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Intertwined in Frost

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In the heart of a small cabin in the middle of snowy mountains, a young man wakes up with no memory, told he had been found bleeding out in the snow by the small group of dragon hunters he awakes to. With nowhere else to go, they offer for him to travel with them, at least till the next snow. As he searches for the secrets of his identity, he finds himself falling deeper and deeper in love with one his companions. However, he has a secret he has yet to remember, and when he does it could tear everything apart.

Romance / Fantasy
Jace McDonald
Age Rating:

Chapter 1


That’s all the man felt. Floating. His body, his bones, disconnected and yet held together as they floated down the river of nothingness that he felt his body on. It was. . .warm? A warm floating, though he would not go so far as to call it pleasant. His head hurt, and when he moved he felt as though he was suddenly ripping through fire, though it settled as soon as he stopped.

There was nothing there, only floating.

Until he opened his eyes.

As the man awoke to reality, it was still warm, though much more pleasant. He was lying in a bed, inside what looked like a small cabin, with a roaring fire crackling nearby. Outside the nearby window it was snowing, and if he listened closely he could hear the wind occasionally brush branches against the roof of the cabin. It was night, and while it wasn’t storming outside, he certainly appreciated not being out in the cold. He reached up to push back his hair and paused when he felt a cloth bandage wrapped around his forward. Was he injured? He certainly didn’t remember being injured. Then again, as he wracked his brain for remnants of what happened, it seemed he struggled to remember much of anything.

“Ah, you’re awake.” He turned his head to identify the source of the voice. It was a rather tall person standing from their spot next to the fire, and the man was a little ashamed that he hadn’t noticed them before. “I was beginning to wonder if you’d wake up before tomorrow.” They turned to him, holding a bowl of stew out to him. After a moment he took hold of it, looking down at it. It looked rich, with clumps of meat and vegetables floating against each other. He looked over at the other person only to find that they had already turned back to the stew pot, ladling stew into three other bowls with long, dark hair obscuring their face. “How are you feeling?”

“Um, my head hurts a bit.” The man said, taking the spoon in his bowl and staring at it for a moment before carefully scooping a chunk of meat out of his stew. “But aside from that I’m. . .well.”

“That is not surprising.” The person set the three bowls down at a nearby table. “When we found you your head was bleeding out into the snow. Like I said, I wasn’t sure if you would wake up before tomorrow. I also wasn’t sure if you’d wake up at all.” The person sat in a chair and turned to him. “Forgive me though, I’ve been rude. My name is Finley. What is yours?”

The man had to take a moment, wracking his brain again. What was his name? He could hear sounds from the back of his mind, few of them identifiable, but as he sifted through them he found one that was clear. A woman’s voice, older and a little grumbly, but familiar.

“Sweet stars of death, it is freezing out there!” A voice came crashing through the front door as it swung open, with two people walking in. The first one, the one who’d spoken, was a woman with wild hair like fire whose presence announced itself and filled the room. Behind her was a tall man with dark hair and equally dark eyes, standing tall with arms full of firewood. He walked over and dropped the wood on a small pile that sat next to the fireplace while the woman shut the door behind them. She turned to him and smiled, walking over to the table and sitting in front of a bowl of stew. “Oh good, you’re awake.”

“He awoke a few minutes ago.” Finley said, looking over the woman. The man watched their eyes meet and caught a spark of unspoken affection before Finley looked back at him. “This is my partner, Veronica.”

“You’re lucky we found you when we did.” Veronica said. She scooped a spoonful of stew into her mouth and swallowed it down, doing a small shake as the food seemed to warm her from the inside out. “You can thank Bryn for that, actually. He was the one who spotted you out in the snow.”

“Bryn?” The man asked.

“That would be me.” The other man said, having finally finished organizing the wood. He came over to the table, sitting with his two companions. “And yes, you were lucky. If I hadn’t spotted you in the snow you likely would not be with us right now.”

“Well, thank you then.” The man said, giving Bryn a small nod.

“Now then, before we were so rudely interrupted.” A playful tone danced at the end of Finley’s tongue. “You were about to tell me your name.”

“I think. . .I think it’s Terrowin.”

“You think?”

“I’m not sure, but it’s the only word that comes to mind when I try to think of my name.”

“Then Terrowin it is.” Veronica said with a nod. “How much do you remember?”

“Not much.” Terrowin admitted. “I remember. . .I remember running. I think I was being chased by something. And I fell. But I don’t remember anything before that.”

“Any details about yourself? Other than your name?”

“No. Sorry.”

“So you don’t have anywhere to go, then?”

Terrowing shook his head in response. A twinge of anxiety bit deep in his chest. He didn’t have anywhere to go. He knew the three of them had saved him from bleeding out in the snow or possibly freezing to death, but could he really be so sure their compassion or pity would extend beyond that? Especially when he couldn’t think of anything he had to offer them in return? Would they leave him here in the cabin, in the middle of the cold?

“If you bite your lip any harder your going to cut yourself.” Bryn’s voice knocked him out of his spiral, and he unlatched his teeth from his lip, leaving a sting in their place. “We’re not going to leave you here, if that’s what you’re thinking.” His shoulders relaxed. “We’re on our way back to our main hall anyway. I don’t think there would be a problem with us bringing you along, if not simply so you can get to somewhere more populated.”

“We could also use the extra help on our way back anyway.” Veronica said. “An extra mouth to feed is two extra hands to work, afterall.” Terrowin nodded.

“I don’t know what I can offer you, though.” He said, tensing up again.

“That’s fine.” She assured him. “It won’t take long to find out. You look old enough to have held a knife before. How old are you? Twenty-something?”

“I don’t know.”

“Right.” There was a moment of silence. “Well, it’s not hard to learn the basics. We can find time to teach you.”

“Thank you.” He said, scooping the last of his stew from his bowl. “I promise, I’ll try my best to be helpful.”

“He may also be a mage.” Finley added. “When you’ve recovered more, we can see if you have any affinity with spells from my book.” Terrowin nodded, though in his admittedly unexpected excitement at the notion of magic he jostled his head a bit too much, wincing at the feeling. “Not until you’re recovered though. I can see the enthusiasm in your eyes. It’s a good sign, but not worth much if you hurt yourself.”

“Why are you being so kind to me?”

There was a moment of silence between the three of them, and once again Terrowin worried that he’d suddenly find himself in the cold. Had he pushed his luck? Were they going to think about it for more than a moment and realize there was no reason?

“It’s the best thing to do.” Bryn finally said. “To help others, I mean. Would you disagree?” Terrowin shook his head. “Then there you have it. Anyhow, we have a long day of traveling ahead of us. So try to get some more rest. Otherwise this trip will take even longer than necessary, and we need to at least make it to the village by tomorrow night.” Terrowin nodded again, and after some more conversation between the three of them, Terrowin mostly listening a they casually remarked on the firewood excursion, the group settled into their beds, hidden from the snow, and Terrowin floated away again.

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