by Chris W
King Winter fights to extend his season against the Spring Prince. Writer's Cramp entry.
| King Winter surveyed the land from his frozen throne, high in the wintry wastes of his homeland. His pale blue eyes saw all, from south to north and east to west, and everything that his vision revealed told him that the end of his season was soon approaching.
Silently he weighed his options, his icy gaze hard and searching. Every year he would pick his battles with his young upstart nemesis, the Spring Prince. The green dolt knew only love, warmth, and foolishness. Some years King Winter would deem his season complete early, saving his strength for true times of need.
The old king lifted his head, his search complete. He stood slowly, drawing himself up to his full height, with the purest crystals of ice cracking and falling around him.
They fell musically, their tones ringing throughout the valley below him, announcing his coming to the world.
There was much to do.
The King gathered his strength, and rose up into the dark, rolling clouds that blanketed the peak of his mountain home. He flew swiftly south, carrying behind him his icy winds and frigid temperatures. Sensing the approach of the Spring Prince far in the distance, he redoubled his speed.
His destination was in sight when the green menace appeared.
“These men have begged for relief, Winter,” boomed the deep, vibrant voice of Spring. “They call to me in the night, losing digits to frostbite, and sometimes their lives. Do not interfere with my coming.”
The King rasped out a sharp, humorless laugh. “I do not serve you, or them.” His voice radiated an unfeeling, harsh cold. “Neither they nor you know what is best for them.”
The two elementals faced each other in the sky. Behind King Winter the cloud roiled and blackened, threatening to release their icy contents on the world below. Behind the Spring Prince the Sun burned brightly, burning away the King’s clouds as the attempt to envelop the land.
The Spring Prince raised a vined wrapped hand in warning to the King. “Begone and start your slumber, old man. I will suffer no more loss of life this season from you.”
The King’s eyes grew even harder. His frown deepened so angrily that his crystal skin cracked and crumbled under its pressure. “Do not speak to me as if I am a child. You know nothing of what transpires here, in this land. Concern yourself with flowers and love-making, and I will ensure that there will continue to be a Spring for you to return to every year.”
“No more words, then,” spat the Spring Prince. “I shall toss you into your cave for the year myself.”
“Ah, the quick anger of youth,” sneered King Winter. The words were barely out of his frosty mouth before the Spring Prince threw himself at the King in a straightforward attack.
Lightning erupted from the clouds behind the King. Instead of meeting the Prince head on, he ducked away and flew back into his clouds. Lightning arced all around them, narrowly missing the Spring Prince as he chased the old ice elemental.
King Winter sensed the frustration in the Spring Prince. The leafy fool abandoned the chase, rising above the cloud and out of King Winter’s sight. The old elemental smiled a wicked smile as he felt the Prince attempt to drive away his clouds with bursts of warm air he had brought from the southern regions.
The storm only deepened as the Spring Prince pulled in more air. It had been a foolish move, and the humans below would pay the price. Perhaps the worst blizzard of the century was forming around the King. When he deemed the storm sufficient, King Winter erupted through the clouds and caught the Prince unawares.
A hard right fist sent the Spring Prince tumbling end over end back down into the black clouds. King Winter followed him back in, and caught the Prince as he burst through the underside of the icy mass.
“Fly back north in two weeks. I will not interfere then,” the King hissed.
The bright green eyes of the Spring Prince dimmed in defeat. “So many will die.”
“Indeed.” The King released the green Prince, who flew lethargically away south, his head hanging in defeat.
The King sighed, looking down at the fields below him. Men scurried this way and that, firing their destructive creations at one another. There was nothing to be found but misery on either side. So many would die.
But thanks to the cold northern winds and an unexpected snowstorm, this winter campaign of the humans would be no more. If King Winter predicted it correctly, the invading army would give up their conquest after such a crushing defeat. Their supply chain would be crushed, along with their morale. No more would they torment the free nations.
So many would live, simply because winter persisted a little longer. In the halls of the season, these words rang out:
And the winner is King Winter, leaving his trails behind in Spring.