Tribes of the Long Night

The full force of winter had set in, and even the main road of the fishing village of Falvarinth was constantly blanketed in snow, now. The boats were ensconced in boathouses and drydocks, the piers locked in ice; fishermen and sealers hiked to work, now, chipping holes in the thick ice sheets to get their catch. The cold was omnipresent.

And yet the upper reaches of the town, near the hot springs, were far, far milder than the deep north; and so it was that Danir stayed in one of the largest homes, second – if a distant second – only to the headman’s own.

Of course, Danir was himself several times larger than Headman Nashir, so his home didn’t wind up feeling nearly so grand. Put another Narami in it, and it could actually feel somewhat cramped at times. But Falvarinth was not a Narami town, so such visits were rare. And, given who was most likely among Narami to be visiting, cherished.


Talen took a deep breath, leaned back, and surveyed his work.

He’d put as much effort and art into the little figurine as he had into anything else, even his master-work – and he’d had years of experience since that. Silver set with jet, it wasn’t the most intrinsically valuable piece he’d produced, but the work itself was as good as he’d ever done. He could call it one of his best without reservation.

Which, considering its intended recipient, was as it should be.


The place was abuzz with magic. It was so strong it made Samal’s teeth ache, but even without sensing the aura it would have been obvious – snow whirled all around, driven by wind bitter enough to sting through Samal’s dense white pelt, but that one spot was calm, lush, and by all appearances warm. Time was out of joint there – the gloom of arctic night was split by the illumination of a sun at zenith that shone only there, on that placid water garden.

The centrepiece of which was a block of unmelting ice – with a figure trapped inside.

This discordant zone was doubtless the very source of the region’s eternal storms which he’d come seeking. It stank of black magic, but didn’t seem directly harmful to anyone but its hapless focus. Samal stepped over the boundary.

One moment, he was leaning on his staff with both hands and planting all four paws against the wind. The next, all was calm, and sunlight poured down on him. The reprieve was sinfully delightful – but he wasn’t here to enjoy the scenery.