By Nicola Rakuljic
The piece of paper in front of me calls to me, it’s promise of acceptance from my Master singing in my head. I skim over its contents before looking at my Master and nodding. Her smile, almost a grimace though it could be taken as a beam, fills me head with wonders of how I would be looked up to like this. There is only so many years one can be an apprentice to one of the greatest Masters in the Ice Tribe, and when those years are over, I will become a Master worthy of Master Alexandria’s approval.
There are few words spoken between a Master and their apprentice. The Masters are not known for their blooming social skills. Rather, they are known for being powerful manipulators of ice, and in turn, having a purpose that isn’t wanting to constrict sadness, or ignorance, or anything that may fade.
Most Masters have quite violent purposes, though there are a few that have the gentler purpose of constricting those with violent ones, so as to stop any tyrant from taking over. I believe that when I become a Master, I would be in the category with violent purposes.
Just one thought or a memory of my Father would send ice rippling through my veins and into any room. Even now, I can feel the power tingling, resting just at my fingertips, but I swallow my anger and lock it away. Masters do not let anything overcome them or surprise them. There is still so much that I need to learn.
I bow to Master Alexandria and take my leave, striding to my room quickly with my thoughts flying to where I left my writing utensils. I arrive at my door and go in, do a routine check of all of my valuables, before sitting down at my table.
I write a letter to my Mother, informing her of the mission I have been asked to partake on, and how long it would take. I mention how she should forgive Father, failing to mention my own stance on his abandonment of us. I feel the hatred I had locked away not even an hour ago begin to rise again, and I am unable to stop the ice covering the table.
After a few shaky breaths, I lift my hands to clear the ice from the paper. A cold spike settles in my chest at being unable to control my anger against my Father. Our discord left me with an unquenchable thirst for justice, for all the brilliant and heart-warming memories of my childhood that involved my Father to be destroyed. This desire to constrict all my memories of my Father allowed me to become Master Alexandria’s apprentice, but after 3 years, I still haven’t learnt how to stop my emotions getting the better of me.
On shaky legs, I walk over and place the letter under the door. Every hour, the post officers make their rounds, taking letters and packages that need to be posted. The letter should arrive at my Mother’s doorstep in 1 day, but any reply she writes will not reach me for another few days.
My mind once again carries itself to my Father; the yelling that took place as he left; the tears that threatened to fall from my Mother’s eyes as her husband, the one she loved enough to quit her job so that they could have a child and a family, left her alone for another woman; the sobs that ripped themselves from my Mother’s mouth as she held me tight, afraid that I was going to leave as well; the snowstorm that raged outside of our little dwelling, darkening our world and our minds.
Ice snaking outwards, covering the carpet and the walls, curling its way up furniture. My arms are striped with ice, twisting and turning in a complex dance fuelled by anger. I drop to my knees and place my head in my hands as I curse my own self-worth.
I sit there for some time, curling in on myself like the ice curling its way around my room, regulating my breathing, trying to get everything under control. Better to let out this anger here without anyone around me, than to lose it during the journey. Better to learn how to control it in my room, where I’m safe, than to have to learn on the road.
I force my mind to drift towards my future, to the journey ahead, and the pride that I would finally be able to feel for myself. My heartbeat calms, a distant thump in the background of my thoughts. A grin splits through my face as I drag myself to my feet.
I would learn to constrict these overwhelming responses to that hatred towards my Father. I would allow the hatred to blossom, and with it, I would become one of the strongest Masters.
A few hours after receiving the mission, I strode out from my Master’s residence into the snow covered land. Alone, I walked on until the residence was just a mere speck behind me. Even with the thought that I would not have a companion for a whole week, I never faltered in my stride towards the outskirts.
Masters were solitude people, and being alone has always been my speciality. From a young age, I dealt with schoolwork without any friends to complain to, or get answers off of. A week journey did not faze me in the slightest.
However, as I turned to look back at the small speck that I knew was the residence, I couldn’t help but feel an urge for someone to understand me. For someone to look at me and know what I’m like when I’m alone, to know how to make me smile and laugh, or how to comfort me when I cry. For someone in my life that doesn’t leave me to do what I want.
I shake my head, hoping to dispel that urge, but it sits heavy in my chest. I grimace at its weight as I continue to walk. I cannot think about urges like that. They are unbecoming of a future Master.