Angel had been quiet, much too quiet, for the remainder of the night. She sat by the door and stared through a small frosty pane in the wall. I lay awake myself, wondering when she may get some rest. It was strange to admit, but I was worried for her. She seemed troubled.
Ragnvaldr, Tobih, and I all shared the Norn bed at the right of the hut. We covered it with our own blankets and shared our warmth. Ragnvaldr produced enough heat to keep Tobih and I quite cozy. Tobih’s soft breathing was only interrupted by the snoring of Ragnvaldr, who slept between the both of us. His arm lay underneath my head, providing a sort of make-shift pillow. The guardian, in the first time I’ve seen him without his armor on, stayed surprisingly close to the Norn betwixt us as well.
A strong wind blew against the home, heard whistling through the doorway. The snowstorm was getting worse. The cooling embers in the fireplace kept the room from becoming too cold, but just barely. The light left on them hardly illuminated the room.
I carefully moved from the bed and stood up. The brisk air hit me like a spell. There was no chance that I could take my blanket from the sleeping men, though. I walked to Angel and sat down on the floor close to her.
“What’s troubling you?” I whispered. Her bright blue eyes didn’t move towards me, though I wish they had. She was quiet for a few moments and I was beginning to wonder if she had heard me.
She sighed and stretched but still did not face me and when she spoke, it was as if she wasn’t addressing me either, “I finally find another and she doesn’t even remember anything.”
“Another? You mean, there are more like me?” I retorted, probably a little too loudly. I knew she knew more than she was letting on. I wanted her to tell me, to tell me everything I had forgotten.
“You didn’t think you were that special, did you?” She scoffed and finally turned to look at me. Suddenly, I felt as if those eyes of hers were burrowing into my very soul. I couldn’t speak and she took that chance to continue. “You see few, but there are… There were many.” Angel shifted in her seat and released her gaze on me. The information was less surprising than I might have found it a few days ago. When she knew where to lead me, I knew then that I couldn’t be the only one with this anomaly. “We can’t talk here, though. Don’t ask anymore questions,” she warned abruptly.
I sat there, quietly contemplating what I had just been told. I heard the shuffling of blankets and feet and looked towards the bed. Tobih approached us and sat down with us; the lucky guy had managed to snatch a blanket and brought it with him.
“You aren’t sleeping again, Angel?” He questioned in the midst of a large yawn. His black hair was thrown around his face and shoulders in a mess and had light bags under his eyes. Without the armor on, his figure was small and without a lot of muscle.
She shook her head and Tobih patted her back with a light smile.
“Is this a common problem?” I asked the both of them, merely curious about my new companions.
“Mind your own business,” Angel snapped.
Tobih intervened, “She has problems sleeping… What do they call it? Iso… Isonomic… No… ”
“Insomnia?” I replied, recalling the word much quicker than he could.
“Exactly! She doesn’t seem to sleep, just stays up every night. I don’t know how she manages it,” he explained, giving me much more information than Angel’s snappy reply. Still, it was odd to discover this. Angel had no signs of unrest about her, other than her obvious temper. She glared at her partner.
“I don’t need to sleep,” she replied, “And that’s the end of it.” Her voice was cold and dangerous. Usually, I would stand down, but I wanted to know more. I decided to poke at the bear.
“Do you get tired, then?” I asked in a way that it made it seem as if I hadn’t heard her.
“I’m getting pretty tired of you,” she lashed and folder her arms. Her leering eyes were now focused on me. I heard Ragnvaldr stir from the other side of the room. Angel had responded a little louder than necessary. He didn’t wake, though.
I stood up and walked to the bedside, taking my wand silently from beside the mess of blankets and the Norn sleeping underneath them. Filling the pit with more wood, I quickly lit another fire. It roared into existence.
“Why are you so defensive, anyway?” I asked her quietly as I took my place between her and Tobih. Tobih scooted closer to me and wrapped the blanket around the both of us.
“Because people who pry into these things tend to get hurt,” she warned. Her idle threats didn’t scare me, but I saw the seriousness and worry written across her face. I backed down. Tobih hadn’t even spoken a word through our verbal exchange; he merely sat there as if he were interested in what we had to say, that same goofy smile on his face as always.
“I see. Okay then.” I said, defeated. A yawn forced its way up, announcing it was time to sleep again. Standing up, I headed back to bed, laying down in the same position I had gotten up from earlier. Angel gave me one last look, aware of her victory, before resuming her watch of the outer world. Tobih stood up as well and placed the blanket on Angel’s shoulders. I saw a smile creep upon those lips of her for only a moment as Tobih turned and headed towards the bed as well. I unraveled some of the blanket around Ragnvaldr and threw the end of it to Tobih. I wasn’t about to let him freeze through the night.
The blanket I shared with Ragnvaldr was warm; I didn’t have any troubles drifting back to sleep despite the obvious questions on my mind.
I woke up to the sound of shuffling boots on the wooden floor and a flood of sunlight through the frosty glass. At first, I pulled the blanket over my eyes.
“So she’s finally awake,” I heard in Ragnvaldr’s voice. It was teasing, much like him in the mornings. He was certainly a morning person. “Late night?”
It wasn’t a surprise that he heard us up. I pushed the blanket back and sat up, blinking in the sudden light. “Dwayna be, I could use a nice hot shower,” I spoke to no one in particular. The environment was taking its toll on my appearance and probably even my smell.
As my vision became adjusted, I saw the familiar sight of Ragnvaldr cooking over a fire. My stomach growled instinctively at the smell of beef broth.
Angel threw her golden hair into a quick braid before suddenly heading outside. As soon as the door opened, a stream of bright sunlight moved into the dim room. I covered my eyes with my hand until she closed the door. I looked to Tobih and he shrugged. Neither of us knew why she decided to go out, but it was her decision, who was I to question it?
“We ran out of meat, so it’s just a vegetable soup,” Ragnvaldr informed Tobih and I.
“That sounds great, actually,” I smiled and replied, approaching the pot to peer in at its contents.
Angel shuffled back in through the door quickly, carrying a large tin of snow. I raised a brow as she dropped it to the floor.
“Is breakfast almost done?”
“Coming off the fire now.” He replied to her and set the pot on a metal plate already placed at the table. I followed him and helped to dust off the table a bit before we all sat down to eat. Angel picked up the tin and placed it over the fire. I was sure I was beginning to realize what she was doing.
Ragnvaldr took out two bowls from his bag and looked from Angel to Tobih and back to the bowls. “You two don’t happen to have your own bowls do you?” He hoped.
Tobih shook his head, “I can’t say that we were prepared for this trip. It was kind of a sudden thing.” He sat down in the chair in front of mine. Angel joined by sitting beside him.
Ragnvaldr set the two bowls down in front of Angel and I and proceeded to grab the two plates from his sack as well. He placed those in front of Ragnvaldr and himself, who sat beside me.
“Don’t give me preference just because I’m female,” Angel scoffed, though she took the bowl without hesitation.
Ragnvaldr just smiled as he served us each with the soup, giving less of the broth to him and Tobih in order to keep the meal within the confines of their plates. They wielded forks while Angel and I ate with spoons.
“You’re a really good cook,” Tobih said between a mouthful and his next bite, which wasn’t really much time at all.
“It’s all I know how to do as far as crafts go. Never had the time or materials to do anything else. Especially with the basic items being so expensive,” Ragnvaldr responded.
“Who needs to buy materials,” Angel scoffed. “I mine my own ore and cut down my own trees.” She seemed like the type that would cut down an entire forest just to say she did.
“After our journey, you should teach me,” he requested with a smile.
Angel stayed silent for a moment, simply eating with surprising manners, and then replied, “I can do that.”
The house was filled with kind words this morning. With memories like these, I almost wished this journey could last like this forever, even if it meant never restoring my old memories.
Angel helped me wash up using the tin of the now warm water. Tobih and Ragnvaldr came in when we told them we were finished and began to wash up themselves. I headed outside with Angel to scout the area. The sun hurt my eyes after all that time inside the dim light of the home. It hurt to look at the snowy ground. It would be great traveling weather, but clouds were beginning to roll in again from the distance. After getting used to the light, Angel and I strolled around the area. She took out a small compass and looked around. Surveying the area myself, I walked in the opposite direction as Angel. The land was fairly level and clear here. A few trees here and there, a boulder next to a fence that had nearly disappeared in the snow. Most of the features were left a few thousand feet away where there looked to be a forest, a cliffside on the opposite direction. Nothing but mountains and trees to see in the horizon.
“Ooof,” Angel sounded. She had tripped over something in the snow. I began to walk over to help her up, not realizing how far from the house she had gotten. “What’s this?” She asked, reaching down to brush a large amount of snow away with her hands.
I finally made it to her and saw what we had feared just last night. My heart broke as we both worked to uncover the bodies of a Norn family. With them were shattered urns, boxes with the lock broken, and a small supply of food and water. Angel bowed her head and sighed. She then covered them back up with the snow; I lended her a hand.
“Don’t tell the other two,” She demanded and stood up.
I shook my head.
“I won’t tell a soul.” I remembered Ragnvaldr’s face when he saw the empty house and his breaking voice. I had a feeling that Angel was reminded of the same thing.
“Good. I’m going to take us on a detour around it. They might notice the disturbed snow, so I can’t chance taking them too close.” Her voice became softer. “I’ll tell someone to come out here and give them a proper burial when we next have the chance. The snow should keep them for now. May the spirits be with them”
“We should head back now. We don’t want the boys to come out after us,” I sighed. We both turned back and went on our journey without another word to each other about what we saw that day.