Kingdom of Ice
by J. Falconer
Copyright ã 2000: The characters in here belong to me. All rights reserved. No part or whole of this work may be copied or used in any shape, form, or manner whatsoever without the author's express written consent. If you want to use them, all you have to do is ask … nicely.
Violence disclaimer: This story depicts scenes of violence and/or their aftermath. Nothing very graphic, but readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of depiction may wish to read something other than this story.
Love/Sex warning: This story depicts a love/sexual relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live - move along, move along, nothing for you here ...
Please feel free to email me with any comments/suggestions you have. Constructive criticism is welcome, flaming is not – Vulcan (Vulcan99@prontomail.com)
Major vote of thanks to my ever patient beta reader ForevaXena for taking valuable time out to read this, and giving me a gentle push in the right direction. This one is for my beloved, beautiful Rach without whom this would never have been written.
Once upon a time, the earth was divided into four Kingdoms. Earth, Air, Fire and Water. They were ruled over by mighty Kings: The Earth King, the Air King, the Sun King and the Ice King. The Kingdoms were well able to live in harmony, but the people in them looked to their neighbours in envy and began to covet the riches of each other’s kingdoms. Two of the Kingdoms were able to overcome their differences and live with their fellow kingdoms in peace and goodwill, but Fire and Ice eventually went to war. At first the war was evenly matched, but as time continued on, Ice began to gain the upper hand. A terrible Prince, born into the fierce fighting, had begun to lead the Ice legions to victory.
The cost to both Kingdoms was high. Fire, freed of Ice, existed in a scorched, drought filled land. Ice bereft of Fire existed in a fierce eternal winter, with no heat to bless her glacial lands. Her people were freezing and starving. One time, returning from a particularly bloody engagement the Ice Prince returned home to see a young woman struggling to warm her children in the freezing chill. The frost on the Ice Prince’s heart melted at the sight of the huddling children, staring at the Ice army with terrified eyes. Upon seeing the King, who had come out to meet his fiercest warrior, the Prince laid down arms, and begged for the life of the people.
"Father, we have lost half of our people in this battle alone. So many dead and dying for some imagined slight! We cannot exist in this state of hatred and vengeance anymore, our people are nearly annihilated. If we continue this we will have nothing left to rule, our Kingdom and future in bloody ruins! The survivors of this warfare will have no home, and will curse us for generations to come!"
The King was so moved by the Ice Prince’s impassioned speech that he emerged from the palace courtyard to see his subjects. He, also, was so moved by the sight of his suffering people that the very next day, an ambassador was sent to the Sun King to beg for peace. Finally, after much discussion and bickering, a peace was hammered between the Kingdoms, to be sealed by the marriage of the Ice Prince to the Sun Princess. For the first time in years, in a gesture of goodwill, the Sun kingdom had rain and the Ice Kingdom a gentle thaw. The citizens of the Kingdoms rejoiced; but all was not quiet in the palaces.
Caitlin, the daughter of the Sun King, a young eighteen-year-old girl, was fretting about marrying a man with such a bloodthirsty reputation that neither she, nor anyone else, had ever seen. She was a gentle, beautiful soul, inexperienced in the ways of men and very anxious about fulfilling her wifely duty, particularly after it had been explained to her. She mooned around the palace in terror and trepidation until it was time to travel to the Ice Kingdom to exchange wedding vows.
The trip was all too fast and uneventful. Caitlin was escorted by two retinues of warriors. The Sun King’s was led by the flame haired Captain of the Guard, a woman called Sumatra. The Ice King’s Captain of the Guard, a raven haired, easygoing man called Carribus, led the other. Finally the day came for her arrival in the Ice Kingdom. The Prince did not come out to meet her as she expected, and Carribus laughed when she mentioned it: "You will meet His Highness soon enough!" was all he would say. A thin, pale chamberlain conducted her to her rooms where she refreshed herself, then to the Ice King’s chambers to meet the King.
When she arrived at the King’s chambers, he dismissed the servants and told her to make herself comfortable. He asked her, "Are you willing to marry the Prince, never having met him?"
Caitlin’s voice was soft when she agreed, thinking of her parents and her subjects.
"Are you willing to marry him even if he were a lesser man and ugly as sin?" asked the King, staring at her keenly, with his striking pale blue eyes.
Again, she thought about it for a short period of time, and said, "Yes."
After a number of such questions, each one of which she said yes to, she began to think she was marrying a deformed half-wit.
"It is time for you to meet the Prince," said the King, and called him forward.
Caitlin was struck speechless as the most beautiful woman she had ever seen stepped from the shadows. She was tall, so tall, and very muscular with long, jet black hair and the most haunting ice blue eyes Caitlin had ever seen. She stared and stared, until the woman mildly asked her what she was staring at. Caitlin blushed beetroot and looked away, confused. A ripple of the wave of shock and disbelief that washed over her remained. Finally her temper caught up with her.
"ARE YOU INSANE? I WILL NOT DO THIS, I AM THE SUN PRINCESS! YOU SEEM TO HAVE FORGOTTEN WHO I AM!" She thundered her denial of the marriage for a full quarter candlemark, and it was the Prince’s turn to blush, then raise one black eyebrow as the tirade continued.
The Ice King, a kind man, waited until she had screamed herself out, then tried to persuade her to do what was best for their people. "I am father to my people. Young one, they are dying, which is not what they deserve."
Caitlin stormed from the room, telling him that she would decide, knowing the answer had to be yes.
As she sat in her rooms alone and crying, she heard a quiet knock on the door and yelled for the person to go away. The person proved to be quite persistent. She heard the door open and drew breath to upbraid the intruder, then looked up and saw it was the Ice Prince. The sky blue eyes were kind. The Prince was about five years older than her and told her that she was just as upset when she found out – this was just as bad for her. But she wanted peace and an end to the fighting. Besides, she argued, this could work out for both of them. They could be friends and she certainly wasn’t going to stand in the way of Caitlin taking lovers. At Caitlin’s blush and stammered agreement, she quickly added that Caitlin was not expected, by her at least, to perform any wifely duties with her.
The Prince hugged the woman, feeling a shock run through her body at the touch. They held each other for a heartbeat longer than necessary, until the Prince cleared her throat, and told her she had to leave – it was changeover of the guard, and they were expecting her. The Prince left her, and a day later Caitlin washed her face and emerged from her rooms.
She asked to see the Ice King, and when she was conducted into his presence by the skeletal chamberlain, she looked deep into the Kings eyes, so like the Princes’ and so kind. "Yes," was all she told him, then left again for her chambers.
The day of the wedding was turbulent. After the vows were spoken, the Sun King found out he was tricked and was furious. However, the Ice King calmly informed him that his daughter was named Crown Prince when she was born, so therefore was in legal eyes male. So the marriage was lawful – "he" was the Heir to the Ice throne. The Sun King seethed, even when he found his daughter was friends with the Ice Prince. Relations were strained almost to breaking point but civil by the time the Sun retinue left – the Ice King had ensured that all the servants attending the Sun King were pretty young girls.
Over time, Caitlin learnt to love life in the Ice Kingdom. In the Sun Kingdom, she had always been forced into a passive, decorative life. Here she had learnt some skill at arms, went riding and fishing with the Prince, and loved the Ice King as a father. She got to know the Prince very well, was very fond of her, and felt a deep kinship to her. But it didn’t take long before she began to harbour decidedly unsisterly feelings for her husband. She adored the white smile, the husky voice and often struggled not to drown in sky blue eyes. She loved nothing more than to quietly watch the warrior’s hard muscles move under her shirt at every opportunity, and to hold the strong body as they wandered across the now rich green fields. She didn’t like horses that much but relished the excuse to hold the hard body for long periods at a stretch.
The Prince loved the feel of Caitlin in her arms. She was affectionate, and the affection was willingly returned. The Prince took many lovers, hoping to drive the image of golden hair and innocent green eyes she had no right to out of her mind, but the entanglements were unfulfilling and only served to make her more heartsick. A year passed, giving them both time to realise they had fallen deeply in love, but afraid to admit it to each other for fear of losing their deep friendship.
Then, one day, disaster struck. The Captain of the Sun Guard, Sumatra, left behind to be the Princess’s protector, taken willingly by the Ice Prince, but spurned when the Prince began to know her own heart, was sick with jealousy. She secretly contacted the Sun King and told him horrifying untrue stories about the Ice Prince. The Sun King, upon hearing news of Caitlin’s mistreatment at Ice hands, flew into a terrible rage. That, combined with festering resentment in his black heart over the marriage, made him plan an evil revenge. With Sumatra’s help, they would get the Sun Princess back, and deal a crushing blow to the Ice King.
It was a beautiful warm day when the Ice Prince and Caitlin went out to enjoy a ride through the luxurious forest surrounding the palace. Unexpectedly, hidden Sun Troops, led by Sumatra, attacked. The fighting was furious. The Ice Prince was winning, when a concealed archer in the trees, unable to get a clear shot until the violence began to subside, began firing arrows rapidly at Caitlin. As the Prince caught the arrows, a crossbow bolt from Sumatra buried itself in her shoulder. The Ice Prince staggered for a split second, enough for a Sun warrior, almost unconscious, to run her through. She collapsed, slowly, her frozen wife staring uncomprehendingly. Suddenly it all slammed home - Caitlin screamed, throwing herself at the fallen Prince. She cradled the too still Ice Prince in her arms as the tears streamed from her eyes, covering the white face of the Ice Prince. As the blood poured from the broken body onto the distraught Sun Princess, the groaning Sun troops hardened their hearts and dragged her away from her love, leaving the body lying in the forest glen and hauled her off to the Sun Kingdom.
When they reached the Sun Kingdom, Caitlin was whey faced and grief stricken. She wanted nothing more than to go back to the Ice Kingdom to be with the Ice King and visit the Ice Prince’s grave. She was denied permission to do so and when she attempted to escape, was imprisoned in the Tower. Caitlin never tried to escape again – she loved the Ice Kingdom more than the Sun Kingdom, and prayed the Ice King would rescue her, even as her heart keened for her fallen Prince Her days were filled with writing stories of her time in the Ice Kingdom, heart and spirit shattered with loss and regret for an undeclared love she had lost.
Several months later, the Ice troops marched on the Sun Kingdom. The arrival was heralded by a marked drop in temperature and fierce, bloody fighting. The Ice Kingdom quickly gained the upper hand – the Ice King himself, a brilliant military leader in his own right, led the troops.
After seven days and seven nights, the fighting was finally over and the door to Caitlin’s prison cell opened. A grinning, dishevelled Carribus appeared at her door, to escort her to the Sun Throne. Willingly she allowed Carribus to lead her to the Ice King. She greeted him with tears of joy, and threw herself into his arms.
He held her and said, "Young one, we have come for you. I have brought someone with me, who has wanted nothing more for the past two seasons than to see you." He gently released her, and stood aside.
From behind him, Caitlin saw the Ice Prince, pale but with a radiant smile for her alone. For a single second Caitlin was in shock, her heart constricted, then she threw herself into the Warrior’s waiting arms, tears of joy raining down the beautiful chest.
The Ice Prince pulled her tear stained face up, so she once again found herself looking into sky blue eyes she’d never forgotten, and a smile that had burned itself into her heart.
She couldn’t help herself. "Prince, I love you, and I’m so sorry I never told you. When I thought … you … you … the only thing I could think about was that you never knew." With that, she pulled the Ice Prince’s face to hers and kissed her with a passion that was fully returned. The aftermath of the kiss on her senses left her grateful the Ice Prince was holding her.
"My name is Morgan, not Prince," the Prince whispered to her. "I love you. I have always loved you and I will love you for all eternity." As they kissed again, deeply and passionately, there was cheering from the Ice troops.
Caitlin drew back slightly and gazed deep into Morgan’s sky blue eyes. She forced herself to ask the question, emotions raw in her tear-filled eyes. "How? I was sure you were…?" her voice trailed off, unable to continue.
Morgan gently cupped her face, and with feather light, calloused fingers, wiped the tears from her loves’ face. Her voice was quiet and husky when she replied.
"You have my father the King to thank for that. He knew I loved you long before I myself did. Carribus searched for us when we did not return. He brought me to my father. I was very close … but he held me and told me of your love for me, and asked me to listen for you … he, and you, brought me back …"
That brought fresh tears to Caitlin. She drew the Ice King into their embrace. "I love you father of my heart, and there are no thanks deep enough for what you have done for me … for us …"
"Daughter of my heart, it was the least I could do for both of you …"
Morgan and Caitlin stayed in the Sun Kingdom to rule with compassion and wisdom. The Ice King returned to the Ice Kingdom, to live out his days at one with his people. From then on, the two Kingdoms were known as the Land of Spring. Almost two years after her official marriage to the Ice Prince, Caitlin went willingly to Morgan’s bed, as they finally consummated their deep love for one another.
The Sun King and Queen were exiled for their shattering of the fragile peace that bound the lands, but were taken in by the neighbouring Kingdoms, and placed under house arrest, never to be seen again. Sumatra was beheaded for her part in almost destroying peace between the kingdoms.
And they all lived happily ever after.
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