'I had heard stories of the delicate, fragile beauty that was Celsia Frostblossom. However, she was a broken and tortured shell when I first met her. Not much has changed in that regard, I suppose. The damage done to her was beyond redemption. She was perfect for my use.'
- Lazarus Lightward
The pallid appearance of Celsia's skin is as white as a frozen wasteland, while her hair is the clouded grey of an encroaching mist. Her eyes, a pale blue and pupil-less, are unnerving to look at and seem drained of life and emotion. Tracking from her eyes right down along her cheeks are two crevasses in her otherwise pristine features; permanent Frostburn scars from icy tears.
If Celsia smiles or frowns, it is either in mockery or in remembrance of emotion; usually her face bears a soulless, studying neutrality with a touch of melancholy.
Those around Celsia will feel an aura of cold - a deathly chill which intensifies to a near unbearable strength when within touching distance, and one who hears her hollow voice will be stricken with a deep sorrow which eats away their very will.
She is rarely seen unarmoured of late, and dons a once beautiful blue crystal mail which has been tainted with dirty flecks of crimson and black. The once delicate arrangement of etched flowers on the plate now appear wilted and dying, as though they had lost the will to reach for the sun.
Her weapon of choice remains the Frost Thorn, although it's appearance is tainted also, bearing the same dirty flecks of crimson and black that her plate mail does, and the longsword conjured by it is jagged and harsh instead of smooth-lined, capable of inflicting savage, ripping wounds which are likely to become infected.
The story so far...
'Though I Grew old, I never truly grew up. My naivety was pathetic! My detachment to this world - granted by that Frost Fairy - was both a blessing and a curse. It protected me from rejection, loss and abandonment, but left me wide open for trickery. No more!'
- Celsia Rimeheart, regretting her early days.
Born within the frozen Northland's mountains, Celsia grew up isolated, innocent and fairly alone, which gave her a somewhat introverted personality. She became somewhat infatuated with the idea of the supposed 'ice fairies' which her father told her tales of, and one day, while her parents were absent picking up supplies for the household, the young girl decided to go searching for these fairies.
She journeyed out into the glacier ill equipped and ill prepared for such a hazardous trip, and nearly died as a result. As she was slumped over, freezing in the middle of the ice none other than a Frost Fairy came to her aid. The only way the little fairy could aid the girl was by instilling in her the fairy's own affinity to ice! She no longer felt the colds deathly grasp; instead finding comfort in the chill.
This came at a cost, however. Her already fragile personality became cold and detached, and her appearance changed: hair silvered, brown eyes became blue and skin became pallid and albino. When she finally returned home to find her parents back and sick with worried about her, they thought her an apparition of their child and chased her fro. Her very home! Normally, Celsia will have been devastated, but due to the frosty enchantment on her soul she shrugged off being betrayed and abandoned. Instead she found herself with a wanderlust.
After many travels, her feet found her on the sacred ground of the elves. She lived with them for many decades, learning many things from them, including swordplay. Finally, she decided to travel back to her own family home. When she arrived she found only a deserted, abandoned shack half overrun with a glacier, and old bones. Her frozen affinity had slowed her aging clock to the crawl of a glacier, and with barely realizing it a century had passed - her parents were long since dead. There was no sorrow, so detached from life she was. Only contemplation. Deep in her contemplation, she sat to meditate. For years she stayed there, requiring no sustenance, and the ice of the encroaching glacier slowly covered her.
Within the ice she stayed, protected from hypothermia and hunger due to the fairy's enchantment. Within this icy tomb, she was chanced upon by a watery goddess who enlisted Celsia into her service, freeing her from the glacier and bestowing on her artifacts of great power. Celsia was the first Knight of Hydiria, a near-forgotten elemental god of water in all its states. She was tasked with rooting out the 'evil' minions of the goddess's sworn elemental foe: Zevarith.
Celsia, the Obsessed
'Searren Flametongue. The very name is a curse to me - I blotted out the names of many servants of Zevarith but always he eluded my justice! The day will come where I will I will expunge his name from history and extinguish his burning heart once and for all. Do not speak of him to me again!'
- Celsia Rimeheart, when asked about Searren Flametongue.
Initiated to the ways of the ancient elemental goddess, Hydiria, Celsia Frostblossom finally felt a sense of purpose. Hydiria was the representation of the great cycle; that all things pass, to be reborn again: Summer falls to winter and is reborn again to mark the new year's cycle. Ice melts and as drawn to the sky, only to be cast down to the earth once more and frozen over anew.
Never having any ideals to latch onto in her long life, Celsia took to Hydiria's teachings with an enthusiasm which bordered on obsession. Those who denied the great cycle must be extinguished. This meant that followers of Hydiria's sibling primordial god, Zevarith, were the enemy: for Zevarith was the fiery representation of irreversible change. In the years after her conversion, Celsia rooted out and brought down sects of cultists who followed the path of Zevarith; and there were many of them scattered across the land.
During her many travels and skirmishes, Celsia came to know a common foe. She first met Searren Flametongue aiding a small group of Zevarith's followers with a cremation ritual within a cellar in the town of Jalicho. She and a couple of her followers burst into the cellar mid-ritual.
The cellar door burst inwards and standing on the top of the staircase, flanked by two followers stoop the silhouette of Celsia Frostblossom, cobalt mail glistening in the setting sun. 'Your sinful ways defy Hydiria's will! Renounce your ways and live!' she intoned, stepping down into the cellar. As she studied the situation, she frowned; it appeared the cultists were burning one of their own!
'Celsia Frostblossom, I presume.' The snide voice came from an elf who stepped forward, his long hair the colour of flame and gaze unfaltering. 'You've made quite a name for yourself; such a fearsome reputation! My friends have even taken to asking me to attend their rituals because they had heard you were in the area!'
'Who are you?' Celsia asks coldly as she reached the base of the stairs.
'Searren Flameheart is my name. The man in these flames is about to be reborn anew, never to be the same again! You will not stop this from happening! Leave or die.'
The time for words were passed. Celsia called upon Frost Thorn and she attacked.
The battle was joined and Celsia found herself engaged by the wiry elf. The man was something else; he fought with a fury and certainty tempered with precision. For the first time, Celsia had found her match. The battle skirmish raged for several minutes, and as both of her companions fell, Celsia found herself off-guard and she suffered a kick by Searren fair in the chest, knocking her back against the staircase.
She would have died then and there, were it not for the fact that the fire suddenly flared blindingly. Through the brightness, Celsia was shocked to see that the man who was burning within the fire was now stepping forth from the flames as though he wee completely uninjured! Seeing her chance, Celsia clambered up the stairs while the followers of Zevarith were distracted, and fled. It was her first defeat and it gnawed at her relentlessly.
Searren and Celsia crossed blades many times through the years, sometimes Searren got the best of her, and other times Celsia won the day, but neither managed to land the killing blow on the other. As the years passed, a new obsession grew within Celsia. The need to best Searren Flametongue and slay him once and for all outweighed her other tasks, and she found herself hunting for any sign of the knight of Zevarith.
Beast of Frozen Sorrow
'Such humiliation - Malzoah taunted me ceaselessly whilst I was under his domination - It was he who had so many years ago turned Searren into a Cyclops: The Ice Demon bested Zevirath's great warrior, and found great amusement in the fact I could never land the killing blow onto him. Now, I return the taunts; The demon whimpers beneath my will.'
- Celsia Rimeheart, recalling her domination by the Demon, Malzoah.
It was this Obsession which led the path to Celsia's greatest downfall. During one skirmish with Searren Flametongue and other followers of Zevarith within the swampy forests of Nefra-sul, Celsia struck a grievous blow against the elf with Frost Thorn. Searren, fearing for his life fled into the forest and abandoning the battle, Celsia followed.
Hunter and prey made their way through the forest for hours. Several times, Celsia caught up to Searren, but the wily elf always managed to break away. It wasn't until the sun began to set, hours later, that Celsia realized that she had seen no sight of the elf for over an hour. To make matters worse, she was now well and truly lost within the dense growth. In a rare display of emotion, Celsia screamed her frustrations at the forest. Not knowing where to go, Celsia picked a direction and began walking.
For hours the champion of Hydiria traveled aimlessly - the forest seemed featureless to her; it all looked the same! As she wandered deeper into the forest, the temperature dropped dramatically, although due to the enchantments wrapped around Celsia, she barely noticed it. Eventually she came to realize that something was amiss - she hadn't realized it in the dark but some of the trees she was walking past seemed to be strange; it appeared to be covered in ice. Celsia inspected the tree closely; It wasn't covered in ice - it was completely made of ice!
Celsia pondered on this oddity for a while. Finally, she came to the conclusion that it must be a sign from Hydiria herself! She must be sending Celsia a trail to follow! She whispered a prayer of thanks to the primordial goddess and continued in the direction of the frozen trees.
Before long the forest was made entirely of ice. The ground was frozen and Celsia's breath fogged up with every exhale, and yet there was no sign of the forest ending! For once the ice did not give the woman comfort, but made her feel uneasy; in her mind she could swear she felt evil eyes watching her. Doubt and grief began to well up within Celsia's normally hardened core, and after some hours of fruitless wandering the grief grew into full blown sorrow. Finally, Celsia reached her breaking point. With a child-like sobbing, she fell to her knees and wept - she felt very much like the lost little girl on the glacier, so many decades ago! Celsia's will was shattered. Frozen tears dropped down from her eyes and shattered onto the ground - Where the ice touched her cheeks they seared her skin, leaving permanent frostburn scars.
It was at this point that the beast attacked. Having watched Celsia since she entered his frozen forest domain, Malzoah, the Demonic Beast of Frozen Sorrow, had been biding his time. He studied her through the trees, confounding her sense of direction with fel suggestion and instilling an unnatural aura of grief onto the normally emotionless woman. Malzoah knew that a direct confrontation would be fatal so he worked his powers, wore her down and broke her.
Celsia did not even notice Malzoah's presence until it was too late. She felt an immense pressure behind her, and then the demon's intimidating presence forcing itself into her consciousness. In her unprepared state she made for easy prey and quickly succumbed to Malzoah's Domination. Celsia felt herself being swallowed and bound within herself, and with her soul locked away, Malzoah took control over the shell that was Celsia Frostblossom.
It took less than a minute and Celsia Frostblossom, it seemed, was no more. She now belonged to Malzoah, Demon of Ice and Grief.
Hellpriest, the Savior.
'It was an old power which saved Celsia from Oblivion - power granted by her raw, elemental god. The demon Malzoah was not one of Hydiria's ilk, and the goddess of water sealed Celsia's soul in an icy barrier within her core - A reason she now chose to change her name to Rimeheart. The other reason was that her troubled life has left her heart cold and devoid of emotion.'
- Lazarus Lightward
Contact with the Demon of ice and sadness that is Malzoah left the shell of Celsia's body badly warped and damaged. Her skin, already pale turned a barren, soulless white and the pupils of her eyes were frozen over. The frozen affinity that was already a part of Celsia became augmented by Malzoah's presence creating a permanent frosty aura which chilled the bones of anybody who came close. Wherever she trod, rime marked the ground.
For years, Malzoah used Celsia's body as his puppet, terrifying and accosting those who dared encroach on his forest. And yet, deep within the recesses of her body, Celsia's essence remained, locked with a frozen core: Hydiria blessed Celsia by sealing her essence away in a layer of frost which Malzoah could not penetrate. But Celsia remained broken and defeated; she lacked the will to fight back at her captor. Every day, Malzoah would tap on the outside of her frozen prison and taunt Celsia, whispering of the perversions and horrors he had planned.
And so it came to be that one day, two new strangers invaded Malzoah's domain. An unassuming looking male breaching the second half of his life and dressed in crisp, white attire and with a battered sword slung to his belt. He was accompanied by a bald, elderly male in robes, wan and very thin and carrying a large tome in his hand. the two walked through the forest, chatting about nonsense and remarking on the cold and curious trees. Malzoah marked the two for death - they appeared not to be of a threat. He commanded the now-tainted Frost Thorn into the shape of Celsia's longsword and leapt towards them.
As soon as Malzoah revealed himself, the bald man tore a page out of his tome and with a practiced manner and some arcane power-words, slapped it onto the frozen ground. Flames seared across the ground in an instant, melting the ice and forming a demonic circle of caging right underneath the demon. With a shriek of frustration, Malzoah found himself captured within the confines of the flaming circle. With a calmness that one faced with a demon should not have, the white-clothed man stepped forth and studied the demon-possessed woman in front of him. Malzoah snarled at the man, but then caught a glimpse of his eyes and cowered; Within those dark pupils, the demon saw one of his own ilk - but not in control! The man had chained a demon to his very soul!
Lazarus Lightward looked the woman curiously - she looked barely human, but then demons can do that to you. 'What do you think, Skezemo?'
'Agh, it's her alright. But does she still live inside?'
Lazarus studied her eyes closely, 'Yes, there's still something in there.'
'Free me, mortals!'
'Oh, are we still mortals, Master Lightward.' The Archmage Skezemo 'tch'ed' and looked to Lazarus questioningly.
'I would say, no.' Lazarus Lightward extended a hand forth and placed his index finger upon the forehead of the possessed woman, 'Hush now, demon. We would speak with your thrall for a moment.'
To his surprise, Malzoah found himself instantly pacified. The commanding words of this 'Master Lightward' held dominion over him. Against his will, he felt Celsia's lips part in a creaking, unused voice.
'W...wha... Who... are you?' Celsia Frostblossom's voice was hollow, and fog trailed from her mouth as she spoke.
'Lazarus Lightward. You are very lucky, Celsia Frostblossom. Most who have fallen to such possession will have had their souls snuffed out by now. It seems your god protects you.'
'Will you... Free me?'
'I will not. Severing the connection will kill you, and I will not kill you. I come to give you a second chance. The demon will always be within you. You simply must decide who holds the reins.'
'He is too powerful! I am weak.'
The Hellmage Skezemo chuckled in the background, but Lazarus spoke gently, 'That is what Searren Flametongue said of you, as well. He told us where to find you - Seems he feels cheated by your fate; he wanted to be the one to end you.'
There was a fury in Celsia's eyes on hearing Searren's name and after a struggle against the binding magics around her, she flung forth her hand. Frost Thorn sprung forth and the blade would have pierced Lazarus's neck, except that just as quickly twin tendrils of a thorny vine burst forth from the ground and wrapped around the weapon, pulling it to the ground.
'You are not the only one with your... demons, Celsia. It can be done. Prove Searren wrong! Draw on your obsession as power or you will never see him fall by your hand.' Lazarus stepped back, 'I will release your demon now. This is your chance at redemption. Do not disappoint me.'
The battle of wills between Celsia and Malzoah was intense, although physically, Celsia barely moved. Lazarus and Skezemo sat and silently watched as the woman silently stood in the clearing. rime formed on her brow as sweat, and her breath came out as mist. After several hours, finally, Celsia slumped to the ground, in control once more - Malzoah was now chained in her core of ice. Skezemo stood and walked to her, reaching down to help her up, but on touching her skin he hissed and recoiled - her body was so intensely cold that it burned him! Celsia stood herself. She could hear Malzoah locked within the frozen core of her soul that Hydiria had blessed her with. His power leeched through but his influence remained locked.
Celsia Frostblossom walked to Lazarus Lightward and fell to one knee. It was there, in that frozen glade that she swore herself to his brotherhood.
Celsia Rimeheart; Hell knight.
'But for your intervention, my soul was caged for eternity. Never could the cycle have been fulfilled within me, and Hydiria's laws would have been abandoned. I see it fit, then, that my soul should follow yours. The demon Malzoah has changed me forever - an affront to Hydiria! Thus I pronounce Celsia Frostblossom dead; I am reborn as part of a new cycle; Celsia Rimeheart, as my heart is hardened by ice and sorrow, and never shall I allow it to be warmed again.
Now tell me, Lazarus Lightward; What is your purpose?'
- Celsia Rimeheart, addressing the Hellpriest for the first time after freedom.
Hydiria was an elemental, largely uncaring god and thus affiliating with demons was not a concern to her, so long as her values were upheld. Celsia was changed irrevocably by Malzoah's touch. Her emotions were burned away with the cold, save for an aching sadness which followed her and also bled to those near her. She became known as Hell Knight, and the Frozen Fist of Lazarus Lightward's Brotherhood; The ice maiden of sorrow whose words and actions mirrored the finality of the grave.
One thing remained unresolved for Celsia; Searren Flametongue still lives. She still hunts for signs of him, even dipping into the Brotherhood's resources to hunt him out, but there seems to be no more sign of the wily elf. One thing is certain: Should the two ever cross blades again, Celsia Rimeheart will not be bested.
This time of year often brings the summer doldrums to the Citadel. A time of slow updates and intermittent submissions. We may have passed the worst but until the summer ends, the weather changes and school starts again we may not have the action we sometimes have.
Because of that, we are holding the Doldrum Quest. I wanted it to be pretty open to most anything so we will attach it to the Guild quests again to allow people to branch out how they want. This also adds some incentive to join and progress in the Guilds. So go join a Guild now and if your submission goes towards your Guild accomplishments, it can go towards this quest as well.
Get us clear of the Summer Doldrums by joining the quest!
(As usual, no old submissions can be used. This is also for standard submissions. 100 word, Oekaki, Stubs and others in that vein will not count.)
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? Responses (7)-7
It appears I am having issues with spacing and paragraphs when I write up submissions directly in the editor; apologies if this makes it a more difficult read!
I see you still haven't mastered the art of keeping things short. :P Honestly, I felt this dragged on for longer than needed. Does an Npc really need all this backstory, not like we could read all of this up to our PCs. I dunno, I don't usually make Npcs since I fear I would end up making too short subs, but this went the other way. I suppose parts of her personality and motives could be glimpsed here and there, but a few paragraphs would have worked just as well. And why go through all of these changes, first she turns into some kind of snow fairy, then she becomes possessed and then she becomes a hell-knight. The actual person gets lost in her powers, she might as well have just been a monster rather than a human. I'll give an extra .5 simply because of the work having gone into it though.
Fair call, Gossamer. I get caught up in expanding the story and then it just grows too much. I think I will try and set myself a limit for some future subs.
This needs to be made into an anime movie.
Welp, I had fun reading it. I'm a little biased, though. I still like Celsia, even after all these years.
Oooh, this is wonderfully theatrical. Very well done and I second Scras's comments.
An interesting direction for Celsia to take. I think it helped for me to read the original sub before starting on this one. This is an enjoyable read. I like where you're going with Lazarus and his crew.