• Member Since 31st May, 2020
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I make both fanart and fanfic. I draw all my cover images myself, and I take art and writing commissions!

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Minific: The Heart of Winter · 2:11am Dec 11th, 2023

The sky grew darker with the gathering clouds, and the sun seemed to quicken its pace as it slipped below the horizon. Rime put her head down and pulled herself on up the final slope. The snow was slippery underhoof, and little balls of ice clung to the shaggy fur on her legs. At the top of the hill she paused and looked up at the overcast sky just in time to see the first snowflake fall.

Her mane blowing in front of her eyes, Rime watched it tumble end over end. Floating down and down until it merged with the snow blanketing the earth and became unidentifiable. Just another member of the herd. What would that feel like? Above her, the second snowflake fell, and the third, and the ninetieth. Drifting down like dandelion seeds to layer the white coating the world a little thicker.

With a small sigh, Rime shook the half-frozen snow from her mane and began to walk again. The silence and the stillness could play tricks on you, out here in the wastes. You could lose track of the time, lose your way. Wander on and on, growing colder until you finally froze, with a dreamy smile still fixed in place.

But Rime had a job to do, and she needed to keep moving.

The light faded quickly after the snow started to fall. Rime paused on another hilltop to scratch the snow away. The brittle stems of frozen grass crunched beneath her teeth and slid down her gullet like tiny shards of winter.

The wind howled over the icefields that night, and even beneath her thick coat of fur, Rime shivered. Before the first hint of sunrise lightened the sky she was walking again. One hoof before the other. The walk was a long one, but it was a path Rime had trodden before. She could do it again, no matter how the cold bit at the soft flesh of her nostrils.

She found the first spur of ice just as the pale midwinter sun was reaching its zenith. It jutted out of the snow: a blade of diamond fragmenting into two smaller branches near the peak. Rime blinked fearfully up at it, and gave it a wide berth. She could almost hear the soft tinkling creak of its growth.

The jagged blades of ice grew more and more frequent, bursting up from the snow like spines on the back of some gigantic beast. The cold grew crueller and sharper, until the very air in Rime’s throat hurt as she breathed it in. Her progress grew slower — no longer trustworthy snow, packed hard by countless snowfalls over the long winter months. Now only ice was left, slippery and treacherous. The snow was still falling, thicker than ever, but it froze as soon as it touched the ice, joining the fantastic, otherworldly shapes that spiralled and staggered across the landscape. A forest of ice, a lifeless jungle. The Heart of Winter.

Rime swallowed hard, but she never made a sound. She did not waver. She just kept moving, one hoof after the other.

She stumbled upon the lord of this elfhame almost by accident. She rounded another towering icicle and suddenly there he was. Gleaming in the sunlight, his glassy scales iridescent as the snow. A colour so pale it seemed to burn like fire.

Raw cold curled out from its nostrils, tracing curlicues in the air. Lacy patterns that seemed almost like they would freeze solid and fall to the ground. Clinking like glass. The cold was a physical force, a claw around Rime’s throat, making it hard to breathe.

The ice dragon opened its glowing eyes, and Rime fell to her knees in the snow.

Another tiny fragment of a story - and due to some demand on the last one I posted, I'm going to collect these in an anthology as well as here in my blog as I originally intended.

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Comments ( 1 )

Coincidentally, the day you posted this was the day for writing in the writeoff.me event "Like a Snowflake".
There was only one entrant, though.

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