They were once lovers long ago...but that was before..Before the curse that was cruelly bestowed upon them by the evil mage, Grislihn. Grislihn was an old man who lived on the edge of the village,didn't have anything to do with the villagers but he watched.
One night seventeen years ago there had been a terrible storm and amidst the howling wind he had summoned a spirit which had told him that that night a babe would be born who could unlock the power he needed to complete his ritual but it would have to be her choice to do so.
So he had watched Triesla grow up. Ever since she was a small girl, he had envied her energy. Waiting patiently and observing her from afar, he had conspired that once the time was right, he would lure her to him and convince her into taking part in that ritual..the ritual that would harvest her youth so he that might use it to extend his own existence far beyond the bounds of mortal man...
So obsessed was he in his pursuit of immortality, he could think of little else. Thus as she grew, he was ever vigilant, having the appearance of a kindly godfather with only the girl's best interests at heart. Believing him to be a friendly figure who was looking out for her safety her family raised no objection to the unusual friendship. She would often visit him and he in turn was often seen to visit the village, sometimes bringing her gifts from far off places.
And all the time he had in mind the bargain he would strike. All she had to do is give him some of her boundless vitality so that he might restore his lost youth. In return he would promise immortality ...After all what was the importance of youth, when you could live forever? She was young and beautiful and would only age ten or twenty years ..nothing compared to the endless years he was offering her..
His plan may well have worked had it not been for Nariel, a young man with whom Triesla fell deeply in love. Nariel and Triesla shared a love of the forest and would spend endless time talking to the animals in there...Triesla had never been so happy.
For a time, it suited the mage that she had a lover who could protect her from ills or dangers. Now Grislihn had more time to prepare the spells and items he would require for the magic that lay ahead. So unimportant had love become to him that he never considered it a threat to his plan.
At last the time came when he was ready. The planets were in the correct alignment as had been fortold by the spirit. Grislihn made ready everything and set out to find Triesla, who,as usual, was in the forest. Her eyes lit up when he first approached her, for he had not been around for some weeks. But he was impatient, now, to execute his plan and no longer spoke in the soft tones she was accustomed to. Instead he ignored even the briefest greeting and launched straight into an explanation of his plans, growing excited and paying no attention to any comment or question she might have. He simply demanded her agreement.
She saw at once that if she gave as he wanted that she risked losing not only her youth but also her love Nariel. Grislihn's tone and manner alarmed her and she recoiled in fear before his gaze. Then he grew angry and accused her of being selfish, threatening to force her by his enchanting to perform her part in the ritual. Then, at last, she saw him, not as a benign old man but as a grasping, greedy and frightening creature just as the other villagers always had.
Realising his plan had failed, Grislihn flew into a terrible rage. Paralysed with fear, Triesla was unable to flee. The Wizard's eyes flashed with ire as he snatched hold of her and tried to drag her away but she cried out in pain and fear so that the birds that were her friends were alarmed and flew up in a clatter of wings and calls. This in turn attracted the attention of Nariel who was nearby, studying some woodland flowers. He rushed into the clearing and seeing the wizard tugging his love's arm, clapped his hand to his sword and shouted to Grislihn to let her be. Powerful although he was, the Wizard was not prepared at this moment to face Nariel. He loosed Trielsa and cursing them as fools, he spoke the words of recall that took him back to his home.
So enraged was the wizard that he gave no proper thought to his actions. Snatching up his spellbook, an aeging grimoire containing many dark magical incantations, he returned by magical means to the clearing where Nariel was now comforting the sobbing Triesla. He towered above them, casting a great, long shadow over them both. As they looked up in fear at seeing him revealed in his power, he cast his spells in a frenzied manner, with a voice of thunder so that the very air crackled and darkened with the force of the evil enchantment.
Triesla he doomed to become a maid of ice for his accusation was that she had been cold hearted to him. Unless she agreed to his demand when next the planets were alighned, thus she would ever remain and any tears she cried would form walls about her to further bar her from looking upon this world again. At once she was transported to the Plains of Ice where Trielsa grew taller, her skin becoming white and frosted, shimmering with frozen droplets. Her hair became brittle lengths of tinkling icicles , crowned by a sparkling tiara of icy crystals and all around her, the wizard placed an awful spell that would freeze any mortal who might so much as try to touch her. Then she knelt down and cried, cried for her love and out of her loneliness. And each tear that fell froze, building foundations and then walls, arches and towering spires until at last she was surrounded by a palace of ice.
And what of Nariel ? Even as the curse upon his love snatched her from his sight, so he became a thing of fire. His blood burned with it and he cried out in pain. For he had become a sunbeam and danced now to another's tune.
"Never again, will you hold Triesla in your arms and look upon her beauty and her youth " shouted the wizard, the youth that he, Grislihn had been denied. Then, still in fury , the wizard stormed away to his lair to gnaw his frustration alone.
Neither Triesla nor Nariel knew what had become of the other. She cried bitter tears for her lost love and so her palace and her prison grew about her. He vowed that he would spend every waking moment searching the lands until he found her. And so it was. When the Sun rose in the heavens, Nariel flickered into dark corners and found his way between the canopies of dark forests, between gaps in curtains and chinks in even the darkest castle walls. Months passed before one day, as he sparkled across the ice desert, he came upon the palace and knew at once he had found his lost love. But lo, though he called her name, they could not embrace for he was as hot as she was cold and in that moment he recalled the words of the wizard and realised what he had meant.
Each day he came back to see her then, stopping for but a brief time so that they could be close together. But Winter would soon beckon and he knew the Sun would not shine here for many months and she would be alone again. As days went by, the time he could spend with her became shorter as the light faded quicker with the waning daylight. Each time he looked back, he could see icy tears fall from her cheeks as he left her behind. At last, he could bear it no longer to see his love imprisoned without hope. One warm morning in late Autumn, he came closer than ever before and she could feel his warmth. All about her, the icy walls melted and ran in rivulets across the floors of her palace. Then she knew what it was that she wanted and ran towards him with her arms outstretched.
The Wizard's doom was sealed for in forming the curse, he had bound his own fate to theirs and had not reckoned with any outcome but her agreement in time. As Nariel took her in his embrace and as the steam rose skywards, they knew....they were free.
copyright Sarchil 1999