “I told you, never go in there and not only do you go in there, you follow the black knights straight to their base?! Do you have a deathwish?!” Aela was pissed off again.

    “What do you want me to do? I'm trying to solve this seal problem we are having!”

    “By walking to their base? Through the spider forest? Presenting yourself on a platter?! Are you trying to feed them energy?! You know that’s what they do right?! They eat us! Suck you dry like a leech! At least the spiders will make you feel good, those guys would make your existence worse than hell!”

    “I can take care of myself!” She yelled back at Aela.

    “No you can't! You are just a kid! A child who is in way over her head and pushes her luck to no end!” Aela shouted back.

    “I never asked for this, I never asked to be here. I should have taken that portal and gone back home the first day I met you!”

    “Congratulations, now you are thinking straight. Yes, that was the stupidest decision you have ever made.”

    She could have gone home that first day and avoided all of this hardship. Aela wasn’t even grateful for her staying and helping. Absolutely no appreciation.

    “You know I thought you were different, but I see now that you are the same as the rest of the adults. I helped you. But all you do is lie and use me. you can work and live alone for all I care. I am not going to stay here and be belittled for trying to help someone as bitter as you!”

    “I'm using you? You mean how you are using me as some replacement for your mother? Maybe if you drop those mommy issues of yours and gain some focus, you'll stop being weak.”

    Snow shot up from her seat, and began gathering her gear in a resentful silence. To which Aela crossed her arms.

    “Goodbye, forever.” Snow took whatever gear she had and stormed towards the door. Aela didn’t stop her.

    “Attempt to break a seal and I will kill you myself.” Aela gave her last word in.

    Snow slammed the door behind her.







    Chapter Twenty Four
    Fragility

    Snow stumbled through the southern thick forest. Her heart, aching. Her mind, broken. She didn’t cry but she wanted to. She was incapable of crying at this point, she couldn’t cry anymore. She could do nothing but contemplate what she has done with her life. The life of trying to please her mother, always playing games and sneaking out. She was never really responsible, or had a personality of her own. She could describe her sisters and mother with great detail. But her? She was just a big blah, nothing. She didn’t feel like she had a voice. She didn’t see the point to living anymore, especially since she was stuck here. The Goddess said her soul was strong, but she couldn't make the decision. Everyone was right; she was too weak.

    Snow fell to her knees, and drew icebreaker. Her mother’s sword that had protected her up to this point, would be the same thing that would end her life. Snow held the sword up in the air. She needed to strike her heart, or her frostblood would heal her.

    She yelled and drove the blade into her chest. The blade didn't penetrate, instead, the blade shattered into pieces.

    “Why! I don't want to live. You don't want to skin animals, you don't want to kill me. Arg, you're useless!” Snow flung the Icebreaker’s in rage. The handle bounced off some rocks just above a cave opening. Snow recognized the small cave opening. It was the cave she sheltered in on the first night.

    That dreadful night, she remembered having to fight tooth and nail just to crawl a few inches. That alone was a great achievement for her, she escaped death with the strength of will.

    Snow stood back up and hung her head.

    “If I die without making a choice. I will truly be worthless.” She flexed her hand and Icebreaker flew to her, all the shattered shards reformed onto the blade. “Sorry, Icebreaker.” The sword pulsed blue in response.

    Snow continued her walk through the forest, this time with a direction.





    The endless patch of ice rolled on ahead of her. Snow was standing on the border of the south forest, looking out in memory of her first day. She did not walk on the ice. Instead, her attention shifted to the various piles of snow that were on the border, specifically the pile that was destined for the next crystalline ice slam from the frost giant. Snow knelt down and dug through the pile in search and found a stone sphere. The near perfect sphere was smooth to the touch despite being out here the whole time. It was the key those assailants back home tried to use to destroy the seal. It would be her key now. She headed towards the centermost tornado of the area, near wolf gorge.


    A ghostly woman appeared behind Snow. Watching her.

    There was almost a sense of mesmerization from looking at the tornado seal. Icebreaker felt like it was responding the closer she got to it. As Snow stepped closer, the key in her hand began to vibrate. Once she destroyed this seal, she would be able to help the people trapped inside. Not like her world was worth anything anyways. Her people weren’t worth living at the expense of these angels suffering.

    Just before she entered the tornado the ground exploded in front of her. The cloud of dust obscured the person in front of her momentarily.

    “Aela, I'd figure you try and stop me.” Snow drew Icebreaker, the sword flashed rapidly and instantly transformed into an arming sword. Snow had never seen Icebreaker morph that quickly before. Even when she fought the golem and ice giant.

    It was probably because Aela wasn’t the one in front of her. The dust settled, revealing a black knight.

    The knight said nothing but held his broadsword up in response.

    Snow took a stance against him. The knight’s armor rumbled before he jumped at her with inhuman speed. Snow put her sword up into a block and Icebreaker grew much thicker in anticipation and the knight’s blade made contact.

    If you ever been hit by a moving carriage just multiply that feeling by 100 because that’s how much force the black knight's swing felt like. Snow had to make sure she was okay after blocking that attack. Something was off though. The ground wasn’t at her feet anymore. She got sent flying away. She crashed into the ground rolling about a dozen times before stumbling back up on her feet..

    “That power is absurd.” Snow never would have imagined just how powerful these knights actually are. If she didn’t block that, she may well have been cut in half.

    She-will-not…be-freed.” The black knight said through an abominable wheeze before charging at her.

    Snow prepared herself for the attack when the back of her neck burned, she could sense another one behind her. Snow quickly spun around and was face to face with another black knight. The knight rattled a demonic laugh as he readied his weapon to strike her. His unsettling laugh was silenced when an armored leg smashed against his helm, sending him ragdolling away at least one kilometer.

    The clothing of a warden was unmistakable, the large white cloak bearing the lotus insignia blew with the wind. Light was shining off her gold shoulder plate and her hair had a golden crescent ornament.

    It was Aela. Her usual garb was replaced with the warden armor.

    “Aela.”

    Aela shifted to be in front of her, looking at the oncoming knight. The knight lunged at them. His blade poised to pierce Aela. Aela responded by raising her metal boot up, the blade grinded against her heel before she parried it away and stabbed the black knight through the chest with a new weapon. This new sword was green and had a crescent insignia. The knight roared as a plethora of vines began flailing out of the sword, viciously wrapping and snapping into him. Aela kicked him straight into the tornado wall, the knight hit the wall like it was solid, shards of ice shredded into him before he fell back to the ground.

    “Get your act together, I am not going to lose another partner again. Even if she is emotional and reckless.” Aela spoke with conviction.

    Snow smirked.

    “I’ll take a formal apology later. For now, let's get rid of these knights.”

    “There are more coming. Finish that one off, behead him. I got the rest.” As Aela said that, Snow could feel the fire of more black knights approaching.

    Snow focused on the black knight shambling towards her, the pulsating vine sword was severely hindering him. The knight tried several times to remove the sword, but his efforts were futile. Snow could see the hot mist that he exerted through his helmet. He was breathing like a bull, and was going to fight her with the sword still in him.

    “Snow, watch his dash!” Aela yelled from far away while she was in the middle of fighting three black knights.

    Snow yelled as she charged at the knight. This was her moment, all the training she’s been through. It mattered here and now. She had to atleast take one down while Aela handled the rest. While she was charging her heart rate increased faster and faster, a tingling sensation spread across her spine. Then, in almost a blink of an eye, she stopped and sidestepped as hard as she could. The black knight shot past her, he had moved so fast he was nearly a blur, even from this distance.

    The knight grew confused, as if he didnt expect to hit nothing. She was didnt blame him, she was surprised too. The vine-coated knight extended his sword arm out to the side as he prepared for yet another attack..

    Snow started feeling that same tingling force again and lifted her sword up, before she realized it, the knight was mid strike. His blade slammed into hers, trying to push her back, but she held her ground. Snow didn't know what was more shocking, his speed with Aela’s sword still in him or the fact that she somehow blocked it.

    That strange force was felt again, her blood was moving inside her body, even the muscles in her sword arm and legs felt like they were hardening. She moved her sword three times deflecting three different strikes with unbelievable precision.

    “Woah am I really doing this?!” Snow was awestruck.

    The knight threw another burst of deflected attacks. At the end of his sequence, Snow slid around him, the ends of her hair getting sliced before she returned her own strikes. Her body attacked on its own. With grace she turned her wrist as she slipped Icebreaker across his back. Snow didn't realize how much force she was using until the rest of his backplate came right off. She wasn't done yet, she pushed forward, twirling before dashing past him and stabbing him through the side of the neck. Black tar gushed out and she hopped back.

    Snow looked towards Aela to see how Aela was handling herself. Aela’s arm was directed in their direction while she was struggling to deal with the knights. That's when Snow knew what the unknown force was. It was Aela. Aela was actually puppeteering her this whole time, Aela was fighting two battles at once.

    Then, Aela got hit, and hard. Two of the knights struck her at the same time and she got sent flying. There was an explosion, and Aela was in a crater on the ground. The strange force that had been controlling Snow disappeared.

    Snow refocused on the knight she was battling, half of his neck was gone. The black wound started to steam and heal, but vines grew over it, ripping the wound back open whenever it attempted to close. Snow had to finish this thing off without Aela’s help. Its speed was deadly, and its strength too. She had to be able to predict its attacks or she would perish on one hit.

    Snow looked closely. A slight rattle came from his right elbow.

    “There!”

    Snow turned to the left as his broadsword swiped upwards to her right. After the sword whiffed, Snow swung up with a counter attack. Icebreaker sliced through the knight’s slimy armpit like butter. The knight’s arm dropped to the ground, still grasping onto the sword.

    The knight threw his left arm forward, in an attempt to grab her by the throat. Snow ducked under his grasp before shoving Icebreaker into the remains of his throat. Snow twisted and pulled, but the knight's blood rapidly tried to fight back against Icebreaker. The knight grabbed her forearm with his one remaining arm in a desperate attempt to stop the decapitation. Snow’s flesh immediately began sizzling underneath his grip. Then, she could see her blood being pulled towards his grip. As her blood fed into him, his neck began rapidly regenerating.

    Snow felt a rapid vibration in her pocket. The vibration was so strong she couldn't ignore it. She reached in her pocket and pulled out the seal key orb.

    It's powered by souls.

    Snow shoved the orb key into the knight’s chest. The key flashed red and began absorbing the knight. The knight emitted a monstrous scream while the key sucked him inside, the key dropped to the ground along with Aela’s vine sword.

    “Bastard!” Aela yelled barbarically before crashing into the ground once again.

    Aela had taken one of the knight’s heads and was now facing just two of them. She was tiring though.

    “Aela here catch!” Snow threw the vine sword at her. Aela caught it and was dual wielding now.

    The knights took pause upon the vine sword. Then, they looked to her. Snow held the key up as well as Icebreaker. The action deterred them from advancing, instead they backed up and disengaged into the forest.

    The battle was over.







    They went back to the Aela’s shack. It was a mess again. Aela was sitting on the bedside and Snow was sitting on a chair.

    “Listen, uh, I was a little harsh back then. I didn’t mean it like that. I don’t look at you like a burden, nor does it have to do with your mom. I was just annoyed.” Aela scratched her head trying to put into words what to say.

    “It's okay. Apology accepted.” Snow smiled.

    “Thanks.” Aela looked to be a little relieved.

    “Aela, you mentioned during the fight you wouldn’t lose another partner again. Did you have a partner before me?”

    Aela flinched at the mention of her partner as if she knew this was coming.

    “Yes. I had a partner, her name was Laura.” Aela sighed.

    “I never knew you had a partner. What happened?”

    It was the first time Aela showed any sad emotion. Snow didn't know Aela’s hard expression was capable of concaving past anger. Aela looked pained, a mix of anger and sadness battled in her demeanor.

    “I don't know how to cook because I was never the one who did. Same with Mina’s pups, I never handled them before.” She squeezed her fists, “ I had a partner, her name was Laura.” Aela smiled but then anger flared again. “She was the smart one. I was the strong one. She did all the seal research and I basically did whatever she said. She also did all the small stuff like cooking, cleaning, and scouting. The stuff that you do. She was a real pansy though. I had to protect her on several occasions, even though her sword is ridiculously overpowered.” Snow swore she saw a tear forming from Aela’s eye. “That idiot was just like you in fact, she refused to leave me alone, and then took care of me when I pushed myself too much. She was also obnoxiously cocky whenever she got good at something.”

    “I'm sorry, did she.. pass?”

    “Worse, she pushed her frostblood too hard to save one of the southern seals, the one nearest the area you emerged from. Just before it happened she was saying similar things like you; about seeing suffering angels and breaking the seals to free them. She broke the seal causing that entire area to be iced over. She then realized her mistake and used all her power to permanently seal it back.”

    Laura pushed her frostblood? But she was not dead? Snow’s eyes widened in realization.

    “Aela, don't tell me. That frost giant?”

    “It's her. That monstrosity is my partner, my god damned friend.” A tear did roll down her eye.

    “That's why you didn't kill her before.”

    “What am I supposed to do? Just kill my best friend? You'd think that's the right thing to do. ‘Mercy killing’, I told myself. But, I can't bring myself to do it. What's worse is the agonizing screaming she lets out every day. And I know shes screaming my name, she screams nothing but my fucking name and I cant stand it!” Aela gritted her teeth followed by the full release of tears, “I'm so useless. I'm so weak.” She hung her head in complete defeat.

    Snow got up and sat next to Aela.

    “I'm so sorry, Aela. That’s something I couldn't imagine going through.” When She arrived, Aela had just lost her friend. That explained Aela’s anger when they first met.

    “When you destroyed my golem, I was infuriated, my best friend who just gave her life for a seal was now being undermined by Dea’s own daughter. I hated you. Sorry if I seemed harsh because of that.”

    “I understand, Aela. You are not a bad person, you are very caring.”

    “I’m no saint, I've killed hundreds in the great war. But, after spending ten years with someone, only to have them turn. I can still hear her screams. It makes me shiver, and then it makes me angry. I just want to eradicate those damned knights down to the last man!-”

    Snow hugged Aela. Aela’s rageful rant was interrupted. Her anger settled into sadness, then grief.

    “We will get through this.” Snow softly said.

    “Thanks Snow, I really needed to hear that.” Aela tearfully said.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2022
    Bohnenpflanzer likes this.
  24. Threadmarks: Chapters 25, 26, 27
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    Chapter Twenty Five
    The Strange Orb
    [Snow]
    Snow and Aela sat across from each other, both staring at the strange orb. The orb key laid on the center of the table, pulsating red.

    “Well, at least in our little quarrel we found out a weapon that’s useful against them. You said that the key absorbed him?” Aela questioned.

    “Yes.” Snow replied.

    “That key is a useful weapon for both of us. In our hands, we can use it to absorb them. In their hands, it can be used to break the seals.”

    “What should we do? Start hunting them down?”

    “Hard to say, that key is still an unknown. If anything we use it as a deterrence. We should try not to use it. Since we have a lot more to lose if we lose possession of it.”Aela rolled her fingers on the table in quiet thought.

    “Makes sense. I agree. But, Aela, can we speak freely on the situation though. You can't do this forever, and if there is a chance that angelic souls are suffering. I can't leave them like that. I want to figure out a solution that helps everyone.”

    “Sure. Tell me everything that happened on the day you saw goddess Regalia.”

    Snow explained everything in detail: from almost falling off the owls nest, to meeting the gold-cloaked nameless man, to riding Mina north and discovering the waterfall that lead to the angelic town, the furnace in the fountain and finally the huge magical object that Goddess regalia was bounded too. Now that Snow thought back on it, the seal key looked very similar to that anomalous object.

    Aela got up, and pulled out of the box that was underneath her bed. In the box she took out a small leather parchment book.

    “Here.” She gave Snow the book.

    Snow opened the book. Each page had intricate details of those symbols inside the tornado and the same symbols that were hovering around the sphere in the angelic town. The book also had descriptions of magical formulas on how to replicate them. Snow didn't understand the symbols themselves but she could see the notes underneath them.

    “Aela! Where did you get this book!?”

    “It was Laura’s, flip to the back.” Aela said. Snow flipped to the back, there was a map of this world, and each seal was marked with a dotted circle. There were lines drawn from the dotted circles all the way up to a question mark at the top of the page. The question mark was in the northern mountain, just above the interweaving rivers. “Laura was mapping them, she kept complaining about how each site was too small to regulate an environmental change. Something about how all of them are connected to a regulator, whatever that means.” Aela sighed, “She could never find it though.”

    “Aela this question mark, this is the angelic town! I know it is, it has to be!”

    “Okay, and even if it is, what will you do?”

    “What do you mean? I want to find a solution.”

    “Let's say I fully believe that there are souls suffering at the costs of the seals. Laura believed that too, and Laura was pretty damn smart, way smarter than anyone I ever knew. But tell me, Why did she break a seal, and used all her power to try and seal it back? She clearly was wrong, or tricked.”

    “Yeah but.”

    “Laura had to be wrong. Why?”

    “Give me some time to go through this book, I’ll see if I can't figure it out.”

    Snow read through all the notes in the book, and pondered at the table for hours. She had Aela give her a parchment and pen. Snow scribbled a new map. Just looking at Laura’s findings were very helpful but there was something missing. Something about the seal system itself or their perception of it seemed incorrect. The black knights were another factor that told them information. The knights weakened tornados but never destroyed them. The knights also did not go near the seals closest to the angelic town. Laura’s death seal was also the farthest one away from the angelic town. Why would she choose the farthest one to break? Did Laura not trust what she saw, did she choose the farthest one as an experiment?

    Snow had three key pieces of information; The fact that the seals were all connected to the angelic town, the typical routes taken by the black knights strayed away from the angelic town, the fact that Laura sacrificed herself to reseal one of the southern seals. Something did not seem right.

    Snow sighed, leaning back.

    “Figure something out yet?” Aela entered.

    “No, not really. I feel like there is something I am not seeing. Like it's staring me in the face, but I am not noticing it.”

    “Well, maybe you will get an epiphany up in the owl’s nest.”

    “Owl’s nest?”

    “Yeah, I wanted to show you something. Let's go.”







    They reached the base of the owl’s nest spire.

    “Race you to the top.” Aela leaped with a head start.

    “Hey no fair! You got a head start!” Snow ran up to the spire and began scaling it.

    Snow reached the top in record time but Aela still beat her of course. Aela was waiting for her at the top.

    “Look at you, you climbed it twice as fast as last time.” Aela complimented her climbing skill.

    “Yeah, but still slower than you because of the frostblood.”

    “Not with that excuse again. That’s what I'm going to try and teach you.”

    Snow got caught off guard. Frostblood?

    “Are you going to teach me how to activate it?” Snow excitedly asked.

    “Sort of, your training is sufficient enough for now. You are no longer that novice that stepped in here all that time ago. I figured it's time to start Frostblood training.”

    “Okay, let’s do it!”

    “The goal of today isn’t to bring out your frostblood. You’ve tried that enough times. We are going to try something different. You can sense black knight energy, you can sense the seal defense magics. So you should be able to sense frostblood magic.”

    There was a rock towards the back of the owls nest that Aela had her sit on. She was sitting in a meditative stance with her eyes closed while Aela spoke behind her.

    “I want you to try and differentiate the different types of magic that you feel around the area.”

    Snow cleared her thoughts and dug deep into her mind. She tuned into the same gut feeling she would get whenever comes in contact with a black knight, or seal tornado. After a moment, she started to sense something flow into her. Like a large stream of water going into her back. The force was pushing against her hard before it invaded her body, causing a tingle in her spine.

    “What is..this?” She tried to push the force out of her but she stood up against her will.

    Snow looked behind her and Aela’s eyes were blue. She was laying on a rock holding her hand out towards snow.

    “That force is you? What are you doing?”

    “So you sense it, good. Now here's the deal. With my frost ability I can control your body. I am going to make you walk off this cliff unless you can break free.”

    “What!”

    Snow took one step forward against her will. She couldn’t believe she fell for this sink or swim training again.

    “You're wasting time. Focus on what's in front of you.” Aela smirked, she sounded like she was joking but Snow knew she was dead serious.

    The mysterious force was obviously the frost but it still felt foreign to her. Snow pushed back with all her might but it felt like her body was uncontrollable. She took another step forward. She knew why Aela was doing this but it was still ridiculous. Snow gritted her teeth trying to fight against her own body.

    “You can't brute force this Snow. Expel my energy with your own.” Aela said calmly.

    Snow was halfway to the edge. She stopped trying to brute force and focused within herself. The foreign energy inside body was just freely roaming through her but she couldn’t do anything about it.

    Before she knew it she was standing at the edge. Her heart started racing at the downward view of the landscape.

    “Broken legs, cracked pelvis. Real painful stuff, I'll make sure you don't land on your head though!” Aela joked.

    “Yeah, yeah, I know!” Snow shouted back.

    “You're not going to beg me to stop?”

    “Why would I, you wouldn’t stop anyways!”

    “Good, you know me well. You will soon learn another lesson, whether it be pushing my power out or learning how to regenerate two broken legs.”

    Snow was hovering one foot off the edge.

    “You're going to fall.” Aela teased.

    Snow walked off the ledge, without a sound.

    “hm?”Aela didn’t hear a scream

    Aela got up and quickly dashed to the ledge. When she looked over it Snow was hanging off the face of the spire with Icebreaker stabbed into the wall. Her arm had golden lines on it.

    “What happened to letting me break my legs! I guess you really were bluffing. Looks like I do know you after all! I will never forget that face!” Snow said laughing.

    Aela ticked her teeth.

    “Yeah yeah, Just get up here”

    They were both sitting on the rock, on top of the owl’s nest.

    “So those lines on your arm. How long have you been able to use them?”

    “I don’t know. The first time I saw them was when I touched Warden Flora. The next time was after I woke up the first night I was here. They also appeared when I crossed the first seal tornado and the barrier for that angelic town.

    “Hm, I think I see.”

    “What are they, Aela?”

    “Those lines seem to only appear whenever you touch something with a lot of magic. Interacting with Flora was the first time you saw them you say, she also happens to be the strongest mage I know. Then you said you almost froze to death on your first night? You were probably coated in frost magic from the night cycle. The tornado and town barrier you described are also condensed with magic.”

    “So what is this strange power?” Snow said, examining her hands.

    “I don’t sense any of the magic lingering in you. I don’t believe you are absorbing it. If you aren’t absorbing it then it can only mean one thing; Magicka Deconstruction.”Aela determined.

    “Magic Deconstruction?” Snow questioned the term..

    “Magicka Deconstruction is a unique ability of angels. They are able to revert magic down to its base form, So complex magical bindings like barriers and seals can theoretically break down with just a touch. The only reason I know of this is because of the great war, a lot of barriers had no effect on the angels which made them a real problem. The deconstruction doesn't work on all magic types, but the ones that do are pretty much rendered useless. Seems you are more special than you think.”

    “Does that mean I am really half angel? Was the goddess right?”

    Aela started an outburst of laughing, “Your mother despises angels, She would lose it if she heard you say it like that. But uh, between you and me, I think so. But, I also think that's a conversation you should have with her.”

    “My mom never liked to talk about my father. Do you know who he is?”

    “No clue. Soon before the war ended she became pregnant with you, that's all I know. She made it very clear not to question who the father was. The birth was also very difficult for her.” Aela looked her up and down, “But look at you; between magicka deconstruction and your ability to use Icebreaker, you are a lot more special than you give yourself credit for.”

    “I don't know how you’ve been here for so long. I wonder if I'll ever be able to go back.”

    “Don't worry, I’ll find a way for you to leave. I need to convey some information to your mother anyways.”

    “I won't just leave you.” Snow felt guilty, Aela has been here for so long.

    “You've seen Laura’s findings, someone has to give it to your mom. Anyways, It's not like you're leaving tomorrow. We got a lot more work to do Snowflake.”

    “Don't call me that, it sounds so babyish.” Snow pouted.

    “But you are my Snowflake though.” Aela patted her head.

    “Egh. Whatever.”

    “AELLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” They both heard the giant’s roar in the distance, echoing across the land.

    Aela squeezed her fist. Her face was both troubled and pained.

    “Aela-” Snow emphasized with her.

    “I know.” She snapped back.

    “We have to give her peace.” Snow addressed the issue.

    “I’m not ready yet.” Aela sharply said, as if the thought was already present in her mind before even today. Aela wasn't even responding to her, Aela was responding to herself.

    “It doesn't matter if you're ready or not, Laura is suffering. You need to help your friend.”

    “Gods dammit Snow, are you really going to make me do this?”

    “We need to do it. Now.”







    Chapter Twenty Six
    A Friend’s Duty

    Finding Laura was easy enough. She had left a trail of destruction near the southern thicket forest. The trail ended at a small grove coated in small frozen flowers.

    Aela and Snow stood across the grove, a small pond separated them and Laura. Laura looked in even worse shape, her body had even less flesh, one of her eyes was gone and half her body was iced over.

    “I’ll back you up Aela.” Snow said.

    “Okay.”

    Laura was alerted to their presence and roared.

    AELLLLAAAAA!” Laura screamed as pillars of ice shot up from the pond. Aela flinched at her name, like a small child being yelled at. Snow saw and knew that any hesitation can lead to both of them dying.

    “Aela, stay focused, or we’ll be dead too!” Snow shouted. That seemed to bring forth some resolve in Aela.

    The pond in between them slowly frosted over, creating an arena in this sad but beautiful grove. Aela charged forward, her long butcher blade grinded on the ice as she entered combat against her close friend;

    “I'm sorry, for not being strong enough and waiting this long.”

    More deathly pillars shot forth, all aimed at Aela. All missed.

    “I'm sorry, for not listening to you.”

    Laura slammed both her hands down summoning a blooming crystalline flower, the flower grew to maximum size and exploded. Aela summoned a miniature tornado in between them that redirected all the shrapnel.

    “And I'm sorry, most of all, for not being there when you needed me the most.”

    Aela took out the vinesword, the sword of her best friend, and launched it at Laura’s chest. The sword penetrated and a growth of vines rapidly emitted out from it, coating Laura’s chest, and wrapping around her arms.

    Aela used the remnant of the bloomed flower and leaped off of it, towards Laura’s neck. Aela held the butcher blade like a scyth and was poised to behead her friend. Aela was a warden, killing a giant was quick work for someone of her calibur.

    Ae-l-a.” However it was different when it was your own friend. Laura muttered Aela’s name again, causing Aela to hesitate.

    “Laura?!” Aela quickly responded, staying her attack as if there was some shred of hope her friend was still sentient in that monstrous form.

    The giant ripped through the vines and grabbed Aela with a roar.

    “Tck! Shit!” Aela tried to break free but she was caught.

    Aela was being held like a doll, and the giant began to squeeze with anger. Aela yelled out in pained struggle.

    “Not good, not good!” Snow was already running to help but she was still too far. She knew there was a chance that Aela would hesitate but she didn't expect it to turn out like this. “Aela hang on, I'm coming!”

    The frost giant began squeezing Aela with both hands, Aela tried her hardest to resist but she was unable to break free. A few more seconds of this and she would be crushed in half. Aela screamed in crushing pain.

    “Icebreaker go!” Snow flung icebreaker and icebreaker rapidly started spinning. Icebreaker flew in and sliced past both of the giant’s wrists, blood squirting from them and the giant dropped Aela. Icebreaker turned mid air and spun back to Snow. Snow caught it and threw it again. This time, Icebreaker flew by the giant's tendons, slicing both of them. The giant staggered and fell face first onto the ice, right before Aela.

    “Aela do it!”

    Aela was up, but motionless, and said nothing.

    The giant, still on the ground, gave an eye to Snow and decided she was the new threat. The ground started rumbling as crystalline flowers began growing all around Snow.

    “Aela. I need you to finish her, right now!”

    “I... Cant.” Aela muttered, Aela had lost all courage. No, she lost all will.

    The flowers grew to their max size and began to glow in volatility.

    “Aela, not killing her is cruel, you have to KILL HER! Aela!” Snow screamed.

    That seemed to snap Aela out of her trance. Aela screamed before swinging the butcher blade. Blue blood splattered across the ice. But, it was too late. The volatility of the crystalline flowers were already past their reversion point.

    “Icebreaker, protect me!” Snow shouted.

    The crystalline flowers exploded, shredding everything within the grove.







    “Snow, Snow!” Aela’s calls could barely be heard. Snow only perceived the dark. Sprinkles of light pierced through the darkness one by one as Aela removed a piece of rubble that had buried her. “Please, tell me you're alive! Snow!”

    “I'm here…” Snow responded, to which Aela dug her out. She arose from the rubble of rock and ice. Her entire body had a film of blue on it. It felt a bit invasive. Snow looked at her hands, they were coated in this blue ice.

    “I would really not be able to live with myself if you died because of me.” Aela looked Snow up and down. “You used Icebreaker as armor?! That was genius!”

    “Icebreaker, to me?” Snow called forth her blade and all the icy film on her skin receded into her palm, first forming a rock, then a sword handle and then its blade. “Incredible.”

    Aela turned back to the headless giant.

    “Thank you Snow, without you, I wouldn't have been able to do it.”

    Snow saw a ghostly woman appear in front of them. Now, in comparison to the giant, she could see remnants of the same outfit, and even the crescent hair pin. The woman was an elf who was smirking with a brightened face.

    “Um, Aela, is Laura an elf?”

    “Yeah? How do you know?”

    Snow grabbed Aela’s hand, golden lines flashed on Snow’s arm and Aela's eyes in response shot open.”

    “Laura?!” Aela shouted.

    “Watching you suffer was more painful than the transformation. But, could you have taken any longer you sloth? Gods.” Laura smiled, nodding to Snow. “Thank you for connecting us, Snow.”

    “Laura! I, I should have gone with you. That day, I’m sorry. It's all my fault!”

    “Don't be, it isnt. I love you, I also want you to live on. I harbor no regrets, or ill will. I am happy with our time spent together. Now, I have a message for the half blood.” She looked at Snow again.

    “What is it Laura?” Snow questioned the spectral ghost, err soul?

    “Goddess Regalia is a liar.” Laura said with scorn, “Do not listen to her.”

    “Liar?” Snow said with concern, her grandmother, the goddess of her kingdom, “Why would she lie?”

    “The seals scattered throughout the land are not for the weather. The seals are for her.”

    Snow couldn't believe it.

    “What about the weather catastrophe? Is that a lie too?”

    “No, My hypothesis is that the ‘goddess’ herself is the energy source of the weather regulator and the seals throughout the land keep her from escaping. Even considering that, I wanted to see if the suffering souls actually existed, so I attempted to make contact with them, that's a part of the reason for my death. By connecting my soul to a seal I was able to communicate with them, but in the process it cost me my life. I am the greatest magic researcher of this age and I still would have never believed such vile acts of cruelty were possible.”

    “Goddess Regalia said she was trying her best to grant them comfort?” Snow said.

    “Another lie. A twisted joke even, since she is the one inflicting the torment upon them. She is the warden of their hell, and very much enjoys it. Her suffering victims are inconsequential to the seal operation.”

    Snow couldn't believe what she was hearing. The goddess being some, orchestrator of hell for souls trapped in some magical furnace? Why would she do that? The goddess was her grandmother? Or was that a lie too? Snow didn't know what to believe anymore. She nearly ended the world off of blind faith. Is she really so naive that she fell for something like that? Snow’s confliction from this crisis was now replaced with the feelings of betrayal. She had been used by her very own goddess. If the peak of the hierarchy of values was rotten, that means the whole thing was rotten. Snow sat down on some rubble as her entire philosophy of life had been shattered by the realization of her naivety.

    “Laura why would you kill yourself! You should have told me!” Aela shouted, unable to hold back her emotion.

    “You would have stopped me.”

    “Of course I would have stopped you, you would be alive right now!”

    Laura began to disappear, the golden lines on Snow faded away.

    “Wait, Laura, don't go!”

    “I’ll be closer than you think, Aela. Don't mourn me yet. Well, I guess you already did, you look so ugly when you cry…” Laura laughed just before disappearing.

    “Hey! That's rude! You weren't meant to see me like that!” Aela shouted at the now silent grove.

    “She… used me.” Snow uttered. Her entire faith had been shattered.

    Aela noticed Snow’s state and kneeled down in front of her.

    “Listen Snow, You don't need a goddess to enact good in the world. Virtue and moralities are both conceived and enacted by humanity. The authoritative hand of a god or goddess serves no purpose but to give us comfort.” Aela could still see she was still troubled, “Now, since you don't have the comfortable fallback of a goddess, you'll be inclined to put in the extra effort of making the world a better place.”

    Snow looked up at Aela, Aela gave her confident smile. A genuine Aela smile was enough to shock Snow into reality from its rarity.

    “Thanks Aela. You're right.”

    Aela pulled her up to her feet.

    “Let's head home, I’m hungry from doing all the work in that battle.” Aela said nonchalantly.

    “Hey, I saved you!” Snow rebutted.

    “I know, I know. I'm just pulling your leg Snowflake. Lighten up.” Aela patted her back as they walked, “So tell me, when the hell did you learn how to make ice armor?”







    Chapter Twenty Seven
    A Moment of Respite

    [Snow]
    A little more…more…are you scared or something?” Snow egged Aela on.

    Seasoning and greens were all neatly laid out on the cooking counter, The meat had sprinkles of pepper on it. Snow had taken the title of instructor, and Aela, the rowdy student. This task was quite possibly harder than anything she has ever done. Aela had a lot to learn, to put it lightly.

    “Jeez, how much more? Why don’t I just dump the whole thing!”

    “Obviously don’t dump the whole thing, you forehead!”

    “Who are you calling forehead.” Aela sprinkled pepper on Snow’s face.

    “Hey!” Snow complained followed by a sneeze.

    Aela was laughing.

    “Ok, I think that’s good enough.” Snow sniffed.

    “So it’s like a light coating, gotcha.”

    “This isn’t so bad, still tedious but it's a lot more complicated than I figured.” Aela concluded.

    “Mhmhm, you know a good meal is something everyone always remembers.” Snow nodded.

    After dinner was made and served Aela and Snow sat at the table. This was the first time Aela held a genuine happy conversation at the dinner table. She spoke about pranks she would pull on Laura, and some then some of their adventures together in the elven forest. Aela was actually a very colorfull person, and the troublemaker type. It reminded Snow of herself, funny enough. Snow savored the moment and the-somewhat-decent food Aela painstakingly crafted.

    “So, Snowflake, Any boys you got waiting at home for you?” Aela redirected the conversation to her. Snow grew red a tad bit

    “No! Well, I mean. There is one, I kinda, like. Like.”

    “Ohhh, so you do fancy someone? Come on, spill it, what’s his name?” Aela demanded.

    “His name is… Randelian Windram. Everyone calls him Randal though.”

    “Windram?!” Aela's face grew surprised and then very intrigued, “So I guess our little princess likes bad boys. I never would have thought.”

    “He's not bad! Hes.. actually kinda goofy.” Snow said with an embarrassed frown.

    “Well, if that kid has half the grout of his father, he’ll grow up to be a dragon rider or somethin.”

    “Dragons aren't real…”

    “Says the half angel.” Aela smirked.

    That night they traded some bedtime stories. Snow told Aela about her adventure in the mountaineer kingdom to which Aela was an avid fan of. Aela especially liked the part where she played the deathly game of hide and seek against Rezlo, the devil imp. Afterwards, Aela told her of a similar imp encounter she experienced, but instead of playing a game, she just blasted the imp away with a frost tornado. It was a very comical night.







    The following morning, Snow awoke to the smell of bacon.

    “Bacon?” Snow rose from the sheets. Aela was cooking on the stove across from the bed.

    “Found me a nice squealer on my rounds this morning. I thought I would surprise you but-” Aela sniffed, the smoke emitting from the pan turned black. “Uh, Snow, I think it's burning! What do I do?!” Aela sounded like a kid.

    “Take it off the fire!” Snow hopped off the bed and took over before Aela could commit arson with the bacon. Inside the pan were over a dozen strips that barely fit inside of it. “Aela why did you put this many!” Snow tried to flip the strands, there were another dozen underneath. “There's more underneath?!”

    “Yeah, I'm not going to waste it!” Aela shrugged.

    “You cook it in small portions at a time! And these strands are so thick!” Snow said in disbelief.

    “Oh well. Now I know.” Aela smiled as Snow saved what was left of the bacon.

    Snow did the best she could and saved about ten strips from complete and utter disintegration. The strips were half burnt but they were still mouth-watering good. After all this time, bacon was a blessing from heaven. Aela grabbed some of Snow’s gear and put it on the table, while putting on her own.

    “Snow, the black knights are nowhere to be found. They haven't even touched any seals this morning. I figured we should take the day off. I’m going to the wolf gorge to check on Mina’s pups. Do you want to come?”

    “Aela suggesting to take the day off? You're scaring me. Yeah, I’ll go. It will be a nice change of pace.”







    They went to the top of wolf gorge. Snow sat with her legs sticking into the pen. The pups were play-fighting with her boots. Based on their behavior, they were either teething or having a fantastical battle, where her boots enacted a mythic beast of legend. Mina was laying on the other side watching, seemingly relieved that the pups had a distraction and purred while Aela rubbed her stomach.

    “Mina’s tired, that's good. That means she's actually being a mom now.” Aela continued to rub a happy Mina’s stomach.

    “She deserves some rest. She's been a very good girl.” Snow said while shuffling her feet, in abrasive counters and dodges against the claws of the small devils.

    Snow turned her gaze to the inside of the gorge. The rest of the pack were going about their day, resting in their dens or playing. Which made Snow realize, even if there are big issues in the world. It’s okay to stop and appreciate the things you have. Another beauty of wolves, they live in the moment.

    “Aela, I'm glad I went back. To help you.” Snow said with content.

    Aela leaned against Mina and closed her eyes, unresponding.

    Snow put on a face.

    “Well! Say it! I know you want to!” Snow demanded against her silence.

    “Alright, alright. I’m glad you came back to help me Snowflake. Now shut it, I want to take a nap.” As fast as Aela said that, she fell fast asleep.

    The nibbling devils had ended their battle, they failed to defeat her mighty boots. They were tired and scurried to Mina’s protective coat to rest. Everyone seemed sleepy. Snow snuck over to her companions and laid right next to Aela. She looked to the sky, and enjoyed the view, before too, falling asleep.

    It was a lovely day off.
     
    Bohnenpflanzer likes this.
  25. Threadmarks: Chapters 28, 29
    Bloodkin

    Bloodkin Getting sticky.

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    Chapter Twenty Eight
    All Good Things Must Come to an End

    “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.” “We are real.”

    Snow, get up!

    Snow awoke to Aela frantically shaking her.

    “What, Aela?” Snow muttered in her half asleep daze. Aela looked panicked. It was so surreal that Snow nearly jumped out from the sheets, “What's going on?!”

    “They are here! Grab your weapon!” Aela exclaimed.

    There was only one threat Aela would react this way to. The black knights. Snow felt them too. The comfortable walls of their small home felt like paper and a fire was coming. Aela was barely dressed herself; she rifled through the chest strapping on only the bare minimum armor.

    Snow didn’t even get to put on her boots, she went for Icebreaker first. The house was feeling more and more hot and hard to breathe.

    Her sword was in the corner by the door, next to her gear. She ran to the door and began throwing on her own gear. A huge cracking noise interrupted her just as the ceiling collapsed between her and Aela. Three black knights came crashing in.

    One of them let out a scream, red eyes filled its dark helmet.

    “Snow, the key!” As Aela said that, everyone in the room turned their head towards the mystical orb that laid on the table. It was in the corner, a few steps away from Snow. There was a moment of silence, a moment of frozen time.

    The intense freeze was broken when Aela swung her blade wide, cutting through the wall of the house just over the stove and hitting two of the knights away. The third knight tried to move on the key at the same time Snow did.

    It was only a few steps away yet it might as well be on the other side of a field. A singular second is all she had against this knight who had the speed and strength of a warden. If only she put her gear by the table instead of the front door. She couldn’t have thought about that though. The key was like a shining piece of treasure and they both wanted it. No, rather they didn’t want the other person to have it.

    The world felt as if it was slow motion. The key was slowly getting closer and closer to her reach with each step she took. Snow didn’t even look at the black knight, she couldn’t afford too. She gave all her effort to grabbing the key, to moving forward. As her hand extended out, she pushed to be faster. She pushed to be greater. Three steps made the difference between life and death.

    As her fingers wrapped around the key, so was the knight.

    Both of their hands were on the key, but Snow’s hands were under his. She grabbed it first.

    The black knight worked to rip it away from her. His burning gauntlets gripped her fingers with crushing force as she held on, refusing to let go.

    “Get..off me!” She struggled against the savage pulls of this monstrous knight.

    The tug of war for the seal key ended when Aela tackled the knight into the wall, breaking out of the house.

    Snow exited the house barefooted watching her steps of the splintered wood everywhere armed with just Icebreaker and the key. Upon exiting the house she saw dozens of black knights were surrounding the perimeter. The sky was dusk, signaling the oncoming night. They had attacked them right before dark.

    Aela flung the knight she was wrestling with into the tree line before retreating back to Snow.

    “Aela, there are way too many of them! What are we going to do?!” Snow said frantically. They could barely fight three and there were like fifteen of them now. The fires of hell surrounded them, They went back to back. “Well, any ideas, Aela?”

    “Yeah, one sec.”

    Aela stabbed her blade into the ground. A huge gust of wind started forming around them, forcing the knights to back up, until a full fledged frost tornado formed that mimicked a seal tornado. Aela grunted in pain while ice began growing on her temples.

    “That should give us time. Go grab all your gear from the house.”

    Snow and Aela were in the half destroyed shack, gearing up with all they had. The steady but surprisingly quiet sound of the tornado gave the feeling of calm before the inevitable storm. Snow equipped everything she had and was thinking about how to fight these knights. There were far too many of them to absorb one at a time. If there was a way to absorb multiple knights at once, perhaps they could stand a chance. She looked at Icebreaker, the transformative sword and an idea popped into her mind. She began fiddling with Icebreaker and the key.

    “Here, hold on to Laura’s book.” Aela dropped the book right next to her.

    Snow took the book before resuming her tinkering.

    “What are you doing with the key?”

    “I got an idea.”

    Icebreaker seemed to be confused for a moment until finally it shifted into the form she wanted. A small spiked cage formed near its base that the key slid into. The sword darkened, turning into an evil shape.

    Snow combined the key with Icebreaker

    “Yes, it worked!” Snow exclaimed.

    “I wonder if you can absorb them by striking them now?” Aela commented.

    “Only one way to find out.”

    Snow peeked her head out of the tornado for a moment. Goldlines on her body and neck showing.

    “They are still waiting out there.”

    “This is bad, they are just going to stall us out until night comes. They really want that key. We need to act now.” Aela said.

    “Okay so, how about you control me and I fight them with Icebreaker?” Snow suggested.

    “Against over a dozen of them? Thats suicide Snow.” Aela shook her head.

    “Don't worry, I know you can do it. I’ll cut them all down! Let's go, take control!” Snow was ready.

    Aela paused for a moment in silent thought.

    “Alright, we will do that.” Aela agreed.

    “I'm ready.” Snow closed her eyes.

    “Okay. Snow, listen up. There are over a dozen knights out there. The second you jump out they will swarm you. I will do my best in having you cut them down, but I will prioritize your survival above all else. In the event of a retreat. Go to wolf hill, Mina will sense the danger and come to assist you.”

    “Don't worry, I know you can do it. I’ll cut them all down! Let's go, take control!”

    Snow felt her body twitch before giving Aela control of it. She didn’t resist.

    “One last thing. In the event I perish, I want you to destroy the seal by wolf gorge, that should spawn a rift where you can escape and get back home. Based on Laura’s conclusions, that won't trigger a winter catastrophe, it will only lessen the seal on Regalia. We need to get Laura’s book to your mother, as well as our findings. So your survival is paramount. Understood?”

    “Aela come on we got this! Icebreaker wont let us down! Right Icebreaker!” Icebreaker flared open a pair of wings on its handle.

    “You're right. We got this. But, just so I'm clear, you understand my instruction, in case of separation?”

    “Yes.”

    “Good.”

    Snow dashed forward at the wind wall. The windwall dropped and like a switch, all the knights swarmed her. Snow got ready to attack. She expected herself to start swinging wildly in a blaze of rapid strikes and skillful parries but instead her legs pushed as hard as she could as she dashed past them into the treeline.

    “What?” Was she repositioning?

    All the knights tried to give chase but a new tornado grew in between her and them.

    She wasn't repositioning. Aela was forcing her to escape! Snow tried to resist, the lines on her arm flashing but Aela’s control was much more potent. Snow gave it her all, the lines burning brightly but then fading away again.

    “Aela, stop!” Snow couldn’t break Aela’s control. She was being forced to run away while the bulk of the knights were trapped in the new tornado. “Damnit, she played me again! No!” Snow cursed as she ran towards wolf gorge, there were three knights chasing her from atop the trees. She could see Wolf Gorge in the distance by the time she regained control.

    Snow spun around clashing against a blade inches away from her face. Another knight landed right next to her, Snow ducked and rolled past the knight, slashing his thigh. Upon making contact Icebreaker began siphoning its black blood into itself and the knight’s leg was shrinking and shriveling. The knight roared as the two of them charged at her. Snow began dodging each one of their strikes, their broadswords whiffed and whiffed as Snow danced around the attacks. Then, the one with the shrinking leg began to limp. Snow used that opportunity and lunged past his throat, Icebreaker stabbed through it, removing a huge chunk. Then began fully absorbing him until he was reduced to an armored husk.

    The other knight glanced at the remains of his fallen comrade and took a new, safer, dueling stance. Snow and the knight circled each other slowly. But, something was missing, or rather, one of them was missing. This wasn't really a one on one. The whooshing sound of a sword came in from her right, Snow spun and deflected the blade causing it to impale a nearby tree. At the same moment a foot slammed into her side, sending her flying into the trunk of another tree. Snow’s back exploded against the bark.

    “Arg!” When Snow tried to get back up her body wouldn't allow it. Icebreaker was on the ground right in front of her. Snow threw her hand out. Icebreaker vibrated but didn't move. “To me, to me, Icebreaker!” Icebreaker vibrated but didn't move, was it the devilish transformation that was preventing her summoning of it?

    The two knights slowly approached Icebreaker.

    “No, Icebreaker!” Snow yelled.

    One of the knights picked up Icebreaker. Icebreaker responded by spiking its handle like a porcupine, but the knight did not care. The knight began attempting to remove the key by force. After a few powerful yanks, Icebreaker began to crack.

    “Icebreaker!” Snow shouted.

    Icebreaker shook against the knight. The knight yelled as he pulled with all his might. The cracks on her blade grew more and more pronounced.

    A deep growl was heard causing the knight to stop. A shadow formed underneath just as a large white direwolf pounced on him and gruesomely ripped him apart. It was Mina. Icebreaker dropped to the ground while Mina began fighting the knights. Snow finally stood up and quickly reclaimed her blade and then charged in to assist Mina.







    After the battle, Snow was holding her side, and gripping Icebreaker. Mina was limping alongside her. They had slain the three knights. Icebreaker looked ready to fall apart. Aela had told her to go and escape but there was no way in hell she was going to leave Aela behind.

    When they arrived back at the house it was the scene of a battlefield; the house was completely destroyed, there was debris scattered everywhere and sword slashes on the trunks of the trees. There was a trail of chaos leading to the west. Snow followed it until she was able to sense them. The only good thing about the power of the knights was that they were easy to find. The fiery heat they gave off towards the west gave them away. After some easy tracking, Snow and Mina came up to an incline and found Aela.

    A towering black knight wearing a tar-dripping cape was dragging Aela away. His height exaggerated his grueling hunched posture. That had to be the leader of the black knights, as all others were behind him in a disciplined march.

    There was no way Snow could fight that with Mina. She didn’t know what to do. All she could do was follow, to see where they were going. Icebreaker began to tickle her hand. When she glanced at her blade the weapon made a pained bat-like noise.

    “Icebreaker, you don't look so good.” Icebreaker began opening the cage around the spherical key, “You want me to take it out?” Snow removed the key and the darkness that coated Icebreaker got sucked into the key. Icebreaker turned azure blue again and its cracks began regenerating. “Oh, I'm sorry, was it painful?” The blade formed a sheath and didn't make any further noise.







    Chapter Twenty Nine
    The Spider Forest

    The trail led into the spider forest. Little spiderlings could be seen traversing up and around the dark trees. A sharp wind picked up. Snow could sense the night approaching,

    Mina was limping with each of her steps.

    “They got you good girl...” Snow rubbed Mina gently. Mina was covered in sword slashes, especially around her legs. In her haste to help Aela, she didn't see Mina was about to succumb to her injuries. Mina needed shelter, and care.

    Snow stopped, looking at Mina’s wounds while keeping attention to the spiders around her. The spiders began approaching closer and closer. Between the spiders and oncoming night. Seeking shelter for Mina had become the new priority.

    Mina slowed to a halt before laying down.

    “Mina, get up. We are going to shelter now!” Snow tried pushing Mina up, but Mina looked terribly injured and exhausted. Mina resisted but then got up slowly.

    The spiders around them suddenly scattered.

    “Look at what we have here.”

    Snow heard the familiar voice in the trees acknowledging their presence.

    It was the spider queen.

    She breathed a sigh of relief.

    “Aliria, am I glad to see you. We need help! Mina is injured, and they got Aela. Nightfall approaches and I can't leave her here like this!”

    “Woah, woah, slow down dear. You are running at a million kilometers an hour.” Allira said with a smile.

    “This is serious Aliria, you don’t have any clue what those knights would do to Aela, I don’t have time, I need to save her!”

    Snow looked at Mina.

    “Come on Mina get up, we need to find you shelter!”

    Mina slowly got up again.

    “Dear, wait.” Aliria dropped from her web and skittered up to Snow. “I'm afraid, I just had a battle with my sister and I am still wounded. So I can't give chase on those knights but they did indeed pass through here as you described. If you’d like. You can leave the direwolf to me and I will shelter it against the elements, while you give pursuit of your friend.”

    Snow looked at Mina, who didn't look like she was going anywhere and reluctantly agreed.

    “I don't like this but, Ok Aliria. I trust you. Please take care of Mina!” Snow pleaded.

    “No worries dear, there are few tunnels here but I know where they are, the direwolf would be safe from the elements, you have my word.” Aliria said.

    “Ok. Do you know which way the knights went?” Snow questioned.

    “They went.. that way.” Aliria pointed in the direction Snow figured.

    “Thank you so much Aliria, I owe you.”

    “No worries, sweety.”







    Snow continued onward. This is twice now that she's been granted passage against the spiders, seems she really did hit a stroke of luck. Eventually Snow was able to pick up the tracks. Even with the darkening night.

    The cold was blistering now.

    Snow got to the edge of the forest. Just in time to see the gates closed with Aela behind it.

    “Damnit!” Snow took cover behind some foliage, “Now what do I do?!” Aela was in the keep. This rescue would be so much harder now. Snow needed to make a new plan. She needed to infiltrate the keep. Maybe Aliria could help her or tell her some useful information. At least She could breathe a little easier knowing that Mina was taken care of, but still, Mina was still severely wounded.

    That was the new plan, she would go back and care for Mina’s injuries, speak to Aliria on how to infiltrate the keep, and then save Aela. Now with some control on the situation, Snow gained new confidence. She turned around and stepped back into the spider forest. Her steps came to a stop as all the confidence was drained from her face. She had stumbled across something that shocked her to her core. Her entire mind felt like it was spun, flipped and turned upside down. She grew nauseous and sick. The moment ended with a desperate sprint back towards the same direction she came from.

    The half eaten corpse of Aliria stood there, frozen in time, as Snow descended back into the spider forest.

    “Mina!... Mina!” Snow yelled.

    Snow could hear whimpering and crying the closer she approached. She finally arrived at the spot she left Mina. There were hundreds of spiders crawling on Mina and eating her while Mina just laid there.

    “NO!” Snow ripped Icebreaker from its sheath and began hacking at the pile that had formed on Mina. She chopped hundreds of them off with each batting swing. “Get off her!” After some more strikes, the spiders began to disperse, revealing the bloody canine, who was just hyperventilating and looked completely finished.

    Tears rolled from Snow’s face as she shouted into the trees.

    “Xilla!”

    Snow just heard faint laughter from the trees.

    You gave your word!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Snow howled in rage.

    “I said I’d protect her from the elements, I never said I’d stop her from being a meal. Dear.” Xilla’s voice came from the darkness above.







    “Get down here coward!!!” Snow yelled, before drawing Icebreaker. “Icebreaker GO!” She flung the blade and it started rapidly spinning mid air while Snow puppeteered it with her hands. The blade flew into the trees, into the darkness, then it came back.

    Xilla laughed.

    “Missed me.”

    Snow threw Icebreaker again ignoring the bolstering wave of spiders that were approaching her. Icebreaker returned to her again.

    “A powerful weapon, but a useless one. You're running out of time dear!”

    “I wasn't aiming for you.” Snow threw Icebreaker again.

    Icebreaker flew into the darkness, slicing past the last section of web that supported the cowardly roof that Xilla was using to hide. The web collapsed and Xilla fell to the ground a couple of yards away.

    Snow charged at her screaming as rage drove her forward. Adult spiderlings lunged at her in defense of their queen but each of them was met with an icy slash.

    “Some is upset I made their little puppy a meal. Haha!” Xilla responded to her blind offensive charge.

    Snow was coming into range of Xilla now. Xilla had an evil smirk, as wide as it could be.

    A trapdoor spider bursted up beneath Snow’s feet. The ambushing spider got a mouthful of Icebreaker as Snow leaped over it. As Snow was mid jump, Xilla finally lunged for an attack. Snow flipped Icebreaker into an underhand grip as she swung it up, slashing one of Xilla’s pincers right off.

    Xilla didn't yell in pain, or move. The spider queen had a pained but satisfied face, her aggressive stance dropped into a relaxed one. Snow knew exactly why, the reason was the cut on her shoulder. Green liquid was coming from her sword arm. Snow threw herself at Xilla to stab her but her arm went limp. Icebreaker slipped from her fingers as she grew paralyzed.

    “Noble attempt. But now, it is over.” Xilla hissed with malevolence. The evil spider queen began to meticulously web her up before taking her up into the trees. “My brood will consume your precious flesh. It is only natural, do not fight it.”

    “Rrg, I’ll kill you!” Snow struggled in the cocoon while Xilla created a new web underneath them. The only thing Snow could do was speak and move her head.

    “The venom is already flowing, moving will only speed your death child, please do not do that. My brood likes live food. Trust me, you won't feel a thing.” Xilla ran her chipped fingers over Snow’s face.

    Snow still couldn’t even budge. She couldn’t feel pain but she felt the nibbling of spiders on her legs and arms. There was a blanket of spiderlings crawling into her clothes, going up her legs and back.

    “See, My venom is much more refined than my poor sister.

    She commanded herself to move, but it was futile.

    “You feel no pain, you only nourish me. Your kind is so good at that, you will heal and my brood will eat. Just relax, child. And I will inject you with something that makes you feel good. How about a little taste?” Xilla leaned in close and bit into her neck.

    Snow’s face flushed red as her mind fuzzed white, her entire body wracked with relaxation. Her body felt amazing but her eyes told her otherwise. The living blanket of spiders and tearing of her flesh was the only thing keeping her on the edge of reality.

    “See? You like that? I can give you more? You want more?”

    Snow was panting,

    “I… I..”

    “Just say it, ‘I want more.’”

    Snow looked at Xilla with dilating eyes.

    “Icebreaker, protect.. me.”

    Icebreaker shot up from the ground and smashed into her, forming into an icy film that slowly covered her skin, all the way up to the sides of her face.

    “You really are that dreadful woman’s spawn. Such willpower. But they all succumb. My spiders will rip past that little dress of yours. Like unwrapping a present. Hehe.”

    The spiders were biting into Icebreaker’s icy film. Icebreaker was trying to hold but the miniature teeth were penetrating the shell and breaking it off in tiny pieces.

    Snow just had to hold on, she could almost feel her fingers again. Xilla definitely only had enough venom built up for that one attack. It would take a long time for her to create more. That had to be why she needed to rely on the pleasure venom.

    The nibbling on her legs and stomach grew more aggressive as more spiders were fighting to bite into her. They finally got past Icebreakers’s protective coating.

    She didn’t even want to look. It felt like strong vibrations and peeling all over her body.

    Xilla responded to her struggle and bit her again, then laughed. The feeling of relaxation doubled, Snow’s body and mind was smothered by it.

    Snow concentrated, she needed to keep her heart rate down. Her body and brain were being flooded by this false pleasure. She almost had full control of her body. The faster the heart rate the faster the venom gets circulated around. Forcefully staying calm against this was beyond difficult, it was like fighting primality itself. Her head went limp, her hair suspended over her face.

    “There it is. They always give in. Did you know the noble minded ones always succumb the fastest? They always suppress their desires. All I do is give them one bite and they lose their mind. The fact that you needed two bites, I would say you are quite different.”

    “Is that what you think?” Snow muttered.

    “Hm? Why aren't you going wild? Are you not addicted?” Xilla grew surprised.

    “You think your pathetic attempts to arouse me would work after killing my friend?!” Snow growled in anger, Xilla didn't know what to make of it.

    “How are you resisting it? Have you been bitten before?”

    “I hope your brood enjoyed that meal because it was their last,” Snow’s bloody hand poked out from the web. She flexed her fingers, Xilla saw the motion. “Icebreaker… To me.”

    Xilla’s eyes opened.

    “NO!”

    All of the spiders began to bubble up and explode as glowing blue pieces of ice flew from the spider's stomachs, to Snow's palm. First forming a rock, then handle and finally, the blade. The array of explosions ended with a shower of blood. Every single one of Xilla’s spiderlings were dead.

    Snow sliced herself free from the web.

    “My brood!” Xilla shouted before lashing out at Snow.

    Snow threw Icebreaker in between them, cutting the roof of web once again, causing them both to fall down below. Xilla crashed into the ground again, but this time, Snow was on top of her.

    Icebreaker flew into Snow’s hand and shrunk down into a dagger as she began stabbing down repeatedly into the back of the broodmother’s neck.

    Xilla screeched again as she tried to fling Snow off but she wouldn’t let go. She continued stabbing.

    Xilla tried jumping and rushed around like an unbroken horse, or bull. Snow wouldn’t let go, she stabbed and stabbed and stabbed. Desperation took hold for the queen of spiders as she rammed herself into a tree to force Snow off. Snow refused to let go, she continued stabbing relentlessly, With each penetration of bloody ice into flesh the spider queen slowed, and then pleaded.

    “Mercy!” Xilla cried.

    Snow replied with one word;

    “No.”

    Icebreaker got lodged into Xilla’s neck and Snow began biting into the open wound like a rabid animal, until the broodmother had no more energy and collapsed to the ground.

    Xilla stopped moving but Snow did not stop, she kept biting pieces of the broodmothers neck off until she ripped out a huge arterie.

    When she was satisfied she slid down the spider's corpse. Her eyes looked as if she was a wild animal. “Icebreaker, come!”

    Xilla’s head was fully severed as Icebreaker forcefully removed itself from her neck, flying back to Snow. Xilla, the spider queen and twin sister of Aliria, was dead. Snow’s clothes were in tatters, and her body was coated in blood. Snow pushed the pain to the back of her mind and stumbled up to Mina.

    Mina was still hyperventilating, but somehow miraculously alive. A pool of blood was slowly forming underneath her though. Could she still be saved?

    Snow held up Icebreaker, changing its shape to an orb. All the blood dripped off of it until it was a near perfect and clean sphere.

    “Icebreaker, can you protect Mina?” The sword reacted and launched itself at Mina, coating over her injuries. Mina didn't have frostblood regeneration, but that should at least stop the bleeding. Snow got underneath Mina and pushed hard to lift her up. She could only lift up Mina’s front half. But that was good enough. She dragged Mina out of the spider forest.

    There was a cave just outside of the spider forest that she found under an old tree. She managed to get Mina inside. The cave was small and round, like a small pod, like a small sanctuary… Sanctuary… Who was she kidding? Snow looked upon Mina’s wounds. After stripping whatever usable cloth and clothing she had left, Snow recalled Icebreaker and mummified Mina with makeshift bandages. Mina was barely holding on and in clear pain. Snow tightened one of the bandages on Mina’s front leg and Mina automatically reacted, weakly biting into her hand.

    “I know it hurts, just bear with it, Mina.” Snow pulled back her hand, ignoring the bite mark. Once Mina was patched up Snow put her back against the dirt wall.

    “What am I going to do…”

    Mina was severely injured, Aela just got dragged away. She could still give chase while there was still time before nightfall sets in. She had minutes left. If even that. Snow shut her eyes in meditation, her wounds began filling with white and closing.

    “Give chase? Ha” Chase to her own death maybe, How was she going to take on an entire stronghold of black knights.

    I don't want something to happen to you, where u wish for death and it won’t come, plenty of frost born are tortured for weeks on end because their bodies won’t allow them to die, it’s a fate worse than death.

    Snow remembered the speech her mother gave her, before she had even discovered this world. Even based on her own regeneration, her mother was right. Torture was inevitable. It was going to happen to Aela. And she could do nothing but sit here. All the training and progress she had was for nothing. She was trained, knew how to use Icebreaker pretty well, and could use magicka deconstruction to negate some magicks, yet, she hasn’t felt this powerless since her first arrival here.

    Snow opened her eyes, all her wounds were healed.

    But, no matter how dire the situation, she would not leave Aela behind. Snow rose to her feet.

    “I’m coming, Aela.”

    Snow took one last look at the sleeping Mina, then left the cave alone, into the freezing night.
     
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