Chapter 19
Icy Angry, Burning Rage

A freezing wind blew across the land of the Ice Realm. In all directions, white, grey, and blue were all anyone could see. Snow covered the land in a constant and thick blanket of white. Layers upon layers of snow had been packed down onto the ground, leaving nearly a mile of packed snow lying on top of the ground. The top few inches were still lose and tossed about in the air. The sky was covered in light grey clouds that sprinkled small amounts of snow on the earth below. To the west was a frozen ocean. Though the temperature of the air was nearly 250 degrees below zero, a force of magic kept the sea from completely freezing over, leaving large holes in the ice covering it. To the east, giant mountains of pure ice rose from the ground. No rock or soil could be seen within them. Only pure, clear ice was present.

The silence of the realm was almost eerie. The area was devoid of sound, as if someone had put the world on mute. Until the silence was suddenly ripped as a vortex opened, releasing a gust of wind that tossed the snow into the air in wild swirls. It was open a few minutes before Ivy was violently tossed from the opening, dragging her friends behind her. The four crashed into the snow, raising a cloud of it around them as the portal from the Wind Realm closed after them.

Flare pushed himself up, noticing they were still surrounded by the strange white substance Frost had called snow. He wondered if they had missed the portal and fallen down to the mountain. He quickly realized this wasn't true when he noticed the ground was level.

He looked at the others one by one, making sure they were alright, before standing. He brushed himself off and realized he felt slightly chilly. It was still a new sensation to him, but he tried to ignore it.

"Is everyone alright?" He asked, looking to the others.

Frost pushed himself up, shaking the snow from his hair, making it appear like his hair was made of the substance. "I'm alright... and for once I'm not hot!"

"Yay for you..." Ivy said through chattering teeth. She was hugging herself tightly, trying to retain as much heat as possible. "I'm freezing my butt off!"

"Frost... I hate y-y-your realm." Myst said with the same chattering teeth.

"How'd you know it was my realm?" Frost asked.

"What other realm w-w-would be this c-c-cold!?" Ivy said, answering for Myst.

"I don't know..." Frost answered. "Maybe the Dark Realm?"

Flare looked at the girls and saw them trembling rapidly. "Are you guys okay?" He asked, approaching them.

"N-n-no!" Ivy answered. "I've l-l-lost feeling in my fingers and t- t-toes already."

"S-s-same here." Myst added. "And I'm s-s-starting to f-f-feel sleepy..."

Frost approached as well, a look of concern on his face. He touched Myst's face and quickly pulled his hand back. "You're cheeks are ice cold."

"No d-d-duh Frost!" Myst replied.

Frost turned to Flare and spoke. "These two aren't going to survive long here if we can't find them more clothes."

"What? Why not?" Flare asked.

"Because their bodies aren't designed to handle extreme cold I guess. They'll freeze to death pretty quickly here too." Frost explained.

"Are you sure? What if I give them my sword?"

"I d-d-don't think that'll help Flare." Ivy responded. "Mys-s-st already has your gem and..."

"It's n-n-not h-h-helping at all." Myst finished.

"Is it really that cold here!?" Flare asked Frost. Frost answered with a nod of his head. "It's actually warm today though... all things considered."

"" Flare looked at Myst and Ivy to see them knelling in the snow. "I... th-th-think I'm gonna take a nap now..."

Flare was about to protest when Myst and Ivy suddenly collapsed in the snow. Flare dropped to his knees and lifted Ivy up, shaking her. "Ivy! Ivy! Wake up!" Flare continued to shake her until Frost placed a hand on his shoulder.

Flare looked up at Frost. "What's going on!?"

"When people get really cold it slows their body down. Eventually they fall asleep... and then they usually..."

"Usually what?" Flare asked before quickly realizing what Frost meant. "We have to save them! Where's the closest village!?"

Frost spun around, looking for any landmarks. He could see the mountains and the sea, but they didn't help. He scanned the southern horizon, looking for a sign of their location. He saw it in the form a small blob of ice sticking out from behind the mountains. "That way!" He yelled, pointing almost directly south. Frost picked up Myst and took off as fast as he could go. Flare hefted Ivy over his shoulder and took off after Frost, moving as fast as he could without passing Frost.

It took Flare and Frost fifteen minutes if running at Frost's top speed to reach the village. It was hard to see from a distance. All of the structures in the city were made out of snow and ice, and blended into the background perfectly. There was a five foot wall of ice surrounding the city with a small gap at the northern end. Flare and Frost ran straight through the entrance.

Flare looked around, and saw a few people working outside. He could see piles of wood now that he was closer, but he had no idea where the wood came from. He hadn't seen any trees at all since they'd gotten there.

Flare returned his attention forward to see a large group of people blocking the path. None of them seemed to look happy. Frost skidded to a stop, and Flare followed his actions.

"Everyone, move, my friends are dying!" Frost said with panic in his voice.

"Your friends!?" One woman yelled from within the crowd. "What about our sons!?"

"Because of you they're all going to die!" Another voice yelled from within in the cluster.

Frost looked like he was even more confused then Flare was. "What the heck are you talking about?"

An old man with long white hair stepped forward. He supported himself with a wooden staff, carved with runes. "You have angered our monster lord. He has stolen our young men and will kill them if we do not turn you over to him within one more day."

Frost was silent. Flare looked at all the people assembled before them. They all looked pissed and sad at the same time. He did feel sorry for them all, but he didn't have time to deal with them at the moment. "We'll deal with the minion lord once our friends are safe!" Flare yelled, stepping forward.

"I am afraid I cannot allow that." The old man said. "You have done nothing wrong, of course, but Frost has. We must place him under arrest until Frostbite comes to collect him."

Flare looked at Frost. His face showed his deep regret. Flare could tell he was considering surrendering. "At least let him direct me to his house, so we can save our friends. Then we can sort this all out." Flare pleaded. "Do not let your anger lead to the deaths of my friends. They've done nothing to you."

The old man was silent for a moment, before raising his staff. The crowd behind him parted to let them through. "So be it. He will be confined to his house until further notice."

Frost didn't move at first. He just stared at the ground, lost in thought. "Frost!" Frost looked up at Flare. "We'll deal with this later. Myst and Ivy come first." Frost sighed, then nodded, and took off toward his home. Flare followed behind, looking back at the crowd.

They all displayed such anger towards Frost. He had never thought people could be so angry toward a blade bearer. No matter what he caused to happen in Char, Flare was always forgiven. The consequences of his actions were never considered entirely his fault.

He shrugged it off as he followed Frost into a house of ice. Flare shut the door behind him as Frost laid Myst down on a couch.

"Senow!" Frost yelled. "Come here!"

Flare laid Ivy down in a chair as a young girl peered out from a hallway. Her eyes seemed to light up with happiness as she saw Frost. She rushed forward and wrapped her arms around Frost as tears began to trickle from her eyes.

"I thought you were dead!" The girl cried, tears pouring out. "I thought I was all alone!"

Frost stared at the little girl and a single tear rolled down his cheek. "It's okay Senow..." Frost kneeled down a bit to be level with the girl. "I'm home... but I need your help, okay?"

Senow looked to her brother and nodded. "Okay..."

"Good." Frost stood and started to walk down the hallway. "Senow, come help me find all our blankets and stuff. Flare, get a fire started."

Flare looked around at the house and wondered if a fire was a good idea. The walls were made of ice, and, as far as Flare knew, heat plus ice house equaled bad. "Is that really a good idea?"

Flare didn't receive a reply. He was reluctant to light a fire, but he figured Frost knew more about this sort of thing then he did. He walked over to what he assumed was the fireplace. There were some ashes lying on the bottom of it, but nothing else to indicate a fire had ever been there. Flare looked to the side, finding a pile of wood stacked against the wall to his right. He walked over, grabbing a few pieces of the wood.

The wood seemed odd though. It didn't have the normal rough, grainy feel to it. It was slightly squishy and felt almost smooth. It was also closer to a white color, then the normal brownish tan.

He shrugged and threw the logs into the fireplace, then pulled out his sword and set the lumber ablaze. He expected to see the fireplace begin to melt, but it stood strong, despite the heat.

He then turned, looking back toward the hallway Frost and the girl had walked down. They were still back there he guessed. He moved over to Myst and laid his hand on her cheek. He was surprised by the burn he felt on his skin. Her face was freezing, but his skin felt like it burned on touching her. He pulled his hand away, and turned toward the hallway again.

"Frost!" He yelled. It took a moment before he heard Frost respond with a "What?"

"You better come here. Myst's skin is... uh... burning?" Flare answered.

"What?" He heard Frost reply. It was louder than a second ago and a moment later Frost came out from the hallway carrying a pile of blankets almost as tall as he was.

"Myst's skin... just feel it, you'll see what I mean." Flare answered.

Frost set the blankets on the floor near the girls. He walked over to Myst and placed his palm on her forehead. His faced twisted in shock as he pulled his hand away. Frost didn't say anything, he just stared at Myst, then looked over to Ivy.

"What?" Flare asked. "What is it? What's wrong?"

"They're..." Frost put his hand on Ivy's cheek and before pulling it back quickly. "They're dead..."

"What!?" Flare yelled, shock and horror resonating in his voice. "They can't be! How!? What happened?"

"They froze..." Frost answered.

"So we warm them up! I can do it!" Flare yelled. Before Frost could acknowledge him at all, Flare cupped his hands over Myst's stomach. Myst's shirt cracked like a thin sheet of glass and he felt the same burning cold as before. He didn't care though. He focused his energy through his hands and into Myst's body, sending waves of heat through her.

"Flare!" Frost yelled. "You can't! It won't work!"

Flare ignored him and continued to focus his energy, trying desperately to thaw Myst.

"Flare! They're dead! They're frozen!" Frost yelled. He grabbed Flare's wrists in an attempt to pull his hands off Myst. He was quickly forced to let go though, when his hands began to burn from the heat. He pulled them back, staring at the bubbling blisters that had already formed.

"Flare! Stop! If you keep that up you'll light Myst on fire!" Frost yelled.

"Shut up!" Flare screamed. "Shut up and help me save her!"

"Flare! It's too late!" Frost yelled. Despite knowing the pain to come, Frost grabbed Flare's wrists and pulled them off Myst, searing his skin greatly. Flare quickly pulled free though. "Why are you trying to stop me!? I have to save them!"

"They're frozen Flare!" Frost yelled. "They're dead. You can't just thaw them out like a piece of meat! It doesn't work that way..."

Flare stared at his friend, trying his best to hold back the anger that boiled within him, threatening to bubble over at any moment. He knew Frost was probably right. He knew it probably wasn't that easy, but he couldn't just let them die like that without trying something -anything- to try and help them.

"Then what Frost!? What do we do!?" Flare yelled. His attempts to hold back his anger and frustration were failing.

"I... I..." Frost struggled to find the words he needed. He didn't know how to tell his friend that Myst and Ivy were goners. He didn't know how to save them. He didn't even know if they could be saved. He had heard stories of people surviving situations like these, of people being brought back to life, but he had no idea how to do it, or if it was true.

"What do we do Frost!?" Flare yelled again. Frost knew Flare wouldn't accept the fact that Myst and Ivy were gone. Even if he told him there was no way, Flare would likely try to thaw them out again, which probably wouldn't accomplish anything other than cooking their corpses to perfection.

"I don't know Flare..." Frost said.

"Then don't try to stop me!" Flare yelled. "At least I'm trying!"

Flare began to turn toward Myst again, but Frost's grip stopped him.
"Let go of me Frost!"

"It won't do any good Flare..."

Flare struggled not to strike Frost with his full strength. He wanted to hit Frost, to punch him for saying he couldn't bring them back. He knew it was true, but it was just something he refused to accept.

"Let go Frost..."

"Stop it both of you!" The argument was interrupted as Senow walked in, dropping the blankets she had gathered and rushing up to them. "Stop it! Your arguing won't save them!"

"Then tell your brother to release me..." Flare's voice had become eerily calm. It was as if all but the tiniest sliver of anger had left him.

"But he's right... that's not how to save them." Senow answered.

"Then what is!?" Flare screamed, spinning to face the girl. His eyes were glowing red with his frustration and anger. His hair moved around wildly, despite the absence of wind. "How the hell do I save them!?"

Senow was silent. Surprised by the sudden outburst of anger toward her, she stepped back.

"Flare! Stop it! You're scaring her!" Frost yelled.

"Let go of me!" Flare screamed, his anger overflowing. His body burst into flames, causing Frost to immediately release him. The fire in the fireplace grew in size as Flare's anger began to surface.

"Shut up both of you!" Flare screamed. The entire house shook with his rage. The fire in the fireplace began to flap around wildly, becoming an out of control inferno. "Stop telling me how I can't save them!"

"Flare stop it!" Frost yelled.

"Shut up!" Flare lifted a hand toward Frost and his sister. A small swirl of flames began to grow in his palm. "Stop telling me they're gone!"

The flames in his hand burst upward, suddenly tripling in size. Frost backed up, getting between Flare and his sister. He had never seen Flare like this. He didn't know his friend was capable of showing such anger. It was as if he had lost himself to his anger; as if everything was suddenly his enemy.

"Flare..." Frost spoke calmly, trying not to anger Flare further. "you don't want to hurt me."

"Shut up!" The flames grew larger still.

"Flare... you've got to stop. Hurting me and my sister isn't going to help Myst or Ivy."

"Be quiet!" Flare's eyes began to grow dark.

"Killing us will not save Myst and Ivy!" Frost was scared now. He didn't feel like he was talking to his friend anymore. He felt like he was talking to some psychotic killer intent on his death. "You need to calm down!"

"Stop telling me what won't save them!!" Flare's hair was moving as if a hurricane was in the room and his eyes were an ominous dark red.

"I know how to save them!" Senow yelled. "I know how!"

Frost looked back at his sister, as surprised to hear this as Flare obviously was. Flare lowered his hand and the flames around him died down slightly. "...What?"
"I know how you can save them..." Senow repeated.

"You hear that Flare?" Frost asked calmly. "We can save them... but you need to calm down."

Frost could see in Flare's eyes that he was struggling to become calm. It was as if he wasn't sure he could trust them.

"Please Flare. You can trust me. I'm your friend... remember?" Frost said, remaining as calm as possible.

Flare wavered a moment in indecision before suddenly screaming and collapsing on the floor. The fire around him and in the fireplace suddenly extinguished as the remnants of his scream echoed through the room. Frost stood where he was a moment, staring at his friend on the floor. Frost couldn't understand how one person could be capable of such different personalities. The anger Flare had shown was like nothing Frost had ever seen.

He heard Senow begin to cry behind him. He turned and hugged his sister close, trying to calm her down. After she stopped crying, Frost approached his friend and turned him so he was facing up. He was unconscious. He seemed so peaceful now. Frost sighed and shook his head. "I never expected something like that from you..."