I love to have cast my characters and find pictures that go with my stories, so hopefully you'll enjoy the images I included. I think I got them all off of Pinterest.
Please do not copy my story in any way. Thank you.
“Wake up, Erika, wake up, it’s your birthday today!”
Erika groaned and flipped her pillow over her head. The muffled cries of her sister, Faya, still persisted. “Go away, I’m sleeping!” Erika mumbled, trying to slip back into her dream of exploring the other side of the Whitecap Mountains.
A giggle sounding of fairy bells escaped from her sister. “You can’t be asleep if you’re talking!” she exclaimed.
“I’m talking in my sleep,” replied Erika. This seemed to confuse Faya for a moment who stopped hopping and pursed her little pink mouth. Smiling a devious smile, she slipped off the bed. Erika heard her rummaging for something.
“Erika?” came a soft whisper.
“What?” Erika whispered back, still hiding under her goose-feather pillow.
“WAKE UP!!” her sister cried as the clanging of Erika’s hand bells echoed throughout her small room. Suddenly the door burst open and in came Abalina, Erika’s eldest sister.
“Faya Emelia!” she cried, hands on her hips. “What are you doing, running around in your nightgown with no slippers!? You’ll catch your death of cold! And waking your poor sister with those horrid bells on her birthday! For shame, Faya!”
Erika peeked out from the pillow to see Faya’s face crumple with repentance. “I’m sorry, Abi. I only wanted to wake her up.”
“Go put on your slippers and robe. Or better yet, get dressed.”
Faya bowed her head and tiptoed toward the door. Erika poked out from beneath her pillow.
“Faya.” The little girl turned. “I’m awake now.” Faya’s pink lips spread into a tiny smile and she slipped out the door.
Abalina sighed, her dark curls swinging as she shook her head. “That child really must learn not to be such a nuisance.”
Erika stretched and yawned lazily. “She’s only nine, Abi.”
“Yes, that’s exactly my point! She’s 9 years old, old enough now to know not to wake her sister with cowbells on her birthday!”
“They’re hand bells, Abi.”
Abalina made a face but kept quiet. She didn’t care for her sister’s choice of music, especially as Erika wasn’t all that proficient in her playing. She preferred her violin, which, of course, she excelled at.
“Happy Birthday, my little sister!” cried Delia. She threw her black waves over her shoulders as she flew into the room and landed on the bed. “You’re now sixteen years old today-old enough to have suitors! Old enough to be married! And old enough to receive gifts from all over the kingdom! I can’t wait to see what you get!”
Erika frowned. “Why is our sixteenth birthday such a grand affair, anyways?”
Abalina sat on the bed and started brushing Erika’s long grey-blonde hair. “A sixteenth birthday is the age for maturity. The age of womanhood. That’s why only Delia and I get to attend the balls and dinners and court appearances. But now you will be joining us.”
“I cannot wait for my sixteenth birthday!” giggled Alexia, crawling onto the bed.
Faya bounced back into the room, dressed more warmly in her soft pink robe and slippers. "Me too! I wanna go to a ball and stay up till midnight and have as many sugar cookies as I want!"
Erika laughed. "Well, I don't mind the sugar cookies, but I'd rather not go to the ball, thank you very much!"
"Oh, but, Erika, we can find you such handsome partners!" cried Delia, flopping back onto the silken pillows.
"You forget Erika doesn't care for young men as much as you do, Delia," Abalina said. "She'd rather be painting her mountains or whatever it is she does."
"Then we'll get her a painter! Or better yet, a mountain climber!"
Alexia burst out laughing. "Remember the man you told us about with the mountain climbing goats!?"
"The one that smelled like a barn?" cried Delia, excited.
"Oh, and didn't he say he liked art?" Abalina asked.
"And that he lived in a mountain?" Faya piped in.
"Stop, stop, stop, stop!" cried Erika, laughing. She smacked Delia with a pillow who shrieked and hit her back. Abalina protested, but was quickly brought into the fight when Faya landed a fat pillow on her head. Feathers flew and laughter resounded as the girls celebrated their sister's birthday-in a very un-princess like manner!
Erika had never felt more uncomfortable in her life. Everyone was staring at her. She was dressed in a stiff and itchy blue gown. Her silver tiara was light and felt as if would fall off any moment. It was agony. But, as a princess on her sixteenth birthday, it was part of the tradition to be presented to the court and on display as she received her many gifts. Erika hated it. Hours and many gifts later, it was down to the last visitor. Erika couldn’t wait for this to be over. She looked to the large double doors and saw her last giver. It was a fairy. She was the most beautiful thing Erika had ever seen. Her halo of blonde curls were topped by a garland of delicate, blooming flowers, so soft and spring-like Erika was shocked there were holding up in the unbearable cold. And yet when she looked closely, she noticed frozen drops of water clinging to the petals. Wings that shimmered and sparkled in the light, so light and fluttery they looked invisible, sprouted from this creature. Pink veils draped from her body in form of a lovely gown.
Stepping forward, she held out a glittering silver box. “My name is Adina. The Queen Fairy sends this gift for Princess Erika on her 16th birthday with her warmest compliments.” She fluttered forward and handed Erika the box.
“Thank-you,” said Erika hesitantly. She pulled off the lid of the box and gasped. Inside was a ornate silver hand mirror. She picked it up. The cold silver sent a thrill through her. Little diamonds were embedded around her oval reflection. “It’s beautiful,” she breathed. She lifted it and was surprised to find it not very heavy. It was perfect.
Adina’s green eyes sparkled. “It has been without an owner for a long while. It needs a particular owner. I think it has now found the right one.”
Erika was puzzled over these funny words. Whoever heard of a mirror needing the “right” owner? “Why, thank you,” she said. “I know it will come in handy-and it’s so beautiful.”
“Yes,” said Adina, “This mirror is the fulfillment of all your wishes.”
Erika blinked. “I’ve never wished for a mirror before, though.”
Adina only smiled, her frosty curls bouncing. Curtsying gracefully, she silently turned to leave but looked over her shoulder. “Happy Birthday, princess. And good luck.”
“It’s simply breathtaking!” cried Delia, fingering the mirror. “Even my slippers from the fairy queen on my sixteenth birthday were not as resplendent a gift as this!”
“It looks like the handiwork of elves,” marveled Abalina, taking the mirror from her sister. “So detailed, yet so simple in its design. It’s certainly a masterpiece.” She handed it back to Erika.
Alexia and Faya both peered over her shoulders to see their reflections. “The mirror’s so crystal clear!” cried Alexia. “It’s like you’re not seeing in a mirror at all!”
“Almost like another world is in the mirror.” whispered Faya gravely.
Erika looked into her little sister’s solemn blue eyes. “Yes. It does seem like that, doesn’t it?”
The girls were silent. Five pairs of blue eyes were reflected in the glass.
“Well!” Abalina’s commanding voice broke the silence. “It’s time for bed. Come, Faya, Alexia. Mother will be in soon to say goodnight.”
The girls complained but were slowly herded out of the room. Delia yawned and pirouetted in a circle. “I can’t wait for tomorrow’s dancing lessons!”
“One more reason you need your sleep!” laughed Abalina. “Come along now, Erika’s had a long day! She needs rest.”
The sisters left, calling final birthday wishes to Erika, who smiled and doused her light. Lying in the dark, she thought over what a wonderful day it had been. She turned her head and looked out at the mountains. Her mountains. Yawning, she whispered, “Oh, I do wish I could be on the other side of the Whitecap mountains…” She ran her hand over the smooth glass of her new present. As she feel asleep, she dreamt the mirror glowed a bright white and emitted tiny starbursts. But then she was sleeping deeply, and no more dreams came to her.
A cool wind like white satin feathers brushed her cheeks. Erika’s eyes fluttered open. Snowdrops glistened above her, hanging on branches of tall, majestic trees. Little crystal icicles, tinkling like silver bells whenever the breeze shook them, floated above her. Beauty surrounded her on all sides, and suddenly Erika knew where she was-over the Whitecap Mountains. Erika sat up and gasped. Instead of her flannel nightgown she was clad in a shimmering white gown. The bodice was covered in embroidered lace. The skirt was full and wide, spreading out like a white satin pond around her. Her sleeves were short but she had thin satin arm warmers. Around her shoulders hung a warm cardinal-red cloak. She had never worn such an exquisite dress.
How in the world did I get here? She gasped. The mirror! Erika searched around in the snow. She lifted her skirt and-there! Her fingers grasped the cold silver and she hugged the mirror to her chest. “It had to have been the mirror.” she whispered.
A sudden tinkling of icicles and the sound of snow falling off a tree startled her. She turned to see a young man in a brown fur coat stepping into the clearing. She stood hastily and held the mirror out in front of her defensively. “Who are you?” she asked. He had caramel brown hair and warm brown eyes. He looked as startled as she felt.
“Seeing as I live here, I think the more appropriate question would be who are you?” he countered.
Erika drew herself up to her full height. “My name is Princess Erika of the Kingdom of Winbeaut, the kingdom across these mountains.”
He raised his eyebrows and did a little bow. “Your highness.”
Erika had the feeling he was mocking her a bit.
“My name is Gideon of Westbrook….the kingdom on the other side of these mountains. How did you get here? The mountains are completely-” He stopped. He stood and stared at her mirror. “Wait. You have it. That’s how you got here. You have the other one! We’re saved!” Gideon jumped forward and grabbed the mirror from Erika's hands.
“You have it!!!” he cried, overjoyed. He kissed the glass and laughed at Erika’s astonished face. Grasping her bare hands in his warm gloves, he spun her around in a circle and laughed aloud.
Erika smiled as his joy was contagious. She was confused though. “What is this all about?” she asked.
Gideon stopped and looked at her with an amused frown. “Why don’t you know? Weren’t you sent here to save me?”
Erika’s brows knit. “Save you? I didn’t mean to come here, you know. This was all a mistake.”
Gideon grinned. “Well, it sure was a lucky mistake for me!” He sighed and grasped her hands. “I’d given up hope of ever having someone come to help me. I was sure I’d have to die here.” He looked off into the distance. “You’ve foiled his plan. All because of a mistake. To think what would have happened if….” He was silent. Erika looked up at him, curious. He roused himself and looked down at her with a smile. “No matter now. We’re saved. We can leave now. You have the only thing that will rescue us from this terrible place. Thank you.”
He wrapped his arms around her. Erika felt awkward. She had never been hugged by a young man before. His warm coat smelled of icy winds and wood smoke.
As he released her Erika frowned. “But what’s so terrible about-”
A long, bone-chilling howl pierced the air. Erika clutched at Gideon’s arm. “What was that?”
She hadn’t noticed before how dark it had become. Gideon looked around frantically. “It’s the ice wolves. They sense the mirror’s presence. Quickly-we must run!”
Gideon helped her over a log and held her hand as they started running down a small, twisting path. Erika tried to combat the trees and her humongous skirt at the same time. The snow was thick and powdery, making it difficult for running. She suddenly cried out as she was thrown to her knees. Her dress had caught on a thorny branch. A howl rose from the black trees to her left. Panic caught in her throat. She clawed at the white fabric. “Gideon!” she shrieked. Giving a tremendous pull, she ripped the skirt off.
Gideon quickly helped her up. “Come on! There’s no time to lose!”
They turned to run again but froze. Just ahead on the top of a snow bank stood a wolf. A huge wolf. Erika couldn’t breathe. The wolf was shimmering and glistening-as if made of ice. Then she realized it was. Two icy white eyes glowed at them.
“Don’t. Move. An inch.” Gideon whispered haltingly. Erika’s breathing was heavy. A chill tingled up her spine as those crystal eyes glared into her.
“Listen to me. I want you to take the mirror and run-run down that trail to the right. There will be a boat on the lake. Row it out to the island and go to my cottage. I’ll meet you there.
The wolf growled and started to inch forward. “But Gideon, you might get-”
“RUN!” Gideon pushed Erika away and grabbed his sword as the wolf exploded into a snarling, snapping mass on top of him.
Erika ran and didn’t look back. The boat. The boat. Where is it?? She ducked under a branch and looked around wildly. She heard a howl of agony behind her. Gideon! She had to help him. She turned to run back but her feet slid into a dead halt. She was standing face to face with an ice wolf.
Stayed tuned for part 2!!!