It was one of the rare nights when the fold was all in one place together, and when the collective had generally turned in for the night at the same time.
Nahkriin carefully opened the door to the communal sleeping area, trying her hardest not to let it creak on its hinges. The day’s rituals had been long and exhausting, and even those priests who tended to stay out much later had crashed into the heap of fine furs and pillows at what some would consider a ‘reasonable’ time. Nahkriin didn’t want to disrupt that - tonight was likely one of the few nights that some of them would get a reasonable rest.
The fire still burned in the large hearth situated at the far side of the room, though much of the light as blocked by the sleeping form of Volsung. The younger woman was flopped out, as usual, in front of it, using Haldriin’s chest as a pillow while trying to feebly keep the edge of a pelt on her that Vosis was in the process of stealing from her and Haldriin, despite his proximity to the fire. A few feet of clearance spanned between Vosis’s curled up body and the next priest, a void Nahkriin noted was missing its usual residents, including herself. Konahrik and Morokei seemed to be missing as well, but Ahzidal’s decorated locks were peaking out just enough from under the pelt pile to notify that he had gone to bed while the other two hadn’t. As had Zaan and Volsung, despite Nahkriin’s absence. The two women were sprawled out half on and half under a handful of pelts, scooted up just close enough to leech heat out of Akriidal and Dukaan, who had been next to them. Further out towards the edge of the pile was Otar who, even in his addled state, always let Henvoraak use him like a human bed. Hevnoraak rarely turned in with the rest of them, but apparently the events of the day had been enough to wear even him out - or, Rahgot had dragged him to a reasonable sleeping hour against his will, given the way the other man still had a arm strung out across both Hevnoraak and Otar’s sleeping forms. At the furthest edge, finally, was Zahkriisos and Krosis. Zahkriisos had not yet found his spot in the pile, as the youngest of the priests, but his recent surgery hadn’t helped. Krosis had helped prop Zahkriisos up to make sure he didn’t roll onto his side or into someone on accident - Nahkriin and Krosis had both decided that letting him heal naturally might be the safer option, even if it would certainly be uncomfortable. Even in the dim light, Nahkriin could tell that Krosis had at changed the bandages wrapped around the other man’s chest before they’d turned in for the night, which was one less thing for Nahkriin to worry about for the evening.
Nahkriin paused. Konahrik and Morokei were missing, but now that she scanned again, so was Miraak. She gently shuffled towards the door that lead to the plaza outside, sneaking past discarded robes and a handful of pillows Hevnoraak no doubt had been hurling in poor Zahkriisos’s direction before quietly stepping outside.
The sudden wall of cool evening air made Nahkriin shudder as she closed the door behind her, eyes adjusting again to the darkness. The lights of Bromjunaar shone down below, but none of the lamps on the small outdoor ledge had been lit.
“ Laas Yah Nir.”
The darkness of the world did not disappear, but two burning red auras and one yellow-blue one dotted the very edge of the plaza, where a handful of cushions sat. Nahkriin waited until she could at least vaguely make out the ground in front of her before she strode out to join her companions in the darkness. As she sat down, two pairs of dimly glowing eyes turned to meet her.
“You’re up awfully late,” Konahrik hummed from the darkness, the least visible of her three companions.
Nahkriin sat down on one of the cushions, leaning back as she relaxed into the cool air. “I’m surprised to see any of you up later then Hevnoraak. What’s the occasion? Gossiping without me?” Nahkriin teased, smiling.
“We would never ,” Morokei chuckled, shifting in his seat. “Is Hevnoraak really asleep already?”
Nahkriin nodded, stretching. “I was going to turn in as well, until I saw that you three were missing. I had to wonder what compelled you to come out here and sit in the dark.”
“Enjoying the quiet evening,” Konahrik replied simply, leaning back. “We were surprised you weren’t back already.”
“I had a few more things to clean up,” Nahkriin said with a shrug. She sighed and leaned over, coming to rest against Miraak’s toasty scale-covered side. “It is nice out here though.”
Miraak let out a low hum, his orange eyes turning to scan the city below. “It is not often that we can spend time being undisturbed.”
The others nodded in agreement, listening to the soft chirp of crickets and the occasional sound of wings as a dragon came or left from its city roost.
“It’s a shame we can’t spend more time together like this,” Nahkriin commented, pulling one leg up to her chest so she could rest her head on it. “I guess that is why some of the priests like to stay up later when they’re here.”
“Or,” Morokei began, cocking his head to the side, “they like to stay up because they enjoy causing trouble.”
Nahkriin snorted. “When has Hevnoraak ever caused trouble?”
Konahrik rolled his eyes in the darkness. “If he’s in already, then none of us have to worry about cleaning up whatever mess he’s made in the morning.”
Nahkriin rolled onto her side, resting her face on Miraak’s shoulder before wrapping her arms around his broad shoulders with a yawn. “Can I convince any of you to join me in catching some sleep? There’s a lovely spot near the fire, perfect for a few people.” She plopped her lips against Miraak’s skin, pouting at the other three.
Morokei stretched with a soft groan, before pushing himself to his feet. “I suppose I could be convinced,” he said with a soft yawn.
Konahrik tilted his head in thought for a moment, before standing as well. “Even if I am not traveling anywhere, there are still things for me to do tomorrow. Miraak?”
Nahkriin shifted her head on the man’s shoulder, arching a brow expectantly.
Miraak’s gaze didn’t shift from the city. “I will join you later,” he said quietly.
Nahkriin frowned, before leaning forward to peck him on the cheek. “Alright. Just make sure you get some rest, alright?” She asked softly, squeezing her arms around him before letting go.Miraak nodded, but didn’t look to her.
There was always something going on in Miraak’s head, but Nahkriin could never guess what. Morokei offered his glowing-scarred hand, helping Nahkriin to her feet before the three of them shuffled inside.
Nahkriin plopped down next to Zaan once she’d draped her robes and jewelry over the back of one of the many chairs in the room, letting out a soft yawn. Zaan stretched sleepily, cracking a grey eye open before rolling over and snuggling into Nahkriin’s side.
“You’re finally coming to bed,” Zaan mumbled, kissing Nahkriin’s shoulder. Morokei flopped down next to Nahkriin with a grunt, making the two women next to him bounce from the impact. Zaan groaned.
“Sorry, I guess we did take awhile,” Nahkriin whispered, pulling Zaan’s head up onto her chest before kicking Morokei in the leg for being rude. Morokei chuckled, throwing a pelt over himself and Nahkriin.
Zaan wrapped her arm around Nahkriin’s torso, nuzzling into her shoulder. “Next time, leave the mage light outside,” she yawned, making Morokei roll his eyes.
Nahkriin ran a hand through the other woman’s loose hair. “You can’t even see him,” she scoffed softly, before leaving a peck on Zaan’s forehead.
Finally, Konahrik waded into the pile, taking his place at Morokei’s side. Morokei rolled his head to the side, watching as Konahrik got himself comfortable. “Do you hear that?” Morokei playfully scoffed, letting Konahrik lean up against him.
Konahrik chuckled quietly, turning to leave a soft kiss on Morokei’s lips. “Sleep, my moon.”
Morokei smiled softly and kissed him back, before settling down between the two priests.
“I’ll get you back in the morning,” Zaan insisted, words muffled by Nahkriin’s skin.
Nahkriin let her head fall back on the pelts. “Goodnight, everyone,” she said with a sigh, but a smile.