Notes: The story in itself counts an exact amount of a thousand words . . . It's been over three years I have formulated ideas and theories about the Ice Climbers' world, past, everything, yet here, I delved shallowly into them.
!Warnings: Mentions of sexual content and incest.
Outside, the winds roared with harsh might, bringing in its toll freezing temperatures. Inside a cave much too high in height, a girl curled herself closer among the extra articles of clothing. She did miss the presence of her brother, who should not have even left at such weather, but she was not so willing to move to search for him.
Popo came back sometime later, the coupled low temperatures of night and wind giving him only the smallest frown so his eyes were more protected. He touched Nana's head, enough contact to rouse her from her light sleep.
"Here." he mumbled quietly, showing two white vegetables whose eyes were peacefully closed. "You need this more than I do."
"You know you could have waited until morning." she groaned hoarsely, taking the food inside the warmth of a polar bear's hide she was using for blanket.
"Wasn't tired enough to sleep..." the boy leaned back against a chilly ice wall, legs crossing. "Besides, I would feel less comfortable walking around like this on a morning."
Popo hated seeing his sister in a helpless freezing state. He shrugged cold off as nothing, but she was much more human than him to be able to do that. At severe times of pity or extremely low temperatures, he would hesitatingly take off his clothes and hand them over to Nana, and it ended up helping a lot more towards her survival. Not once would she resist a grin or a smile upon seeing his embarrassment, though she was ever grateful.
Heskis, the humans of Glacia, were naturally born with higher capacity to produce bodily heat, so they could quickly warm up clothes, blankets, each other, and water would evaporate off their bodies in a quicker pace. But the Ice Climbers were not really living among them anymore, having set out on a mission their own.
And though Nana had well inherited the capacity, Popo hadn't even true body warmth to say for himself. His almost sickly pale skin and deep blue eyes were cold, but at least, his heart was not.
Not always the friendliest, the heskis, upon observing their ice powers in awe, would either praise them as divine or shun them as demoniac. Whichever way they saw the duo, the Ice Climbers did not feel as comfortable around these people. Besides, they need to learn how to live by themselves.
Both were inheski in a way; as in, unnatural for the species they were supposed to belong to. Besides able to control the element of ice and water at colder temperatures, they were able to jump abnormally high, and the wooden hammers they carried were swung with too much ease, as if they were not at all heavy.
"Ice," Nana had huffed, shaking her head disapprovingly, one day. "How useful, when we are surrounded by ice everywhere already! Maybe something like fire would be better to have control over."
And yet it did prove very useful. No animal could escape a barrage of ice spikes sent towards its direction, or coming up from the ground right below them, ripping their skin, their insides. With Popo's heightened ice powers, they could briefly increase their weapon arsenal, pure concentration rendering him able to shape swords, axes and shields out of ice.
Lakes and any other body of water were not much a problem to cross: with tempered skill, Popo would freeze the very surface of the water, making a bridge thick enough for them to walk over but thin enough so the environment wouldn't be as affected. And of course, ice boards were ideal to slide down slopes or dangerous terrain, and to sail over salt water.
While Popo held stronger magical force, Nana had her boost on the physical. She especially liked smashing things whenever needed, the sound of her hammer shattering ice enough to make smaller tribes of more inoffensive creatures, such as topis, nitpickers or seals, shriek away in fear. It helped avoid unnecessary violence.
"We could kill some by smashing at least once!"
"If you want to pick bone pieces from the meat, be my guest."
They didn't bicker as siblings normally would. Nana easily allowed Popo to do most of the thinking, tactical strategies, and where they were headed most of the time, while he allowed her to do almost anything that didn't involve unecessary smashing or killing. They were at times lovers, at time siblings, at times both, but mostly survival partners.
"This is good; you're at least warm when you're aroused. Not hot, but anyway..." she pinched one of his momentarily rosy cheeks, "And it feels just like a popsicle with endless cream, when I lick your-"
"Don't." he brushed her hand away, head hanging low.
They did tend to avoid contact because of the difference of temperature both possessed. Popo adored his sister's warmth, but still, he knew better than to embrace her often because it forced more cold onto her than the ambient already did.
"How do you not feel cold?"
"I do. It's just... it is painless, does not make me shiver... Maybe I have a too grand affinity for ice."
Glacia was vast, dry, ever freezing. Its water was special that it needed much lower temperature than normal to turn into ice, but it also meant a fall into it could be more lethal. Its mountains were in majority made of pure, hard ice. Polar bears big and deadly roamed the land, medium sized bees who lusted for blood flied overhead. Vegetables, rare and precious, grew often at creatures' graves, enduring the deadly weather with eyes closed.
And then, there was the mighty pterocondor, each wing larger than a bear, his true name stinging at the tip of the Climbers' tongues but never spoken. At the last moment they would forget that name.
Yet the mission was their choice. They needed the answers about their past, and they were going to take them.
And so the Ice Climbers leapt towards their fate.