[This post is from Neve’s point of view.]
Sleep wouldn’t come, no matter how long she lay there in the dark, staring at the ceiling—and it seemed like it was forever. Eventually, Neve got up and put on her shoes, wrapping a shawl around her shoulders before she ventured out into the night’s quiet.
From the position of the moon, she guessed it was perhaps two or three in the morning, deep into the graveyard watch already. They still kept those watches, even after so many years of relative quiet and peace. It felt strange to do any differently, she reflected as she walked along the well-trodden path from her door toward the center of the village, where they still cooked communal meals—though the fireside had changed a great deal over the last decade and more.
There were two stone ovens there, now, and a cooktop. The old ring of stones had been replaced, built up into a proper pit. A small shed held proper cabinets for the crockery and glassware and utensils, for the cooking vessels and pans and sheet trays, washbasins and drying racks set just outside its door. Tala still kept her smokers further away, though, and the food storage was likewise a little ways away, though not so far that it was inconvenient. Nor had the communal meals ever started to feel inconvenient—on the contrary, it seemed to Neve that it helped keep them together.
A distant sound drew her attention and she turned on the path, squinting up through the darkness toward the forge on the hill—one of the few structures little changed over the span of years. There was a faint glow from its doorway and she frowned, drawing her shawl a little tighter despite the night’s warmth.
Seems someone else is restless tonight.
Silently, Neve started up the hill toward the forge, suspecting she already knew at least one of the people she’d find there—though she wondered if there would be more.