Bittersweet: A Little Light

Evening had come and gone, and darkness welled up in the low yard of the Tenorbekk property. The black pool of a moonless night swirled about her and, aside from her fair features that caught bits of starlight, she blended in seamlessly.

Several hours has passed since Eruviel had decided to set herself down upon the porch, and she had yet to move from where she leaned against the door. No one had come home. No Abiorn, no Anyatka, no Eirikr. The more the minutes ticked by, the more she worried. She knew she shouldn’t. If Abbi was gone too, then he was probably somewhere with Anya. That alone both reassured her and caused her to fret. As for Eirikr’s heading off to who knows where . . . . She never worried much before. He was strong, and more than capable, but the nagging tug of concern had grown little by little as the days passed till it ate at her. Huffing out a breath, she drew up one knee.

Twirling a dagger through the fingers of one hand, the Elf let her head fall back against the wooden door with a soft thud. “This must be what aging feels like,” she grumbled.

It was strange, having the house cold and empty behind her. Eruviel could almost feel the shadows leaning away from the cabin’s outer walls. Her keen eyes darting about, she searched the tree line for the thirtieth time and, with a thoughtful air, observed for the fifth time how the light of the closest street lamp did not quite reach the edge of the fence. Someone needed to clean that.

She had walked through town earlier in the afternoon. She had been out and about the hills north of Bree, and she’d eaten supper at the Cask. As her luck would have it she did not catch sight or sound of the younger Tenorbekks. How her fortunes turned out to be so poor she did not know, but she did not want to leave now out of the chance of missing them on her way to search.

Rising to her feet, it took her only a minute to get the door unlocked. Sally’s eyes flickered in the dark portal that led to Anya’s room. Observing the intruder for a moment, the cat turned and disappeared. Picking up the few things that lay strewn about, Eruviel put food out for the fickle animal, and after a moment’s hesitation, borrowed a blanket from Eirikr’s bed before slipping back outside.

The door once more locked, she shrouded herself in the blanket to ward off the night’s chill, and the impending dew that would come in only a few more hours. It smelled like him. And while it was just fabric wrapped around her shoulders, she felt warm and safe, and it somehow made the waiting more bearable. Sitting back down on the stoop, she turned her face up. Her eyes glinted in the little light offered by the pale gems that betrayed where the earth ended and the sky began.

They were all right, she assured herself. They were all right.

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