AboutIt wasn't as long ago as it seems. The last thing that I remember as a mortal was the burning of the ship as I held on to a floating book shelf in the freezing ocean. The heat of the burning ocean liner was the last outside warmth that I ever felt. Hours passed, the fires of the oil and gas in the ship's massive engines soon burned out and were snuffed by the Atlantic Ocean's raging waves. After that the darkness of the starless sky joined the world below. The screams of the others died down and soon I was alone forever. My frozen hands let go of the shelf and that's when I woke up in my new master's lair.
The darkest depth of the sea was her domain, a frozen, icy Hell at the bottom of the world. Her Keep shimmered like diamonds in even the dimmest light - the only source of which were cold crystals that burned with a magical glow. When the lights were bright, I could see that her icy home was as expansive as the sea I was so familiar with, crystal shards of ice jutting out of the frozen ground. Above, there was no sky, but a ceiling of dark water. It was occasionally touched by towering spires of ice from the floor of the Keep, but it was far out of the reach of a mere mortal's hand.
She was Lacy Lenore, Lady of the Glacial Keep. She was as beautiful as freshly fallen snow and the aurora borealis at once, but a bizarre creature, part beautiful woman, part basilisk, as if some sick creator froze the two so perfectly and so impossibly together. I was her consort, her lover, her plaything. When the lights went dark she would hold me in her frozen embrace with arms that bit at my skin, her cold lips calling my name with sweetness that would have warmed my heart if there wasn't something so chilling about the very presence of her voice. Each day was a different sort of twisted game, but each night - or what I could only assume was night - was always the same. They were nights that would have been hot with passion if the world that I had fallen into was not devoid of all warmth. It was a mechanical process where the days would be filled with will-shattering facades and the nights filled with body-wearing, emotionless sex.
My Lady wore many masks, feigning a gamut of emotions that were based on whimsy rather than logic. When she felt like being angry, even if for no reason, she would demand that I suffer for her rage. I would often be demanded to crawl a mile across shards of ice or immerse myself in frozen water until she felt that I had suffered enough. For all the hardships I was made to face because of her rage, she never struck me herself. Though I knew she'd never hit me, I still complied for, as she often reminded me, the Keep was filled with the frozen corpses of Lovers who did not obey her. She only ever kept one lover at a time, wearing them until they would no longer do what she commanded, and then let them freeze and die in her Keep before finding another.
During the days, she would often ask me to fetch her treats from the farthest reaches of her Keep, which was a task decided solely for the pleasure of being pampered. She could summon anything from any place in her keep, but the act of my service seemed to amuse her. After I would fetch a certain frozen berry with sharp barbs that no man would ever think of consuming and brought it back to her, she would often tire of it and demand that I eat it so it wouldn't go to waste. And what choice did I have? A taste of icy, ripping pain as I consumed the fruit was not as terrifying as meeting my end at slow hypothermia. And after I swallowed them all, my mouth dripping with hot blood, she would come and steal the warmth from my lips with a frozen kiss and lead me into another, agonizing night of tender mortal flesh against her stinging lacy skin.
Years went by like this. Night turned into days and the whole process would start again with new twists each time. Never once did the days and night bleed together. Each and every moment was vivid, clearly defined as if the chill had frozen even the moments so they couldn't bleed together. I began to change inside and out. My flesh, once human, turned hard and blue, laced with frost like my beautiful, terrible Lady. I no longer dreaded the nights of agonizing embrace, as they were far more comfortable than the days of mental torture for the amusement of my Lady's aimless moods. All the warmth that I had held onto while clinging to that shelf had been robbed from me by that place and by that woman. After nearly 2000 days, each feeling the length of seven, she began to see that I was different from the rest of the lovers that she had taken before. Where they had given up and died, unable to tolerate the demands of their icy queen, I held on. After so many years, I still was holding on for something that I didn't even know existed.
She began to change. Her old tricks were becoming stale and no sin was greater to her than to become a bore. She began to ask that I become impertinent so that she could argue with me. The first time she asked it, I could hardly control myself. The only rule the world seemed to obey was 'Do what you are told' and so being told to defy her further broke my mind. And so after breaking a little more, I did as she asked and defied her, saying that I would not fetch her food that day. In turn, she became instantly furious and demanded that I punish myself. As I tried to, she became further enraged that I tried to do what she had asked. This new game disrupted my thin grip that I had on the way things worked and it amused the Hell out of her. The next five years went on like that, and the hope that I had blindly held on to began to die slowly.
Another day came, my lady had started things off by demanding that I defy her. I didn't move. She became furious and demanded that I drag my flesh across a blade of ice. I did not respond. Curious, she called me to her arms to ravage her. I did nothing. This went on for the entire day. My heart had finally frozen over. I felt no sadness, no pain, no fear. For a day, I was free from my pain as she stood there, shouting commands at me and I stared back with my frozen eyes. Looking back now, I smile when I think about it, but at the time, I didn't even feel satisfaction. I had accepted that she would soon grow bored of me and cast me into a snowy grave but I still just stood staring at the Lady of the Glacial Keep as she ran through every emotion she knew. Even if it meant my demise, I was no longer play her game.
When the lights grew bright once more, she seemed to be at wits' end. She was screaming, crying, laughing, demanding that I do all things from simple to insane. Finally, she stopped and drew close to me, nearly touching me. Her icy impossibly eyes looked into mine and she asked something of me that caused my frozen heart to beat once, shattering the ice encasing it. I still remember the exact words.
"I demand that you run. Leave my sight. I will give you a day's lead."
That was the last time that I saw Lacy Lenore, save for in my coldest nightmares. She stood, waiting for me to move and after it occured to me what she was asking and that I was intended to comply, I did exactly as she asked. I turned on my heel and ran. My feet slapped the frozen ground hard as I made my way across the endless Keep. I knew where I was going, the only place that I could go. I was at the bottom of the world, so I had to go up.
Before I knew it, I was clinging to a spire of ice, climbing with sole intention of my freedom. My heart was racing, my breath was hot. I reached, hand over hand, pulling myself closer to the sea above. I was hundred of feet up in what felt like minutes and soon my blue and frosted fingertips touched the cold water. I leaped upward from the tower and my perspective shifted as I was in a different place, but still far from home. I was surrounded by water, the crushing pressing of the water threatening to kill me, but my intention was strong. I swam upward, through a frozen, airless world of what seemed to be icy thorns as if vines were growing at the bottom of the ocean, I pushed through, my skin and clothes being ripped on them, the dark water filling with my blood. I kept going, my lungs straining from holding my breath.
In seconds, the light of my Lady's Keep was behind me and I was in total darkness, climbing upwards through briars under the sea. It was impossible to reach the surface of the sea at where I was but I didn't care. I wouldn't die. I would be the first of her Lovers to ever escape her wretched embrace. My lungs were unable to hold out anymore and I screamed out under the water, my body still climbing upwards through thorns, tearing every part of my body as I reached desperately for freedom and survival. Then, as if called by my sheer desire to survive, light poured out of nowhere as a gate opened up and delivered me from the world of ice and thorns to a world of sunlight and sand.
My arms dragged my body up to sandy beach, my legs being pulled from the water of the ocean. I panted, yelled, laughed, and cried. I stood up on the beach and looked up at the sky to see that it was truly sky and I was greeted by white clouds hanging in the blue. I smiled for the first time in ten years, but the smile faded, the warmth receded. I remembered that I was not free yet. I realized that even as the sun beat down on my skin, I felt no warmth. It was still a slave to a wicked mistress's demands. And this time, her demand was that I try and evade her. So I looked forward and began to run down the land, getting as far as I could from where I had escaped.