Cool Beauty

It is said that Father Storm had five lovely daughters and each one was equally capable of controlling the air we breathe.  Shenin had her father’s temper and drove the seas to frothy swells.  Ameia was a docile thing, breathing sweet warmth across petals as they opened for the sun.  Vessa laughed at everything, and wherever a spin of leaves cropped up, Vessa could be found giggling nearby.  Ozelle was the musician of the sisters, thrumming tree limbs and shaking through leaves to create moving symphonies.  Last was Remaha, the beauty.  She had no need to play with the air as her sisters did, to gain the attention of others.  Her vanity knew no bounds.

Each year those of the skies came together for a great festival, hosted in Father Storm’s great cloudy lands.  A tournament was held between the winged and the elementals, and each year the champion was granted a prize of their choosing.  On the year that Remaha was finally old enough to attend, she took in each of the would-be champions on the first day.  Two of her sisters, Ameia and Shenin, had entered the competition, but Remaha had no desire for them to win.  She chose Golden Eagle to carry her favor, and when Ameia was disqualified Remaha laughed for all to see.  Ameia shrugged and smiled at her young sister’s folly, but Father Storm’s brows grew dark with warning.

The next day, Remaha walked past Golden Eagle as if he didn’t exist, though he had won all of his matches proudly wearing her favor.  She instead gave it to the elemental, Fire, who burned his opponents as he bested them.  When Golden Eagle was disqualified that day, Remaha sighed.

“I can’t believe I thought he was good enough to carry my favor,” she said loudly, fanning her lovely face.  “This being my first time at the tournament, you should have told me he was slow and weak.”

Golden Eagle bowed respectfully to Father Storm, showing the graceful honor that was known of his species, and departed from the festival early.  Father Storm’s mouth drew into a grim line of warning.

On the third day, Remaha placed her favor with Dragon, who conquered Fire, and after the elemental had departed, Remaha made mockery of his battle.

“I have only chosen winners,” she announced proudly, and all smiled at her except for her father, whose eyes held lightning snaps.

The final contest was between Dragon and Shenin, and favors were evenly divided among the spectators.  All were curious, though, to see where beautiful Remaha’s favor would go.  On this final day, Remaha looked more splendid than ever.  She pranced in several minutes late, not at all surprised that the contest had been delayed for her.

“Today my favor goes to…” she said, smiling her dazzling smile at all.  She held up her ribbon of favor and let it go, guiding it on a playful breath of air as it danced back and forth, back and forth, and finally settled upon Dragon.

A howl of wind raced through the audience as Shenin fought to collect her temper at her sister’s slight.  The contest was hard fought, and twice it seemed that Dragon had it won, but Shenin finally triumphed, to roars of applause and great celebration.  And when Dragon knelt to concede Shenin’s victory, Remaha’s voice drifted above the hushed crowd.

“That’s ridiculous,” she said.  “He had her twice won.  Why should he bow before her now?”

Thunder cracked across the sky.

“Dragon shows respect,” said Father Storm.  “Something I had expected from you.  Be silent, child.  This is not your day.”

Remaha rolled her eyes, but even she knew that Father Storm was not to be crossed.  She watched sulkily as the rituals of the tournament were performed and Dragon was applauded as he left the arena.  Finally, Shenin was brought to the high seat and asked to name her prize.  Shenin’s gaze drifted down to her vain sister and her eyes narrowed.

“This tournament was the least enjoyable one I have attended,” Shenin said.  “For my prize, I ask that my fair sister, Remaha, be taught humility.”

Father Storm nodded sadly.  “It is yours to ask,” he said, turning to his youngest daughter.  “You have been allowed to become terrible because of your beauty Remaha,” he said.

Remaha felt her world closing in.  “You can’t disfigure me!” she shouted.  “I know the rules.  A champion can’t call harm on someone as their prize.”

“You know some of the rules,” said her father, “but apparently not all.  Where was your observance of the honor of each competitor who was disqualified?  Through time these contestants have been treated with respect and held in high regard for having shown the bravery to enter into our contest yet you were cold-hearted and cruel.  I will not disfigure you.  Not at all.  You may keep the beauty you so rely upon.  No, I will not take that from you.  Rather, I will give you that which is already true.  From here forth, everywhere you go the ice in your heart will be felt before you get there.  Your breath will blow cold upon the world and none will bother to see your beautiful face as they bear away from you to keep warm.”

Remaha felt the ice in her heart spread out across the sky, sending her admirers fleeing.  She fled as well, far away, where she could be alone with the reflective walls of a palace of ice, planning revenge upon her sister.

To this day, Remaha and Shenin continue to fight.  It isn’t often, but when they cross paths it takes Father Storm to come between them.  The seas swell with icy fury.  Lightning divides the sky and thunder warns all within hearing to stay away.

Written by W. C. McClure. This short story may be shared (and please do); just please be sure to share it in its entirety, unaltered (and including this fine print), with credit given to W. C. McClure. This is a work of fiction. None of the characters or events depicted are meant to represent anyone or anything this side of dreams. Please help support this indie author by telling your friends abouthttp://www.farsideofdreams.com and buying W. C. McClure’s books http://www.wcmcclure.com. Thanks for reading!

PUBLISHED BYW. C. McClure

W. C. McClure can be a difficult one to track down, given time, space and other universal shifts that might be afoot, which is most disconcerting when she disappears in plain sight. If cornered on the subject, she claims merely that she’s looking for something. Indoctrinated into the secret arts of description by the legendary gurus of remote snow-swept Cornell College, W is careful to exercise her literary skills only for the sake of good. It is at times a razor’s edge. When W is located, she’s most often spotted hunched over her small laptop, an office escapee turned lunch break novelist, soaring the spans of remote and fantastic worlds under the weight of the most enormous headphones available, tongue waggling at the corner of her mouth with the detached characteristics of a cat’s flicking tail. When she is not found, well, that’s when the most exciting bits happen, isn’t it?

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