“It’s his ship.” growled Leif, the two men climbed tge ship again abd returned moments later with their supplies, abd in Leif’s case his arms, a sword and a dagger.”Thank you.” smiled Eric looking back at the ship. A faint feeling suggested to him that he might not see the ship again. After braving the dense bushwork around Wellenheim they found what had warned the young Naga. The fircle church was intact, but near all other buildings had been put to the torch, a war galley lay anchored at the port. The alleys and streets were littered with dead, on first glance all that Eric could see were dozens upon dozens ofvdead humans, but Fathala pointed out the differently clothed people. “Galnerra.” she whispered as they passed two dead soldiers, one of them had an axe planted in his skull. An eerie silence lay over the town, covering it like a blanket, spelling out doom in the ears of anyone listening. From the galley they heard shouts, weary Fathala looked in its direction.Bewildered she noticed that Norsers were swarming the ship, all bloodied and ragged. “Spoils of the battle.” she mumbled in her native tongue. Repeating it for Eric as he was asking. Although the Norsers had won the battle Eric and Fathala agreed it was best to leave them be, as they might not take too kind on strangers at that moment. Leif had wanted to contact them but he too saw the wisdom in their decision. But if their women and girls survived, he thought, they might be willing to leave heir destroyed homes behind and come with us. We’ll get them on our way back, a smile appeared on his lips for a brief moment. After circumnavigating the fallen town until they made for the road that led them away from the coast. Mostly the two men stayed on the side of the road, autumn weather had turned the earth into slippery mud, Fathala stayed close but preferred to slither through the mud as it meant she traveled faster than on dry grounds. Ever since Leif and Eric had their fight the mood hanging over them was icy and silent. No japes exchanged, no questions asked, or explanations delivered.Not a simgle word uttered.Somehow Fathala blamed herself. “Don’t.” the voice was Eric’s, but he strode three meters away from her, only a pace or two behind Leif. Am I losing my mind? “You’re not.” came the reply before she had finished her thought. “There are things about me I haven’t told you, that I confided only my wife after our first son had been born. You are.not of our society, and hus not likely to turn my secret over to the order. I am, like you.” Confused but showing a little smile she turmed her head in the direction they were traveling in. “You can do magic.” “Yes.” Night broke, but the overcast that had built up during he day, remained. From old wood and leaves they built a fire, Fathala started it with her powers, so the dampness of both wood and leaves was not hindering. At first Eric and Leif wanted to hunt for some small woodland creatures, but fell back on salt dried fish and vegetables, as night came faster than anticipated. Leif ignored his father and the Naga as they cuddled close to one another to warm themselves. He lay wrapped in his cloaks and a sheepskin eatching the fire burn low, occasionally feeding new branches and twigs to the fire. Angered a new since his proposal of keeping watches was dismissed. Again he felt like a child that was being patronized. Once he was certain that both Eric and Fathala had fallen asleep, he sat up. Staring across the fire to the two his eyes started to water. Not so much from the smoke but his anger that he had suppressed. Studying the peaceful face of the Naga as she was sleeping in his father’s arms he realized that he hated her. Despite the fact that he didn’t know her, he hated her. Some noise not far from the.camp startled him enough to look in the direction the noise had come from. Fiercely glowing eyes stared back at him. The pole was bereft of any predators, or large animals. Still, from old texts about the eastern continents he knew that he eas facing a wolf. Where there is one, there is a whole pack, he thought. Drawn in surely by the smell of our food, by our smell. His gaze returned to the Naga, her weak appearance surely was also present in her smell, she would make for excellent prey, his eyes returned to the wolf. It took a step closer, the ridge of its snout curled, teeth bared, but no growls. The animal lifted the nose and sniffed audibly, gave growl, and turned away. I wouldn’t want to eat her either. Daylight broke through the canopy of leaves, but no direct sunlight, a cool breeze flowed through the forest, fanning he little flames of the campfire as hey licked over a few damp branches and leaves that had been placed between them. Confused Leif rose, last he knew he had been watching the wolf, now it was daytime and the fire was fed.

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