Eruviel strolled down the lane, whistling an adventurous elven tune. Strangely enough, she had looked forward to today. Not to the hot, high summer sun reflecting off the lake, but to the small home just around the bend in the road. Stopping at the gate to the Tenorbekk residence her mouth curved up in a smile.
Abiorn and Eirikr lifted tiles into matching stacks. The younger dropped a tile and cursed. Eirikr, much to his credit and Eruviel’s amusement, reprimanded him for his language, but picked up the broken tile without concern. Eru had never seen Eirikr shirtless before. His lean, toned physique was a testament to his excellent shape, already proven by the long trip to Dale. Aside from the elder’s loose cotton pants and leather boots there was nothing else aside from the raised white scars that laced his muscled back. Her left hand moved to her abdomen for a moment, the sight of his old injuries making her aware if her own scars, and feeling oddly more at home.
“Good afternoon you two!” she called, walking down the path to the house. “I hope I showed up in time to be of use.”
Abiorn turned quickly at the sound of her voice, a huge grin spreading across his face. “Always, Eru!” He slugged Eirikr in the shoulder and pointed. “Brother, look.”
Eirikr glanced over his shoulder and set the tile he was moving on the stack. “Eruviel.” He turned to her and wiped his brow with the back of his arm. “How are you, systir?”
“I am well, thank you! You both look . . . well, worse for wear,” she chuckled, letting her satchel slide off her shoulder, catching it with one hand. “What is on the agenda today gwador?”
Eirikr rubbed his beard. “Ah, we’re fine. Anya’s not here, though, if you’re looking for her. She keeps running off on us.” Abiorn nodded in agreement.
Abbi pointed at the stack. “We’re finally laying the tile.”
Eruviel smirked slightly at the mental image of Anya laying tile and covered in mud. “She’s never been one for hard labor, I imagine.” Nodding to Abbi her smile widened. “Good! I had hoped as much. Let me change and I’ll be out to help.”
Eirikr gestured toward the house. “You know the way?” he asked just to confirm. His muscles moved beneath his skin as he raises his arm toward the door. “Let me know if you need anything.”
Eruviel’s eyes flicked to the edges of his scars before following his arm to the door, nodding as she gave him smile. “I know the way, thank you. I shall be right out.”
Abiorn scratched his arm as he piped up, “Will you bring out some cups?” Eirikr shot him an annoyed look.
Eruviel nodded, sending a smile over her shoulder. “Of course!”
Looking back as she moved to close the front door of the house she paused for a moment to watch the boys. “What? I’m thirsty . . . .” Abiorn shrugged away from Eirikr’s playful swipe and hobbled away. “Hey, ya bully,” he scolded.
Concealed inside Eruviel quickly changed shirts. Using the mirror in Anya’s room she laced up the bodice and frowned. The poor thing was going to get ruined, she knew it. Sighing she tugged at the cap of the thin, sleeveless shirt, the cloth doing nothing to hide the fresh, four-inch scar stretching over her shoulder. It could not be helped. Better to dirty this shirt than wilt in her others from the afternoon heat. Draping her other shirt over the foot of Eirikr’s bed she retrieved three cups from the cupboard. Walking back out the door, the three cups carefully clutched in one hand she fixed her collar with the other hand and closed the door behind her with her foot. “Here you are, Ab –”
Abiorn laughed, his head locked between Eirikr’s arm and torso, punching his older brother, who doesn’t seem phased in the slightest, in the gut. Seeing Eru, Eirikr released the younger boy who hurried to take a cup. “Thank ye kindly!” He snatched it from her hand and took off towards the back.
“Take the others, you dolt!” Eirikr reminded him. Abbi hobbled back to take the other two and quickly disappeared.
Eirikr sighed and rubbed his stomach. “Sorry ’bout that.” As his fingers scratched his abdomen, he blushed slightly beneath his dark tan. “Er, I should go . . . beg your pardon.” He started to move around her, headed for the house.
Eruviel laughed, shaking her head. “Your are fine, Eirikr. No need to make yourself uncomfortable on my account.” She then turned to survey the pile of tiles as she set a hand on her hip.
Eirikr grimaced. “You’re not one of the boys, Eru. I should, um . . . I’ll be right back.” He trotted up the stairs and the door closed behind him just as Abbi returned with the cups full of water.
“Where’s Eirik going?”
Eruviel smirked after the retreating man. “What is the phrase . . . he is being a girl? I’ve seen more than my fair share of shirtless men.” She then turned back to Abbi with a kind smile. “What progress has been made?”
Abiorn shrugged. “Um, not much. We cleared out the front room, though that wasn’t hard. The stuff’s under a tarp around back. Then, uh, he made me clean the floor.” The boy wrinkled his nose in disgust. “That’s about it, I think.”
Eruviel nodded, taking two of the cups so the boy could drink, setting them on the edge of the porch. “Well, should I call you ‘boss’ before he returns and have you put me to work? I do not mind getting my hands dirty.”
Abiorn grinned over his cup. “Sure! We’re sortin’ the tiles so Eirik can make a pattern or somethin’. Pretty boring, really.”
Eruviel wrinkled her nose in a smile, tugging the left shoulder of her shirt self-consciously. “Does he have a method to his madness?” she asked, looking over the tiles.
Eirikr reemerged just as Abbi opened his mouth to speak, a loose, blue, homespun shirt tucked into his trousers. “Back, back.”
Abbi snapped it shut again. “Ask him,” he muttered.
Eruviel swallowed a laugh and turned, the corners of her mouth twitching as she glanced over his shirt. “I hear you are organizing tiles. Put me to work, gwador,” she said with a curt to-business nod.
Eirikr shrugged. “We’re just sorting them. Not really organizing yet. I want to know how much there are of each so we don’t run out for a pattern.” He looked down at the piles before him in an assortment of earthy browns and greens.
Abbi rolled his eyes and took another drink from his cup.
Eruviel arched a brow at him. “Sorting but not organizing . . . ” she hummed. “Well, should we?” she asked with a nod to the stacks. Stepping around to the back of the unsorted stacks she flapped her loose collar once, giving the hot sun a disapproving look.
Abiorn groaned and set the cup down to get back to work. Eirikr began picking up tiles and putting them in their proper places. “I think I know what I want to do with the floor. I just need to know if we have enough of the green.” The stack was low, just two layers left to sort through.
Eruviel started in, setting tiles carefully down with their matches. “What pattern are you going for?” she asked, giving her hands a brisk dusting on her pant legs before taking up another tile.
Eirikr shrugged. “Sort of at an angle to the room . . . alternating tiles with the green mixed in.” Behind him, Abiorn mouthed his words with him.
Eruviel choked on a laugh, quickly looking away from Abbi. “T-That sounds like a lovely design,” she managed.
Eiriikr nodded as he took the last tile. “I hope so. Once we start, we can’t really stop.” He stood back and stared at the stacks for a moment. “Abbi, come here.”
Abbi trudged over to stand beside him. “Huh?”
Eirikr pointed to a small stack. “Take some of those inside. The little ones. Let’s lay a section of the pattern out first before we start mixing the mud that will hold them in place.”
Abiorn did as he was told as Eirikr stooped to take an armful of some others. “Eruviel,” he said, “do you mind taking those by you?” He then turned to follow Abiorn inside.
Eruviel shook her head, stooping over to pick up the stack of tile. “I don’t mind at all,” she responded, following after him.
“Set them there, Abbi. Gently,” Eirikr ordered. He sets his own down near where he told Abiorn to lay his. Eruviel stepped over, her arms filled as she waited for direction.
Eirikr glanced up at Eruviel. “Oh, sorry, Eru. Just here, if you would.” He stood up and backed out of her way quickly.
Eruviel stepped out of the way of his retreat. “No harm done.” She carefully set the stack down with only the softest huff and rose back up. Backing away she stood beside Eirikr, brushing a stray strand of hair out of her eyes as she looked over the plain, scrubbed floor.
Glancing at her, Eirikr stooped to arrange the tiles in the pattern he desired. Meanwhile, Abbi slipped into Anya’s bedroom and out of sight, no doubt in attempt to avoid more work. “What do you think of that?” Eirikr asked her, sitting back on his heels.
(RP taken from chat logs, edited for grammar, tense, and detail)