Snow fell slowly onto the ground. It seemed like stars falling down from the heavens, to those who stared out of the fire-warmed cave. Long ears adorned all but one of the ten people inside, and each of them was ill-dressed for the frozen weather outside. The wind and the stone around them sucked their heat away, and they chattered among themselves, debating on going deeper, where they could see the ruddy glow of fire. Surely it would be warmer!
Eventually, the group decided to build a wall of snow to stop the wind from entering the low-roofed cave, and began work. Several worked on and on, until finally a wall was built.
The young man who did most of the work stumbled to their weak fire and sat beside it, shaking and rocking to try to restore heat to his body. “We have to go deeper.” he said after a few long minutes. The area inside seemed warmer now, but the still air bit at their flesh, and the stone under their feet continued to suck at their warmth.
The argument began again, with the elder vehemently arguing against it, and the youth arguing for it.
Eventually, a woman noticed that everyone was pacing, and joined the argument. Her points hit hard, and she threw insults into the mix as she repeatedly stepped back to avoid getting slapped. She taunted and teased, and led the group to the back of the cave, only to find a roaring bonfire and warmth.
The elders became silent, and sulked near a wall, while the young adults warmed the two children and the fat, suffering man with the round ears.
Not a single one among the group noticed the strange hue to the flame– far more white than normal. They each warmed themselves by it, chattering in relief that they might survive the freakish storm. They began to introduce themselves.
The young man who did most of the work on the wall was Jefroy, the son of a mason. He had a wife and child back in the capital city, waiting for him to return from a pilgrimage to the Holy Mount.
The crafty woman who led the elders to the bonfire was Elless, who was present with her fiance, Ridro– one of the pouting elders of the group who had tried to slap her several times.
An old woman with the group was Salla, and she was grandmother to the two children, Rikki and Hinra. Salla’s daughter Joie was present with her husband, Mikkae.
Jacob was the round-eared fat man, who had the most awkward property– a long-eared slave woman who was blind, and had led him to this cave before the storm hit. Jacob treated the woman like a daughter rather than a piece of property, and she flirted with him subtly. Her name was Anghelisha– a name long enough to be in the Book of Nobles.
Salla and Ridro eventually joined the rest of the group at the fire and warmed themselves, while the old woman scolded Rikki and Henra away from Jacob. “Give the man some space.” she warned, her tone as icy as the wind outside. “He might chain you, too!” She wiggled her fingers, as though being chained was some witch’s curse.
The round-eared Jacob scowled and wrapped and arm around his Anghelisha, while his free hand rubbed her arms to warm them. “I’m not like that…” he objected quietly, only to blush in surprise as the woman in his arms purposefully rubbed against his groin. “Stop that, now isn’t the time, Anghie.” He looked away and cleared his throat awkwardly. “Any idea when this storm will pass?” he asked, then looked around the eerily circular room. He paused as he noticed the walls had the marks of tools on them. “This room looks different than the entrance.” he muttered.
“It does. Someone carved this room.” Jefroy agreed as he ran his hand along one of the rough-hewn walls. “I think we aren’t the first to come here. You mentioned She gave you directions that took you right to the cave before the storm hit, didn’t She?” He refused to look at Anghelisha, even as he asked about her.
“She did.” He nodded, then looked down at the small woman. “What do you know about this place, Anghie?” he asked gently.
“I was born not far from here.” She gave an absent-seeming shrug that caused her small breasts to bounce. “This is a lucky place to create a child, though, I do know that. I created here, and am very lucky.”
“Do all chained slaves think themselves lucky, I wonder, or are you simply feeling lucky because he’s a cock you can taste?” Ridro asked with a derisive snort.
Anghelisha’s expression became cold. “This is why I prefer the company of the round-ears. They are more kind, and none think with their tiny pricks of jealousy.” She sneered, then yelped as Jacob swatted her rear.
“That is enough. If we continue to argue, there will only be trouble. Let’s not give in to our less charitable sides, and instead plan ahead on what to do to ensure survival.” He wiped sweat from his brow and frowned. “This way, the two lovely children can hopefully get home to celebrate the coming holidays in warmth and happiness.”
Joie nodded. “Yes. Being home for the holidays sounds nice.” She bit her lip, then looked to the hall they entered from. “We should take turns watching for the storm to pass.” she suggested.
Jacob looked around. “I can take first shift. I’m warmed up, and my belly keeps my warmer longer. I’ll stay out there as long as I can.” He nodded, then gathered some logs from a nearby pile, thinking nothing of why they might be there.
The large man walked away with his load, intent on feeding the puny fire at the entrance in order to last longer there. Anghelisha followed after him, and looked rather smugly back at the group. Ridro glared at her, certain that they meant to fuck rather than watch for the end of the snow storm.
To be continued.