The ice gods had forsaken the Mirawraith people. They sent the burning sickness among them scorching their young from the inside. Their small blue hued bodies twisted with the flames that licked at their muscles and organs as it fed on their internal frost. It devoured whole generations. The Elder Mother of the tribe warned the people not to turn from the old ways, but Kipland’s father, the chief had grand new ideas.
The Mirawraith were people of the cold. Frost clung to their essence. Kip had survived the burning sickness as a child, but was forever marked with crimson eyes and hair. She was one of the few. Most of the others fell in battle due to her father’s continued arrogance. The people dropped to their knees begging the ice gods for forgiveness, but it was too late. Chief Amun had gone too far by declaring himself equal to the gods.
Enormous fireballs rained from the sky. Searing yellow bolts of lightning lashed at Amun’s people. Those not burned from within were burned from without. With blackened, cracked, and oozing flesh the Mirawraith fled to the foot of the mountains.
That was ages ago, now Kip, one of last of her kind, struggled to free her foot from the two feet of crystalline snow. Her foot broke through the frozen outer crust with the transfer of her weight and dropped to the ground beneath. She forced her cracking determination to continue putting one foot in front of another.
Her breath came in heavy huffs turning to ice just past her sapphire lips. Snowflakes formed on her eyelashes and brows. Icicles hung in her crimson dreadlocked hair. She pulled a gray course fur cloak tighter around her shoulders. The elements of ice and fire were at war within her. Her fingers contorted with a searing internal fire. She grimaced and bit her lip.
A blue and purple marbled glacier loomed above her. The black and gray clouds rolled overhead like thick suffocating smoke. She wrapped one hand protectively around her swollen belly. It’s nearly time for this little one to break free and join the Mirawraith people.
She could feel the fire of his essence warming her from within. Her heart skipped a beat, knowing that his fire would be her undoing if he did not come soon. Kip leaned into the pressing wind stinging her face, and took another step. The leather harness around her shoulder tightened preventing another step. She looked behind her. Her eyes followed the rope to a small sled piled with food and furs. A mound of shaved snow bared the path of the runners of the sled.
She gripped the rope with her hands. Clenching her teeth, she pulled hard and pressed her right shoulder against the leather harness. The sled was jostled free. A low growl emanated from the furs. A moist black nose and emerald eyes peered out from under the pile.
“We’re nearly there Hailstorm,” Kip called to the obsidian wolfhound nestled in the warmth and safety of the sled. She couldn’t leave her behind, and there was no way Hailstorm’s broken ribs had healed enough for her to make this journey on foot.
The orange and yellow light of the sun sliced through the storm above for a second. Kip turns her ruby eyes from its burning light. The child’s body within her own twisted and caused a ripple to course through her stretched muscles. She must hurry.
They had tried to come to the life-giving cave a week ago, before the descent of the arctic winds from the north. Hailstorm had pulled Kip out of the path of an avalanche only to be swept away by the cascading ice and rock. Their survival was a gift from the gods. Hailstorm was her only companion now, and nothing could make Kip go on without her.
Hailstorm would have to be the one to gather meat for the months they would spend within the cave after the baby came. The cold intensified the child’s strange unnatural warmth. Kip was at home in this frozen land. Her child would not be. She had not figured out how she would manage to reconcile their differences, but they had not killed one another during the time they have shared her body.
A crackling rumble pushed through the night air as she stepped through the unseen veil at the mouth of the cave. The warmth of the life within her made her own body rebel against its frozen nature. She had made it just in time.
Quartz crystal of every hue clung to the walls and ceiling of the cave. A deep green moss covered the ground. The fur cloak fell from her shoulders revealing her sapphire skin, which was bare other than the deerskin camisole and loincloth she wore. She stepped into the turquoise spring at the back of the grotto. Walking into it depths, the muscles in her legs relaxed in the cold clear waters. Pins and needles clawed at her skin as the blood began to bring the inner heat to her skin. The vigor of the child within her made her wonder how she would ever provide for him.
The center of her body contracted sending shards of pain through her back. She let out a low moan and pulled her knees toward her chest. Squeezing her eyes closed hard, she exhaled through pursed lips and then let her breath go in a gust.
Small eyes like molten gold peered up at Kip, and a high-pitched wail escaped the child’s throat. Swirls of golden hair were plastered against his pale sapphire skin. Kip’s cold blue lips curled into a crooked grin and she pressed them to his warm skin.
Frostfire’s birth was proof the gods had not abandoned the Mirawraith, at least not her. His birth wove the elements into one. He gave them a reason to reclaim their lives and become great once again.