I started a novel, City of Ice, about six years ago. It’s about a 28 year old suicidal princess attempting to survive in a cult ice world. The monarchy is a sham – the city is ruled by the cleric and their dark magic.
I am notorious for working on two projects at once, and my YA fantasy novel is still my main focus, but as a little reprieve, I will come back to this and start editing and adding to it. Here is how the first chapter begins.
Let me know what you think!
City of Ice, An Excerpt
Sunlight hit two large ice formations just ahead of them, making them glow. The light made Ivea nearly forget about the cold.
“So beautiful,” she breathed.
“We should turn back.”
She ignored Tercun, quickly urging her horse into a gallop over the crisp snow before he could say anything else to spoil the magic she was feeling. His mount caught up to hers and they both slowed down when they came to a large patch of ice.
“What if I can’t bring you back this time, Ivea?” he asked.
Instead of offering her alchemist friend a biting retort, Ivea watched the horizon ahead. She would do what she needed to, and he would follow her as he always did for the last twenty years. They rode ahead and reached a cavern. A human-sized hole only a few feet above ground level marked the mouth.
Ivea’s pulse quickened with that familiar blend of excitement and unease. She dismounted and approached the cavern, digging her treaded fur-trimmed boots into the solid ice. From below, Tercun gave her a gentle lift upward and she reached for the opening.
As she climbed up on the ledge, warm air collided with her face. Her lithe form slid down a sloped, icy wall; she grunted when her bottom slammed onto the cave’s floor. Her eyes adjusted to the strange and stunning surroundings, which made her quickly forget about her discomfort.
Light from a tiny opening in the ceiling hit the hot pools of rippling, steaming blue water and caused the walls to come alive with radiant designs. Ivea was sure that the sight was as magnificent and soothing as any heaven could be.
Her skin tingled as she unbuttoned her coat and let it slide down her shoulders. She could not have chosen a more fitting place to perform her most dangerous experiment. Today, she would find out for certain if there was life after death.
“Ivea, you can’t do this.”
Tercun stood right behind her. She would have jumped from surprise had it not been for his soft, even tone.
“Since when did you become so skilled at sneaking up on me?”
Tercun’s gaze travelled down her long, scarlet gown. Ivea rolled her eyes and went to the pool, admiring her dress in the reflection. She could be imprisoned for over a year if a member if the cleric caught her in such attire. She was Queen Mornia’s daughter, but that would not spare her from the wrath of a fanatic.
“Don’t you tire of always wearing white?” asked Ivea, returning her gaze to Tercun.
“I never bothered to think about it.”
“I shouldn’t be surprised,” she sighed.
Ivea twirled once, watching the bottom of her dress sway like a faraway flower in the breeze. How wonderful it was to break away from white’s monotony. White hair, white garments, white snow, and white skin was everywhere in the city with no reprieve.
“You don’t have to do this just because you want proof that a supreme being does not exist,” said Tercun.
She dipped her bare foot in the warm water.
“Yes, I do.”
“I know very well that you do not.”
Ivea could not be mad at him, even as his stern tone chased away the whimsical mood that surrounded her. She had adored his quiet, calm manner from the first moment they met as children. He was so different from her, from everyone. He was the only person that offered her a listening ear and she adored him for that. She also despised him for being so accepting of the clerics’ doctrine.
Taking in the surrealism of the strange water, her stomach fluttered. It was time.
She turned to him in annoyance, but was stunned to see how otherworldly he appeared as the blue reflection danced along his angular face. He could have married countless noble women that would have made his life a lot easier, but he never seemed to be interested in any of them. When he wasn’t busy studying new theories, he was trying to keep up with her self-harm experiments. It was almost as though he secretly enjoyed them.
She swallowed as a dull ache worked its way up from her chest, tightening her throat. She brought her gaze away from his pleading eyes and down to the water.
“Yes?” she whispered.
“I will bring you back. No matter what.”
Ivea cleared her throat and stood at the edge of the small pool, wondering how deep it reached into the earth.