The stranger was awake and doing much better when Derek returned later that evening.

Vibrant violet eyes met his gaze and he froze, instinctively reaching for a dagger, only to realize the same eyes were framed by fair skin instead of black, and held little more than curiosity. Derek huffed out a sigh and returned his weapon to its place, approaching the young man curiously.

"Alright kid, now tell me this; what were you doing out in the middle of nowhere in this weather?"

The young man tilted his head to the side, making a noise of confusion. Derek glanced sidelong at Morgan.

The healer shrugged, "He hasn't said a word since he woke up."

"Hmph. . . Figures." Derek groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose. He didn't have much patience for idiots. "What else could go wrong?"

". . .{h-hello? Umm . . . Wh-who are you? I'm} Todd." The young man spoke up, gesturing to himself.

"Is that your name? Todd? I'm Morgan." They mimicked Todd's gesture, curious as to the odd language this strange man spoke.

At Morgan's quiet urging, Derek gestured to himself as well, offering his name in turn, unable to resist rolling his eyes.

"{N-nice to meet you,} Morgan, D-Derek. . .{Where a-am I?}" The stranger stuttered a little over his words.

". . . this isn't going to work."

Derek turned to leave, stopped short by Morgan, who grabbed his arm and dragged him back.

"Don't be like that!" They scolded, dragging him over to a chair and shoving him into it. "So he speaks a different language, there are ways to work around that!"

". . . oh yeah? Like what?"

Morgan fell silent, thinking.

Derek snorted and shook his head, crossing his arms over his chest.

Morgan did eventually think of something, taking common objects and presenting them to Todd, enunciating her words carefully. They made Derek participate as well, presenting his bow and an arrow.

This went on for some time, and despite some hiccups along the way, Todd was a very fast learner, picking up new words left and right.

And then came what Derek strictly referred to as the "Archery Incident" from henceforth on.

When his back was turned, the young man snatched his bow and an arrow, handling the objects with ease, and fired, nearly hitting Morgan. The bow had a draw strength of one-hundred pounds; the arrow embedded itself up to the head in the wall.

Alarmed, Derek was quick to knock the bow from Todd's hands, checking on the rattled healer.

"I'm alright! That . . . Was. . . Incredible!"


"You should take him out to the range later, see what he—"


Dragging his overly enthusiastic friend away from the dangerous stranger, Derek pushed them into the back room and shut the door behind them.

"Do you not realize how close he came to shooting you?!"

" . . .if he wanted me dead, don't you think he would have shot me?"

Derek pinched the bridge of his nose and breathed, struggling to calm down.

" . . . I know you're excited. I get it. NOTHING really happens around here. I get it, I really do. . . Just please, don't do anything that'll put you in danger, alright?"

Morgan nodded solemnly, taking Derek's hand in their own. "Promise, cross my heart and swear by Notch."

Nodding, Derek notched his bow and slowly opened the door, prepared to fire should the stranger prove hostile.

Violet eyes widened and Todd froze, caught in the act of trying to remove the arrow from the wall. Guiltily, he lowered his arms to his sides and began to apologize, and although his words were unintelligible, his voice was sincere.

"It's perfectly alright! No harm done, Todd!"

Morgan reassured the young man, brushing past their friend to place a reassuring hand on the young man's shoulder.

Todd blinked at them, eyes growing wet before he collapsed against the healer, crying and repeating the same phrase over and over,

"{I didn't mean to. . . I didn't mean to. . .}"

Morgan pulled him close, rubbing his back, reassuring the distraught young man.


Two days later, Morgan deemed the young man fit to leave their clinic, and would have set him and his poor communication skills loose on the village if Derek hadn't intervened, agreeing to look after the stranger only grudgingly.

Over the next few days, Derek showed Todd around the village, keeping a close eye on him.

The young man was friendly, using his limited vocabulary to greet and socialize with the locals. Most of the villagers were well aware of Todd's presence in their home, and although he couldn't answer some of their questions, he wasn't hostile.

The more words he learned, the more eager Todd seemed to wander off from Derek's suspicious line of sight. At times he could see the young man in the distance, but despite shouting his name, Todd was too caught up in his own mind to notice.

He'd vanish and the grizzled hunter would have to track him down, oft finding him talking with the local children, building snowman and partaking in snowball fights. Other times he was nestled within the small library, struggling to decipher the texts, much to the amusement of the bookkeeper, Isaac.

Each and every time, he dragged the young man back to the house and scolded him for wandering off. Todd would nod, mumbling apologetically with the words he knew, maybe promising to stop wandering off, maybe excuses for why he had to begin with.

No harm ever came of his little adventures, however, until one day nearly three weeks since his arrival, Todd vanished from the village altogether.

With much grumbling on his part, and prodded into doing so by Morgan and a few others concerned villagers, Derek set off to go track down the wayward young man.

Tracking the young man was simple enough work, but when the tracks of a monster began muddling up the lengthening strides, Derek felt the first stirrings of concern.

Best he could judge, Todd had wandered off, met a hostile mob —by the looks of the tracks, a Creeper— and attempted to flee.

Within the next half an hour, the grizzled hunter finally found the young man, at present holed up in a tree with a creeper stalking around underneath. He looked absolutely terrified, so on the one hand he was at least aware of the danger, on the other, he might panic and worsen his situation.

Spying Derek, Todd gave him a hopeful look, gesturing down towards the Creeper. The hostile mob gave it's signature, "Tsss!" and the young man flinched, peering back down at it, shivering minutely. Derek needed only one good shot through the head to kill it, so carefully, he took aim, inching a little closer.

Fate on the other hand had a different plan, for the hunter had no sooner planted his feet than the Creeper turned, spotted him, and charged, hissing and flashing white, prepared to explode!

Startled, Derek took the shot, but hit a little too low. He scrambled away, but the injured mob was already upon him. Todd was screaming in a panic from his perch in the tree, but the hunter was already turning tail, hoping to out distance the damn thing and either shoot it or lose it's attention.

When, suddenly, it was bashed aside, by none other than Todd. The young man hit the walking green explosive again, and again, with a strength that should have been impossible.

Derek could do little more than stare. This was unprecedented . . . How did this skinny-arse man have the strength too. . .? Moreover, who in their right mind would even attack such a creature with their bare hands?!

The hostile mob was backing away the best it could from the assault, hissing and flashing white, close to bursting.

Seeming to sense the onset of danger, Todd struck it one final time before fleeing, hiding behind a tree several blocks away, having moved with an unnatural speed.

Seeing the wisdom in this, Derek scrambled out of range, just as the explosion rocked the ground, snow and earth flying. Forced to his knees, Derek flung himself face-down in the snow and covered his head and neck, in case of falling debris.

Not even a minute later, he felt something prodding and shaking his shoulder, and then Todd was speaking, tearfully asking him if he was alright.

Slowly, Derek pushed himself upright, struggling to process what in the Nether had just happened.

Taking the young man by the arm, he pulled him back towards the village, only absentmindedly reassuring him that he was alright.

Todd was tearful the whole way back, deeply rattled by the experience, and very much worried for the gruff hunter. Derek clumsily comforted him, keeping on guard for any other mobs.

Morgan was equal parts relieved and astounded when Derek returned and conveyed the tale, glancing at Todd slyly from time to time, wondering, same as Derek, why this young man possessed such strength.

Whatever the reason, this event was the major turning point in the two men's relationship.

Finally, Derek was forced to admit that the stranger was harmless to the people of his home, and gave him a bow with roughly the same draw strength as his own. He taught the young man how to shoot effectively, aiming for specific areas of different mobs in order to kill them swiftly.

Todd listened and obeyed all his rules, especially those regarding safety, respecting the art of archery.

When he finally deemed the young man fit to join him on a small expedition outside the village, Todd was eager to go, carefully hefting the iron ax he was loaned. They had some warm drinks and food packed along for the trip, and were bundled up appropriately for the winter chill.

When they reached their destination, Derek gave Todd his instructions, and demonstrated a few swings with his axe against a solid oak. The young man nodded, and set off through the snow to find a good tree.

Derek watched him go, then turned and got work.

No less than ten minutes later he heard the scream of "TIMBER!" and paused, turning to scan the area, wondering where Todd had gone. . .

Several blocks away, he heard a mighty, muted crash. There was a moments silence, then Todd shouted, "I'm alright!"

Sighing and pinching the bridge of his nose, Derek shook his head and shouted back, "Let me know when you finish up!"

After receiving an affirmative, he got back to work, pausing around twenty minutes later at the call of his name.

Turning on his heel, he took in Todd's happy expression, holding the axe loosely.

"Yeah? What is it?"

"I'm done."

" . . . you're done."


Todd nodded, happy with himself.

Derek was far more skeptical. "Show me."

Todd nodded again and lead him around thirty blocks away, showing him the stump and depression in the snow, all belonging to a simply massive tree.

"How did you- where did the- iHOW/i?!"

Todd cringed, mumbling under his breath, his axe vanishing from his grasp and a thick, raw oak log replaced by it, like magic.

"S-sorry. . . th-thought you said too . . ."

Derek stared at him, then pinched the bridge of his nose.

"How are you doin' that? The . . . the magic hands."

"Um . . . what is 'magic', Derek?"

Todd asked meekly, curious about this new word, but guilty at the same time, like a child being scolded.

And Derek had oft scolded him in the past. Sigh. This approach wasn't working . . .

" . . . Todd. Where did the axe go?"

"It's u-um, it's in my {inventory}. I have m-more wood in my {inventory}, and s-some snowballs, t-too. . ."

"Alright. How much wood did you collect?"

"Ah, a-about . . . about forty o-or so. . ."

"That's . . . more than enough. Come'on. Let's get back home."

" . . . y-you're. . . nevermind."

Todd began, then stopped, plucking his bow from the pouch on his back, fiddling absently with it.

Curious, and a little amazed by all this oddness, Derek asked, "I'm what? Speak up, kid."

". . . you're not . . . mad at me?"

Derek sighed and shook his head, clapping his hand on Todd's shoulder.

"I'm not mad. I'm surprised, a little shocked even, but I'm not mad. You did good, Todd. Now come'on."

The young man's whole face lit up at the praise, practically beaming the whole way back to the village.

When they returned, Derek instructed the kid to put the wood in the shed, helping him to stack it all neatly (despite the singular block in his hand, it apparently did something called "{item-stacking}" that made it all take up less space in his "{inventory}".

((Derek fleetingly wondered if this "{item-stacking}" was something that could be taught. It would be a darn useful skill to have.))

Afterwards, he brought the young man over to Morgan's house, and explained what had happened.

Derek regretted it somewhat when Morgan began to freak out, squealing gleefully before dragging Derek off into the sideroom, practically gushing.

"Slow down! I can't make out what you're saying!"

Taking a breath, the healer began from the top, but it was clear they were ecstatic, "Todd is a Spawn! The ability to hold many objects at once, the swiftness in which he chopped down that tree, his swift healing capabilities, even his extra-ordinary strength! It all adds up!"

"A Spawn?" Derek asked, far more skeptical. He'd heard the lore and fairytales like any other villagers when he was a boy, but he never put much stock in it.

Then again, little else explained any of the many oddities hovering around the young man like bees around a hive.

Spawn's were largely rumored to be great architects and miners, able to shape the landscape with their bare hands, crafting marvelous things with ease. They were great warriors and protectors, fearless adventurers that journeyed deep beneath the Overworld, into the Nether and the End themselves!

Todd, on the other hand . . . well, he wasn't the bravest of people, let alone Spawns. Sure, he was strong, and possessed many traits that Spawns had, but he didn't exactly live up to expectations.

He was a sweet young man to be sure, sensitive and willing to lend a hand, but his instinctual reaction to mobs was to run away, nor did he seem interested in building anything other than snowmen.

At last, Derek shook his head, pinching the bridge of his nose, "Todd is a remarkable young man, but he can't be a Spawn. Doesn't act like it."

Cutting off any further protests Morgan tried to make, Derek left the side room and took Todd home, determined not to raise a fuss about this.

A/N: Here's another chapipe, and it's a long one at that. I'll do my best to get the next one out by next weekend. Read and Review! I'm always up for constructive criticism.