Winter – Chapter 24 – 02

            “Phelan?  Can we borrow you for a few minutes?”
            Three sets of eyes turned toward Rory’s voice as his head poked inside the forge, which was easily thirty degrees warmer inside than it was outside.  Phelan stepped away from Matt’s makeshift bellows and nodded for Thom to take over.  “Sure.”
            Thom arched a brow as he took over.  “What’s up?”
            Rory shook his head.  “Just something we need Phelan’s touch for, that’s all.”
            “Wards stuff?”  Thom winced slightly as he started to work the bellows, ribs twinging uncomfortably.
            “Yeah, something like that.”  His gaze flicked between Thom and Matt.  “Y’know, Marin wanted someone to go out and scout to make sure there’s nothing strange going on outside the walls.  Think you guys could handle that?”
            Matt frowned a little, glancing at the half-started piece in his hand, then looked at Thom.  Phelan swallowed a chuckle.
            “You’ve barely gotten started, Matt.  I think you’re okay to leave it.  Better get to it if Marin asked.”  Phelan snagged his coat from where he’d tossed over a pile of wood and turned to Rory.  “Lead on.”
            Thom stepped away from the forge to let Matt clean up and bank the fire, drifting toward the door.  He shivered slightly as he stepped out of the warm darkness of the forge and out into the chill of daylight.  Even with the sun high in the sky, the day was still cold, holding the promise of an even colder winter to come.
            Every time I have to deal with a security threat, I can’t be building something that needs building.  At this rate, nothing will ever be done and we’ll end up freezing to death before winter’s out because I haven’t been able to make sure everything is properly insulated.  His jaw tightened.  Too many problems.  Not enough solutions.
            Not enough time.
            Matt nudged him and offered Thom the jacket he’d left inside.  As he shrugged into it, he said, “What do you think?”
            Matt frowned.  “About what?”
            “We ready for any of this?”  Thom asked.  “War, the weather?  Any of it?”
            “No one told me we were going to be fighting a war,” Matt said.  “Just some skirmishes to solidify our position and defend ourselves.  As for the weather, we won’t know that until we face the first real test, will we?  At least we’re staying dry and out of the wind.  That’s the worst of it.  We’ve got blankets.  We’ll find ways to stay warm.”
            Thom shook his head slightly and reached back inside, snagging his blade from where he’d left it leaning against the wall just inside the door.  He belted it on before he zipped his coat and yanked on his gloves.  “I’d hoped we wouldn’t need to worry about that.  Too many other problems.”
            “One thing at a time,” Matt said, momentarily sounding wiser than his years.  He clapped his brother-in-law on the shoulder.  “Come on.  Let’s have a look around.”
            “You’ll need a weapon,” Thom said.
            “Got some.”  Matt produced a throwing knife roughly the length of Thom’s hand from somewhere—probably inside his sleeve.
            Where the hell did that come from?  “When did you learn to throw knives?”
            “When I was in Scouts.  Same time I learned rifle and archery.”  The blade disappeared again.  “Rory’s been helping me with the sleight of hand part.  Made the knives.  Good practice for the swords.”
            Thom shook his head.  “Full of surprises, aren’t you?”
            “I try to be, anyway,” Matt said, then set off down the hill.  Thom shook his head again and followed.
            “You thinking they felt something?”  Matt asked after a few minutes.  “While they were working their mojo?”
            “Don’t know.”  Thom glanced to one side and then the other as they drew up to the gap where he hoped someday a gate would be.  He couldn’t see the warding team right away.
            Probably broke off in case we find something.
            I hope we don’t.  I really, really hope we don’t.
            “You and I going to be enough?”  Matt asked, frowning as he peered through the gap.
            “For the moment,” Thom said, stepping out into the open, gaze scything from side to side as he cleared the walls.  “Otherwise, you book it back and I’ll try to hold whatever we run into where it is.”
            “That doesn’t sound like a good idea.”
            Thom shrugged.  “Not going to strip camp of defenses.  Two of us is enough to scout for now, especially if there’s not actually anything out here.”
            Matt arched a brow.  “You don’t think anything’s out here.”
            “Correction,” Thom said.  “I hope there’s nothing out here.”  He smiled grimly.  “Come on.  Let’s get to work.”

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This entry was posted in Book 2 and 3, Chapter 24, Story, Winter, Year One. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Winter – Chapter 24 – 02

  1. Kunama says:

    “warm darknes”

    “haven’t been able to make sure everything properly insulated”
    everything is properly


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