Winter – Chapter 22 – 03

            Cameron let her sleep past dawn, past the time the storm abated.  She hadn’t answered all of his questions, but he’d settled for letting her fall asleep again in his arms.
            Not sure she could—or would—answer all of them anyway.  He smoothed her hair back from her face and gently tucked the blankets more closely around her, then tightened his boot laces and got up.  Two days had probably helped, but not as much as he’d have liked.  She still had a fever.  He was starting to think it was never going to go away.
            She’s right, though.  We can’t afford to stay in one spot, especially this far from any sort of civilization.  Not by ourselves.  Not until she’s healed.  We can’t wait that long.  He closed his eyes for a moment and exhaled noisily.
            “Bloody hell, Cameron,” he muttered to himself as he yanked on his coat and stepped out into the gray and white dawn.  “You never should have left that cabin in the woods.”
            The snow was shin-deep in places, in others the wind had scoured it down to bare earth.  His breath steamed in the chill air as he made his way the few feet to the second lean-to and the horses.  Neve’s mount nudged his shoulder as he eased under cover.  He patted its flank lightly and glanced at his own mount, who eyed him with what he could only describe as annoyance.
            He shook his head and untied their leads from the branches he’d secured them to.  “Come on, then,” he said quietly.  “Time for a drink before you get fed and loaded.”
            There wasn’t a choice.  They’d have to ride while the weather held.
            However long that is.
            He closed his eyes briefly.  There were still a lot of miles between them and where they were going, and a lot of water—and probably worse—besides.
            I just have to hope there’s a bridge intact or a boat we can use.  Just have to bloody well hope.  It’s all I can do.
            Cameron led the horses down to the creek and broke the thin ice over the water to let them drink.  He stared at the sky, at the clouds that were slowly clearing, leaving behind a sky streaked in pink and blue with the dawn.
            I don’t even know what I’m riding toward.  Just a feeling.  He glanced back toward the lean-tos, brows knitting.  “And I’m carrying a goddamned magic sword,” he muttered under his breath.  “And she’s telling me there are all kinds of crazy prophecies about some kind of once and future king bullshit, and I’m the one with the magic sword.”
            At least I know she doesn’t think I’m anything more than just…me.  I wonder what her brother saw when he looked at me.  He blew out a quiet breath, patting one of the horses on the neck.  I wonder what everyone else will see when they look at me.  It doesn’t matter who they are.  I just wonder what they’ll see.
            After another few minutes, he turned the horses back toward camp, trying to stay quiet so Neve could catch another few minutes of rest while he fed the horses started to break camp and load up.
            He gave the horses some of the grain they carried, then ducked into the shelter he’d shared with Neve.  The sword lay next to their blankets, sheathed in the same leather scabbard that Neve had carried it in.  Cameron crouched.  He picked up the blade, strapped it to his back.  He rolled his shoulders slightly until the blade felt comfortable—it didn’t take much.
            A fucking magic sword.  Somehow, it feels right.
            Damn it all, somehow it feels right.
            He began to gather up the packs, freezing as he heard the sounds of the mounts becoming restless.  He swallowed bile that suddenly rose in his throat and straightened slowly, silently, then eased out into daylight.
            There was another man in camp, dressed in biker boots and blue jeans under a herder’s jacket and fur cap.  He stood next to one of the horses, rubbing its ears and making soft, soothing sounds.
            Every muscle in Cameron’s body tightened.  Where the hell did he come from?
            The stranger turned a brilliantly blue-eyed gaze on the former pilot and smiled a lopsided, almost lazy smile.
            “A little bird told me I could find a princess of Avalon here,” he said, his accent strange but his tone disarming.  “I wonder if the man holding Caliburn could help me find her.”

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3 Responses to Winter – Chapter 22 – 03

  1. This post is an example of why me watching the History Channel while writing is bad. You’ll possibly see why on Monday.

    Awakenings Book One print edition is now available. You can find it on Amazon (and Createspace). Barnes and Noble should be coming soon.

  2. Antonious says:

    I hope this is one of the “good” guys. The fact that he got into camp so easily suggests he is definitely not your everyday woods walker. The fact that the horses are only restless, while not definitive, is suggestive that he is not a hostile.

Got thoughts?