Recollecting the memories about the frozen prince was not hard to do. Leah may have been much older now, but there was always a golden box in her heart where all the stories of childhood—about the dashing gentlemen who stowed away in their knightly gleaming armor, ready to save the damsel from the fire pits of a demon, or of the artifacts her grandfather sometimes brought home—was stowed away comfortably for occasional recalling. A younger Leah would often run about her grandfather's heels, kicking up the dust of his old books and growling a mimic of a feeble dragon attempting to eat a doll, whose hair had been over-combed and had nearly shed completely.
It was her grandfather's adventurous will that drove her love for all things mystifying; she would sit as a child by the lower flanks of the tavern bar, listening to his grand tales about his journeying toward the north, his discoveries of glittering gems and stones carved with glyphs and maps that might have led to the ancient cities long past. He would leave a young Leah with a nanny when he departed on one of his expeditions, and he would return with a cumbersome story to ease the puckering lips and sobbing eyes.
Her grandfather's devote love kept her from questioning where it was that her parents remained, where they were when she caught a cold or was scolded at school for pulling another girl's hair because it was straighter than hers. It might have also been the tales her grandfather brought home that deterred her mind from loneliness and abandonment. She never grew tired of the stories about the colleagues he roamed the world with, scuffing up old artifacts believed to have belonged to the Ancients and knowing that the Atlantic had not always been a landscape of ice and blue calamity. Of course, like many theories about the past, to think the Atlantic was more than just an Iceland created by nature was far-fetched without evidence. It was preposterous to the band of intellects, this theory of a legends and myths her grandfather believed so greatly in. The Atlantic—an ocean in the past? What a sounding joke! But what could they do to stop their colleague and his outlaws? It was creed among all of them that no theory should be shot out of the sky like a duck upon hunting season; they could only spend days rambling and debating the laws of all things natural in their offices, dutifully showing their profession's prowess and spending shoulder to shoulder afterwards singing friendly songs in the pub whilst vaguely sober. Leah had always liked that part most about her grandfather's friends—those who didn't believe in his research never minded indulging in conversation of it.
Leah had first learned of the frozen prince when she was 8. And it was the most magical thing to her, out of all the stories her grandfather brought back. There was no absolute truth in whether there really did remain a prince frozen within the thick slab of a glacier—her grandfather had never meant for it to be true; it had only been a tale he carried on from one of the scattered villages harbored in the vast Atlantic. But she was mesmerized by the idea of it, who might well this prince may be, how he ended up there. It was a mystery in a world of all things explained.
It felt so again as she stared at the yellow worn pages, caulked fragments of crayon layered upon one another. Her childhood drawings were never good, but she could make out the poor blue stick figure latched in a tall blue box. Leah crinkled her nose; she doubted her art had gotten better, regardless of her turning 17. Beyond her window, the voices of her grandfather murmured to another. He did that quite a lot in the mornings—he was getting toward the age of being unable to stay awake for more than half the day. She wore two shirts, one sweater scruffily multi-colored and quite horrifying to the eyes, and a coat. It would need to suffice for where she was going—and she had planned to keep luggage to a minimum, choosing to carry two bags and a backpack, folding all of her clothing into small squares to keep room for other things. She wounded her thick hair into a ponytail with a golden band that was a remnant of her father's possessions; from the stories told, it had been a gift for her mother. But wherever her parents were, a part of them would help tame the flaming orange of her hair—it was the least that they could do, indirectly.
"Grada, I'm ready. Where should I put everything?" Leah clambered down the front steps of the complex and greeted the summer sun. She could feel the sweat begin to bead through her skin. "Wow, it really is summer, isn't it?"
Her grandfather turned to the sound of his nickname, and shook his head at the sight of a puffed up granddaughter. "Sweet lord," he said. "We aren't at the Atlantic yet."
Leah went to the coach and fitted her bags into the small compartments of it. She was finding it difficult to lift her arms within the thick layers of clothing. "I can't help being excited. This is my first time traveling with you—traveling anywhere, in fact! No matter how many times I told you I outgrew the nannies, you kept leaving me at home."
The man whom had been talking to her grandfather assisted her with the bags. When everything had been assorted, he stared at her. She understood why; he was a fairly short plump man—shorter than her grandfather—and she was fairly tall for a young woman. She squinted at him and crept a smile before entering the coach with her grandfather.
"He was definitely intimidated by me," she said as she sidled into a seat. "Well, I was intimidated by his bushy mustache."
Her grandfather closed the door. "We're all intimidated by that mustache. You would think he would learn how to trim it after all these years. Leah—you're going to fry. At least the coat should go."
Leah matted the sweat from her forehead and shrugged. "I'll miss the heat when we get to the Atlantic." She paused, watching her grandfather bang the window pane of the coach so the driver would start. The horses neighed and hauled them along; she collected her thoughts between the wobbling of the seats. "…I wonder what you'll—we'll find there this time."
"I wonder too." He scratched his chin. "First we will talk to Alfred. You remember him, don't you?"
She did. Alfred was her grandfather's colleague who had chosen to live with the Benitans, a village in the Northern end of the Atlantic. He had chosen to do so because he shared a similar passion for the mysteries of the folklore the Benitans told; there, they still spoke in the Old Language and practiced the strong traditions of the past. The anthropologists who came to hear of the Benitan language thought it similar to a coarser dialect of Danish. But Alfred and her grandfather thought otherwise—they were not masters of linguistics, and they could not tell of the language's roots. There had always been something far-fetched about the barren Iceland, and Leah wanted a personal hand in discovering one of its mysteries.
"When you keep searching, you'll find what you're looking for eventually," her grandfather said. "Hey, huh—maybe we'll even find that frozen prince of yours."
Leah looked at him. The frozen prince might very well be the equivalent of a fairytale for the Benitans. Even myths and folklore needed logical reasoning; no man could withstand the cold of being embed within a glacier—supposedly for ages. It was impossible. But as she stared out of the window and the reeling scenery where the sun glowered tremendously among the morning dew, she wondered what this prince might say if he was finally able to greet the warmth again. Would the sun be the greatest gift of all for him? What did he think about while frozen, or did he know at all of his fate? Her hand comfortably shielded a pocket where an old piece of art was folded and kept.
"Maybe we will find him, won't we?" she said with a quaint smile.