Chapter 6 Pt. 1

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Chapter Six

In which the young master develops a fondness for birdsong...

After Jori left the next morning, Soryn stood by his window looking at two of Niflheim’s suns in the sky. The third was obscured by a large cumulonimbus cloud. He gazed up towards the village chapel and then to the stables. He saw that horse, Sable, giving the stable hands trouble again. The thought passed his mind that he might ride that horse someday. He smiled as he crossed the room toward his long table to eat the breakfast Jori had brought. While he ate, he stared at the dying embers of the night’s fire. Fire was a new addition to his life and he relished everything about it. It was beautiful in every stage: the framing of the wood, the orange flames, the crumbling logs, and the grey ash—like snow that had wilted and died. The night before, he had counted Arna’s fires as blessings with the stars.

You sound very cheerful this morning.

“Hello, Ulla,” Soryn said, sipping his milk.

Hello, indeed. I trust you slept well?

“Yes, Ulla. I slept very well. How did you sleep?” Soryn made empty conversation. His mind was preoccupied.

What are you thinking about?

“As if you don’t know?” Soryn smiled.

I’m learning it is polite to ask, even if I already know the answer.

“I’m wondering what I will be like once I’m able to leave the tower whenever I like.”

 An interesting question, to be sure.

“I’ve lived in this tower for half my life. I’m not sure I’ll enjoy freedom as much as I imagine. Perhaps I’ve grown suited to confinement.”

As one who has spent an enormous amount of time being confined, myself, I think you will enjoy freedom very much.

“What do you mean?” Intrigued, Soryn sat down on the hearth, listening.

I haven’t left this tower in a very long time, either.

“Really? I suppose I didn’t really think about how you got down there or why.”

Yes, well, I’d rather not talk about the how or why. Let’s just say we’re much in the same position. I want to leave as much as you.

“Why don’t you come up here to my room and then go down the other passage with us?”

Getting out of the tower is not exactly my top priority. Let’s talk about that another time. Your lady-friend is arriving.

Sure enough, Arna came up the stairs just as Ulla had said and carried with her two snow shovels and a bag slung over her shoulder.

“Good morning, Arna,” Soryn’s face brightened.

“Good morning, yourself. Shall we get started?” She dropped the shovels carefully, so they would not clank too much, and took the bag from her shoulder. Soryn watched as she untied the mouth of the bag and began to dump its contents on the long table. Out poured two pairs of rough workman’s gloves, two strips of felt cloth, a pair of boots, a change of clothes for each of them, and a bar of soap.

“How did you sneak past with all that?” he laughed.

“Ah… I have my ways,” she smirked. “I made a list when I returned to my room last night and I found all the items this morning.”

“Did anyone see you?” Soryn suddenly grew afraid of the consequences of their pursuits.

“No, and no one will miss these things. I made sure of that. We should be able to keep them for quite some time.”

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