Meet the Frost Elves

The subconscious is an interesting thing. I’ll spin for a while, and write a lot of words that I won’t use. While I’m doing that, I seem to be putting the real story together somewhere underneath my consciousness. Then when I revisit the scene, or reorganize my outline, the work the subconscious has done comes out. I may end up discarding a great deal I’ve done before, but this feels right.

Tonight I did a great deal of organizing and shuffling things about. I decided on some terminology. Mortals, not humans.
Veridian for the mortal lands. And, my most Norwegian decision this evening, Elves instead of Sidhe.

That’s right, Tolkien fans. If Elves were good enough for old J.R. R. , they’re good enough for me!

Actually, though, the decision is a little deeper than that. Sidhe is a Celtic word. The Norwegians do call these creatures elves. We want our folklore to be cohesive. Except when we don’t. (I won’t tell you about that, until I get to the godmothers, however.)

13461 / 90000 words. 15% done!

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This will feel a bit like sugar in the raw, but here’s my favorite material from tonight. I like Sigfried and Sigurda as they begin to take shape. My goal with Sigurda is to make her the less emotive, the one you must guess at. I need to ramp up Sigfried’s character as I write more, but I want him to develop more on his own, than me forcing him. Then I’ll rewrite what I think is necessary.

Sigfried’s clear eyes flashed. His sister Sigurda crouched down near the trees, examining ruts in the frozen ground. They were mirrors of each other, both of their hair ice white, their eyes the sky blue of deep winter depths, their skin unnaturally pale. Where they walked in veridian, frost followed them. Sigurda place a hand on the tree to steady herself as she rose, and she studied him for a moment. Her breath did not cloud as she spoke, as they were colder than the weather.

Sigfried’s handiwork lay beneath him. A large troll was splayed on the ground, unconscious. It had been a challenging battle, but in the end, the quickness of an elf proved much better than the strength of a troll. Sigfried guessed the troll was a young, inexperienced one at best. “I thought they were supposed to be impressive.”

“Are we feeling overconfident?” asked Sigurda. While her expression remained frozen, a smirk edged her voice.

Sigfried sheathed his clear, flat blade. Hers hung from his belt like a thick icicle. “I defeated him rather easily,” he said, smugly.

“We chose here to exit for a reason.” Sigurda knelt over the troll’s body, and he melted. Rock sank into the field, root and tree and stone became one with its origins. “He’ll sleep,” said Sigurda. “By the time he digs himself out, we’ll be far away.”

Sigfried watched the border mists twist and buckle. A wind fanned his cloak behind him. “All the patrols must know something is happening.”

“It’s best if we don’t involve them,” said Sigurda. “Get in, get the child, get away.”

Sigfried nodded curtly. “They have enough to do, guarding this border.”

“And the last thing we want is for them to know there’s fighting. If they pick sides, Feldspar will have more trouble than he bargained for. Especially if the giant ones wake up.”
“We are agreed, then. We don’t involve the trolls.”

“Or the mortals. If we can help it.”

Sigfried’s brow creased. “All that leaves to concern ourselves with, then, are other elves.”

Sigurda blinked, her face a mystery. “The baby wasn’t taken by elves. Feldspar was very clear on that point. When we found Jasper, the magic there, did you feel it?”

A charge staticked up Sigfried’s back. His upper lip curled. “It wasn’t elvish.”

“Nor troll. Nor even hulder. We set our cap against an unknown.” Sigurda rubbed dirt between her fingers. “It didn’t come out here. This ground stinks of mortals and trolls. That is all.”

“Can you smell it at all?”

“Faintly. We’ll travel from here. Some less obvious guise, of course. My instincts tell me we must go south.”

“Pity,” said Sigfried. “It’s cold here. It suits us.”

“Veridian is as cold in the south as it is in Spring Grove.”

“We’ll have to be more cautious in the South. There are more Believers.”

“Perhaps we can use that to our advantage.”

Sigfried studied the ground again. A pity about the troll. The stakes were too high for him to pause. It was a good lesson for the troll, and perhaps it would make him a better warrior. They set off across the stubbly corn field.

“Who do you think he’ll send?” asked Sigfried.

“Quartz,” said Sigurda. “I’d bet Auf on it.”

It had to be almost a certainty in her mind before she’d bet her treasured epier.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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