Something in common

The winter air bit deep, no matter how many layers he wore. Everyone said he’d grow used to it, but as he adjusted the thick scarf wrapped so it just brushed his chin, Rune thought again of how he didn’t want to.

Snow was as marvelous as ever; he couldn’t deny the strange sense of wonder he felt when he watched it drift from the sky. But it was a nuisance on the ground, making travel difficult, making this trip far less pleasant than it should have been. Even in their fur and leather wrappings, his feet were as numb as his nose, making him long for the warmth of his homeland. It would be the rainy season now, filling the island with mist and mugginess, replenishing the shallow river in Core. Pulling his coat a little tighter, he tried not to think of the weather any more.

Not sharing his aversion, Rhyllyn tore past him, laughing as he ran into the field of virgin snow. The boy only made it a short distance before he tripped and tumbled, floundering in the powder that came halfway to his knees.

“So this is where the house will be?”

Rune glanced over his shoulder as the white-robed mage approached, rubbing her arms against the cold. Between her robes and the white hair that spilled from beneath her hood, she nearly disappeared in the snow. Only her face stood out, though even that was not so tan as it had been.

“Eventually,” Rune said, glancing back to where Rhyllyn rolled in the snow. “Though probably closer to the trees.”

“I suppose building will have to wait until spring. I’m sure he’ll be happy to have somewhere permanent to call home.” Alira rearranged the skirt of her robe as she settled beside him, following his gaze and chuckling. “All he needs now is a dog.”

Making a soft sound of displeasure in his throat, Rune rearranged the folds of his scarf again. “Do you think he’s happy?”

“What do you think?” Alira laughed, flicking her fingers toward the child. The boy rolled onto his back, swishing his arms and legs to leave a snow angel in the field.

Rune snorted. Stupid question. Rhyllyn would have found a way to be content no matter where he’d landed. “He’s not much like me, is he?”

Alira cocked her head. “Why? Because he’s happy?”

That wasn’t what he’d meant, but that she took it that way cut deep. He said nothing, casting her a baleful glance from the corner of his eye instead.

Unfazed, she shrugged and turned back to watching Rhyllyn play. “I think after everything he’s been through, the situation he’s in is the best he could hope for.”

“Even though-” Rune started.

Alira didn’t let him finish. “Yes, even though he’s different. He doesn’t suffer, you know that. He has some difficulty learning to hold a pen and the bards are always after him for damaging their drum skins and strings, but his life is good.” She gave him a sidewise glance.

“And carved by the reputation I made. I know.” Sighing, Rune stamped his feet in vain hope it would restore feeling to his toes. “But look at him. He’s so…”

“So what?”

He frowned at her, raising his gloved hands in frustration. “Innocent. He’s got a tender heart. He’s kind. Gentle.” Nothing like him. He was a monster in every sense.

Raising one thin white brow, Alira smirked.

Rune’s frown deepened to a scowl. “What?”

The question barely escaped his mouth before the snowball impacted the side of his head, clumps of snow slithering down inside his scarf, making him gasp and shudder.

“He also has a mischief streak a mile wide,” Alira giggled.

Rhyllyn crowed with laughter at his brother’s expression, spinning on his heel to run.

Clawing ice out of his collar, Rune gritted his teeth. “Well, well,” he growled, scooping two handfuls of snow from the ground and packing them together with a spark in his eye. “Maybe we have something in common!”

This week’s prompt was “We have something in common.”

You can read Megan’s response to this prompt on her blog.

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