I escorted the elves out of the Capitol and pointed them to the direction of Sparks, “Head straight that way and you’ll find Sparks. Let the people there know that the Ice Queen sent you and they will help you.” I handed the key to my first vault. “There’s a vault near the town where the trees have been burned down. That’s my vault and on the table are seeds for a garden. They belong to you two now and I hope that you can help make the world a greener place.”
Laurana gave me a hug and Lokin clamped my his hand on my shoulder, “Thank you for freedom.” We parted ways as the night fell, giving them the cover of Artemis’s blanket. I turned and faced the Capitol, hoping that this would not be the last time I would see them.
I walked towards the palace gates and with each step, I tried to gather myself. I had given Laurana the overly flashy clothes and wore my all black once again, using my whip as a belt. I even washed the colors from my hair and remembered that I left the wig in the lady’s sixth floor room.
I reached the gates and gasped at the blood at covered the ground. There were no bodies to identify as those I knew, but there was too much blood for people to not have died. I stepped around the dried blood and tried to find my way into the palace.
I yelped and jumped as someone came up behind me, grabbed one of my arms and pressed a knife to my back. “I knew it was you, Eirlys.” Ethon’s voice whispered into my ear.
“I knew you would figure it out as soon as I talked.”
“You’re supposed to be dead.” He pushed me forward, not hard enough for me to fall but to propel me closer to the gates.
“That’s the problem with liars like me. We just can’t stop. So, why don’t you just let me go and pretend this never happened?”
“You tried to kill me.”
“I was given your Death Warrant because you betrayed us.”
“Open the gates!” He yelled up to the guards, who immediately opened them for him. “You wanted to see my uncle, well here in your chance.” He pushed me through the gates.
“Actually, I want to kill your uncle, not see him.” I was ready for the barrier and felt it press into me like cobwebs, clinging to me.
“He will be pleased that I’m finally bringing you in.”
I felt my heart crack into two, “If I knew that you really did betray us, I should have killed you instead of tying you up.”
People parted around us, guards keeping the gawkers away from us.
“My loyalties have always been with my uncle. Playing with you was just part of my game.”
“Then I guess I better play my hand.” I kicked backwards and caught it inside of his thigh. He let go of my arm and dropped the knife. I heard people around us gasp. I looked at saw some of the Rebellion dressed as servants, but their eyes were varying shades of grey. “Aren’t any of you going to help me!?” They all backed away as the guards circled around us.
Ethon laughed, “They won’t help you because they have seen the benevolence of my uncle and don’t wish to incur his wrath.” His eyes were grey and not the normal orange.
“What is the meaning of all this ruckus?” I heard a strong voice behind me.
I watched all of the guards and Ethon kneel down. I whipped around to face my new adversary. Ethon spoke, “Supreme Leader, this is the Water-Bearer.”
I memorized every detail of this older gentleman. He stood tall, though he used a cane to stand up straight. His silver hair was not completely short, but was only long enough to look purposely disheveled. His eyes looked familiar, but I could not place where I had seen then. He wore a black suit that fit his trim form and even in his age, he was taller than me by a few inches. He looked at me, then to Ethon, “Everyone, including you, told me that she was dead.”
“I thought she was, Supreme Leader. She is a very convincing liar and I do not know how she was able to fool us all.”
The Dictator looked to me, “You have come a long way. Why don’t you come and sit with me, child?”
I shook my head, dislodging his words from sticking with me, “Not just no, but hell no.”
He looked to his left and a taller man appeared. He had light blond hair and grey eyes. The Dictator spoke to him, “Deal with her.”
I stood ready for an attack, but only darkness came over me. I squinted to see through the blinding darkness, but I could not make anything out. I felt weightless and it too me too long to realize that somehow, this darkness was not outside my mind. I tried to reach my body, but somehow that seemed so far away. “How in the hell…?” I tried to reach my Ice but that too was too far away.
I opened my eyes to the room filled with fire around me. My arms were chained to the walls and my legs chained to the center of the room. I was hung by my gauntlets, taking most of my weight off my arms. The Dictator walked up to me, “Ethon told me that you are the Water-Bearer, but that you can’t create Water. He told me that you could make Ice, though.” He gestured to the fires along the walls of the room. “But I know that Ice melts and can create the Water which I desire.”
He watched him walked towards a lever between myself and the fire walls. He pulled the lever and I dropped to the floor, though my arms were still outstretched. He walked back over to me and lifted my chin to meet his eyes. “You see, I’ve been waiting for you to finally come home.”
I glared at him defiantly, “This is not my home!”
He slapped me across the cheek, “How little you know. Don’t you see, Ice Witch? You may as the same insolent look at my son and his wife did, but you will bow before me or die like they did.”
“Bandits killed my family, you arrogant ass.”
He leaned in closer to my head, “No, my darling. I killed them because despite them being blood of my blood, they fought me. You see, I can’t have that kind of rebellious streak from my bloodline. So, I had them killed and the killers gave me your brother as a trophy.”
“My brother is dead!” I yelled at him.
“No, my sweet, he has been at my side since your parents were killed. I don’t know how you got away, but I will guarantee that that mistake won’t happen again.” The fires around me intensified, “I know how you hate the heat, my dear. Just say that you will join with me, grand daughter and I will take you away from here. I might even reunite you with your brother, though he doesn’t recognize you as his sister. I’m sure that he will be glad to see you once he realizes who you are.”
I spat in his face, “Burn in Hell, devil.”
He wiped the spit off his face and flung it back at me. “I guess I’ll just have to wait until you beg for my help.” He stood back up and walked out of the room.
My mind raced, “I… will… not… beg…” The heat grew around me. I tried to make ice, but it just melted the second it left my body. I looked down to see numerous drains waiting to eagerly collect any Water from my Ice magic. The heat messed with my mind, making me groggy and disoriented.
The fires died down a little bit, giving me a small reprieve from the heat. Within a few minutes, the fires increased again, before fading again. I do not know how long I had been in the fire room, but after a while I started to count the timing intervals of the fire intensity. “Grow…” I counted as the fires increased. “Grow second time.” I panted as I counted the time in my head. “Dies…” It took a full twenty minutes for the cycle to reach back to dying.
“Stupid fires…” I growled to myself, “Stupid Fire-Bearer and his treacherous ways…” I felt myself growing colder with each thought, “Damn Dictator…” I felt frost forming on my skin faster than the fire could melt it. “Damn heart for allowing me to feel emotions.” I glared at the fires as they tried to intensify. “Damn burden of being the Water-Bearer! Why couldn’t I have been a normal bloody person!?” I screamed out as I covered the entire room with a layer of ice that melted into the fires. “Why couldn’t I be stronger?!” I screamed again, using the depths of my rage and pain to shatter the chains that held me.
I looked to the dying fires and lowered the temperature of the room until the fires completely died. Frost covered the walls as I found the sweet cold of my Ice. I turned to the door that the Dictator has walked out from. I grabbed the metal door and dropped the temperature of the metal hinges until they became brittle. I ripped the door out of the doorjamb and threw it to the side.
I covered my body in Ice as the guards turned to face me. I used my Ice claws and stabbed them both before they could stop me. I walked down the single hallway until I reached a large throne room. I turned to face the Dictator as he sat in his chair. He swirled the red wine in his glass until he saw me. “So, you want to fight me? You have to get through my people before I will allow you to come near me. Isn’t that right, Era?”
Era screamed as she attacked me. I created an Ice glaive, blocking her twin scimitars, though I got a good look into her unusual grey eyes. I pushed her away from me, as she used the Wind to knock me off balance. She created a whirlwind, between us, using it to distract me. She moved the tornado towards me, until I was in the eye of her storm. I a shout in my mind, “Left!” I blocked a scimitar as she tried to strike from my left. “Right!” I blocked the attack from my right. “In front of you!” The voice yelled in my mind. I struck the glaive in front of me, hitting Era in the stomach.
The whirlwind died around us as I saw her crumpled on the ground. I picked her up and threw her into a nearby wall, before creating an Ice cage around her. I looked to the Dictator and saw Mikala at his feet and knew whose voice it was helping me. I did not acknowledge her presence to protect her. “Who’s next?”
“What do you think, Enki?”
“I think it’s time to teach this child a lesson.” I saw the older gentleman stand up, using a bo staff to stand, though he wobbled from his limp. I could see that his normally brown eyes were the same grey as Era’s had been
“Enki, you’re too old for this fight. Stand down and I won’t hurt you.” I did not want to hurt him but friendly emotions were too far away from me to stop me.
“You won’t hurt him.” Ethon spoke from his place near the Dictator’s right. He was sitting on the steps leading up to the throne, leaning on the sword I had let him borrow. His eyes were still grey, telling me that it was the only way to see who is under the Dictator’s Magic
“I’ll kill anyone who gets in my way, just like I told you before. Now,” I broke my glaive in half, the two pieces become nunchaku.
Enki raised his fist and a wall of earth came between the throne and I. He was on the same side of the wall as I was, leaving him and me alone. “Give up, child. You can’t stop the Supreme Leader.” I did not answer, just stood ready for him. He nodded, “So be it.”
He attacked first, slamming his staff into my gauntlet. I used one of the nunchaku to wrap around the staff, but he easily untangled it as he stepped back. He swung the staff up and I blocked it with other nunchaku, but it cracked and shattered from the strength of the hit. I grabbed both handles of the remaining weapon. He tied to swing back down, but I caught it in the icy chains on my weapon. He tried to pull free, but I iced his bo staff to the chains.
He kicked me away, dropping the staff. The power of his kick propelled me about six feet away from him. I threw the weapons to the side and his foot came towards my face. I crossed my gauntlets to shield my face and caught his foot when I separated my arms. I caught his foot between my wrists and flipped him onto the ground.
I stood over him and went to kick him when I heard Mikala’s shout in my head, “No!” I stopped, but he used that moment of hesitation to grab my foot and trip me. He knelt over me and went to grab my throat. I blocked his hands with my arms, before he changed to just trying to punch me. I blocked each of his hits, but landed a solid punch to his chest. He fell to the side, trying to breathe. I threw him into the ice cage along with Era, before they could fully regain their breaths. I heard him land on top of her, but I saw that they were both knocked out from the force.
I repaired the cage as the wall fell, revealing that I was the victor of that fight. I looked to Ethon, “Do you think you can win?”
He stood up and stretched, “Fire against pathetic ice? I know that I’ll win.” He grabbed the sword and walked towards me. I saw the Dictator say something to the male of my left. I shot an Ice claw at them, but the male quickly absorbed it into his Darkness. I turned my attention back to Ethon, “Where’s your weapon, Ice Bitch?”
I reached for my whip and was happy to see that it was still there. I grabbed the handle and cracked it once on the ground. He came for me and I was ready. The toughened leather of the whip against a sword that I had given would be fun. He slashed downwards and that is when I struck. I wrapped the whip’s length along the blade and pulled him closer to me. “How can this be?”
I just laughed, “You never sharpened the sword, did you?”
“The blade is dull, you nitwit!” I pulled the sword from his grasp and threw it on the other side of the room.
“Why did you give me a dull sword?!” He yelled. “I thought you trusted me!”
I cracked the whip, unravelling it from the dull blade. “There’s only two people I trust and you weren’t one of them.” I struck him with the whip, but he grabbed it as it wrapped around his arm. He jerked me towards him, closing the distance between us.
He threw the whip to the side and grabbed me, “Ice always melts in the heat of fire.” He twisted my arm around my back and held me close to his body. He used his other hand to hold me tight against him.
I rapidly dropped my body temperature, pulling his heat down with me. “Do you know how they used to stop lava flows? They cooled it by the use endothermic reactions. That means they pulled energy from the lava into a super cooled vessel.” I looked back at him, before I used my arm to pull his face closer to mine. “Lava is 2192 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas your fire only burns at 1500. How fast do you think it could take me to drop you into the cold depths?” I kissed him, pulling his energy into my, pushing my ice cold into him. It was the same process I used for Mercy kills, but I did it much quicker.
I felt him shiver before I felt him collapse behind me. I smiled, “You stole my first kiss and I stole your last.” I threw him away from me and was going to kill him, but I heard the screams in my mind. I threw an Ice cage over top him to stop him from fighting more.
I looked up to see the Dictator grabbing Mikala and hurting her. “Mind-Rip her, you bitch!” He yelled at Mikala.
“Leave her alone, you piece of shit. You hurt her again and when I kill you, I’ll take my time doing it.”
“How are you not affected by my Emotion-Manipulations?” He shrieked.
“Simple. I dropped all emotions until only the cold remains.” I took steps towards him.
“Hatred is an Emotion!” He yelled at me.
I reached the bottom of the steps leading up to the throne, “You are correct, but what’s running through my veins is not hatred. Hatred can’t even describe it. Ice is a state of being and I accepted it.”
He threw Mikala at me before he ran behind the male to his left. I looked to Mikala, “Help the others.” She nodded and ran towards the cage where her beloved was. “I’ve defeated the other elements, what makes you think Darkness can stop me?”
The male stepped forward, leaving the Dictator behind him. He stepped around me, but not taking his eyes off me. I stayed facing him, knowing that the Dictator was really a pathetic man who did not need my full attention. We circled each other, both looking for a weakness to exploit. “We haven’t been introduced.” He spoke, his voice sounding familiar as well as his eyes. “I am Erick.”
“Tis a pleasure, I am Eirlys, the Queen of Ice. How did you become a patsy for this piece of crap?” I asked, still trying to finda something that I could use against him.
He shrugged, “My family was killed and he took me in.” He lunged at me and I met his grip in mine. We stood there, hand in hand, both trying to overpower the other. Our worlds narrowed down to just the two of us.
Darkness circled around us, his power leaking from his attempt to break my grip. My Blizzard dancing with his Darkness. The world beyond us became grey shapes as we both forced our power onto the other. I was straining harder than he was physically, but his magic was straining against the Blizzard. I swung my foot around and tripped him. I fell on top of him, losing my balance. The Darkness engulfed us both, before my Blizzard devoured it.
I looked into his dark blue eyes and remembered something from long ago. “Erick…” The memory came into my mind. It was the day that my family was killed and I thought he was killed with them. I screamed out for my older brother as I remembered waking up with my parents’ bodies on the ground. I was told later that my brother was killed as well and it is what caused me to become cold.
I looked at the male underneath me as he turned us over, now on top. I started to cry, “Erick.” He raised his fist to punch me but stopped when he saw my tears. “They said you were dead and I didn’t believe the Dictator when he told me that you survived. I can’t believe it!” I reached up and hugged him.
The Darkness and Blizzard stopped as I held him in my arms. I could not stop babbling as I hugged up tightly. “Remember when we were kids? People came from all around to our home with Mum and Dad. Mum was a healer and Dad used his telekinesis to help her whenever she needed an extra hand.” I laughed to myself, “We used to get into a bunch of trouble whenever we got an idea. People used to remark and think that we were twins, because of how close we were. They did not have any idea that you’re a few years older than me.” I smiled to myself at the memories that ran through my mind, “Remember when Mum got so mad at us because of the mud puddle you creat…ed…” I pulled away from him. “You… You are the Water-Bearer! Your Darkness is just clouds and that’s how you absorbed my Ice.”
He stood up and grabbed my arm. “Don’t listen to her!” I heard the Dictator scream.
“You had the Water-Bearer here this entire time, you dimwitted fool!” I yelled back, not seeing the change of Erick’s eyes from their blue to grey. He threw me into a wall, hard enough that my Ice armor cracked in several places.
“My sister is dead!” He yelled as he stalked towards me.
“That’s right! That witch is lying to you!”
I looked over to the Dictator, “I’ve had enough of your shit, Grandfather.” I spat the last word at him. I pulled myself out from the wall and gathered my Ice. My armor, the cage and everything that I had left in me was going to be used and I knew that if it did not work, I was done for. I iced up the entire floor, locking both the Dictator’s and Erick’s shoes in place. I flung a snow flurry at Erick as I skated towards the Dictator.
Erick launched a dark cloud at my, but I just jumped through it. I slammed into the Dictator and punched him in the stomach before giving him an uppercut. Erick ran removed his shoes and grabbed me away from my grandfather. “You will learn your place!” The Dictator shouted.
“No, grandfather… You will find yours and let me tell you that it’s a lot smaller than you hoped it would be.” Four large Ice walls erupted from the ground, trapping him in a full Ice cage.
He pounded on the Ice, “No! Eirlys! Let me out of here!”
I smiled, sweet, sadistic and all it was the last thing he saw as a giant block of Ice came crashing down on him. The Ice cage crumbled into snow as the force of the central block smashed into the ground. I heard the sound of the Dictator being crushed before I saw the blood splatter on the Ice. The red snow was all that was left of my dear old grandfather.
Erick let me go and rubbed his eyes until they were back to their dark blue. He looked at me, really looked at me. “You used to be shorter.”
I hugged him hard, crying as he wrapped his arms around me back. “I’m glad you’re alive, Erick…”
He pulled away and grabbed my shoulders, shaking me hard, “What in the Hell were you thinking?! You could have been killed!” He shook me again.
I just grinned stupidly at him, “It’s the first thing that popped into my mind.”
Mikala whistled and I turned to see that Enki and Era were sitting in a pile of snow. We ran over to them and I helped Enki out of the pile. Era’s purple eyes met Erick’s blue ones. She stumbled over her words, “Hello. Um, my name is Era.”
Erick put his hand out to her, “My name is Erick.” She grabbed his hand and he helped her out of the snow.
Enki looked at me, “So, the child that I saw all of those years ago…”
I nodded, “That was Erick. When we were younger, we used to pretend that we were twins and a lot of people mixed us up. You could only tell the difference because of our eyes. His hair used to be lighter and mine used to be darker. Mikala, got my bag?” She held it up and I grabbed it from her.
I heard grumbling from behind us and walked over to where the Fire-Bearer was trying to get up. He shivered as he sat up in the pile of snow. I looked down at him, “Are you done trying to die now?”
He sneezed, “Why did you try to kill me?!”
“You started it. You were all like, ‘Let’s put a knife in her back and make her feel like shit because she fell in love with you.’ Harharhar…” I put my hands on my hips. “So, you spent all of the time we had together lying to me. Well, hate to tell you, but Era is in love with my brother.”
Ethon grabbed my leg and pull it out from under me. I landed in the pile of snow and in his lap. I looked up at him as I saw the fire in his eyes. He leaned down and pressed his lips to my forehead, then sneezed on me.
“Ew!” I scrambled away from him, wiping my head of the germs. I stood up, before helping him stand as well. I looked to the pile of red snow and cringed. “So… How do we get rid of that?”
Ethon created a fireball. “Remove the snow.”
“I’m not absorbing that back into me! It has organs in it!”
“You’re the one who crushed him.” He calmly explained.
Erick created a rain cloud over the snow and used it to melt it, leaving only bone and pieces larger than blood cells in place. Ethon lobbed the fireball at what was left of the Dictator and we watched as the body burned. I pulled out my Death Log and tossed it into the fire, the final entry in it completed.
“So, what happens now?” Era asked the group, holding onto my brother.
“Well, now that this job is done, I’m going to collect my reward.” I pulled out the two Death Warrants and handed Ethon his. “You were only worth 500 gold.” I took out the scrawled paper and tried to read the handwriting. I handed it to Mikala, “Do you know who this is?” She nodded and held onto the paper. “Should have charged more for this job, though.” I stretched, popping my back. “Especially if I would have known it was such a pain in the arse.”
I started walking towards the door with Mikala and Enki. “Where are you going?” Ethon yelled.
“Well, Mikala is going to get the reward and take her cut from it. I guess she is also going home with Enki and I haven’t seen my vault in a long time and I want a bath.” I answered.
“What about this mess your created?!” Era shrieked. “You destroyed the Dictator and left no heirs to follow his legacy!”
“Not my problem.” I waved them off and walked out of the throne room.
I followed Enki and Mikala outside and saw a giant group of people standing there waiting for us. I recognized a lot of people who were a part of the Rebellion. They cheered as Era, Erick and Ethon stepped outside.
Era silenced them, “Thank you for the cheers, but this was not more of our doing. We were all caught in the Dictator’s magic and there was only two of us who were able to stay out of the trap.” She pointed to Mikala and myself. “Mikala fought off the Emotion-Manipulation well and because of that, she was able to help the Ice- Eirlys- defeat the Dictator.”
The crowd was silent for a second, processing the information before the cheers were louder than before. I took a step back, letting the others become the forefront for the cheers. I kept backing away until I was sure that no one would see me.
I turned the other way and ran, hoping to find a second exit. I ran throughout the different corridors until I came upon the kitchen area. I searched, “There has to be a way out of here.” I was franticly hoping that one of the stones would move and let me out.
“You’re the hero in this story.” I winced as I heard Ethon’s voice.
“No… No, no, no. You see, Erick is the Water-Bearer. I’m just the Ice Queen mercenary who travels around and goes looking for treasure. If I become a hero, then people will never leave me be and I can’t deal with that.” I kept searching for a way to escape.
Ethon knocked over a bag of flour and a wall opened to the cellar. “That’s what you’re looking for.”
I looked at him, my gratitude naked on my face. “Thank you…” He followed me into the cellar and opened a second hidden switch that led to the grounds outside the palace. He kept following me as I escaped the palace and the people who were cheering for the other Elementals. “Why are you following me?” I called back to him.
“You promised to show me the world.” He answered back plainly.
I stopped and turned to face him. He hands were behind his head, as he casually walked passed me. I sputtered until I found the words I was looking for. “You said that you would teach me emotions.”
He stopped a couple steps ahead of me. “I have.” He grabbed my arm and pulled me into his chest. “I’m sorry, Eirlys.” I heard him cry as he held me. “The Dictator took over me and I couldn’t stop him from using me for his will. I wanted to protect you from him, which is why I didn’t open the gates to the Rebellion for you. When I first met you, you challenged everything that I came to believe in and turned it upside down. I don’t want my life to stop changing.”
I mumbled as I thought of everything that was going to happen now, “Good thing, because things are about to change a lot more.”