“Let’s Get to Work.”

She never realized how much stuff she had. After fifteen hundred years Eruviel figured she would have a small collection. But then she had to dig through most of the crates in her cellar to find Neilia’s Yule gift, and retrieved the last of her brother’s books from the old kin house. It was easy enough to ignore the mess, but after the misadventure in Buckland the cleaning and organizing had been a welcome distraction.

“Eruviel?”

Startled from her thoughts, the elf set down the crate filled with extra clothes. “Who is it?”

Eirikr blinked at the hole in the floor. “Uh, Eirikr.” He walked forward slowly. “What are you doing?”

A smile turned up her mouth and she stepped through the short tunnel to the bottom of the steep set of stairs. “Oh! Uh, hi,” she responded, pulling her dark hair back into a ponytail. “Just some cleaning.” She then glanced up and winced, remembering the books and odds and ends littering the map table. “Forgive me for the mess. What brings you over?”

“You did not come by the other day and I was wondering if everything was all right,” he said with a shrug before peering down. “What is down there?”

Her smile warmed. “I’m alright, I suppose.” She then motioned to him. “Lots of stuff,” she chuckled. “You are welcome to see if you’d like.”

The man looked down warily. “Sure…” he responded, slipping off his cloak.

Eruviel laughed softly at his expression and disappeared back into the cellar as he stepped down after her. “Nothing will bite you. Watch your head, though.”

The small passage of only three or four feet lead into a lamp-lit room. The ceiling just under seven feet, the cellar spanned about half the size of the common room above. Along one wall sat a long, wooden work bench, numerous weapons including several bows hanging on pegs above. Tools stuck out of small boxes along the back edge of the bench, organized by their size and purpose. Crates lined two other walls, and several barrels lingering in the more open space by the fourth wall. The few boxes that laid open revealed various keepsakes and tomes wrapped with care.

Eirikr blinked as his eyes adjusted to the light. “I had no idea this was under here.”

Eruviel gave the mass of crates a thoughtful smile. “I think you’re actually one of the first people to know about this room,” she said as she adjusted stone lion bookends in a crate and slid the lid into place.

Eirikr looked around, trying to keep the awe from his expression. “So, what all do you keep under here?”

Eruviel lifted the crate onto a small stack and dusted off her hands as she looked over the room. “Everything. Weapons, obviously. Keepsakes, some books and scrolls; things I need to keep safe. The far corner of barrels is all food and seed grain. There were more before the plague hit.”

“It is a little secret hideaway,” he commented as he watched her move things around.

Eruviel fixed a lid over another crate and hefted it up, shooting him a smile. “It’s nice. Cool and quiet. I’ve actually debated bringing one of my couches down here and setting up a little corner.”

Eirikr stepped forward quickly. “Let me help you.”

Eruviel turned towards him, offering him the heavy crate in her arms. “Oh, thank you.”

“Where do you want it?” he asked as he took the crate and shifted it so he could look around the edge.

Moving forward, Eruviel picked up a significantly lighter box. “Just here, please,” she said, tapping her foot on the spot next to the other small stacks of two or three crates.

Eirikr raised a brow and set the crate down gently in the spot that she indicated. “What is in this one?”

Eruviel set her burden down and turned. Stepping next to him she pointed her toe to an ink mark on the side of the wooden box. “Number ‘3’, or least important. This one has a set of old ceramic dishes.”

Eirikr’s brows arched, indicating how glad he felt that he had been gentle with the crate. “You number them by importance?” A small smile snuck up on him.

Eruviel nodded, a glint of excitement in her eyes from getting to share her little secret. “Yes, one through three. Three’s are on the very top and front rows, two’s in the middle, and one’s, or most important, are in the very back and bottom of the collection.”

Eirikr chuckled as he pat the crate. After a moment, his smile faded and he looked around. “Is that thing down here?”

Eruviel’s smile wavered and she nodded, looking to the far corner. “It is. I wasn’t sure how I should properly handle it. This sounds silly, but I’d considered keeping it out and speaking kindly to it . . . I actually did for a day, but then I realized how both obsurd and dangerous it was, doing so and keeping it out in the open.”

Eirikr blinked at her. “Why… why would to speak to it? It’s metal.”

“Yes,” she shrugged. “Metal with souls bound to it. I don’t know if they can hear me or not. But yes, it was a rather ridiculous notion. Hence it being kept there.”

“It probably shouldn’t be kept anywhere at all,” said Eirikr quietly, staring in its direction. “We should destroy it, Eruviel.”

Eruviel noded slowly, following his gaze. “I agree with you. But where could we destroy it at?”

Eirikr rubbed his beard. “I do not know. Surely there is some magic that is protecting it from being melted or something like that, isn’t there? Can you tell?”

Eruviel started to shake her head but stopped as a thought dawned on her. “I don’t know . . . but I have some of my brother’s books. He studied sorcery and magical items. Maybe . . . well, it’s worth a shot, even if the answer ends up being ‘no’.”

“I can help you go through them,” said Eirikr, nodding to her. “Though, I do not wish to tell Anya what we are doing. I do not want her to even think of this again if it can be helped.”

Eruviel nodded firmly in agreement. “I agree entirely. Help would be wonderful. What would your guise for being gone be? Out hunting and frolicking in the woods?”

Eirikr laughed at her description. “Would not be hard to use that as my excuse, no.”

Eruviel could not help but beam a smile at his laugh as she looked back to the mass of crates. “Oh, and just in case, if you have an extra blue-print of the house for expansion in the spring bring it. We can be . . . working out extra details,” she offers, eyes narrowing as she thinks up her obviously fool-proof back-up plan.

Eirikr arched a brow at her as he tried to figure out what her look was for. “All right. Though the carpenter seemed pretty confident that it would do.”

Eruviel nodded. “I do not doubt it, but does Anya know that? What do you suppose we do if she comes traipsing through the door and finds us sitting in a mound of old eleven books in my secret cellar?”

Eirikr worked his jaw a moment. “Ah. You have a point there.” He smiled down at her sheepishly.

It was Eruviel’s turn to arch a brow at him as he smiled. “What?”

Eirikr shrugged and rubbed his beard. “You think of everything, that’s all.”

Eruviel smirked and glanced away, the tips of her ears turning pink. “I just like to have my bases covered. When would you like to get started?”

Eirikr held his hands out to his sides. “Whenever you want me,” he grinned at her.

“You have an hour or so?” she laughed. “We could get organized. Otherwise we could start tomorrow and I’ll have everything we need out.”

Eirikr looked around and nodded. “I have some time. Let’s get to work.”

(Taken straight from in-game rp, and edited for tense and grammar.

Eirikr was rp’d by the lovely Cwen.)

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