With the story over Samson and Avery’s grandfather, Thaleus closed the large leather bound book and set it on the table next to the chair he was sitting in. The two boys aged seven and ten winters old sat on the floor at their grandfather’s feet. He was the one raising them since their father, Kreon left to find Polaris 4 seasons ago; a fact that has weighed heavily on his heart, knowing that it was a fruitless endeavour. No one has ever left for Polaris and returned.
“So that’s where father went?” Avery questioned.
“Yes, but he was a fool. No one can find Polaris. It doesn’t exist. And you will do well to dispel these stories as fairytales. The Ice King isn’t real.” He responded sternly.
“But where did the story come from?” Samson asked.
“Someone made it up long ago in the past.”
“Enough. This is over. Now go to bed it’s dark out” Thaleus cut off Samson before he could protest any further, a slight heir of desperation in his voice and eyes. The boys begrudgingly stood up and went into their bedroom for the night. Thaleus, however, got up and walked over to the window of their cottage on the edge of Dorn, the small Western village they lived in and looked up at the night sky, praying to the gods that his grandsons wouldn’t suffer the same fate of their father. He cursed his sons name for abandoning them with him to search for Polaris.
In the darkness of the bedroom Avery and Samson were in their beds, Samson still mad at their grandfather for being so blunt with them, not recognizing the desperation in his voice when he was talking to them. His defiant nature was already filling his mind with plans to journey and find Polaris and their father. Though he knew not where to begin he just wanted to go.
“Avery?” He whispered across the room to his brother.
“What is it, Sam?" Avery mumbled.
"We should go find Polaris! Maybe we'll find father!" He responded excitedly.
"But you heard what grandfather said. It's just a fairytale. Besides, we're too young!"
"Yeah... maybe you're right... What about when we grow up!"
"Go to sleep!" Avery hissed at his brother. Samson grumbled in response and turned over. Both of them drifting off to sleep a few minutes later.
Each of them woke up in their beds but their beds were in a much different place. They seemed to be in a foyer of some sort. The walls and floors were made of sheets of blue and teal tinged ice. They looked at each other, completely perplexed by the drastic change of scenery.
"Where are we, Avery?!" Samson asked, upset.
"I don't know, Sam." Avery responded as he got out of bed, the floor cold under his feet.
"Come, children. We must discuss." A low, booming, disembodied voice resonated through the hall, causing the two boys to jump.
"What was that?!" Samson cried.
"I don't know. Come on, follow me." Avery said to his younger brother as he began slowly walking down the hallway towards a large open room. There was complete silence save for a slight ringing emanating from the room ahead. As they made their way down the hallway they could feel the temperature dropping, though instead of being unpleasant it was empowering. Like it was fuelling them, propelling them towards what was waiting ahead.
As they came through the hall into the massive main room. The ornate ceiling at least 100 feet up. Every wall, every pillar, every fixture was made of solid ice. In the centre of the enormous room was a spire going nearly to the ceiling with stairs encircling it to a platform. The two brothers gradually approached it, staring in awe at their surroundings. They came to the stairs and ascended them. When they reached the top they saw the back of a throne facing a massive window overlooking vast icefields. The ringing was much louder and seemed to be sourced from whoever was sitting at the throne. Avery began cautiously came around the side of the throne, closely followed by his brother. As they rounded the throne they were face to face with the Ice King. He sat there looking out the window. He was wearing white robes, had long white hair and beard. His skin has become a faint shade of blue and his eyes were of literal sapphires.
“Greetings, children.” He spoke. As the words left his mouth a mist of frost crystals escaped.
“Wh-who are you?” Avery asked, in shock.
“I am the Ice King, child.”
“Why are we here?”
“I must ask something of you two.”
“What is that?”
“You must come find me in Polaris. I called your father and many others to the same mission but none have been able to achieve it. But I now ask you two to come. I need apprentices to train to send to the opposite side of the world and create Antaris to balance the seasons. End the Great Shift.” The Great Shift is the changing from the long drought season to winter and back. Within there is only sixty days to grow and harvest for the 200 days of either drought or winter. The drought is harsh, many do not survive if not adequately prepared. The winter is brutal. The blizzards unending for many days, burying entire buildings in snow. Settlers often having no choice but to stay in their homes until The Great Shift happens again and the snow melts.
“How can we make it there if our father couldn’t?” Samson asked.
“You are not ready now. But you need to be ready when the time comes. You will know when. Until then do everything knowing that that day will come and if you do you will be ready.”
“How will we know when we are ready?”
“When the cold no longer stings your skin. When you no longer are mere children in the care of family. When you are able to decide to commit yourselves to this task. Then you will be ready. Now go. Live and grow into the men that can fulfil what I ask of you.”
With that the room began to fade out for them, the stare of his eyes being the last thing they see before waking up in their home. They each leapt out of bed to tell the other what they just experienced but the look on their faces told them all they needed to know.