Wardens
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In a world where mankind is able to harness the will of the elemental forces of nature, elementals begin to ravage the world.

Now a young boy from a remote village must learn all he can to help save everyone.

Prologue

Frost-Forged

“Make sure your footholds are secure.” A man, hanging off the side of a mountain of ice, shouted back to his son, 15 feet below. A young boy, tufts of curly blonde hair poking out randomly from beneath his helmet, swung his ice ax and tested that it had landed true. Without looking down, he lifted his leg and swiftly kicked into the ice, creating his next foothold. He tested his weight before pulling his other foot out from its man-made hole to repeat the process.

 

“I’m not an idiot.” The thought arose in his mind, but the words didn't come out. He knew this was how his father said I love you. He was a simple man, a single father, an ice farmer from the northernmost reaches of the world. Safety in his line of work, and adventurous excursions, was paramount.

 

It is a strange profession to think of now when ice can simply be made. Only a few years ago, clean ice had to be found, mined, and then shipped to the cities in a constant stream to keep the wealthiest happy. “The ice industry is all that keeps Jormunter going.” His father would say to him. Society and industry have changed drastically in a short few years. Now that the leylines are open, elementalists can simply freeze water. With just a spark, one can produce the same amount of energy as a tonne of coal. A man can move as many rocks in an hour as it used to take him a day. They can produce rain on command, solidify mud, calm volcanos, stop fires, all with a tiny fraction of the effort, and none of the materials that it used to take. 

 

“It’s not much farther, keep up!” His father shouted again. Every hit of his father's ax sent shards raining down onto his head. The boy was no stranger to ice climbing but was not nearly as skilled as his father. His body begged for rest, and he was beginning to feel a little dizzy from the altitude. His father pulled himself up onto the ledge, turned and waited until he was near, and reached for his hand. 

 

The boy scowled, foolish pride welled up within him, and he had a second wind. He continued his climb, his father’s hand ignored. It took nearly everything he had, but he made it on his own. He lay in the cold snow, gasping for air. 

 

“Hey there, slow it down.” His father instructed, his voice calm and caring as he demonstrated. “Slow long breaths. Gasping will just make things worse.” 

 

He took a few moments to recover, then allowed his father to help him to his feet. The older man patted him on the back and the boy looked past to see where he was being led. A small cave opening was visible at the top of the glacier, one that didn’t even look large enough to squeeze through. His father, obviously excited, sped ahead and moved through the gash. The boy felt his chest tighten as the thought crossed his mind that a minor shift could seal the entrance forever, trapping them in a prison of ice. The thought vanished as he entered the cavern and laid eyes on it.

 

From above, a thick ray of light poured into the center of the cavern and revealed a smooth, black, mirror-like sheet of ice. The boy approached slowly, mouth agape, enthralled by what he saw. Beneath the surface, a figure stood, like a statue encased in ice. Hundreds of feet tall, obscured definitive features, but certainly visible were long arms ending in taloned hands. The long, narrow face was turned slightly and fixated on the cave entrance. 

 

“Amazing isn’t it? Now, do you see why I had to show you? I couldn’t find the words to explain it.” His father said as the boy passed him. “It’s like a giant was frozen in the ice, but nothing that big has ever walked the earth, has it?” His father’s voice sounded very far away. The boy's senses were dulled but an uncontrollable pull drew him in closer towards the smooth surface.

 

“Sven? Are you alright?” His father's voice came, but he couldn’t respond. He reached out and placed his hand upon the wall. The figure's eyes opened unexpectedly and stared into the soul of the boy, green, and burning with hatred, anger, and passion.