SotF: On Thin Ice - Part Three

  • Lake Yorgrim was painted snow-white and green. It seems I was wrong, the buds were in bloom. Life and spring had come. The air however still brought a chill that the fire and sheepskin could not keep away. I took my amulet off and dangled it in front of me.


                I thought about what Fally said in the stables yesterday. I thought about Britta, Vadim, and Kjoerd and my failure. Perhaps she was right. What is done is done. I lit the incenses in their memory and now it was time for the living.


                I heard a rustle. I grabbed my spear and turned. I hope it is not a bear or worse.


                ‘Why are you pointing that thing at me for?’ Fally said. I lowered my spear. Fally had a sack over her back but no poles or nets that I could see.


                ‘Fally,’ I said. ‘How are we going to catch fish without poles or nets?’


                ‘Fishing?’ she said, eyebrow raised. ‘Who said anything about fishing?’ She bent down and lifted my foot.


                ‘You did,’ I sad. ‘You told me to meet you here-‘


                ‘Oh that,’ she said as she rifled through the sack. It clanked of metal. ‘I told you to meet me at this fishing spot but I didn’t say we were fishing.’


                ‘What are we doing?’


                She pulled out two iron blades from the sack. ‘Ice skating!’ She bent down and tied them tight to my boots.


                My heart sank. ‘But I have never ice skated before!’


                ‘Oh, ice skating is easy. All you need is…’ she said, a cheeky grin on her face.


                ‘Fally… What are you-‘


                ‘Motivation!’ Fally grabbed my amulet and skated far far away.


                ‘Fally! Give it back!’


                She threw her head back and laughed. ‘Foolish Vigilant! If you wish to get this thingabob back then you’ll have to catch me.’ She thumbed her chest. ‘Falrielle, First of Her Name, Queen of Ice and Snow and uh-titles, other titles…’


                Fally, you little!


                I looked to the ice with trepidation. The new buds were emerging from the snow, will the ice hold? I planted a foot, the ice did not crack. My feet were quivering when I planted the other foot down and now my darned legs wobbled like a leaf drifting in the mind. Oh Stendarr, save me! I swung my arms and stabilised myself.


                I heard a whistle. ‘Hey, what’s taking you so long?’ Fally said. ‘Waiting for summer?’


                Keep talking and I will have you digging latrines for a month! I held my breath, gritted my teeth and leaned my body forward. Nothing. Not a budge. I shifted more weight and I finally moved – I moved backwards. I panicked, I looked down and my arms began flailing around. I am going to – ow!


                Stendarr, why must I suffer this disgrace? This indignity? Blades on ice approach.


                ‘Now to be fair,’ Fally said. ‘That happens to everyone who skates on their first try. Not to me though. I was born to do this! Now if there actually was a competition for it…’




                ‘Come on, get up,’ Fally said, pulling me up by the arm. ‘Skating isn’t hard once you know the trick.’ I reach out to snatch my amulet but Fally was too fast. ‘Tsk tsk. That’s not how this game works! No cheating!’


                ‘Fine!’ I said through gritted teeth.


                ‘Eyes on me, don’t look down,’ she said. ‘You look at your feet you panic. You panic you fall on your arse. Now bend your knees.’


                I bent my knees and – oh no. I lost balance and fell on Fally’s arms. ‘Fally,’ I said. ‘I am so sorry.’


                ‘You know what,’ she said that impish grin still on her smug face. ‘I have a cunning plan. Keep your eyes on me and let’s get more space.’


                ‘What?’ I said before I yelped – Fally pulled me further from the shoreline, away from my safety to the grave blue. I could feel the blood draining from my face as my body begged for deliverance. Then with eyes still on mine, she released me. ‘Fally! Falrielle!’


                ‘Trial by fire, Carcy! A body once broke, will of steel reborn!’


                Latrines! For a month!


                Momentum carried me on and on… until gravity stopped me with a hard crash. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. A pale elf approaches me and she was laughing.


                ‘Not funny!’ I said, pouting.


                ‘It is to me and that’s all that matters!’ She stopped and sprayed ice shavings on my face. ‘You want this?’ She dangled my amulet, out of reach. ‘Catch me if you can.’


                I got up and fell. I chased her and I fell. The Wood Elf was not skating; she was practically gliding on the ice. She moved with such grace that I had never seen before. She jumped, skipped, made pirouettes, danced, and whenever I was so close, she made a sudden sharp turn and I fell again.


                ‘I’m impressed,’ Fally said. ‘It takes a strong man to fail so badly and not give up!’


                I huffed and I puffed and I heard a pop. ‘Did the ice just crack?’ I said, waving my arms around.


                ‘The ice? Oh yeah it does that during the spring.’ Fally just kept skating circles around me. ‘Just don’t fall under and you’ll be fine.’


                ‘Fally!’ I caught myself looking down again. The ice was cracking.


                ‘Well you’ll be. I can’t swim, remember?’




                ‘Oh fine. Quit being such a crybaby…’


                She skated to me and I saw a glint of brass in her hand. My amulet! She seems distracted; all I need to do is snatch and flee to shore. Come closer, little elf. Come closer and-


                ‘Oh you clever sneak!’


    ‘Fun isn’t it?’


                ‘What is?’


                ‘You’re skating without falling on your arse!’


                ‘I am doing what?’ I looked down at my feet and- Big mistake. As Fally foretold, fear gripped my legs and I lost all control. Next thing I knew I was buried in snow.


                ‘Carcy,’ Fally said, voice muffled. ‘Are you still alive?’       


                I groaned. Fal, I will strangle you when we get back.


                ‘If anything breaks, it’s my fault. This time anyway. Whew,’ Fally said, wiping snow off her face and…


                She looked at me with a smile that made me… that made me feel safe. Her eyes locked onto mine. Those big, blue eyes. So soft and beautiful – like brilliant sapphires. Were they… were they always this beautiful?


    …Fally frowned. Are you sad? Why are you sad? Please do not be sad.


                I reached out and brushed her face. She flushed red. Please smile for me. Please – no more pain, no more guilt, no tears, just smile. I smiled back at her.


                Fally closed her eyes and leaned in, slowly. Her every breath against my skin sent a surge of warmth through me. My head felt light and airy, and my ears pounded to the song of my beating heart. Is this it? After that, I never… I thought I would never… no. Only if it is you, only if…


                I closed my eyes. Only if it is you. It is okay if it is you. Only…


                I cannot do this. I turned my head, my vision blurry. ‘Fal, it is sundown,’ I said. ‘We should head back… rather not catch a cold.’


                ‘Oh,’ Fally said, scrambling herself off me. ‘You’re-You’re right. Absolutely right. At once. Um-let me help you up. Wait, take off the skates first.’


                Fally, I am sorry. I am so sorry. I… have too many scars. Too many… but I do, Fally. I do. Perhaps… perhaps another world in another life.


                ‘You head back to the Keep,’ Fally said. ‘I-I need to return-’


                I leaned in close and pecked her on the cheek. ‘Thank you, for everything you did for me.’


                Falrielle had an amazed look on her face as she rubbed her cheek. She was smiling. ‘Anytime,’ she said. 'Anytime'.



    Previous: Part Two


2 Comments   |   Tralient and 1 other like this.
  • Tralient
    Tralient   ·  October 11, 2018
    These types of interactions between characters is what I like most about any story.  What characters do is important, for sure, but scenes like this are what bring the characters to life for me.  Nicely done. :)
    • Delta
      These types of interactions between characters is what I like most about any story.  What characters do is important, for sure, but scenes like this are what bring the characters to life for me.  Nicely done. :)
        ·  October 11, 2018
      Trivia!: I actually wanted to write this particular scene since January 2017 with the release of Blood & Silver.