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An Icemaster's Tale

You look at the strange man with power over ice. "You- you said your name's Kohiro, right?" you ask.

He nods. "My full name and title is Icemaster Kohiro, Lord of the Glacier. But I hate titles. Just 'Kohiro' will do."

"Well Kohiro we appreciate your help," the wizard says promptly and politely.

"Yeah, you were good," you say nervously (though a bit grudgingly), worn out from your recent fight and escape and so less energetic than you would be otherwise, "But... how did you do that? With the ice?"

Kohiro smirks slightly. "It's inherited power. From the Great Ice Fox."

"The Great Ice Fox?" you and the wizard ask simultaneously, you in confusion and him in surprise.

Kohiro raises an eyebrow, smirking slightly. "Have you forgotten your history? You should well know that the Great Ice Fox Cryosuke once ruled this land long ago. It was considered a golden age, until 1000 years ago, when the Dark One tried to break the prophecy. In an attempt to make his move early, he sent a Dark Herald to prepare the world for destruction, knowing it was far too early for the awakening of the Chosen One, the warrior maiden of prophecy. Knowing that only the Chosen One could permanently destroy the Dark One, Cryosuke fought and destroyed the Dark Herald, ensuring that the Chosen One would eventually be awakened and defeat the Dark One. But the Great Ice Fox Cryosuke died from the injuries he received in the battle.

"The Great Ice Fox Cryosuke had had a son before he died, and after many generations, I was descended from his lineage. Now, with the awakening of the Chosen One, I used a ritual to awaken the long-dormant power that had been passed down through the bloodline. And now I continue what my ancestor began, so long ago." Kohiro's eyes narrow slightly. "To ensure that the Chosen One does not fail."

Kohiro then turns to look at you, his expression almost completely neutral with a hint of confusion. "Though I feel the need to ask, why was the Imperial Guard after you? As the Chosen One; the kingdom should side with you, not against."

You glance briefly at the wizard (more out of instinct than anything else), then turn aside and sigh. "Alright, I'll tell you everything," you say quietly. You glance back to see Kohiro raise an eyebrow as though intrigued. You then tell Kohiro the entire story, about how you were once a man, but were changed into a girl and transported into this world seemingly out of nowhere. You explain how you came to the castle, and the wizard explains how you were transformed by the "Circle of Fate" and how the prince attacked you the moment he saw you. You tell him about your escape from the castle, ending with the encounter with the Imperial Guard. You only leave out the parts about Petros and about that voice in your head.

Kohiro remains neutral throughout the tale, but by the end he seems deep in thought. "As I suspected..." he says quietly, "You are indeed the Chosen One..." His voice hardens. "Then I shall do what I can to assist you."

"Yes," says the wizard to Kohiro, in a tone that suggests agreement, "She is indeed the maiden of prophecy, repeller of the darkness and future mother to the Legendary Hero."

You seethe, again angered by the wizard's refusal to acknowledge your free will. Kohiro, however, just looks incredulous. "Oh? You mean to say you actually believe the tale of the so-called Hero of Legend to be truth?"

"Of course," the wizard says, as though it were obvious. "It is the prophesied destiny of the 'Chosen One', as you say. Why wouldn't I?"

Kohiro looks at the wizard as though he were a fool. "You should know well the ancient laws, the laws of fate itself. The exact future cannot be known, not even by sages, seers, prophets, or oracles. All prophecies and future visions are vague by necessity.

Kohiro looks at you from the corner of his eye. "You cannot decide what you are or what happens to you. Nobody can. But you do control your decisions and your actions."

"Nonsense," the wizard says dismissively. "You cannot change your destiny, to deny it is pointless. In time, both of you will come to see the truth of this."

You sigh, leaning against the rockface, arms crossed over your chest. Kohiro is making a lot of sense, and his ideas regarding fate and destiny are far more sensible and appealing than the wizard's. Except...

*You didn't forget about me, did you?* the now-familiar voice asks in a half-sweet, half-taunting tone.

Written by Paradox

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