[War of the Seasons][Part 3]

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A chill ran over the skin of his arms, he knew she had entered his room. Susanda did not speak when she entered, only just remained in the doorway, neither inviting herself in nor simply leaving for a few moments of silence. She just waited and allowed her presence to make her introduction for her. Tracede smiled to himself because he knew it was her, in all her dark, chilling beauty of being, his exact opposite, and the love of his life. Forbid the day she found out about that tidbit of knowledge, because he was afraid of its potential chilling effect. One had to tread exceptionally carefully when speaking to Susanda, not only because of her icy demeanor but because of the weapons she carried.

Susanda had come from the north, just appeared one day in the Coliseum arena and spoke to Caranne. Without any additional conversation than needed, she entered the halls towards the chambers the Champions occupied with two blades strapped to her back. They were long and ide but almost went unnoticed because of her long white hair covering the length of her back down to the back of her knees. She appeared a slender and beautiful creature that that seemed peaceful outwards but filled with passion and pain within her soul.

Having arrived at the Coliseum just recently filled with his own pain, one look by Tracede melted his own heart. Something about this woman allowed him to feel again, something he had come to this place to drown in blood in order to forget. He thought he had done just that in the first few battles in his short time there, but seeing her walk through the halls to her new residence instantly changed how he felt deep inside. He knew however, that something inside of her was broken as well, something that could not so easily be fixed. He would tread lightly and be what she needed, and he hoped with time, he could help her feel again too.

Tracede knew how to chip the first piece of ice off her: by asking about her unique weapons, her Dual Ice Swords. The day of Susanda’s arrival, she spent hours in her new chambers with the door closed and complete silence beyond it. Like an inexperienced schoolboy, Tracede had lingered in the hallway, sitting, pacing, trying to raise the courage to knock on her door and think of something halfway intelligent to say to her. Much to his surprise, she opened her door and just stood in the doorway, looking at him as though he had knocked and disrupted her. All Tracede could do was stand in attention, gazing right back at her.

Her gaze remained on him, firm and piercing the entire while. “Your thoughts were practically loud enough to hear or at least, to give away your lengthy presence beyond my door. What is it you want?”

Tracede’s mouth gapped open as he did a double-take at her words. Recovering some function of his faculties, he greeted her, “I couldn’t help but see you passing through the hall past my own room, and I wanted to give you my own welcome to this place. Of course, my door is always open to you, to anyone really.” He knew he probably sounded ridiculous but at least he could only move up from this point. All she did was stare at him, the situation complete with a growing awkward silence. “Do you… need anything right now?”

Susanda was curt in her reply, “no,” and began to close her door but stopped and then added, in a softer voice, “… perhaps later.” She finished shutting the door completely and once again complete silence protruded from her room.

Tracede was content with that, he had to be, he had to move at her pace no matter how slow that may be. Smiling, he left the hall to return to his own room.

Beyond her door, Susanda had not moved very far after closing herself off the Tracede. She remained as still as she could, waiting and listening for his movements, specifically for his departure. It was not that he was unkind or would necessarily bother her, but she was unprepared and not ready to open herself to another yet. Far too much had happened for her to accept that advances, no matter how true and sincere they were from someone she just met. It was too soon to make that mistake again. Having been betrayed, she had even found it difficult to speak to Caranne about seeking refuge at the Coliseum.

Susanda could take lives, she had before, and it wouldn’t be an issue to do so now, especially with willing combatants. She was reluctant to be a part of a group again, to be in close proximity to the same people for longer than a few hours. But she was afraid, afraid of what she may become if she were alone for too long. She honestly believed that was why the Winter Ice lades found her, in order to save her sanity. She knew that they did not hold a consciousness but they radiated an essence that drew her to where they had been frozen in to a wall of ice within an artic cavern, thousands of years old. She had been hiding from the world, from those that lived with false humanity among sheep that followed blindly. Being the only soul for miles, it was not chance that they call out the moment Susanda was nearby.

The blades glistened like the arctic ice they were forged in, sharp and sleek like the inevitable end of the world. Shining white and blues, bright light and transparent gleans, Winter and Ice appeared twins in looks but were edged and carved as individual personalities would be. They too had their share of disappointed hopes in the mortal realm and the selfish endeavors of those they served. But now, sensing Susanda’s own despair, they were roused in to awareness and sought to repair someone else’s soul. They had not been with her long and had not yet drawn blood while in her hands, but they had been able to motivate her enough to return to a world she had forsaken. They wanted her to remember that warmth that came from caring for someone else again. It was like the warmth of the sun and they too wanted to feel that encompassing embrace once more.

Although reluctant to heed their pull, Susanda began a long wander out of the snow and towards villages and towns filled with strangers. It was in one such unnamed tavern that she overheard a group of young men discussing a strange place that floated above the world, where people travelled to either lose their life or gain a new one. She wanted to gain a new life too, whatever the cost my turn out to be.

Though, now that she was there and having met the docile Caranne and the spirited, well-meaning Tracede, she only hoped she had made the right decision. Standing in Tracede’s doorway now, she had come to terms that the Coliseum was where she belonged, with these people, these friends, at least for now. She knew that Tracede was inwardly excited with how ‘open’ she was becoming, but he knew better than to mention or draw any sort of attention to the change. The change was still taking place, and there was plenty that she clung to from her past.

Even with this new warmth, she still missed the cold.

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