Winter is a seasonal entity. It is cyclic in nature, for eventually, winter must make way for summer. Amidst the prosperous kingdom of Arktis, however, there is no respite from the harsh, glacial chill. Here, winter begins again every day and continues every day, only to be reborn in the following day. Fortunately, the cold never bothered Vivienne as she was of it and thus controlled it.
Although she bore the cold within her soul, she found no comfort in the perpetual chill but rather a longing for warmth. This craving for a taste of a rare summer day in which she could luxuriate in, bask in until the heat soaked into her very skin was immense. In contrast, the Ice King didn’t seek warmth; he reveled in the cold, wearing it like a cloud of icy cologne. Cologne that was poisonous to breathe too deeply, cologne Vivienne encountered once every year.
The concept struck her like a shard of frost, piercing her hold on reality. Unbidden, the memory comes to the forefront of her mind with a chill crispness reminiscent of wintry wind. She remembered sculpting ice crystals as the north wind brought snow over her old, thatched cottage. Recalled her sister, Gerda, abandoning their little ice castle in fear of the snowstorm that rapidly approached. Remembered the bone-chilling terror of solitude that was second only to her valiant need to rescue her green silk ribbon spiraling upward and away from its secure place atop a turret. Suppressing her fear, young Vivienne gave chase after the ribbon. Night fell as the frigid air twirled her ribbon in graceful pirouettes, luring her farther away from home.
Presently, her throne of icicle shaped platinum with intricate frost filigree trilled of her celestial power, jarring her from the memories of her six-year-old self. Decades later, and that seductive melody still sends shivers up my spine. Despite the oddities, she tried to dwell on the emotions the song provoked. But she could still feel the faint pulse of her memories simmering beneath her focused thoughts. And her false respite dissolved the next instance as the haunting memories of her past life enveloped her.
Through the white-capped mountains came a river of pristine air that displayed the hot plumes of my breath in misty clouds. It is like I have icy breath or ice powers! Giggling, I tilted my face to the gray sky and opened my mouth. Fog poured from my lips; warmth trickled into the air. An emerald swath of fabric gyrated not five feet above me in the air currents, providing me with a taunting reminder. Right, my charm ribbon. Gerda possessed the twin ribbon, and together, our ribbons solidified the strength of our sisterhood not with magic but with love. To lose my ribbon would be as grave as breaking a pact. And I would not do either.
On the sole pretext of retrieving my ribbon, I marched farther into the snowy field and came upon a frozen lake. Through the surrounding forest of ice sequined trees, the solidified water of the frozen lake brings brilliance to the dawn, reflecting the dance of the sunshine as a natural mirror. Waltzing across the ice, my ribbon lands with a dramatic flutter in the center of the lake, its expression through movement haughty. Such a vain little ribbon. Extending my legs like a prima ballerina, I tiptoed across the icy lake, but soon found gliding forward with my arms held in front was far more amusing.
While I skated, I watched as flurries of white cascaded downward, the beautiful individualism of the snowflakes an echo to the icy soul of my favorite season. Catching snowflakes like a handful of white stars, I danced under the rapidly thickening flakes with joyous abandon. But suddenly, the air was pierced by the ubiquitous sound of a crack! Cracks never heralded the arrival of anything good. Holding my breath, I tensed, then took a step forward.
Grab the ribbon, then return home; no more distractions. Determination had me placing another foot in front of the other. Then another. Imitating Gerda, who was infamous in my family for always stealing the last Skolebrød every time Pappa bakes the treats, I stretched my arm as far as it could reach. Almost there. My fingers grazed my ribbon, and I smiled, victorious. Crack, crack, crack!
A spiderweb of elaborate cracks splintered the ice and sped toward me with alarming precision. I screamed in a frenzy, pleading with the lake to hold my weight just a minute more. The lake did not listen. It was then, standing precariously on the fragments of the broken lake moments before they cracked entirely, that I saw the truth. The lake was not a large body of water; it was no lake. It was a mirror.
With this final revelation, the ice broke, engulfing my ribbon within its glacial waters. Seconds later, I too plummeted downwards, and in the cold, cold water, I was submerged.