It was dark when they reached a village, a collection of huts set in a more sparsely wooded area of the immense pine forest. Bragi pulled his sled to a stop in front of one of the huts, an A-shaped low wood structure constructed from thick pine planks covered with moss. Mounds of snow blanketed the hut lending extra insulation to the snug home. A short smokestack rose from the roof sending out a thin wisp of smoke.
“I take my leave of you, Reggie and Sig. Bragi will attend to your needs now,” said Snorri as they climbed down from the lumber. “My niece’s hut is just down the road. I shall surprise her tonight, tonight.”
“Thank you, Snorri. We owe you,” said Reggie, shaking the old man’s hand.
“Yes, thank you, Snorri,” said Sig. She extended her hand to shake, but then grabbed him in a hug.
“There, there, my dear. It was my pleasure and an honor.” Sig smiled and looked up into Snorri’s eyes, red rimmed with exhaustion, moisture making the brilliant blue irises even more striking.
“Now get inside before you freeze solid. Bragi, cider and ale tomorrow to exchange tales!” He turned, yanked on his pulk’s handle and trudged away from them. Bragi pulled his pulk near the house, stamped the snow off his high fur boots and led them into the toasty warm hut. The wall opposite the door had a stone fireplace, with a huge fire blazing in the hearth. White flickering candles lining the fireplace mantle brightened the room.
Flanking the door were two large platform beds piled high with furs. Near the fireplace was a roughhewn table surrounded by tree trunk stools. A woman tended a pot boiling over the fire while two small children played at her feet.
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