OLAD :Future: Winter Interlude

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The sounds of battle raged behind the young girl as she was carried by her mother away from the house. The long silver strands of her mother's hair tickled her nose, and she looked around for her father. "Where's Daddy? Where's Daddy?" Suddenly her mother tripped over an exposed root and fell heavily to the ground, spilling the toddler from her grasp.

"Kilauea!" Her mother screamed, trying to get back to her feet, but it was useless. An elf with skin as dark as she and her mother's had already stepped out from the trees towards the fallen woman, sword raised.

"Run, Kilauea!" The girl struggled to her feet, but simply stood there, scared and confused.

"Where's Daddy?" she asked again, just as a man dressed in a robe stepped in front of her.

"I can be your daddy now, you disgusting, half-breed whelp," he grinned, his white teeth contrasting sharply with his blue-black skin.

"Nooooo! Run, Kilauea! Kilau-"


Kilauea opened her eyes, the nightmare shattering into forgotten pieces. She grumbled and pulled her blanket tighter over her head, wondering why her eyes were wet.

"Come on, I know you're awake. I heard you talking. Get up, there's something I want to show you"

Kilauea sighed and pulled the blanket down to her nose, glaring over the soft fabric at Hallis, who had stuck his head in the open door.

"This better be good," she growled, her voice muffled slightly. "It's barely morning and it's cold. That's two things I hate, which you are causing me to endure."

"Dress warmly, then. We're going outside." Hallis laughed and ducked as a pillow flew at his head.

"Out?! After that storm we had last night?"

"Trust me," Hallis wheedled. "I promise you won't regret it. And if you do, you can spar with me later."

Kilauea growled again, muttered something unsavory under her breath, and said, "I'm to spar with you anyway."

"Exactly! So you have nothing to lose! Now get up!" Hallis dodged a soft leather boot and hastily backed out of the room, closing the door lightly behind him. He grinned as he heard Kilauea's muffled grumbling and complaints through the door. A few moments later, the door opened, and the dark-skinned elf woman stood before him wearing her warmest clothes. Hallis was fortunate that looks couldn't kill, because the daggers Kilauea was throwing his way would have done so several times over. Hallis shivered despite his jacket, and motioned to Kilauea.

"Come on. I want you to see this before it's ruined."

Kilauea crossed her arms and scowled as she followed Hallis through the halls. It was bad enough to be awoken at the crack of dawn, but the big oaf wanted her to go outside, in the cold! He was like a puppy in his eagerness sometimes. So very, very annoying! Kilauea wasn't paying attention to where she was going, and simply trailed behind Hallis as he walked. Finally he came to the door that opened to the courtyard.

"All right, close your eyes. And no peeking!"

Kilauea closed her eyes again and waited impatiently. She heard Hallis open the door, followed by a cool, crisp gust of air that made her shiver slightly. She started thinking about Hallis's heavy, fur-lined winter jacket and began wishing for one for herself. It was cold outside! The storm the night before had been fierce, with window-rattling gusts of wind, but the well-tended fireplace and snug blankets in her room had driven it from her mind. Now she was apparently going to see the aftermath. She jumped slightly as Hallis took her gloved hands and began leading her out the door.

"Careful now, step carefully." Hallis's voice was soothing enough, but again, that boyish excitement... Kilauea sighed and wondered if it was a human trait, a male trait, or simply the way Hallis was. She didn't need to open her eyes to know he was grinning broadly. On a boy, this expression would have been followed by bouts of giggling. Her brows scrunched slightly as her mind tried to give her the image of the large, brown-haired paladin giggling, then gave her head a sharp shake to clear the vision.

He was leading her across something that made an odd crunch-squeak noise beneath her boots. He lead her a few paces, then dropped her hands and moved behind her, placing his hands on her upper arms to guide her.

"Hallis..." Kilauea murmured in annoyance.

"Shh, we're almost there." Crunch-squeak. Crunch-squeak. "Here we are. You can open your eyes now." He neglected to remove his hands from her arms.

"Hallis, do let g---oh." Her admonition fell away from her lips as she opened her eyes.

A blanket of pristine sparkling white covered the courtyard. It had drifted and billowed around the edges of the trees and benches. The trees themselves wore pillows of landed stars, the sun catching the mounds of snow and shattering into millions of tiny, prismatic pieces. Icicles hung from the snow-draped branches, reflecting the blue of the sky in their crystalline lengths. The sky itself was almost painful to look at-a pure, brilliant blue without a hint of the clouds that had hidden it the previous weeks.

Kilauea's breath steamed in the air as she looked about, her violet eyes wide with wonder. She forgot Hallis's hands on her arms as she took in the beauty of her first snowfall. She took a few steps forward, noticing the odd crunch-squeak noise the snow made beneath her feet, not noticing the way the hands on her arms dropped away with reluctance . She turned to look back at her footprints, then at Hallis. He was smiling at her with mingled excitement and hope on his face.

"Do you like it?" he asked, unable to look away from her captivating eyes.

"It's ... it's just beautiful," she breathed, then looked back at the trees. A cardinal flew down to a branch near her, and chattered brightly as he hopped from twig to twig. Kilauea sighed, counting her blessings once again, as she did frequently since her release from captivity. She shivered slightly, both from the cold and from the memories.

She heard the rustle of cloth and leather, and then Hallis's warm fur jacket was draped over her shoulders. She smiled to herself and gathered it close, grateful for the warmth. She began to wander through the courtyard, looking at the snow on the trees and ground, noting how it build up in some places, but was barely covering others. After a few moments, she realized the jacket was full of Hallis's scent, warm and musky beneath the smell of the leather, undeniably male but somehow comforting. She pulled the fur-lined hood closer around her face, closing her eyes for a moment as she breathed in his scent, smiling to herself. He was a good man, she reminded herself, then turned towards him and opened her eyes, still smiling.

For a moment, Hallis's eyes were full of tenderness, before he quickly schooled his face into the normal, care-free look he always wore. Kilauea noticed, and wondered why her heart seemed to skip a beat when she caught that flash of caring in his eyes. Does he look at me like that often? What does it mean?

She walked back to him, pretending she hadn't noticed the change in expression. "Hallis, I'm cold, and I'm still tired. This is beautiful... but I'm going back to bed, before I accidentally kill someone while I'm half-asleep." She was only half-joking.

Hallis grinned, "All right, but later I'm going to teach you how to throw snowballs."

"Throw snowballs?"

"Just trust me," he sketched a bow and followed her back inside and through the halls. They arrived at her door and she took off his jacket, slightly reluctant to let the warmth go.

"Sleep well," said Hallis, taking the jacket from her. She nodded and walked into her room, flashing him a brief smile as she closed the door.

She didn't see him hold the jacket up to his face, closing his eyes and smiling to himself as he breathed in her scent, still lingering on the soft fur lining. Giving his head a shake, he walked away with a rueful half-smile on his face.
This story takes place some length of time after the first two Of Light And Darkness stories, probably about 3 or 4 years. I'm sorry about the gap and seemingly sudden change in attitude, but my muse INSISTED I write a winter piece involving these two, and I promise it'll all come together in the end. Or the middle.. if you want to look at it that way.

Kilauea and Hallis as a character © me.
© 2006 - 2021 SunGryphon
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SDkidd's avatar
Interesting :-)