Wolves at the Door (part 93)

As it happened, Alfvin was no more keen to be led through strange terrain than Gil was to lead. He proposed that they travel the first night as usual, then make camp for the day. A second night’s journey would see them to their destination, and they could return to camp in daylight.

The first night passed uneventfully, and they were just outside the area Gil knew well when they settled in to sleep the day away. Alfvin, unable to do much else, had no trouble resting. Although Gil slept in daylight as often as night, he found sleep elusive. Perhaps it was the unfamiliar surroundings. Then again, maybe it was the moon making him uneasy, though it was no longer in the sky. Gil had judged it still a couple of days from full, but it brought a sense of anticipation that had not left when the moon set. He forced himself to calm down. If it affected this trip at all, it would not be until they were returning through more familiar lands.

Gil had suggested that if they could set out in daylight, he could take the lead through the territory he knew well, and trade roles after dark. Alfvin had declined, for two reasons. Firstly, he preferred to arrange things so that he arrived in a new town new dawn, rather than dusk. Whatever the reason, people tended to be less suspicious of a traveller arriving at daybreak, despite the implication that they had been roaming the wilds throughout the night. For some reason, people just felt more vulnerable when the sun was going down.

The second reason was that Gil’s plan would have left them needing to camp near the village, exhausted after travelling all day and night. That would have made Alfvin feel vulnerable. Now that he had the option, he preferred to get as far as possibly away from the village he had visited before resting. Gil wondered how many times the evidence of his work had been discovered on some girl’s neck, and prompted an angry mob to go searching for him the next day. The possibility was not appealing. An angry mob was always bad news, whether they pursued you for your own outlaw status or the company you kept.

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