Grateful for the distraction from his conniving uncle Vrabin returned to his seat as his listened to his mother recount the tale of the battle and lessons learned. The evening resumed its casual pace only broken once when a messenger arrived to announce that the lord of house Goldwind and his son would be arriving early the next day before the festivities began. It had been several years since the widowed lord had come to the festival, less due to grief at his loss and more due to the Alarik’s continued refusal to sell their land. His arrival surely marked another offer.
The night wore on and the lamps grew dim and soon the number of relatives began to dwindle as they made their way to bed. Well before the witching hour only Vrabin, Jessica, Hans and his wife, Tellia remained. The four had moved closer to the stove leaving the door open and occasionally throwing another log on the fire. They stared into the flame half mesmerized their conversation quiet.
“Dwayna still has not seen fit to bless you with a child?” Tellia asked frowning.
Vrabin slouched deeper into his chair. “Not yet, but we keep praying that she will see fit to provide.”
“Vrabin suggested we take in a baby ogre we found in some ruins last winter,” Jessica’s laugh was tinged with sadness.
“Vrabin just wanted a child more handsome than himself,” Hans said reaching over to push his brother’s shoulder.
“He was a real looker I’ll admit,” Vrabin said with a sarcastic chuckle, “apparently ogres are born with snaggle teeth and bulbous eyes, just the kind of child I’ve always dreamed of having. A pity I married someone as pretty as Jessica,I doubt she could produce such and ugly child.” Jessica squeezed her husband’s hand in appreciation of the compliment.
Hans yawned causing the usual cascade and soon the couples said good night and retired to their quarters. Vrabin’s and Jessica sneaked quietly into the back room of the main cottage. At some point that evening someone had taken the time to move their luggage from the wagon in the barn. After washing their faces and changing into their respective night wear the couple settled onto the straw packed mattress in the corner of the room and drifted off to sleep.