Friday, December 30, 2011

While the next days passed quickly for some, to the children it seemed like time had slowed to crawling. Tomas was more excited to see his friend then he was about gifts. He asked at least twice a day how much longer until Ryan was coming. Alise had made a calender and was marking the days off for him. He still asked. He asked everyone. And Ryan was asking his mother. Chiara would smile and explain, then return to her weaving. She was making all the women and girls a gift for Yule and as a thank you for their friendship and hospitality. She was excited too, for the first time in many years to share the holidays with other people.

A few days before Yule Tannr had stopped by the cabin to visit with Erik. His happiness was contagious, he and Tori were closer than ever and his love and devotion to the red headed gargoyle was more than obvious to those that knew him best. Alises girls were at the cabin and Star had them helping to string pine cones and popcorn. To any outsider it would be hard to tell which children belonged to who. The families were close and often the children were at one house and then the other. Gracie loved to come to the cabin. Mera was her best friend and she loved all of Stars animals, often helping her as she could. Her soft brown curls bouncing and eyes bright, she ran to tell Star there were kittens in the barn. So excited she was she could hardly get the words out.

Tannr joined Erik at the rail of the deck. Watching the children return from the barn talking excitedly about the kittens made both men smile. Tannr switched to Norse, since they were speaking of gifts for the children and he didnt want to spoil any surprises.

In Old Norse Erik tells Tannr that Alise has been busy sewing clothes for the dolls that Tannr had given the girls.

“I dont know how she does such fine detailed work. Several of her fingers were broken when that madman held her captive and two them never healed properly. She's making nightgowns and fancy dresses to match the girls Yule outfits...”

Tannr grins, “They do like the dolls. I'm glad I thought of it for them. What are you getting Star for the holiday?”

Before Erik can reply, Gracie looks up and starts to giggle. “Mama making my pretty dress pink...”

She skips away, returning to the popcorn stringing and sits by Mera.

“How did she know what we were talking about? She cant possibly understand our language...” Erik watches the little girl sitting contentedly with her friends and siblings.

Tannr shrugs. “Probably just coincidence. They are all excited for the festivities.”

Erik nods but isnt convinced. He starts to ask again but is interrupted by the arrival of Keon, escorting Pandora and Chloe to the cabin. Chloe joins the children amid much squeals and laughter. Pandora smiles and heads into the cabin, intending to start on some baking as soon as Star can tear herself away from the children.

Keon joins the men on the deck and listens intently as Erik explains the exchange with Gracie. “It would be impossible for her to understand. Its basically a dead language. My brother and sister speak it. Guunnar does, and maybe a few others...”

“I told him it was probably just coincidence. The kids are excited and the older girls have more than likely been talking about their dresses...” Tannr says.

Keon listens and a worried crease appears across his brow. “There are some ways we can test her, but it seems almost like trickery to do to one so young. She canna have learned a language on her own, with no one knowing about it...”

The men watch as Lobo wanders over to the children and sits between Mera and Gracie, causing a peal of giggles and commands of “Move, Lobo, move”. Gracie leans close to Lobo's ears and whispers something. The wolf gets up and moves to her other side and the children continue with making their decorations.

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