The cold bit at his skin as the breeze hit its hardest smacking in and out tearing through the very fabric of his leather vest. On a mine in the land of the Neroshi, the snow was falling again. He looked up to the sky and felt a shiver go through his spine. He tightened his fur coat around himself. Even after spending all of his life fighting through the cold in the land blessed by Thirel, the god of the sea. Even with the blood of the First Gods running through his veins, the cold still hammered his skin and dried his lips.
The axe in his hand was getting harder and harder to wield but he did not stop, neither did the surrounding others. Men, women and children all hitting their hardest at the solid ground hoping, praying and begging to find something worthwhile for the masters. He could feel his blood slipping to the floor as the handle of the axe and the cold bit into his skin. Most of the time he never noticed.
If he found a trace of silver in the ground, maybe he would stay out of the dungeons and in the slave keep and the masters would allow him to eat a meal. He could see all the other slaves working as hard as he was, no doubt the same thought running through their minds.
There were no slavers around, probably they had realised that a storm would come and the cold would wipe most out so they had gone back to the castles leaving them out here starving. So many had tried to steal from the masters but they were always watching even when they could not be seen the masters were everywhere.
He struck the ground again, and a chip of ice flew past his face. Suddenly a screech broke the wind — he knew this sound. Every slave knew this sound. A child had died. A mother was crying for help. He looked at her but made no move to help her. No one did. It wasn’t unusual for young slaves to die; their bones could not handle the power of Thirel’s wrath, especially during the coldest season of winter ice call.
The season that the Jaime Ice call Halazar was born. It was the season he had broken through his mother’s legs and ultimately causing her death. He had been as white as the wind, his eyes grey and cold like the winter.
Whenever anyone died, the masters sent their guards or known to the slaves as slavers to whip the slaves for incompetence and they collect the body and throw in their burning fire inside their stone castle. But Jaime highly doubted that this would happen. They would not take any chances with the cold. The mother’s cries were increasing, Jaime almost feared for her if she kept like this the wind would blow and silence her itself.
He didn’t blame her. She had such long red hair and lips as pink as the meat of a pig that he knew she couldn’t possibly be of the Neroshi. She was from the other side of the world where snow never fell. Where there was a round god in the sky called ‘the sun’. Jaime had read about them when he had lived once in his father’s house. They wore silk, and they said fire or the god of the skies know as Vacer had kissed the women with the flaming hair.
Jaime had never seen silk, but he knew no man or woman born of the land of Seroshi could survive in the ice call winter in Neroshi. They might have lasted a month during the watterreign season, but only that was possible. The God Thirel had made it so to protect their land. Jaime continued to hack at the floor. Tonight differed from the other nights. Tonight he had hope. Tonight he would leave this wretched place or die trying. No more would he suffer at the hands of men beneath him. He who was born of the blood of the god Thirel himself. He had to leave.
At the next reddening which was the count of slaves and checking their details in scrolls written by the masters, he would be 24 years of age with ten years of service by his name and he would move away from service at the keep mines to the outlands where none have returned from. If he would die, the only son of Lord Damon Ice helm Halazar, he would not die by the mountains. He would rather die on his terms and no power in this world would be enough to stop him.
‘Jaime’ called Lara. A girl stood behind him. Her overlong silver hair flowing gently unto her shoulders, her beautiful grey eyes reminding him of the moon he had not seen in months. He smiled. He stopped from his work only to admire her. He did not care that the slavers or masters might come out and see, for she was the only one who could bring a smile to his face. No slave would say a word. They all had their business and secrets to mind.
‘Is anything the matter?’ said Jaime
She looked at him with concern and placed a hand on his face sending warmth through him ‘I do not think I will survive the night’
Jaime was taken aback, his eyes immediately angry ‘What do you mean by that? Gods forbid such tragedy’
‘I feel it. When I was working by the courtyard, my hands stopped. I have the flame,’ said Lara.
Jaime froze in shock. It couldn’t possibly be. He wanted to scream out loud and curse the gods for trying to take the one thing in the world that he truly loved.
The flame was a sickness that had passed through the entire camp of slaves. When the masters immediately noticed the sick, the slavers threw them out into the ice to die.
‘We can find you a healer when we leave here’ said Jaime desperately trying to believe his own words.
Lara smiled at him, ‘I’m not going anywhere tonight. Leave without me; I will be out in the cold tonight once the slavers come to round us up and take us back to the keep’.
Jaime looked at her in disbelief, ‘You want me to leave you behind?’
Lara replied, ‘Yes, I do. Once I do my part of the plan and you hear the signal, you need to break off your chains as we practised. Winter is at its peak now, the ice runs through your veins. You’re the last son of Frosthelm, the gods will help you.’ She placed his hands in hers.
You know how much I truly love you we have been in this hell together for ten years but now we must part ways. My time to join the gods is now, but you can’t stay here. The flame is spreading fast in a few days the entire camp will be dead, you mustn’t be here when that happens’
Jaime tried his best to act strong, how was he to lose her, he ran his hand through her beautiful hair and placed a kiss on her ice-stiff lips
‘I will not fail you my love.’ he whispered into the wind and she knew that he would not.
After Lara left him he did not know how long he stayed still for when he moved again his bones took awhile to obey his commands. He continued to hit in anger for what seemed like an eternity until he heard the bell ring showing that the slavers would be out to take everyone back to the keep. They arrived, moving everyone into chains. Jaime grimaced as the icy steel contacted his flesh. He looked up to the skies and said a quick prayer to whatever god was listening. He needed to channel Thirel’s power if he failed, he would die in a slave camp and he would betray his last words to Lara.
He nodded his head and strengthened his resolve. He would not fail. The line kept moving, everyone in a straight line, their weapons cast aside by the slavers. The last time a slave had attacked a slaver they had him killed and served him as food to the slaves for weeks putting his fingers in between the wheat bread for them all to feed. Many had starved themselves and died, others had munched on with no care in the world they had to fill their bellies which was exactly what the masters wanted to turn them all to savages.
Jaime listened as he strutted along the ice, ignoring the occasional lash on the back from a slaver.
He focused on ignoring the wind and trying his best to hear her voice when it would start. She had assured him he would know, and he did. The slow sound of the hum of the song sang along with the frosty air of winter as soon as he heard it he knew it was the signal.
And almost immediately the chaos began, Jaime could hear the enraged voice of the slaver and the sound of several lashes of whips finding their mark. The line had now stopped completely; Jaime closed his eyes and drew a deep breath. Concentrating with all the power he had, he pictured her face, the sound of her voice, the feel of her lips against his. He called on the power deep within him; he needed just an insignificant amount to break the chains he opened his eyes, and the ice was forming over the steel, slowly but surely it was.
‘Stop that now,’ yelled a slaver who held out a dagger at him looking fearfully, ‘I said stop it!’
Jaime slowly backed out of the line, the slaver still yelling for him to stop, but he couldn’t in just a few minutes he would break loose.
‘What holding up the line?’ he heard a slaver general call-out
‘Two slavers.’ replied from the front of the line
‘Kill them.’ he heard
‘No!’ Jaime screamed as he heard a body dropping to the ground. Soon the ice would flow red and her blood would leave her. Lara was dead before she hit the ground.
Jaime lunged at the slaver before him. He hit him across the face with his chains, ignoring the slavers screams and pinned him to the ground, and then strangled him with the chains. By now the entire line was in chaos everyone was running around. Which Jaime was grateful for. The crowd had confused the slavers, but he could still see them trying to make their way to him. He ran into the crowd and towards her. He needed to see her before he tried to leave. And there she was on the ground, looking so defenceless.
The opening in the middle of her neck no longer gushing blood, her eyes remained closed. He grabbed her in his arms, holding her close to him. He could see the slavers coming to him. He didn’t care anymore. She didn’t deserve to die in such a horrible way, her hair soaking in the pool of her blood and her beautiful lips gone red with blood.
Suddenly he felt it, all the anger filling up in him. He would not hold back this time, and he would let the power flow out of him. The power of his ancestors. He made her a promise and even if he killed every living thing in his way, he would leave this wretched hell hole and he would bury her in a beautiful place. He would take her to the isle of the Seroshi if he had to, but she would never stay a second longer in this land, not while he lived.
As the slavers ran at him, his eyes flashed blue, the flames of the cold showing in his iris but they would not see, they would get close enough to glimpse the genuine power of one born of true blood of the water god Thirel. Jaime screamed and let go of all the power. The ice broke beneath his feet; the entire world seemed to shake the very floor was opening and swallowing all who could not run. He cast his eyes on the castles around, the bell towers, keeps and all other methods of torture they had used on Jaime and Lara and in less than a second it destroyed them.
The sky stormed blue and rain the size of a fist pounded down on the earth, on the land of Yulin, destroying all things in sight except for the one who called it and the love in his hands. When it was finally over the castles gone, everyone was dead both the slaves, slavers and the masters and as he got up and looked at what the powers that took him twenty-four years to get had done. His face held no expression, but his heart was heavy. Why she had to die was all he wanted to know.
When he woke up in the morning Lara’s body was gone, he got up looking around frantically; he was sure everyone had died so who had taken her from him. He did not need to look too far as he found his answer sitting by the side of the ruins of Yulin watching him. Jaime suddenly found that he was angry with this person who dared to take Lara. The man had light hair; his face was not icy but pale. He was a Seroshi, but he didn’t look like a slave. His light tunic and fur coat was expensive, and he had daggers on both his sides. His pale green eyes watched Jaime lazily.
‘Where is Lara’ asked Jaime trying his best to stay cool, if this man tried anything he would call on the same power he did yesterday and cause destruction.
‘On her way to Seroshi for a proper burial. Don’t try using your magic or you will kill yourself. Magic like what you used yesterday always takes a toll.’ the man replied.
Jaime was taken aback. Who was he and how did this man know what he could do ‘I’m Edwin pale sun of house Sircel.’
‘Your father is the Seroshi High ruler.’ replied Jaime
‘Like you father Lord Halazar was.’
‘How do you know who I am and why are you here?’
‘The entire Neroshi will look for you after what you did yesterday, Kyra has been saying you would do something like this eventually so we had spies alert us when it happens.’
Suddenly Jaime realised that he had met this man before on the day he became betrothed to his sister, the heir to the Seroshi, Kyra frost fade of house Sircel.
‘Glad to know that you remember me,’ said a voice from behind him.
Jaime turned, and a girl dressed in a burgundy silk dress walked towards him. The cold did not seem to bother her, her thick black hair flowing freely behind her.
‘How does the cold not affect you?’ said Jaime
‘Just like you, the god’s blood runs through my veins. I’m a descendant of Vacer. I could enter a storm with no clothes on and I would still be unarmed,’
Edwin rolled his eyes and said, ‘My sister likes to show off a lot.’
‘Why are you here?’
‘I’m here for my betrothed.’ replied Kyra
‘You’re ten years too late.’ said Jaime
‘My apologies I needed to know you were ready and until yesterday you weren’t.’
‘The love of my life died,’
Kyra nodded solemnly and said ‘ I’m sure she was a lovely woman but I’m here to make sure that your kingdom doesn’t fall into the hands of rebels, you are the last son of the cold city of Frosthelm and the last with true god’s blood they will hunt you until they kill you. I can help you fight them and take back Neroshi.’
‘You’re not doing this out of the kindness of your heart, so why?’
‘Since the day they threw you out of your own home and turned you to a slave my father has built an army of Neroshi fighters here. As a boy you were already ruling with your father, it’s prime time that you went back to that,’ said Kyra ‘And I will also one day rule my kingdoms, can you imagine the power of both of our ruling? We could return the world to glory together with the power of our offspring’
‘I just told you, someone, I loved died and you’re telling me you want me to marry you,’
‘You can become the ruler of the Neroshi again but this time the head not second to him and if you don’t, you will die on your own.’
‘I think I can protect myself.’ said Jaime
Both Edwin and Kyra chuckled
‘Attack me with your power.’ said Kyra
‘What?’ replied Jaime
Kyra smiled and said, ‘Attack me,’
Jaime calmed his mind and pictured Lara and then he put all his will and anger to it and called for the rain but nothing happened
Kyra smiled again, stretched her hand and a jet of blue flames shot out of her very skin ‘There are rules tow power that I can teach so I will ask again will you marry me?’
Jamie relaxed his mind and nodded, ‘I will and I will take back what belongs to me. The land of Neroshi is mine.’