Tag Archive: court of ice


The snow was drifting against the window as Karise sat down in the large armchair, arms wrapped around herself, shivering gently. Adrianna lifted up a large fur from the end of the bed, and draped it round her shoulders, tucking the fabric round the shivering princess.

“Do you not normally lit the fire?” Karise was looking over at the empty grate.

“No one who lives in this castle needs it,” Adrianna said, but crouched down by it and started to fill it with wood and small twigs. Soon, there was a small fire going, bathing the room in warm orange tones rather then the chill greys of the outside sky.

Adrianna took the other seat, pleased to see that a hint of colour was coming back into Karise’s cheeks, “You know, it was slightly foolish of you to come here. It would have been very easy for you to get lost and die in the wilderness.”

“I wanted to see you Adri. I need you. The kingdom needs you.”

“Unfortunately, the King does not, and I have no desire to go back to a place that wants me dead.”

“So you’re just going to give up on them?”

“Yes.”

Karise looked shocked, and then hurt, curling up small in the fur. “But, that’s my home, my family, my life.”

“And if the King should change his mind and wish for my help, then all he has to do is ask. However, I do not expect it to happen. This is not the first time that other humans have disappointed me, nor the first time that I have given up on them.”

“You’d give up, on me?”

Adrianna sighed, “Oh Karise. In this whole world, you and Vesper are the things that I can never give up. I hate being up here away from you two, but I will get nothing accomplished if I am dead.”

“Come back down with me. I’ll talk with father, and if I can’t make him see reason, we’ll do it anyway.”

“I have no desire to fight two armies at once Karise.”

“Then I’ll stay here, with you. And I’ll tell father that I won’t come home until he changes his mind.”

“That’s called emotional blackmail dear.”

“I don’t care,” the fur fell off her shoulder as she made a gesture with one arm, “He’s wrong, and I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do everything I could to protect my kingdom.”

Adrianna looked over at the princess, then smiled, “Do whatever you think is right Karise, that’s all we can ask for in this world.”

“You promise not to give up? Not just yet.”

“I will never give up on you. So as long as you don’t give up on others, I’ll follow you.”

ice_castle_concept_by_caoranach-d6kfghz

Vesper slipped a dagger between the door crack, gently raising the latch on the inside of the door, before slipping into the room.

There was the soft sound of a quick scuffle, a muted “What the-?”, and a flump. Adrianna paused for a count of five, and then slipped into the room herself.

“Did you kill him?”

Vesper was kneeling beside the body, two fingers on his throat. “No, I merely knocked him out. That should buy us enough time.”

“Did he see you?”

“Not enough to recognise me.”

“Excellent,” Adrianna said, rifling through the pile of papers on the top of the desk. Vesper stood up and started from the other side of the desk, looking through the untidy mound before starting on the drawers.

“Here.”

Adrianna reached over and took the paper, with the seal of office flashing from the corner of the page, and skimmed the contents, her brow furrowing as she did so.

winter-fantasy-landscape“Not what you were expecting?”

“No. It isn’t,” she folded the paper over and slid it into her dress.

“I thought we weren’t going to steal it?”

“Origingally no. However, I have no desire to be left out in the cold, and this document would assure that I would be.”

Vesper’s mouth twitched into a wry smile, “But you don’t feel the cold.”

“That is entirely beyond the point.”

Adrianna slammed the door to her chambers behind her, her fist briefly flaring with pain as she felt tiny splinters lodge there from the rough wood.

She took in a long, slow, shuddering breath. Then, even slower, let it out.

Sometimes. Sometimes, it was beyond imbecilic.

The rage faded, passing out with each breath. However the weight in her stomach, and in her limbs, was heavier than ever.

She pushed herself off the door, wandering into the apartment. Just out of the corner of her eye she caught herself in the mirror, and stopped.

The women in the mirror looked older than her, with tired eyes, lines of stress traceable in every tightened limb and muscle.

This was not what she was meant to be.

Adrianna lifted her hands and looked at them. Beneath her skin power was coursing. A breath could freeze a lake, a gesture could rip the night sky ablaze with light, she could have summoned a construct that would have easily dealt with the trouble in a matter of minutes.

Her fingers clenched, magic primed to burst forth from her, but she held it in. As always, she held it in.

She could be so much more than the women in the mirror. She wanted to be so much more.

Adrianna uncurled her fingers, another rattling breath escaping her. They reached out, ghosting across the cold surface of the mirror, before pressing down. Yet again, there was no secret world behind the mirror to take her away from this one. Away from the secrets and the hiding.

One day. Some day. The day she could herself. That was what she was living for.

62 – Magic

Nikolas swept his hand across the front line and a jet of flame washed out. The soldiers blanched, and tripped over themselves, trying to get away.

“Magic!” King Khalon hissed, his eyes growing wide as he tightened his grip on his sword. “You break the law Maddox, this is treason!”

Standing next to his mage, Maddox’s mouth twisted into a small smile. Despite the distance between the two men, there was as much tension as if they had been sitting on opposing sides of a table. “I was already a traitor to the crown when I kidnapped your daughter, what damage does adding magic into the mis do? And it is so very useful.”

He made a subtle signal and the earth around Nikolas’ feet glowed red as the circle formed. Raising his hands to the sky, and thunder clap echoed, and the clouds turned dark. The roaring sound filled the air, and the clouds burst apart as the meteor hurled down through the sky towards King Khalon’s army.

“Retreat!” The general’s screamed. “Retreat!”

The first sign was the cold chill around the ankles, just a touch of a breeze moving it, the skin that prickled as it moved across the field. People were too focused on the burning sky falling on them to noticed the white haze along the ground.

Only when the meteor was close enough for it’s heat to be felt did it become obvious. A white-blue glow erupted from the midst of the army. The mist became deadly cold, and the meteor cracked, the tearing sound of rock ripping into the ears of everyone present. It’s surface turned black, and then blossomed into white as it froze. Another crack, and it broke into millions of tiny pieces, clattering against armour and shields as it fell.

The army parted as the two horses rode through them, reaching the front with ease. The black warcharge was snorting, it’s breath coming out as ice crystals as the women slid off it’s back, the white-blue glow of her circle fading from around her.

King Khalon was caught in a look between shock and fury. “Magic.”

Adrianna ignored him, and went to stand at the very edge of the army, Vesper just in front and to the side of her. Nikolas and Maddox were standing in the same formation across from them.

“Nikolas.”

“Adrianna.”

“Shall we?”

“Let’s.”

In twin moves both mages placed their hand on their champions, and the magics circles enveloped the both of them, expanding until the met in the middle, white-blue and red speaking against each other as two halves of a circle formed into a whole.

“The first magical duel in over two centuries.”

“We really don’t approve of you kidnapping our princess. And the only proper response to magical warfare is magic.”

Mage battle

Adrianna had only agreed to the walk in the garden because Karise has thought that it was an excellent idea. If Karise had been her companion, maybe it would have been enjoyable. Instead, she was stuck with Count Laurenco. Out of all the men that had their eye on her, he was the most persistent, she had to admit, but he still wasn’t used to her calm demeanour. Too used to the other ladies of the court who were used to being spoilt, and preferred to receive gifts of flowers.

No one seemed to have worked out that she would much rather receive a gift of a book. They probably wouldn’t give her a book that she was interested in, but it would have been more appreciated that the bunches of flowers she had received.

She usually ended up giving them to Karise.

“Are you cold my lady?”

Adrianna had to stop herself from smiling. “No, I am quite alright as I am.”

“Are you sure you wouldn’t prefer to wear my cloak, there is quite a chill in the air.”

“Then you shall need it more than I. I have never been bothered by the cold.”

The Count looked bothered by her statement, and they turned around the rest of the garden in silence, before Adrianna decided she had reached her limit. She consented to allow him to escort her back to her chambers, giving only a curt goodbye as they reached the door.

He might have been hoping for a chaste kiss on the cheek, or a gushing thanks, but either way, he was sorely disappointed.

Once the door had clicked shut, Adrianna could relax again. Cold indeed. As if she could ever feel cold.

She left the fireplace untouched, and even opened up a window, letting in the chill breeze that other people strived to stay away from. It tugged at the loose ends of her hair, playful as it swept round the room. Adrianna did allow herself to smile at that point, and waved her hand at her desk.

A book leapt out from the pile to her hand. Another wave over the book and it fluttered open, flicking through the pages until it came to the spot where she had stopped reading.

She sank into the chair by the desk, enjoying the coolness of the room and the book.

It was hard to keep it a secret sometimes, when all she wanted to do was burst out laughing at their foolishness.

As if an Ice Sorceress could ever be cold.

ice magic by katemaxpaint-d67smox

The first thing she noticed was the wetness on her cheek.

Adrianna blinked her eyes open, and was greeted by gloom. Carefully raising on hand, she felt for the wetness, her head stinging as she ran her fingers over the jagged edges of her skin, and drew her fingers back. The blood was sticky, congealing. At least she wouldn’t be bleeding to death.

Slowly, to not hurt her head anymore, she sat up and looked around. The room that she was in was tiny, and made of stone. Cold penetrated the air, and the open doorway showed nothing but brilliant white.

She used the wall to stand up, and slowly walked over to the open doorway. The snow was bright and thick, even though the sun was hiding behind the clouds. There was a light wind, flicking flurries of snow up into the air, wiping away the hoof prints that she could see leading out into the snow. Three people on horses had come here, two people with three horses had left.

Adrianna carefully took out a handkerchief from her sleeve, crouched down to dip it in the snow, and held it between her hands until it was soggy. With the wet cloth, she wiped the blood off her face. Rinsing it out in the snow again, she wiped the rest of her face free of any dust that might have gathered there whilst she was lying on the floor.

It had been wholly unnecessary to lure her out here and then club her into unconsciousness. She had thought better of the King than that. If he wished her exiled, then all he had to do was pass the sentence and she would have left. Not willingly, but she would have. Times like this made her doubt humanity.

She looked down at the kerchief, and a pang went through her heart. It was one of the ones that Karise had given her, one of the many that the princess had. She sincerely hoped that her dear friend would not think she had abandoned her. For now, she could not go back home. There would come a time when they might ask her to come back, but not before then would she see her dear princess again.

Sighing, she hung the wet handkerchief over her belt, and then started walking through the snow. It was time to return to the home that her ancestors had abandoned.

castlefrozen

There was a soft knocking at the door, and Vesper looked up at Adrianna from where she was crouching on the floor, graver in hand. Adrianna pulled a blanket across her legs, hiding them from view and then said “Come in.”

Karise’s blond head was low, but her eyes looked up at the pair of girls sitting by the fire, “Is it okay for me to come in?”

“Of course. Why would you think otherwise?”

“My dad, and well me as well, have said some…unflattering things about magic. And I think he might try and…well…he’s not best pleased.”

“Karise, I am well aware of how witches and wizards are viewed in this world and how revealing what I am would cause trouble for me. However, the thought of what might have occurred had I not revealed myself and used my abilities in the way I did was too much to bear for me. You are far too important, to me and to the realm, to have let that happen. And if your father does want to pursue the law, despite of the obvious service to the crown, then I shall deal with that when it happens.”

“Your not mad at me? For being so silly to get myself in that situation. You wouldn’t have had to do anything if I had had my wits about me.”

Adrianna reached out and took both of Karise’s hand in her own. “My dearest Karise, you must have realised something by now.”

“Realised what?”

“That I love you. You are my dearest and truest friend, and I love you more than I can express. I could never be mad at you, no matter what you do, even if it is folly. I love you far too much for that.”

Karise’s eye welled up with tears, and with a small wail, she threw herself into Adrianna’s arms and clung on with all her strength. Adrianna stroked her fine hair, smoothing it down her back. “There, there princess, no need to cry. Love is a good thing after all.”

Karise stood up, and the other two could hear the trembling in her voice as she told them. “You two should go.”

Adrianna and Vesper looked at each other, then talked in unison. “Dearest Karise, why would we leave you?”

Karise half turned towards them as they stood up. “I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

They simultaneously took her hands as well.

“No one knows what’s going to happen. That’s why it’s called the future.” Vesper smiled at Karise.
Adrianna squeezed the other girl’s hand. “We’re not going to leave you Karise. We can’t leave you. You are everything to us.” Adrianna brought up Karise’s hand to her mouth and kissed it.

Vesper lent her head forward and touched their forehead together. “Dearest Karise. We will always be there for you. We couldn’t live without you anymore. We’ll stand with you, no matter what comes our way, because you are the most precious thing to us in this world.”

78. Tears

Karise skinned her knees as she dropped to the floor and skidded to a halt next to the raven haired girl. She flung her arms around Adrianna’s and buried her head into her shoulder.

“I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! I was such a fool.” She sobbed.

Adrianna shifted round so she could stroke Karise’s hair. “Dearest Karise, whatever are you sorry for?”

“This was all my fault, and you’re hurt!”

Vesper knelt down next to the pair and put her hand on top of Karise’s head as well. “Dearest Karise, it was not your fault, do not blame yourself. Wounds will heal.”

She reached forward and gently took Karise’s head. “Dry those tears sweet princess.” She gently wiped the tears from her cheeks. “Do not waste salt.”

Karise sobbed a couple more times, and then wiped her cheeks with her hands in a very unladylike manner.

Adrianna took her hands. “Come, let us depart from this filthy field and find a warm room somewhere.”

Karise stood up, still holding her hands, “But what about you?” Adrianna had not made a move to stand up with her. “Are you okay?”

Adrianna smiled at her. “Oh, I shall be. Vesper, would you mind obliging?”

“Not at all.” Vesper knelt down, and after Adrianna locked her arms around her neck, picked the other girl up bridal style and carried her over to the horses.

Vesper smiled at Karise. “Come on, there’s a warm room waiting for us somewhere.”

64. Fun

Adrianna was sitting in her chair, a blanket covering her legs, and a book lying open on top of that. The fire next to her crackled and gave out warmth into the room.

A knock at the door came as she turned the page, “Come in.”

There was a waft of air and blond hair as Karise floated into the room. “Adi why are you sitting here, I need you to help me with my dresses!”

“Dresses? Whatever is happening?”

“It’s my father’s 50th birthday celebration! Do not tell me that you forgot!”

Adrianna marked the page of her book and closed it. “No, I had not forgotten. I did, however, think that it was in a few days’ time.”

“Oh you’ve been too buried in your books. You’re going to come to this party! It’ll be fun! But first you have to help me with my dresses! I don’t know which one to wear!”

“Oh my, are you ordering me to this party?”

Karise turned around and sighed, placing her hands on her hips. “Yes, I am ordering you to come and have fun! Come on, it will be fun, I promise. All the eligible men will be there. And some of the notables from the other kingdoms. Including, a delegation from Daalasiun.” Her tone of voice was dreamy as she said the last word.

“Well I think I better come along in that case.”

“In what case?”

Adrianna smiled at her. “Someone is going to have to fend all the eligible men off you.”

Karise waved her hand, “I have guards for that. You’re coming to have fun!”

“Dearest Karise.” Adrianne rose up and kissed her on the cheek. “If I do end up having fun, then it shall be entirely accidental.”

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