The Long Retreat No. 15

Falthejn unrolled his bedroll at the mouth of the chamber. Sif set up a few yards away, nearer him than Hrothgar and Alfhilde. The couple unpacked at the back of the chamber, six yards away. Alfhilde unbound the pan from her arm, setting the makeshift shield down next to her, and laid her hatchet in it. She unbundled Jakob, who cooed. Adjusting her garments, Alfhilde turned away and began to feed him.

“What do we count among our supplies?” Hrothgar rumbled, working at the lacing sealing his pack.

“Trail bread, for the most part.” Falthejn ticked off items on his fingers. “Bedding, of course. Traveling clothes, should the weather turn. Dried fruit and nuts.” He shrugged. “Enough to see us to Flodsvadgard, if we keep to a good pace.”

Silence settled over the cave. Falthejn sat on his bedroll, yawned, and said, “You have questions.”

“How did you— oh.” Sif tilted her head. “I see.”

Falthejn smiled. “You are a quick learner.”

In response, Sif stared at him intently. The quiet stretched on, and eventually Falthejn waved for her to speak.

“If you can see the future,” Sif said, exasperated, “why am I saying this out loud?”

“For one, it’s polite.” Falthejn showed a weary grin. “For another, I don’t see the future all the time. I can rely on instinct, on bad feelings, to tell me when I need to be careful. To see things clearly takes effort. All magic does.” He yawned again. Tension flowed from him as he felt the stretch in his jaw. “Look at me, for example. For two weeks—more than two weeks—since our march south to Syderskogholm, I’ve been at full speed. I could sleep the whole winter through.”

This entry was posted in The Long Retreat, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply