The Long Retreat No. 44

“If he sees as much as he claims,” Hrothgar said.

Alfhilde perched Jakob on her shoulder and swatted Hrothgar’s knee with her newly-freed hand. “He knew where to wait for us, didn’t he?” She sat back against the rock wall, taking Jakob in her arms and rocking him gently. “Not to say I haven’t had my doubts. In the army, it always seemed like they lost their foresight whenever it would have been best to have.”

“I could be on to something, then.”

Alfhilde snorted. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” She yawned. “Sif,” she said.

Sif looked up, fighting off the urge to claim she wasn’t listening. She thought her expression might have given her away, but Alfhilde went on without saying anything about it.

“Would you care to sit with us? Falthejn Arnarsson seems busy.

The diviner sat statue-like, barely even breathing.

Sif looked between Falthejn and Alfhilde. The diviner didn’t object, or even move, so she grabbed her bedroll and stepped delicately around him. She sat a long step short of Alfhilde and Hrothgar. “Thank you.”

Alfhilde’s mouth turned up into a grin. “You’re very welcome.” She took a moment to arrange her face into something more neutral, which turned out to be a friendly smile. “How are you finding the journey?”

“My feet hurt,” Sif replied.

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