Tove actually spends the night sensibly. She finds friends among the other Vigil, and retires to her tent with company. It is, at least, possible to get some rest.

It’s the first real sleep she’s had in days.

Brigid has come up with the relief crew. She is happy with this assignment because it lets her keep an eye on her Vanguard friends.

She is terrified because her first patrol had her quivering. Oh no. Hadn’t she left the whispering behind? Mordremoth was dead!

I hate dragons.

But in the end, Brigid signs up for extra patrols. She didn’t mind the cold, and the Pale Tree’s Noon daughter didn’t handle sitting around very well.

But hitting the Svanir became…unsatisfying. Especially after the first few fallen shaman. Norn were bright and fun and fighty, like herself. She didn’t _want_ to have to hit them.

And the voice…the voice….

“No,” the sylvari whispered into the wind. “No.”

But she drew back her shoulders. Her friends needed her. She could be strong.

She patrolled through the night, to keep her fellows safe.

Rikvi is grateful for all of her nonsense, for a change. This place can pull nothing on her she hasn’t dealt with for much of her life, not flickering things on the edge of her vision or voices from the unseen.

Raven’s wings are always, always buffeting the edge of her Sight up here.

For the most part, though, all she Sees is…ice and snow. Ravens. Wolves. Dragons. Svanir. Nothing that makes any sense, because everything is in flux.

Her talent is useless, like it usually is.

Wolves and ravens, wolves and ravens….

So she keeps an eye on Tove and Luuk, her younger cousins. She keeps another eye on Fiel, because although they are not close she feels a kinship to her fellow Necromancer.

Wolves, and a raven.

And somehow she found another eye to keep tabs on Brigid, because Brigid was one of her apprentice’s lovers and Ceridwen would be useless for ages without her.

“How are they doing?” Ambrosine’s voice, over the radio. Not a phantom she should ignore.

“Not well. The atmosphere gets to them. They bicker. A punch was thrown, even. They will need time to rest and heal after this.” Rikvi walks up to the battlements. She should sleep.

She won’t. Not yet.

Her husband is back home in bed. Hopefully he isn’t worrying about her, although he should be. He is a quiet merchantman. Why did he marry her, anyway?

Rikvi shakes her head.

“Well, that’s not good. Who’s the worst off?”

“Fiel,” Rikvi says instantly. “Koryander. Tove is not…she is not well. She is remembering Uncle Koli. But as long as Luuk is here, I think they will lean on each other and be okay. I am not sure about the others.” She pauses. “If we lose anyone in this endeavor, other than the Captain himself, it will be Fiel. That is my guess.” Rikvi trails a hand through the snow on the wall. The cold doesn’t bother her much. Not this ordinary cold.

“Gallant is not well either. Honestly, they all struggle. Perhaps Jin is okay. The most okay.”

“And you?”

“I am fine. I would not worry about me.” There were other fallen Raven shamans here. Rikvi was not immune.

But, well, it wasn’t as if death scared her.

“Get some rest, Rikvi.”

“Very well.”

Pyri and Kolfinna sleep–in the barracks, because the faint blood stains don’t bother them as much as some others. They plan to strike out for the family homestead in the morning, because it has never been like this before.

Harsh weather, full of Svanir, and the threat of Icebrood lurking? Sure. They’d cut their teeth on that sort of thing as girls.

But this was something else. And none of the Vigil here remembered having heard from the family in awhile. There was always some small trade in ale and fresh meat for tools only the Keep could provide.

Perhaps they have just hunkered down.


(inaudible whispers)

Author Ambrosine
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