18th April: The Evening of Preparation



Sofie | The area near the ice-skating pond had been turned into a preparation area. People were milling about, stacking sacks and crates and tying things to sleds. Sofie was among them, speaking amiably with the two healers she was with, and gesturing wildly to one of the sacks sitting at their feet.

Ristiinna and her mother Nôra have been bringing things to the sleds, checking things off on the piece of parchment perpetually in one hand, and giving directions to the others about where the materials will be loaded. Sometimes Nôra leaves this to Ristiina, though she's always watching how her daughter is doing.

Vuohkku came from saying good-byes to the rest of her family, waiting only on her sister to finish her portion of that. She'd brought their items for loading a bit earlier before the inevitable family obligations.

Sofie gestures with her hands. "These are not enough bandages, I think. We will have to find some more in Pynti-Peldot," she can be heard saying, in which the other two agreed. Turning, Sofie lifted a hand to wave to both Ristiinna and Vuo when she saw them.

Ristiinna turns to the others and asks, "If there's anything you'll be needing that might not be on my list, now is the time to speak of it. Everything's being loaded carefully, to balance weight, to ensure nothing is only on one sled in case we lose one, and to make the more urgently or frequently accessed things near the top, so we won't have to unpack everything." She waves her list.

Jotunvir approaches the group with a thick backpack slung over his shoulders, which seemed fairly empty, aside from either side of it bearing several javelins. He approaches the group and raises a hand in greeting to them, before leaning against the post beside him.

Vuohkku smiled and returned the wave. "I hope we don't need more bandages too soon." She looked briefly troubled by that, but took a slow breath and calmed herself.

Sofie steps over, inspecting the sleds that were nearby. "Will the deer be pulling the sleds? Or will hounds be doing it?" she asks, glancing up at Vuo. "I wonder if Jaska will just ride a mammoth. That's what I would do."

Ristiinna says, "Hounds would be better because they can help with the hunting and they're easier to feed as we travel, that's what my mother said anyway. Grazing takes longer. Of course we will want to forage and hunt and fish anyway, to stretch our own food-stocks, so perhaps that won't matter as much. Vuohkku, what do you think?"

Sofie peers down at Karhu, nudging him gently with her boot. "That means you're gonna pull my sled, and you better not crash me into Ilyna like you did last time."

Vuohkku shrugged. "Browsing and such is slow as well, over the glacier. I'm not sure it matters much. Keeping hounds fed might be faster."

Ristiinna says, glancing at her list, "We have some dried berries and lichen, but probably not enough to feed grazers for that long, even if we don't have any for ourselves."

Sofie hums. "It does seem easier to feed the hounds, they can eat what we hunt, where we may not be able to find places for the deer to graze. I think that will ultimately be up to Vuo and Ilyna's clan though, they may not want to supply any more deer than the ones we are bringing to Kuru-leiri."

Ilyna sauntered over the bridge, rather casually at that, even though she knew herself to be late. Nevertheless, she did not rush, as she felt no need to, though she had a good enough justification if she was to be asked. She did not announce herself, and so instead, she simply moved to silently place herself beside her sister, whilst she listened to the conversation at hand.

Ristiinna waves her parchment to Ilyna and Jotunvir as they one by one arrive. "If there's anything you need on the sleds that's not already on this," she taps the parchment, "speak up, so I can make sure it fits into the weight distribution and gets on the list." The bottom of the bundles on the sled is already secured -- tools, climbing gear, spears and arrows, and some food.

Sofie glances over her shoulder. "Venla and I were arguing over whether or not we should bring an empty sled in case someone is injured. She says no, we can just empty one in a case of emergency, but I don't know."

Jotunvir leant forward to look upon the sled, and then gave Risti a shake of his head with a smile as he went back to leaning against the pole beside him, his arms crossing over his chest.

Vuohkku nodded slowly. "I'm pretty sure they only counted on the amount being taken to leave. We have to let them range pretty far, and further apart than we'd like, for adequate browsing."

Sofie shifts on her feet. "What's browsing?"

Ristiinna moves to start stacking things onto the sleds and tying them down: tents and tarps, wood and bone, more tools including hunting gear, snowshoes, furs and hides, candles, cooking pots and bowls, and lots of food.

Vuohkku blinked. "Oh! It's when they dig into the snow for things, or eat off the tree bark, and the like. Not quite the same as grazing, but how they usually eat."

Sofie seems surprised. "I didn't know they usually ate that way," she answers, sounding interested. "How many are you guys bringing to Kuru-leiri?" she asks, turning her head to curiously watch Ristiinna while she worked.

Ilyna casted her attention over to Ristiinna as she spoke, yet she shook her head, as she presumed her sister would have already dealt with that, though she did not ask to clarify. Once they had settled, and her sister was not subject to any conversation from others, she leaned it to question in a low tone; ''What exactly have I missed?''

Ristiinna looks up from her list. "Oh! Some of us were going to bring harps and other instruments, don't forget! I need to run back to the house to get mine before we set out."

Vuohkku pondered the question. "I think they said it was eight. Which doesn't seem like a lot, except with only the two of us from the clan to manage them, it sort of is."

Vuohkku murmured to her sister after, "Discussion of probably needing to get more bandages on the way, and making sure we're loading up properly. I brought our gear down earlier, though, before the family descended on us."

Sofie frowns slightly, nodding. "Seems a lot for two people. I hope that the hounds don't scare them," she muses. She glances back to Ristiinna, jabbing a thumb over her shoulder. "Our supply of bandages is really short, and we can't take anymore from the healer's tent. We'll need to stock up in Pynti-Peldot."

Ristiinna turns to the sisters. "Do you need any tools for caring for the herd that aren't on here? Like.. I don't know... I didn't think to ask my mom about that..." she trails off sheepishly.

Vuohkku smiled. "What we need, we brought. Or rather, I brought earlier for packing. They know us, and that helps."

Ristiinna uses a bit of slender charcoal to make a note on the end of her list. "P-P bandages", she recites as she writes.

Ilyna nodded, yet her gaze remained on her sister for now, as she questioned her further. This time, however, she used a hand to conceal the movement of her mouth, as she went to whisper closely to her sister's ear.

Ristiinna turns to Jotunvir, still glancing at the list. "Do you have experience with climbing, sir?" she asks uncertainly. "I thought perhaps I heard..."

Sofie glances over her shoulder at Jotun.

Vuohkku nodded and murmured back in kind.

Jotunvir would push himself forward from his spot to walk forward to make talking to the group less awkward. "I have some," he answers back, his arms recrossing warmly across his chest once he comes to a stop.

Ristiinna nods, keeping her eyes on the list. "We have cleats to strap on boots, ropes with pullies, two harnesses that can be used for a person, a dog, or probably even a deer -- not a mammoth though! -- and a set of picks. The pullies are free, not block and tackle, for versatility, so if only one person can get up a crevasse or cliff, they can use them and harnesses to get more up. Am I missing anything?"

Sofie almost looks nervous. "Will there be a lot of climbing, do you think?"

Ilyna nodded; ''You might be right.'' She spoke no longer in a whisper, as she dropped her hand and moved back to a reasonable stance, as she looked out to the rest of the group.

Ristiinna says, "I hope not. Getting the sleds up would be nearly impossible, I fear. But we had best be prepared, even if only to rescue someone who's fallen."

Jotunvir dutifully listens to Risti, and thinks for a moment after mulling over her list before he gives a shake of his head to her with a smile. "That should be fine for whatever we come across."

Sofie rubs the back of her neck, looking very discomforted by this apparent news, that she had apparently not thought about. "Climbing makes my stomach feel like it has butterflies in it, but not in the good way like when you see someone again for the first time."

Ilyna raised a brow; ''What's this about climbing?''

Ristiinna nods, and smiles, but doesn't quite look up to him. "If we do have to, Sofie, you can be carried up or down in harness, but... well, let's hope we don't have to. We shouldn't, unless something goes wrong."

Vuohkku nodded, and murmured to her sister. "Like that. Emergency precaution. Which we really hope not to need."

Ristiinna goes back to the list. "We have three lavvu tents, of a size to sleep four roomily, six crowdedly, eight in an emergency, and enough materials to repair them, or to make a fourth in a pinch. Those extra hides can also be... if we put the three tents in a triangle and string the extra hides between them, it makes an open but sheltered common space between the tents."

Ilyna blinked, and looked over to Vuohkku whilst she shook her head. She lowered her voice again; ''We both know I can't climb, and even if I did, I don't know.. You're right. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.''

Vuohkku nodded and murmured back to her sister. "Harness, and hauling you up. Still not good, but doable. I hope. But again, it's not the plan. We'd lose the sleds, probably. It's more about rescue, I think."

Sofie hums thoughtfully, glancing around. "Well, me, you and Venla and our other healer in one tent, and then the twins and Jaska in one? And Vide, Filpa, Jotun in another?"

Ristiinna nods, and starts writing that, not that it's needed, but it's something to do.

Jotunvir gave a bob of his head in acceptance of the arrangement of tents, one of his hands coming up to run through his hair underneath his hood.

Vuohkku nodded, looking to Ilyna.

Ilyna | As she listened to her sister, she bit down on her bottom lip and gently chewed the skin. It was a momentary action, though, as she dismissed the idea with a curt shake of her head. It took her a few moments to catch up, and at the mention of the tents and their arrangements, she held no objection; ''Alright.''

Ristiinna goes back to securing the last few things to the sleds. The tents are on the top so that their hides help keep everything else in. "When do we leave?" she asks nervously.

Sofie glances around again. "Well, does anyone even know where Jaska is?"

Vuohkku shook her head. "I'm surprised she's not here already. But perhaps her family wanted even more weeping and wailing over parting than ours did."

Sofie smiles slightly, glancing over at Vuo.

Ristiinna straightens up, then tucks the parchment and coal into her coat. "I need to go grab my harp! I can't believe I forgot it!" She starts, then stops and says, "That is, if people still think I should?"

Sofie quickly nods, smiling. "I think so. You'll be able to keep our spirits up, it's going to be a long and tiresome journey."

Vuohkku nodded with a smile. "I think so, too."

Ristiinna nods, and jogs over to the house.

Ilyna says; ''I saw her earlier. She mentioned to me that there was an issue with one of the mammutti, and she needed to attend to it, since it was not something that could be ignored.''

Sofie frowns. "Oh, no. I hope nothing bad has happened to it."

Ilyna shrugged; ''She didn't go into much detail, though I am sure it is something that can be easily rectified.''

Vuohkku winced at the thought and sighed softly.

Ristiinna returns after a few more minutes that it would seem it should have taken, a fairly battered harp on a strap slung over her shoulder.

Sofie looks back to Ristiinna when she returns. "Was your family very weepy?"

Vuohkku chuckled, flushing a bit.

Ristiinna shakes her head. "They keep saying how proud they are that I'm doing it. Mom keeps wanting to check that I haven't forgotten anything, and that I remember what she taught me. And dad wants to reassure me that our company will keep us safe."

Vuohkku chuckled, shaking her head. "Papa tried to make out that he was only concerned for the deer, and that we'd best not lose any. Except he kept looking between us and getting misty-eyed."

Sofie smiles a little. "I guess fathers are like that."

Ristiinna says, "My da is usually the one to be reassuring. It's my ma that worries."

Ilyna looked to each member of the group, individually, but her gaze did not linger on one before it drifted to the next. Once she reached the end of the circle, she pondered for a moment, before she abruptly spoke; ''So, with us now preparing everything and most things are packed, are we meant to leave now? Or, are we to wait until the morning?''

Sofie awkwardly shifts on her feet and seems grateful for the change of subject. "Well, we can't leave without Jaska. I think it depends on how long she takes to get here. If it's too late to set out, we'll have to leave in the morning."

Ristiinna says, "Everything on the sleds should be fine to wait until morning if need be."

Ilyna nodded at the answers that she received, and she glanced over her shoulder in the direction that both the hirvi, and the mammutti, herds both settled. It was brief, as she then looked back to the rest of the group; ''I would say we should give her until the morning. Whatever it may be, it might be something that needs to be monitored overnight, so she may still be required here in the meantime. I say that we leave in the morning, if no-one has any objections to that?''

Jotunvir would keep quiet as he had no strong feelings about when they left himself, indicating this with a calm shrug of his broad shoulders.

Ristiinna tugs a lock of hair out from under her cap and chews thoughtfully on it. "That does mean yet another round of goodbyes from families," she observes.

Sofie glances around and then nods. "Yeah. We can't put it off."

Vuohkku looked outward as well, then turned back and nodded to her sister. "It seems likely, given she's not come yet. And yes, though maybe they'll let us go without quite so much repeated fuss this time."

Vuohkku added, almost under her breath, perhaps not really meaning to be heard, "Maybe we should hide in the lodge overnight...."

Ristiinna stares at Vuohkku and then claps her hands. "Or we could set up some of the tents. Like a practice run!"

Ilyna glanced at her sister and scoffed, particuarly at her comment, as she was at a distance where she was able to hear such; ''I don't see what's wrong with all the attention. Personally, I don't mind it.'' She shrugged her shoulders, and then glanced to Ristiinna, a brow raised.

Vuohkku chuckled. "Well, practice in the middle of the village seems like we'd make moving around hard on people, and is kind of obvious." She shrugged. "I'll remember to hide behind you, sister, and duck out as soon as I can, then."

Sofie glances over at Ristiinna, not looking too thrilled with the suggestion. "It seems like a lot of work just to pack it all again."

Vuohkku was probably teasing. Her tone was light-hearted enough for it.

Ristiinna nods, but is still grinning. "It does seem like a lot just to avoid more farewells."

Ilyna rolled her eyes, and arched her elbow to nudge her sister; ''Take it as a compliment, Vuohkku.'' She chuckled, as she was returning the jest with some of her own, before she decided to comment on the tent idea; ''You'll be gone for long enough, so I'm sure one more night won't hurt.''

Vuohkku giggled, then nodded. "I'm sure I'll be wishing for some of their help with the deer on the way before very long."

Ilyna glanced at her sister, and nodded in agreement.

Ristiinna pats her coat where the list is as if she's going to reach for it, but doesn't. "I won't really have anything to do while we travel, so I'll try to help with the basics like setting up tents, cooking, getting the fires going. I wouldn't be any help with the herd."

Ilyna retorts; ''If we need the help, I'm sure we can find something for you to do, Ristiinna.'' She paused, yet carried on; ''Plenty of small jobs, isn't there?'' She then glanced to her sister for clarification, as well as, her agreement in the matter.

Ristiinna raises her eyes. "Even with the tending of the herds?" she asks disbelievingly.

Vuohkku chuckled softly, nodding. "There are. Though as long as we're not in too big a hurry on the ice, we should be all right." She nodded again. "Checking that nothing gets embedded in hooves or stuck in coats is a big one. Though on the glaciers, the coats aren't much of a worry."

Ilyna blinked, and shrugged; ''There's thing that can be done where you don't actually have to interact with the hirvi, Ristinna. But, really, my sister's right. We'll manage just fine.''

Ristiinna nods, eyes bright. "I will help any way I can, then," she says. "I mean, I get along with them well enough, I just never really learned much about their care."

Ilyna says, ''I suppose you wouldn't have to, though, since you wouldn't be caring for them.''

Vuohkku nodded. "I'm hopeful they'll find enough to feed themselves, or we'll have a lot more work to do than just keeping track of them. Oh, and they're not too stupid. Good coats or no, they'll like the fire, and they're used to our hounds for protection."

Ristiinna goes back to chewing nervously on a curled lock of hair. "How long do you think it'll take to get there?"

Sofie thoughtfully hums. "Several weeks, I imagine."

Ristiinna glances up at Jotunvir a moment. "I hope we'll be able to do well at gathering and hunting and fishing as we go or it will be pretty lean before we are even halfway back," she says. "This is a hard time of year for the tribes to spare a lot of food for us."

Sofie glances from Ristiinna to Jotun curiously.

Jotunvir was pleasantly listening to the conversation, arms crossed over his chest for warmth as he patiently waited with the group.

Jotunvir gave a nod to Risti as he listened to her concerns; "I'm sure we'll be able to settle what we need for our group; either through foraging, hunting or rationing. I wouldn't worry."

Ristiinna nods, maybe a little more than really necessary. "We're fortunate to have someone, I mean people, going on the expedition who can do that, and all the other things we need, I mean. Hunters and warriors and healers and herdsmen and all."

Ilyna clasped her hands and rubbed her palms together, as if she was preparing to say something, though she didn't for quite some time. Instead, she looked around the group again and listened to what was being said, before she turned to her sister; ''I think we should both rest. If not now, but soon, since I don't doubt the trip will be taking a lot out of us.'' Perhaps there was hidden meaning to words, or perhaps they were not, but she was certain that Vuohkku could decipher it regardless.

Vuohkku nodded to Ilyna. "You're right. And maybe see if I can get papa to part with a hound to help, as well."

Ilyna says, ''Oh, yes, of course. I never even thought. That will probably help us a lot more, in the long-term, or it would be safety blanket to have just in case we needed it.''

Sofie sighs softly as she looks around and then nods. "We've already waited around long enough. We can't leave this late, we might as well call it a day and hope Jaska can be here by the morning."

Ristiinna nods, and saying nothing, goes to the sleds and tugs a curved hook on a bit of rope from each one in turn, and digs it into the snow, to make sure the sled doesn't get tipped over or jostled very far.

Vuohkku blinked as she watched Ris, and nodded to herself. She then nodded more directly to Sofie. "Yes. Besides, as everyone can already guess from knowing me, I'm getting cold standing here."

Sofie smiles slightly. "That does seem to be typical of you."

Ristiinna says without looking up "I have made sure there's extra furs in case you need them, Vuohkku."

Ilyna bowed her head; ''I'll check on her before I go back to the hut.. Just to see how everything is doing.'' She then turned to her sister, and then spoke again with a small smile; ''Right, well. We'll be going much sooner, rather than later, if that's how you're feeling.''

Vuohkku chuckled at Ris, and then her sister as well. "I expect that looking after the deer will keep me warm, but I'm glad to hear it, even so. And yes, Ilyna. Besides, that'll give me that much more time to try to sweet-talk Papa."

Ristiinna has soon pegged down all four corners of all three sleds. Probably excessive caution, as no heavy winds are expected; she's mostly just practicing. She takes a few moments to re-check all the bindings too. "Well, everything is ready except the dogs," she says, tossing the harness leads on top of the sleds.

Ilyna chuckled along with her; ''If anyone is going to persuade him, it will probably be you. He'll just think I'm not being serious, if I asked.''

Ilyna swiftly added, and she placed a hand on her sister's shoulder; ''Shall we go, or do you wish to stay? I don't know what there is to stay for, but if you want to, then that's fine.''

Vuohkku nodded. "Besides liking these people?" She smiled. "But yes, let's get me warmer, and working on Papa for a hound."

Sofie smiles and inclines her head to them. "I'll meet you all tomorrow morning, then. Sleep well!" she says, turning. She gestures subtly with her hand, and Jotun follows her.

Ristiinna says, "Thinking more on it, another round of farewells isn't a problem. It'll be good to see mom and da one more time. It'll be another night of being too nervous to sleep."

Vuohkku waves after them.

Vuohkku chuckled, nodding to Ris. "There is that. Though I hope I can convince myself I'm just going out with the herd. I'm used enough to that."

Ilyna rolled her eyes, but nodded; ''And that, I suppose.'' She lazily waved off to the pair, before she glanced back to Ristiinna; ''Everything's going to be just fine.''

Ristiinna nods. "I hope so. I'll see you both tomorrow!" She waves with excessive cheer, gives the sleds one more look-over, then makes for her family home.

Ilyna turned back to her sister; ''Right. Let's be off as well, then.'' She the gestured up the small slope, so that they could make their way back to their hut.

Vuohkku nodded.