Spring's Sorrow

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Rosaline stood at the edge of a cliff, a thorn-wrapped sword in her hand.

Sunlight sparkled across the ice valley, creating blue-hued rainbows like the heart of a moonstone. The wintry hush that settled was calm, soothing.

She stepped off of the cliff.

Leafy wings sprouted from her back and carried her down to the valley. The moment her bare toe touched the snow, it melted. Soft grass tickled her ankles. A puff of perfume assailed her as two flowers sprang up.

Rosaline closed her eyes, her hand tightening around the hilt. "Glacia!"

She heard the icicles clatter, the wind moan, and the ice sheets shift.

With a whirl, Glacia appeared in a column of snow, a bladed staff in hand. Icicles made up her hair and snowflakes kissed her cheeks. She pressed her blue lips together firmly. "I won't relinquish my hold so soon."

"You must," Rosaline begged. She fought the tears in her eyes. One slid free and turned to crystal. "Glacia, I'm sorry."

"Why!" Glacia shouted.

Somewhere beyond a mountain trembled and an avalanche crashed through the trees.

"Why must I be the one to suffer?" the Winter spirit snarled.

"You think I don't?" Rosaline choked. "I don't take pleasure in this, Glacia. If I could remove the curse-"

Glacia scoffed. "I won't let go." She shook her head, hair clinking. "I want more time."

Rosaline glanced away in grief. "Forgive me."

And then she attacked.

Fire ignited around her thorn sword. She swung towards the spirit's neck. Glacia's blade parried as she twisted away. She threw out an arc of icy magic, but Rosaline created an oaken shield and blocked it. Back and forth they fought until Rosaline spread her fingers, calling on vines.

They broke through the ice and snapped around Glacia's arms. Glacia shouted, ordering ice shards to slice through the vegetation.

But the distraction was enough.

Rosaline plunged her sword into Glacia's stomach.

Glacia gasped. Her eyes grew distant. "I just wanted...more time...with you."

Rosaline caught Glacia as she fell. She lowered the spirit to the ground, placing a soft hand on her cheek. "It's not fair," she said. "If they had never found out, if love wasn't forbidden-"

"I know," Glacia replied.

If they didn't endure the Gods' curse, they'd both be destroyed.

Glacia mustered a weak smile. "At least the last face I see is yours."

Rosaline fought a sob. She leaned down and pressed their foreheads together. "Until next year, my love," she said then placed a tender kiss on Glacia's lips.

She held Glacia as long as she could before the spirit's last icy breath. Glacia fell away, melting like snow.

All around, the beautiful ice fields sank into the earth and nourished the plants. Flowers blossomed, butterflies flew, but all Rosaline could do was weep for her lost love.

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