Law lowered the young girl on to a bed of blankets and backed away as far as the small cave would allow. The others swarmed around her, touching her cheeks, her hair, shaking their heads. Floren glared up at him. He raised his chin in arrogance, but his eyes lingered on the young girl’s face a moment too long.
Her white blonde hair was tainted red and discoloured with dirt. Her pale face flushed and her strange coloured eyes rolled back in to her head feverishly. It had been her eyes that gave him pause in the wood. They were so very similar to his. Some of the Gifted had rare coloured eyes. Hers were striking. A pale blue that glittered with silver flecks around the pupil, with a grey outer circle. With those eyes set in her pale face she looked like an ice princess from the Unknown Lands. He had known a few and none were as beautiful as this girl.
She was dainty, lithe, her breasts slightly heavier above her tiny waist. Her hips curved enticingly, meeting long legs. Her hair fell long and wavy over the floor of the cave and her full lips pouted appealingly, even as she suffered in her pain.
The moment he thought of her lips he caught himself. She was nothing but a troublesome problem that had bled his cheek. He touched his face and felt the smooth cut on his unblemished skin. Surely they did not need this pretty creature. They were not looking for some weak child. The boy held the qualities of a warrior. A sturdy body with the contours of muscle on his shoulders and arms. His hands were calloused from practice with a sword and knife. He had no doubt the boy was skilled with a bow and arrow as well.
Why did they need the female?
Then he wondered, now that he had seen her, whether he could have left her to die. He had thought about it while she lay curled in the snow. A weak, useless girl. Then she had opened her eyes. She had really looked at him and had not flinched away from his own strange eyes and battle hardened face. Their eyes had held for long moments. She had studied him.
Law watched as they dripped water against her lips. The girl was unresponsive. Her body was trembling violently and her eyes rolled wildly, unseeing. Wherever she was, she was no longer in the cave.
“I have not seen a fever like this since the wars,” said the blue-haired Azure. He smoothed back the girl’s hair gently.
“Neither have I,” admitted Floren. She flung her heavy chestnut hair over one shoulder carelessly and glared up at Law once more. Her hazel eyes were a swirling mixture of green and light brown, shimmering with anger.
“Please help her.” The male survivor was closest to the young girl. He was holding her hand, calling her name. He swayed tiredly on his knees. Floren noticed.
“Azure, find the boy some blankets. He needs rest.”
“I am not a boy. My name is Ash Mayspring and I do not wish to sleep. I dare not…If Myst dies I want to be beside her until her last breath. Please.”
Myst. Her name resembled her features. Law narrowed his eyes. Yes, her eyes were the colour of a thick mist which swirled delicately over a frozen lake in the heart of the Winter seasons. Her hair was the silver waves of a waterfall that cascades over the lake, her fair skin; the snow that settles on the bank during the Dark season. She was winter personified.
“Her pulse is faint,” said Azure softly. His hands were touching her throat, her wrist.
“We need more blankets,” said Floren.
Law made no move to fetch them. What did he care if the girl lived or died? If she died then she was not the one they were searching for. There was no loss. He turned away from them and settled in his own bed close to the cave entrance. Had he not done enough for these people? Could he not yet go home? He had spent the best part of half the year searching through towns and villages of dead bodies. He had braved the icy weather of the Dark season tracking the two survivors and brought them, more or less, to safety. As far as he was concerned the girl had already been sick before he found her and it was not his fault if she died. Still, he glanced over when the girl shuddered viciously. Her full lips trembled.
He listened too eagerly to their words.
“The fever has taken her.”
I will add this to the main page if it becomes popular with readers. As always I am grateful for any feedback and comments. I hope you enjoy it as much as readers are enjoying the first teaser of the first book in a series of three which I hope to get published soon!