Wolves at the Door (part 77)

After Alfvin had left, Gil settled in to the old camp site. The sun would soon be up, so he need not light a fire immediately. It was a relief to know that later on, when he needed to do so, he now had the tools he would need.

The previous day had been long and intense, emotionally if not physically. He would have been exhausted, even without donating what Alfvin had called a little piece of his life. The sun would soon be rising, but it would not wake him. As he drifted off to sleep, he wondered if a meal and a good night’s sleep was all it usually took those village girls to recover after their encounters with Alfvin. If this weariness stayed with him in the morning, his experiment in self-sufficiency might be over as soon as it had begun.

When he woke, late in the afternoon, he felt much better. There was still an itching ache in his neck, but it hadn’t stopped him sleeping. Perhaps being so tired had been a good thing.

There was a lot to do. Camping alone, he would be more vulnerable to wild animals while he slept. A fire would help with that: he would need to gather some wood before the dark set in. He should also explore the surrounding area in more detail. Perhaps he could find a more defensible spot, or at least see where an attack was most likely to come from. Maybe he could set up some traps to discourage intruders and give himself more warning.

After the sun set, his options would be more limited. Once the fire was going, he should sort through his equipment and make sure it was in good working order. If he had to sharpen any of it, that would take a while with his non-magical whetstone.

The moonlight, though no longer full, would still be strong enough to be a big help. He was familiar enough with the path down to the stream that he was confident he could find his way, even at night. He had carried enough dried food to last a while, but the sooner he started supplementing it with fresh catches, the better. It might take some time before his hunting skills were good enough to add fresh meat to the menu, but he was more confident when it came to fishing.

So much to do, so little daylight left to do it in. Better get started.

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