Chapter 6    


 Little by little, the ferocity of the storm abated, its feral roar settling to a menacing growl, hinting that the meat of the storm was far ahead. She had begun to lose all the hope she might have had of returning to her makeshift home at the base of the mountain, which would most likely not survive the oncoming blizzard. It was a miracle she had grown too cautious to leave anything of great value at such a vulnerable location, especially with so many hunting parties coming through in the months prior. She had few possessions that humans, who flitted and crooned after anything that sparkled or shone but dismissed what they did not understand, would deem valuable. When snowmelt came in the dying gasps of spring, what little remained of the shack would peek out from beneath the slush again, and the rage of the storm that threatened to tear the stone dwelling from the ground would be abated.

Abrubtly, Seraph tensed. Heavy breathing and snow-muffled footfalls just barely audible in the howling wind. She twisted herself onto the pile of soft earth on which she had slept, trying to tell if she had enough time to arrange her possessions as they had been, and feign sleep. Wisps of Hrafin's long hair blew into the flap before he entered himself, followed shortly by the smell of a fresh kill. She almost smiled, slipping her crystals back into the satchel, and placing Roula's earthen bowl by the fire.
"Find anything good in this storm?"

He had not noticed her there, and started like a young buck when he saw her in the dim light from outside. Until she saw the light outside, she had not realized how dark it was. Her eyes had adjusted before she had processed it, but outside the sun did not yet appear to have risen. He smiled sheepishly.
"Forgive me for intruding. Roula didn't have the chance to tell me where you were before the storm. you need anything more for your injuries?"

"Oh, no. What I have will do. Thank you."  She paused, something occurring to her.  "Hrafin...that is your name, no?"

He nodded, looking uneasy. She smiled sadly, more to herself than to him.  It was far easier to make humans fear her than it was to earn their trust.

"Hrafin, I will have to spend the winter here, won't I?"