The Ice King

Under the frozen landscape upside, where snow covered everything and cold ruled, there stood the real kingdom of Kanfrost. The people here were as hard as you could get. Matched, perhaps, only by de people of Abrasol. They lived most of their life under the, almost constant, blanket of snow.

The spring was the only time for them to come up. At this time they had to prepare for the rest of the year. Mostly hunting and wood gathering. When there remained time, they explored the land in search of treasures. Sometimes getting as far as to visit their southern neighbors, the sand crawlers. The settlements by the sea were easy prey for the fierce ice warriors. And this was the life cycle of the snowmen.

King Sigurd Bjornmord, was the one able to make the tribes under the ice come together and stand as one. He was a big man by any measure, at about 220 cm. His body was full of muscles, with a belly starting to show. His body was marked all over by scars. One, the most precious to him, was just over his left eye. He got that when his father sent him out for the first hunt. The most important of all.

The memory of this hunt always made him feel good. It was a couple of days after the first snow had fallen. He was a twelve years old boy and his name was Sigurd. Well grown but still a child, even if the time to become a man was upon him. He got out of the cave by the first light of day, with a spear in hand and a knife in his belt. He had two days to become a real man or to feed the animals.

He went on into the woods. Feeling the snow under his feet. Paying attention to the sound it made, and to every other sound around. He learned about this and trained. But in the caves he knew everything, there were no surprises. Here he needed to be on his toes at any time. At least, the weather was still good. The real cold hadn’t yet come and he thanked the God of snow for that.

The first day was almost over and, until now, no living thing came by his path. He went deeper into the forest, hoping to find something soon. His chances of succeeding were growing weak with time.

It was almost night when he found a big hole at the base of a mound of earth. He was starting to get cold, and if he hoped to catch anything tomorrow he needed to stay strong. This meant getting some rest.

So he felt his way around the hole in the earth and laid down near the entrance. The warmth from the earth and the work of the day made his eyes close. Soon he was sleeping. A peaceful sleep.

He thought he felt something move by his side. He was tired. Must have been imagination. He went on sleeping. Then it happened again. His mind was becoming clear. His eyes opened, then closed again. The light was too strong. He opened them again, slowly this time, looking around.

He froze. All blood went out of his face. Fear nearly took him over. After, what appeared to be, an eternity he started breathing slowly, thinking.

He was leaning against the back of a bear. No, wander it was warm in here. The trick will be to move without waking the beast. Easier said than done.

He tried to move slowly, at first. But when the bear moved, he jotted out in the open. And for a short moment, he was safe. Then, a terrifying growl filled the morning air. In his hurry to get out he managed to hit the best with the butt of the spear.

He knew the stories. There was no way to escape an angry bear. And this one seemed to be quite pissed.

The feel of the spear in his hand calmed him a little. He got in a fight position and waited. He might get only one chance. And his life depended on it.

No more time now. The bear was already out. And it was big. As tall as the boy it was looking at. It shook its head from side to side and started walking slowly towards the boy.

Their eyes were locked together. The old dance of life and death had started. There will be only one living from here.

Sigurd made his stand, pushing the arrow forward repeatedly, keeping the beast away. The first cut took the bear by surprise. By the time of the third cut, the animal was furious. It put caution aside and charged. The boy tried to step aside, but something caught his foot, and he was down with blood coming from the cut in his leg. The spear slipped away.

Smelling the fresh blood, the bear went into a frenzy. It rose on the back paws. The front paws were in front of it. For the boy on the ground, it seemed the beast was big enough to block the sky. His hand was searching for the spear. His eyes never leave his attacker.

When the bear came down, meaning to crush the intruder that spoiled its sleep, everything was over for Sigurd.

But it was the beginning for Bjornmord (bear killer). Somehow his hand found the spear, and, while the huge beast was coming down, he held it upright, its butt against the ground. When the tip came against the chest of the bear, the spear arched, and then, thanks to the Snow Gods, went in with a pop sound.

Now Sigurd Bjornmord rolled aside, while what could have been his death, laid by his side. He took in the cold air, feeling its taste. The best taste there is. The taste of life.