[Story] Ashenvale – Nimrathis’s Visit

Nimrathis was thankful he had the dumplings in his pouch for the long walk back to his own camp. Bear had offered, and hadn’t seemed very interested in eating them himself, rather he had been roasting a fish over the fire when Nimrathis arrived that night. Maybe Bear was tired of them? Nimrathis couldn’t imagine getting tired of dumplings, perfect little savory bites surrounded by soft dough. But if that sentinel brought them to Bear every night, maybe he was. Nimrathis was certain he’d never get tired of them, no matter how many the sentinels brought him. And Zhyra did, sometimes, but her visits were rare. He was always glad to see her, because it meant she had brought supplies he wouldn’t need to go and get for himself — and of course, dumplings. Some nights he thought it might almost worth going back to the town if it meant he got them every night. It was something to consider, at least. But having so many people around made him nervous, even if they weren’t paying him any mind, their presence was there, like an insistent insect in his ear. It was much easier to keep focused here, away from everyone else. Short visits were fine, and Zhyra and Bear never stayed long anyway.

But Bear had said something that worried Nimrathis. He wanted nails and a stove, to make his shelter better, he said. Nimrathis thought Bear’s shelter was good enough — not as good as a cave, of course, but one couldn’t always find a suitable cave. It had walls and a roof, and didn’t fall over in the wind. Why did he need anything else? Because of the sentinel, Zhyra’s friend, the one who brought dumplings for Bear all the time. He wanted her to stay with him, and he thought she would like a nicer shelter. Nimrathis didn’t much like the idea, for one she would be there when he went to Bear’s camp. He might interrupt something he’d rather not see. And it meant that Bear would be staying in this one place, sending down roots. He would be far less likely to go to new places if he had  a real home and someone waiting there. What Bear had said was true: Nimrathis himself had stayed in the same cave for several years now. It was a good cave. But Nimrathis could leave anytime he wanted to, nothing kept him there. He was free to go where he wished. Now he was worried that the same wouldn’t be true of Bear.

In spite of himself, Nimrathis found himself curious about the sentinel. Of course he’d wondered what it might be like, having someone there all the time, to help him hunt and cook. He was more curious about the other things, but Bear didn’t talk about that despite Nimrathis’s asking. He was quite certain Zhyra wouldn’t ever want to do any of those things, at least not with him. Hearing about it was the only way Nimrathis would know what it was like. He supposed he could just ask her, but he wasn’t certain what her answer would be — or if he’d like it either way. Yes, part of him wanted company, but only sometimes. He valued his solitude and his meditations just as well, he doubted she’d understand that. He crested the hill leading to his camp, just as the morning sun began to filter through the trees. It would be hot today, and Nimrathis was eager to retreat to the coolness of his cave. And thankfully he had a few dumplings left, should he get hungry.

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