It’s a little challenging to find a section of my story that doesn't connect to half-a-dozen other sections. I’ve broken this scene into two posts. The second half will come on Tuesday.
Here, the company has halted on the second night of their journey. The first night, they stayed in one of the hamlets, but now they have to camp out. Meygar, one of the soldiers had gone to find game, while the others built a fire:
Meygar returned before long. He brought a partridge and a couple smaller birds with him, grumbling that there wasn’t better game to have. Tungral and Anna helped him pluck and skin the birds. Then, while Tungral and Meygar fixed them over the fire to roast, Anna got out her jumble bag and went to find Mitka.
The older woman had already taken her shoes off. She was sitting on a boulder, rubbing her ankles, when Anna came up.
“Just a blister,” she explained. “I don’t know the last time I walked so far.”
Anna got out a salve and helped Mitka bathe her feet in cold water.
After a minute, the old woman smiled. “Don’t reckon I’ve walked anyway past the village since I was a girl, though I saw the East Village once in plowing season, before Lug and I married. I’d gone to visit cousins there.”
“Will you be able to keep on?” Anna asked. “You and Lug could still go back.”
Mitka shook her head. “We’ll make it,” she said. “Lug wants to go.” She took the salve and sniffed it before rubbing a small dab around her ankles. “It was real pretty to look back and see the alders budding on the ridges,” she added.
Mitka soon finished and started to get up again, but she changed her mind and stayed. They were still sitting together on the boulders when Anna heard Munin shouting for her.
Looking round, she saw the wolf-hunter standing high up the rockslide, nearly at the base of the cliffs. He waved for Anna to join him. “Come and see,” he called. “It looks to be a cave.”
“Run along,” Mitka said, handing the salve back to Anna.
Anna took it, turning to see if Rooz was going too, but Zan had him hauling branches for the fire. Dropping the salve and the jumble bag hastily into her pack, she hurried off toward Munin. Liegenor followed her, leaving his two soldiers to help Zan, and they scrambled up the rocks to Munin together.
There was a small cave—more of a hollow between two huge stones than a wolf-den. Anna looked in, before she wandered on, skirting the base of the cliff to find the early plants growing there, while Munin and Liegenor explored the rocks.