Embers glowed against the snow white of the field. Anya stood hand in hand with her tribe. Singing songs and reveling into the longest night of the year.
The men hunted in winter and had caught a great boar for the feast. They served breads and sweetmeats. Mead and ale flowed from kegs on long tables. The night was full of revelry and song, of feasting and lovemaking into the frosty night.
The last harvest gathered. Tomorrow they would return to their longhouses and wait until the muddy thaws of spring came. Locked away for months, living on dried meat and dried vegetables, and whatever grain they had stored away for the long months ahead.
Not all the tribe would make it through. The snows and ice were harsh, and sometimes there was not enough food to last. Sometimes huntsmen would not return home from the icy depths of air and darkness.
Between songs they heard shrieks and howls in the long night. The air outside the village grew more frigged, calling deep winter to come. This fire, built from wood they all gathered, would hold the beast at bay.
Tonight they feasted and sang, holding onto the light when the black of night threatened to take them. The bonfire burned high into the night sky, providing warmth and light.
Past the village into the night, eyes glowed in the inky darkness, waiting for the wind to hide their howls. Knowing that they too had to feed through winter.