The Long Retreat No. 66

Alfhilde didn’t care. “In a fight? Yes! The man has been trained since birth to kill, and he can see the future. He is a better fighter than you.” She caught herself, and her tone softened, as her face did the same. “Do you know why I fight alongside him? Because you are a better man. You are my family, and his skills are the best way to keep you safeā€”to keep you alive. Do you understand? The Twelve themselves could put me to the test, and every time, I would choose you. That is why I let him lead. I do it for Jakob, and I do it for you.”

Hrothgar looked away, stonily silent. Alfhilde sighed in relief. Her husband was a stubborn man, and it took him time to allow that he might have been wrong. “What about the girl, then?” he said, covering for himself.

“We should take her in.”

Hrothgar raised his eyebrows. “Do you have a plan to feed her? Or, for that matter, us?”

“The two of us can work,” Alfhilde reminded him. “What does Sif have? Thievery? That’s no life for a child.”

Hrothgar thought it over, quiet for some time. Eventually, he rumbled, “Three mouths is only a little easier than four.”

Alfhilde smiled ear-to-ear. “You’re a good man, Hrothgar Hrafnssen, better than I deserve.” He waved away the compliment, and she added, “Even if I do have to remind you some days. Here, give me Jakob. We’ll tell her later.”

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