Bowman – Snow.
This is Fairy Tales canon. Bowman is newly 19, and it takes place the winter after the events of Bowman of Wellwood.
Reading Time: ~5-10 minutes
The main room was cozy and warm. Candara had Prayed all morning to bring warmth coursing through their home branch, and the Earth Spirit’s magic granted them a warmer home despite the bitter cold outside. The breeze leaking through the shaded windows promised that stepping outside would require several layers.
Bowman was restless as he was every winter, but he didn’t feel like going out just yet. In the deadest part of winter, his wings twitched with shivers and the desire to fly both. Today, he remained inside with the others to avoid that chill.
Candara and Larxe sat together on one of the cushioned benches in the room, their wings around each other like leafy green cloaks. Candara rested her head on Larxe’s chest, tired out after Praying for so much warmth. Bowman sat by the wall and let the heat creep up his spine and into his folded wings. His right leg was drawn up, but the left one stretched out in front of him. He stared at it absently.
Rischa wandered over to him to sit down at his side. Bowman lifted an arm so his young cousin could snuggle closer to him with her blanket over her shoulders. “It’s hurting again,” she noted, glancing at Bowman’s leg.
It had healed months ago. And yet, sometimes, Bowman’s knee would have phantom pains in it from when he’d injured it. Those pains, Cerul had told him, would never go away completely. Too much strain on it, or even sometimes just the cold that came with the snowy weather would make the old wound site tender and sore.
He would always have the reminder of a human hand closing over his body and slowly applying pressure until he couldn’t even scream for mercy.
Rischa suddenly freed her arms from her blanket to hug Bowman around his waist and he jolted right out of his thoughts. He looked down at her in surprise and noted that her eyes were shut tight and she didn’t look ready to let go anytime soon. He smiled faintly and reached down to pull her blanket back up over her.
“It’s only a little, Birdie,” he told her in a hushed voice.
She looked up at him with concern in her eyes. Bowman never was any good at hiding things from Rischa. Ever since she’d realized her gift of the Voice, he could hide even less. She could read his heart like curling script was written on his wings. She knew where his thoughts inevitably went when his knee flared up. She knew the fear and pain and despair that he remembered, like echoes of a thunderstorm. She was only eight, and yet she already weathered the feelings of everyone around her.
Rischa reached up with one little hand to cup her palm on Bowman’s cheek. Her thumb brushed under his eye as if wiping away a tear that hadn’t been released, and she smiled at him. “I know. It’s okay, Bowman,” she told him.
He gave her a half smile, and his brow pinched with bemusement. “Look at you trying your best to freeze,” he said, pretending to scold her. He pulled her blanket up higher so it rested over her head and covered her golden eyes, getting a delighted giggle from her.
He opened one wing to wrap it around his young cousin and she snuggled closer to him. They took in the warmth together, and the cold couldn’t get to them. Bowman hummed quietly, a sound that Rischa could hear resounding in his chest. Even with the responsibility settled on her by her gift, Bowman would let her be a child for as long as he could.