~ The Rain ~ pg 10

Supper was short as all eyes worried after the returning clouds. There was no town left between them and the pass. Only a sheltered campsite marked out on the map. The cloaks were distributed and extra layers were donned in preparation, but they had not taken into account the drop in temperature as the road began to rise in Enundale’s foothills. What started as a manageable drizzle turned quickly to freezing rain. The road became treacherously icy as it wound higher and higher with drop-offs that became increasingly steeper. After Civyl’s horse lost its footing and almost sent him off a cliff, he ordered them all to walk. 

Fiora used her element again to turn aside the lighter mist, but the wind could only help so much. As the rain grew thicker and heavier, there was less and less wind that did not already contain water droplets to push away those that fell on their cloaked heads. Eventually Fiora gave up and they trod on slowly, their cloaks and clothes becoming soaked through. It was a miserable trek with sheets of stinging sleet peppering their faces. Alex had thought that maybe, as the wind’s chosen, Fiora would be exempt from the wrath of nature’s element. Glancing her hunched form that held an arm up to try and shield herself from the worst of it, he now knew better. He wished he could walk beside her and shield her, but Civyl was careful to put himself between them on the narrowing road. He blocked every attempt to pass saying it was too slick and feared for Alex’s safety. Alex knew better.

Well before sunset the clouds threatened to hide the light of the sky entirely and Alex became concerned about finding the campsite marked on their map before someone stumbled off the edge of the road. They reached it safely but everyone was cold. Everyone was shivering. The campsite was little more than a flattened area underneath an angled outcrop of rock. The area that sheltered them from the rain was a thin crescent. Only half of it was tall enough to stand in. After allowing for the horses to share the outer space, they were left with sitting room only. 

Chink and Borris braved the elements a while longer to gather firewood, but try as they might, the fire stubbornly slumbered on within the wetted wood.  Alex’s fingers were raw and bleeding from the effort before he gave up. “It’s no use,” he groaned in frustration. “My hands are so numb I can’t even hold the flint anymore.”

Demil whined beside him. “But we have to have a fire! Our fingers and toes will fall off from the cold if we don’ freeze to death first!”

Chink threw in his own grumble. “It ain’t ‘elpin’ bein’ in these soppin’ wet clothes neither. Is anythin’ dry?!”

Borris maneuvered between the horses checking packs. “Depends on what it’s packed it in. The leather satchels kept the clothes dry, but the crates leaked through.” 

“My medicine!” Nivia exclaimed in dismay. 

She tried shouldering her way past Borris but Civyl held her back. “There’s no room for drying herbs here, and no mold will take them before the morning.” Nivia scowled at him severely but before she could retort, he gave her a different task. “As our resident healer, how about you tell us how we can survive the night without losing any extremities?” He wiggled stiff fingers in front of her for emphasis.

Her scowl remained but the woman sighed. “Are there any dry blankets?” she directed at Borris. 

He made his way to the pack mule and opened the crate that had held them. He took them out one by one, laying the top four to the side. “Only three,” he frowned.

Nivia shook her head and clucked her tongue. “It will have to do. Make sure they stay that way!” Turning around, she addressed all of them. “Everyone needs to change into something dry first.” 

The End

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