Several days pass, but it’s hard to tell just how many it’s been. Leifur doesn’t have the greatest concept of time, and all the memories of who did what on each day seem to blur together.
Eat, sleep, gather firewood, rinse and repeat.
He does know that every few nights, Aesfor has an argument with another person in the caravan, but nobody has actually left. Travelling alone was dangerous and difficult, and safety always outweighed comfort. For now, they’re just going to have to put up with him.
Aesfor does eventually, however, announce that they are all ‘officially a few hours’ from town’, only to make people wonder why they’ve stayed in one place for so long. Leifur didn’t care too much. He already heard rumors about Aesfor, about himself, about how the chicken with only two toes on one foot was plotting their demise.
At least now they can all leave the camp behind.
Laundry is gathered, materials are stockpiled and people are rounded up to move onwards. Right now, there is no more firewood to be gathered, since they were supposed to leave within the hour.
The fire eventually burned out, allowing for him to play with the cooling ash.
It clings to his fingers, painting them. The memory of a fire, of people, sticking to his hand as if to say no, don’t leave me.
Leifur wipes his hand off on his pants, leaving the fire and the camp to be forgotten.
The sun is shining, but it’s difficult to feel its warmth.
It’s cold, and the air feels as though it’s biting at the tips of his fingers. Leifur doesn’t usually mind the cold, but it’s the /wet/ he has issues with. There was a sun shower for all of twenty minutes, and that’s all it took. His clothes are wet, his hair is wet, the grass is wet and gods damn even his socks feel damp.
It didn’t seem to bring anyone else down, however, so that leaves Leifur alone to silently complain.
Everyone is talking amongst themselves, the excited chatter of apparently being so close to the town enough to spur them on. Aesfor even seems to be in a good mood, though that could also be attributed to the woman around his arm.
Trond is walking with Leifur, carrying a large cloth bag over his shoulder that holds most of his possessions. A few of the other men drag their belongings in little sleds they made, tugging them over the hills with rope. Leifur gets away with carrying a basket under his arm.
Supposedly, the village that they’re heading for is only a few hours away now. Enticing enough to make them move, just far enough for Leifur to feel validated in his complaints.
“Wipe that look off your face, we’re almost there,” Trond encourages him, though he shoots the boy a pointed look.
Leifur continues silently pouting regardless.
The village was much, much larger than he expected.
The people all but cheer when they spot it, coming up over some sort of ridge overlooking a valley.
The village is clearly outlined by acres of farmland and dirt, with an odd-looking, short but curving wall that runs alongside the border of most of it. The ocean’s visible just past the settlement, and even from there Leifur can smell the salt in the air.
Aesfor all but drags the woman clinging to him down the ridge, kicking up damp dirt and dust. Even Varryn’s crazy chickens seem to be excited at the prospect of civilization, clucking noisily from their coop currently being dragged on a sled.
The village was organized surrounding the largest building, a great Hall made of large stones and logs that leaves Leifur wondering how anyone could have moved it. Woven fences surround the borders of each person’s property, and the dirt path leading up to the village itself had a pair of deep trenches that Leifur had a hard time walking over. The people carrying their belongings just walked beside the path, watching the boy stumble over the dirt and rocks.
Livestock and the chatter of the settlement’s people filled the air as Aesfor’s caravan finally made it to the approximate entrance to the town; a set of intimidating statues of figures with long hair and meticulously detailed outfits. If there was writing on the base of the statues, Leifur couldn’t read it.
There’s a sea of tired groans and sighs as the group is led to a large building to unburden themselves. It wasn’t the Hall, but an imposing place regardless. The house had clay tiling on the roof, and the walls were made out of carefully carved wooden planks. Inside there was a cast iron frame holding a shelf where coals burned and the slight glow illuminated the immediate area.
It was warmer than the outside, so Leifur wasn’t complaining.
He turned his head to look at Aesfor, the woman he was with, and who he was (assuming) to be the lord of the area. Would it be a chief? It wasn’t something he was well-versed in, but the person looked expensive and important, so he could only assume.
The lord was a broad-shouldered man with a thick beard and a heavily-embroidered cloak that was secured with a gold pin. He had black hair and dark eyes and an intensity about him that Leifur wasn’t sure he liked. At least now, Aesfor wasn’t alone in the ‘scary’ department. Whatever it was that the three were talking about, Leifur couldn’t hear.
Trond had sat himself by the burning coals, and Leifur was quick to join him.
“Are we living in this building now?” The younger asked, idly picking at his fingers. Trond let out a sigh, watching the glow of the coals. “For now? I suppose. We’re trying to strike up a deal for some land. That’ll be what Aesfor’s doing up there; if all will go our way, we can build ourselves our own homes and not worry about sleeping outside.”
Leifur chews on the end of his fingernail, impressed enough. Trond continues, prodding at the coals with a thin rod of iron. “The women are going to work in the village. Most of them, anyway. A handful of the men, you and I included here, Leifur, are being leased land to work. Half of a half is going to the village, and we are to work until we’ve paid it off in full.”
A few coals crumble open, golden flecks spiraling up out of the iron cage, and Leifur watches them disappear in the air.
“I don’t know how to farm, Trond,” he quietly replies, eyes flickering back over to the older man.
“Then open your mind and be ready to learn, because I’m not sleeping outside, and if I have to listen to Aesfor’s snoring much longer, I just might kill him,” Trond snorts, and sets the fire poker down.
Leifur’s socks still feel wet.