Places in IceEdit
I am running. Running away from something. My lungs feel like dynamite ready to explode. But I know I can't stop. I need to reach my home before it's too late. I stumble on my white dress. I fly and crash land into the pure white deep snow and brace myself for the impact. I fall like a rock snapping cleanly in two. My arms burn with a sensation called pain. I raise them to discover a trail of devil red blood streaming down my snow white pale skin. The red blood flashes against my skin. My ash white blonde hair swishes across my face wildly, like a hurricane's winds. And only when I see the fire consuming my home-- Glacialis, I realize it's too late. Nothing can be done. Glacialis is now caught in a huge fire.
The fire in my dream startles me awake. I sit up so quickly that the pile of books by my feet tumbles to the floor with a huge thud. I look at the books and try to remember my dream as if I opened it up I would find my answer. Instead I see small flashes of it. A white forest. No doubt Glacialis. Me running through the forest, trying to reach something. Falling and seeing my hands cloaked in devil red blood. That's all I remember. But I can't shake the nagging feeling that I’m forgetting something important. The only problem is that I don't know or remember what it is. I sigh and reach down to the floor to pick up my books still under my blanket just as my maid enters the room where I sleep so comfortably with an occasional nightmare every night. She keeps her head down and sets a tray with a muffin and cup of hot chocolate on the table by my balcony. I mutter a quick word of thanks and she shuffles out of the room.
I place myself back on my bed and place the books on my bedside table. I untangle myself from the disaster of my bed and pull my bathrobe over my shoulders and slip my slippers on. I glide my feet towards the table and grab the hot chocolate. It is soft and creamy and its smell cheers me up. Then I head towards the balcony, open the door and walk to the ledge. A cold wind swipes MY hair like in my dream but it doesn't bother me at all. Instantly, I feel even better. My worries, concerns fly out of my mind like a soft butterfly taking flight. I feel like the cold wind comforts me by telling me that I’m okay, nothing will happen to me.
I can barely spot the White Mountains in the distance. But after climbing them and nearly falling off , I know they are covered with delicate white capes of snow. And the glaciers near the tops that could be good for skating and sliding around if you had the time and balance. The forest that surrounds my home is also covered in snow. More trees and roads that lead to town and other places I’ve probably explored by now. The ground is also covered in deep white snow. Even the frozen lake is beautiful. Everything might be covered in snow, the weather is always cold but it's beautiful in its own way. Some people call Glacialis gloomy. To me it's my own version of paradise......
"Did you rest well, Ember," my mom asks me at the table. "Yes," I respond in wonder. My mother has always been harsh with me. Or should I say strict? Anyways, every time I did something wrong she would scold I so bad I’d shed into tears. It didn't help that my dad always agreed with her. Whenever my mom asks about myself I know it's because either she wants to be nicer or she has something to ask of me. But my mom has never been pleasant with me so that gets rid of the “nice” theory. She favors my sisters and doesn’t bother to hide it. Most likely, she wants me to do something I do not want to. "Very well," she says. Sure enough she shoots my clothing a dirty look. There goes my nice theory down the drain.
My mother is the kind of woman who believes success can only be accomplished by looks. She believes that being smart and having an education does not affect success in any way. I disagree and often counter that without smartness we wouldn't have the technological advancements we have now. Of course, she tells me to shut up and keep my opinions to myself. But with Eve and Raven, she believes they are always right. I recall once Raven broke a very expensive ice statue. Raven being the spoiled brat that she is blamed it on me. Eve is scared of Raven and agreed with her. And who was my mother to believe? Her least favorite daughter or her prides and joys in the world? I think the answer is pretty obvious. She also says that a girl in my position should dress like royalty. This means gowns, jewelry. I am positive Raven and Eve enjoy that. But I would prefer to shut myself in the library and read a book with a cup of coffee next to me.
"Mother, did you know that Selestia is holding a party?" Raven says eagerly trying to draw my mother's attention from myself to her. "Why I did not," my mother responds. Instantly, Eve, Raven and my mother start talking about what to wear. I glance around the table and spot how we are all so similar and so different.
Like everybody in Glacialis we all have the pale skin. The pale hair. And the black, brown or silver eyes. Almost the whole country has the same looks. After all, I know that there are other countries out there and they all reflect their home in their looks. So, being from Glacialis where it is always white we all show we are from here in our hair and skin color. Although, there are a few exceptions. My dad for example has tannish skin, golden brown hair and the warmest golden eyes I’ve ever seen. Naturally, everywhere we go he draws a lot of attention. Eve often tells me that I draw attention too. But I always deny it. She inherited my mom's blonde hair and my dad's complexion. Her features make her look like somebody mean. But she's quite, smart and reserved. That is until Raven shows up.
Raven resembles Satan. Not physically but in her character. She is greedy, selfish, vain, mean, cruel, ruthless and merciless. She loves to be the center of attention and getting her way. Her cruelty is infinite. She once hit Eve when Eve was little. Poor Eve was covered in bruises for weeks, months even. I don't know exactly why Raven did this and I don't want to know. Raven doesn't get violent unless you provoke her. My mother didn't want to believe Raven had hit her when she told my mom. My dad believed her though and scolded Raven. Furiously Raven beat Eve once again and took her on a trip to the forest around our palace. There she left Eve without food, water, shoes and a coat. She stayed there for a month and a half.
We all felt despair. But I felt worse. I knew what had happened and was about to go tell when Raven threatened that she would expose one of my deep hidden secrets. I was terrified and kept my mouth shut. Raven faked her despair. Once, when the search party came back with nothing I saw her laughing silently and I had to fight the urge to throw her out the window or grab an ice statue and smash her head in. Since that accident Eve is terrified of her but I’m not. Even when Raven confessed her actions my mother didn't scold her but scolded me for never telling her. I guess that Raven told her it was me. Since we were born Raven's been my mom's favorite. Eve was my father's favorite. And I was lonely. I was nobody's favorite. Nobody cared for me. I grew up by myself. And that is why to this day, I never tell anybody anything....
You could say Glacialis is old fashioned and modern at the same time. Our country is grand. There is poverty or hunger. We have beautiful temples and works of art. The architecture is breathtaking and beautiful. Huge marble arches that sweep over statues made of pure glass reflecting back the white cheerfulness of Glacialis. Buildings made of glass and marble with pillars and columns holding them up, all while they are carved with beautiful pictures of nature and history. But I’d say that our pride and joy lies in the Templum Magnificum. But as the name is too complicated, we often call it the Temple.
The structure of the Templum Magnificum is simple but yet beautiful. It is a simple house designed white in color with the occasional white glass in it. The house has an arched entrance with no door and two smaller arch entrances next to it. There is a marble gate that surrounds it elegantly. The temple itself is designed to look elevated. From the entrance there is a huge sweeping bridge with two statues of maidens at the ends. White columns support it so it won’t fall to the river surrounding it. In the river there is a statue of a willow tree with water pouring out from it in cold icy towers. Behind the house, there is a tower with a pointed end. And there is another entrance with another bridge in the back so people can access it both ways. But what really gives it beauty is the art around it. The whole thing is covered in snow and upside-down icicles and heavens know what. All I know is that it is covered in white corral that hangs draping over everything. I’ve never seen the inside of this temple, but I plan to do so one day. But people also call our home old fashioned.
Old fashioned because females dress like ancient people in long dresses. The clothes are comfortable and they provide heat against the cold. Of course, it makes sense we would want to stay warm and these clothes provide heat. Our houses are modern and so are the neighborhoods but they are filled with the white innocent snow. I have heard of other lands but they are false. No way there could be other safe places than Glacialis.
I walk through the town with my black traveling cloak hung on my shoulders. Made from wool these are paradise against the bitter winter and weather. But yet, it falls all the way to my feet and I have to be careful to not step on it. If I tripped my mother would scold me for making a scene. Raven would smile coldly and laugh behind my back. And Eve would just stare at me reproachfully. From, all these reactions I could only conclude one thing. I am not wanted by my family. Maybe, I am but I am sure that my family thinks I’m unworthy. Of what, I don’t know. I’ve heard my mother say it to my father as I walk by their room with a book in my hands. I walk separately from my mother, Eve and Raven. They don't seem to feel the cold and are chattering excitedly no wonder about the party that is to occur later today. They giggle falsely once in a while and I stare at them and my mother glares. I sigh and leave them knowing they don't care. I wander the marketplace staring in wonder at the crafts made. I could make some if I had the time. But my little adventures take up all my time. "Only 5 coins a piece" a thin man says sadly. I glance at him and at the crafts. He is wearing thin clothes that look as if they hadn’t been washed for days. He also seems to be shivering. I pull out 10 coins and hand them to him and pick out 2 marble statues. He looks at me in awe and I smile. These two 10 coins could afford him food for four people for three days. I feel glad my father made that law.
Hours later I encounter the person that I dread meeting. We have a tense relationship especially as we are opposites. Selestia Ever is sort of a superstar. She goes against everything we represent. Both physically and mentally. She has black straight hair that falls all the way to her waist and small beady blue eyes. She doesn’t look like the rest of us and acts differently. She is a spoiled little bastard. She has done things that I would never dream of. I may be a rebel but she is just plain bad. She's picked fights and blamed them on other people. She hurts people for her own joy. I’ve even seen her lock a little boy in a closet in the freezing cold with no food or water for two weeks. It's no wonder she and Raven are best friends. After people with the same interests seem to get along well. And I know for sure that both Raven and Selestia are selfish and heartless creatures. They probably wouldn’t help someone if their lives depended on it.
A couple of hours later at last Mother and Raven get bored with the market. On the way home I look out the window ignoring Raven's chatter. She is discussing the celebration that will occur at Selestia's house. I only catch pieces of the conversation.
"Maybe the purple dress"
"No it is too hideous"
"How about the pink one"
As soon as the gates open to the palace I leave the car and sprint towards the house. I can’t help but laugh in joy at the feeling of the fierce pleasure of a run and the feeling of my hair whipping around my face. I had never been one for parties and celebrations. So this would be torture for me but I would survive.
Right away, at my bedroom I fall asleep on my bed. When I do awake there's a soft knocking on the door. "Come in," I say trying to stifle a yawn. Eve comes in wearing a soft pink dress that falls delicately to her feet where she wears golden sandals. It is simple with two straps that make the dress a v-line. On her waist, is a white belt with pearls and diamonds encrusted in it. I can’t help but feel envy at the dress and happiness that it isn’t puffy. She comes over to me and says, "I thought you might need some help getting ready,”
"Oh yes," I reply and stand. Knowing what will happen I sit in front of my dresser and let Eve work her magic. Minutes later I look a totally different person.
My hair which is usually in a long braid now hangs around my face in glossy waves and makes my features look softer and fuller than they are. Eve had dabbed some coral light pink lipstick on my lips and soft gold shadow. You can barely see the makeup but they do make me look pretty and noticeable. But what really amazes me is my dress. The diamonds hanging from my ears and neck are nothing compared to my dress.
It is made of comforting white silk. It had a pleated waist that gave off a delicate aura and the pleated waist held two bodice panels which formed a v neck line. The panels were held at the shoulder by two silver clasps with little diamonds studded in them. The skirt fell in folds all the way to the white flats that I was wearing. “It’s really pretty,” Eve whispers.
Minutes later I walk down the stairs with the dress trailing with me. Again, I have to be careful not to step on it. I see Raven had dressed in a dark blue puffy dress. It’s too formal and she probably doesn’t know. After all, the dress has a tight bodice with a corset that straps up in the front. The skirt is huge and has two layers. The top layer hangs over the bottom layer of fabric where in the front it opens in an upside-down V revealing the darker blue fabric. And yet, she has styled her hair in a bun with a silver crown positioned on her head. To me it looked over exaggerated. She gave a jealous glance at my dress and glared at me. I smiled knowing that I had up showed her.
"Let's go," my mother said coldly. It was then I realized that I had outshone them all. But how could I? Surely, both Raven and Eve must put me in the shade. But I can’t help and doubt that based on the dirty looks I receive from Raven and my mother. We leave the castle through the front living room and open up the huge doors. Outside, the car is already on and the engine rumbles impatiently hurrying us to get inside already.
The car ride to Selestia’s is silent. There is a tension in the air but I don’t know what kind of tension it is. I just know that it is so thick that not even the best knife could slice it.