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Dance of the Frost Tulips - Part 1

by jster02


The ice was like a blanket. It covered every house, perfectly smooth, emulating even the most minute details. Even the plants were frozen, every individual blade of grass covered in it’s own sheath of frost. It seemed not even the slightest speck of dust had managed to escape it. All shone in the noonday sun.

A mismatched pair approached the town; a man dressed in mail, wielding an ax that was much too small for him, and a young girl in an orange silk robe.

“We’re here, Witch.” Said the man. “You’d better not mess things up any more around here.”

“You can just call me Cathrine,” Replied the girl, “And I’m more of an enchantress, really. Witches use black magic, which isn’t something I-”

“You really think I care? If I had my way, you and your kind would’ve been banished ages ago. Now move it, we still have to get to the town hall.”

“Okay,” she said, “Sorry…”

They entered the village. Though it was silent, it was not empty of all life. As they walked, strange creatures began to appear, drifting through the air. They were much like jellyfish, each one about an inch big, with tiny little feet sticking out of the bottoms. One of them alighted on the man’s shoulder for just a second before leaping off into the air once more. The moment it touched him, a speck of ice appeared on his armor. Within seconds, it had grown to cover the entirety of his shoulder.

“Gah!” He tried to brush the ice off his armor, but the ice started growing over it too, trapping it.

Cathrine turned at the sound of his shout and her eyes grew wide.

“Oh my,” She said, covering her mouth, “Are you okay?”

“Do something before it kills me, witch!”

“Right, okay…” Shaking, Cathrine pressed her own hands to the ice on the man and closed her eyes. The very tips of her fingers began to glow red, then the entirety of her hands. There was a flash of white light and then all the ice on the man’s shoulder disappeared. He flew backwards, sliding on the ice.

“My arm!” he said, “It burns! What did you do to me?”

“Oh goodness, I’m sorry. I’m… still learning.”

“Are you gonna do that to the entire village? You’ll set it all on fire!”

“I’m not that strong,” She bit her lip, “I don’t have the power to do something like that.”

“Wonderful. So the only witch close enough to help us doesn’t know what she’s doing.”

“Please stop calling me that.”

“You mess with things you shouldn’t. That makes you a witch.”

“I’m just trying to help you, I really wish you’d stop being so mean.” She stared at the ground, tears forming in her eyes.

The man tensed at this. “Lets just keep moving.” He said after a moment.

They pressed onwards, towards the very heart of the village. Neither spoke; there was nothing more to talk about.

The little creatures grew more common the further they traveled. The air soon became so thick with them, you could hardly see three feet in front of your face. To keep the man from freezing, Cathrine warmed the air around him to drive away the creatures. Of course, she needed no such protection for herself.

“We’re here,” Said the man, stopping in front of the largest building in the vicinity.

“It made its nest in there?”

“Yeah, we couldn’t get it out, no matter what we tried. That’s why the council saw fit to make me come find you.” He kicked the door, but it was frozen shut. “The ice started spreading after some of our men went in to try and kill it.”

“You… attacked it?”

“Yeah, is that a problem? It’s just a stupid animal, and we had to get it out somehow.”

“Just a stupid animal? What is wrong with you people?” Her skin began to glow a bright orange. “Honestly, I sometimes forget just how self centered some people can be. I suppose you didn’t even try anything else first, did you?”

“It froze everything it touched! We had to do something!”

“These creatures can’t control themselves, they don’t deserve to die!”

“Neither do we!”

“No, that doesn’t change the fact that your village is run by complete idiots!” Fire burst from every inch of Cathrine’s skin, burning as bright as her anger.

The man leapt backwards and slipped on the ice again. “Are you trying to kill me?”

Cathrine looked down at her body, engulfed in flames.

“Sorry,” she muttered. The fire dissipated almost instantaneously. “I’m going inside to clean up the mess your people made now. Come if you want, but keep your ax to yourself unless you want to get frozen too.”

She turned to the door and snapped her fingers. The doors fell right off their hinges and crashed to the ground. The air inside was colder than that of the outside. Even with her magical powers, Cathrine shivered.

The building was full of even more of the tiny creatures. Cathrine stuck out her hand and, with one motion, split the group in two, making a clear path down the middle. At the end of it floated a huge translucent mass; a creature much like the others, but many times bigger. Frozen warriors dotted the room, trapped in the ice.

Cathrine walked through the path she’d created, the man following close behind. As they drew closer to the creature in the middle, she noticed an ax embedded in it’s side. Naturally, it was encased in ice.

“I’m going to have to heal it up before we do anything else,” Cathrine said, “It’ll be much more negotiable once it’s feeling better.”

“What about them?” The man gestured to the people frozen in the ice. “Can’t you help them?”

“I can’t do anything for them,” She shuffled her feet, “I’m not a witch.”

“But they’ll die! They attacked that… thing over there, but they’re still important! Get off your high horse and do something!”

“They’re already… gone.” her voice was so soft the man could hardly hear it. “I don’t touch necromancy… it only causes more damage.”

“Those are my friends!”

“I’m sorry…” She turned away, “We need to fix this problem, so no one else gets hurt.”

“That’s not true! You’re mad, and you’re making excuses to let them die. Do what you like, but I want no part in this. I’m leaving.”

With that, he turned and walked towards the door.

To Be Continued...


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Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:31 pm
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BlackThorne wrote a review...



Suggested Revisions:

"emulating even the most minute details" -> something more eloquent that fits the mood more, like an example of the details it preserves, maybe try adding a simile for extra-clear imagery

"every individual blade of grass covered in it’s own sheath of frost" -> "it's" should really be "its" and this sentence is a bit clunky-example with fluff cut out: "every blade of grass in a sheath of frost"

"We’re here, Witch." -> the correct end punctuation is a comma, as the statement is completed outside the dialogue tag.

"Though it was silent, it was not empty of all life." -> this could be made stronger with the show-don't-tell of describing what it was like instead of telling.

"They were much like jellyfish" -> "jellyfish-like" is more concise if you want to use that instead

"tiny little feet sticking out of the bottoms" -> grammatically, "bottoms" would be singular

"One of them alighted on the man’s shoulder for just a second before leaping off into the air once more. The moment it touched him, a speck of ice appeared on his armor. Within seconds, it had grown to cover the entirety of his shoulder." -> this could be made stronger by making it shorter, because in real time the event is portrayed as short-example: "As one of them brushed the man's shoulder, a layer of ice began to form on his armor."

'“Gah!” He tried to brush the ice off his armor, but the ice started growing over it too, trapping it." -> a few things, the "gah" seems a bit out of place, you don't really "brush" ice off, example, with stronger phrasing-"He tried to pull of the armor, but the ice spread and froze his hands"

"the entirety of her hands." -> "then her whole hand" would flow a bit better, if you wanted to use that instead

"Are you gonna" -> kind of like the "gah" the "gonna" feels a bit out of place, "going to" would be fine

"He flew backwards, sliding on the ice" -> "and slid on the ice" would be more accurate, as the events seem to be sequential and not simultaneous

"I really wish you’d stop being so mean" -> a bit immature, maybe an adjective more like "rude" would be better

"The man tensed at this" -> "at this" isn't necessary, "The man tensed" would be fine

"Neither spoke; there was nothing more to talk about" -> adding a "in silence" to the previous sentence would be more concise

"Of course, she needed no such protection for herself" -> "of course" says that it's obvious when it's kind of...not? maybe instead you could offer a description of how her magic keeps her warm, or whyever she doesn't need the protection.

"It’s just a stupid animal, and" -> not needed, from their perspective, this is a underlying assumption and not a fact that needs to be vocal

"The fire dissipated almost instantaneously." -> clunky, try something concise with more imagery, like "the fire died down." or "the fire faded."

"embedded in it’s side. Naturally, it was encased in ice." -> "its" instead of "it's", which is a contraction of "it is". combine the two and remove the "naturally" for stronger phrasing (embedded in its side, encased in ice)

overall, this is a pretty cool story! looking forward to the next part :)




jster02 says...


Thanks for the review, I really appreciate the help, especially with the grammar. It really helps with proofreading, as I have a tendency to miss little things like that.



BlackThorne says...


no problem! :D



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Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:04 pm
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Gnomish wrote a review...



Hey there!

I'm really liking the idea of this story so far! First of all, I love the title! Secondly, I really like how you used the metaphor of the ice being like a blanket. It was an interesting and engaging opening of the story.
The last sentence in the first paragraph doesn't really make sense though. "All shone in the noonday sun" is a nice descriptive sentence but it's a fragment. I think it would be better as something like "It seemed not even the slightest speck of dust had managed to escape it, the ice all shining in the noonday sun."
I really liked the first little part between Cathrine and the soldier, I feel like I have a good sense of her character.
One other thing that I noticed was that when the creature first landed on the soldier it seemed like that was something completely unrelated until they made it to the nest. I think there might be a way to make it more clear that it was the "quest".
Anyways, another great story, can't wait for the next part!
-Gnomish




jster02 says...


Hey, thanks for the read. I really appreciate the input. I'll definitely make the connection between the jellies and the main quest more clear once I get around to revising this.



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Mon Dec 23, 2019 7:40 am
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i really enjoyed this first part of the story. it really catches your readers eye. i think its interesting that the soldier thought of Catherine as a witch even though she was an enchantress. the ending has a real hook to it, so much so that i can't wait to hear the rest.




jster02 says...


Thanks so much for the feedback, I really appreciate it!



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Mon Dec 23, 2019 7:40 am



i really enjoyed this first part of the story. it really catches your readers eye. i think its interesting that the soldier thought of Catherine as a witch even though she was an enchantress. the ending has a real hook to it, so much so that i can't wait to hear the rest.





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