Winter Of The Owl
Seasons Of The Likoi, Book 1
By Iris Foxglove
Sava has the best house in all of Lukos. He built it himself, dreaming of the day when he and Milan, the man he loved, could live there and brave the harsh winters of Lukos together—only to be devastated when Milan was found dead in the spring. Fraught with grief, Sava resigns himself to spending his winters alone.
Then a stranger appears on his doorstep, and everything changes.
Victor is a scholar from Gerakia, a land known for its long summers and vibrant history, and he has never been more unprepared in his life. Abandoned on the inhospitable island of Lukos after a disastrous relationship, Victor has to adapt quickly to survive. It helps, of course, that he’s taken in by Sava, who has the biggest heart of any man Victor has ever known. Victor and Sava start to make a home together, growing close as snow falls outside, but the true danger of a Lukos winter is closer than they suspect…
“Ah, Snow-Walker. You’re home. Good.” Dragan Wolf-Breaker, kuvar of the Lukoi, stood on Sava’s porch. He was a man of indiscriminate age, with thick, dark hair worn pulled back and braided out of his face and the pale, ice-blue eyes possessed by all those of his line. Wolf eyes, they were called, and according to some they was a sign he was meant to rule the Lukoi. He was clean-shaven, as most of them were before the snows, and dressed in simple leathers and fur, with high, sturdy boots topped with fur, a knife sheathed at his side.
Also at his side was a slight man Sava had never seen before. He had lovely reddish-brown skin, curly dark hair that was blowing about in the wind, and huge brown eyes flecked with gold and green—they reminded Sava of the hills right before winter took them, the faded grasses that looked so lovely in the light of the setting sun—over which he wore two pieces of round glass connected by a wire. He was shivering, dressed poorly in what appeared to be threadbare fabrics and a pair of boots that were too big for him. Sava thought he’d seen Elena—the kuvar’s daughter—wear those boots a time or two.
“Zora found a man,” Dragan said. “Let us come in before he freezes on your porch, Snow-Walker.”
Sava nodded and stepped back, and the pair entered the house. The shivering man with the messy hair looked longingly at the fire but seemed to shy away from going closer.
“Go and get warm.” Dragan pointed toward the fire, sounding perhaps a bit exasperated. His dominance was heavy enough that even Sava could feel it, and it made the young man sway a bit before he moved.
“Zora found him?” Sava asked, curious, as the man walked over and knelt before the fire, muttering in a language Sava didn’t know. “Where?”
“On the beach.” Dragan shrugged. “He was left by a boat. He’s a book-writer.”
“No, that word is wrong that I am,” the man said, glancing up, like he couldn’t help himself. He winced the second Sava and Dragan looked at him and immediately lowered his gaze, muttering something to the floor.
“Why would a boat leave a book-writer?” Sava asked. “It is soon to be winter. Snow says nothing; it is silent.”
The man’s head snapped up again, and he said something in a language Sava didn’t understand. At their blank looks, he added, “Those words pretty are.”
Sava glanced at Dragan, who shook his head. “He is from a place, Zora said, where they sit around in rooms and talk about other people.”
“I don’t know,” Dragan said. “But he said he would be here unless another boat comes for him.”
“No boat will come here anytime soon,” Sava said, as the sky rumbled above them. “Only snow.”
“Yes. I think he was a problem. So, you know the laws, Sava.”
Sava did know the laws. There weren’t many, but one that all Lukoi adhered to was the one that kept their civilization in existence long after the country that exiled their ancestors to this snow-covered island had fallen into ruin: those exiled to die, survive. If someone had sent this man here to die, he was now one of them.
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About the Author(s)
Iris Foxglove is a shared pen name between two authors, Avon Gale and Fae Loxley. Together, they’re writing fantasy with an emphasis on biological imperative kink (“BDSM alternate universe” or “D/s-verse”), complex worldbuilding and unforgettable characters.
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