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by Scott Harper
Category: Fantasy/Dark Fantasy
Description: In a world where humans do not exist, dark magick has been used to bring an early winter down upon the land. It falls to a young Water Nix named Avari to seek out the source of this magick and put a stop to it. If he is in time, he can save the lives of those in his colony. If he is too late, they will freeze along with the lake they call home. As his journey progresses, he encounters a myriad of other beings, some friendly, some not?
eBook Publisher: DCL Publications LLC, 2009 USA
eBookwise Release Date: January 2010
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [202 KB]
Reading time: 130-182 min.
Struggling to his feet, Avari drew his sword and handed it to Fyrnn. "Go on across the bridge and wait for me." Without waiting for her reply, Avari started moving toward the creatures.
The Ice Phantom lumbered forward, stepping over the broken board at the edge of the bridge, where Fyrnn had nearly fallen. As it moved, Avari saw it shrink slightly as its ice claws grew longer. Tiny points of blue light shone through a thin layer of frozen snow where eyes should be. The shallow depression that passed for the thing's mouth gaped open. The other two Ice Phantoms remained in place, standing motionless just off the bridge.
Avari stepped forward, trying to divide his attention between the advancing ice creature and the unstable bridge beneath his feet. He hoped that the bridge continued to support the extra weight it was now forced to bear. Reaching back awkwardly, he felt around inside the supply pack that was strapped to his back until he found a blanket. He pulled it free of the pack, giving it a flip to unfold it. Avari would have preferred a lit torch or two, but he knew he did not have time to dig them out and light them.
The Ice Phantom met him midway. It raised one bulging arm, its claw-tipped fingers splayed, and swung.
Avari ducked, almost losing his footing on the slippery bridge. He felt a rush of displaced air as the arm passed above him. A twinge of pain lanced through his injured shoulder and back, a reminder of his last encounter with these creatures. Coming back up, he swung the blanket around, draping it over the creature's head.
The blinded Ice Phantom swung again, trying to backhand Avari. The Nix backpedaled, avoiding the attack, but tripping over one of the boards. He fell back, landing hard on the bridge, jarring the rope and wood plank structure. A couple of the ice covered boards groaned beneath him. Avari struggled to his feet, away from the damaged planks.
Moving back toward the Ice Phantom, Avari ducked another attack. The Ice Phantom reached up, snagging the blanket with its claws. Avari attacked.
His good shoulder struck the frozen creature, eliciting a dull crunching sound from the snow. The impact sent a jolt through him that he felt in his wounded shoulder and sent particles of snow flying into Avari's face. The Ice Phantom fell against a frozen guide rope, snapping it. The creature toppled from the bridge as Avari brushed snow from his face.
Turning, the Nix saw that the other two Ice Phantoms were advancing toward him. They moved with slow, plodding, footsteps, one creature a step ahead of the other. Avari was surprised that their heavy footfalls did not break through the shaking bridge.
An idea occurred to him. Turning, Avari saw that Fyrnn was safely on solid ground at the far end of the bridge. Looking back, he found that the Ice Phantoms were quickly closing the distance between themselves and him, despite their slow steps.
Avari took three steps toward the advancing creatures and took a firm grip on the single remaining guide rope. Just in case, he thought. Then he stomped his foot down hard on two of the frozen planks.
Ice flaked off, falling away, as the boards groaned loudly. Avari heard a slight cracking noise. Raising his foot again, he brought the heel of his leather boot down again, aiming the blow so that both boards were struck again.
He heard one of the boards crack, louder than before. The entire bridge bounced as Avari stomped down. More ice came loose. Avari, still holding tightly to the guide rope, slowly put his weight onto the damaged planks. He could feel them start to give way beneath him and quickly backed away.
The Ice Phantoms were almost upon him. Avari backed up, careful not to trip again. He knew that the bridge would not stand up to too much more abuse. In fact, he was amazed that it was still holding together at all.
Avari kept moving, walking slowly backwards, as he watched the Ice Phantoms advance. The lead creature dropped a heavy foot onto the planks Avari had weakened.