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The Ice Beneath Her Feet

To become a blessed icewalker, she must reach the eye of the storm.

By Laurence J. R. NixPublished 2 months ago 4 min read
38

Her timid feet meet the ice. It creaks a quiet haunting tone that blends with the swirl of the blizzard, but it holds. Her confidence rises. She steps forth, fully onto the frozen lake. A lake, they say, but for how far she has to go, they might call it a sea.

She looks ahead and remembers stories of waves that crash and roar. The only roar she knows is that of the snowstorm winds. The idea that water might roar sounds alien, terrifying even. She wonders how bold the ice must be to tame something so terrible, to turn it to stillness beneath her feet. Her slow careful pace gives her time to ponder these things, to dwell on these anxious musings. She lifts a gloved hand to sweep back a loose strand of frail brown hair that spills forth from her fur hood, then brushes the delicate crystal snow from her eyebrows. With a glance backward, she sees only white and grey, the shoreline behind her already obscured. The blizzards deny her that last look at the Holy Mountain and its comforting form that watches over the Village. It must be deadly today, up there, but up there, the blizzard will pass and let her people climb again.

The blizzard never passes on the lake.

It twists and rumbles forever, an eternal cacophony of thunder and snow. Deep into that eternal storm; that is where she must walk. They say the eye of the storm enlightens all who reach it, but it’s hard in that moment to believe this storm has an end, never mind a middle. How could it be anything but infinite? If not for the others who had ventured there before, she wouldn’t believe it possible.

The cold bites her. The winds try to throw her down. The thunder rattles her very core. But she shuffles on. She believes more strongly now in the ice beneath her feet. Before, she wondered if it would hold her. Now, she is grateful for its presence for it is the one thing solid and familiar. She has known blizzards and thunder, but never like this, where magic and nature converge. Survival should be impossible. And it is, for most. But she is to be an icewalker. She presses on.

Hours pass in exhaustion. The snowstorm grows stronger still, even further beyond what she thought possible. But something changes. It starts to part around her while raging on just beyond an arm’s reach. She walks further wrapped in her pocket of stillness. Strange shapes twist in the flurries, almost human in shape, the souls of the Ancestors. They seem to watch her, but never do they venture too close.

The ice beneath her feet and the storm above are opposites. Permanence below. Ever-changing above. But she sees them in harmony, one and the same. Together they guide her path. At first she does not realise that she has made it, does not notice that her personal circle of peace is gone and that this is true stillness.

She stands in the eye of the storm and looks upward. A perfect, impossible column of clear air reveals bright sky above, gleaming enchanted blue, not grey or white. The spirits circle around the eye, dancing, watching as long trails of white light in motion streak down and into her chest. Warmth fills her. Power fills her.

All feeling of cold is gone. She is one with the storm and the spirits of the blizzard shy away in reverence. They do not part the blizzards for her now. She can do that herself.

She raises a hand and the wind follows where she points. She closes her fist. The snow stops still in mid air. The flakes only continue their swirling trajectories when she allows them.

She is one with the storm.

And it would be so easy to make it her own.

The ice beneath her feet creaks.

She dares it to challenge her, dares it to defy her will. She is the storm. This power belongs to her.

The ice cracks.

Before she can command her storm to save her, she is swallowed whole. The ice closes above her, as thick and permanent as ever.

A mortal would freeze and die or might drown if they were unlucky enough to remain conscious that long. But she is immune to cold and transcended beyond the need for breath. She is trapped beneath in the stillness of the lake. In a moment of panic she loses all sense of direction. She does not know which way is up nor down. She flails in the water until her panicked feet meet the ice above her. Her sense of perception re-orients itself to this mirror of reality and she walks upon the ice as if up were down.

She parts the waters just as she parted the storm. She smiles, wickedly, understanding what she has become. And she heads for the shore.

Fantasy
38

About the Creator

Laurence J. R. Nix

Sometimes I research particle acceleration and sometimes I do whatever it is you would call this.

https://linktr.ee/ljrnix

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  4. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  5. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (19)

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  • Daffodil Evergreenabout a month ago

    Gurly pls this is so good like dayumm

  • Annelise Lords2 months ago

    Lllooovvveeelllyyy.

  • Annelise Lords2 months ago

    she is immune to cold I wished I was immune to the cold.

  • Annelise Lords2 months ago

    The cold bites her. Yes, the cold do bites. I have been bitten many times.

  • Kathleen Simmons2 months ago

    Incredibly wonderful image and descriptions

  • Tracy Willis2 months ago

    Loved this.

  • SC Wells2 months ago

    Finally got a chance to read this! Wonderful imagery and description. You captured the main character’s thoughts and emotions perfectly.

  • Alex H Mittelman 2 months ago

    I liked this a lot! Very good!

  • Kenny Penn2 months ago

    Very well written and vivid. Loved the imagery here, it really painted the scene in my mind

  • Brenton F2 months ago

    That is some serious A game right there! Wow a dozen times!

  • R. J. Rani2 months ago

    Terrifyingly beautiful and so vivid. I felt cold and heard the roar and was right there with her in her world… and I don’t even know the name she was given at birth! Truly amazing writing, Laurence! 👏👏👏

  • J. Scott Tanner2 months ago

    Nicely written. I love the prose. Your description of the setting is so vivid. Beautifully done.

  • Dana Stewart2 months ago

    Such tight writing, the prose just flows. My favorite ~ She raises a hand and the wind follows where she points. She closes her fist. The snow stops still in mid air. The flakes only continue their swirling trajectories when she allows them. ~ Great work and congratulations on Top Story!

  • Georgenes Medeiros2 months ago

    Nice work !!!

  • Aphotic2 months ago

    This is pure poetry. Your words here flow beautifully. You painted a gorgeous picture in my mind, great work!

  • TJ Roddy2 months ago

    You invoke power and strength with your words. More!

  • Cathy holmes2 months ago

    Beautifully and powerfully written. Really well done. Congrats on the top story.

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