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D.T - The Frigid Prince: Chapter 3

The Frigid Prince: Chapter 3

Stepping through the dark veil and coming into the tower Enaguille was riddled with disappointment. The base floor was an empty round room of light grey color. Going further into the empty floor, a voice blatantly spoke out behind him.

"Well, this was disappointing. I sure thought there would be more in here."

Enaguille turned around to see a small group of young men around his age (perhaps a little older) standing just by the tower entrance looking around the room. Upon seeing Enaguille, the three of them smiled at him and waved. The one in the lead called to out to him, "Hello there my frosty haired friend."

Judging by his voice, Enaguille realized he must have been the one to shout out his disappointment in the towers first floor. Enaguille glared at them, a little annoyed by their presence, and turned away.

Not five steps further was Enaguille stopped by a voice right next to him asking, "Mind if I ask you a question?"

Startled by the sudden presence right next to him Enaguille jumped back. He saw one of the young men from the group standing right next to where he was before he jumped. The young man turned to face him and scratched at his short brown hair, "Sorry I didn't mean to startle you," he said.

Enaguille turned sideways defensively and glanced back to see the others casually walking towards them. "How the hell did you get to me so fast?" Enaguille demanded to know. "You were all the way back by the entrance when I turned away from you."

"I teleported." The young man said with a big grin on his face. "My name is Yadriel, what's yours?" He asked offering out his hand.

Enaguille didn't take it, but he relaxed a little more, still keeping his guard up, though, and said, "Mine is Enaguille."

Yadriel withdrew his hand but kept his grin. "Yadriel can be a bit eccentric at first," one of them said from behind Enaguille.

He turned around to see the others now just behind him. Yadriel walked over to join his friends and the one taking lead said, "My name is Methais. The bald one is Igor, and the pink haired fool is Curtis. And you already met Yadriel."

"And together we are, 'the mighty mystic four'," Curtis said pumping his fist into the air.

Igor hit his face with his palm and said, "I told you not to call us that. It makes us sound like morons."

"Look what do you guys want from me?" Enaguille had asked before they started arguing amongst each other.

"Well, we saw you all by your lonesome self and thought you might want to join us in climbing the tower," Methais said.

Enaguille scoffed and said, "You didn't think this through very well then. For all you know I could be a murder and might slit your throats the moment you lay down to rest."

"For you, it'd probably be easier just to freeze us all now."

"What are you getting at?"

"Come on, we saw your stairs of ice climbing all the way up to the top of the Evercain wall. That is some insane magic; you might be even stronger than the council."

Enaguille shook his head annoyed and asked, "Why are you guys even climbing the tower anyways?"

Methais shrugged and said, "Same reason as you, we presume, to get that at the top."

Enaguille took a step back, preparing his magic for using at a moment’s notice. "How did you know about that wish?"

"Duh, all of Grimnar knows about the wish; it came in that weird dream on the full moon. Did you really think you were the only one?"

Enaguille looked down at his feet feeling stupid, how could he believe the gods would suddenly smile down upon him now. "I did actually, until now." He said relaxing his guard and looking back up.

Methais smiled sympathetically at him and said, "Yea we thought the same thing for a little while at least. But no doubt there are others who have already started climbing, so are you with us or not? We could use someone with your power on our team."

"You may need me, but I don't need you, remember only one can have the wish."

Enaguille turned away from them and started jogging ahead. He stopped when all of them suddenly appeared much further ahead of him. Methais turned around and called back to him, "Then I guess we will see you at the top. Farewell." The group then started jogging forward; Enaguille ran after them.

When Enaguille caught up to them, they were all standing before the multiple set of stairs leading up. Methais saw him and smiled, "Changed your mind about joining us already?" He asked.

"No,” Enaguille answered. “But I'm starting to reconsider letting you guys live, with those abilities of yours, you might make it to the top long before me."

"I don't believe you would kill us for something so stupid. And I think you know that we're not some bloodthirsty cut-throats either; annoying perhaps but not murders."

"Why are you so keen on me joining you guys? We don't know each other and this place is dangerous."

"Exactly why we want someone as powerful as you on our side. C'mon we saw you at the Evercain wall and would have asked you sooner but couldn't find you. Besides no one truly wants to be alone, how about joining us up the stairs and through the next floor at least. If you still don't want our company, then I promise we won't bother you no more."

Enaguille looked over all their faces carefully. They were a lively bunch but sincere as far as he could tell. "Alright," he said, "I'll let you guys join me. But I take the lead and if you even consider stabbing me in the back, you won't live long enough to regret it."

Methais smirked and gestured towards the stairs, "By all means lead the way."

Coming out onto the next floor the others looked around with a sense of wonder. Enaguille looked around for signs of danger but found none. "Woah this ground is spongy," Curtis said as he walked into the floor.

"Yeah and check out those weird fruit trees," Igor said. "They might be edible."

"Really? They look pretty tasty in fact."

Curtis walked over to the nearest dark tree and plucked one of the fruits. Enaguille watched with great interest as the pink haired guy, Curtis, ate the dark fruit. "It's pretty good guys try some," Curtis said finishing off his fruit.

As the others went and plucked some fruit of their own Enaguille asked, "Didn't you guy's bring your own food rations?"

"We ate the last of it before coming in here," Methais said. "Did you?"

Enaguille looked away; that was a no.

Methais smirked and tossed him the fruit. Enaguille caught it and Methais said, "Well then eat up." He then plucked another fruit and began eating it.

Cautiously Enaguille sniffed at his fruit and tore a chunk out of it then licked it. It didn't taste poisonous; in fact it tasted rather good. He ate the chunk he tore off and when he didn't feel sick right away, and because he realized he was starving, he devoured the dark fruit.

When all of them finished eating Methais said, "Well I'm kind of exhausted now that I got some food in my stomach, anyone else?"

The others answered with a yes.

"I'm feeling tired too," Enaguille said, "But we should get ourselves some distance from the stairs leading up so we're not too close if others come up them. It would be troubling to be asleep and be attacked."

"Good plan, but where should we go? These tree's don't seem to offer much cover in general, were would we be safe to rest?"

Enaguille looked around and thought about the answer. When his eyes returned to the stairs he figured out where to go. "We'll follow the wall along for a while then move forward and stop. Most likely people ascending the stairs will just move straight forward and wouldn't consider going along the wall."

The group already started moving before Enaguille even finished his explanation. They wanted to stop numerous times but Enaguille kept going until the stairs were barely within his sites. From there they moved forward away from the wall for about ten minutes and then made camp.

"Alright I'll take first watch," Enaguille said looking around for any other presence. "Then Methais you will swap in after me."

They had all rested their heads down on whatever makeshift pillows they had created to rest when Enaguille turned back to them. He sighed irritated and sat down resting his back against one of tree's, pretending to watch out vigilantly for anyone else but really he kept his eyes on them; still untrusting.

Before long Enaguille caught onto everyone's breathing pattern, they were all indeed asleep. If he wanted to get ahead of them now would be his best chance. Just move out silently and keep moving until he was too exhausted to go further; that should get him far enough ahead of them.

Still he sat there, watching over them. If someone came by they could slit their throats and remove the competition with little effort at all. But why did he care, they weren't his problem? They all just met that day he shouldn't care about them, but in that short time he felt them grow on him; enough to stick around for the time being at least.

When the time came for him to wake Methais up Enaguille managed to get him up but he couldn't stay awake for long and Enaguille was forced to keep watching despite how tired he was.

He played around with his ice magic to pass the time. Crafting a lance of pure ice and carefully molding it into a fine weapon. It took him some time just to get the balance right and even then he had to keep recrafting it until it fit his style perfectly. After that he forged in some grooves around the spear to fit his grasp so it had grip on it.

Not too long after he finished crafting his lance and practicing with it, to see if it was fit for him, did the others start to wake up. He stood there silently watching them as they got up and stretched out. When all of them were up and active he made his move.

Dashing for them all he thrust his ice lance at them one by one and before they could react he had made either a small cut on their necks or a jab on their chest wear the heart was. The attacks weren't lethal but they certainly hurt a lot. Methais came at Enaguille now, "What the hell are you doing?" He demanded to know.

In response Enaguille swiftly turned around and thrust the lance tip at Methais throat, stopping with the tip gently poking against his wind pipe. "Dead," Enaguille said, "All of you are dead. And you're to blame!"

He kept his ferocious icy stare of Methais for a moment longer before pulling his lance back and relaxing.

He spoke addressing the others over Methais, "All of you could have been dead by now because he-" Enaguille pointed over to Methais "-was asleep while on watch duty. We won't always be so alone on these floors and I don't intend to keep losing sleep over watching out for you guys."

Enaguille then stormed off ahead of them. They followed behind him at a much slower pace.

"That was rather unnecessary," Yadriel said.

"No... no he is right," Methais said. "Things are different here and if we're not much more careful then we will all end up dead. Next time I won't mess up while on watch duty. Now let's go catch up to Enaguille."

"Wow those stairs were a pain in the ass to find," Yadriel said.

"Not really they were pretty much a straight shot across from the ones leading up to that floor." Igor said.

"Okay yea, but still with how large these floors are even that is annoying."

"You have a point, perhaps we should split up into smaller groups to search out the next stairs leading up?"

"Maybe, I guess if there is no signs of others around than we could," Methais said. "Enaguille what do you think?"

Enaguille stopped to take a look around them. "This floor likes almost exactly the same as the one below it," he said. "But the layout is a little different; the trees are spaced further apart and in different patterns: so it's not the same. Still we could easily walk in circles around here."

He stopped talking and walked over to one of the trees and started carving into it with his ice lance. He carved in a simple vertical line which frosted over from his weapon and stood out like a beacon among the other trees. "There, we will mark our way in the trees."

They all stood there staring at him for a moment until Methais finally said, "That’s a great idea, but we don't have any weapons. Also we can't just make our own like you did."

"You can't just carve something into the trees with your magic?"

Methais chuckled awkwardly and said, "Well the thing is, I don't know how else to put this but we kind of suck at magic, except in special cases. And Curtis doesn't have much magic in him at all; he's more of an alchemist."

Enaguille sighed; feeling greatly annoyed and asked, "Can you do anything practical in this place besides run away? And Curtis couldn't you have mixed up some sort of battle potions with your alchemy before coming here?"

Their silence and way they turned their heads away from Enaguille was a solid answer of 'no'.

"Can you even fight? No wait don't answer that, I already know it's a 'no'. You can't fight, your magic is almost useless here, and you didn't even bring weapons. Why did you bother coming to the tower?"

"Well we thought that-"

"You thought," Enaguille said derisively. "Clearly you didn't think because if you did you would realize that this place will be swarming with strong warriors. Strong magisters, knights, anyone strong or bold enough to try their luck to climb. And since only one can get their wish, everyone else in this place is competition and must be eliminated; it turns into survival of the fittest.

"You're not fit, you're certainly not intelligent, and the only thing you can do is run away. So how do you expect to get that wish at all with your talents, and for that matter which one of you would be getting it?"

"We know we're not some amazing fighters, or some super powerful magister," Methais said, his tone an attitude more fierce and serious than Enaguille saw in him before. "We don't have any real chance of getting to the top of this tower and all of us understand this. But that doesn't mean we can't gather information about this place and sell it to others travelling up it. I don't know where you come from or what life you lived but all of us here were raised in the same orphanage without a copper to our names and no traditional schooling or trade, or craft.

"Most everything we know now we learned ourselves but this is the end of our rope. We can't become apprenticed to a good craftsmen or magister without money. And we can't earn money without going to school, and we can't go to school without money. So how do we get this money we so desperately need?

"By selling information and even maps about the tower to people willing to climb it. We can make some good money that way and hopefully return home before the next winter cycle starts."

Enaguille ran a hand through his frosty blue hair and said, "Alright, then we'll split up into three groups and each go separate ways. I'll go on my own and you guys decide who goes with whom," he paused to build up a pillar of ice in front of him. "Make sure to keep an eye and ear out for others and we'll meet back up at this pillar when we either find something or feel our stomachs getting empty."

He didn't wat for them to answer before moving on to look for the stairs. They others were still a little flustered with his attitude from earlier but they went along with his plan regardless.

They climbed up several floors without meeting any others and almost wondered if they ever would.

"Man this place is driving me insane, we've been walking through the same forest like floors for weeks now," Yadriel said frustrated. "Are we even making progress? I mean it feels like we're just cycling around the same floors even though we find the stairs and climb."

"We're certainly making progress, but these floors are rather peculiar," Igor said.

"Man how do you even know we're making progress?"

"Because I have been mapping out the floors each time we rest and drawing in the path to the next stairs once we find it. They make look the same but according to my maps they're all different in some way or another. Now that I think about it though these floors, the ones with the darkfruit trees, look naturally grown.

"I mean the spongy floor and the arbitrary placements of all the trees; it's all so perfectly random. I don't believe these floors were directly built or designed by anyone or anything except for the forces of nature. Like this place just grew naturally."

"Yea, and what do you know about architecture and construction?" Enaguille asked snarky.

"A lot actually, I studied it for a while. Wanted to be an architect when I was older but I lacked credibility to be hired on by the council of Dorgal; as well as the fund to pay for the schooling to get it. So I outsourced myself for cheap but excellent repairs on homes and buildings while we wondered around towns and cities."

"Igor here is the reason we didn't starve some winters; and were sheltered," Methais said. "I took on whatever odd jobs I could find but because I wasn't a specialist my work was usually cleaning out the sewers. The work was terrible but the pay was decent enough to keep us going and even help us save a few coppers here and there for schooling down the road."

"Sorry, I didn't know you guy's had such hard lives," Enaguille said sympathetically.

Methais shrugged and said, "Don't worry about it. Brighter days lay ahead of-" He was stopped suddenly when Enaguille covered his mouth with his hand to shut him up.

Looking off to the distance Enaguille whispered, "Shush, there is someone out there."

They were all silent and watching out in the same direction as Enaguille. They saw nothing but soon heard the very faint sound of whistling out there. Before long a savage looking man with numerous scars on his face and full plate armor, with a bear design embossed over the breastplate, walked out into their sights.

As he continued on whistling his tune Enaguille starred at him; a mixed array of emotions on his face. "I don't believe it," Enaguille said.

"Enaguille what is it? Who is that man?" Methais asked.

"He's Borris of Jaer: a noble knight of Aladorn. But... It's impossible."

"What's impossible?"

"Borris died during the invasion of Evercain by Aladorn; at the battle of the bridges.

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Copyright © © Jake Pendragon all rights reserved 2015

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