Ravenna emerged from the tavern hours later. The world that surrounded her had darkened and filled with relentless shadows that stretched along trees. Her fingers curled around the talisman and she quickly shoved it within her dress. It weighed heavily against her chest, its cold metal pressing into her skin.
She started down the path that lead toward Caelan's house. The streets were littered with guards. Each guard wore a shiny shield on their arm, a heavy helmet, and a sword on their hip. The fire from their torches created a flickering reflection within the metal of their breastplates. Two stopped and turned toward her. "Miss," one said, his voice filled with concern. "It's late. It's not safe to travel at night right now."
Ravenna smiled at him. "I will be fine. Thank you for your concern."
The guard stepped even closer. "I must insist. At least allow one of us to accompany you."
She opened her mouth to argue against it. The last thing that she needed was a pesky guard following her home, and having to explain to Caelan. It wasn't as if she needed the protection either. Now that she had the talisman, Ravenna felt completely in control over her element. If anything, the guard would get in her way should a fight break out.
"I am sure that you have heard of the attacks," another guard quipped. His gaze lingered over Ravenna's body. "We just wouldn't feel right letting such a beautiful young maiden walk around with no protection."
Her eyes narrowed. Holding out a hand, Ravenna allowed a tendril of ice to curl around her fingers. It quickly sharpened into a dagger. "As you can see, gentleman, I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself. Now, please quietly be on your way."
A tremor rippled through the guards in front of her. She watched as their bodies stiffened and then, all at once, turned away from her. Confused expressions spread across their faces like a wildfire. Each took a step forward, then another. Their movements seemed labored, almost as though their blood had been replaced with heavy ice.
Ravenna watched, somewhat confused, as the guards quietly marched away from her. The shard of ice in her hands melted into her skin. She couldn't escape the feeling that she'd somehow compelled the guards to unwillingly walk away.
Folding her arms across her chest, Ravenna pressed her palms firmly against her sides and walked forward at a brisk pace. According to Vyses, it would take a few days before the talisman broke through to her strongest abilities. He hadn't been able to really judge the extent of her powers while they had trained earlier.
Ravenna weaved between farmland and houses, toward the main street that lead to Caelan's home. Part of her wanted to stay outside and experiment with her newfound abilities. She knew that Caelan would notice if she used magic within the house, especially if it seemed controlled. Yet she was afraid to do it out in the open again. Until she knew how her magic could affect others, she wanted to steer clear of any guards or townsfolk.
As she neared Caelan's house, Ravenna noticed a bright light that emanated from one of the houses. It wasn't long before she realized that the light was coming from Caelan's front porch, and that said dragon was standing just beside the front door. His arms were crossed over his chest.
She gulped and hesitated several feet away from the house. Caelan pushed away from the wall and pinned her with a look that could kill. She immediately started to sputter. "I'm sorry. I lost track of time. I wasn't paying attention to the sun. Please don't be angry."
"How can I not be angry?" Caelan growled. His hands clenched into fists. "Did you not hear me when I told you that someone was brutally murdered last night?"
Ravenna sucked in a deep breath. "I heard you. It was a mistake. I just wasn't paying attention."
"You could have been killed."
"I am not completely defenseless," she snapped. "I do have some magic. It may not always listen to me, but it has never failed me before. Not when my life is at stake."
"I've almost killed you several times," Caelan pointed out. "Therefore, your argument is completely invalid. You are practically a human compared to someone like me. And we don't know who is behind these attacks. For all we know, it could be someone stronger than both of us combined."
Ravenna's cheeks burned. "I can take care of myself," she shouted at him. "I was doing just fine before I met you."
"Were you?" Something dark gleamed within Caelan's eyes. "Were you really, Ravenna? Is that why I found you trekking through the forest in search of someone who could teach you to stop killing?"
Her heart froze within her chest. Memories flashed across her mind's eye. The guard that had attempted to rape her, sprawled out across the ground at her feet. The group of bandits that had bombarded her months before that. Her hometown. Her mother's corpse.
"Don't try play me for a fool, girl," Caelan snarled. "I did my research. A guard in one town. Several bandits in the outskirts of another. Not to mention the entire village of Lithium, slaughtered in their beds while they slept. I know that you were on the run from Imperial soldiers before I found you."
Ravenna could not breathe. She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to steady herself. Her words came out as a mere whisper. "I didn't kill them. I didn't kill the people of Lithium. I didn't kill my mother."
Caelan did not respond. Instead, he crossed his arms over his chest and pierced her with a sharp look. After a few moments, he spoke again. "I am not stupid, Ravenna. A trail of blood follows your every step, regardless of what you believe. You were not 'fine' before you met me. You were a murderer. You were not in control over your magic. You needed help."
Her hands curled into fists at her sides, nails digging into the heels her palms.
"I helped you. I took you into my home and fed you. And now you completely disregarded my wishes. How am I supposed to teach a pupil that refuses to listen to her teacher?"
"It was an honest mistake," Ravenna whispered.
"It could have killed you."
Her lips skewed. "It's good to know that you care about whether or not I make it back alive," she grumbled under her breath. "Especially if you are getting this mad over something so small."
Caelan's somewhat stoic expression seemed to crack. His eyes widened and splotches of red spread across his cheeks like a wildfire. Without another word, he whirled around and stormed inside the house.
Ravenna felt somewhat smug. His actions seemed to only further prove her case.
This is the unedited version of Ice :) If you want to read ahead (and read the more polished version), you can check it out on Tapas! Thank you for your continued support and patience! <3
Also, as of yesterday (Nov 22, 2017) this story is featured in Wattpad's Hidden Gems: Fantasy list! How cool is that?!
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[wattys 2018 shortlisted] Humans see her as a dangerous threat -a witch that must be executed. With the uncontrollable ability to form ice at her fingertips, Ravenna is forced into hiding amongst the humans, stealing to survive. That is, until she h...