Bittersweet: Cold Nights and Warm Thoughts

It was the second night that freezing rain had fallen on Durrow. Her thick cloak that blended into the darkness of the hill kept most of the moisture off. The bitter wind tugged impatiently at her hood, and chilled her delicate hands that held her bow, but Eruviel did not leave her post.

On full alert, her ears and eyes scoured the village before her and the hill behind her for any movement. Ansithe and Hawk slept soundly below. Branches creaked in the wind, a bucket left out by one of the village boys clattered off a distant porch, and Eolir paced in his stall in the stables, fully aware that she was up and armed. But all was well. She dearly hoped it would stay that way.

The sun would rise in an hour. As soon as the great orb fully breached the horizon she could go home. Through the darkness and the rain she could make out the thin stream of smoke that rose from her chimney. There would be a warm hearth, and warm food, and them…. They could make any place feel warm. He could.

Three more months. The estimate crept back into her mind as it was off to do, and she quickly banished it before it grew to dominate her thoughts and ruin her focus. The presence of the pup she couldn’t, and now wouldn’t, get rid of had reassured her that the missing that was sure to come would not be present for the wrong reasons. It was an easy, enjoyable coexistanc that made her want to go home every night. Warm company, warm food, and the occasional noticed warm glace caught in passing — No. Some other time, she firmly told herself. There were more important things that required her attention than the potential emptiness those thoughts encouraged.

Her delicate features hardening, Eruviel adjusted the Elven sword at her hip. She was careful not to touch the hilt. It was perfect for such a post. Just in case… Though cleansed thanks to Atanamir, it still hungered and kept watch with her. Maybe it was the proximity of the Barrow Downs, or simply the make of the steel, but she didn’t need to touch it to feel it’s pull. Why in Orome’s name Rainion had made it, she didn’t know, but she was a thousand years too late to ask.

A sea of bones. Raenarcam had not found her to report on any findings. She did not know exactly what it meant, but between necromancy and the Downs it was easy to speculate.

The gradual predawn light crept up over the hills. Tugging her wind-tossed hood back up Eruviel remained at her post watching and waiting. The constable’s lantern bobbed down a far lane. Light shone in a few windows as Durrow’s early risers began their mornings. Another quiet night. She hoped the following would be the same.