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Washed Up in Ezogashima

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No Name Girl awoke under the eternal blue sky, bright sunlight stabbing through the gaps between her eyelashes.

Too bright. And it was too windy. And there was a distinct lack of pillows and carpets between her bare back and the scrubby grass. As a matter of fact, the only thing unchanged from when she’d gone to sleep was a certain absence of clothing.

She’d gone to sleep indoors --- yes, that was the right word; it had been a beautiful big solid ger with multiple layers of wall and real doors. What did the Turkmen in warmer Anatolia call the insides of their lightweight tents? she wondered hazily. “Inflaps ?”

No, no, come back, No Name Girl, she commanded herself. Something important happened. You need to focus and figure out what it is.

There had been a game. A vast, noisy one that went on forever. And a party of more or less the same sort.

A wedding?

Possibly her wedding?

Her head began to pound as loud as thunder. She couldn’t look too closely at that one. Not yet.

And she’d fallen asleep at some point inhaling the scents of incense and perfume. In a pile of warm, beautiful pillows and rugs. Silk and fine wool… and wolf skins…

The Yasa laws of Greater Mongol reserve wolf skins for the use of the Altan Urag, the Golden Family...

She let her head turn very slowly to the side. The light became less blinding. She opened her eyes just the merest crack.

The steppe was empty of any human soul, living or dead. But all around her lay the picked-over scraps of a great feast... and also the kind of random detritus people drop in the course of a hasty departure. Maybe someone had dropped something she could wear? But that would have to wait: There were still wolf skins nearby, but the original owners weren’t done with them yet.

She could see ten big gray wolves just in this random direction, nosing expertly through the food scraps. Formidable hunters, to be sure, but not too proud for a free meal when nobody who mattered was looking.

Had they noticed her? If so, it wasn’t obvious. Maybe they’d fill up on the acres of leftovers and go away.



She probably shouldn’t move for a while. They couldn’t see the heat she gave off, thank Tengri, but she couldn’t do much about her scent…

From behind her, an exhalation of nearby breath moistened her cheek. She stopped breathing. Some sniffing, some drooling… then jaws closing on her outer ear.