The Legend of the Ice Princess

by Strange Teller

The Ravans were the most powerful and the cruelest in the Galaxy. Their unmatched thirst for power was only surpassed by their ego. It was said that they drank kalay blood (an animal resembling the wolf) before every battle, which made them invincible.

However , they wouldn't have had such a record of win after win in a war that could easily have been characterised as absurd if their leader, The Undefeated, hadn't possessed a redoubtable weapon, that wasn't available to any ravan: the power to read minds.

Thus, any inkling of betrayal or trap set at the negotiating table was annihilated from the beginning, because The Undefeated knew absolutely everything about those surrounding him, his power being instantaneous .

They had conquered many planets, they were receiving heavy tributes from all the peoples, but they were no longer satisfied with this: they wanted to conquer the Galaxy.

One evening they called a special meeting, to pinpoint all the details pertaining to the final assault on the deridians, the ones living on the Planet of the Ice Lakes, the only ones that could contest their supremacy. They were to embark on their battle ships, the infamous Fireplanes, at the hour of the Purple Moon Eclipse, when the deridians' detectors could not intercept them because of a magnetic interference. How long have they waited for this eclipse, that only happened once every thousand years!

A Fireplane was very difficult to destroy, and was capable of destroying up to a quarter of a planet with its radiation. Even so, a capable ice pilot could destroy it, so that they had to wait until no risk could undermine their attack.

Then, they would breach the Ice Palaces and conquer them, killing their inhabitants.

A unanimous roar made itself heard at the end of the meeting: they had to finally become the masters of the Galaxy!

A lone ravan, duke of darkness, had the thought of betrayal: "If i sell this information to the deridians, I will surely gather more money and acclaim than I would have here".

The Undefeated fixed him with his monstrous gaze. "Is that what you think?", he said.

"Supreme Master, what do you mean?", he mimed his bewilderment.

"This duke brings shame to the name of ravan. He will be punished according to ravan law tonight", claimed the absolute leader.

And truly, in the same night, he was thrown alive in a pool full of white crocodiles. Dying this way was terrible, because the white crocodiles didn't kill their prey instantly, but flayed it to pieces which they devoured, leaving it alive.

*

The Ice Princess was a fragile, helpless being. She spent her time in her room reading stories, playing with the ice manatees, and wandering the Magic Realm only to return in a state of reverie in which nobody could talk to her. She noted her dreams in a snow diary and didn't seem to pay her respects to the centuries old customs of the Planet of the Ice Lakes.

Even more so, she was completely inept. She once broke a leg slipping on a frozen lake while she was playing with a seal, something that was not imagined before on her planet, where dexterity and precision were inoculated from an early age to all deridians, making them unmatched in such traits. Peaceful and rational, they were however fearsome warriors. Otherwise, they would not have been among the first in the galaxy.

One night, her parents had a talk about all this.

"I'm thinking that we will be obligated to excommunicate her. I know, it sounds painful, but we cannot leave the future of the galaxy in the hands of such a ridiculous princess", said her mother.

"I know, I thought about this as well. But I will not do it."

"Why not? Think about the consequences".

"Exactly...Not because of an exaggerated love, but... I have another really good reason to not do it".

"What do you mean? What is this about?"

"I can't tell you right now, it's a big secret. You will find out when the time is right".

They both said nothing more, staring blankly, and not reopening the subject.

The Ice Princess went to the Magic Realm again, where nobody knew what she was doing, what she was thinking, what she was feeling.

It was an enchanted world, where she played among fairies that looked like girls her age, sat for hours, fell asleep, then woke up again and started running around through the enchanted forest.

One day she discovered something not known by anyone, slipping, due to a new clumsiness, down a snow-mole hole. She went down for tens of meters, until she was completely lost.

There she found the Magic Sword, made entirely of crystal and encrusted with rubies. It had a fascinating visage, outside of the ordinary. She put her small hand on the hilt and felt that it had a never before seen power, hiding in it the secrets of the Universe, the power of Fire and the eternity of Ice. She didn't know why, how, or where it came from, but she knew that this was the case.

It was a magnificent experience, but she didn't talk of it to anyone, because of an intuition that she couldn't explain.

*

When the hour of the eclipse arrived, the Fireplanes left as commanded, in a perfect synchronicity, that sent shivers down your spine. The death-announcing sound covered the Galaxy.

The Undefeated looked through the bull's eye with a strange, inhuman gaze. After a short while, the deridians would finally know the invincible power and pride of the ravans, in a way that they would have never thought of.

The plan worked. The ice pilots detected nothing and were taken completely by surprise. Crossfire destroyed their ships one by one, in less than a few minutes.

Before the Ice Palaces could sound the alarm, the ravan troops breached them. They had precisely calculated the time that they had so as to not put the mission in danger.

Then the slaughter followed. Many were slain with the firearms, the feared laserjets, but there were also hand to hand fights, in which the savage ravans were victorious. Their bloody tomahawks ended the life of so many deridians that nobody could count them anymore. Their bodies laid everywhere, bloody, decapitated.

It was a monstrous, apocalyptic spectacle. The Council Halls, the rooms framed by the wondrous ice windows had become a theatre of Death.

The brave warriors that were guarding the place died in the flames of the laserjets. So did the old wise men, the wives of dignitaries and the members of the Council. This space had never known bereavement, but now the tragedy was complete.

The small princess looked at them, shaking and white in the face. She then slipped and fell again on the ice carpet, in a stupid and careless manner that made the ravans laugh.

"Please...have mercy.. I'm just a helpless child", she said, crying.

They quickly looked at each other and hurried to the next room. Her parents were the true target.

"Starting today, the Galaxy is ours", their leader said, after which they opened fire. The princess' dad threw himself toward the deadly needle weapon, but it was too late.

He died in the fire of the laserjets, as did her mother, who was reading a parchment. That parchment held the secret of which she was told about, the reason because of which the Ice Princess hadn't been estranged of her rights.

"What's that?", asked one of the ravans.

"I don't know, but I don't think she'll have any use for it on the other side", another said, and fired his laserjet again, engulfing the parchment in a wave of flames.

While all of them were busy occupying the new territory, the Ice Princess sneaked between them and made herself unseen. She ran out of an animalistic instinct, far away, as far away as possible... this time she didn't slip.

When she exited the Ice Palace, she instinctively went towards the place she knew best, to the refuge of her childish hours. She knew that only the Magic Realm could welcome her..

There, she cried for hours on end, in bitter, devastating throes. She knew that her parents had been killed, that the Ice Palaces only hosted death and the barbarity of the ravans.

Late, after her fragile body could not bear the burden of tears anymore, she remained inertly on the ground, with her ear to the grass. She could hear, as if through a dream, something magical, the only thing that could keep her alive: the murmur of the magic forest, the never ending stream.

She crawled, more dead than alive, to the place where she had discovered the Magic Sword.

*

The ravans celebrated their victory for a long time, in their primitive and loud way. They threw the bodies in a mass grave, then they partied in the Ice Palaces for days on end.

They scattered guards and Fireplanes throughout the perimeter, to make sure that no potential detachment of deridians forgotten somewhere could pose any more danger. The Undefeated visited the place of their victory, but settled for a while at the headquarters on the other planet, to coordinate everything.

"A new order has been born in the Galaxy. Nobody can defeat us. Today we have rewritten history.", he claimed his success.

Meanwhile, the Ice Princess, after spending a long time near the Enchanted Spring, met the spirits of the Magic Realm. They gave her power, helped her hold on, and grow.

She would spend countless hours in their company and when some of the pain eased up, she had a new feeling, something she had never experienced before: she felt so proud of her noble blood, so close to the Sky, she felt that rare breed that she belonged to was about to be extinct, trampled, and she could not let that happen.

She rose off the ground and watched the starry sky with a dignity that only a true princess would have been capable of. She scanned the sky with icy eyes and spoke to her parents, who had gone to the other side.

"I am the Ice Princess, the last of a people that was born for victory. I will bring victory to the deridians! I will avenge you! I will put an end to The Undefeated! I don't know how, but I will! This is my oath made in the Magic Realm!".

She then buried her suffering beneath an impenetrable mask. She learned how to fight along the being of the forest, to wield the sword, the bow, the ice needle weapons. She learned the dark martial arts, she sculpted her supple body into a perfect, athletic build. She became an initiate in the secrets of the perfect mind-body balance, as only the greatest initiates could, helped by the spirits of the Magic Realm, a land whose origin she still didn't know.

When her forming was nearing its end, a spirit revealed to her the following: "You're the chosen among the deridians. An old prophecy says that you are the only one who can defeat the ravans and bring the pride of your people where it belongs. The time has come for you to know the secrets of the Magic Sword as well. We will then lead you to the last outpost of deridians, who escaped the slaughter of the Ice Palaces".

Such she found out that the Sword really had unbeforeseen powers. It could be used equally well as a proper weapon that could cut through both metal and laserjet fire and as a paranormal instrument: with its help, she could see into the future, communicate with spirits or modify the frequency of her own thoughts.

After a year and a half of training, she met the detachment of deridians, who trained her for becoming a true ice pilot.

"I am ready now", she said, after her training was over. "The time has come for a new meaning to be brought to the word Undefeated..."

*

The ravan occultists knew that something terrible was going to happen, but they could not do anything about it, because Thorrus, the supreme deity, was completely clouding their minds and preventing them from deciphering anything else.

In time, they resigned, especially because, no matter how proud they were, they considered going against the will of Thorrus a blasphemy. Even so, a seer told them to take care of a small ravan girl that was born right that day in the Fire Keep.

"The stars say that she will be the last survivor of a terrible war. She will be brave and proud and she will succeed where no other ravan can. She will bring peace through death", she said. "I cannot see more. But, please, guard her, don't let any harm come in her way."

Which the ravans did.

After order in the Galaxy was apparently restored, an unusual visitor appeared at the gates of the Ice Palace.

The Ice Princess was now a young woman, trained in all the secrets of fighting, esoterism and galactic diplomacy.

A strange tremor passed through her at seeing her native place again, because, beyond the pain, she was completely alone in the middle of enemy territory.

Alone amongst the ravans!

But she defeated her fear, because she had a weapon that made her plan nearly invulnerable.

She took a deep breath and communicated to an envoy that she wanted a meeting with the Undefeated.

"Who are you?".

"I am the Ice Princess, a deridian princess. I am unarmed and I only wish for a diplomatic meeting."

After he frisked her, the ravan nodded.

"Your request will be passed on to our leader. Take a seat in the waiting room. You will be informed as soon as we get an answer."

"Thank you".

She took a seat and watched for minutes on end the naval base where hundreds of fireplanes were waiting patiently.

After approximately half an hour, she was led, under strict supervision, to the home that was now occupied by The Undefeated.

He greeted her according to diplomatic traditions, but gazed at her in a strange way, which went beyond the borders of reality.

"Such courage could only be expected from a deridian princess. As you know, the power is now only ours. I am ready to listen to the reason for which you requested this meeting.".

The Ice Princess played a hard bluff. She knew that if she lied too openly, she would be lost.

"I confess that the first thought that went through my mind was that of revenge. Our people are also proud and do not accept defeat. But... I am completely alone. No matter how hard I wish it, I cannot bring the deridian detachments back to life. So i decided to ally myself with you. If you have me by your side, I will be a perfect diplomatic representative and, when needed, a fierce fighter. Nobody in the whole Galaxy could stop us."

"Ha ha ha..", laughed the ravan. "What reason would I have to believe you? But my simple rationality cannot replace my diplomatic interest. Truly, an alliance would serve to calm things down in the Galaxy. So the correct way to go about things is to give you the test of reading your thoughts. If you have said the truth, consider your proposal accepted. If not, you will end up like my poor duke of darkness... you will be delicious prey to the white crocodiles".

"Alright", said the Ice Princess, not batting an eye.

The test itself was infaillible, having no error percentage. But her secret weapon was that, with the help of the Magic Sword, she had modified the frequency of her thoughts, so that upon scanning the only thing that would appear would be what was earlier introduced into her memory, like a sort of flash-disk. A one hundred percent accurate account of what she had just told him.

After a few minutes, an amazed and relieved look could be read on the face of The Undefeated.

"To my relative surprise, there are no hidden thoughts in your mind. Very well, then! Starting tomorrow, we will start the necessary diplomatic processes".

"I am honored", said the Ice Princess before leaving.

*

For a long time, this facade was kept. The Ice Princess had become too strong and capable to not know that to obtain final victory she must have not bluffed too soon. She knew that, in order for him to be beat, The Undefeated would have to be drunk on the laurels of victory, convinced that he is the Supreme ruler of the Galaxy.

She had to have superhuman patience... and she did.

After galactic years in which she served in many diplomatic missions, took part in official receptions, and even fought against some peoples at the edge of the Galaxy, she made the decisive move. She proposed to make their alliance definitive through marriage.

"I wouldn't have ever thought of this..."

"Neither would have I.." said the Ice Princess, with an irony that prove in those moments to be too subtle for the Undefeated's vanity.

"You are young, beautiful and capable. The empire needs an heir. Time is passing and we have to think about the future".

"Exactly".

"Well then, may Thorrus bless this moment! My response is affirmative!".

In the moment that he said Thorrus' name, the sky abruptly darkened, terrible thunder started roaring, and a storm of hitherto unseen violence covered the planet. Big hail was striking the windows of the Ice Palace.

Then, for the first time in his life, The Undefeated felt fear, a sentiment almost unknown to the ravans. A sort of anxiety that divinity would turn its eyes from him, even though he could not explain this feeling in any way.

"Let us celebrate the moment", said the Ice Princess before opening a bottle similar to earthly champagne.

Late in the night, when The Undefeated was soundly asleep, the Ice Princess snuck out of the bedroom and through a small window that she knew from when she was a child. She floated in the sky for a few moments, joined by the spirits of the Magic Realm and, from somewhere in the aether, she took her Magic Sword, an ice dagger and a latest generation deridian automaton.

When she stepped back into the palace, she was armed to the teeth.

She then crept up intro bed and woke the feared ravan leader with a graceful caress.

"Oh.. I was sleeping, what is it?".

"Nothing...I wanted to ask you... why are you called The Undefeated?", she questioned, not stopping with the lascive gestures.

"Oh,...it's a long story...essentially, it's about the fact that the being who could defeat me hasn't been born yet, either in the galaxy or outside of it".

"Well..." began the Ice Princess before pausing for a bit, as if to fully savour what was to follow. "I'm sorry, but with this you blew it really, really bad!" she said and stuck the ice dagger deep, very deep in his back, to immediately jump to her feet. afterwards.

"I'm called the Ice Princess because I can even freeze fire!"

The Undefeated was knocked out. He could not understand anything of what was happening, how was any of it possible, and blood started flowing from his mouth.

"Defend yourself, Undefeated! You will die by my hand regardless!"

The ravan tensed up, in a supreme show of ego, and let out his war cry. It was well known that a ravan either died or won. Nobody could ever take a prisoner of this race.

He took and ancient flail and started swinging left and right, being in a blind rage. The Ice Princess dodged and danced around him until he was dizzy, using the hard trained rules of the dark martial arts.

Then the ravan swung so hard that the mace of the flail was stuck deep in the floor. The Princess evaded that hit as well.

With a single swing of the Magic Sword, she cut his weapon in half so that the ravan was only holding a wooden handle.

He angrily threw it aside and searched for a new weapon, but it was too late.

"The end of you will be the end of your race", the princess said, and The Undefeated was instantly decapitated by the sword, now switched to its laser mode.

She then dragged him outside, in full view of the ravans that started to rile up, alerted by the fighting sounds.

"Take him! This was The Undefeated!", she shouted at them.

Of course that consequences were coming, but for at least a few minutes she could rest easy. The ravans believed The Undefeated to be a god, and the shock of losing him was too big for them to be able to do anything in the moment.

The Ice Princess had foreseen this. She was not going to use this break to run, instead to send a short signal using the Magic Sword to the only deiridian detachment that was still unharmed. They were to quickly strike the Fireplane base using their best ice pilots, while she was going to fight the ravans in the palace.

All said and done. The general alarm had been since sounded, but a few moments too late. The ice pilots were already wreaking havoc through the still sleepy Fireplanes.

"Catch and kill her!", the ravans' screams could be heard from inside, who started to wake up.

But The Ice Princess fought with such fury, precision and vengeful bloodlust that no one saw coming. No one... apart from the seer and Thorrus.

In her right hand she had her Magic Sword, with which she decapitated ravans one after another, and in her left the automaton with which she fired round after round into those who tried to attack her from a distance.

In a few minutes, the Ice Palace was full of bodies, faithful recreation of the moments that started it all. Only this time, they were ravan bodies.

She then went outside. The deridian detachment had done their duty, blasting all the Fireplanes and their pilots, except for one. The one posed a real threat, however, because once fired up, it was near unstoppable.

"Ice Princess, that one got away. What do we do?", she was questioned through glacial waves.

"Nothing, leave him to me!", she said with a strange smirk.

She used the sword to calculate where the Fireplane would be in the following seconds, then took the automaton and fired towards the engine.

The explosion that followed only left behind pieces of the fuselage and tens of smouldering ravan corpses.

When it was all over, the bodies of the ravans were thrown in a mass grave, haphazardly, exactly like the deridians' were initially.

The Ice Princess fixed the stars with her gaze and took a deep breath.

"Mother...Father...I fulfilled my promise. I brought death to The Undefeated, defeat to the ravans, and now the Ice Palace belongs to the deridians once again".

She took a deep bow, like an artist that salutes the public on the curtain call.

*

Galactic months have passed, but peace didn't seem to come to the Galaxy. The Ice Princess had turned everything into a personal war, she wasn't reading, going to the Magic Realm or concerning herself with anything except one goal: killing as many ravans as possible.

In one of her adventures through the Galaxy, she reunited with the ravans that once laughed at her.

"I'm not slipping on the ice this time...", she said and killed them one by one, in a way shorter an unfairer fight than was to be expected.

Her advisors on the Council were worried. Justice had to be served, but such actions put the deridians' credibility throughout the Galaxy in peril.

"You have proven enough already! Please stop!"

"I won't stop until I have exterminated the last ravan, when the name of this cursed race will have been wiped out from the annals of history!", she said in a sober tone.

And she held her word.

After nearly a galactic year, the only ones left alive were a small group of ravans isolated in their realm. In the Fire Keep.

The Ice Princess took her weapons and set course for the keep, along a deridian commando that had swore an oath of allegiance to her.

She killed ravan after ravan, using either her Sword or her ice needle weapon, while the commando was handling the few Fireplanes sorrounding the Keep.

In the end, when there was nothing left to destroy, The Ice Princess reached a small room. There stood a small ravan girl, watching through the window, shaking and crying. She was the last survivor.

"Please... have mercy... I am just a helpless child", she said, crying.

Her words hit like a dagger. They were, long ago, her own words, and the ruthless princess had an immense moment of weakness.

"I can't do this", she thought, but because her experience could not let her hesitate, she looked into the future.

There she saw herself forgiving the small ravan girl and offering her, as a gift, the ice needle weapon. "Take it as a gift from me...if anyone ever attacks you, you should have something to defend yourself with...".She turned her back on her and walked towards the door.

"I don't need you gifts!!! Die, killer!", the little ravan yelled, pulling the trigger with all of her might.

Then, the Ice Princess collapsed, her body pierced by ice needles, to release her soul towards those of her parents.

She stood there, shaking...For the first time in her life, she was at a loss for words. She talked to her mother, using the Magic Sword.

"Mother, we haven't talked in a long time...please, it's important! Tell me...what did the prophecy say, exactly? The forest spirit only revealed it to me partially".

"It says that you are the chosen one amongst the deridians. You're the only one that can defeat the ravans and put the pride of your people where it belongs. Which you did, my girl...my darling...But the parchment ended with the following mention - the only thing that could ever defeat you would be mercy".

The Ice Princess looked at the little ravan girl and saw in the candor of her eyes something belonging to the Magic Realm...she returned there for a moment and knew that the decision had been made.

"I'm coming, mother.. I always said that nobody can oppose a prophecy..."

She then offered the little girl her weapon, saying the exact words which she saw herself say in the scene from the future.

*

Epilogue. The ravan girl stood motionless, next to the body that was once the Ice Princess. Her ravan pride had been avenged, but at the same time the bitter tears of regret took over.

"Ice Princess...forgive me... I had no right to do this! I'm too little to know why this entire war took place, but I am sure of one thing: you handed me the weapon to protect myself, and I shot you in the back! I'm not worthy of living anymore!", she said, and with the same princess pride, she pointed the gun to herself and pulled the trigger.

Legend has it that both the souls of the Ice Princess and the little girl met in the Heavens, where Forgiveness, Peace and Love are the only rules, and there they formed an eternal friendship that finally brought peace between the two peoples that were deadly enemies. Their spirits now lay in the Magic Realm, where they guide and protect the beings of the Galaxy, so that their tragedy would never happen again.

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