Winter Snow - Cover

Winter Snow

Copyright© 2011 by LeeC

Chapter 3: New Beginings

Snow and Niklaren had been travelling for almost a week when one morning they came out of the trees to sight of a large sprawling Fort.

"Fort Brennan" Snow exclaimed. The mage looked sideways at him curiously. They were the first words the young man had said in a week.

After making his vow on his mother grave the week past they had continued to travel in complete silence. The entire time Snow had been in a deeply introspective mood.

Snow glanced bewildered at the mage who simply smiled in response. "We've been travelling for a complete week, you were very deep in thought." His voice was light and showed no inflection as if he was simply commenting on the state of the the weather and it was completely natural for Snow to do this.

Snow looked at the mage, Master Niklaren, he corrected himself. He hadn't been mean to him in any way or tried to dictate what they were doing. In fact he had left him completely to his thought without saying anything to him. This rocked Snows idea of people to the core. He had spoken only to his mother before her untimely death but on his three visits to civilisation he had observed people talking to each other but he only had disdain for his fellow humans.

In every social setting Snow had observed, someone was always trying to beat someone else at something. If it were two soldiers comparing made up kills to re-enforce their masculinity, or a pair of seamstresses shamelessly exploiting each other to find out any scrap of gossip that might be interesting to them. It was very rare that people treated each other as equals or treated their betters with respect and their subjects with devotion. Yet this mage, Master Niklaren, he corrected himself again had allowed Snow to travel all this way in peace without forcing his views or opinions on him. He had given no condolences he did not mean nor had he pretended to pity him.

Snow tentatively smiled at the mage, Master Niklaren he corrected himself once more. "May I just call you Niklaren?" Snow asked. "The whole Master Niklaren is a bit of a mouthful really."

The mage beamed at him, he was seemingly pleased at this attempt at normal conversation. "Just call me Niko, everyone else does. Besides if anyone calls me Master anything, it's usually Master Goldeye. My chosen mage name" He explained when Snow looked oddly at him.

"Why would anyone need two names?" Snow asked curiously. Nikos answering smile made Snow feel a little silly for asking, clearly this was something he should know. Turning red he just muttered. "Never mind, it was a stupid question" And he began to inspect his feet.

"Most people have more than one name, their first name which is their given name the one they use day to day and their family name so they can identify themselves to their family. Mages often choose or get given another name when they graduate which fits their speciality in magic." Nikos statement was not condescending or scornful but matter of fact.

Snow smiled appreciatively at him then jerked his head towards the sprawling base in front of them. "Why are we here?"

"I'm going to take you south to the winding circle temple in Emelan. It will be different to what you're used to, and you'll have to interact with people your own age but I think it will be good for you. But first I need to drop this fellow off with the local huntsman." Niko said indicating the wolf cub that now was sleeping in a sling around his neck.

I'd completely forgotten he had that Snow thought surprised. Reaching to his waist Snow pulled his Leather canteen pouch to his lips and took a swig. He nodded to Niko and then adjusted both the packs on his back, he had taken his mothers pack when they had left. He couldn't just leave it out there in the woods.

Snow reached over to stroke the wolf cub between it's ears, blearily the little cub tried to nip on the end of his finger but Snow was too fast for him and tapped him on the nose with it. "Naughty naughty" The cub was cute and Snow would have liked to keep him but even with his rather stunted social skills he knew that generally wolves weren't allowed to be kept as pets.

Snow cocked an eyebrow at Niko and indicated the fort again in a gesture that clearly said, ready to go? Niko nodded in reply and absently stroked the cub.

The two of them walked towards the Fort gate and quite a sight they were too, a tall man with greying hair at his temples and a lean frame who radiated authority and a young boy of twelve years whose glacial eyes and white hair made him very distinctive. The fact they had a wolf cub with them was seemingly ignored by the Fort guards who just nodded to Niko then looked curiously at Snow.

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