Marshall F. Avery was born under a blue moon, in the back room of a stable. Once he came screaming and pink into the world, his parents vanished without a trace and left him in the care of a stable master. They abandoned their only child; for his own good.
Raised by the old man and a son close to his age, Duncan, the young man realized at an early age that he was different. He had the ability to do things that many only dreamt of, wield the power of nature and his mind however he pleased. But in this land, where magic was outlawed by those in power, his secret was closely guarded and protected by the old stable master. The same stable master who had promised his parents that he would guide and care for the boy until he was ready.
When he was six years old, the stable master died and the Lord whose lands they lived on discovered his gifts. He cast to two small children out into the cold, as punishment for being evil and unnatural. So together, they wandered the land.
The young man decided to strike back at those around him who feared his power and at the age of twelve, news of the great magician Frost had spread like wild fire. Peasants and Lords alike quaked with fear at his name, told stories about him to frighten their children from bad behaviour; it was everything he could have ever hoped for and everything he wanted.
At sixteen, on the day of his birth under the reoccurring blue moon, his parents came to him for the first time. They explained the need for him to grow apart from them and discover himself, to grow and learn without biased opinions or influence. He understood, though still angry, he found that no matter what they had done to him as a child, he still loved them very much.
They also gave him a gift. The Nautical Pendant, a jewel strong enough to harness the power of the sun, moon, and stars. It was his birthright to guard the pendant and keep it from the hands of those who couldn't control it's vast power. It was his job, to keep the world safe from it's destructive power.
Taking the pendant and his good friend, Duncan, Frost moved to a popular city and joined society under his true name, Marshall Avery. He attended functions and did his best to behave like a normal member of high society. It was there, that he fell in love.
A beautiful woman named Arachna and a powerful sorceress also hiding from the sight of the world. He loved her with every breath of his body and moved mountains on command for her. What he didn't see was that she was only after one thing, the Nautical Pendant.
One morning he woke to find her and the pendant gone. Angry and betrayed, he vowed never to be taken for the fool again. To ensure this he locked his emotions within a looking glass, where they could be seen but never affect him or his judgement again. The only feeling that survived was his anger, which he held on to as he struck out across the land to find Arachna and retrieve the Nautical Pendant. No matter who he stepped on, he had to get that pendant back.
--- --- --- --- ---
Arachna paced the tallest room of Gilbert Tower, her fingers toying with the silvery jewel hanging between her ample breasts. Mouth twisted prettily in anger, it didn't denounce how beautiful she was.
Long red hair piled high on her head, brown eyes with beautiful eyelashes, and neatly slashed brows gave her an exotic look. Her features were smoothly chiselled, high cheekbones and pert nose showing off fine breeding; there was probably Roman Aristocrat somewhere in her background. An elegant gown of deep blue flattered her square shoulders, willowy frame, and creamy skin. But her beauty was only skin deep. Beneath the breathtaking exterior was a heart blacker than the raven sitting on the chair watching her pace.
"He's relentless!" she screeched. "It was almost five years ago and he still comes." She paused to look wistful. "The stamina." The raven cackled at her and she frowned back. "Of course I miss him, but I have bigger things on my list than him. Once I figure out how to get this damned pendant to work I can set everything straight once more, but I can't do that with him breathing down my neck!" A second raven flew in the open window and screamed loudly, fluttering it's wings in irritation. She sighed heavily. "Already? I was hoping he'd relent after the Melbourne fire." she shook her head. "I hate to do this, especially with the new babe and Lord Gilbert is a very dear friend." she smiled coldly. "But I can't have Frost finding my trail."
--- --- --- --- ---
Frost let his aqua eyes roam the blaze while servants ran for water to put it out. Copper hair pulled back and tied at the nape of his neck, a few strands had managed to come loose and flutter in the unnatural wind.
"These flames are irregular, Duncan." he said softly, looking at his companion. "See how they burn downwards? Fire doesn't normally do that."
Duncan scratched at his short brown hair and squinted his blue eyes at the flames.
"Arachna started it?"
Frost's gaze shifted to Lord Gilbert and narrowed coldly.
"Aye, she did, but someone had to let her in to do it." He dismounted his white stallion and started towards the Lord with purposeful strides, his cape fluttering in the wind and showing off the red interior in small flashes.
Frost knew the Lord well, his rule had cast him into the cold as a child. He'd hated the man ever since and had vowed never to return to Gilbert lands. Arachna had known and it was the reason she had tried to receive solace in his home.
"Richard." he said flatly, drawing the man's beady black eyes to him; they looked like raisins sunk in bread dough. His face began to mottle red and a thin sheen of sweat formed as he recognized a face from years before.
"What are you doing here? You were banned from my lands."
"Did you try to give the sorceress Arachna sanctuary?" asked Frost coldly, ignoring the Lord's question.
The man's face got redder.
"That's none of your business, witch." he snarled. "Be gone before I summon the guard."
Frost stiffened at the insult and his temper began to rise.
"Wizard, fool. You dare insult me again and I will be most unpleasant. Now, answer the question."
He had, his failure to cooperate was all Frost needed, but he wanted to torture the man for past grievances.
"You will loose more than your house if you continue this route, Richard." he warned. "Cross me and all you own will lie in ruin."
Gilbert swallowed heavily and thought over his warning before nodding his fat head.
"Yes. She left as the blaze began."
"I don't know."
Frost went to threaten him further, but a faint heartbeat caught his ear. He half-turned his head towards the burning house and determined that the tiny sound was coming from within. Eyes blazing with anger, he turned them back on the snivelling man before him.
"Is everyone out of the house?"
Gilbert paled and turned an unhealthy shade of grey.
"Y-Yes." he stammered, breaking Frost's gaze.
The soft heartbeat came once again and he exploded with anger. Lightening flashed brightly overhead, chased by thunder so loud the ground shook.
"Don't lie to me, fool!" he roared, his cape floating mystically behind him. "I'm a child born of Nature and can feel the life inside that fiery grave! Who is it?"
The Lord turned to trembling jelly at his feet and began to cry uncontrollably.
"My youngest daughter, Anika. She's but a babe!" He looked up at Frost with great streams of tears running down his face. "Please, I'll give you anything you want, save her."
Frost was unexpectedly moved by Lord Gilbert's plea and it disgusted him. With an angry snarl, he faced the house and his eyes glittering brightly.
"Slowly." he whispered, lifting a hand. The flames began to flicker in slow motion before he lifted his other arm. "No more." They went out in a loud whoosh and smoke rose in thin spirals from the once burning inferno. The crowd of peasants began to cheer loudly and the tiny babe came floating out a second storey window, landing gently in Frost's arms.
It wasn't moving at first, it's tiny eyes staring oddly towards the heavens. The crowd fell silent once again and it was like a roar in Duncan's ears as he watched closely.
Frost rest two fingers on her tiny chest.
"Come back to me, Anika." he whispered softly.
A moment passed before a baby's cry penetrated the thick air and the crowd cheered once more. Duncan shook his head in relief and disbelief.
"He'll be paying for that one tomorrow."
Lord Gilbert jumped to his feet, face lit with awe as he watched his daughter squirm with renewed life.
"Anything." he said seriously. "I'll give you anything, just name your price."
Frost frowned darkly. No life was worth a price, there was no amount you could set. The Lord should've wanted to give his own to save his flesh, but he sat and simply watched while the building burned. Now he talked of payment like Frost was some parlour magician out to amuse him and receive money for his tricks. It caused his anger to return in full force.
"I'm taking the child."
Duncan couldn't believe what he heard and his mouth fell open in shock. Frost had no reason to take the child, but from the icy tone in his voice, Lord Gilbert had done something to spark his anger once more.
Gilbert sputtered in disbelief.
"You have no--"
"This child's life was not mine to save, it was yours. Now that I have saved it, the life now belongs to me."
Duncan sighed heavily. Frost was very possessive and if he wanted something or decided it belonged to him there was no arguing. He'd never gone so far as to claim a life, but now that he had there was no talking him out of it. Once he decided it was a mistake, it'd be Duncan's job to fix it somehow.
Frost headed back to the horses and his older companion wasn't surprised when the child ended up in his arms. The Lord didn't argue as they mounted their horses and left the settlement with the babe.
--- --- --- --- ---
They rode on ahead until a safe enough distance that Lord Gilbert's guards couldn't chase them down. He pulled to a stop and turned towards Duncan, riding up carefully with the small babe in his arms.
He was regretting his rashness now. This was Lord Gilbert's child and as much as he hated the man, he had no right to steal his child away. But then he'd seen the Lord's other two children and wanted to spare this one growing up like him or his spoilt and cruel brood.
"Take the child and find her a family." he said softly, eyes at the smoke he could see in the distance. The sky around them twinkled brightly with stars and the grass was blowing gently in the night wind. It was calm and serene, like balm for the anger that had been radiating through Frost's soul moments before.
Duncan frowned at him.
"I'll just take her back to Lord Gilbert."
"No." he snapped, eyes wide with anger. "That man's unfit to raise a horse, let alone children."
"But he already has two."
"So I'm saving this one. Do it, Duncan. I'll pay whatever I have to, make sure she has a dowry when she gets old enough. I want the best schooling and the best of everything else."
Duncan nodded slowly.
"I will. What's to be her name?"
Frost frowned as he thought about it.
Duncan looked down at the tiny girl, looking up at him with sleepy brown eyes and reddish hair sticking up around her head. He frowned and looked back at Frost.
"Was she dead? You didn't take her back from the fingers of death, did you?"
He chuckled and shook his head.
"Nay, I didn't. She wasn't dead, Duncan. There's something strange about that girl, she has a curse placed on her; probably something Arachna thought would slow me down because I'd stop to heal it. I'm not."
His white stallion turned on the hill and he rode out over the darkness to find Arachna's trail once more, leaving Duncan and the sleeping child on the hill. The older man smiled down at her and tickled her chin, earning a light giggle and a smile.
"There, little one, little Anika." he said softly, turning the mare with one hand while he cradled the child with the other. "It will all be fine. Frost may have set you free, but it's me that's going to keep you that way. I promise."
--- --- --- --- ---
Arachna rubbed her chin thoughtfully as she watched the two riders part on the hill. The ravens sat in a tree limb above her head, watching through darting yellow eyes.
"That is interesting." she thought out loud. "Frost seems to have a soft spot for the little one. This is working out better than I planned." The Raven cawed loudly at her and she shot it a steely look. "Quiet. Of course, this works out. I'm aware of the curse that child has on her, but there's not saving her from it. It'll only get worse and that will slow Frost down." she paused to adjust her skirt as she sat side-saddle on the black stallion. Her gown was so long that it almost touched the ground from where she sat. "All I have to do is avoid him until she's old enough, then while he's struggling with her I can read about the pendant and figure out a way to get it to work. It couldn't have worked out better if I'd planned this myself."