This past week, I've been on spring break from school. I had a wonderful drive home, and was just in time for.....
THE BLIZZARD OF 2017
We got 11 inches of snow on Tuesday. So I was stuck all day inside, watching the snow dance outside my windows.
And then my muse woke up out of hibernation and said two words: SNOW DANCER
A couple of months previously, I had run across a new song by one of my favorite fantasy artists, Antti Martikainen, called Snow Dancer.
I love this song so much, it is so evocative and passionate. I can just see someone dancing in white with snow blowing all around them. It excited my muse a lot but not a lot of plotting was done, as I had other fish to fry.
Then I read Christine Smith's short story When Spring Blooms on her blog The Musings of an Elf. I'll post the link here: http://musingsofanelf.blogspot.com/2017/02/when-springs-blooms-short-story.html
I really enjoyed her story, so much so that I thought that my half-baked idea wasn't worthy of paper.
Thank you Christine for believing in me! *makes a mental note to find a virtual dessert*
For a time though, I had to set it aside. At the time I wrote that comment I was in the middle of writing A Canadian Morning, and spring was persisting outside my window. (Why write about snow when birds are singing and the grass is green???)
Here and there, I did have a couple of cold and dismal days, so I did do some plotting here and there, listening to Antti's song on repeat. But no real progress.....
So Tuesday afternoon rolls around, I'm feeling kinda bored so I look out the window and see the snow already blowing in major swirls around the house. Most of it had finished falling at the time. The blowing snow reminded me a lot of my story....hence the call of the muse. Obediently, I brewed some tea, curled up in my bed and put pen to paper at last.
And while it really should be edited, I thought I would share it with you now. Please, feel free to critique this little story, I'm very guilty in committing plot holes....
All because of a little flower.
She had to miss her favorite snow frolic because of a little, stubborn, stupid flower.
Of course it had to be Queen Bianca of Iclyn of all people to find this little slip of a blossom. And everyone knows that flowers were the worst contraband that could ever appear in the Kingdom of Iclyn.
"Such a little pest...." Crystal thought as she swirled to the bare patch of earth that had not surrendered to the White. It was quite easy to see, a golden blossom veined with scarlet with a hard center. It would be quite simple to kill it.
Despite her murderous thoughts, Crystal could not help feeling a little admiration for the pretty blossom. But she quickly banished the notion as she thought again of the shame and injustice of the best Snow Dancer of Iclyn being discovered to be lax in her job by her Queen.
Calling the wind to her fingertips, she raised her ice blue cape and twirled violently; raising a thick cloud of snow around her. Spinning in revolving circles, she became invisible to the eye as the White sought to consume its victim. Up and down, left and right, the snow danced with her in a dance of death.
But despite the buffeting winds and the stinging snow, the flower stood; giving a bright orange glow.
The Snow Dancer danced more, moving her dangerously cold hands closer and closer to the defenseless flower. The snow was blinding now, and shards of ice wedded themselves to the snow crystals, tearing into the tender flesh of the flower.
But still the flower stood, angrily, defiantly giving off it's warm glow.
Exhausted, Crystal collapsed in a heap among the pillows of white she had created.
This clearly was no ordinary flower.
She stared longingly at it. How she wished it to die!
Desperately, she grasped the flower in her hands. Quickly, frost formed on the delicate petals, ever sharpening it's natural beauty. She blew her cold breath onto the blossom. Her hands were beginning to feel like a 1000 knives were pricking them but she didn't care. This flower was going to die, no matter the cost.
Suddenly, the center of the flower gave way.....
And revealed a small golden medallion with a scarlet thread.
Eagerly, Crystal grasped it and wrenched it free from the flower's clutches. The flower immediately lost it's brilliance and turned ashen gray, limply falling from the Dancer's hand.
In triumph she spun, lifting the snow and burying the dead blossom beneath her feet. The victory was hers.
Great spurts of dazzling flame burst from the shining castle on the hill. The entire kingdom was in an uproar. What injustice, what shame, what calamity!
"If only that stupid kestrel had not taken the shortcut over the Deciduous Woods! But what messenger in these times could be trusted with a simple token of benevolence without screwing something up?"
So thought Blaise, Prince of Radiance as sent forth the search parties for the precious Gleam.
Crystal turned the medallion over and over again very quickly, trying to find at least one new detail before the burning sensation grew to be too much to bear.
All she could really see was that in the center there was a shape with no corners surrounded by lines pointing away from it.
She blew on the medallion in order to cool it. This helped some, she was now able to examine it much more closely. More curious markings were imprinted onto the coin, what they meant she could not tell. But a hard edge in her chest seemed to be softened by looking at them.
Her legs twitched. Now that she had rested, she felt the need to dance again. She hid the medallion in her dress and began to sway to the wind's call; tracing new artwork among the trees as she passed by.
Crystal had just reached another clearing when she heard a *chink* behind her.
She hopped away as she saw with horror as the medallion lay in anther bare patch. In fear of another flower blooming, she snatched up the disk. When she had it safe in her hand, she looked to her pocket again, and noticed for the first time the burn marks on her dress. Horrified, she turned again to look at the medallion and her eyes were caught by the orange glow it produced.
What was this glow? This glow that caused her a wicked desire to grasp and hold it tight to her? This intoxicatingly sweet golden glow was so tempting. It seemed to satisfy every desire that she had, even the ones that she didn't know that she had.
It must be bad, surely it will kill her if she kept it! Crystal wished to fling it away from her, to be rid of it for good! But the thread held fast to her fingers. Frustrated, she blew out a long frosty breath, which settled lightly over the medallion.
She grinned. She knew now how to rid herself of this cursed object!
She began to dance again.
Starting low and soft, little tendrils of snow creeped around the golden disk. She changed her balance to the balls of her feet, sending the growing mists of White in a winding fashion around her. She stepped, she pivoted, she leaped. The snow flew with and around her skirts and up around her head and arms.
The medallion glowed a stronger orange light than before, almost ten times stronger than that of the flower's. In her dance, she passed her hand behind the medallion.
She stopped in terror. The snow fell dormant. She stared fixedly at her hand.
At first glance, her hand was a beautiful work of art. But looking harder, Chrystal could see that it was a complex lattice work of open geometric shapes. Ice particles flew through her hand as if nothing was there. What could she hold with hands so designed?
Alarmed, she snatched her hand away from the glow. She was now more than determined to break this glowing power. Wave after wave, she sent upon the disk. She bridled the North Wind and set it to cowing the glow's light. The scarlet thread came loose from her fingers and wrapped itself around her waist. The medallion remained suspended in the air, as she twirled around it, sending all her power and beauty into breaking it. The cloud of crystals danced, sending the medallion leaping into the embrace of the North Wind and then crashing it into the frosty breath of it's seducer.
Little by little, the orange faded into white as the layers of frost stole into every crevice. Every spin, every twirl lengthened each crack of it's face. With a final flourishing blast from the Snow Dancer, the medallion burst apart. 12 tiny drops of light remained suspended as the ruined Gleam fell to the ground.
Exhausted again, Crystal collapsed again among the billowy white snow, but her eyes remained fixed upon the lights. They remained suspended for a minute but then rushed down to her terrified body. 2 lights rested in her feet, 2 in her hands, 2 in her ears, 2 around her eyes, 1 on her nose, 1 around her mouth and 2 nestled in her chest.
When she dared to look at herself again, she was amazed at how some of the open shapes had been filled by the orange glow. The knifing sensation had disappeared and was replaced by a pleasant caressing feeling.
"Could this be....Warmth?" Crystal thought in wonder. Then a cold draft settled over her again. If this was Warmth, she had to be rid of it fast! Queen Bianca had often warned her First Daughter about the dangers of Warmth. Crystal had a sharp fear that she would lose her power as a Snow Dancer if she didn't get rid of the orange patches soon.
Hurriedly, she buried her face, hands and feet in the White, reveling in it's coldness. The solid patches disappeared, leaving behind the familiar lacy empty structure of her skin.
But the sudden immersion and loss of the Warmth soon proved to be too much of a shock for Crystal. She suddenly began to reel, blindly moving towards a tree in order to steady herself. As she looked around to gain her bearings, snow began to send cold shafts into the rest of her body. On and on she trudged, looking for some sort of landmark in order to guide her home. Her skirts tangled and she fell among soft warm earth. There she slept.
Finally, a scout spotted a bright red banner with a golden sun star in the distant reaches of the castle grounds. Blaise immediately turned his heel and sped down to the entrance gate. He had just reached the Main Courtyard when he met his captain.
"What news, Julius?"
In answer, Julius handed his sovereign several jagged pieces of gold. Blaise recognized them at once as the Gleam that he had lost. Blaise was amazed.
"How did it happen? Gleams are not known to release their Radiance Glimmers under any circumstances."
Julius shook his head in puzzlement. "You're a better judge, Majesty."
The prince turned the broken pieces in his hands and found that the original gold had faded into a butter yellow and that the edges were glazed with a light blue color. He looked closer and saw with astonishment what looked like geometric shapes like frost on the medallion pieces.
But before he could ascertain whether he was correct or not, he was interrupted by the arrival of Wyndham, Julius's young teenage son. The breathless boy was brought before Blaise and made to tell his story.
Almost all the details of this story have were missed due to the boy's lack of breath, but Blaise was able to determine that Wyndham had been behind the marching troops, stopping often to pick berries. At one point, he had felt a slight cold breeze. Curious, the boy had looked around and had seen a youngish womanly Natural Form with a torn dress dancing around the trees. She was leaving strange white stuff behind her. What else she had been doing, the boy could not tell because he had turned tail and ran "in order not to be left behind" as he put it.
Crystal moved from plant to plant, dancing her dance of death to extract what little Glimmers she could. She had an insatiable desire to feel whole again and to feel the warm caresses that she had tried to throw away before. Her journey had took her very far away from the frosty reaches of Iclyn and she was now wandering among tall red timber trees with red and brown foliage. But she didn't care. She now knew Warmth and she wanted more, no matter the cost.
Soon, other messengers from the Deciduous Woods and from the bordering towns in Radiance came to see Blaise. A clearly marked trail of frost was winding it's way through the Deciduous Woods and several groups of citizens were alarmed that it would penetrate into Radiance with its destruction and cold.
Blaise soon organized bands of trackers with himself at the head. He traveled to the Scarlett Grove of the Deciduous Woods himself in order to survey the damage for himself. As he looked at the frost bitten trees, he took out the pieces of the Gleam. He realized with surprise that the geometric patterns were identical.
He picked up some of the snow that had remained behind and held it as he looked about him. Then, in the far distant North, he saw an opening into the Kingdom of Iclyn.
He was distracted from further thought by the growing tingling sensation in his hand. He looked down at it wondrously as the cold contained the glowing light of his skin. Blaise suddenly came to a realization. Instead of constantly generating heat in order to survive, he could use the snow to control and soften his power. A sudden decision entered into his mind. He knew that the snow that was left behind was not enough to keep him going forever. He needed to capture the power behind the White.
He looked again towards the North, mind racing to figure out the cause of such a power. He reviewed all the legends of the North but was coming up empty. Then he stopped short in his thoughts as he remembered that only one kind of Natural Form had this sort of creative power at their fingertips.
"My rays....a Snow Dancer!"
Crystal's heart felt it might break under the strain. All her efforts to receive Warmth had given fleeting results. She could not go on much longer. Already the cold was reasserting itself in her body as it expended the last of the Glimmers she had extracted from the last flower she had killed.
She could not endure, she was sure that she would die soon if she didn't find a new source of Warmth soon. Even now, she had not the strength to leave the clearing into which she had stumbled into on the fourth day.
She looked around. All was gray and dead.
Crystal gave a long cry of despair and placed her body down onto the hard ground, sobbing.
She heard a rustle a distance from her.
She looked up to see a Natural Form with a golden-scarlet complexion standing quite a few feet from her. Soft brown eyes met her piercing blue ones. He held out his hand to her and said in a deep mellow voice...
"Dance with me."
It sounded like a come-and-get-me to the cheated Snow Dancer. In her highly emotionally charged state of mind, she could not resist his call.
She drew herself up to her feet, and called the wind to her hands.
She gracefully advanced to him, the torn dress now glistening with new beauty. Each was awed by the stark difference between them, but admiration flew none the less.
She started her dance, stepping around him, letting the snow skirt around his feet. He stood, turning every now and then to face her.
She spun away from him, letting the snow swing up behind him. He then let loose a beam of radiant light, stealing it behind her.
Each power settled as the two Natural Forms changed their position. She tried again to surround him with the White but the Ray caught the White and dissipated it into nothingness.
The intensity of the dance was starting to rise. She was twirling rapidly around him, raising a cloud of blinding crystals. Beams of light were starting to pull him closer to her.
The scarlet and the ice blue were twisting around the two Natural Forms and engulfing each other. Boldly, Crystal moved forward as she perceived him to falter but her hand was caught by his.
The quick burning stab subsided to the familiar caress as she pulled away.
She saw as the frost left from her hand softened the intense glow of his skin, and he saw the empty structures of her skin be filled. Each became more aware of the need that they had for each other's power.
Suddenly understanding, Crystal gave her hands willingly and they started a new Dance. They were soon surrounded by a thick swirl of white as she gave her heart to the Dance and to Blaise.
Slowly, slowly, closer and closer they drew to each other. They had now found their voices and were conversing, and laughing gaily together.
His hands moved to her waist as hers wove around his neck. The North Wind howled in rage as Blaise picked Crystal up in mad delight as he saw what a difference his power made to her.
She slipped from his arms and faltered a little.
He caught her and held her close.
Peering into her eyes, he whispered to her "Marry me."
Her face alighted afresh. "I will!"
In the sight of the Earthly Father, they pledged their undying devotion as Soulmates for Eternity. When this was done, the snow and the light settled to the ground as Blaise kissed Crystal, his bride.
Great was their joy when their breaths mingled, for they created rain. And the snow and the light mixed with the rain to make the barren valley clearing a bright green. Crystal and Blaise collected some of the rain in their hands as it fell, and from it sprang a beautiful daughter, which they named April. And so, the Kingdom of Verna was created.