his small pickaxe against his shoulder, looking (or at least attempting to look) like his father and the other icemen he was walking with. He was proud to be allowed to come with his father to inspect the annual harvest, far away from home and his annoying sisters. Already he had befriended a small reindeer and collected ice beside the bigger men.
“Stay with us, Ivan! Don’t run off. It is dark and, the woods is dangerous!” yelled his father from a wagon in the front. He had allowed Ivan to ride his sleigh on the condition that he kept with the group.
“Goodnight, you two!” Their mother cooed at the two boys, tucked snug in their covers. Their father blew out the candle, and as their mother saw that both boys were fast asleep, she shut the the door.
There was a short moment after the door closed where everything was completely quiet. Matthew was finally drifting off to sleep, wondering, hoping that Alfred was really asleep.
“Matt.” a biting whisper shot through the room. “Maaatt!” Now a whine.
He had to jinx it.
“Alfie, please. It’s late. I want to sleep.” Matthew rolled over, bringing the covers with him and tucking himself away from his brother.
“But I want to play!!” Alfred, wild blond hair peeking over the edge of Matthews bed, whined again. “Come on…”
Matthew didn’t move, didn’t make a noise.
“Please, don’t you wanna build a snowman?”
If he wasn’t nine, Matthew would have cursed how meek and weak willed he was being. Instead, being eleven, he let himself be dragged down the stairs by his little brother.
They made their way to the ballroom. Matthew being dragged down the silent and dark halls by Alfred who giggled and laughed the whole way. More than once Matthew had to shush the boy as they passed people’s rooms. But Matthew couldn’t help himself either. He kept chuckling at Alfred as he bounced his way towards the ballroom.
It wasn’t long before they made it to their destination. Matthew immediately set to work turning the floor into an ice rink and making it snow. Just like every time this happened, Alfred couldn’t help but squeal in joy as the flurries fell into piles on the floor.
They skated and made snow angels. They had a small(but rather aggressive) snowball fight which needed in them calling a draw and making a small snowman.
“Let’s name him Feliks!” called Alfred as he slid the carrot onto the thing’s face.
“I don’t know” Alfred shugged, stepping back to admire the guy with a grin. He turned the grin towards his brother, catching sight of a rather large pile of snow. His grin turned into a smirk as he got an idea.
“Catch me!” he yelped as he ran towards the pile, propelling himself off of it as he reached it.
Matthew caught on quick. Throwing a wave of snow, turning them into columns as Alfred jumped.
Alfred gained confidence with every launch. With confidence, he gained speed.
“Slow down,” his brother warned. He didn’t listen. “I can’t keep up with you, Al.” He didn’t hear. “ALFRED!”
It was to late. Alfred, his little brother, was falling, tumbling to the ground. Matthew threw something anything at Alfred to try and slow his fall, but he missed and suddenly it was so much worse.
Now when Alfred hit the floor he was unconscious and a strand of his hair was white. Matthew didn’t know what that meant. He had hit his head with his magic and now his brother was unconscious and his parents weren’t coming quick enough.
He cradled his brother closer and cried in a shrill and desperate voice for his parents.
“Please be alright, Alfie! It was an accident. Please be okay!”
The doors swung open. The king and queen caught sight of their children huddled in the middle of the room, a thick layer of ice and frost surrounding them.
“Matthew, what happened?” His father stared down at him, worry coating his voice.
“I-I didn’t-didn’t mean it!” He was crying now, sobs wracking his body. He was scared for his brother and of himself.
“Oh my! It’s going to be alright, Matthew. Arthur, the trolls.”
His father steeled his gaze and nodded, scooping up Matthew into his arms and fleeing. His mother was following, a limp Alfred clutched close to her chest.
He was fighting to keep with the pack. The snow was a lot thicker so deep in the woods and poor Toris’s little legs couldn’t keep up.
“Come on, little buddy, just follow the prints.” The poor animal was shaking.
As they passed across a clearing, they heard horses as they made their way through the snow. Ivan stopped at once, pulling on Toris to get him to stay still. Could it be the others? But it was coming from the wrong direction and the prints still pointed the other way.
In a flash, two things rushed through the clearing to fast for Ivan to register who they were. One of the horses, both long gone by now, trailed an odd layer of frost and ice across the snow. Ivan was suddenly very, very curious.
Father had said to stay with the group, but they had already lost the pack. He was sure they could find their way back. Sure of it.
“Let’s see what that is, friend.”
“Please! You have to help us!” Arthur yelled into the dark of the night at the stones covered in moss and mushrooms. “I know you are out there, Please. It’s my son!”
Rolling towards him, a small man made from stone responded to his call and soon the whole area was filled with similar looking creatures. They all stood quiet, watching their elder interact with the outsider.
“What is the problem?” The voice was gravelly and coarse.
“He-he was hit in the head by my other son’s magic. Help him, please.”
“He’s so cold,” whimpered Francine as she clutched her boy to her chest.
The troll’s eyes softened as he looked at the mother, reaching out for the boy in question.
“You are lucky it is only the head. This I can fix. Had it been the heart…” The troll elder mumbled as he began his work over the young boy. “It is best to remove all memory of magic from his mind. To be safe. He will be alright.”
Once he finished with the boy, he turned to his brother. “Young man, know that while your power is great and can do beautiful things, it is also a great danger. Fear is your biggest enemy.”
Matthew shrunk at his words, growing more scared and small by the minute. He looked into his parents eyes and saw that fear reflected.
“We will be extra careful. For now on she will be kept safe inside the castle. Only her mother or I will be able to see her. It is for the best.”
“Oh, how cute!” a voice squealed from behind. Ivan and Toris had just moved from where they had watched the dramatic scene unfold before them. The poor blonde boy, his poorer brother, the trolls. It had to be a troll behind him.
Both he and Toris turned towards the voice. It was, indeed, a small stoney troll, gaping up at the two of them in wonder.
“Where are your parents?”
“I-I-I don’t…” Ivan was shocked now, seeing one so up close.
“Oh, no matter! I’ll take care of you!” The rock practically beamed, and Ivan wanted to scream.