SKT - Follow The Cleric
Under the AllFather's Eye
Atarah is exhausted, but it’s a good feeling, the draw and pull of gravity in her limbs as she goes from fire to fire, laughing and joking with the Ulgen – the orc warband just as flush with victory as she is. They’re all bloodied from battle, but they’re all alive, all whole, and already Natalia has been plied with food and drink and enthusiastic if mis-informed new devotees of the “War God Eldath” crowd around her.
Tranled is alive, is incredulous that she is too, and she can’t stop herself from smiling ear to ear just to be in this jostling mass of life! She pesters Korotir into a spar with the new gear, wrestles with QujMeh, carouses with the warriors and drinks too much mead.
Eventually, though, even her manic energy fades to a dull humming in her bones. Atarah sheds armor and gambeson, both bloodied and the gambeson especially in need of repair. The slice that goes straight through the yoke of the collar, deep into the chest and back, sobers her far sooner than she wants to. The entire side and front of the quilted garment is stained the brown-red of old blood – the evidence of another brush with death. This one was much closer than the others. A few more minutes in that snow and even Natalia would not have been able to bring her back, she’d said.
Atarah shivers in sudden reaction. She won’t think of that now, tonight has been a time for celebration! But even the Ulgen are pairing up and vanishing into cubicles and yurts, leaving the fires unwatched, though the Temple is no quieter. Atarah wraps her fur cloak around her, white and grey from crag cat and worg alike, from the kills Korotir had made. She summons Rivka with a word and a gesture, follows the hallways back behind the pillars where they’d made their stand on the tall ledges.
Some of the direwolves are back here, big toothy beasts the same size as Rivka and just as savage, but Atarah smells like the Ulgen – mead and smoke and blood – and they settle with rumbling sighs. Rivka shoulders her way into the pile of fur (she smells familiar too, they have all traveled together for weeks, and saber-toothed are pack animals as much as the wolves; they get along now) and Atarah follows.
Sleep, in a pile of wolves and lioness, is warm and deep. Atarah doesn’t wake until the next nightfall. If she dreams, she doesn’t remember it.