Chapter 11 Pt.1

2K 111 1

Chapter Eleven

In which there is much discussion...

Stigg was terrified when he discovered Arna had disappeared from the cottage. He looked all around the barn and house before he noticed her tracks leading towards the greenhouse. His alarm grew when he saw the portentous sky overhead. A terrible storm was coming. It surprised him that he was so overwhelmed by the thought of danger befalling her. This girl was upsetting the delicate balance he had carved out for his life. Stigg was a solitary, careful man—not prone to change or social interaction. Arna was causing him to feel differently about his methodical existence. She was good for him. Knowing he had no time for such distracting thoughts, he pushed them away. He followed her tracks before the storm hit. About half-way to the greenhouse, snow started to fall in great heavy sheets. Wolves howled in the distance and Stigg quickened his pace. The lantern he carried swung like a great pendulum as he lumbered through the deep snow. The howling grew louder. Then, up ahead, Stigg saw the white wolf running towards him.

“What’s happened?!”Stigg demanded.

The girl’s hurt. I was guarding the greenhouse and she saw me. I did not mean to frighten her. She climbed up the rock face. When I tried to stop her, she couldn’t hear my words. She lost her footing and fell. I think she’s broken her leg, the wolf told Stigg as he ran in Arna’s direction.

“Did she hurt anything else?” Stigg asked, laboring through the thickening snowstorm.

I’m not sure. As soon as I saw her fall, I ran to get one of you, the wolf answered.

Man and animal ran as fast as they could through the oncoming storm to get to Arna. Since the wolf’s speed was far superior to Stigg’s, he made it back far earlier than the man. He lay down next to the girl, who had passed out, and attempted to warm her body with his. The light from Stigg’s lantern revealed her still form long before he reached her. When he made it to her, he knelt next to her body. It was already covered in a thin blanket of snow, though the side closest to the wolf was beginning to melt. Stigg’s heart pounded as he checked for Arna’s pulse. It was there, faint. The wolf had said her leg may have been broken. He pushed her skirts up, exposing her stocking-covered legs. He examined each one and saw that the bone of her left thigh was threatening to break through the skin and tights. It would be very painful to splint, but it needed to be done before they could move her. It was a blessing she was unconscious. He gingerly examined her head but could see no gash or wound. There was a deep hole in the snow where her skull had made contact, however, and he imagined she would have a sore neck for the next few days.

“I’m going to splint the leg before any more damage can be done”, Stigg told the wolf.

The white creature nodded and settled over her body so that she would be still if she awoke during the process. The wolf inclined his head. When Stigg had a good grip on the leg, he exhaled and jerked the bone back into place. Arna did not stir, which troubled him.  He tore strips from his jacket and grabbed several pieces of wood that had fallen from snowy trees. Tying them around the leg, he secured the splint. Stigg picked her up immediately after—careful to cradle her head in his arms. The wolf carried the lantern in its jaws as they got her back to the cottage as quickly as possible. Already, the storm had made it almost too difficult to travel.

Stigg noticed the way Arna smelled of lavender and jasmine—the varieties his mother hung in their kitchen. His fear almost paralyzed him. Though he had not known her for very long, he felt responsible for her protection. He cursed himself for failing to notice her absence sooner. Clenching his teeth, Stigg pressed on through the blinding snow. Fanndis was frantic when Stigg carried Arna’s limp body through the open kitchen door.

Night Bells (Tales from Niflheim #1)Where stories live. Discover now