Tove woke with a start, throwing off her blanket with a dagger already in hand before she realized…
…she was home. In the guildhall. And nothing was there.
Nothing included her wolf Randulfr, who usually hogged the bed. She muttered a little bit until she remembered that she’d set her companion to keeping a loose eye on Ironwood.
(The best answer would be to have both in her bed, but that was neither here nor there and would require a larger bed, at any rate. More for the wolf than the man.)
Well, there was no going back to sleep now. The lingering nightmares of vines impossibly mixed with ice were still dragging through her veins.
Great, she thought. Now I get to have nightmares of the jungle AND the north. That’s fantastic. Falling and freezing, choking and…more freezing. Svanir and mushrooms and pocket raptors and creatures of ice.
You know, Zhaitan’s minions hadn’t bothered her this much.
She walked out to where the fire slumbered in coals and stirred it back to life. It was silly for a Norn to have a fire in the jungle, perhaps, but she also couldn’t quite fall asleep without the crackle of a fire. It was also the perfect storytelling location, which was simply criminal to do without for the skaald.
So. Here she was, a Norn in the jungle, stoking a fire and sitting down on a pillow alongside it. Imagining she could feed all of her messy emotions to the hungry flames.
“I’m going to blame Fiel for this. Not sure why I opened up to him anyway, except that he was the first to come at me with a fucking crowbar.”
Tove sat there, staring into the fire and cursing Jormag’s existence, until a sharp nudge by a cold nose stirred her. “Wha–oh.”
It wasn’t Randulfr. It was Valdís, casually sitting next to the ranger as if she did this every day. The dark gray wolf–much smaller than her mate, the speed to his brawn–even deigned to lean against her.
Tove didn’t dare throw an arm around her. But…it was comforting nonetheless.
Eventually she stole the blanket from the bed and curled up right there, Valdís at her back. The fire slept again and so did she.