Cold

Her lips tingled in the cold and as she raised her hands to touch them, she saw the blueish skin of her fingers and the veins spreading her blood. But that was how it had always been, so she just laughed it off, a pure sound like the softest ringing of a bell.

Then she spun around and around, over and over again, with her arms stretched out to the sides.

Priscilla was not happy, but that did not matter. When the snow fell she could dance the grief away, get lost in the flow of motion. And when she danced and spun and laughed she did not have to care or feel or think.
The snow below her feet supported her sometimes, when she was dancing, so all she heard was her laughter and the gentle falling of the snow.

Priscilla was the cold and the ice, she was the blizzard and the frost. Her dress was woven of snow flakes and as she turned around and around like one of the mad, she seemed to become part of the storm. Her figure flickered and she knew that soon she would be gone and free in invisibility.

The world painted for her was a refuge and a prison, her home and her grave. Only drawn with good intentions, they had told her, a place where something as special as her could live in peace. Albeit Priscilla knew nothing of the world- she did not need to care, right?- she recognized lies. People's stares got frail and uneasy, unstable like the flames of a dying bonfire. In the cold was always safety and stability, it meant the truth. But fire would deceive and lie and so did the woman that had brought her to the painted world.

Oh, she had claimed to be the one that had given birth to Priscilla, her mother. But her words did not tell the same as her eyes; like fire, again. Behind the back of her beloved daughter she relished the definitions of 'atrocity' and 'disgrace', so easily forgotten in the proclamation of love. Priscilla did not understand their meaning, but the choice of tone for speaking revealed it to her.

But as she danced in the storm, as the storm, it did not matter.

Alone in this world she was alive and permitted to stay free of the fiery stares. The sunlight would only burn her to ashes or melt her soul, until she was one of them, just another fragment of their soulless crowd.

Priscilla had seen the humans once, when she was young, and they had looked so feeble and small, like a child's toy. With time she had learned to fear them.

Humans waged wars and never spoke the truth facing one of their kind.

She could feel her legs grow tired and weary of the dance, but she did not want to stop yet. Her tears could not find her when she danced.

A few of the frail creatures had come past her guardians and indeed they had sought to kill her. Those words had been spoken again, their trembling voices laced with the anguish of the cold, incoherent sentence of dying madmen. Humans always ignited their little flames to be kept warm and safe of terror. Priscilla wondered what they saw in the snow, maybe a demonic fiend exposing their evil? Did their cover get blown by the cold?

Slowly lowering her revolutions, she relaxed and let the cold breeze comfort her a while longer. A storm was coming and she shivered in anticipation. The wicked dance of the snow was her favourite, the human's worst nightmare and her entertainment.

Priscilla stopped and felt the icy cold tears drip from her eyes down her face. But the sorrow was gone with the wind and so were the memories. Abomination was now but a word found in a story long forgotten, one that had never reached her ears. Her crystal cage seemed huge now, more like a sheltered world than the coldest prison. Freedom was for the humankind, for the dreamers and adventurers. Caught up in their own derangement their ridiculously short lives would end without a purpose, just as those trying to oppose her fell into the nothingness.

Priscilla let her tail brush away the snow from her scythe and picked it up- they would soon approach her again, another pack of human wolves seeking her strength. Ariamis had told her, while painting this world of no return, the power of her soul was worth a thousand lives, a million- they would find a way. 'Resolved' he called them, those humans that forced the way to their goal and never gave up, no matter how long the odds.

Their souls were always burning with need, even if they achieved all they could already. Ariamis was controlled by bitterness, but he was right in a few points.

And so the storm neared again, racing toward her through the fog. So strong was his will, so strong his conviction, it frightened Priscilla. She would not fear the power, but the madness she could not comprehend. What drove them?

And every time she felt their presence, she regretted their foolishness. She shattered their dreams in this land of lost souls and took away all they had- it was so meaningless.
But they would not stop, never, ever… she felt the sorrow rise and spread again, freezing her.
She shared their pain because she tried so hard to understand and failed, over and over again.

The human intruder wore a dark, hooded cloak and a long sword that looked deathly sharp. Was he a hero in his world, she wondered, an explorer dreaming of a treasure?

She raised her scythe and focused, while the storm ceased. The intruder walked closer, almost casually, his face hidden.

"Who art thou? One of us thou art not. If thou hast misstepped into this world, plunge down from the plank and hurry home", she said and prayed to her hateful mother he would listen, "If thou seekest I, thine desires shall be requited not."

The man stood perfectly still, listening to her with patience it seemed. Pricilla wanted, needed him to listen. It was a world painted for those undesired in the others- and humans were welcomed everywhere, she believed.

She waited for an answer, any sign of defeat, but she waited in vain.

"Thou must returneth whence thou came. This land is peaceful, its inhabitants kind, but thou dost not belong. I beg of thee, plunge down from the plank and hurry home!"

Her voice cracked and then she fell silent, devoid of words to keep him from attacking. There was a silence, short and long as an eternity. Then the human swung his sword.

"I expected as much from thee. Why dost thee hurry towards thine death?", she asked sadly and felt the storm commence.

The blizzard blinded the human and covered her from his stares. Cloaked in snow she was safe- and he was doomed.

But the human ran, in circles around her and focused the ground, searching for traces. Priscilla knew he would see her footsteps, now that her sorrow weighed on her. The snow did not carry her, it ached as she sunk in and she felt her scaleless body tense with the sound of it.

What seeketh thee, human?

The man quickly grabbed his crossbow and took aim. He fired four times in succession and Priscilla winced in pain as the bolts pierced her arm. Blood oozed from the wound. The red droplets dirtied the snow with their color; it looked almost black on the pure white surface, so stunning the man stopped dead in his tracks.

Priscilla felt the snow recede and she knew she was turning visible again. But that had happened before already- so she smiled it away, with a gesture of her hand the snow vanished completely.

The scythe cut off the hooded figures head.

Priscilla wondered for a moment how the outside world would look like by now- with her warmth and light and crowdedness.

"Why could thou not let us be? Didst thou not see why Ariamis created this world?"

And then Priscilla cried and turned not to face the human.

She laughed.

She danced.

She spun around and around, over and over again.

The night was getting cold.