She licked her rose red lips, relishing the iron tang of blood. Her ebony black hair blew in the wind, obscuring the snow white skin of her face.
And what a bewitching face it was. Unnaturally flawless, with a perfect, Cupid’s bow mouth, cheekbones so sharp they looked as though they would slice the fingers brave enough to trace them, and blue eyes with the slightest upward slant at the corners, showing no sign of the millennia she had walked this earth, ringed with thick dark lashes. Much like her distant cousin, of whom word had spread throughout a distant country side just six mortal generations ago, she was of royal blood, and known throughout the land, although her kind in general, and her family in particular, took great care never to resurface in the same way twice. Once their cycle of darkness and terror had run its course, they faded into the shadows, and then lay in wait, watching the people first struggle to comprehend that their lives had suddenly become their own again, and then rebuild, turning what began as a cautionary tale to all to remain ever vigilant, into a nursery tale, used to frighten little ones, and finally, relegated to legend, the blood and horror forgotten, glossed over, and spun into tales of romance and heroism, details lost in the mists of time
There were so few of them now, it didn’t take skill, or artistry, to vanish from sight of the humans. Eons ago, in a time nearly forgotten to all, except those of her kind, there had been more of them. Many more. So many that the fear and pain that had hung over the land was nearly thick enough to hold. She remembered the delicious smell of terror, as strong as the blood she still tasted, and she shivered in pleasure. But they had become arrogant, forgetting in the lust for power and the glory of their reign that they could in fact be vanquished, killed, all their gifts, instincts, and defenses useless against the humans they considered nothing more than prey. Killing one of their kind was difficult, but far from impossible, when they were outnumbered. Their gifts only held one mortal in thrall at any given time, and though they could loosen their hold briefly, too long without the magic and the humans, that pesky, ever-resilient race, would begin to remember their original ill intent towards their master. No, if the spell-bond weakened, the one who cast it was as good as dead.
As she looked down upon her hunting grounds, she knew her time had come again at last. All that remained was for her to select her disguise, and she would once more hear the wailing of a mothers grief echoing over the hills and valleys. But what disguise? She thought hard, losing herself to the inner workings of her mind, ignoring the whisper of the wind through her ragged tunic, and the scurrying of the creatures of the forest. She could easily command them away from her hiding spot, but her thoughts were elsewhere. She had admired her cousins elaborate ruse, despite the planning and patience required. For 100 years she had maintained a hold over the countryside, with no one even imaging that the princess sleeping in top room of the tower was responsible for the deaths and disappearances. Humans far and wide had avoided her palace covered in vines, both out of fear, and reverence, telling travelers that they were waiting for a noble prince to save their kingdom, and watching as dozens of princes tried, and failed, to find their way to the sleeping beauty they were promised awaited them. She scoffed, remembering the tales that had circulated, spinning wheels and fairies, dragons and witches. Her cousin had always had a flair for the dramatic.
Then, she snagged upon an idea. A princess. Hadn’t she heard something about a new princess being born to what passed for the rulers of this land? She thought hard. Yes… yes she had, and although it had been over a decade, she had continued to hear stories of the girls beauty, grace, and wit, despite being kept close in the palace. She was 14 now, nearly of marriageable age, and with her mothers failing health, and eventual death, no one would think it odd if she suddenly withdrew from the world entirely, and emerged with an entirely different personality. She would be queen then, after all. Yes, this might work nicely. It required no great setup, or exhausting detail, just some shapeshifting and spell-bonding, and she would be well placed to run things as she thought best. A younger child would be better, ideally an infant. It would be so much easier to kill. But a young woman offered much more sustenance, and required much less preparation.
She straightened her shoulders, and set off, gliding along the tree line toward the distant mountains. Now that she had formulated her plan, she could take her time, and begin to dream. She smiled to herself, white teeth showing briefly through her parted lips, not even a hint of sharpness to give away what she truly was. She must begin to shed herself like a skin, and transform into who she would become. A lovely young girl, well known for her ability to communicate with animals, her singing, and her cheerfulness. A mask, used to hide her dark nature, and chaotic intent. The girls name was fitting, and she would use it proudly, as a warning, although the humans wouldn’t know the secret meaning she alone saw in it. Ice, and nothingness. The fate that awaited all who failed to please her.