3rd March: The Reindeer Festival - The Final Feast



The Reindeer Festival in Sûri-kylä was coming to an end. The week had involved many competitions, the favoured ones being the Sled Races and  Ice-Sculpting, which were followed by celebrations in the Great Lodge. This evening was no different, as all those in Sûri-kylä swarmed to the Great Lodge to celebrate the final day. It was a feast like no other, offering many different delicacies, drink, as well as singing and dancing. The Great Lodge was densely populated and it was incredibly loud because of the music, as many danced around the tent.

Vuohkku turns away from her conversation with Jâna. It seems not to have gone quite the she'd have liked, though neither seems truly upset. She slowly makes her way over the usual fire.

Ruhte walks in with a basket of fish and heads to the cooks to drop it off.

Ilyna enters the Great Lodge and immediately dusts herself off. She'd scan the tent in search of her sister, rolling her tongue to tut as she did. She eventually spotted her and trotted over, smiling a little as she reached her; ''I've been looking for you.''

Vuohkku puts on a smile. "And you've found me!"

Ilyna blinks, raising a brow; ''That I have!'' She'd hesitate; ''Are you alright?''

Ristiinna comes in with a harp cradled in her hands, clutched tightly. Clearly, she's frightened of losing it, or dropping it into the snow. She steps out of the way of others entering and sets it down gingerly so she can take off her warm outerwear.

Ruhte is being scolded by one of the cooks about her eating habits. She stands there with her head hung and listens until the woman finishes.

Vuohkku nods. "I am. I just... couldn't afford something I wanted to get for someone." She sighs. "I thought I'd counted right, too."

Ilyna asks; ''What do you want to get, and for who?''

Ruhte makes her escape and practically runs to the other fire.

Ristiinna takes the harp back up and carefully plays a few notes on it, testing and adjusting the tuning.

Vuohkku shakes her head, the smile fading. "That would spoil the surprise. I'll just have to try to save up, and hope it will be available again later."

Ilyna frowns a little over her sister's expression, shaking her head. Before she would reply, she'd begin fiddling with the fastenings of her cloak, apparently already too warm since being next to the fire. She'd take it off, folding it roughly and placing it down on the bench; ''I can give you some?'' She would have looked over her shoulder, noticing the small figure practically rush past them, yet wouldn't say anything as she wouldn't have been able to depict who it was.

Jaska comes in and lowers her hood once she's in line.

Ristiinna apparently satisfied with the tuning, but still gripping the harp tightly, crosses past the cook-fire, not stopping for food, and over to the common-fire.

Vuohkku sighs, looking down with another shake of her head. "And if it's for you? That's not good if you pay for your own gift."

Ruhte peeks around the fire and waves to Ris.

Ruhte waves to Ristiinna.

Jaska takes her bowl to the usual fire shortly.

Ilyna blinks, grinning over at her sister; ''Well, I suppose I won't give you anything, but..'' She'd hesitate, playfully nudging her sister; ''You just ruined the surprise.''

Ristiinna smiles brightly and waves back to Ruhte, then also to the sisters, and to Jaska as she arrives. She seems to be murmuring something to herself under her breath.

Ruhte grins and hides back behind the fire.

Vuohkku flushes and sighs, but then sees more approaches and waving. She puts a smile on again, looking up, and waves back.

Jaska stops, looks around, and asks, "Why's everyone standing up?"

Vuohkku shrugs and shows her empty hands in response to Jaska. "I'm not ready to sit quite yet."

Ristiinna says, "If I sit down with this and then I get back up and trip and break it I will die! And then my father will kill me! And then I'll die again!"

Ilyna looks over her shoulder toward the main fire and the queues, for which were significantly larger than normal, giving it being the last celebration. She'd sigh, looking back to her sister briefly; ''I'll go get in line.'' She'd then turn around, noticing Jaska and greeting her with a smile, and then doing the same to Ristiinna as she arrived too. She'd then wander off toward the main fire to queue. She'd be met by some Lossoth that she would recognise and then began conversing and laughing with them as she waited.

Ruhte hides on the other side of the fire and says nothing.

Vuohkku peers about, then sighs a bit again. "Ah, well." She looks back over. "And how are you two? Besides being nervous of a harp."

Jaska juts out her lower lip and nods a bit at each answer. "...All good reasons," she offers. Then she gets out of her cloak and uses it as a cushion when she sits herself. "...Which two?"

Ristiinna giggles a little more manically than is her usual, and that's saying a lot. "I heard there's going to be song and I wasn't sure if I was, I mean, if I could, if, I mean, who else is going to, my Da said..." She gets lost in her own jumbled words.

Vuohkku points to Ris and Jaska. "You two. I don't see anyone else I know enough to ask that way, though I was hoping to. - Oh! It's your Da's harp?"

Ristiinna nods. "I mean, one of them, but it's his best one." She gestures roughly in the direction of, well, the fire, from anyone else's viewpoint. "There's one more there," she says vaguely.

Vuohkku peers more, but has no vantage to see the seated lass.

Vuohkku sighs. "Someone who doesn't want to talk to me, I think."

Ristiinna shakes her head and says in an exaggerated whisper. "Just shy, I think." She plucks one note on the harp. "Some people are!"

Ilyna had impatiently waited in the queue for a while now, but she had only really started to get frustrated as those she knew had left, having already got there food. It was finally her turn, and she'd take the two bowls willingly with a smile and a nod given to Elin, as she'd wander back toward the fire. When she arrived, she'd offer one of the bowls to Vuokhhu, before sitting on the bench.

Vuohkku nods slowly. "That's so. But if someone's hiding from me because they're shy, I'm not sure I should be giving chase. - Thank you!" She takes the bowl gratefully.

Ruhte huddles close to the fire and is too overwhelmed by the massive amount of people she doesn't even make snow doodles. She sits there looking small. Her gaunt frame helps with that image. She looks over at Ris as she plucked a note.

Vuohkku sits with Ilyna.

Ristiinna watches Ruhte a few moments, then steps around, carefully, to nearer to Vuohkku. This time her whisper is normal, just enough for those very close to hear. "It's not you, it's... I think everyone. How much and how many."

Ilyna looks over to Ristiinna and it follows her as she'd come toward her and Vuohkku. She'd look up to her, a brow raised; ''Who are you talking about?'' She didn't try and disguise herself, and probably spoke rather loudly in comparison, but it wasn't intentional.

Vuohkku nods, looking to Ris. "Ah." She manages a small smile again. "I hope that's so. I mean, I'd rather she didn't feel like she had to hide, if you mean who I think. But I hope she's not really hiding from me."

Ristiinna has just enough discretion to keep whispering, though not enough to wonder if she shouldn't be revealing what someone else chose to conceal. "Ruhte, the fisher. Remember, she carved that reindeer from ice?" She gestures very slightly towards the far side of the fire.

Ilyna blinks, nodding; ''Oh, yeah, her.'' She'd then follow Ristiinna's gesture toward the fire and did rather nosily peer across to inspect it for herself. She'd give Jaska a look before she'd look back to the pair, smiling to her, before she'd then question the others; ''Why are we talking about her?''

Ristiinna shrugs. "Vuohkku was afraid she was hiding from her," she says as if that explains everything, then turns to look over at the cook-fire. The smells of food are starting to get to her. She frowns in thought.

Vuohkku sighs. "Because I wish I could do something nice for her, but I don't know what. When she will, she's nice to talk to. I like her."

Ilyna shrugs, looking to her sister; ''Why don't you go sit with her? She might like the company, even if it's more packed in here than usual. A friendly and familar face might help her?''

Vuohkku nods. "Mmhm. But I'm afraid she won't want me to. And it would be rude to be leaving everyone else. And I feel like an idiot now either way."

Ristiinna crosses towards the cook-fire to get out of Vuohkku's way, if she takes her sister's advice, as much as to get something to eat, as she's still not sure how to balance that with the harp.

Ilyna gives her sister a sympathetic look, shaking her head; ''You're not an idiot, so stop that.'' She'd hesitate, briefly glancing around to the other side of the fire, yet wouldn't quite see Ruhte as she did, before she'd look back to her sister; ''Maybe if you make something in the snow like she does? And it's not rude..'' She'd pause again, shooting Jaska a look; ''She'll just have to put up with my company.''

Jaska smiles and admits, "There are worse fates."

Ristiinna whispers with Elin a little bit, then fetches her coat. She goes over to the work table and carefully sets the harp down behind it, wrapped carefully in the coat. Then she returns to the cook fire.

Vuohkku chuckles. "Yes, there are. Like being as much of an idiot as I am." She smirks at her sister, teasing a little, then gets up with her bowl to go around the fire.

Ristiinna returns to the common-fire with an especially large bowl of lightly cooked fish with berries.

Ilyna shakes her head, intending to protest yet notices her sister's expression, and so dismisses it. She'd then look over to Jaska, shuffling to the other side of the bench instead of being so far away, lifting the bowl to her lips to take a sip, grinning as she lowered it; ''That was an awfully nice thing was you to say, and it was about me.. Is the heat of the fire getting to you?'

Ristiinna sits down, looking around at the others, and sets to eating, glancing over at the harp bundle every two or three seconds.

Ruhte watches Vuohkku walk over. She scoots over to make room.

Vuohkku smiles warmly to Ruhte. "May I sit with you? Or would you rather I not?"

Jaska shrugs. "I didn't say it was the best fate."

Ruhte nods and gestures to the spot near her.

Vuohkku sits with Ruhte.

Vuohkku smiles to her more after she gets settled down. "Thank you. I know it's a lot of people. Are you all right?"

Ilyna frowns, looking down to her soup; ''Pfft.'' She'd take another taste from the bowl, and she'd look over to Ristiinna when she lowered it, raising a brow; ''Is my company bad, Ristiinna?''

Ruhte nods. "Ok."

Ristiinna looks up at her name, eyes blinking. "Umm, I don't know, is it?" she asks. "I know mine is. I am too much."

Vuohkku looks at the bits of snow around them, then nods with a small sigh, but smiles to Ruhte again as she starts eating.

Ilyna blinks; ''Are you?'' She'd then look to Jaska for clarification; ''Is she?''

Jaska looks over. "I've never thought so and I told her that the other day. In fairness, I can't say I know her all that well." Then, more directly at Ristiinna, she asks, "Weren't you trying something to be a little bit less... much?"

Ilyna scoffs; ''Why would you try to do that?''

Ruhte looks to Vuohkku warily at first then smiles. She relaxes a little when she sees Vuohkku start eating, indicating she didn't need to talk anymore. She grins at Vuohkku and gives a small wave.

Ristiinna nods. She steals another glance at the harp. "Yes, my mom tells me... well, I tend to annoy people and the more I want to make friends the more I make them want to avoid me." She glances around towards Ruhte a split second. "So I am trying to not say everything that I think. But I don't really know either of you so I don't know who's good or bad company."

Vuohkku gives Ruhte a bigger smile and waves some free fingers, still holding her bowl and something spoon-like.

Ilyna rolls her eyes, shaking her head; ''Why try be something you're not?''

Ristiinna answers, "So I might make a friend someday."

Ruhte smiles and starts scooting little piles of snow closer to her.

Vuohkku blinks at the pile-scooting and smiles. When her mouth is empty, she asks, "Are you hinting that it's my turn to make things? Did you see my reindeer? It looked like a peg-leggged seal in a broken head-dress!"

Ilyna shrugs; ''How're you going to make a friend if you're pretending to be someone you're not?'' She'd not intend to come across as rude, or argumentative, simply curious. If that was actually executed, however, was questionable.

Ruhte snickers and shakes her head. She starts forming the snow piles with her hands.

Ristiinna looks over at the harp again, clearly anxious about it. She pauses at shoveling food into her mouth to think. "Well," she finally says, "I think the idea is that I'm still me, just not as much, and then after I made a friend, if I ever do, maybe then I can be a little bit more me and it's still all right. I don't know. I mean, it hasn't happened yet."

Vuohkku giggles a bit, smling at seeng her start work, but she pretends to misunderstand in hopes of making a joke. "It did so!"

Ilyna doesn't appear frustrated, yet it was clear she didn't understand Ristiinna's reasoning at all; ''Aren't you then lying to someone if you then show them another side of you when it suits you?'' She'd hadn't come to realise she was being a bit too much.

Ristiinna shrugs again. "It's not a different side, it's just... it's just not as much, that's all. I don't know. I don't have any other ideas." She sighs and looks down at her bowl which clearly doesn't look so appetizing anymore.

Ruhte looks at her grinning and uncovers what she was working on. She recreated Vuohkku's reindeer in the snow. She pauses to make sure Vuohkku sees it.

Ilyna looked to Jaska, simply awaiting her input.

Vuohkku cackles and grins hugely at her. "Yep! Just like that! Now I know you saw it!" She giggles more.

Jaska stares blankly at Ilyna a moment, then gives Ristiinna another glance. "Uhh... Well, whatever works, works, right? I'm not an expert on the subject myself."

Ruhte takes a handful of snow and holds it close enough to the fire to melt it into water, but not burn her hands. She holds the warm water over the reindeer and drops a couple of water droplets on it. It melts the snow in enough spots that the Vuohkku reindeer blob now looked like a simple reindeer. She says quietly, "See? Was good."

Ristiinna pushes a few bits of fish around with her fingertip in the bowl.

Ruhte sees the world a bit differently.

Ilyna looks to her soup, and the others surrounding her, grimacing a little. She'd then actually jolt a little, wincing, shutting her eyes. She'd then look to the others again, hoping none had noticed and decided not to interrupt her sister, so instead lifted herself up slowly, collected her cloak, and wandered toward the door.

Vuohkku flushes, and shakes her head, but smiles warmly to her. "Mmm. I think you mean fixable by someone with your talent." She giggles a bit again. "But thank you. And maybe, if I manage to have better tools next time, I could do better. Or at least make a better seal and headdress, and not hurt my hand."

Ruhte grins and nods. "Right tools help."

Jaska gives Ilyna a concerned glance, but she's gone before she can say anything. She stares at Ristiinna a bit after that, worms her tongue around her teeth for a while, and asks, "Are you alright?"

Vuohkku chuckles. "I'm sure they must! My hand is still a little sore. But I'm sure practice helps, too. And I still think you have a real talent that most don't."

Ruhte shrugs, "Thanks. Not real useful to the tribe, but I like it."

Ristiinna keeps staring into her bowl. "I suppose," she says. "I mean.. she was right. You're all right. It can't work. I imagine meeting someone who I didn't have to do that with but I never have. I... I wrote a song about it but it seems so false. But maybe not being me isn't about making a friend but just... not irritating people. For their sake, not mine."

Vuohkku shakes her head. "Art is a good thing. I know it's hard to even think in here, but music and dance help the tribe. And the painted and woven decorations. Well, maybe your ice and snow don't last so long, but they're still art. Art is good."

Ruhte says, "Not like what you do. That very important."

Vuohkku shakes her head. "There are different ways to be good for the tribe. I'm good for staying warm, and keeping the bellies full. But you help with the bellies, too. And then there's the spirits. Art matters there. I... I don't do anything useful there. You do."

Jaska thinks for a moment and frowns. "Well... sing it for me anyway?"

Ristiinna looks around. "So much music already you probably couldn't hear it, but maybe that's for the best... It's so stupid. It's just a little fantasy, I suppose. Are you sure?"

Jaska blinks. "Wouldn't ask if I wasn't."

Ruhte grins and points to the reindeer now almost melted. "Comedic relief?"

Ristiinna closes her eyes a moment, then before she opens them, she starts to sing quietly. Her voice is high and thin, like bells; it would probably work far better accompanied, as it sounds pretty bare and strained alone. "I was walking by the bay, all bundled in my coat, untangling the scarf of gold tied around my throat. And then my eyes found you; my smile grew wide and bright, afraid to speak a word of my quiet, secret delight." She pauses a moment, humming the same melody, before continuing.

Ristiinna continues, "Sliding on the ice on the path out past the bay, racing past the sleds and laughing all the way. Your eyes so full of joy, your smile so bright and grand. We ran back to the lodge, together, hand in hand." She falls silent a moment, then says, "It's better with the harp."

Vuohkku giggles, then tries to stilfle it as she realises Ris is singing. "Maybe!" Her answer is at a lower volume than she's been using, which wasn't actually loud before.

Ruhte lightly claps for Ris.

Jaska looks around. "Well then, where'd you put it?"

Ristiinna points with a berry-stained finger to her coat bundled up behind the work-table.

Vuohkku raises her voice a little again. "I don't think it's going to accompany you from over there, under a coat."

Jaska opens her mouth to say something similar, then just shuts it and smiles.

Ristiinna looks over to Ruhte and Vuokkhu, and blushes brightly. "I didn't want to get any berry juice on it, or food," she says in a small voice.

Vuohkku nods. "Well, that's fair. But once you're finished and have cleaned your hands, you should play it and sing. I hope even for us."

Ristiinna smiles a bit, but it's a sad smile. "I was only mentioning it because of how absurd it is, how ... how I can't be me but not as much, but being me all the way doesn't work either. It's a dumb song. Da said I should stick to one of the standards, if I got to play for the festival, like The Cares of Tomorrow."

Vuohkku shakes her head. "Well, I can't see Jaska from here to guess what she thinks, but Ruhte already clapped for your song. And I think a lot of people will do the standards. I'm sure I'd to hear your version, too, but let's hear something of yours that you play. Well, that's what I think, anyway."

Ristiinna says quietly, "That's it, that's the first song I wrote."

Ruhte says loud enough to be heard, "Don't be anything, but you. Be the best you. Makes art better. More beautiful. Song was beautiful."

Vuohkku nods. "But we haven't heard you play it yet. You said it's better with it." She nods to Ruhte. "And she's right."

Ruhte pulls her hood down and over most of her face.

Ristiinna looks increasingly strained and anxious. "The music is... well, what I mean is, it'd be best with more voices, but the harp is better than nothing." She laughs almost bitterly. "Even when I write a song about having a friend it needs a friend to sing it properly with." Reluctantly she pulls herself up, leaving the bowl, and goes to wash her hands.

Vuohkku leans in just a little and speaks only not quite in a whisper. "I supopse it's a pretty enough hood. But it's not as pretty." She straightens back up and starts at her food again.

Ristiinna goes to collect the harp, leaving the coat behind there.

Ruhte looks to Vuohkku, then the fire.

Vuohkku looks up, still eating, but she seems quite prepared to listen.

Ristiinna hesitates, then takes the harp into her hand and begins to play a simple accompaniment, then again sings the same song. This time she is less hesitant, and there are tears in her eyes by time the song is done.

Jaska looks up eagerly and claps when it's over.

Ruhte peeks out from under her hood and claps.

Vuohkku sniffles a little and sets her bowl down to clap at the end. "That was lovely! You should write more!" She flushes. "I mean, I think you want to, and, well, that says we'd like to hear more, too!"

Ruhte claps for Ristiinna.

Ristiinna traces a finger along the edge of the harp, then turns and goes back to the work-table to tuck the harp safely away.

Ruhte claps happily for Ris and rubs her eyes. She stands and waves to everyone before she heads out.

Ristiinna returns and sits down, brushing her eyes. "At least I'll get to tell Da I played it for a few people."

Vuohkku smiles up at her. "Thank you for letting me sit with you, Ruhte."

Ruhte grins, "Thanks Vuohkku." She looks to Ris, "Thanks for playing Ristiinna." She waves to jaska and anyone else I cant see from behind the fire and makes her way to the door.

Jaska waves.

Vuohkku brings her bowl out and sits closer to the others now, but pauses to look at the reindeer the lass had made starting from the copy of her earlier efforts.

Ristiinna smiles sadly at Ruhte's thanks and waves, then takes up her bowl and pokes around in it, pops another bit of fish into her mouth, and then glances around. "I hope everyone's enjoyed the festival, at least," she says softly. "Hard to imagine spring is coming."

Vuohkku nods. "It is." She chuckles. "And I'll still be cold, after the first few warm days."

Ristiinna glances curiously at Vuohkku. "Maybe you need warmer clothes," she says, wonderingly.

Vuohkku chuckles. "I need a warmer me. I have warmer clothes than my sister, and she does fine. It's just something about me." She shrugs and finishes up what little is left in her bowl.

Ristiinna says, "Winter must be awful for you! Have you ever been down to Kauppu-kohta? I hear that in the summer it gets so warm the snow melts all the way down to the ground in places!"

Vuohkku shakes her head. "Ive not been. That... that sounds almost dangerous to me!" She chuckles. "I suppose ice and snow can be slippery and all, but... it's what I'm used to. And while I'm working with the herd it's not so bad. I just get cold when I stop moving so much."

Ristiinna takes up her bowl and eats a little more. "Maybe you need to bring some berry tea with you."

Vuohkku tilts her head. "But how would I keep it warm? We don't leave things out by the fire, because, well, the deer kick at things. Even by accident." She ponders. "But it's something to think about, I suppose. Trying to find a way, I mean."

Ristiinna stands up, having made herself finish her bowl. "That's a good point," she says, still somewhat reserved but more even-keeled. "Maybe the Kivi-väki could make a metal flask with a little fire in the bottom." She brings the bowl back and washes her hands again.

Vuohkku ponders. "I'll have to think on that. But thank you for the suggestion." SHe smiles up at Ris.

Ristiinna nods, as she comes back with coat and harp. "And thank you for listening to my dumb song," she says, and smiles a little. "Da will be proud of that much at least. Enjoy the rest of the festival, I hope you will." She heads back to collect her other outerwear, then goes out without putting it on first.

Vuohkku sighs. "It wasn't a dumb song." But she's taken off too fast for her to get that out.

Jaska smiles at Ristiinna as she departs, then gives Vuokkhu a glance. "Do you know where your sister went?"

Vuohkku nods. "Well, home, I suspect. She seemed, umm, well, tired."

Jaska nods. "I noticed."

Vuohkku nods again. "Mhm. Hey! How are you doing? I don't really get to talk to you any more than Ruhte."

Jaska smiles. "Better. Not that I was bad before, but, well..." She shrugs, abandons that thought, then pokes at her cushion. "Anyway, your sister gave me her old cloak today. Well, I don't know if it's actually old? But she said it's hers and she was wearing a different one, so..."

Vuohkku smiles. "She did? She must like you!"

Jaska nods a little. "I hope so... What about you? You alright?"

Vuohkku nods. "I think so. Though I worry about both Ruhte and Ris. In different ways, but... in ways that kind of alike, too."

Jaska nods. "Haven't really spoken to Ruhte, if I'm honest. Don't know Ristiinna all that well, either, but I do hope she's doing better after tonight. Seemed in a good mood when she left."

Vuohkku nods. "I hope so. I can't help if it's really her mum who needs to find friends, and leave her alone."

Jaska thinks. "You could.. go beat up her mum for her."

Vuohkku shakes her head, but with a hint of a smile. "I wish I thought that would solve it." She sighs. "Ristiinna would have friends if she didn't saying she doesn't. I mean, I'd like to think I sort of am, but it's hard to be when she keeps saying that."

Jaska shrugs. "Maybe in time. I wouldn't mind getting to know her a bit better."

Vuohkku nods. "Likewise. And I wish Ruhte would eat. But everyone tells her that, so I won't. She needs someone who won't tell her she's wrong to be like she is. Even though I do worry."

Jaska tries to look thoughtful. She stares into the fire, nods a bit, and says, "Well... it's good you're looking for everyone so I don't have to."

Vuohkku giggles. "Why thank you! I think." She smiles. "Though I suppose I should go worry about my sister again. Or how upset she'll be if I wake her up coming in any later." She stands and turns to take her bowl back to the cleaning tub. "Take care, Jaska. I don't need reasons to worry about you, too!"

Jaska waves a bit and stays where she is. "I'll do my best!"

Vuohkku chuckles. "Good!" and is out into the crowd, getting her bowl handled, and then recovering her furs before venturing out into the cold.