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- A Road Leads to... The Blood Brothers: Russian Style! (Part Two) -

July 13th, 2013

Omsk, Siberia – Russia — 5:00 a. m.


Finally, Melchior could lie on bed; his arms and legs were pretty injured, and he struggled to remove all ice shards in it. While he tried to cleanse his wounds, the images of that first day of training were still ruining wild in his mind. Three hours had passed since Antoniev dismissed him and still Melchior found it too difficult to rest.

He recalled the pain he felt when he last Seal was blocked; he also remembered how hard it was to stand on his feet and breathe; his body felt extremely cold when exposed to the harsh conditions of the Siberian tundra; the piercing gave given by Antoniev didn’t make things easier as well.

Soloyev built an ice dome at Antoniev’s command, and Melchior realized something at that moment. He realized that Antoniev’s methods were certainly going to be far more unusual than those he had come across so far. Also, it certainly meant those methods would be harsher and more painful than ever.

Unfortunately, he was right — Antoniev didn’t make things easier, and struck him many times with his fierce ice spells; Melchior tried to force himself to create something with ice, but he failed multiple times, and it had taken Soloyev’s intervention for Melchior not end up reduced to ashes.

“Do you think I am going to teach you spells or something of that kind? Nyet!” Antoniev’s voice echoed in Melchior’s mind along with his piercing stare. “When it comes to master Ice, you have to feel it! Spells are just shallow statements regarding the manipulation of an Element! Get this straight and I won’t be hitting you so hard in the next weeks!”

Finally, he finished taking all ice shards off his body. He was breathing rougher than usual, and it seemed as each and every breath he took was like attempting to move a thick wall of concrete with the move of his lungs. He closed his eyes and tried to rest.

He got only half hour of sleep before Antoniev entered his room and conjured cold water straight to his face, rudely waking him up.

“You can sleep when you die, Melchior.” Antoniev said. “Get up and get dressed properly; it’s time for you to face Siberia — and me once again.”



***

July 18th, 2013

As the days passed by, Melchior finally got used to the cold wind and icy grounds of Siberia; also, he was finally able to stand and breathe normally. Still, he was having the hardest time attempting to conjure a single thing with Ice.

Antoniev was staring at him at the top of a big ice shard, which he conjured prior to Melchior’s arrival. The Russian gave him a cold stare as Elemental Alchemist tried to do something about his current situation. Frustrated, he kept looking at the ground, trying to feel the cold instead of simply command it.

“Do you want to know why you’re having that amount of trouble with Ice?” Antoniev asked coldly. “It’s because of your nature, Melchior.”

“What do you mean with that?” He asked. “I am doing the best I can!”

“Yes and no, my rebellious apprentice.” Antoniev replied, sitting on an existing depression slightly above the top of his ice shard. “You think you are doing the best you can. Frankly, you are not. What I meant with your nature is the fact you are half-Vampire. Vampires are not only weak towards sunlight — reason which made me bring you here.  Vampires also have a hard time with Ice, and you know why?”

“No, I don’t.” Melchior angrily replied. “Tell me why, then! So that I don’t feel this quest is being in vain!”

Antoniev’s countenance suddenly changed from cold to angry; his eyes revealed a sinister white glow which made Melchior shut his mouth at the same moment. The Russian Elemental Lord slid down his ice shard and stood in front of it, staring at Melchior as he slowly walked towards him.

“Magical Ice is not like the regular thing.” Antoniev explained. “It cannot be melted by regular sources of heat neither can be broken by means of regular strength or common weaponry. So, you can imagine that something that can be converted from liquid to solid with ease and pierce multiple foes is quite terrifying for a kind which gets paralyzed if those shards get into their hearts, can’t you?”

“Well… Now I get it.” Melchior replied. “The reason I am having difficulties with Ice is that my instincts are telling me to do otherwise.”

“Exactly, Melchior; Camazotz’s curse within you takes over the control when you see Ice, for it is like you are manipulating something which can kill you more times than save your life.” Antoniev said, stopping his walking exactly on Melchior’s left. “If you want to balance your Vampire and Warlock natures, you better learn how to manipulate Ice and Water properly, or you’ll be turned in a full-fledged Vampire in a matter of years. I have only one more thing…”

This time, he leaned close to Melchior’s ear.

“This quest will only be in vain if you make this choice. Quit complaining and start working for real or else you’ll be wasting my time.”

That said he walked some steps past Melchior and turned around, facing the Elemental Alchemist again.

“As I once said to you, you have to feel the Ice.” Antoniev said. “Try again, Melchior. And this time, try harder than before.”

Antoniev removed one of his gloves – a chain-mailed gauntlet with snowflake details attached to his wrist area – exposing his bare hand to the cold climate of Siberia. Then, he grabbed a handful of snow near his feet and held it away from his body.

“Usually, Ice and Water are related to our feelings, to our emotions.” The Ice Elemental Lord said.
He then modified the snow in his hands — it started to melt magically and became water, which danced in the air as Antoniev commanded it.

“Water is ever-changing, ever-flowing, mutable… It brings life, joy, hope and peace. Water is connected to cleansing and purifying everything it touches, hence it can be used as a weapon despite its gentle nature.”

He commanded the water flow to come back to his hand, and he closed it. A few seconds after, he showed Melchior a perfect ice crystal in the middle of his bare hand.

“Ice, on the other hand, comes from the fear, the concealment, the hatred and other emotions which make us feel trapped and sometimes hopeless. Ice comes from our desire to free ourselves from the sadness within and prevail, even if life is being hard on us. That’s why I keep telling you to feel instead of think. Sometimes, that’s all our spells need — to come truly from what we feel, not from what we might have learned in books.  Experience does matter, and feeling this experience is another way to become a better Warlock each day. Now, considering everything I said and done, can you try harder this time?”

Melchior nodded, agreeing with Antoniev. Then, he removed one of his woolen gloves and took a small handful of snow with it. He closed his eyes and reflected on what Antoniev has said; Melchior closed his hand and focused on his memories, in a time when he lived a life of oppression and abuse, not being able to be free to use his powers at his own will. A time when his foster mother controlled his life and he always felt depressed and hopeless.

He then felt his energy flowing to his bare hand and reaching his palm, and it began to lose temperature as the thoughts became stronger and clearer in his mind. Then, he opened his eyes and his bare hand just to see that he was able to create a perfect Ice crystal.

He then looked at Antoniev and spotted a smile in the Russian’s face.

“Now you get it.” Antoniev said. “I can see some light in the end of the tunnel for you, Melchior, but don’t rest on that — it is time for you to learn how to do more with this power given to you.”

As he finished his sentence, he focused part of his energy into the ice crystal in his hand; then, he threw it to the snowy ground and a large, dragon-esque cryo-elemental appeared right in front of Melchior’s eyes. He gasped as he saw the icy creature appear, and got even more scared when he saw Antoniev’s grim smile at the scene.

“Don’t be shy, Melchior. It is just an ice golem. You can handle it!” The Ice Lord said with a smile.

Melchior took a deep breath and touched the snowy ground; he then focused his Mana System’s energy to his palms and lifted a large amount of snow, which he converted to icy spikes, preparing himself for another battle round…


***

August 3rd, 2013

“Argh!”

Melchior screamed in pain as his body was harshly thrown on the icy ground; he was severely wounded by an icy shard, which pierced him below his ribs on the right side of his body. The impact and depth of the wound made it even harder to breathe, and Melchior was almost on the edge of his capacities.

“Stand up and fight!” Antoniev commanded with his arms crossed. “This quest will only be lost if you choose it to be this way!”

Melchior slowly and painfully began to stand up. He grabbed the shard and used all the strength he had to remove it in a single move. He stood on his knees with blood leaking from his wounds and dripping from his mouth.

He finally stood up and gave Antoniev an angry gaze straight into the bottom of his eyes; Elemental Alchemist closed his eyes, focused and conjured a large ice shard, which he threw on Antoniev. The Russian rapidly evaded it and looked back at Melchior with a smile in his face.

“You made your choice — and it was a wise one. Let’s see if you can keep it up, Melchior Raven-Hayes…”


To Be Continued…

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