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Stars and moon still decorated the hanging tapestry above, when Nah returned from his long night's duties.
Snow squeaked and groaned below his booted feet, while mournful winds cyclone sharp blasts of frost and tiny flecks of ice all about him.
His camp seemed to be a silent, cyclopean ice sculpture. Stark white grounded on stark white. It's pristine marble catching the rapidly dimming moonlight, giving it a faint pearl luminescence. All around him, snow sparkled like a secret treasure trove. A vast field of untouched diamonds, cold and pure.
Seeking what little shelter there was to be had near his lodge, Nah awaited the first rays of the new day as was his custom.
Stars winked out. One by one. Unable to compete with the insistent procession of Morning's fiery light. Here, diffused by clouds and soft. There, unadulterated and raucous in it's blaze.
Dawn sent new light spilling down the sides of the craggy mountains which hemmed in the Cree village, and lent crazy shadows to anything it its way.
With a smile on his face, and the wind still singing in his ears, Nah walked inside and laid down on the buffalo furs. Wrapping his arms around himself, Nah stared at the fire burning inside his lodge as his mind flashed to her.
He had cleaned up an old ring held long by his mother, and given to him in death his hand pulled it from one of his pockets. Nah had supposed that it had been gifted many times over throughout his family's history. He had held onto it with a quiet solemnity until he knew that it was his time to pass it along. That it belonged to Her. The women he loved.
Long, lonely nights had born and died for Nah as he carved his own words upon the inset of the simple band, and in doing so made what was past, into what may yet come.
What blood, what sins. All promises kept, and also broken. They, too, would molder in a time that Nah would not repeat.
These things, and more, did he promise to himself, and did so daily as he counted the hours spent with her, all that time ago, like a miser counts coin behind locked door, and heavily draped window.
All this he had done, and sworn where most it mattered. In short, he had yielded.
He had yielded to the life he wanted, had, and would fight to keep.
He had yielded to her, and the quiet pains she kept to herself, but parceled out in small measures to him when they became too great to carry alone.
If there was to be a tomorrow, and another after that, she would need to do these things as well, and she would have to mean it.
He gripped the ring into the palm of his hand so tightly he made a impression into his skin. His eyes closed. All this he had done, and sworn where most it mattered. In short, he had yielded.
Nah's eyes held the color of rich earth. A bottomless brown that could never be mistaken for common. Often shifting to so dark a tone as to lose his pupils in its recesses like some unanswered question. A truth held back deliberately for another day.
The eyes marked him for what he was.
They collected the light of every flower curving on the thin edges of every petal, and thorny spine. Caught every gleaming movement drifting, until it fell through the air all around him, and settled weightlessly upon his quiet spirit. Readying him for what came next.
Tiny sparkles marked his ocular depths in constellations the likes which only a child would draw into being.
Gold stars upon a night sky of fertile brown, where imagined Gods played and whispered life down from high above. Trading secrets with voluble speech. In this vision he was with her. His arms took her in. His lips pressed to hers. In his vision he slipped the ring onto her finger. His love for her was powerful. Deep. Over shadowed his every waking moment and lately even his dreams.
He loved her.
A faint throb pulsed within.
Soon he would see her again. He would hold her. He would slip the ring onto her finger....
Sleep finally came to him as in his hand, he held the ring that soon would belong to her.