Piece in Our Time

Chapter Nine

How to make butter, cheese and dried fish, these were just a few of the things Eva was learning. Eva had some time ago decided that if she were stuck in this time she needed to be less of a dead weight in the camp, only washing clothes, and helping with dinner, and more of a functioning form in their small society. So some of the elder women in the clan had taken it upon themselves to correctly show Eva more of the duties they performed while the men were out hunting. Eva had even learned a bit about herbs. The women only had a small gathering of them, but at least now Eva knew what gave the meat and fish they often had for each meal a bit of flavor.

Eva had even begun taking care of the cows that traveled with them. The beast provided the clan with milk, which helped with the cheese and butter. One of the cows Eva had named Marry, was stubborn and often Eva felt as if the cow were judging her. The other cow, Eva had named her Betty seemed to really enjoy Eva’s company, taking a snack right from Eva’s palm happily, letting out a slow and low “moo” when Eva made her way over. Eva could swear the Cows knew Eva’s secret.

Most of the women in the camp were married to the men of the camp. Hara was not the only widow either. Sometimes Eva would catch a couple here or there kissing quickly or the wife giving her husband a quick peck on his lips before he left to hunt. It was endearing and it reminded Eva about the relationships that had blossomed between the people and her. She had made quite a few friends in the group, most of them were the elder women , whom she spent most of her time with. Some of the men even felt comfortable enough to crack a joke with her once in a while.

There seemed to be a very smooth dynamic in the group. A dynamic that had hundreds maybe more years to develop and it worked a charm. Everyone had a job, the women tended to the campsite while the men hunted. Only a day ago everyone had heard the news that two members of the group would be expecting. Though often jokes and meaningless slander of others were passed around the group Eva could feel a quality of respect among the people she shared her days with that matched no other. These people had been through thick and thin together and as far as they were concerned nothing would tear them apart.

Eva often wondered why there were no children in their group. She thought it none of her business at first but decided she would simply ask Hara, who always gave her to the point and straight answers without questioning Eva’s motives. Eva had asked one day, while her and Hara churned butter, Eva’s arms were getting tired and she figured this was the perfect time to take a break and ask.


Hara looked over, wiping her hands on her dress “Hmmm?” Her tone was cheery; Hara seemed to only be happy when she was busy.

“I’m curious; how come there are no children in the clan?” Eva was ringing at her hands, she was a bit nervous. Children seemed to be a sensitive subject throughout the clan.

Hara’s hands immediately stilled and she looked up at Eva, her face a blank slate. “Have you ever wondered why we travel, we are a clan Eva, we should have a home, should we not?” Hara’s words were not harsh, they were practical. Eva had not ever wondered why they move around. She often wondered where they were going, but not why they were going.

“No, I have not wondered.” Eva’s voice had grown soft and she averted her eyes downward.
A sigh came from Hara and she pulled Eva to a nearby tree trunk and sat her down. “There are no children in this clan Eva, because they are dead.” Hara’s matter of fact tone made Eva’s heart ache.

“We never did find out who started the fire, but it tore through the entire town. Asmund had just been made leader of the clan. We were not prepared and as the clan fled from the town most of the children did not make it, and the ones who did had to fare through the wilderness. We have lost a great amount of our people Eva; we were not always such a small clan. Once we were thriving, now we are broken.”

Speechless, that was what Eva was after Hara’s speech. She had no idea that all of that had happened, and that all of these people, people who done nothing but prove to her that they could survive most things, that nothing could break them, had been broken, for quite some time. These people had managed to come together in a moment of crisis and begin to try and rebuild their entire future. She had not seen something so uplifting in her life. Eva spent the rest of the morning studying the clan. How they worked together, how they interacted together.

Eva had not yet been able to put her nursing experience to a great use. So far in her stay and accompaniment of these men and women she had only wrapped cuts and scrapes, replaced limbs that came free of their sockets and bandaged broken bones, all of these to the men that participated daily in the hunting and scouting for the clan. Eva had even cared for Renir Holat at one point, wrapping his arm in a thin piece of cloth; Renir had ignored her the entire time, hissing only slightly when she pulled the cloth tight in a particularly hard manor. He immediately turned his head and glowered at her. Eva could only smile and nod in a signal of dismissal.

Eva was attending to a woman who had burnt her hand while setting the fire, when the familiar sound of crunching snow giving way under heavy boots grew closer and the sound of hollering men could be heard. Looking up from her patient Eva’s eyes landed on Galmr in desperate need of help as he struggled to drag Asmunds limp body towards her. Eva stood up with a gasp and held her chest. Here was a man who had all but convinced Eva that he was invincible and he was now in the arms of another man completely passed out, a trail of crimson blood behind him.

“Lay him in his tent!” She hurriedly hushed the woman away and gathered her things, following the group of men into Asmunds tent. A fire had been lit in the corner and a heavy lump of man lay in the middle of the room. Eva pushed her way past the group of men and ushered most of them out, turning to Galmr “What happened?” Eva tried to ignore the worry in her voice.

“We were hunting Lass and someone accidentally pierced him in the back with an arrow. We pulled it out, but we can nah get the bleeding to seize” Galmr’s eyes were wide, and Eva looked over him once, he was caked in blood, his hands had been stained and he was sweating despite the winter outside. “I will try and heal him Galmr but I need you to go clean up.” She spoke softly, and placed her hand on his shoulder gently turning him in the direction of the exit.

Eva turned to her new patient and sighed. The men had placed him on his back, his eyes were closed and Eva took only a second to take in the calm, unwrinkled lines of his face as he slept. She watched the slow up and down movement of his clothed chest and then realized she needed to get to work, she had no idea how much he was bleeding and if it was heavy how much blood he had lost. She wished the men had not taken the arrow out.

She needed to move him onto his stomach somehow. Rubbing her hands together Eva took in one deep breath and placed her hands on his shoulders, only to have them instantly covered with larger ones. “What are you doing, Missti einn minn” the words were spoken quietly, almost a whisper and Eva looked down and came eye to eye with a now barely awake Asmund Thorirson.

“You need to turn over, so I can tend to your wound” Eva whispered back, a flush had come to her cheeks as a result of how close they were, Eva could feel his body heat radiating from under his furs, and she removed her hands awkwardly from under his own. Without another word Asmund, without even a wince turned his large body over and lay on his stomach. Eva swallowed a lump that had grown in her throat and with shaking fingers pulled his furs down, exposing a vast expanse of back, blemish free minus the small wound that was just under his left shoulder blade.

Eva immediately placed a pot of water over the fire to heat up. “This will take a while. “ She was speaking to herself but Asmund responded “As long as you need, Missti einn minn” Just as the words came out of his mouth a women came through the tent curtains with a bowl of steaming water in her hands. Eva instantly recognized her as the women she had seen Asmund in the trees with, and Eva turned her back to her to gather some rigidly cut cloth to be dipped into the boiling water that sat on the fire lit.

The two of them spoke in their language, Eva’s heart tugged and she bit at her lip. This was obviously someone who found Asmund very important to her, Eva turned around just in time to stop the women from pouring the boiling water onto Asmunds bare back. “Stop!” It came out as a scream and Eva was next to the women in three large steps and ripping the bowl from her hands. “You can’t do that, you’ll burn him.” Eva spoke rudely, and her eyebrows furrowed at the women who was at least five inches taller than her.

“láta okkur” Asmunds words were harsh, his hand had come up to grip at the skirt of Eva’s dress and pulled her back a couple of steps.

The women only nodded, glaring at the smaller women in front of her and Asmunds hands on Eva’s skirt, before turning and leaving. Eva placed the bowl at her feet and shook her head. “She could have burned you, which would have made everything worse.” Eva had dropped the wet cloth onto the floor in the commotion, and now held two new ones in her hands and had decided to just use the already steaming water at her feet.

Dipping the cloth in and out of the water, she felt that familiar warmth over take her body and with a slight upward glance, as she was kneeling down over the bowl, she met Asmunds gaze, his head had turned to face her and his expression was blank as normal. “Would it have hurt you?” He asked, and Eva cocked her head to the side in confusion.

“If she had burnt me, would that have hurt you?” Asmunds expression was still blank, but Eva knew what he was asking.

“Not as much as it would have hurt you.” She said with humor, dusting off his question as nothing but a silly question. “Now you need to stay still.” Eva was standing now, she had wrung out the water from the clothes and was ready to clean the wound.

Asmund nodded but did not turn his head away; his hand had dropped from her skirt and now lay limp on the ground. Asmund did not even twitch when she placed the cloth over his skin, and began the slow process of cleaning his wound so she could see the full extent of the damage. When his skin was clear and all that was left was the red and inflamed marks from the wound and the heat from the cloth she took a good look. It was not as fatal as she had initially thought and her nerves calmed down instantly.

The shape of the wound reminded her much of that day in Pearl Harbor. Men and women who were covered in holes similar to this one, as bullets cut through their skin, raining down from above like lethal water droplets. Eva shook her head of the memory and put all of her attention into cleaning him and wrapping.

The wrapping part was quite awkward to Eva, she had to have Asmund roll over twice to wrap the whole cloth around him, her hands skimmed over his chest and her breath hitched, he was not smooth, a dusting of hair covered his whole chest and she caught the glimpse of pink scars that scattered his skin. He was warm. It was such a great contrast to the cool air outside, blowing in through the opening in the tent. When she tied the last of the cloth together under his armpit she patted his shoulder. “All set.” She said cheerfully and watched as Asmund slowly sat up.

“You should rest.” Eva was cleaning up the mess she had made, water covered the ground, creating a muddy puddle at the side of his furs, and cloths lay strewn around their feet. She had just picked up the last of them when Asmund gripped her arm and pulled her close. Her hands landed on either side of his hips, and she knelt between his muscled thighs. She looked up at him, Eva’s hair had come unbounded and ringlets of raven hair hung by her cheeks, her skin was glistening with a thin sheen of sweat at her brow from working hard.

When Asmunds face came closer she turned away. "Did it hurt you Eva Bunchenan, to see me harmed?" There it was, a low deep growl hidden behind his words, an animalistic growl, his words were heavy and she felt the weight of them settle deep in the pit of her stomach, warming her between her thighs.

“You should rest. “She repeated and began the process of standing when he pulled her down once more. This time, she placed a hand on his chest and shook her head. He said nothing and pulled harder, Eva landed on top of him, chest to chest. He was so warm, she nearly sighed against his chest at his heat, before realization hit her and she yanked her arm free and stood up, stepping back she pointed at him.

“Now listen here you! “ She paused to make sure he was listening; when she received no response she continued.

“I am not like that other women! I will not be played with; you won’t be getting any with me sir!” She could hold it in no longer. He had been playing with her since he found her. “I will not be pulled into your game, and be another notch on your bow!” In the heat of her moment Eva stamped her foot as hard as she could, kicking up a bit of mud and stormed from the tent, leaving a wounded and very amused Asmund in her wake.
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Translation: láta okkur = "Leave Us"

I'm very thankful for all of the reviews from my readers. Thank you so much, and I hope you continue to enjoy this story. I'm hoping for it to be a long one, and I'll probably get to work on a similar story pretty soon.