Thorns and Roses

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Summary

Far and beyond it’s only winter all year long in the seven lands and surviving is hard to come by in this frozen wasteland. They say the average man cannot come by on his own in the harshest of times in this land and it would be merely impossible to take it on his own. The people of the seven lands honor the seven gods and even with winter being their only weather the people of the seven lands have managed to figure out many ways to survive and their most prized thing they’ve ever made for survival was their beautiful greenhouses. However, they say that the seven lands are not the only lands in the world and now the kingdom of Uniniqua is planning to be the first of the seven lands to attempt to take voyages out on the Magaesic Sea to know for sure if there truly are other lands out there and that starts with volunteers. Katrina, a soldier in training for Uniniqua is a person a lot would consider very friendly, but she is not afraid to stand up for herself if one tries to talk down to her and has the sneakiness of a cat. Tarion, a soldier also in training for Uniniqua is a very serious guy that doesn’t mess around and prefers to work hard and is never afraid to back down from something. Both wanting to be soldiers one day for Uniniqua it may take a voyage away from the seven lands to up their chances, but will they take that chance?

Genre:
Fantasy / Drama
Author:
Quin Kimler
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
3
Rating:
3.8 5 reviews
Age Rating:
16+

Prologue

Light snowflakes sprinkled down to the everlasting white ground like powder in the peaceful morning, and it was one of those winter weather’s where it wasn’t too hot or too cold. It was one where no one barely took notice of it. A few gray clouds were floating in the sky while the sun was hardly seen since the clouds covered it. A few rays of sunshine managed to shine down below, though, making some patches of snowy areas look like magic particles from the seven gods.

The lake that Katrina’s father would take her to had thin ice coursing from each side, except around the area they were currently fishing. Usually, when little Katrina and her father came out here, her father would bring a pickaxe to break apart the ice surrounding the lake, and with him doing it many times before, he picked through the ice like butter. Katrina had always admired her hard-working father, and even though she was six years old, she wanted to be hardworking just like him. Her father was a built man and was always willing to help in any way he could. Katrina’s father was a healer in their homeland Fasiqua. Whenever he had to do his job, Katrina had to be watched over by their kind neighbor Mrs. Augusta, but he would usually take Katrina out fishing whenever he wasn’t doing his job. Fasiqua was known for its good fishing areas and delicious fish. It wasn’t the wealthiest land one would expect, but it had some friendly folks.

Waiting for fish to bite their hooks and tug would bore Katrina as all she could do was sit and watch the icy lake, but she would get excited whenever she managed to catch a fish. Fishing wasn’t all too bad for Katrina as it was a way to bond with her father, and talking with him always made little Katrina smile. She never met her mother before as she died when Katrina was only four years old. Katrina barely remembered what her mother was like, but her father always said she was very kind and a social butterfly like her. It would seem like she would struggle without a mother for a little girl like Katrina, but their neighbor Mrs. Augusta was always friendly to help Katrina out with her hair and outfits, and she was like a grandmother figure. Katrina always enjoyed having Mrs. Augusta around, and her cooking was always the best part.

The wind coursed through Katrina’s delicate dark brown hair as she focussed her gaze on the lake, and every minute that ticked by made Katrina squirmy as she was sitting near the edge of the lake on a rock with her father. So far, they caught four salmon, but the lake didn’t seem to have much fish swimming around. It was her father’s favorite fishing area, and usually, they’d be catching more than four, but today it didn’t seem like they had their luck in fishing. She didn’t like to complain in front of her father, but she was now getting impatient with the lack of fish that haven’t tried to go for either of their hooks with the two hours passed.

Katrina held her dark blue velvet cloak tightly against her as she held her rod in her other hand, and it was starting to get colder with the dainty white snowflakes increasing. Little Katrina never liked snow that much, and with temperatures like this one, she would always feel like her whole body was freezing up from her small head to her tiny toes. Yet, for as long as Katrina could remember, there never seemed to be a day without snow. There would always be thick snow everywhere she looked, and the seven kingdoms’ snow had never melted into any other season for many centuries.

When a few more minutes passed by, a snowstorm slowly started to pick up, and when it did, Katrina began to shiver violently, and her teeth started to clatter. It was easy enough to tell that the weather wasn’t looking too good, and Katrina wanted nothing more than to be back at home and get warmed up near their hearth. As if sensing his daughter’s wants, Katrina’s father pulled his rod out from the lake. “Come on, Kat. Let’s get back home before the weather gets worse.”

Katrina nodded, and she too took her rod out of the lake, and when she did, she and her father gathered their supplies and started to make their way back home. Whenever the two of them went out fishing, they would always take the same path to the lake and back home, and with them doing it so much, they practically had the way engraved in their heads. Even if the snow had their path covered, they never worried about getting lost in the thicket. As long as they got home together safe, then that was all that mattered.

The clouds in the sky grew darker, and as they did, things got much worse from there when the hail started to kick in. The clumps of ice bounced off Katrina and her father as they trudged through the snow, and Katrina hated whenever she got caught in hail, and whenever she felt those clumps of ice drop on her, it was almost as if they were trying to crack her head open like an egg. Katrina had to pull her hood over her head so the hail would be less frustrating to deal with, and even if it wouldn’t be enough to block it all out it was better than nothing. With the weather looking pretty bad, Katrina had to hold her father’s big hand so she wouldn’t lose him, and anything could go wrong in weather like this.

As father and daughter were getting close to home, Katrina began to notice something off to the side of the usual path they took. It was hard to distinguish what it was from where she was, but the more she looked, the more she could see that something was lying in the thick snow as hail was bouncing off of it. What could it possibly be? Dropping her items, Katrina ran over to the object.

“Katrina, what’re you doing?” Her father shouted to her.

“I think I see something,” Katrina answered, and when she got to what was in the snow, she brushed the snow off, and it wasn’t long until the brunette saw what it was in the snow, and when she did, Katrina gasped when she saw a boy. He had a nasty gash on his forehead, and he wasn’t moving. Katrina feared that this boy was dead, but surely he wasn’t right? “Father, there’s a boy!”

“What?” Katrina heard items being dropped and it wasn’t long until her Father got to her and the unconscious boy, and when he did, he started to feel the boy’s pulse on his neck. As he did, it was as if everything had gone silent at that moment, and Katrina waited to hear if the boy was alright or not. “Kat, I’m going to carry the boy, he’s okay, but he’s losing body heat. So I need you to try and carry all you can, okay?”

Katrina hadn’t realized she was holding her breath at that moment, but hearing that the boy wasn’t dead brought relief to her. As long as the boy was alright, then everything seemed like it would be okay. Katrina hoped that her father would be able to help this boy, and she knew she shouldn’t worry but just seeing the boy the way he was scared her that he may not make it. Her father was a healer, though, and surely he would know what to do.

Without saying a word, Katrina nodded, and after she did, her father picked up the boy and gingerly placed him over his shoulder to carry him. They weren’t too far from their home and so the two of them went back on the path they were taking after Katrina grabbed all that she could. They tried to get back home as fast as they could so Katrina’s father could help the boy and it came down to two possibilities: either the boy would make it or he would die. Katrina didn’t know who this boy was, but she hoped that he would be alright and she prayed to the seven gods that the boy would be okay.


After some more trudging through the snow, they had finally arrived back home. Their home wasn’t the fanciest, but it was a lovely sturdy abode with plenty of space. When they all got inside, Katrina’s father brought the boy into the guest room they had, and her father mainly used it to treat the patients he had if it was too late or a real emergency to take them to the healing place in town. Katrina’s father brought the boy over to the guest bed that was very simple and had a quilt that was in blue and white colors, and when he did, he quickly stripped the boy’s wet clothes. Katrina had to look away so she wouldn’t see the boy naked, and after her father took the boy’s clothes off, he laid the boy in the bed and covered him in the quilt. The boy looked very pale, and he seemed to have gotten worse. The gash on his forehead hadn’t gotten any better, and Katrina swore it looked more open now. Dry blood had painted itself down the side of the boy’s face, and some of it had now wholly dried while most of it was still oozing down.

“Kat, stay here with him,” Katrina’s father said as he then walked out of the guest room.

At that moment, Katrina wasn’t sure what to do. Was she supposed just to watch the boy? Just staring at this boy though he appeared to look about the same age as her, as she also stared at him it brought her questions inside her head. Why was he out there all by himself? How did he get that gash on his forehead? Who was he even?

The boy had some messy, wet hair, and it was as black as a raven, and it looked like he had barely anything to eat. As Katrina stared at the boy, she noticed something around his neck. Curiosity getting the best of her, she went to look at what it was, and when she looked, she saw a necklace hanging around his neck. It was a black cord, and the pendant that was hanging from it was very peculiar looking. It was pure white like snow, and it was a very odd shape that Katrina could only describe as round and pointy looking. It was unlike any necklace that Katrina had ever seen before, and she wondered what the pendant felt like. Katrina sat down then touched it, and when she did, she was amazed at how smooth it felt. It was almost like feeling a stone.

Then, Katrina felt movement, and she looked up to see the boy slowly moving, and when she did, she gasped as she let go of the pendant. That was a good sign, and it meant he might be okay then! The boy then slowly opened his eyes, and when he did, his eyes were seen to be blue. Not just any blue, though; they were icy blue. Katrina was amazed by the boy’s eyes, and they were almost like staring at turquoises, and she couldn’t bring herself to look away from them. It was almost like those eyes hypnotized her.

As the boy finally looked like he was fully awake, he looked around him in a confused manner, and Katrina watched as he rotated his head from one direction to another. It wasn’t long until his icy blue eyes fell on Katrina’s green eyes, and when they did, Katrina forgot how to move at that moment. She wanted to say something, but no words were able to leave her mouth. Katrina thought about going to get her father, but she didn’t want to disobey her father. The boy continued to stare at her though in silence, and no amount of words could describe how unpleasant this all felt.

After another minute of silence between the two kids, Katrina finally took the courage to speak to the boy. “Hello, you’re awake. My name’s Katrina; what’s your name?”

The boy didn’t respond, and when he didn’t, Katrina started to wonder if she should have even spoken. Maybe she should’ve just kept her mouth shut like a good girl. What else could she have done, though? Katrina now started to wonder where her father was and when he’d be back.

“Tarion,” the boy said quietly and slowly, and that caught Katrina by surprise. Even though the boy had spoken, he was barely expressing any emotions. He was as blank as parchment, and Katrina wondered if he could even feel the gash that was on his forehead. On the other hand, maybe he didn’t notice it at all? “Where…am I?”

“You’re in our abode.” The boy tilted his head, confused at her, and when Katrina caught onto why he looked confused, she tried to explain it better. “This abode belongs to my father and me. We found you outside all by yourself while we were coming home from fishing.”

The icy blue-eyed boy brought his gaze down, and as he did, he closed his eyes and seemed to be thinking about something. Katrina watched as Tarion was thinking, and she wanted to ask what he was doing but didn’t want to interrupt what he was doing. The boy was very odd, no doubt about it, and all Katrina wanted to do at that moment was leave this room as Tarion didn’t seem to be the type that liked to talk a lot. Katrina liked to socialize a lot, but this boy barely exchanged any words with her at all. Maybe he was nervous about speaking? Or perhaps he was still trying to adjust to his surroundings. The more that Katrina thought about it, she guessed she too would have acted the same way if she found herself in some stranger’s abode.

As Tarion was in his thoughts, Katrina’s father came into the room with a bowl in his hands, and he placed it down on the bedside. Steam gracefully swirled in the air from the bowl, and in the bowl, there was lukewarm water and a white rag. Katrina was relieved her father finally returned as she wasn’t sure she would’ve handled another minute being in the same room as the odd boy.

Katrina’s father then looked at Katrina. “Kat, can you dab the rag on the lad’s wound? I’ll be right back with some bandages and some mint tea.”

Without saying a word, Katrina nodded, and as her father walked out of the room, Katrina grabbed the rag out of the bowl and squeezed out as much of the unnecessary lukewarm water as she could, and after she did, she gently began to dab the rag on the boy’s wound. The boy flinched as soon as Katrina started to dab the rag on his forehead, but she tried to do it as gently as she could without touching him. The last thing Katrina wanted was to touch Tarion, and as she continued to dab his forehead, she didn’t say a word to him. Katrina also went as far as to try and clean the blood that dried on the side of Tarion’s, and as she was dabbing his wound, Tarion started to calm down and never said a word either. The two kids stayed silent as Katrina continued to pat at Tarion’s wound.

After a few more dabs to the icy blue-eyed boy’s wound, Katrina’s father came back in with some thick bandages, another bowl, and a cup of mint tea, and Katrina could already catch the aroma of mint, and she loved mint a lot. Her father placed the bowl, bandages, and cup of tea down on the bedside, and as he did, Katrina moved out of the way so her father could apply what was necessary to the boy’s forehead. She heard her father tell the boy to relax quietly and said that everything would be alright. Katrina’s father then grabbed the bowl he brought in with the bandages and cup of tea, and in that bowl, there was a green salve to be seen and a white rag. Katrina’s father took the rag out, and when he did, he started to dab the boy’s wound a few times with the rag, and the salve began to spread out to every tip of the wound.

As soon as it looked like the salve had covered the icy blue-eyed boy’s wound enough, Katrina’s father placed the bowl back on the bedside and grabbed the bandages, and when he did, he told the boy to slowly lift his head so he could wrap the bandages around his head. Quietly obeying, Tarion lifted his head, and when he did, Katrina’s father wrapped the bandages around his head a few times, and after he did, Tarion’s forehead seemed to have looked much better. Of course, it would take a while to heal fully, but it seemed like the boy would recover just fine.

Katrina’s father then grabbed the cup of tea and extended it to Tarion. “Here, drink this. It’ll help you relax.”

The boy stared at the tea and back to the man a few times, looking a little skeptical, and as he did, Katrina’s father looked at him patiently. Katrina’s father had always been a patient man for as long as Katrina could remember, and barely anything got him upset. Katrina’s father was always a reasonable man and would never think about bringing a fist to the face onto anyone. The look on Katrina’s father’s face would tell anyone that he was a man who could be trusted and would not harm them, and that was what he was trying to indicate to the odd boy. A healer he was, and a healer he would always be.

Hesitantly, the icy blue-eyed boy eventually took the cup of tea from Katrina’s father, and when he did, he slowly took a sip from it. He seemed to have relaxed a little now but still seemed to be in his little world. It was almost like he didn’t understand how the world around him worked, but humans weren’t meant to be clueless. Tarion barely looked anyone in the eye and mostly had his head down in thought, but he managed to take another small sip of his tea.

“Lad, can you tell me your name?” Katrina’s father asked softly.

The boy didn’t reply and kept his gaze down, and Katrina couldn’t say that she was surprised. Tarion was about as silent as a mouse at that moment. It was like he was afraid of speaking, and if he did, someone would rip his tongue out. What was his problem?

Before she could even stop herself, she found words already slipping from her mouth. “He said his name was Tarion, father.”

Katrina’s father didn’t look at Katrina after she answered for Tarion and kept looking at the boy. “That’s your name?” Then, without looking at Katrina’s father, Tarion slowly nodded. “Don’t worry, Tarion. You’re safe now, and you don’t have to be afraid.” Katrina’s father then gently placed his hand on the boy’s shoulder. “Can you answer me a couple of questions? You don’t have to answer right away, though.” After a few more seconds of silence, Tarion finally looked at Katrina’s father in the eyes, and when he did, he slowly nodded. “Why were you out there by yourself? Where are your parents?”

Katrina watched as Tarion once more closed his eyes, and as he did, he furrowed his brow. Standing here and waiting for Tarion to answer her father’s questions had to have been the longest minutes of her life. As her father would always tell her, though, she had to be patient to understand the person better. Katrina wasn’t sure how her father could do this. It had to have taken years for him to get it down. Katrina wasn’t that patient, but she tried as best as possible to be patient in any possible situation like this one.

“I…I don’t remember,” Tarion slowly said. “Everythings is just a blur for me….” The boy then took another sip of his tea.

At what Tarion said, Katrina’s eyes widened. It all made sense now why he was acting this way. Katrina wasn’t an expert in the healing field, but she had the feeling that Tarion lost his memories. She felt terrible at that moment for thinking of this boy as odd, and if she would’ve known sooner that he lost his memories, she wouldn’t have thought of him as odd. Of course, Katrina couldn’t have imagined what it was like to lose so many memories, but even that alone sounded horrible, especially for Tarion.

Katrina bit her bottom lip as she stared at Tarion and almost wanted to say that she was sorry, but she never said he was odd out loud. But still, even thinking that he was odd made her feel very bad about herself. Katrina was considered very friendly, and she felt like she hadn’t been very friendly enough to Tarion. It wasn’t like she hit him, though. She felt very sorry for him, though for losing his memories, but surely he’d be able to get them back, right?

“It’s okay, Tarion,” Katrina’s father softly spoke. “Try not to put too much stress on yourself. In the meantime, it might be best that you try to rest. We’ll help you find your parents tomorrow. But, for now, you’ll need to stay here and rest, okay?” Slowly, Tarion nodded, and after he did, Katrina’s father gathered what was brought into the guest room. “Good.” He then looked at Katrina. “Kat, can you help me make some salmon stew?”

Without a second thought, Katrina nodded. “Yes, father.” Her father then walked out of the room, and Katrina was about to follow him but then looked back at Tarion. He was taking another sip of his tea, and after he did, he was looking down, not only confused but also upset. At that moment, Katrina wanted to cheer up the icy blue-eyed boy in any way she could. He seemed nice, and what harm would it do to try and speak to him once more? So Katrina approached Tarion, and as she did, Tarion looked at her, and when he did, Katrina smiled warmly at him. “I know we just met, but...do you want to be friends?”

At that moment, Tarion looked at her surprised, and when he did, Katrina managed to giggle. His reaction was pretty funny to her, and perhaps if she managed to get him to lighten up some, he’d be fun to not only talk to but to play with as well. Katrina wasn’t sure if Tarion would consider the idea of them being friends, but in a way, she hoped that he would accept to be friends with her.

To Katrina’s delight, Tarion managed to smile. It was a weak one, though, but it was a good start. “Sure.”

To Katrina, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship, and she hoped that this friendship would last for a very long time. If they couldn’t find Tarion’s parents, perhaps he could live with them then. Katrina did hope, though, that he would get his memories back and they would be able to help him find his parents. Either way, though, Katrina was happy to have made a friend.

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