Frozen Folk

Prompt: Their home was cold, their hearts were winter, and they spoke in frost. Written 24 May 2020

The child walked up the steps to the large home. He shivered. Elsewhere, it was early summer, but here, winter ruled. It was their way. Their home was cold, their hearts were winter, and they spoke in frost. And he needed them.

Clenching his jaw to stop the chattering, he lifted his fist and gave two loud knocks. The door swung open and he stepped inside.

Everything was covered in ice. Even the fire crackling in the fireplace exhaled snowflakes, glowing blue. The surprising part, however, was not the ice. It was that the building was empty.

He entered cautiously, an apology ready on his tongue. But no one came to scold the intruder, even when he walked through the kitchen.

He wandered through bedrooms and studies, walked the library and the dining room, but the building seemed deserted.

When he found the throne room abandoned, he yelled. He screamed and swore at the frozen folk, who left at the worst possible time. He urged them to come teach him a lesson, and threatened to place himself on the throne.

At this, the air stilled and true silence fell. Nothing rustled, whined, or scraped. He stopped. Turned a circle around the room. Took a step toward the door.

Then came a high, trilling whistle, and a breeze pushed him back towards the throne. Now he noticed a staff leaning against the back of the throne. Prodded by more wind, he walked up to it. The whistling turned into a light melody, and it led him still closer. The music flooded his mind, drowning out his thoughts, and he reached for the staff. He took it in his hand, and was flooded with cold. It froze his veins, frosted his eyes, and drained him of color. His vision went white, then black.

When he woke, he was surrounded by the ones he had been looking for. They crowded the room, kneeling to him.

“You have passed the test and proven yourself.” said one, who he found he knew to be the source of the whistling. “Welcome home, my king.”

At his words, the boy shuddered, and saw the lives of kings and queens before him. His quest was wiped from his mind and he held his head high.

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