Fiery red eyes gaze back at me from the full length mirror in my room as I stand in front of it, shirtless. Dark red liquid dribbles down the length of my arms and splats on the shiny floor, leaving behind vivid stains of blood. I tilt my head, staring at the self inflicted wounds and lacerations on my chest and arms with lifeless eyes. I can barely feel the pain despite how much I'm bleeding. This is because I've become severely attached to this disgusting act. I lost the ability to control myself centuries ago and I'd been holding up a good image for the petty little human. I almost feel sorry for her. She doesn't know what she's gotten into. She doesn't know that it might be too late. She doesn't know that I have become quite the monster. I close my eyes, feeling the shadows of the darkness calling out to me. I exhale slowly, humming low in my throat. My mother had once said that my voice could put an orchestra or even a seraph to shame. I've always believed her.
As always, I feel dead and shattered on the inside. Despite how rotten I am, there's still a minute part of me that craves salvation. And it was that part of me that pushed me to the human. What's her name again?
Alaska? Alexia? Alanna.
The name suits her though. She reminds me of a dove, so pure and innocent. But she's courageous as well. It still amazes me how she was able to make her way to my chamber with courage and then have a mental breakdown when she was discovered by a guard. And the look on her face when I'd told her about the curse, no one has looked at me like that in a long long time, not even my own mother. My friends do care about me, at least, I think they do. But, they've always treated me like I'm a pile of ashes. They stare at me with mournful looks on their faces and their pitiful stares makes me sick to my stomach. But, Alanna is different. She'd looked at me like I was actually a living, breathing creature. She'd looked at me with awe and hope. She'd had hope that she could save me and for some sick reason, I despise her for it. Why does she get to have what I no longer have? I've become hopeless and I've been drowning in despair for so long, then she comes along with hope? Annoyed, I drive my fist through the mirror and it shatters from the force of the blow. Glass shards are embedded in my skin and my knuckles are bleeding heavily. But this doesn't faze me, not even a little. Suddenly, the door to my chamber jerks open and someone barges in. That someone is my annoying, precarious mother. She's wearing a long light blue dress and her favorite sapphire amulet. Her white blonde hair hangs down to her hip in one single braid, a glass crown embedded with jade jewels resting atop her hair. Her icy blue eyes are burning with something akin to rage and frustration. Rolling my eyes at her rude entry into my chamber, I fold my arms across my bare chest and turn away from her. "What do you want, mother?" I drawl, my back to her. "When were you going to tell me about the human in the castle?!" She demands and I slowly turn to look at her. The moment she sees my eyes, she sucks in a sharp breath. "You were saying?" I say and she clenches her jaw, her hands balled into fists."What did you do?" She spits and I regard her with cold eyes. "Nothing, I just decided to play with my claws for a little bit" I say and she stiffens. "You have found your cure, Zeron. Use her wisely" I let out a dry chuckle."And if I don't?" Irritation flashes in her eyes for a second before it vanishes, leaving her icy blue eyes void and empty. "Zeron, you are better than this. Act your age" she says, her voice almost robotic. "Your opinion doesn't matter, remember?" I snap and her eyes hardens.
"I don't care! I am your mother and I am also the queen mother of the winter kingdom. So, yes, my opinion does matter!" She exclaims. I blink at her, not affected by her sudden outburst. Her facial expression softens and she walks towards me and places her hand on the side of my face, her fingers caressing my cheek. "I know you're in there, Zeron. I know you can hear me. This is not you, son. You will fight and you will not give up" With that, she presses her cold lips to my cheek and walks out of my chamber quietly.
I'm not alone. This is the first thought that registers itself in my brain as soon as I awaken suddenly at night. I slowly sit up in bed and stare at the crackling flames in the fire place. My gaze wanders around the room. Only then do I notice the figure leaning on my door, watching me intently. I instantly sit up, my gaze not leaving the dark figure in my room. "Relax, beautiful. I'm not going to hurt you, I promise" the dark figure says, his voice husky and deep. I bite my lower lip, trying not to show how scared I am. Who is he? How long has he been watching me sleep? What the hell does he want?
The dark figure let's out a sigh and moves away from the door. He starts to walk towards me and I stiffen, my heart thudding madly against my rib cage. He quickens his pace and in a few seconds, he's standing by the bedside. He reaches out for me and I flinch, squeezing my eyes shut. He chuckles, clearly amused. "You look like a frightened little mouse, right now" he says and I force my eyes open, squinting at him, carefully. His fingers caress my cheek gently and I flinch because of how warm his touch is. "Who are you?" I ask and he smiles, the fire from the fireplace illuminating a part of his face. His eyes are amber colored and his hair is the color of blood. From what I can see, he is quite good looking and his skin is as pale as porcelain. He fingers my hair, a small smile playing on his lips. "You want to know who I am?" He asks, calmly and I nod. "That's for me to know and for you to figure out" he states and I frown. "What do you want then?" I ask and he grins. "You" he breathes and my frown deepens."I am not an object" I say, raising my chin defiantly. He grins rather wolfishly. "So fiesty. But again, that's why you're so much better than a thousand winter ladies. You're human but you're so brave and I like that about you" he states. He caresses my cheek again and gazes at me for a moment. Then, he pulls away, his eyes glinting mischievously. "I have to go now. Do not tell anyone about my little visit or you'll be making things worse for yourself. Believe me, I'm not a bad person. I'm here for a reason and you'll find out what it is soon enough. I'll be seeing you soon" he states and in a blink of an eye, he's gone. For the rest of the night, I'm unable to go back to sleep thanks to the abundance of thoughts that's on my mind. Unanswered questions linger in the abyss of my mind. So, I lay in bed until morning comes. Taera is the first person to knock on my door. I open it up and she smiles at me.
"Fair morning, my lady" Taera greets and I force out a smile.
"Fair morning to you too, Taera" I respond and she beams. "My lady doesn't seem to be in a good mood this morning. Is anything the matter?" She asks and I give her another counterfeit smile. "I'm alright" I lie and she frowns. "You do not look alright, my lady. If anything, you look worried, anxious even"
"Drop it, Taera" I snap and she bows her head. "I'm sorry, my lady" she mutters and I sigh, feeling bad for snapping at her. She'd only been concerned about my welfare. "I'm sorry too, Taera" Taera smiles and leads me to the washing room where I would take my bath.
"How is his highness doing this morning?" I ask Taera as she braids my hair. "Today he's in one of his horrible moods. He asked to be alone for the rest of the day" Taera says and I frown.
"Is he ill?" I ask and she stiffens. "Not that I know of"
Something is off about this. Is his horrible moods related to the darkness growing in him?
"Does this happen frequently?" I ask. "Yes, my lady"
I close my eyes, a sigh leaving my parted lips. If I'm right, we really need to carry out the bonding ceremony or it might be too late. A shudder runs down my spine at the thought of him turning into a demon and completely giving in to his darkness. "So, you never told me much about your kingdom. What are your people called?" I say. "We are all witches and witchers but we are generally called ice witches. We had an alliance with the fae people and when our kingdom was attacked, our survivors came here to the fae kingdom and asked for refuge. The fae made another deal with us and soon, we were given a large mass of land where we could start afresh" she says and I nod in understanding. "I've noticed that most of you have icy blue eyes. Why are the king's eyes violet?" I ask and she stiffens. "The king has been like that because of his darkness. He is no longer completely an ice witcher. He is something else entirely. Something more dangerous and powerful" Taera whispers and my blood runs cold