Previously on An Apocalypse of Ice:
I hope you read Chapter 10.1, because these two chapters go hand‐in‐hand. But Chapter 10.1 can be summed up in one word:
Drama. I probably should have just called it “Drama” instead of “Fairyland,” but that would have obscured the facts that (a) many
of the family members are living in their own liHle fairy lands; (b) drama will probably just conJnue for a while. Why didn’t I just
keep my Apocalypse adorable? Why?
But in a nutshell: Will did not enjoy college, because he was struggling to survive on very liHle money in condiJons rivaling the
beginning of the Apoc. While there, his LTW ﬂipped to 20 WooHoos. The family discussed a potenJal marriage between Will and
Jan Tellerman, a theorist who also happens to be Julian’s girlfriend. Needless to say, that discussion didn’t go well. It didn’t help
when Sabriel overheard it and went nuts, because she thinks she should be the heir. And Will came back to WineXell, had a big
ﬁght with Sabriel, and met Alayne. DANGER, WILL ROBINSON STARK! Arthur’s the only one who qualiﬁes as normal; he just wants
a boyfriend and a nice, quiet life.
“QUIT LEAKING, YOU. NOW.” Sabriel took another swing at the shower with her wrench. Her mood had been ﬁne before Will
turned up, but now she just wanted to hit something.
“That’s not actually going to ﬁx the shower,” she heard Arthur say. “It’s probably going to make it worse.”
“How do you know?”
“I have more mechanical points than you.”
“FINE,” she answered, dropping her wrench. Sabriel turned back to glare at the shower. “You are NOT oﬀ the hook.”
“What’s going on that’s so bad that you have to take it out on innocent pieces of plumbing?”
“You know what’s so bad.”
“No, I don’t.”
“I saw Will yesterday.”
“What? Where? Why didn’t he come see us?”
“See? My point exactly. He’s just strolling around Winterfell, hanging out with this Spencer Fitzhugh guy, and doesn’t give a damn
about us. What kind of heir is he going to be?”
“Sabriel…don’t come aier me with that wrench, but…” Arthur grasped his chin as he thought about what to say next to avoid the
next outburst being directed at him instead of at someone who wasn’t present. “I don’t know the answer to that quesJon. I
didn’t pick Will to be the heir. Mom and Dad did. And I don’t think he doesn’t care…wait, you haven’t interrupted me already?”
“What does it maHer?” she asked. “They’ve already decided against me, just because I’m a girl.”
“I only know what you’ve told me, but I don’t think that’s what happened,” Arthur said. “I don’t think they decided against you.
That’s not the kind of thing they’d do. They just decided for Will. And if he doesn’t want it, then you can have it. I don’t want to
be the heir.”
Sabriel stared at her pieces. “I sJll don’t see why they’d decide for Will,” she muHered. He wasn’t responsible enough. Plus,
there was no way he’d want to be heir anyway.
“Because he wants it? I don’t know. Just ask them. They’re probably not as closed‐minded about it as you think.”
Sabriel opened her mouth to talk again, but she couldn’t think of anything to say. She was sJll preHy sure that her parents had
decided against her—but what if they hadn’t? “I’m about to top my career,” she said. “That seems like a good Jme to talk to
“Do it then, do it before then—just tell them.”
“We should do our assignments ﬁrst, though. You don’t want to talk to Dad while you’re sJll this upset. I’d rather not see him get
punched in the nose any Jme soon.”
“I would not punch him in the nose.”
“Wouldn’t put it past you, though.”
“Beat you,” Sabriel said, standing up as she ﬁnished.
“Was it a race?” Arthur asked as he checked the answers on his math problems.
Like most of the family, Julian had taken advantage of an opportunity to leave the house when BriHany Amana called to say she
was hosJng a get‐together now that her phone lines were open.
He had always liked her, he thought. Julian and his brothers had been friends with BriHany since they were teenagers, and she
played a mean game of chess—without cheaJng. He had even ﬂirted with her a couple of Jmes. But she looked about ten Jmes
more beauJful than he remembered in that moment.
So when Julian kissed her, he wasn’t thinking about the fact that he might be about to lose Jan or about Mal’s friendship with
BriHany. He had always wanted to ﬁnd love whenever he could. This situaJon didn’t change that. BriHany was a good friend, and
Julian liked her a lot.
And BriHany sure seemed happy the rest of the evening.
Of course, the Starks had no way of knowing that there was another successful scienJst in the neighborhood (speciﬁcally, an
inventor) making her way up the career ladder. Even if they had known, they wouldn’t have wanted to arrange her marriage to
“Will? Hi, it’s Alayne! It’s so great to talk to you. I just wanted to make sure you’d goHen back to Oldtown safely—what? You
have class in an hour? Okay, I’ll try to call you back soon, if I can!”
“She’s way too happy,” Ali observed over a chess game with Jocelyn.
“That’s not necessarily bad,” Jocelyn said. “Maybe she’s fallen in love. She’s Romance, isn’t she? I think falling in love would be
good for her.”
“As long as she doesn’t fall in love with the wrong person.”
“What do you mean?”
Ali took a look around the house to make sure Alayne wasn’t there, then answered, “Will Stark. I’ve been trying to warn him
about her, but he doesn’t believe me. I can understand why—I didn’t think the dead could come back before—but he could be in
“Jocelyn, he’s her great‐grandson. That’s just wrong.”
“Well, I know that, but—that’s just not what I usually think of as danger. I hear danger, and I think she’s going to kill him.”
The volume of Ali’s voice dropped another notch. “I wouldn’t put it past her, if she doesn’t think she can get what she wants from
“And—doesn’t he have siblings?”
If she killed all of them, then she’d inherit, Aliena thought as she stared at the newspaper, looking for a job opening. No. That
Aier all, she and Jocelyn were going to have a baby. Ali had always wanted a child, but lately she had started wondering what
kind of life her son or daughter might have while living in a house with Alayne.
For her part, Jocelyn tried to be nice to Alayne. They were living in the same house, aier all.
But someJmes, everything she did made Jocelyn so angry, even when she tried to be polite. Especially when she tried to be
“Sabriel, I’m worried about you,” Chris said as she caught her daughter about to go up the stairs. “You seem so—angry, so much
of the Jme. Is something wrong?”
“No, nothing,” she answered automaJcally. But then she remembered Arthur’s advice. It was worth at least knowing if her
parents had decided against her, wasn’t it? “But—why is Will the heir? Why do you think he’d be best at it?”
“Oh, sweeJe,” Chris said. She wanted to hug Sabriel, but her daughter didn’t seem to like hugs. In fact, Chris belatedly
remembered that Sabriel didn’t like being called “sweeJe” either. “Is this because we didn’t choose you?”
Why did Sabriel feel so stupid about it now that her mom had said it that way? If she hadn’t been so nice about it, then Sabriel
would have been able to stay angry. She nodded.
“Well…” Chris paused again to decide how to phrase things. “It’s not because we don’t think you’d be good at it—”
“I’d be beHer than Will,” Sabriel interrupted. “Mom, someJmes I don’t think he even cares.”
“Don’t say that. Don’t you remember how he helped you take your ﬁrst steps?” Chris asked. “He was just as worried about
whether you were going to be okay as we were. Maybe more.” Aier all, she had raised two babies before Sabriel. “Will cares so
much about this family. He’s cared since before you were born. So don’t you dare say that.”
Sabriel had never heard her mom speak like that before, so she didn’t know what to say.
“Can you pipe down over there?” Brandon asked. “This is from my publisher, and I want to hear what she’s saying. Hello, this is
Brandon—what? The Economics of JusGce isn’t selling as well as you expected?”
“I’ll write something else that’ll be a bigger money‐maker, then,” he muHered as he sat down in front of the computer. “And then
I’ll ﬁnd a publisher who’s actually willing to promote my work.”
Sabriel put a smile on her face as she stepped up to the podium to pracJce her speech. It wasn’t anything she had planned for
school; it was just something that had come to her while staring at chess pieces the other day and trying not to think about what
her mom had said to her.
“Let me outline my three‐step plan for taking over the world.”
“Step one: Take over the third ﬂoor bathroom.”
“Sabriel!” she heard somebody yelling outside. “I need to take a shower!”
“There’s a shower on the second ﬂoor!” she called, laughing.
“Step two—ah, forget it. Playing pirate is more fun. And it’s good pracGce for my future.” Except she had mucked up the rest of
her future, hadn’t she?
Sabriel kept rowing. It didn’t maHer. She’d show them anyway.
“Thanks for coming over today,” Arthur said to Ricky. “I think we might need to work on that group project for history a liHle
“No sweat,” he said. “It’s fun to be here, even if I think your sister’s going to rip my head oﬀ someJme.”
Arthur laughed. “I think she’s more interested in ripping other people’s heads oﬀ.” He paused. “I didn’t think you liked me for the
longest Jme, you know.”
“Why wouldn’t I like you?” Ricky asked. “Wait…is that your dad?”
“Hey, Arthur,” Mal said.
“Uh, hi, Dad.” Arthur let go of Ricky’s hands. “I’ll see you at school tomorrow, okay?”
“Um…I guess so,” Arthur said. He didn’t mind that Sabriel knew. She didn’t seem to care, and she probably would have ﬁgured it
out already. But he realized that he hadn’t wanted his dad to ﬁnd out that he liked guys. Maybe Mal would have found out later,
but Arthur hadn’t thought it through that far.
“Why do you look so nervous?”
“Um—everyone else likes girls. Don’t they? I didn’t know if I was supposed to…”
“You’re supposed to do whatever makes you happy,” Mal said. “And that means loving anyone who you want to love.”
“You mean that?”
“Of course I do!” Mal smiled. “I don’t know where you got that idea from. Your uncles and I like women, yes, but who you love is
your decision. I just want to see you and Will and Sabriel happy.”
“Now, do you want to tell me more about him? His name’s Ricky, right?”
Will had been dreaming about—what was it? He felt like it was just out of his grasp. Whatever it was, he knew for sure that it had
absolutely nothing to do with three‐dimensional calculus.
“I guess I had to wake up eventually, didn’t I?” he muHered, rubbing his eyes. Time wasn’t going to stop for him, aier all. Will
couldn’t stay in bed and complain anymore. He had to wake up and tackle everything that he had to do today.
Will had actually made friends with Derek, who delivered a newspaper to his house every morning. He wasn’t sure exactly why
Derek bothered delivering the thing, because there was nothing in it, but it was a job for Derek and it brought someone by his
house to chat with.
“Fight! Fight! Fight!” Will ﬁnished, raising his ﬁst in the air as he chanted the Oldtown school cheer.
“What are you ﬁghJng for?”
“I don’t know. It’s not like we have a sports team, except if there’s such a thing as compeJJve snowball ﬁghJng.” Will shrugged.
He had also met Candice Mamuyac at the library and quickly determined that she was the cutest of the few girls he knew in
He also liked anyone who was up for a good snowball ﬁght.
“You are SO dead,” Candice teased Will.
Will jumped from the place Candice was aiming for to another spot a few feet away. “Only if you hit me!”
It was almost like old Jmes back at the house. But when Will looked back on that, he didn’t think he’d ever be that carefree again.
Julian knocked on the door of BriHany’s house, then let himself in. It wasn’t the most polite thing to do, but he wanted to talk to
BriHany badly enough that he didn’t really care. He’d been thinking about her ever since the party at her house a couple of days
Her roommate Maya looked over from the pillow ﬁght currently consuming her aHenJon. “Julian?” she asked. “Is that you?”
“Yeah,” Julian said. Brandon and Maya had been good friends for a while, but she was Family, so Julian had never been that
interested in her. “Is BriHany around? I need to talk to her.”
“Sorry, she just lei for work,” Maya said. “She’s not going to be back unJl about 11.”
Julian checked the clock on the stove. There were sJll several hours lei unJl then.
“Well—can I wait for her?” Julian asked.
Maya shrugged. “Sure,” she said. “As long as you don’t mind Zack and I pillow‐ﬁghJng.”
Julian sat down at the chess board, but he didn’t take the pieces out yet. He hadn’t thought of anything to say on his way over
here. Instead, he had just ﬁgured he’d work it out when he saw BriHany. Now that he had four hours to wait, he should probably
think of something.
Why had he come here in the ﬁrst place?
Because BriHany was charming, intelligent, and gorgeous. He didn’t want to lose her, too.
Aier checking the clock way too many Jmes, BriHany ﬁnally walked in the door. “Hey, Maya! I’m back!” she called. Then, she
stopped and smiled. “Julian!”
Was she blushing?
“It’s great to see you!” BriHany said, throwing her arms around Julian. “How did you decide to come here?”
“I just dropped by,” Julian explained. “Of course, it was at the beginning of your shii.”
“You shouldn’t have,” BriHany said. “Actually, I was just saying that to be polite. You deﬁnitely should have. Otherwise, I wouldn’t
have goHen to see you unJl who knows when.”
“I like the way you think,” Julian told her.
Julian realized he had come here to see if he could fall in love with BriHany. He liked her, and he knew she liked him, but that
wasn’t enough. He didn’t want to be with BriHany just because she was there and he didn’t want to be alone once Will married
But as he looked at her, he realized that wasn’t his reason for doing this at all. Julian did love her. He didn’t love BriHany the same
way that he loved Jan, but it wouldn’t be right if he did, would it?
And now she had goHen down on her knees and pulled out a ring. “I know this is probably a total shock to you—”
“It is,” Julian said. But he couldn’t hide his smile very well, and BriHany knew it.
“I can’t say I want to spend the rest of my life with you, because I know I won’t,” she conJnued. “But I love you, and I know I want
to spend as much Jme with you as I can. Will you marry me?”
“I don’t know if I should. I don’t—I want to say yes—” But was it the right thing to do?
“Then say it.”
Julian took a deep breath. “Yes,” he said, pulng the ring on his ﬁnger.
A part of Julian wondered what he was doing. He was a Romance Sim. He was supposed to hate the very idea of gelng married.
But he didn’t care.
Besides, it wasn’t as if being engaged meant having no fun of any kind.
Julian got up a few hours later. He didn’t want to leave yet, but he had a feeling that if he didn’t go back to the house, his brothers
would start mobilizing search parJes to track him down.
“I’ll come back as soon as I can,” he whispered before he lei.
“How’s your career going?” Mal asked Sabriel. He’d barely spoken to her over the last few days except for a few mumbled words
over dinner, and aier Chris had told him about their conversaJon about the heirship, he wanted to try to clear things up.
“Okay,” she said. “I’m close to gelng promoted.” But Sabriel didn’t look at him.
“Is this the last one before you get to the top?”
“It is.” She paused, and Mal wondered what she was about to say. “I was going to go talk to you once I reached the top and ask if
I could be the heir.”
“Now? You talked to Mom, didn’t you?” Sabriel asked. “Aier she thinks I insulted Will?” She wasn’t going to apologize. She
hadn’t done anything wrong, unless saying what she thought was wrong. But Sabriel didn’t know if saying she didn’t think Will
cared had dug her hole deeper.
“Well, I don’t want to see you hurt,” Mal said. “But your mom was right, Sabriel. Will cares about our family a lot. Maybe he’s
having some tough Jmes at college, but I don’t think that it’s going to change.”
“Does he care enough to marry Jan Tellerman?” Sabriel asked, trying to stay calm this Jme. “Because that won’t be a problem
with me. I’ll marry who you want me to marry. The only problem with me—” she tried to get those words that she didn’t believe
out, “is that I’m a girl.”
“I don’t think that’s a problem.” At ﬁrst, Mal thought that the problem might be eavesdropping, but he couldn’t blame Sabriel
because everyone heard everything in the house. Besides, it meant she had the makings of a good adventurer: always paying
aHenJon to her surroundings.
“But Uncle Brandon said ‘eldest son inherits.’ Of course it’s a problem. So’s being the youngest, I guess.“
“Will sJll might not agree,” Mal pointed out. “I don’t think he would, but it’s possible. And Jan might not agree, either.” But
Sabriel didn’t look any beHer, and Mal didn’t think he’d feel any beHer in her shoes. “Let me ask you this—why do you want to be
“I think I’d be the best at it,” Sabriel answered quickly. “I know I’d do a good job leading the family. I know it’s hard someJmes,
but I can do it. Just trust me.”
Mal realized he had been holding his breath. He let it out, knowing that he and Chris had made the right decision. “When Will
was born, I told myself that if I loved him enough, everything would be ﬁne,” he explained.
“What are you talking about?”
Mal realized that he was answering a quesJon Sabriel had never asked. “Being the heir isn’t about who’s in charge,” he explained.
“Well, it is. But Brandon never would have stepped aside, if that was all it was. I’ve always thought it was about love. Love for
the family and the work that we do, for your spouse, and for the next generaJon. And I think Will understands that, and that’s
beHer for the family in the long run.”
Sabriel closed her eyes. What if he was right? She’d never thought about having children. She wasn’t even aHracted to anyone at
school. But she couldn’t give up. “It’s not like I don’t love you,” she said. “And how can it be all about love if you don’t have a
clue how to lead the family?”
“Sabriel, look at me,” Mal said. “You’re going to have a great life. You’ll go to college and do something great when you come
back. And you can go on all the adventures you want once you’re done. I don’t think there’s going to be anything you won’t be
able to do.”
“It doesn’t maHer! That’s not what I want.”
“I’m sorry, sweeJe. I know this is important to you. But it’s not because I don’t love you or because I don’t think you can do it.”
“Well, that’s not what it feels like.” Sabriel slammed her hand down on the edge of the table and walked away.
But Sabriel was back to her usual self as she got out of the car, poinJng her ﬁnger at whoever she wanted to show at the moment.
She had made it to the top, securing an internship that would last unJl she lei for college.
Then she remembered that this didn’t mean what she had thought it would have meant ever since she overheard the
conversaJon about marrying Will to Jan.
“I mean, it’s hard to argue when Dad keeps saying things like how it’s going to be the best for the family,” Sabriel told Arthur over
dinner. “But I can’t just sit down and accept this. I don’t know how.”
“You wouldn’t be you if you didn’t want to rule the world,” Arthur pointed out.
“Damn straight. And Will’s sJll going to need my help.”
“He’ll need my help, too,” Arthur said. “It’ll be good to see him again. Phones go up tomorrow, so he’ll be able to visit, and then
I’ll call over to Oldtown and get ready for college.”
Sabriel nodded. “I’ve decided to go to college at the same Jme as you,” she said. “I think I’m ready.”
“Are you sure?” Arthur asked.
“Duh. I’ve got great grades and I’m at the top of my career. I guess I could go for a few more scholarships, but I feel like my work
here is done. And I need to get out of here, Arthur.” Sabriel looked around at the wallpaper. “I feel like I’m slogging through three
feet of snow. I need college to be diﬀerent. I know it’s not going to all be smooth sailing, but I have to do something for myself
instead of silng around while everyone else does everything.”
“I don’t think you’ve been silng around. You’re working, and you have the same number of scholarships as me, even though
Sabriel waved her hand. “Yeah, but that’s just doing stupid intern stuﬀ, books, and chess. I need an adventure. Silng in more
classrooms is going to be boring, but at least I’ll be on my way there.”
“You’re leaving for college tonight? That’s great!” Mal clapped his hands. “I’ll miss you, but I’m so glad you’re going to be able to
go. I know I’ve said this a dozen Jmes, but I really wish I could do what you’re doing now.”
“I’m looking forward to it, too,” Arthur said. He wasn’t sure if he’d look forward to college as much if he didn’t know how much it
meant to his mom and dad. Besides, he didn’t feel like he was ready for a real job yet, and this was a way to put it oﬀ for a while
longer. “It’s a big world out there, and I want to see more of it. Not as much as you have, or as much as Sabriel wants to, but just
a liHle more outside this house.”
Mal nodded. “There is a lot to see. And—Sabriel’s going with you?” She had told him about her decision earlier. Even though
Mal sJll hoped she would change her mind and stay home for a few more days, he didn’t want to force Sabriel to do anything,
even if he could.
He realized that he was starJng to tear up. Will would come back to him soon, but now all his children were going to be gone.
Mal didn’t want to think about how empty the house would feel.
“You all right, Dad?”
“I’m happy for you,” Mal said, giving Arthur a thumbs‐up. “But it’s going to be sad not having any of my babies around.”
“I’m not a baby,” Arthur reminded him.
“I know.” But someJmes, he sJll seemed so young to Mal. They all did, especially now that he didn’t move around the house as
quickly as he used to.
He tried to shake it oﬀ: “Well—let me know if there’s anything I can help you with—”
“Maybe with my mechanical skill?” Arthur asked. “I’m sJll trying to get that scholarship.”
“You got it.”
Across the room, Chris was helping Sabriel with her skills.
“That’s amazing.” Sabriel gaped as she looked at the painJng. “That’s totally awesome.”
“Isn’t it?” Chris asks. “I love the way the arJst showed the waves coming in to the sea.”
“Why don’t they paint anymore?” Sabriel asked.
Chris shook her head. “I guess it’s just not something anyone thinks about.”
Sabriel looked at her book again. This wasn’t the ﬁrst normal conversaJon she’d had with her mom since Chris had shouted at
her, but Sabriel sJll felt like she had to Jptoe around her mom a lot. She did not Jptoe very well.
“I wonder what college is going to be like,” she observed, looking away. “Did you go?”
Chris shook her head. “It was a mistake,” she said. “I didn’t think I needed it. I was preHy stupid when I was younger.” She
turned the page, and they focused on the books for a while.
Arthur couldn’t help but panic as he pulled the miniature rocket out of the surgical dummy. “What do I do?” he asked Mal.
“First of all, take a deep breath,” Mal said. “Calm down. It’ll just get worse if you don’t have a plan for ﬁxing it.”
Arthur nodded and took the breath. “What now?”
Mal talked him through it.
“And now you sew him back up,” Mal instructed. “See? You’ve got it. Everything’s ﬁne.”
“You’re gelng married?” Brandon laughed. “That’s funny. Tell me another one.”
Julian narrowed his eyes. “No, really,” he said. “Once Will gets seHled in as heir, I’m going to move out and marry BriHany
“But…you’re a Romance Sim,” Brandon said, trying to wrap his head around it.
“And I love BriHany,” Julian answered. “All right, I’m not sure what compelled me to say yes. SomeJmes I think this is as weird as
you do. But don’t I deserve to be happy?”
“You do,” Brandon said, smiling. “I’m not going to argue with that.”