How we think the fight will go
There was one thing in this land that he was told he should never set eyes upon, and one thing that was its crowning glory. Some of the small folk spoke of this in hushed, frightened tones and metaphor, and some spoke with dreamy enchant. Some did not speak of this thing at all, instead stating simply, No one survives an everlasting Winter. He had to smile at that. Had they never seen one of his bride’s snowstorms?It was the Queen of Narnia that interested him, their best and most curséd gem. She was a sorceress: powerful, beautiful, and inescapable; she was a shining diamond: enchanting and deadly. She was cruel, and most of all, cold.
Count Dracula preferred the touch of warm humans’ blood, but his brides were not necessarily a bad taste. He was curious, to say the least: Was this woman alive and cold, or did the White Witch have fire under that ice?
* * *
It was not a natural storm that beset Narnia’s towns and fields outside her door. It was dark and bitterly cold, holding the kind of air that hurt the lungs to breathe. The populace would be in their hovels — or dead. It was an unnatural storm that swirled and howled beyond her palace of ice, and she had caused it.
And yet, here he stood. Slim and dark of hair, her gentleman caller gazed at her with dark eyes and dark intent, in no more than an overcoat.
Jadis sat her throne, surveying the grand hall before her, to make sure he knew that he was not worth her time to look at. Her great white furs spilled about her, rolling over the chair like snow drifts and billowing out onto the many steps. The robe of white fawn and snow fox was open to reveal a bleached dress, sweeping and complex, beads and lace ever-shifting like wind-blown flurries. Her neck was bare, and blonde ringlets draped over powdered shoulders; her crown of enchanted icicles glinted off her head with angry rainbows. Her wand, like a scepter, lay over the arm of the chair; she fingered the well-worn grooves.
She did not look at him. But he looked at her. And not because she’d asked him to. He was gazing at her, appraising. Not helpless and hapless, but with a cool desire that was all his own.
It pushed her: to scream, to attack. Her muscles itched with it.
Oh, by the end of the night, this sorcerer would be sorry.
* * *
“You have a beautiful forest,” Dracula called to the Queen from where he stood in her hall. The view from the bottom of the steps made him crane his neck back quite far, but it was, he suspected with not a small bit of mirth, an irony from how he normally turned his neck when chasing a woman.
Let her have her throne. This was little price to pay for such adventures. And the adventure of women did so mix up the drudgery of eternity.
She pursed her pale lips, and her cold snake’s eyes narrowed just a bit. From how the furs shifted at her right side, he could tell her hand tightened on whatever she had under there.
Silence ruled the hall, and then, finally, she spoke. It was clipped and cold. “How did you get here?”
“I walked,” he said. “I do enjoy a good walk.”
“Through the snow?” she snapped. Her voice rumbled out like thunder. “How did you make it through the storm?”
“Oh, no sweet snowstorm will frighten me away from a meeting with a good woman.”
Her eye ticked. Her golden curls shivered subtly with the movement. But he only smiled, a gentleman’s smile. He bowed again at the waist, and then motioned with a hand to the row of statues to his left, just off the carpet. “May I, your Grace?”
Her brow furrowed. Slowly, her chin tipped up, but she did not give him an answer.
So, he moved.
The carpet felt like powder beneath his feet. In a few short steps he reached the nearest stone monument and some poor creature’s demise. He could feel the energy from it, residual as it was. The carving was too perfect in its imperfections to be anything but derived from someone real.
This one was a young woman, struck with fear and draped with ripped, sweeping clothing, as if in some great gale. “A beautiful collection, Her Majesty has,” he said, just loud enough that she could hear. He raised a gloved hand, palm out. It hovered over the statue, and then swept along to the side, mirroring the woman’s dress. “Take this one. A woman filled with such action, but caught, frozen. She’s stuck like this, forever, and with no gaze to appreciate her, she is wasted.”
He glanced back; she was giving him a look of great amusement’s lack. “Trust me, I have plenty of admirers.” She rolled her eyes.
“The Queen is clever, as one would expect of such a fine ruler.” He nodded his head. “But does this girl have any admirers who are not forced to look upon her, in this cave of hers, beautiful as it is? She is stagnant.” His hand flipped out, a swirling flourish. “Her clothes are torn. What terrible fight did she get in, to bring herself here? Surely someone saw a worth to her, to set her up like this. And she saw worth in herself, to have such energy in her demise.” He glanced back at the Queen, careful. “Beautiful, but how many visitors overlook the finest parts of her?”
She was silent, but not tense. Like an interested animal.
“The curve of this cloth, for instance,” he said, turning to her while motioning to it. A great gathering of the stone girl’s dress clung to one side of her in the imaginary wind; a shredded bit flipped out from around her ankles in a reverse arch. The shadows of the hall’s lighting melted into it, soft and needy. “A wave of fabric clings to a supple hip; some would see a fertile field turned barren by snow. But I see that it’s not. It’s simply insulated by that deep snow; it is not cold, at the bottom, layer after layer, but warm. And if I may direct Her Majesty’s eyes here, to this crest of fabric about so strong and taught of ankle — it’s a delicate display. The fabric is visibly thin, but even ravaged to shreds it still thrusts upward. It is a jagged force that one could easily impale one’s self on.”
“Oh?” she said. The White Witch was leaning now on her left arm, her chin resting on the back of curled fingers. A smile quirked at her lips. “One would be most unintelligent to be impaled on something which does not move, however hard it may be.”
“Certainly.” He nodded. Even as he watched her, his own left hand slid up the side of the statue, a gloved caress to its curves, from hip to shoulder. A finger wandered off-course, to trace the heavy crease of the breast’s bottom; it changed direction, skyward, and swirled around the stone peak on her chest before continuing up.
Dracula rested his hand on the statue’s shoulder, where he drummed his fingers, smiling. “But there is much movement still, in the admirer.”
Her smile reached her eyes now, a glimmer of light. The rainbows clustered on her crown shone here and there on her hair, even though it was darkest night outside. She reached out a hand, and curled her fingers inward.
“Come.” She raised an eyebrow. “Hither, that is.”
“But I haven’t even complimented her face,” he returned, wry.
“Compliment her face here.” Her hand rested in her lap, in the pile of white fur there. “If you want to show yourself a true devotee to the art, that is.”
“Indeed he can.” He bowed low, and with light feet strode across the stone. Quickly, over the carpet, and then to the stairs. He did not take as much time as he would have liked, lest she change her mind halfway through. It was odd, he thought, that he was so excited for a conquest. It was the beginning of a very long relationship, he told himself. The thrall would last, and last, like her lips on his, and her blood in his body, cold or warm as it may be.
Her smooth, pale skin was still stretched into a smile when he reached the edge of her great dress; there, he bowed on his knees. She was taller than she seemed: an ice Amazon, at least seven feet.
Strong, he thought. What a queen should be.
The delicate girls in England were more his type, but this woman had a presence. She commanded, and yet had paler skin than any of the shut-ins Europe could offer. For a night, for many nights, this would be a perfect place to stay, and perhaps the perfect bride to rule them all. How they would hiss, the other girls, but they would run in fear from this woman in an instant.
And the poison, he thought, might not infect her the same. She might just retain more of her normal self, being so close to the night as she already was.
“Here, traveler. Rise.” She held out her hand, bright diamonds on one finger. He took it up in his gloved hand and laid a kiss to it. His fangs ached, even with the chill of the cold that slid into his mouth. She radiated it, like ice. It was at once a shock, and an anesthetic.
“Tell me about this pretty face,” she said, drawing him up.
“Oh, this woman, so statuesque of beauty, needs no color to her, for even if they were to paint it in the style of the olden days, they would use naught but white.” He drew up to his full height, only to follow her pull downward when he was a foot from her. Her hand, with deliberate fingers, drew up his suit front, starting from the navel. Cold seeped into him, as thumb, middle, and ring finger pressed in and dragged along muscle. Over his abdomen and chest bone, and up to his collar they slid, until she cupped his chin.
She drew him forward, and he bent forward, his hands braced on either arm of the chair. White gloves were lost in the white folds of her coat; the displaced fabric barely made a sound, unlike his starched shirts.
Cold trickled down his throat from the point of contact, and threatened to go into his lungs. But he was made of cold already, so it was not so foreign a thing, but more a pleasure. He closed his eyes for a moment, drinking it in.
“You are entertaining,” she announced, “which is hard enough to find in a backwater of a planet such as this. I think I shall make you my pet.”
“So long as there is much petting to occur.” He chuckled. Into blue eyes he was drawn, and his mirth was met with her own.
Her fingers traced up his neck, over his chin, and then onto his lips. There they rested, pressing lightly, even as they both leaned, inexorably, nearer. “I am a thing made of cold; do you really think such a thing wise?”
That cold slid into his insides, crystallizing the warmth that lay within. His breath hitched in pain, but he would not be afraid of so slight a warning. He had fought — and survived — much worse, in his centuries in the dark.
He smiled, and turned away from her hand. He descended, head tipped to the side. The scent of her skin was like the first Spring croci, tiny flowers blooming through mountain snow.
“I’ve always been less about faces, and more about slender necks,” he admitted.
As his teeth touched her skin, she laughed, a sound sudden and striking, like cracking ice. But she did not fight. He closed his mouth upon the flesh of pure winter, and held heavy hands upon her mighty shoulders. They didn’t go all the way around.
She hissed at the puncture, but nothing more. He was lost in the sensation of it all, for a while. Cold blood, yet pulsing with life. Like water from the purest glacial spring, clear and yet spiced because of it. So used to muddy waters, he drank deep, and pushed her into the throne.
A hand came down on the back of his head, caressing his hair.
“Yes, that’s it,” she said.
Sharp, a pain jabbing into his ribs. He broke from her neck, a little slower than he would have liked to. A white stick went through his chest, coiled and pearlescent like a narwhale horn. It was thin, though, very thin, and her pale hand held it with a practiced grip. Her hand was all the way against his skin.
Red dripped onto her furs, coloring the fawn spots.
“I need no admiration,” she whispered into his ear, and then kissed his neck. “Only respect, obedience, and fear.”
Stone was crawling through his heart. As he fell, he broke into a hundred pieces, hoping for escape. A cloud of black bats swarmed into the air, leaving the wand behind.
But the White Witch merely plucked it from the hills of snowy ghosts and lifted it high. A flick of her wrist, and it was done.
Every last bat fell to the ground, a clatter of stone spheres and twisted wings.
She stood and dusted her self off. The sorcerer’s scent lingered a bit, like dead leaves on top of a fresh snowfall. She’d have to do something about that. But for the moment, she merely dabbed at the puncture in her neck with a ringlet of hair, and then tossed it over her shoulder.
With graceful, deliberate steps, she descended from her throne, train of dead animals sliding down the stairs behind her.
When she reached the edge of the stone swarm, she picked up the nearest bat and kissed it.
“Such hard and tiny balls they turned out to be,” she sighed. “I think I shall hang these about the hall at Christmastime.”
Predicted Winner: The White Witch
NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON Friday, March 22th, 2013, AT 5 PM, EST
Dracula is a character from Bram Stoker’s Dracula; The White Witch is from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.
Dracula image courtesy of Universal Studios. The White Witch image courtesy of Disney Enterprises.
Cage Match fans: We are looking forward to hearing your responses! If possible, please abstain from including potential spoilers about the books in your comments (and if you need spoilers to make your case, start your comments with: “SPOILER ALERT!”