The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter

“Explain something to me, Royce,” Hadrian said as the two struggled up the slope. “Why did Maribor create picker bushes?”

“Did he?” Royce asked, fighting through a thicket of fallen deadwood, high grass, and a wicked snarl of the thorny bush Hadrian was taking issue with. “Thought he was just the god of men, not flora.”

“Oh, you might be right. Bet Evelyn would know.”

“With any luck, she’s long gone. I don’t think we’re going to find this place.” Royce paused to wipe his face with his sleeve.

That was when Hadrian knew it was hot. He, of course, was soaked with sweat. His shirt stuck unpleasantly to the center of his back. Worse, the material of his pants clung to his thighs, making it hard to move. Royce rarely perspired, but that day his hood was back, his forehead slick and shiny, his hair sticking. Two days before, it had felt like it might snow, but now

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