The snow crunched under my boots and my breath came out in foggy puffs. My white hair was sprinkled with snowflakes. My blue eyes had an adventurous glint. My white dress hung limply. I didn’t wear a jacket, after all Jack Frost’s daughter never got cold.
Ahead of me winter horses grazed. They looked up as I approached but then most just went back to eating… all but one. She trotted up to me, curious. Her wings were folded against her back and her horn seemed to glow in the dim light. I threaded my fingers together creating a long icicle. I held the icicle out to the horse, who snatched it greedily. I stroked her mane while she ate. “You’re like a little blizzard!” I commented. The winter horse gave a joyful nicker. “You like that girl!” I cried gleefully. “Blizzard. I think I’ll call you that.” I glanced at the sky. The sun was starting to rise, my family would be awake soon and I probably should be there when they woke up. “Can you give me a ride girl?” I asked hopefully. Blizzard whinnied and nodded her head. “I’ll take that as a yes.” I climbed onto her back, and gave her a moment to shift her weight around to get use to having someone on her back. Then we were off.
We landed right in front of my house. My step-sister, Ruby, was waiting for me. “Mother told me to tell you that she already left for the capitol. She hopes to meet you there.”
“Thanks Ruby.” I called. I ran upstairs and changed into something a bit more formal and then I ran back downstairs. After a quick goodbye to Ruby, I flew off on Blizzard.
I landed just as the council filed into the capitol. I ran after them falling into place next to my stepmother, Snow White. “You actually made it on time.” She whispered. I rarely went to council meetings. Well it was just that… well my father was on the council and he died five months ago. The meetings just reminded me of him too much. The only reason I was going to this one was because Snow White asked me to and she wasn’t a bad stepmother.
We all sat down, as Peter Pan, one of the council members, started the meeting. “Thanks everyone for coming. First off we have plenty of supplies saved up for the winter. But I am afraid I also have some bad news. Rumpelstilskin’s trade ship crashed into the frozen bay and since the water is always frozen there, we have no way to get to him. Not to mention the ice dogs.” Peter Pan started. “Next we have…”
“Wait!” I interrupted standing up, “I could go rescue Rumpelstilskin.” Silence.
Peter Pan chuckled, “My dear, your inexperience rings. That would be a suicide mission.”
“I can survive fine in the cold, and I don’t want anyone else to die out there alone like my father.” I argued. The council broke into yet another argument.
Finally they decided. “Clara Frost will be allowed to go to the frozen bay to rescue Rumpelstilskin!” Snow White announced, “Meeting adjourned.” Everyone filed out of the room and I turned to go too, but Snow White stopped me. “Please be careful.” She pleaded.
I assured her, “I will be.”
The next morning I scribbled a note to Snow White and Ruby and I slipped out the door before the sun rose. I wasn’t very good at goodbyes. As soon as I stepped outside, I noticed Blizzard was waiting for me.
“Seems you can read my mind” I whispered, “you want to come too don’t you?” Blizzard whinnied and nodded her head. “I’ll take that as a yes!” I climbed onto her back. “Let’s go girl.” I called, and off we went.
We reached the frozen bay by noon. Blizzard couldn’t fly in the harsh, windy conditions, so we walked. Glittering ice stretched out for miles across the bay. I stepped carefully, making sure the ice was thick enough.
Night swept over us quickly. I set up my tent on an ice ridge and then Blizzard and I sat down for a meal, well as close to a meal as you can get with dried meat and bread. I created a few icicles for Blizzard to munch on. Soon Blizzard curled up to go to sleep and my eyelids started to get heavy, so I went to sleep as well.
I woke up early the next morning. I wasn’t sure what woke me at first but then I heard the howls. Ice dogs! I slipped out of my tent. I wanted to see the creatures my dad spent his whole life protecting. They were beautiful… a mix of glistening white and shadowy gray. They looked just like wolves but their fur seemed to be frozen standing up, as if icicles were growing out of their backs.
About half a dozen approached. Snarling! Blizzard screeched. “Wait I’m Jack Frost’s daughter, the man who protected your kind,” I cried.
“Protected!” snarled the lead dog, “he forced us away from our home. He made us live in this wasteland instead of that beautiful island.”
I argued, “The council wanted to kill you after your raid on the village, so my father suggested that we force you off the island! If he hadn’t, you all would have been killed!!”
“No! He kept us away from our home to protect your kind. That is why we killed him!” growled the lead dog.
“You! You killed my father,” I screamed.
Anger consumed me, blazing like an icy fire. I formed a spear of ice and charged blindly. I hit the wolf closest to me. The wound, however, was not deep and mostly just made him angrier. The ice dogs made a half-circle around me and pushed me back. Blizzard screamed! I was at the edge of the ice ridge! Then the ground began to crack. The dogs got off just in time, but I wasn’t so lucky. I fell towards the freezing water. This was it, I thought, this is the end. But then I hit soft fur. “Blizzard,” I cried happily. She nickered in return. She hovered over the ridge and I jumped down. But before Blizzard could land the wind picked up. Blizzard crashed into the freezing cold water!
I stared at the water hoping to see Blizzard burst free. Nothing. The ice dogs came back. “Come with us,” they snarled. I couldn’t escape. I didn’t think I had it in me anyway. I followed them. My hope drained, my determination gone. I walked across the ice like a ghost.
The ice dogs had no shelter so they just lived in a slope in the ice. “Sit,” ordered a dog. I lay on the ice, I was exhausted so I curled up and drifted off to sleep.
The first thing I saw the next morning was an ice dog. I almost screamed but then I remembered where I was and I calmed down… sort of.
That night the ice dogs were switching guards. I had trouble falling asleep so I watched. The new guard was the first to talk to me. “Prisoner.” she greeted.
“My name is Clara Frost!” I snapped.
“Okay, Clara.” replied the ice dog, “I’m called Beta.”Over the next few days Beta stood guard and told me about the ice dogs’ ways of life out on the tundra.
On the fourth day after my capture, all the ice dogs went to sleep during the day! No hunting. It was most unusual, even for them.
“What’s going on?” I asked Beta.
“The Alpha, um… my mother is having the pack take a day of rest.” Beta explained,” So if we happened to have a prisoner, now would be a good time for them to cause a distraction and escape. Then maybe a certain wolf would bring you to an old friend and you could get home.”
“Friend?” I asked. Beta just smiled.
I waited until noon for the “distraction.” I created a spear of ice and stabbed a thin point in the ground. It cracked open creating a deep crevice, separating me from the other ice dogs. Beta jumped over the crack while the others were waking up. “Beta!” snarled an ice dog infuriated.
“Mother,” Beta growled, “I’m done here. You set me up to kill Jack Frost!”
“He forced us to live…” Alpha started.
“I could have died!” interrupted Beta, “but he saved me. Jack Frost, the so called enemy, sacrificed himself for me! When you would have let me die so you could get revenge. Now I am going to repay my debt!”
“NEVER!” Alpha screamed. She jumped across the crevice lunging for me, but fell short and plunged into the dark cold water.
“No!” cried Beta. She searched the water, but Alpha never resurfaced.
Beta led me to the edge of the frozen bay. At the edge of the beach there was a small cave and I heard a familiar whinny coming from inside. “Blizzard” I greeted happily. I wrapped my arms around her neck and clung to her as if she would disappear any second.
Beta explained, “Winter horses can swim as well as survive cold temperatures… unlike ice dogs. We can’t swim…” She trailed off thinking of her mother. Before I could try to comfort her, Blizzard nudged me. We had to go fetch Rumpelstilskin. I got onto Blizzard’s back.
“Come on Beta, let’s go,” I called but Beta was staring off into space. “Beta, what’s wrong?”
“With my mother gone, the pack will be in chaos.” Beta told me,” I have to go back. They need me.”
“Okay.” I agreed, “let’s go Blizzard.” We galloped off onto the ice as Beta ran to her pack.
Up ahead I spotted something. “There,” I yelled and Blizzard quickened her pace. We approached and I saw a very short man on the trade ship. “Rumpelstilskin,” I called.
“Why, it’s Clara Frost. Thanks for rescuing me lass. I was afraid no one would come.” replied the grateful Rumpelstilskin.
I helped Rumpelstilskin onto Blizzard and we headed towards the island… towards home.
Four Months Later
I sat on the top of a cliff next to Blizzard who was happily munching grass. Below me a pack of ice dogs tracked a deer. They were finally allowed on the island again. I was surprised at how many council members were willing to welcome them back when I brought up the idea. The pack’s new Alpha looked up and saw me. She smiled at me. I smiled back at my old friend and waved. I did it father, I thought, the ice dogs are finally free.