In the scorch of the day, Karin had finally retreated from her prowling rounds of her little corner of Attirac and retreated to the familiar hovel she had made home in the past two decades. Her failure as a housekeeper was ever apparent when wandering the small three-room abode, with its shutters swung haphazardly open to allow in some breeze, and clutter scattered over every free square inch of table space. Despite the mess, there were a few sacred piles scattered throughout that the woman hadn’t touched in years – a heap of roomy shirts once belonging to her husband in the corner, a dagger and sheath with Averian script etched into it as Conan’s first trophy as a warrior, and she had even left the little nest of straw and linen that Cefin had built for his kittens that had long since grown and left for greener pastures.
Her eyes scanned these memories every so often as she sat at her table, a map and parchments spread haphazardly around her. She was planning again, always planning, this time to assist her eldest son in the repossession of Dragonden. It was a maneuver to be done carefully since a majority of the residents there had once called themselves Caldonians, and a handful of them might be willing to smooth the process if stroked the right way. It had taken some time to come even this far in the plans, since the Alinari clan was not one well-known for its diplomacy over simply razing the entire town and starting from scratch.
Karin’s hands ran through her blonde hair, left wild and unkempt and longer than usual, but the sound of horse’s hooves broke her current mental roadblock and took hold of her attention. It was not common for anyone to visit her by horse, save for Cefin’s intermittently rescued mounts, but the entrance was so silent that she presumed it to be someone she at least knew.
That assumption was quickly answered when the silhouette of a very tall woman briefly eclipsed the intense sun beaming in through her open door. The stark difference between the brightness outside and the darkness inside made it impossible for either of them to make out the details of each other until Idris finally crossed the threshold with a familiar rapping at the doorframe. Karin straightened in her chair, curious and pleasantly surprised by her friend’s sudden appearance, and her golden eyes squinted to showcase her inquisitiveness. “Idris. What brings you here?” Unceremoniously, she kicked at the leg of the chair across from her to push it out from beneath the table as a lazy gesture of welcome and an invitation to sit. Too many years of hardship and companionship stretched between them to make room for formalities anymore.
• MY PEACE HAS ALWAYS DEPENDED ON ALL THE ASHES IN MY WAKE •